Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 9, 1689-1692. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1931.
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Introduction, Part 2
On the 22nd June leave was given by the House for the introduction of a Bill to settle their Majesties' revenue, but nothing further had been done thereon when on the 28th June he called both Houses before him and made a speech in which he plainly hinted his dissatisfaction and threatened to send the Members home for a recess : "I must remind you of making an effectual and timely provision of the money for the States of Holland, and I doubt not but you will take care to see a fitting revenue settled for myself. I will add no more but to recommend earnestly to you to avoid all occasions of dispute or delay."
The debate which followed in the Commons, upon this Speech from the King, is thus summarised in "Grey's Debates," Vol. IX, pp. 376-8 :
1689, June 28th.
Sir Robert Howard : The King is pleased to leave the matter to us ; and, in the first place, let us return thanks to the King etc., and go into a Committee to consider the Speech, paragraph by paragraph.
Sir Thomas Clarges : We cannot be able before the recess to make a judgement of the arrears of the money.
Col. Birch : We all desire a recess, and to me seem to do a quite contrary thing. The Bill of Oblivion has held us a month, and, for ought I know, we may sit till Michaelmas, and not do it. This is a fine thing to keep you from all business. I would despatch all Bills relating to money, and when you have the account you will be satisfied in a day or two. Tis true some things are contingent in the Poll money. I remind you that money stands voted in the House for the Dutch. Their ships came heartily to our assistance, therefore take the King's Speech into consideration on Monday.
Sir John Thompson. Let us do our country justice and the Dutch justice. They came for their own preservation as well as ours, against the great preparation of the French King.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : The Dutch have no great war upon their hands now, but we know who has. We have the French and Ireland. We shall comply amply with the King, if we go upon what is before us, and to-morrow we may go upon the Excise. If we go on upon the accounts, we shall have no hopes of a recess; therefore go to-morrow upon the Excise.
Mr. Howe : I am willing to go as soon as possible upon money. I am sensible of the service the Dutch have done. Many an honourable gentleman has done you great service, and yet brings you no bills of account for it. I hope the King will give us satisfaction in the Irish affairs and save you the labour of particular accounts. If the Dutch can fit out more ships than they have already, they may do it in money. Upon the whole, I am ready to give money when it is requisite ; but you may see the accounts mentioned.
Sir Thomas Clarges : In our aids to the King we have not limited one thing nor another. We hoped that 200,000l. had been paid off of what we had granted to the Dutch, and the rest supplied. I cannot see how more money can be expended before we meet again, and in February next is the last payment of the subsidy, and we may consider betwixt this and then. Here in the Poll money and the revenue altogether are three millions betwixt this and February. There is no absolute need of falling upon the revenue to settle it. Till the Book of Rates be perfected we cannot settle the revenue. Here is the Excise, and I know not how to put the wheels faster upon a run than they are before the recess, to make a judgment of the arrears of the money; by winter we shall have time to make recompence for what falls short. Till then we cannot compute what that will be. The Poll is contingent with the other taxes ; till then we are not able to give the King any answer, and then we may make up what is deficient.
Mr. Howe : I think there is other business upon our hands, as well as the indemnity. We are not yet off from Lord Danby's breach of privilege. I would neither frighten the messenger nor anybody else in the King's service, but if you will pass this over I will say no more.
William III.'s remarks to Halifax a few days later are abbreviated as follows :
"Speaking about the Parliament and [Halifax] persuading him to let it sit, hee said hee was so weary of them he could not bear them. There must be a recess. I argued against it, but could not alter his opinion in it. Note : Hee was cruelly galled with their proceedings." (July 10th.)
"Hee spoke of having a Committee of Parliament in the interval to consider and report what pensions were fit to be payed : but upon discourse hee went off from it. Note: Such Committees are nice [ticklish or dangerous] things to be trusted by the Government." (July 22nd.)
"Hee said hee saw the designe in the managing the business of his revenue in the House.
"That they would not have it [to be granted] for the Queen's life, but hee would have it for both. Said that the Presbyterians now delayed it for some dayes that they might have the honour of [being the arrangers and authors of] it themselves.
"Note: About this time there seemed to be the first turn in the King's mind about the Dissenters. Said hee would stay a week and if they did nothing in the Revenue hee would send them away." (July 28th.)
"Hee said there was but one reason to make him accept the revenue upon the termes proposed ; which was, because the money given to the Dutch is comprehended in it." (August Ist.)
"He said his own servants obstructed [the settlement of] his revenue. (August 4th.)
"Hee said the revenue once settled hee would take his measures.
"Note : It is to be supposed the Parliament was apprehensive of it."
The succeeding relative entry is probably either a first draft or a mere recapitulation of the above disconnected jottings of the King's conversation :
"The King said he was very ill satisfied with the behaviour of his Officers of the Revenue in the House of Commons ; spoke of the Parliament rising [sic being prorogued] ; had a mind to prorogue it. I argued against it. He mentioned the dissolving it afterwards and chusing a new one, but said it was to be considered whether he might rely on the Church party. The discourse broke off." (August 11th.) (fn. 1)
Beyond the debate just summarised the effect produced upon the House of Commons by William's speech of the 28th June was slight and evanescent.
