Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 9, 1689-1692. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.
Introduction, Part 1
The Revolution of 1688 forms the dividing line between modern systems of government and the medival system, for in the main the Tudor and Stuart conceptions of monarchy and ideals of government were only a prolongation of the medival system. The basic difference did not express itself in the spirit of the Administration, for at all times the English monarchs had been as patriotic and as humane as their Parliaments, frequently indeed much more patriotic and paternal. This assertion is as true of the Stuarts as it is of the Tudors or of the Plantagenets. Indeed, the time is ripe for a complete reversal of the accepted verdict of history as to the ideals and constitutional loyalty of the Stuart Kings.
And again, in the matter of the control of the executive machinery of government, the revolution of 1688 did not produce the instantaneous change which our constitutional text books hastily formulated. It took practically another century of development before a workable system of Parliamentary control of the executive was evolved. Neither Parliamentary rule nor Cabinet Government date from 1688. They grew slowly as from that date. Indeed, it would be a misconception to suppose that from 1688 onwards the Parliament was anxious to seize the control of the executive. William's Parliaments showed as little alacrity or ambition in that respect as did Charles the Second's Parliaments : nor did William III. ever make such magnanimous offers of surrender of the kingly prerogative as did Charles II.
In the forlorn hope of beating down the factious, unpatriotic opposition of the House of Commons Charles had even offered to share with Parliament the control of foreign policyan amazing offer of surrender of royal prerogative, and one which William III. would have left the English throne rather than contemplate. Charles II.'s Parliament declined the offer, knowing its own complete unfitness for the task. It shirked the responsibility and William III.'s Parliaments, though incomparably more patriotic than Charles's, showed no whit more of prescience or resolution in regard to this point of constitutional development.
Once again it would be misleading to assert that the main point of difference between Stuart and Post-Revolution rule lay in the fact that the control of finance passed finally in 1688 to the Parliament. Even if we had not the evidence of the Journals of both Houses, such an idea would be largely negatived by the present instalment of Treasury records. In these pages we see the King attending the meetings of the Treasury Board just when he pleased and nearly as often as Charles did ; and when it is not convenient for him to attend in Whitehall he summons the Treasury Lords to Kensington House or to Windsor to deliberate finance with him and with other of his Privy Councillors. Even when not present his word is decisive whether as to personal matters or as to estimates and expenditure, and the Treasury Lords report to him just in the same way as the subordinate branches of the executive report to them.
If it were necessary to express in a single phrase the gist, the historic import, of the Revolution of 1688 it might be admissible to assert that it lay in the passing of the medival concept that the King should live of his own that out of "his own" income he should run the country and should only come to Parliament for financial help on extraordinary occasions, such as war, etc. Originally the King's "own" hardly needed reinforcing by Parliament, for his possessions were so extensive that he could and actually did run the country out of his own pocket. But as the State expanded the King's "own," his land revenues and feudal dues and casualties, and all the droits attaching to the prerogative became less and less adequate to the costs of government. The methods by which the King's "own" was thereupon reinforced by Parliament were different at different periods : in the Stuart period it became stereotyped as a set formal bargain between the Crown and the Parliament. In return for the King's surrender of this or that oppressive prerogative right the Parliament gave to him for the whole of his reign such and such a new source of income. This was the nature of the abortive Great Contract between James I. and his Parliament. Similarly at the Restoration the surrender by the Crown of the feudal tenures and wardships in return for a grant for life of the Hereditary Excise was arranged as a set formal bargain between Charles II. and the Restoration Parliament.
It will be at once clear that from the moment such a concept of a formal bargain entered the constitutional domain the King's "own" took on a different complexion. It was no longer composed solely and entirely of his hereditary and inalienable feudal property and rights. Such property and rights composed henceforth only one moiety of his own : the other moiety was what Parliament gave him for the whole of his reign. Once granted by Parliament this moiety was as much the King's own as his feudal property. The Parliament never required an account of it, and the Crown would never have consented to give an account of it. But whereas the one was hereditary the other was only for life. The hereditary moiety descended with the Sovereign title itself ; the Parliamentary moiety lapsed on the decease of the Sovereign and had to be renewed by Parliament. It was this distinction which enabled the constitutional lawyers of William III.'s reign to defraud the Bankers of part of their debt. The Courts held that Charles II. had not the right to charge the Bankers' debt in perpetuity on the Temporary Excise. He could charge that revenue with the Bankers' annuity so long as he was alive, because it was his "own," but he could not charge it in perpetuity because as a source of revenue it lapsed with his death.
I am not concerned with the chicanery of this process of defrauding the first registered holders of English public funded debt. Let that pass. I am only concerned with the concept of the King's "own." It is not a little remarkable that our constitutional hand books overlook the steady advance in constitutional practice and theory which took place under the Stuarts in respect of the practice of voting the King's "own." In the case of Charles II. and James II. the Parliamentary proceedings connected with the transaction were not merely formal but exhaustive. A real and honest attempt was made by the House of Commons to ascertain or estimate the ordinary cost of running the country, and when an apparently reliable figure had been arrived at an equally real and honest attempt was made to provide such funds or sources of income for the whole of the King's reign as would cover that ordinary cost of government. The mere assertion of the Parliamentary origin of this revenue and of the necessity of Parliamentary sanction before it could be legally collected at the commencement of the new King's reign was of far greater constitutional importance than the impeachment of Danby or than the device of appropriation of supply.
If the constitutional development of the 17th century had been harmonious one would have expected progress along the line thus marked out, and the eighteenth century might have witnessed a gradual absorption by the House of Commons of the financial control of the country without any desire on its part of assuming the executive control as well. The King might have been left in possession of his "own" and in possession of the executive control of the State, but with a closer dependence upon the House. If so, the struggle between George III. and Parliament might have been avoided.
The speculation, however, is useless, for the promising constitutional development of Charles II.'s reign was cut short by the Revolution of 1688. The idea of the King's "own" was thrown aside, not at once but gradually and tentatively and with much uncertainty : and with it there gradually passed away the idea that the King should run the ordinary government of the country out of his "own." Parliament assumed the responsibility for providing the ordinary charge of government and thereby laid the basis for its ultimate seizure of the control of the executive machinery of the State. And it is in this change that lies the distinctive outstanding constitutional achievement of the Revolution of 1688.
It is not to be supposed for a moment that the evolution of such a new concept of government was instantaneous or intentional or aforethought. It was only when the Civil List separated off and assumed its later and narrower character of a fund for the King's State that the process of the evolution became constitutionally important : and we only reach this stage in the reign of Anne. At the outset the Convention Parliament evidently contemplated proceeding in the same way as at the Restoration or at the accession of James II., and it was only the gradual drift of circumstance which evolved and crystallised a different conception of financial policy.
The episode of the abolition of Hearthmoney is an apt illustration of the general attitude of mind of the Convention Parliament and its early debates. As this Hearthmoney was not an "Aid" but was part of the King's "own," the proposal for its abolition originated quite properly with the King himself. Grey's account (Grey's Debates, Vol. X, pp. 128-9) of the procedure followed is very significant :
Friday, March 1st, 1688-9.