A proposal was made on the same day to add certain duties to the Customs and Excise and ten days later, on the 8th July, the House resolved "That the Bill for settling the revenue upon their Majesties be one of the Bills to be proceeded upon."
This vote was followed on the 12th of July by a Resolution for adding to the Bill for settling the revenue [on their Majesties] a clause to provide " that the lands, revenues and all estates granted to or in trust for or belonging to the Queen Consort of the late King James II. be vested in the King and Queen's Majesty and for the repealing all Acts of Parliament made for settling or confirming the same upon the said late Queen":
and also by a second Resolution, " That the revenue to be settled on their Majesties be free from any charges or incumbrances."
But it is noteworthy that these two Resolutions were only passed after a message had come from William plainly expressing his nauseated impatience at the futility of their proceedings. He told them that he intended they should adjourn and that he was willing that there should be no further proceedings upon raising of money till they re-assembled towards winter, "other than what the House themselves have now designed."
Spurred or stung into momentary activity, the Commons three days later introduced a Bill for settling the revenue [on their Majesties] and read it a first time on the same day, the 15th July, a second time two days later, and discussed it in a Committee of the whole House on the 25th of that month. In connection with this discussion in Grand Committee the House had re-discovered the elementary fact that at the beginning of the reign of James II. the Customs and Excise had been collected without Parliamentary sanction, viz. for the three months between his accession and the first meeting of his Parliament (see this subject treated in the Introduction to the preceding volume of this Calendar, Vol. VIII, Part I, Introduction, p. x.), and had straight away turned off on the scent of this side issue, desiring leave of the King for search to be made in the Privy Council records in order to ascertain by what authority the same was done.
At the moment of passing such a vote the House of Commons itself was, whether consciously or not, in exactly the same dilemma. The first Act for the collection of the revenue, supra, pp. xxxvivii, had authorised the collecting of the King's revenue only up to June 24th, and was therefore already three weeks expired and unrenewed, and yet the revenue collection had continued, as of course it was bound to do.
The conclusion of this episode is illuminating from the point of view of constitutional history. The records of the Privy Council were ransacked, and a report of a very detailed nature was made on the 25th July on the occasion of the debate in Grand Committee referred to above. But if there had been any hope on the part of a section of the House that blame could thereby be attached to the late King's Executive for collecting the revenue of Customs and Excise during the interim period before the authority of Parliament had been obtained, such hope was quickly dispelled. The evidence as well as common sense only proved the practical necessity of avoiding any break in the collection of the revenue. On the same day on report from the Grand Committee the House showed its common sense by recognising the necessity of such action by itself authorising the introduction in the Bill for Settling the Revenue of a clause to provide :
"that the Duties settled by the Book of Rates now in being shall continue and be collected until a new Book of Rates be settled by the Commons in Parliament and signed by their Speaker and no longer ; and to enact that the said new Book of Rates shall be settled within the space of three years from the first day of August, 1689." (This clause was reported on the following day, July 26th, and after being debated exhaustively on the 29th and 30th July was referred back.)
It will be at once apparent that such a vote would have been tantamount to a grant to the Crown for three years of the Customs and Excise standing in force in the last year of James II.'s reign.
The conclusion of the incident therefore illustrates the wavering and indecisive state of opinion in the House as to constitutional procedure. There were two alternative procedures possible, viz. either to grant the King's revenue for life, as had been done in 1660 and 1685, or to grant it for one year only. The first procedure would have been in accordance with 17th century practice. The second would have expressed the modern conception of annual grants. But the conclusion actually reached embodied neither the one idea nor the other.
Such an episode combined with the utter aimlessness of the procedure of the House during nearly six months is attributable mainly to want of leadership in the Commons. The King was only represented there by such private members as happened also to be actual officers of one or other of the services, civil, military, naval and so forth. In this respect there is no visible advance in constitutional practice in these proceedings of William's Parliament as compared with the proceedings in any of the Parliaments of Charles II. and in that of James II. William was aware dimly of the real weakness of the situation and in conversation with the Marquess of Halifax he expressed agreement as to the necessity of having a Cabinet Council, "but said hee did not know of men who would speak freely before one another." He realised the necessity of broad substantial agreement between the members of a Council who should guide his affairs in both the Houses; and in his judgment of the men around him, his officers, he concluded that such agreement was not attainable. Naturally enough William judged and concluded on merely personal grounds. But in reality the obstacle was more deeply founded. It was not given to him any more than to Charles II. to force or anticipate the constitutional development of the 18th century. The rapid survey which is here being made of the financial debates and procedure of the Revolution Parliament shows how closely identical the constitutional situation was in 1689 with that of Charles II. in 1660.
Having reached the Committee stage the Bill for Settling the Revenue was debated in Grand Committee on the 29th and 30th July and the 5th, 7th and 8th of August, and in connection with these debates (of which the speeches are not preserved) the House heard endless petitions from pensioners and creditors of the State, but beyond adopting a resolution :
"That for the ease of the Plantations a Bill be brought in for enlarging the time for the Duties granted by the Act of I James II., c. 5, for the Duties on linens, silks and brandies,"
no further progress was made. On the 20th August Parliament was adjourned. On reassembling in October it was noticeable that the King's Speech made no reference to this question of his own revenues. He only spoke of the supply for the war.
But the mere logic of circumstances drove both the Parliament and the King from this laissez faire attitude. Theoretically the Customs and Excise were no longer collectable, for no Parliamentary grant of them had been made and as the Act of I William and Mary, c. 14, had expired no Parliamentary authority existed for their collection. And if this was true as to the Customs and Excise, it seemed to some problematically true also of the more purely hereditary portions of the Crown revenues.
But although the House had reassembled on the 19th October it was not until the 2nd December, 1689, that a Bill was ordered to be brought in to authorise the collecting of the revenue for one year longer. Two days later it was introduced and read a first time as a Bill to prevent Doubts and Disputes in the Collecting of their Majesties' Revenue. The Bill passed the Commons on the 19th December and the Lords on the 21st December, and received the royal assent on the 23rd December, being then entitled An Act for preventing all Doubts and Questions concerning the Collecting the public Revenue. The Act authorised the collecting until the 25th of December, 1690, "and no longer," of the subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage and other duties and charges (except Hearthmoney other than as accrued before 25th March, 1689) enjoyed by the late Kings, Charles II. and James II., and in force on the 5th November, 1688.
It is unfortunate that for the period December 2-23, during which this Bill was on the anvil, the only assistance which we have from Grey's Debates as to the play of party motive which fashioned the final result is confined to the debates of the 13th, 17th and 18th December. Such portions of these debates as concern the Princess of Denmark are quoted, infra, pp. lxxxv and cx. The remaining portions which concerned the present Bill were as follows :
Tuesday, December 17th.
Sir William Pultney : The matter before you is of great importance. I cannot agree etc. to the amendment of the Bill, not to be determined by the ordinary rules of Westminster Hall, but by the Government. There is a known hereditary revenue, and settled by Act of Parliament. When King James abdicated the Government, there was a cessure of the revenue, and it abated; but when you filled the Throne, such as had legal grants they were not determined. I know not whether they can receive the revenue, but it is all the reason in the world that the Crown should have a certain subsistence by revenue. I think such a thing as the revenue is not to be taken from the Crown by implication. If the chimney money must be gone by the abdication, you needed not to have made an Act to take it away. If you continue the words "and no longer," I fear they will not only affect the Crown, but the subjects too, that have grants.
Sir William Williams : To stop the mouths of people we are providing laws against ill men and for ill times, and therefore it was thought convenient to put in the words "and no longer." As to the new revenue, the Customs and Excise, some part of the revenue follows the Crown, as the shadow the body, but to say, therefore, all the revenue does so is no consequence. Qualify that supposed hereditary revenue from the other, and I agree to it. Says Pulteney, "This may shake grants," but if they be good grants by common law, or statute law, it shakes no more but what you would have shaken.
Mr. Finch : I rise up to acquaint you how I apprehended the revenue to be in 1688. When you come to say "That the revenue shall be collected for one year, and no longer," you determine the hereditary revenue. I think we have declaration upon declaration, and that matter is pretty well at peace in you. If you put in the words "For one year and no longer," you determine it. In the Chimney Bill, if the revenue had determined, you needed not that Act. If the Court of Wards was an hereditary revenue, then that [Excise which was] granted in lieu of the Court of Wards must be an hereditary revenue. Thompson says, "No man will say the Court of Wards was part of the King's revenue," but it is the King's tenure, and he has the profit of the lands and wards. For taking away the grants upon the revenue, he is taking away the revenue wholly to cure them.
Sir Thomas Lee : That which is granted for the preservation and good of the people, that ceases. I would willingly have the Long Robe inform us whether these grants for King Charles II.'s and King James's life continue for the King's life. I would have the Long Robe distinguish. If each of them subsist this Act is wholly unnecessary. As to what Finch says of the Chimney money, why did the Parliament 3 Charles I., mention "Quartering of soldiers" in the Petition of Right? I would make use of this debate. If any of them be out, all are out. The Court of Wards, which was exchanged, was ancient in the Crown, but I question whether the Crown had a right to dispose of wardships before they fall.
Mr. Finch : In the Petition of Right, one part is declaring an old law and another is making a new. The King grants a wardship cum acciderit, and that answers Lee.