Mr. Comptroller Wharton : I am to deliver a message from his Majesty. The paper in my hand will express the matter better than I am able to do it. (The letter from the King imported "to desire the House to regulate the abuses in collecting the Hearthmoney ; or if it be a grievance to the subjects, his Majesty will consent to take it away, as the House shall advise.) I cannot but say this is the greatest honour the King can do me to make me a messenger of this. I have seen messages for money, but it is the first I ever heard of of this kind, for the King to part with a revenue. I am to acquaint you further, a little more fully than in this paper, viz. that the King was the first that moved this in Council. He did it for the ease of the people and would always do so. He and only he is to have the honour of it.
Sir Robert Howard : It was very late, when nobody expected any such thing, that the King made this motion in Council. The King said "it was much in his thoughts." I could wish the House had heard his discourse of all this business ...
Sir Thomas Clarges : I move that both Houses would join in an address to the King with their humble sense and thanks ...
Sir Thomas Littleton : We cannot but have a great sense of this gracious condescension of his Majesty, perhaps the most grateful and the greatest grace that has been done by any King formerly. And as this is a great favour from his Majesty so I hope we shall take care in due time that his Majesty may be no loser.
Col. Birch : I stand up to second not only our hearty thanks, with the concurrence of the Lords ; but this being such a revenue that we were in no hopes ever to have an end of it, I would also signify this extraordinary favour to the nation and give the King an extraordinary compensation.
Sir Thomas Lee : I move to have an addition to the thanks etc., "that the King need not doubt of the affections of his people to supply his occasions from time to time."
Mr. Hampden : First resolve on thanks etc. and then you may add as has been moved : but not to join the Lords in anything relating to aid the King by way of compensation. You may appoint a Committee to draw up the address.
On this point, therefore, the procedure was in complete accordance with the set formal precedents of the Stuart period. As a result of the debate the House addressed the King to thank him for agreeing to the taking away of the objectionable tax :
"We humbly crave leave to present this assurance to your Majesty that we will make such grateful and affectionate returns and be so careful of the support of the Crown that the world may see ... that your Majesty reigns in the hearts of the people." (fn. 1)
That is to say that as Hearthmoney was part of the King's "own" the removal of it must perforce take the form of a bargain with the King and the House must in honour undertake to replace it by an equivalent source of permanent income. It may serve to make clear the constitutional principle involved in this procedure if it is borne in mind that the provision of extraordinary supply in the form of an "Aid" to the King (for the purpose of war) was under consideration at one and the same moment, but the two issues were not confused. To provide an Aid to the King for any extraordinary occasion was one thing ; to settle the King's permanent ordinary revenue for the whole of his reign was quite another one, and the debates on the two were on the whole kept asunder. The procedure would be equivalent or comparable to the modern practice of fixing the King's Civil List at the commencement of a new reign, but for the important distinction that to-day there is no constitutional problem involved in the voting of the Civil List, whereas in the 17th century the fixing of the King's revenue involved a serious constitutional problem. In the time of William III, and for a portion of the reign of Anne also, the Civil List was simply a part of a bigger whole. It had not separated off as a distinct part of the King's ordinary revenue. What the Parliament was doing or contemplating for William III. (just as had been the case for Charles II.) was the fixing and the providing of the ordinary revenue of the country. It was called the King's revenue and was to be given to him for the whole of his reign, but it was intended to be such a revenue as would enable him to run the ordinary service of the country, the ordinary Army, the ordinary Navy and the summer Guard of the seas, the ordinary ambassadorial service, the ordinary Civil service and legal service etc., etc., all this as well as the maintenance of the Royal State or pure Civil List as we conceive it to-day.
Debates And Proceedings Of William's First Parliament Relative To The Fixing Of The King's Ordinary Revenue
How then did the Convention proceed? In brief, the only constitutional hold which Parliament in February, 1688-9, thought it had over the King was to fix such an income as would not make him independent in times of peace ; for an independent King would probably prefer never to call his Parliament together. It seems clear that at the outset the obvious constitutional expedient of not voting the King's revenue for life, but only for annual periods, had not occurred to the Convention Parliament, and that for a time the House of Commons persevered in the attempt to solve the simple constitutional problem on the old Stuart lines.
The Convention Parliament met on the 22nd January, 1688-9, but it was not until the 11th March that it passed a vote authorising the bringing in of a Bill for the collection until the following 24th June of all the revenue which was legally collectable under Charles II. and James II. The intention of such a vote was not merely to legalise the position until a formal grant of revenue could be made, but also to re-assert the right of the Parliament to give such authority for collection. For at the commencement of his reign James II. had collected the Customs and Excise for a period of over three months before the Parliament had granted those revenues to him and his Parliament had proved so subservient that such (really illegal) action on his part passed quite unchallenged.
Independently of this assertion of its right to grant or to withhold the grant, the Parliament turned to the question of the revenue necessary for the ordinary expense of government. On the 26th February, 1688-9, (fn. 2) a Committee of the whole House was ordered to consider of settling a revenue on the King and Queen. The debate which took place on this day, and which ended in the vote appointing the said Committee, was one of the utmost constitutional importance. It dealt at large with the question whether the permanent revenue granted for life to James II. had lapsed with the demise of the Crown, or in other words with the departure of that monarch, or was still inherent in him or in his successor, or in the alternative whether it was constitutional for Parliament to re-enact it or to re-grant it to William III., and in this latter case whether the Convention when turned into a Parliament had the power to so re-grant.
(fn. 3)Mr. Garroway : We heard yesterday from the gentlemen of the long robe that the revenue is not ceased by the demise of the King. ... If there be a doubt upon it we must go some other way. But if you declare the revenue settled it may end all discourses.
Sir William Williams : You are told of the long robe's discourses of the revenue. If any doubt or question be upon it, clear it. The measure of the matter before you must be the revenue certain upon the Crown and you may measure by it. I take it from the Acts of the last Parliament (made in great haste), which are very doubtful to me, and I would be cleared and come speedily to a resolution if it be a good revenue for the use of the Prince. If not, declare it so.
Sir Thomas Clarges : I was with an honourable person discoursing of the revenue that I was not free to grant it for life. Learned men are of opinion that all of the revenue granted for life of the late King is to the benefit of this King jure coronae. If it be so I shall acquiesce in it.
Mr. Pollexfen : What opinion I was then of I am now and am ready to tell my reasons. If the revenue goes not with the Crown, where is it? Where the Crown is gone the revenue is gone. It always goes where the public capacity goes. I never knew the contrary. "But the revenue," it may be said, "is granted to the King for life." I would have the words of that Act read (which was read). ... Then next whither must the revenue go? Shall it go from the succesion? Then this being granted to succession it follows the Crown must have it for maintenance of the State and government of the kingdom ...
Sir William Pulteney : Under favour I think estates given to James II. are expired and determined, he having abdicated the government and thereby the throne become vacant. Whatever relates to James II. is determined ... But our case stands upon another bottom. ... 'Tis our security as well as support of the Crown to have the revenue in our disposal. Though I am not against granting it, yet I would have it from three years to three years, to secure us a Parliament ...