Sir George Treby : To these words "no longer." The operation of these two words is to take away all the inheritance of the Crown. To answer Lee's question, the King might release the tenures of inheritance of profit, that he had by the tenure, as he did wardships to the town of Yarmouth. If the King can grant this, he may grant what is in lieu of it. In the former Bill, which is the pattern of this, there was some scruple made whether they could safely collect it (as if it was a new thing that Kings have abdicated and given up their crown before death). All the nicety was upon collecting the Customs and Excise during King James's life. Some were for political life, others for the natural [life] : this had some doubt for the sake of the [revenue] officers, and therefore the Act was entitled "for the better collecting the public revenue." It was said, and with great approbation, "we have judges for life and salaries etc. : how could that be if it was not supposed the revenue was not hereditary?" You go on and say "the King has not only delivered you from Popery and slavery but you yielded to give the King thanks for releasing the chimney money." The appropriating some of the revenue to pay King Charles II.'s servants and the money to the States General, by it [by such appropriation] you [pre-] suppose the subsisting of the revenue and you applied it to these uses. All prerogatives and advantages whatsoever follow the Crown, and if they have the Crown they have all that belong to the Crown. I think it strange when a Bill is brought in to satisfy a doubt when indeed there was none; but to grant a revenue and to charge it when you have donewill you determine the whole revenues without hearing counsel for the King?
Sir William Williams : Certainly some part of the revenue is not alienable, and no doubt on the other side the King may extinguish his wardships by a release : but whether the King may alien his inheritance of wardships is another subject. I doubt it much.
Sir John Trevor : The exception is a good exception, and I must apply something to the one and to the other. I do agree that "no longer" extends to all the revenues, that part Hereditary and Temporary too : I hope you will not apply the same words to both. Under favour this is a new Government : I will not deny my opinion : it was so in all broken times. In Edward II.'s time etc. Edward III. took all the revenue, being in possession of the Crown. Henry IV. and Edward IV. took it, and the revenue continues when the Crown is upon any man's head. The opinion has been in Westminster Hall "that the revenue continues" and the Customs were paid after the death of Charles II. Unless you put the words "no longer" in : negative words and let it go so.
Mr. Solicitor Somers : If Trevor's doctrine be true we do grant this away for ever by the words of the Act. In the Customs the grant lasts for life and no longer, and no doubt of it. Now for the revenue granted for King James's life, whether it last longer than his reign? The revenue of the Crown of England is granted as in the King's public capacity as to an incorporation. This will be of so terrible a consequence that I hope you will leave out the words "no longer."
Sir John Trevor : I did not broach that doctrine. I use not to broach doctrines. I said "that it was the opinion in Westminster Hall in King James's time" and that "unless you put negative words in the grant it [the revenue] was subsisting." If the words were necessary then they are as necessary now. The revenue was collected in King James's time and after Charles II.'s time.
Mr. Garroway : I think Trevor in the right. There was a grant of the Customs of the currants in King Charles I.'s time : several were imprisoned for not paying the duties, though granted for years only. The expedient may be [inserted] in the end of the Bill, viz. "that this shall last for one year and no longer," and so leave it as you found it and no hurt.
[The amendments were rejected.] (See Commons Journals, Vol. X, p. 310.)
But as against the ordinary view that this Act enshrines the principle of yearly voting of supplies there stand the plain words of the preamble of the Act itself. It was expressly only a temporary measure to enable the Executive to carry on and to collect the Customs, dues etc. until the distracted and ill-guided Parliament could systematically take up the subject of the definite fixing of the King's revenue"for preventing all disputes and questions concerning the collecting, levying and answering the public revenue due and payable in the reigns of Charles II. and James II. whilst the better settling the same is under the consideration of this present Parliament."
Only one ineffectual step was taken towards such definite settling of the revenue during the remaining life of the Convention Parliament. A Bill was introduced on the 21st December, 1689, and passed the Commons on the 18th January, 1689-90, for vesting the estate of the late Queen Mary [of Modena] in the Crown. But this Bill was lost when on the 27th January the Parliament was prorogued. "You will doubtless be surprised," wrote William to Bentinck, "that I prorogued Parliament yesterday till the 2nd of April, for reasons which I will tell you when you return." The prorogation was until April 2nd, 1690, but on the 6th February, Parliament was dissolved and a new Parliament assembled on the 21st March.
On the following day, 12th March, 1690, William addressed both Houses on the subject of his revenue as follows : "I desire you will forthwith make a settlement of the revenue : and I cannot doubt but you will therein have as much regard for the honour and dignity of the monarchy in my hands as hath been lately shewed to others."
In these words William was referring to the permanent or standing revenue granted to Charles II. and James II., and also to the factious debates about the Princess of Denmark's income. But in the ensuing sentences of his speech William went the length of conceding a most important point and one exceedingly damaging to himself in this matter of his revenue :
"And I have so great a confidence in you that if no quicker or more convenient way can be found for the raising of ready money (without which the service cannot be performed) I shall be very well content for the present to have it [my ordinary revenue] made such a fund of credit as may be useful to yourselves as well as me in this conjuncture ; not having the least apprehensions but that you will provide for the taking off all such anticipations as it shall happen to fall under."
In such words William almost seemed to be inviting the Commons to mortgage the ordinary peace revenue of the country and so much at least must be said in defence of the perverse vote which passed the House on the 2nd April, when it was resolved that towards the extraordinary supply for the war the King's own or the ordinary peace revenue of the country should be mortgaged to the extent of one million.
It seems, however, to me much more in keeping with William's firm grasp of realities that what he desired of the House was (1) the settlement of the fixed or ordinary revenue, and (2) at least the voting (if nothing more) of such a sum of supply for the extraordinary occasion of the war as might be a fund on which to borrow and that he only conceded the point of mortgaging his own or kingly revenue because of his exasperation at the interminable delay in Parliament over the granting of that revenue. In matter of fact the concession was altogether a regrettable one and the point conceded was financially vicious and iniquitous. In extraordinary grants of supply it became increasingly the custom, as will be seen, for the House of Commons to insert loan clauses in Acts of Supply, authorising the pledging of the fund granted by the Act as security for such loans. Thereby the House of Commons guaranteed the interest and made itself responsible for the solvency of the fund. If the supply so granted proved insufficient to meet the interest the net debit balance was carried forward and charged on the next grant of supply. But in the case of the King's "own," the ordinary peace revenue, every penny of the money was in effect allocated : there was no room for any interest charge and if the interest failed to be met there was no intention on the part of the House of Commons to reinforce the King's own by so much as would meet the deficit. In effect the Commons first granted to the King so much for the specific purpose of the ordinary peace expenditure of the country, and by granting it to him for a set term if not for the whole of his reign the House proclaimed that it washed its hands of such revenue and expenditure and had no further rights in the matter : then secondly they proposed to mortgage the fund over which it admittedly had no rights whatever and put upon the King the sole responsibility for the interest charge as an extra to an expenditure which by conditions of the grant had been strictly limited and allocated, just as the Civil List is limited and allocated to-day. By such procedure the House of Commons defrauded the King.
In the ensuing debates there is evidence of a more than ordinary confusion of thought as between the provision of extraordinary supply for the purpose of the war with France and the fixing of the permanent peace revenue of the Crown for the purpose of the ordinary government of the country. This is particularly apparent in the opening debates on the 27th and 28th March.
1690, March 27th.
In A Grand Committee On The Supply.
(Mr. Hampden, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the chair Grey's Debates, X, p. 8.)
Sir John Lowther : It was your Resolution yesterday to go into a Grand Committee to consider of supply. The first paragraph of the King's Speech is about "settling the revenue," and it is to that I stand up to move you. For rescuing you from arbitrary Government and restoring you to your religion and laws the King has done his part : there remains our part to be done ... I move "to settle the revenue on King William and Queen Mary for their lives."
Serjeant Maynard : If the King be necessitous he will have necessitous counsellors about him. The revenue of the Crown land is all gone, it is aliened from him : he can have nothing from his land but from Parliament. The question is what and for how long you will give him. A King in want can never be quiet. As for the revenue, I would not have it too muchconsider quantum, quo modo et quamdiu. I move "that it may be settled for three years." As King of England if all were quiet I would have it [given] for life, that the King may be a freeholder as well as we. As for the relief of Ireland, that is a distinct consideration by itself.
Sir John Thompson : You cannot put the question "for settling the revenue for life" without leave from the House. The order is "to consider about supply."
Sir Thomas Lee : I always thought that they that gave the Crown of England a revenue gave supply. I speak only to order. I think the matter of the revenue is the only debate before you.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I think you cannot put that question. Before you come to that you must go to the particular parts of the revenue. You must tell us what you mean by revenue. As for the Excise, part of it is hereditary. It was so and I know not what has made it otherwise. Before you put the question I would know whether all the Customs and Excise be complicated in the matter. Would you have all the revenue [to wit such Customs etc. as are granted only] for years turned into lives? First consider whether any part be hereditary and whether you will make it all so. When that is ordered then consider supply. The first question is whether a supply shall be granted and then the House may be moved for a Bill.
Mr. Paul Foley : What you are now debating is of vast consequence to us and England for ever. I would know what the revenue is and what it is likely to prove, and not to settle a revenue for life. ... When Charles II. returned it was generally agreed that 1,200,000l. per an. was a sufficient revenue to support the Government ; in the next Parliament it was not pretended that more was requisite, but that the revenue came not up to so much. I know not what the revenue is now ; but I have heard that in Charles II.'s time it was two millions, and more in King James's time. Therefore I would have you consider ... if you settle such a revenue as that the King should have no need of a Parliament I think we do not our duty to them that sent us hither. Therefore I would know what the revenue is.
Sir Edmund Jennings : I remember the method in King James's Parliament, and why now we should take other precedents I know not. If you desire to preserve the Church and State will you not settle such a revenue as will do it, and why is not this King to be trusted as well as King James? ... Therefore settle the revenue upon this King as upon King James.