Serjeant Holt : ... If King James be alive the revenue continues : and who must take it? The King [William III.] takes it in his political capacity, which is not dead but remains. If King James be still alive I see no reason that the revenue is determined. ... I hope you will not say the King is dead as to the vacancy of the throne and alive as to the revenue.
Mr. Peyton Ventris : I should be 10th the King's revenue should depend upon doubt. Revenue given to the King is to his successors where the Act runs "the King shall be paid it." ...
Sir Robert Sawyer : There are three sorts of revenue, some for life, and some for successors etc. The only question is that for life and admitted in his political capacity, but with limitation for his natural life ; 'tis not so long as he shall continue King but for his natural life. 'Tis argued "that any grant to the King in his political capacity is now determined that carries a trust with it." Other gentlemen say "this is but in the nature of an ordinary conveyance." ... If it be granted to the King in his political capacity it goes with the King in present. 'Tis most plain the trust is for the public. ...
Sir John Guise : What is given to the King I conceive is not as he is King but for the support of the nation, to take care of it. If so given, then 'tis not the King going away who was to receive it. 'Tis not come to be nothing, but is fallen upon the Lords and Commons. ... Therefore I would declare it in the King.
Lord Falkland : Being settled on King James for life, you cannot do it for King William during King James's life. You have declared the throne vacant. ... If the revenue did cease when the throne was vacant, I know not how it can be revived but by Act of Parliament. ...
Sir George Treby : ... I think 'tis mighty plain that this crown is an hereditary crown. ... I have spoken of this [matter of the revenue] variously and was not determined in my thoughts till this morning, but now am of opinion it rests in the life of James II. From the opinion of the last Parliament and of this too the revenue is of inheritance of years and life. That upon which the question arises is that of the Customs and half the Excise given to the King and limited to his life ... which implies that 'twill go to his successor, notwithstanding his demise or abdication ... When the Prince of Orange was happily arrived and the Lords and Commons were summoned they advised the Prince to take the administration of affairs upon him, civil and military, and the public revenue. He put out a declaration of the great disorder in collecting the Customs and appointed officers to receive and collect the same till the 22nd of January, the time the Convention was to meet. Then you addressed him with thanks and desired him to continue the receiving the revenue, which could have no other interpretation than what revenue was then in being, and it is strange it should not be continued and [in all this there is implied] nothing of consent in Parliament. ...
Sir Thomas Clarges : I do not labour this, but I offer only that if there be any doubt you will put it past doubt.
Mr. Howe : One would have the revenue [to be] during King James's life and another during King William's. But I would make no such leases but from time to time by Parliament. I hope Westminster Hall shall never decide our purses, what we are to give ...
Mr. Godolphin : I am willing to divide with both opinions. I believe that Parliament that gave this revenue intended not to give it to King William, for there were no thoughts then of King James's abdication. If any doubt be in the House it is in your power to put it out of doubt.
Sir Jonathan Jennings : It is highly necessary to come to an end of this debate. There have been many cases put, and I hope some come up to our case. We are told "some of the revenue is for years and some for life and is in the present King as it was in King James." ...
Sir William Williams : What is given of this nature is the gift of the Commons only and the Crown is to take it as it is given. The people are the donors, the King is the donee. All agree 'tis in the Crown as a trust. Be it either way, I propose "that you will give it to the King for three years."
Sir Richard Temple : You have had a long debate and 'tis hard to know what to advise you in this case. You have heard the gentlemen of the long robe who tell you "the revenue is still in being and applicable to King William ; but you must still declare it in King William by Act of Parliament," meaning should you do it by vote alone it will not be so satisfactory. The reasons offered do not take away all doubt. 'Tis said "the revenue is granted to the late King, but with limitations, for life." I would know whether in his natural capacity or political. His political capacity ceases and you have empowered the Prince of Orange to reign. But where was it during the vacancy when one of the capacities is gone? I would have it explained. This being the case, King William will hold it upon mighty uncertainties if during the life of King James. Therefore I would have a Bill brought in to declare the revenue as you shall think fit.
Col. Birch : 'Tis very convenient that this matter be cleared. I perceive 'tis a doubt amongst learned gentlemen. I cannot think that this being given for King James's life is intended longer than his reign when he does not protect and defend you. Could it be intended if you give it King William for life if he cannot reign over us? No doubt it is a revenue which fell into [the hands of] the same power and authority that the Government fell into, which was Lords and Commons. Though King William be sufficiently indemnified by Act of Parliament etc., and though you did think fit to give the Kingship out of yourselves you will bear me witness I was one of the forwardest to part with it : and so I would do with the revenue. But our greatest misery was over giving it to King James for life and not from three years to three years, and so you might have often kissed his hands here. I do not believe that King William would have it longer. Perhaps persons would make it their interest to keep us asunder but such a grant will keep us together.
Sir George Treby : This gentleman has commended us of the long robe for our learning. But as for his reason "that he has had Kingship in him and knows King William's mind," he is too hard a match for me to deal with him. ...
Col. Birch : ... As to my knowing King William's mind, if it is his mind to have some for life then by chance it is beyond the intention of this House.
Mr. Finch : The revenue without all manner of objection is better for the nation than disputable, and that there should be a revenue necessary to support the Crown and you. The law allows no distinction of capacities in the King as his political and natural capacity. ... You will find all along the revenue collected in the name of King James, collected and administered in his name. I think that no argument to continue longer than political capacity. To give the King for the safety and protection of the kingdom in his political capacity, then you give to all the succession in political capacity. 'Tis most proper [to Parliament] to give such a revenue, and I move to give the King a revenue to support the Crown.
Mr. Somers : This case of the revenue is of great consequence and certainly 'tis manifestly a doubt. Settle it in the most solemn and perfect way. Settle it as you please.
Sir Robert Howard : As it has been moved by the learned person, let us go upon certainty. ... I cannot understand how King James abdicated the Crown and not the revenue. I deal freely with you. Tallies are [still] struck in the King's name, but [as Auditor of the Receipt] I have prepared an instrument to the contrary. If you are not in a condition to dispose of the revenue how came it into your hands to dispose of the Crown? I think both are inseparable. Suppose he that hath the Crown retire into a monastery and is incapable to govern, and a revenue is given him for life, is his not the case of a private man? He is no longer a King. 'Tis my opinion that the revenue of the Crown is from the people and the nation ; as you have disposed of the one you may dispose of the other : and so you may proceed to show how it shall be disposed of by Act of Parliament.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : ... Your vote will not make law ... It must be by Act of Parliament : and the greatest security to the Crown is not to put that question, but to bring in a Bill.
Sir Thomas Lee : If we bring in a Bill it must be a Bill to grant a revenue and it is not to begin here [in Grand Committee] but from the whole House. 'Tis most proper to put the question whether the revenue be in the King and then the House to go into a Grand Committee. I have heard the gentlemen of the long robe with great attention. But one thing sticks with me. There is a great difference betwixt what was anciently and now. Formerly the Crown subsisted by lands of its own, but now by what arises out of the subject. ...