Sir Robert Cotton : We cannot answer the King's ends without doing as is moved. ...
Mr. Hutchinson : You have been moved to settle a revenue upon this King as upon King James. I would know whether that had so good effect as to [lead us to] settle it so now, and whether so extravagant a grant can be good either for a good or a bad Prince. If you gave this revenue to a bad Prince you cannot now decently take it away ; if you give it to a good Prince he may be thrifty and may have a Bank and may presume upon it to destroy our liberties. ... I would have the revenue known. ...
Mr. Pelham : You are told the revenue came to two millions in King Charles's and King James's time ; but as to what is said of the ill effects of it in King James's time, none of that mischief came by that revenue, but upon what was given him afterwards, which enabled him to raise his Army and bring in Popery.
Sir Joseph Williamson : ... A revenue for the King to live with honour and comfort upon, everybody is for, so as to provide for the monarchy in whose hands soever it is [and at the same time so] that Parliaments may be frequent. ... What part of the revenue can be a fund [to borrow on]? ... What can be taken up upon that uncertain revenue? ... I would give such a supply as to prosecute the war with speed and vigour.
Mr. Harbord : "To supply the King" will be without contradiction. Therefore I would put that question.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : You tell us that a question for "Supply" will answer the first article of the King's speech. But I would have it answer the second article "upon the revenue." ... The King is of opinion that it may be a fund ...
Sir John Lowther : ... As for the revenue the King cannot live without it ; but for supply for these wars I hope you will not confine yourselves. After you have voted a supply you may then take into consideration the fund of credit and you may make this addition [that the grant for the Revenue be] for both their [William's and Mary's] lives and for so many years after as to be a fund of credit. I am no lawyer, but believe it may be done.
Mr. Foley : I cannot say anything until we know what the revenue is nor till we have an account of what has been spent of what we have already given. In three-fourths of a year the Treasury has received 1,500,000l. besides what we gave : 6,000,000l. were received last year and this. Now what account have we of all this? Therefore I would give no supply till an account be first brought to us. ...
Sir Henry Goodricke : ... You are upon the question of "settling the revenue." 'Tis that the King sets his heart upon. ...
Sir Edward Seymour : ... Your debates are on several things, of Supply and the Revenue. ... To settle the revenue must be a work of time. ... Have your allies left you because you did only settle it for one year? ...
Sir Henry Goodrick : ... You settle it only for the lives of your deliverers.
Sir John Lowther : ... I would not willingly inflame this matter. ... I hope [this Prince's] Government will not be reflected on in this House.
Sir Edward Seymour : ... The safety of England will be better supported here than by any other hands. This will appear by the change his Majesty has made of his counsellors.
Mr. Finch : You have one question framed "to bring in a Bill for the revenue" ; the other "for a Fund of Supply and the revenue to be security for it." Before you put that question there is something absolutely necessary for you to declare, viz. as you go to settle the revenue for the honour of the King, not to pass by one [particular] thing in relation to the Hereditary Revenue. I remember the progress that question had in this House last Parliament. It was a question what did subsist and what not? They were silent in that ; they went only upon that for life ... still that point remains undetermined. ...
Mr. Ettrick : As to what is said of "the uncertainty of a fund for life" you may have a clause for credit in case the King and Queen die before the debt is paid. ... I cannot in justice and gratitude do less for the King than for his predecessors. In King Charles I.'s time the not settling the revenue upon him for life drew on us all the mischiefs that followed.
In spite, however, of the extraordinary confusion which is apparent throughout this particular debate, viz. as between extraordinary and temporary supply for the war and ordinary or permanent fixing of revenue for the ordinary cost of government, the action of the House was ultimately quite plain and logical. On the 27th it voted that a supply be given for the prosecution of the war against France. And then on the following day, March 28th, it sat down in Grand Committee to "consider of the settling the revenue upon their Majesties." The Committee debated and reported instanter and the House adopted its recommendations as follows : (fn. 2)
"(1) Resolved that the House doth agree with the Committee that the hereditary revenues which the late King James II. was the 10th day of December, 1688, intitled unto, became and are vested in their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary in right of the Crown of England except the late revenue arising by Fire-Hearths and Stoves.
(2) Resolved that the House doth agree with the Committee that a Bill be brought in to declare that the said revenues are so vested ; and that therein provision shall be made that they shall not be aliened from the Crown nor chargeable with any gift or grant to be made for the future.
(3) Resolved that the House doth agree with the Committee that a Bill be brought in for the settling that moiety of the Excise which was granted to the late King Charles II. and James II. or either of them for their lives upon their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary for their lives and the life of the longest liver of them : with a clause to enable their Majesties to make the said revenue a security for raising money towards a supply not exceeding the sum of ...