Sir Henry Capel : I think this matter relates to money ; therefore 'tis proper to be in a Committee of the whole House.
Sir Robert Howard : The question may have inconveniences : therefore resolve the House into a Grand Committee.
Hereupon this illuminating debate concluded with a Resolution that on the following day the House would resolve itself into a Grand Committee to take into consideration the King's revenue.
The technical nature of this conclusion may possibly hide the essential importance of the decision arrived at. By not putting the question the House had in effect swept away all the legal subtleties of the gentlemen of the long robe and had determined to originate a fresh grant of the revenue to William III., just as if he had succeeded to the Crown upon the decease of a predecessor. The procedure of resolving itself into Grand Committee was the then normal procedure for the origination of a Bill of supply or of grant.
Accordingly on the following day, February 27th, 1688-9, the House commenced the general debate on the King's revenue. This debate is, if anything, by reason of its disorder, of even greater constitutional significance than that of the preceding day. The sharpest division of opinion arose on the question of the term of the grant, whether it should be limited to three years or not. In consequence of the absence of ministerial guidance or management, and also of the absence of accounts or estimates, the debate proved inconclusive and wandered off not unnaturally but quite illogically into the side alley of the charges on the revenue and in particular of the Bankers' debt.
(fn. 4)Sir Thomas Clarges : I do not well comprehend Sir Robert Cotton, who desires that the revenue may be a million. ... I think we ought to be cautious of the revenue. ... If you give this revenue for three years you will be secure of a Parliament. ... I move that the revenue may be settled for three years.
Sir Robert Sawyer : I believe Sir Robert Howard [the Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer] can give you an account of the yearly value of the revenue.
Sir Thomas Clarges : When you have overcome this I would have it determined whether the temporary part of the Excise and the Customs are in being before you proceed to any farther matters.
Mr. Lowe : I find there will be occasion of discourses what the revenue is. Therefore I move that Howard may give you the revenue. When all is before you, you may consent to such a revenue as may make the King great to all the world.
Sir John Lowther : ... I doubt not but the King will call Parliaments often. If I had thought him a man of that temper as not to call Parliaments I should never have ventured my life and fortune for him.
Sir Edward Seymour : ... What you settle on the Crown I would have so well done as to support the Crown and not carry it to excess. We may date our misery from our bounty here ... If we settle the revenue I would enquire into it. If you know not the value of what is given you cannot do it effectually. ... Before you make any settled resolutions enquire into it ; and, if possible, that the whole revenue granted may be at one time certain, and not a part temporary. To enquire into the revenue is the best method.
Sir Francis Drake : ... I would give the Prince the best acknowledgment we can, but not to prejudice the people. ... 'Tis proposed "that you calculate what is necessary to support the honour and dignity of the Crown." I believe you will have an account given in a short time. I would appoint to-morrow for it.
Sir Robert Howard : I wish I could give the House satisfaction concerning the revenue now. ... Be careful of excess, but coldness now will have more fatal effects. ... The question now is whether you will grant the revenue for life or years. I have heard the argument for granting it only for three years. ... When a Popish King has received such testimony of kindness from the Parliament as to have the revenue for life, if a Prince [who has] come in to save your religion and laws should not have the same confidence it will be thought a great coldness. ... Perhaps arguments of so short a term as three years may give encouragement to your enemies when 'tis said that all must depend on the condition of the revenue. You yourselves when you shall see the condition of the revenue may more easily settle your thoughts what you will do [i.e. whether] for three years or longer.
Mr. Eyre : I move that the debts of the Crown may be brought in with the charges upon the revenue.
Sir Robert Clayton : I am afraid that will not do your business. I apprehend that there may be legal charges on the revenue, as the Bankers' debt and other legal charges : and if the Courts of Justice do well they will recover it on the King.
Mr. Garroway : The Bankers' debt is named. I believe it is [charged] upon that part of the Excise which legally ought not to be charged. There are solicitors at the door in this business already.
Sir Thomas Clarges : Since the Bankers' debt is named, when you come to look into the revenue you will see whether the Bankers' debt be legally due and [one] which ought to be paid. The case will be whether the Crown has power to sell all the revenue not settled by Parliament. ...
Sir Henry Capel : For fear of the Bankers' [debt] I would not neglect the security of the kingdom, but if it be charged upon a branch of the revenue which it ought not to be, it is no debt.
Sir Robert Howard : I had the honour to be one of the members appointed to examine Coleman, who said "that a considerable sum was to be given to secure the Bankers' debt." ...
Sir Thomas Lee : I know not how this debate of the Bankers comes regularly before you. ...
Mr. Boscawen : The Bankers agreed with Coleman for such a sum of money. ... I would have it brought in. If legal, it may be thought of ; if illegal, made void.
Mr. Pollexfen : I am of the mind of the gentleman, to give the King that which may not deceive him, and, in him, ourselves. I would have the whole debt and charge [of the country] brought in.
Mr. Sacheverell : I have known this of the Bankers formerly. If you look upon it as a debt from the beginning and examine the accounts it may probably last you till Midsummer.
Mr. Garroway : When the King that now is was here as Prince of Orange I walked with him, and discoursing of the Bankers I told him they might have had all their debt paid would they have discounted at 7 per cent.
The debate ended in two formal resolutions (fn. 5) : (1) That Sir Robert Howard, Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer, be directed to bring in the yearly value of the several branches of the revenue. (2) That the debate in Grand Committee should be resumed on the following day to consider further of settling a revenue for the King and Queen. The debate on the following day, February 28th, however, was apparently confined to the question of an Aid, viz. the Six Months' Assessment, and it was not until the 1st March that Sir Robert brought in his abstract of the revenue. This abstract was as follows (fn. 6) :
No debate was held upon these figures at all and for nearly a fortnight the subject lay neglected, but on the 8th March William made a speech to both Houses emphasising the necessity of settling the revenue. (fn. 7) "I must also recommend the consideration of the revenue to you, that it may be so settled as that it may be collected without dispute." The result of this appeal was that on the 11th March the House resumed the discussion in Grand Committee. As before, the order and logic of the debate suffered from want of ministerial management and for want of proper accounts and estimates. (fn. 8)
Sir John Guise : There are three points touched upon in the King's speech relating to money. ... The third is the revenue, of which I would have all the branches before you, that you may consider whether it shall be settled for life or years.
Mr. Papillon : The consideration of Ireland, the fleet and Holland all depend upon the revenue, of which some is for life, some for a term of years. Some the other day thought all the revenue was vested in the King ; others did doubt it ; therefore we ought to put it beyond doubt. Therefore I move for an Act to give and grant the revenue to the King, that it may be collected without dispute, and an indemnity for the collecting it since the vacancy : and if the state of the revenue be ready I would have it delivered in by Sir Robert Howard.
Sir Thomas Clarges : I would have the redundancy of the Crown revenue, after the Government is supplied, applied to the uses desired in the King's speech. I mean, take the Customs to be 600,000l. one year with another. The Excise is a revenue by itself. See to have also the Addition upon linen, brandy and silk and 400,000l. taken up [on loan] upon them ; and little to be depended on them. The Hereditary revenue. The end of my proposition is whether the Committee will take the revenue as given in or as I have reported it. I humbly propose whether you will grant it for life or for years. I leave it to you.