(4) Resolved that the House doth agree with the Committee that a Bill be brought in to grant to their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary for the term of four years from Christmas next the Customs which were granted to the late King Charles II. and King James II. for their lives : with a clause to enable their Majesties to make the said revenue a security for raising money towards a supply not exceeding the sum of ..."
The debate which culminated in the above four resolutions was as follows : and it is remarkable in that for once the mere legal subtleties of the gentlemen of the long robe were swept away. On the whole it was direct and to the point, but to understand its bearing on the constitutional problem of the time it is necessary to reason backwards from the progress achieved even by the middle of Anne's reign. When once the idea of the Civil List had so far crystallised that it could be isolated from the ordinary peace expenditure of the country and confined in the main to the items concerned with the maintenance of the royal state it became a matter of indifference to the Crown what sort or form of provision was made for the standing Army and the summer Guard of the Seas, whether by grant of the Customs and Excise to the King for life or by an annual Parliamentary grant of supply. But in 1688 amd 1690 the Civil List idea had not so crystallised and sublimated itself. By common consent William III. was as much in charge of the executive Government and as much responsible for the ordinary peace expenditure of the whole country as Charles II. had been, and therefore in his own eyes and in the eyes of most of his subjects he was entitled to expect the same provision of fixed standing revenue to cover the whole of that expenditure. But that provision of fixed standing revenue had been a source of danger under James II., and this consideration alone was sufficient to account for all the tergiversation and shilly-shallying of these debates. The solution achieved in 1690 was tentative and temporary and unsatisfactory but to have expected more would only be expecting of one age that it should suddenly realise the standpoint of a succeeding age, or should instinctively anticipate the developments of a succeeding age.
Friday, 28th March, 1690.
In A Grand Committee On Supply.
(fn. 3)Sir Christopher Musgrave : I move that you would take the revenue by parts and consider what is annexed to the Crown and what for lives. I speak frankly : what hereditary revenue is to be settled upon the Crown : and then come to the other parts of the revenue. For instance, half the Excise is hereditary. Declare that annexed to the Crown, and then come to the other parts of the revenue : likewise the Post Office, the First Fruits and Tenths, something of the old Customs, with the Wine Licences etc.
Sir John Lowther : No man is more of Musgrave's opinion than myself. The motion I will make shall not preclude that. I renew the motion to take into consideration again what you have done yesterday. Yesterday's arguments are a fresh obligation to the King : if anything relates to our properties and religion all are relative to this. I know no arguments of distrust of the King ; nothing can prevail against it. There were jealousies of the last reign but no instance can be given of a Prince who has done so much for his people for so short a time as he has been here. I move that the revenue may be settled for life.
Mr. Ettrick : 'Tis very plain that what is to be raised
is for your service. The King's revenue is 240,000l.
less than his predecessor's. As if only this question
is, whether you will show that countenance to the
Government as to support the King or keep him as
it were at board wages : as if only by this question
to fetter it with forms to surprize gentlemen.
(He was taken down to order by Sir William Strickland.)
Mr. Hampden : "The House to be shackled with forms" is a strange expression. I know that forms must be kept.
Sir John Goodrick : I know of no "shackles" but what keeps us to order and decency.
Mr. Ettrick : What I said was not reflecting upon anything to-day, but what happened formerly. The question is very plain, whether you will give as formerly for life or for three years?
Sir John Thompson : We have been told of "putting the King to board wages." I do not aggravate the thing. But certainly we should know what we do when we give away our money. But that we may speak our minds freely I think the liberties of England are in that question. You were told yesterday "what you shall give on the revenue cannot answer your end." Certainly nothing is more prejudicial to the King when it is demonstrable it cannot answer the end for which you give it. When you give this supply [chargeable as a loan upon the fund of the revenue] it must be wiped off by you. The standing revenue is so great that it is your danger in time of peace. Either you must keep a standing Army [says one] or the frugality will ruin you [says another] The revenue will keep 30,000 men. I should be 10th to see so many foreigners in England in time of peace.
Earl of Ranelagh : The Order is "to consider the revenue" : the motion is "to consider the revenue granted to King Charles and King James, that it may be granted to King William and Queen Mary for their lives." I find some gentlemen would know what this revenue is, and what part to be granted to the King and Queen. There is a revenue for lives and [one] for years. The temporary revenue is the imposition upon wines and brandy etc. which determines in 1693 : sugars etc., French and East India commodities determine at Midsummer. I would have it declared " that the revenue vested in the two last Kings is the revenue of inheritance" and have leave given to bring in a Bill to settle it [? the other part on their Majesties].
Sir John Lowther : As near as I can I will agree with the sense of every gentleman. If you will proceed in the method proposed I am very well contented. I move "that the revenue may be for the King and Queen's lives and the longest liver of them."
Mr. Sacheverell : I move "that a revenue may be settled on the Crown for the time to come," and I move "that what is now vested in the Crown may not be alienated from the Crown." Whenever it is granted away always the subject must pay for it. ...