Mr. Garroway : The paper I have come by agrees with Clarges' account : but I think you are not ripe to come to that question [until you have decided] whether the revenue be standing or not ; whether the charges for particular persons' uses, upon the revenue, shall continue. Begin upon a fair clean paper, these charges whether they shall be continued or taken away.
Mr. Sacheverell : I take it the revenue ceases : 'tis rasa tabula and I would have a short Bill to declare it so. Then you may declare such a part hereditary. But I shall be against a great revenue, as [great that is as] in former time. If all may begin anew I am ready to agree.
Sir Robert Cotton : If you declare all the revenue fallen with King James, consider that all the revenue has been wrongfully collected since he abdicated.
Sir Thomas Lee : I hope you may have a shorter way. I remember, when the debate was the other day, some were of opinion that the revenue discontinued ; the Hereditary revenue was in another condition. But the House avoided that question and referred it to a Committee. The Hereditary part of the Excise is not above 300,000l. per an., granting it to be in the King and his successors from such a day, from the time you have declared the abdication.
Col. Birch : I think the Parliament was very prudent in the year 1661. The case was then directly as it is now. The revenue was supposed to cease and many [merchants, importers etc.] in London and elsewhere hesitated the payment. You will not find it in your journal but in another place, and they declared that it should be collected as legally as it was for about six weeks, by reason that in the meantime they might settle it as now it is. Pass therefore a Question that the revenue be collected as legally it might have been etc. till further consideration be had of it. In short, the country do generally hesitate and keep all in their hands except 15d. the barrel [Excise]. Therefore first put the Question [so] that the money may come in to the respective Offices ; and I would now order a Bill accordingly.
Mr. Garroway : I think you are not yet come so far. You say it shall be collected, but you do not say to what end. Will you be tied up by such a vote before you determine whether it be a standing revenue or an Aid. We know the burden of it if you had in Charles I.'s, Charles II.'s or James II.'s time declared it so. You will have a hard task to alter it, without declaring it now, to alter it hereafter. Declare it one part as [standing] revenue, the other as an aid and supply, otherwise I shall be against the Question.
Mr. Pollexfen : From doubting one part of the [King's standing] revenue or another we may come to think there is no [King's standing] revenue at all, and now settle it by Bill. You have brought in question the collecting of the revenue and given indemnity to those that gathered it and in the meantime you give the revenue to nobody. This is so great a loss of time that it is not serviceable to you nor the present occasion of the nation, nor for the reputation of your affairs abroad. I thought it was taken for granted that it was a revenue in the Crown etc., and when you have done three months hence you will be in the same doubts. You will have as much to do in this as to determine whether it shall be for life or years. To talk of assisting the King with your lives and fortunes and not to enable the King! To give him power to take the revenue and now to declare it is no revenue! Settle it one way or other without anything of gathering it for three months upon uncertainty. This will lead you into such a course that you will not know the end of it.
Sir Thomas Lee : I think this does not lose your time if you will settle the revenue. You saw, since Pollexfen declared his opinion, the people have been still more in doubt. The motion is made for all the revenue in the lump and this may be passed in two or three days. Then you will consider ships, the King's family, ambassadors, judges, the Army and a part for the King's necessary support. Then you will find what may be spared for the public and how to supply it : till this be considered what in time of peace is requisite and what in war, if three months be too little make it six. When the State [or expense] of War is known you will know how near this [revenue] will go to the payment.
Sir John Lowther : I will speak plainly what every man's heart is full of. The King has expressed himself in all kindness. He has trusted you with all he had in the world and given into your hands a considerable part [Hearthmoney] of the revenue ; and if you have the same jealousy of him after all he has done and may do this will gratify the Jesuits and France more than 200,000l. distributed and well given in the House of Commons to bring about their [French] interest.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : Since you have not taken notice, Mr. Hampden, of what has been said to the orders of the Committee, I do take notice of it.
Sir John Lowther : What I said of money I meant to particular persons. There have been people who have received [French] money ...
Sir Thomas Clarges : I am sorry that at this time when all manner of duty has been expressed to the King from this House there should be reflection of "200,000l. well given here." I remember [that] persons and former Parliaments had places [of office] and were to receive the money they gave, therefore were freer to give money than others. ... I cannot make the revenue be for longer time than has been proposed. Is it not fit that you should have three months to turn you in, that abuses may not be [meanwhile] in the collection of the revenue? Therefore it is fit that for this temporary Bill you give it [the revenue and collecting of it] for three months or as long as you please.
Sir William Williams : ... We are not now a Parliament of officers [office holders]. We represent now all the people, the wise and the weak. ...
Sir John Lowther : I was mistaken [misunderstood] in not giving the revenue for three months but only [so long] for collecting what revenue King James had ; and that question you have had ready for you. A safe, wise and a sudden resolve. The King did distinguish between the collection of the revenue and the settlement [of it]. I would declare it [collectable] for three months.
Sir Richard Temple : I would have all arguments forborne of distrust between the King and us. I am very far from desiring the short [three months collection] Bill to be brought in for [any idea of] delay of settlement of the revenue. Can it be imagined that Bills should be brought in for all the revenue on a sudden? I would make no distinction in the Bill of what is continued and what not. Not by way of grant.
Sir Robert Howard : I speak not for the poor or the rich, the weak or the strong of the House. I have an office, but in some offices I would not have been employed (reflecting upon Williams). By the way, I would show by a motion to continue the Grand Committee and to proceed on the settlement of the revenue ; though for the present we proceed only on the temporary [collection] Bill.
Mr. Boscawen : According to course of Parliament, if you grant the King an Aid and he accept it, the answer is grandmerciey ses bons sujets etc. If this be no grant, what answer shall the King give to this Bill? If as a grant of subsidy, the King thanks for it. There is not so much danger in the fault of collecting it [in the interim without authority] as in going this way. I am of opinion rather of a vote of the Lords and Commons to strengthen it for the present. I shall agree to it, but it is an ill expedient and you will be in this box and not know how to get out of it.
Mr. Eyre : If this be determined you arrive not at your end. I see, in this matter of the revenue, we go on very heavily. In a matter of this moment to support the honour of the King, whatever you do in this Bill, if it goes as is proposed, you do less than nothing, to the joy of your enemies and sorrow of your friends. Therefore I propose a vote that you grant a revenue for life of 1,200,000l. per an. made of such items as in the particular etc. A great revenue has been a great grievance, but it was by no other method than we had put in their [the late King's] hands. Such a revenue will be an evidence of affection to the King and will support the necessary charge of the kingdom. And while this is the standard it can have no oppression, and less than this proposed cannot be thought of. It will be in a Protestant hand and you cannot doubt but the spareable part will be treasured up for the good of the subject.
Sir Thomas Littleton : It has been well moved a great while since, and I wonder at no conclusion upon it. To settle [the collection of] if for three months is the most acceptable and expeditious thing you can do. The King does not expect that you should settle the revenue immediately without great caution and consideration. Therefore that the King may be in no inconvenience settle [the collection of] it for three months, which will be so far from a distrust that it is kindly and gratefully done by the people and the King will take it well from you.
Mr. Finch : You give the King double the revenue if you do it for three months. You give him the revenue and the hearts of the people. This you will do in two days, and perhaps the other way not in two months.
Mr. Pollexfen : If you say "I will not give the King this revenue, but those that pay it shall not be under all the penalties as if it was given," this will raise all the jealousy and shame upon us imaginable abroad.
Sir Henry Capel : 'Tis not the intention of any man here to give the King the revenue for three months, and Pollexfen mistakes the thing. We are beholden to those gentlemen who put us in this method at first. The Book of Rates, the Act for the Excise we do not yet know. There are complaints of the ill administration of them ; now is the time to correct it. I speak it to the honour of the gentleman that made the motion, that you will have no delay in the thing. Then you will see the whole establishment and the expenses and what to give for an established revenue. Tis not a time to name the revenue now : 'tis the doubt of some persons whether the revenue is or is not sunk [by the abdication] : but continue the revenue entire for three months for support of the Crown and all will agree to it.
Sir John Holt : For time to consider the revenue I do not oppose it ; but as to the Hereditary part of the revenue if that be determined [by the abdication] there will be no need of such a [three months' collection] Act. Some are of opinion that it is determined, but I have not heard one reason for it. If the King accepts this the Question is determined ; and it is in being ; the revenue was given to the Crown of England and annexed to the office of King William and Queen Mary ; it continues and stands in no need of a temporary Act of Parliament.
Mr. Wogan : It would be strange if the [Hereditary Excise] revenue granted to the Crown [in 1660] upon a valuable consideration instead of the Court of Wards should determine with the late King James. Was it granted on any other consideration?
Sir Thomas Lee : I am indifferent whether you put it on the Hereditary or Temporary Revenue. If you had gone according to the opinion of the learned gentlemen you had made no Act but let them go on to collect the revenue. The Hereditary revenue is so little that I believe the House will supply it. The reason why it is asserted is that part must go with the Crown of England. But when the King must alien this to the Bankers this must make such men as me scruple the matter.
Sir William Williams : 'Tis not the opinion of five or six men of the robe that will guide, but what the law is.
The debate ended in a Resolution passed this day by the House on report from the Grand Committee "that this House doth agree with the Committee and accordingly doth order that leave be given to bring in a Bill that all those branches of the revenue which were due and payable by law in the reigns of Charles II. and James II. be collected to the use and service of the Crown until the 24th day of June, 1689, as by law they might have been during either of those reigns : with a clause to indemnify all such as have collected any part of the aforesaid branches since the 5th day of December, 1688, and before the 13th day of February then next ensuing." (fn. 9)
It is only necessary to add that the Bill was read a first time on the 18th April and received the royal assent on the ist May as an 'Act for preventing doubts and questions concerning the collecting the Public Revenue.'
For over a week the subject of the King's fixed peace revenue was not reverted to : save incidentally in connection with the question of repaying the Dutch for the expenses of William's expedition. But on the 19th March the debate in Grand Committee was renewed. For that day's discussion we unfortunately lack the illuminating guidance of Grey's Debates, but it ended in a resolution (fn. 10) directing Sir Robert Howard to bring in "such accompts and estimates as upon the debate [just had] he shall think necessary for the service of the House in considering the revenue and the constant necessary charge of supporting the Crown : and further directing Col. Birch [the Auditor of the Excise] to similarly bring in an account of the Excise according to his books."
As Auditor of the Receipt of the Exchequer Howard was the only person who could supply the exact figures of income and expenditure. Officially he was a civil servant merely ; as a member of the House he was a private member merely : in neither the one capacity nor the other was he a Minister in the modern sense, but this was only because the conception of a Ministry had not yet emerged. On the following day, the 20th March, he laid before the House an abstract of the expenditure under James II., with further notes on the charges or anticipations on the Customs and Excise and the debts on the Army and Navy and the arrears on the Bankers' debt.
The figures as set out on pp. 37-38, 54-55 of Vol. X. of the Commons Journals require correction and expansion from the material printed in the preceding volume of the present Calendar (Calendar of Treasury Books, Vol. VIII, Introduction, pp. xxvi.-xxx.). According to Sir Robert Howard's figures (which the Parliament accepted without question), James II.'s revenue, his "own," had averaged 1,916,437l. 10s. 3d. per an. throughout his reign, and his expenditure had averaged 1,699,363l. 2s. 9d. In the above connection I have shown that the last quoted figure of expenditure is quite inadequate and that the mere payments out of the Exchequer (therefore not counting assignations, nor fixed charges on the revenue, nor the ascertained arrears due to the Departments or Services, nor the growing and unascertained debt of the respective Departments or Services) exceeded 1,900,000l. per an. on an average for the whole of the reign.
But even taking the accounts as submitted to the House and recognising fully that the Commons could not go behind such figures or canvass them, it is significant of the whole constitutional theory of the time that it straightaway resolved to settle on the King for his reign a standing revenue much below what those figures indicated as necessary. The resolutions which the House passed on the 20th March, 1688-9, (fn. 11) were as follows :
Mr. Hambden reports from the Committee of the whole House that the Committee had taken into their consideration the revenue and the constant necessary charge of supporting the Crown and the State of Ireland.
Resolved nemine contradicente that the House do agree with the Committee that there be a revenue of 1,200,000l. settled upon their Majesties for the constant necessary charge of supporting the Crown in time of peace.
Resolved that a Committee be appointed to consider and report to the House what sum may be necessary to allow by the year for the charge of a summer and winter's Guard at sea and Guards and Garrisons by land and Office of Ordnance in time of peace out of the 1,200,000l. per an.
It need hardly be pointed out that the figure here fixed was the same which the Restoration Parliament had fixed for Charles II.'s "own" or fixed revenue and that in following such a course the Convention Parliament was deliberately ignoring the natural expansion which thirty years of growth had brought about in both the taxable capacity of the country and the national expenditure.
The account in Grey's Debates, Vol. IX., pp. 176-80, of this day's speeches which ended in the resolutions just quoted is as follows :
In A Grand Committee On The Revenue.
March 20th, 1688-9.
Sir William Williams : I take the revenue to be 1,580,000l. ; out of this certainly I deduct the Hearthmoney, 200,000l. Your immediate charge then is the constant charge of the Crown. If you give the Crown too little, you may add at any time ; if once you give too much, you will never have it back again. Therefore I would declare the constant charge of the Crown.
Mr. Sachevrell : I agree that it is necessary to consider the constant charge of the Crown in time of peace. By the charge of the Navy and Army in King James's time we cannot make computation, nor from the calculation made from King Charles's, when the expense was extravagant. Rather then compute the moderate charge in King Charles's time. I would know whether, in the years 1673-74-75-76, the Customs did not arise to as much as in all the severe way of management. It is necessary that you agree what the common expense of the Government is, under heads, as it was drawn up in the time of Sir William Coventry ; the pensions were never heard of until Mr. Guy's time. Expenses are much lessened and the revenue advanced. Bating the Navy and the Army, I would see if the constant charge is not above 400,000l. per an.As if 600,000l. for an Army for ever.To find all the Navy out of repair, and cost as much as when in service, I cannot agree. Because the Army and Navy cannot but be maintained, therefore I am of opinion that the Navy and Army are not to be considered in the constant charge. I doubt not but we shall give what is necessary, but I would consider the Navy and Army as an extraordinary charge.
Mr. Guy : I hear my name mentioned upon the head of great sums, though under the denomination of secret service. The reason was to ease the charge of the Great Seal. But, be it what it will, I am ready to give account, to a penny, of what I received.
Mr. Garroway : I am ready to serve you to come to an end. I agree not to the medium, but if you will come to make a revenue for the King we cannot say the revenue will stand to 1,000l. or 10,000l., there being several variations of the Customs in several years. We are now providing for a war, and something of the revenue may be applicable to it. I except not against the accounts of the several particulars of the small branches of the revenue, but I hope the King will contribute to the war as well as we ; it is for his safety. Shall we be worse husbands now than in the late King's reigns, in all the extravagances of expenses? Compute the necessary charge of the Crown, and let the remainder be applied to the charge of the war.
Col. Birch : I would refer all the charge of the Government, and that of the Household, to the Privy Council, except that of the Navy : [as for] the [Royal] Family that expense rises and falls upon occasion. This being. presented to the House you will immediately see the charge, else you will be long in your resolutions.
Mr. Harbord : Here have been several motions. You may be sure that the money you give will not be spent in debauchery and lewdness, but employed as you would have it. Either to make particular provision etc., or in gross I am indifferent. In another thing you must give the King your helping hand, or else you do nothing. There is a farm given out of the Customs to the Duchess of Portsmouth's children, which is the farmage of coals, and that is in Papists' hands.
Sir Henry Capel : You are pretty near a question. The [Civil] establishment of the Government is agreed on all hands. There remains nothing but provision for the Ordnance, Army and Fleet, though in peace you'll allow for a summer Guard and in winter for the safety of trade. The Plantations, Indies (and they had more men of war there than we here), these are to be considered in time of peace as part of the Government in peace. I do not understand that what is established for the Fleet and Ordnance is for the sum total of the extraordinary charge. The question is only now of having an account brought you. You will have no head of it of secret service to trouble you. There must be an establishment for the Queen, and Princess Anne, who has deserved very well of the nation.
Sir Thomas Clarges : What charge is for the Fleet in time of peace must go into that in time of war. There is a charge of the Ordnance of 80,000l. per an. for yachts and ketches etc. The fairest way will be to agree a certain sum for the revenue, and not meddle with the distribution of it, and to refer it to the King, who, if it be too little, will inform you by his Ministers, if it be wanting, and you may supply it.
Sir Thomas Lee : I know not how the condition of the war may leave you. I love not to please myself with the names of a Navy and Army.But not so properly till we see how things stand abroad, how alliances are concluded. But I think the debate leads you to consider of Ireland, and to support the charge of this year's war, and to know what of the revenue will do. What the constancy of the revenue must be, men are tender, but will be willing to supply the present emergency.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : Tis absolutely necessary, when you consider the revenue, that you consider the summer and winter Guard, and likewise the Ordnance and Garrisons, and all these must be in your eye. As for the expenses of the Civil Government, you have as much before you as is desired. You must likewise consider the Queen, and the Princess of Denmark, and when that is done I would not be pinching to support the Government at ease. I know we are under great necessities for raising money : and for the charge of the Ordnance I can do it to a farthing. I believe England can never be without some standing Force. I deal plainly with you.
Mr. Sacheverell : I would gladly settle the revenue, but I would know, when you have voted the sum for the revenue, how you can deduct anything. Therefore I would have had particulars.
Col. Birch : I never was so puzzled in a question in my life as in this. We are establishing a revenue as in time of peace ; pray God we may see it. I understand the debate to be this : they that know the revenue [are] to bring in what particulars there are for the Government. I really would vote 1,200,000l. and I would have the world know that the King has such a revenue ; and the Privy Council will tell you what is for the Civil Government, else it is in effect to settle a revenue of 400,000l. per an. only.
Writing of the above incident after an interval of more than 15 years, Burnet's memory blurred the strict sequence of events, but the general outline of the situation which his words convey is essentially true :
"The next care was a revenue for the support of the Government. By a long course and the practice of some ages the Customs had been granted to our Kings for life. So the King [William] expected that the like regard should be shown for him. But men's minds were much divided in that matter, Some Whigs who by a long opposition and jealousy of the Government had wrought themselves into such republican principles that they could not easily come off from them, set it up as a maxim not to grant any revenue, but from year to year or at most for a short term of years. This they thought would render the Crown precarious and oblige our Kings to such a popular method of government as should merit the constant renewal of that grant. And they hoped that so uncertain a tenure might more easily bring about an entire change of Government. For by the denying the revenue at any time (except upon intolerable conditions) they thought that might be easily effected, since it would render our Kings so feeble that they would not be able to maintain their authority. The Tories observing this made great use of it to beget in the King jealousies of his friends with too much colour and too great success. They resolved to reconcile themselves to the King by granting it, but at present only to look on till the Whigs, who now carried everything to which they set their full strength, should have refused it. (Burnet, Vol. IV, p. 23.)
Burnet reinforces these words in a passage which though later in his narrative appears to me to belong to this period of about March, 1689. The King, he says, "expressed an earnest desire to have ... the revenue of the Crown settled on him for life. He said he was not a King till that was done, without that the title of a King was but a pageant. And he spoke of this with more than ordinary vehemence, so that sometimes he said he would not stay and hold an empty name unless that was done. He said once to myself he understood the good of a commonwealth as well as of a Kingly Government, and it was not easy to determine which was best ; but he was sure the worst of all Governments was that of a King without treasure and without power. But a jealousy was now infused into many that he would grow arbitrary in his government if he once had the revenue and would strain for a high pitch of prerogative as soon as he was out of difficulties and necessities." (Burnet, Vol. IV, pp. 60-1.)
Having fixed a maximum limit of 1,200,000l. for the King's own or for the ordinary revenue of the country, the Commons proceeded to stultify themselves when, in pursuance of their vote of March 20th, supra, p. xxxix, they turned to the ordinary expenditure. Besides the Civil services (including the Civil List as we now understand it and ambassadorial service, secret service and pensions), there were the three fighting services, Navy, Army and Ordnance. The peace footing of the Navy covered what was styled the ordinary of the Navy (the cost of the Navy in port and home nucleus of organisation) and the summer and winter Guard at sea. The Army included the Guards and a fixed number of tiny garrisons and blockhouse forts scattered round the coast.
The Committee which the House had ordered to consider of the charge of these three fighting services in times of peace reported on the 5th of April, 1689, that 48 men of war, fire ships, yachts and ketches, with 7,040 men, are necessary for a summer and winter Guard at sea in time of peace, the Guard covering not merely the narrow seas, but also the Plantations and Iceland, but not including the Mediterranean. The Committee estimated this charge of such a force as follows (fn. 12) :
|Charge of the ships and men||366,080|
|Ordinary of the Navy (a fixed and necessary charge)||130,000|
|Total Navy and peace estimate||496,080|
Without setting out the details, the Committee fixed the annual peace charge of the Guards and Garrisons at 200,000l. and that of the Office of Ordnance at 22,600l. All the items of this estimate were formally agreed to and adopted by the House on the same day. The fighting services thus made up a total of 718,680l.
After an interval of 20 days, the House returned to the subject and voted unanimously 600,000l. as the limit of the charge of the Civil Government of the country, including therein besides the items already specified the allowances to the Queen Regnant, the Queen Dowager, the Prince and Princess of Denmark and Marshall Schomberg (25th April). (fn. 13)
The total peace expenditure therefore by the Commons' own decision was 1,318,680l. out of a revenue of only 1,200,000l., and this was after cutting down the Guards and Garrisons to an impossible minimum.
Having reached this illogical position, the House realised the necessity of overhauling the whole question of the public fixed or peace revenue. It took up systematically the consideration of the papers of accounts submitted by Sir Robert Howard, the Auditor of the Receipt. These accounts, containing lists of perpetuities and pensions payable at the Exchequer and out of the Customs, Excise, Post Office and smaller branches, as well as an account of the petty farms and an account of the public debts, were by order entered in full in the Journals. They showed in brief that side of the unavoidable peace expenditure of the State for which the votes of the House had as yet made no provision at all :
On the showing of these figures alone, there is therefore at least 400,000l. a year to be added to the Parliament's figure of 1,318,680l., thus making 1,718,680l. per an., all of which would fall to be provided out of the voted figure of 1,200,000l. per an. of the "King's" revenue or "public" revenue.
In addition to this manifest inadequacy of the King's revenue, it must be borne in mind that the figure of 300,000l. for the arrear to the Army and Navy was in itself inadequate and that the other debt figures standing out on practically, every Department are not included at all.
For the moment the House contented itself with specifically voting only a few of these expenditure items (27th April, 1689, Commons' Journals, Vol. X., pp. 105-6) :
(1) Resolved that the perpetuities amounting to 1,431l. 12s. od. per an. as follows are part of the charges of Civil Government :
(2) Resolved that 18,209l. 15s, 4d. per an. to the Queen Dowager be part of the charges of the Civil Government.
(3) Resolved that 13,800l. per an. for the Judges, Masters in Chancery and Judges of Wales are part of the charges of the Civil Government.
(4) That the perpetuities on the Customs (except the 100l. per an. to Col. Fairfax), amounting to 338l. per an., as follows, be part of the charges of the Civil Government.
(5) That the provision for the Prince and Princess of Denmark be part of the charge of the Civil Government.
This last vote I will deal with separately as it became a matter of hot political intrigue and led to the embittered quarrel between Queen Mary and her sister Anne which lasted till Queen Mary's death.
On the same day on which the House passed the above five Resolutions it ordered that Sir Robert Howard's papers of account submitted by him to the Committee should be entered in the Journals. They are accordingly so printed on pp. 106-109 of the Commons Journals, Vol. X. In brief, they show, what is verifiable from every page of the present Calendar, that the perpetuities and pensions and fixed yearly sums payable out of the Exchequer amounted to 159,562l. 1s. 1d. per an. ; the perpetuities payable out of the Customs amounted to 438l. ; the pensions payable not at the Exchequer but out of branches of the revenue before such revenues came into the Exchequer amounted to 53,270l. 5s. od. per an., to which ought certainly to be added the 79,569l. 14s. 2d. per an. for interest of the Bankers' debt, making a grand total for annuities, perpetuities and pensions of 292,870l. os. 3d. This is, of course, quite irrespective of Civil service salaries and ambassadorial salaries, and it does not include the fluctuating totals paid yearly for gifts of grace or royal bounty, secret service and extraordinary rewards. During the reign of James II. these latter items had in the whole averaged roughly 150,000l. a year. This figure with at least another 140,000l. per an. for interest payable on departmental debts or arrears would make the total annual dead weight or unproductive part of the national expenditure 580,000l. to 600,000l., which was practically one half of the total fixed revenue which the House of Commons was contemplating as sufficient and proper to maintain the whole of the annual national, State and Household services.
Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that in such an attempt as the House of Commons was making or intending or pretending to make in such a disjointed fashion the Commons were only dealing with the barest essentials and that many services and forms of expenditure which later came to be regarded as customary or obligatory were not provided for or even considered. This was the case for instance with the question of the care of sick and wounded. When on the 21st May, 1689, Admiral Arthur Herbert received the thanks of the House for his indecisive handling of the rencontre with de Chateau-Renault's fleet, he had the audacity to put the House in mind of the support of such as are maimed in the service and defence of their country. "There is no sufficient provision made at present," said the admiral, "in this kingdom, and indeed it is too great a charge for the Crown." The Commons thereupon passed a Resolution, "That the House will take care to make a provision for such seamen as are or shall be wounded in their Majesties' service and for the wives and children of such as are or shall be slain therein." (Commons Journals, Vol. X, p. 142.)
Nothing definite came of this Resolution, in spite of the elaborate report of the following July 15th on the subject (Commons Journals, Vol. X, p. 218), and it will be found from the pages of this Calendar that throughout William's reign the only grants for widows of men slain in the service were made by the King on his own initiative and were paid out of his own fixed revenue, or in other words out of his own pocket. As a Civil administrator as well as an admiral, Herbert knew full well that the phrase which he used, "a charge for the Crown," meant in simplest language a charge falling on the King's "own." The equivalent proposition to-day would be that the King's Privy Purse Grant should bear the cost of Chelsea and Greenwich Hospitals.
This item is merely typical of others, and I employ the instance only to illustrate the general constitutional position or conceptions of the time.
For two months, from April 27th to late in June, the subject of the King's revenue was not referred to in the House. Doubtless the multiplicity of business which the Commons attempted to consider had the effect of distracting and confusing its counsels, but there can be little doubt that under the stress of the mere logic of figures and accounts they were becoming more sensible and conscious of the impossibility of adhering to their original limit of 1,200,000l. for the cost of the Civil Government of the country and that in their perplexity they preferred to shelve the whole subject.
That the delay in settling his revenue (the Civil revenue) caused William deep annoyance and distress is apparent from the fragmentary notes of his conversations with the Marquess of Halifax :
(On the occasion of the votes of April 27th, the King's remarks are condensed as follows.)
"About the Bill of Revenue two things proposed, first, to pass it as it is, leaving a fund of 50,000l. a year for pensions to be considered by the next Parliament : the second, not to consider it at all, but to leave it to be completed by the next Parliament, and now only by message press the payment of the Dutch money."
[The King] did not seem disposed to pay the Queen Dowager's debts, notwithstanding what he had said about it.
Complained of his Privy Counsellors in the House of Commons, not without reason : could not get them to move for the Dutch money.