Sir Christopher Musgrave : The question is now what the revenue of the Crown is to be in time of war. 'Tis otherwise in time of peace. Now we must make use of all the branches of the revenue now we are in war. I hope the King will not take it ill if we settle the revenue for years : otherwise if it is not for years as well as for lives it cannot be good security. If you settle it for lives only and not for years it cannot be a fund [to charge a loan upon] : if for both pray declare your sense. I know not if three years, the number moved for, will be security or not. ... That you may not be [fixing it] for a time uncertain I move you to grant the revenue for four years.
Mr. Ettrick : 'Tis something of a harsh proposition, the revenue for lives and years too. I look upon the Hereditary Revenue to be so far a fund as [to base loans upon] for a present supply of money. If we know what money is wanting we may the better form the sum. I have heard of a million wanting. You may make, in a clause of credit, that no contingency may be in their [Majesties'] lives to the lender of the money. I think we ought to have as much respect for their present Majesties as the last Parliament had. They proceeded so far as to move the revenue to be settled for their lives.
Sir John Guise : Upon a supposition of what was done last Session I would have your books searched before you go on. I find this King and Queen extremely beholden to some people that would settle the revenue for lives. In the King's speech there is such a proposition that if we can find no other way the revenue then is to be a fund [for loans]. I should think the revenue a very ordinary [poor] present to the King so incumbered [and all this done] by advices from other persons, not from hence. I would take time to present the King with a free gift and worthy of him to receive. Then your business is to support the war. Do you intend this shall be out of the [King's] revenue? [If they intend no other supply than the revenue for the present or any other [time] let them speak. ... I would not dispose of the revenues further than becomes a prudent man. ... I would not have all ill management laid on the King which ought to be laid on the Ministers. Here have been particular grumblings against persons' ill management ; and since, now the revenue is in your hands, you cannot know these persons, how will you know them that have done amiss when the revenue is out of your hands? I think it ought not to reflect on any particular Prince when others have the keeping of his ears. I would have a fund of credit for four years and no longer.
Col. Austin : There has been so much said that I have the less to say. I am against the question, for the King and Queen's sake. I am against granting the revenue for lives for what the King, that now is, has declared in his Declaration when Prince. One of his businesses was to secure us that no successor was able to bring us again into our misfortunes. The great mischief being the revenue for lives, you will never do good in an ill Prince's time. I am sure you will never tell him that he is an ill one. A Parliament will secure you against other ill persons as well as ill Kings. I mean the Ministers. Granting it for life will prevent any ill Ministers from being called in question, and you can never reach them. I hope the King will be as rich at the end of this time four years as if he had the revenue for life.
Sir Joseph Williamson : It will certainly be for the King's service that people may see themselves out of fear of not meeting the King frequently in Parliament. In the close I shall agree that the remaining part of the Excise be settled for life. ... You were told yesterday "that the revenue was clogged and can bear nothing [in the way of loan or anticipation]." And what you must now give will still necessitate Parliaments. As on the one hand I would not give all for life so I am for a reasonable security. If half the Excise be for life there will remain still a fund for credit and yet be secured from the common fear of wants of Parliament.
Mr. Sacheverell : Before this question be put, of lives, I desire a little satisfaction whether you intend to have any fund of credit if you take away all indubitable security. What fund can you have in the Customs in time of war? They that had no regard to the last Parliament will have as little regard to you when you are gone. You have settled the Hereditary Revenue : now what fund have you on contingency of the Customs? Plainly will you have a fund of credit or not? What can be borrowed on the Customs? Suppose them 400,000l. this year and the next, what sum can you propound upon this credit? Can any man believe that they will lend? 400,000l. is all you can borrow in a year, and scarce that : few will lend upon the utmost value. I know no way of certainty but to leave the King 600,000l., an entire fund of credit to borrow upon. But if you leave the thing indefinite you will have, I believe, little or no use of a Parliament for the future.
In their totality the above quoted Resolutions of March 28th, supra, pp. lxxi-ii, practically affirmed the right of William and Mary to all the fixed revenue enjoyed either by Charles II. and James II.
Burnet's summary of the result thus achieved is incorrect in several details, most of all of course in the inference which he draws that these Resolutions were equivalent to a Parliamentary grant, but on its personal side it is reliable as well as illuminating.
"The House of Commons gave the King the Customs for five [four] years, which they said made it a surer fund for borrowing money upon than if they had given it for life ; the one was subject to accidents, but the other was more certain. They also continued the other branches of the revenue for the same number of years [wrong]. It was much pressed to have it settled for life, but it was taken up as a general maxim that a revenue for a certain and short term was the best security that the nation could have for frequent Parliaments. The King did not like this. He said to myself why should they entertain a jealousy of him who came to save their religion and liberties, when they trusted King James so much, who intended to destroy both. I answered they were not jealous of him, but of those who might succeed him : and if he would accept of the gift for a term of years and settle the precedent he would be reckoned the deliverer of succeeding ages as well as of the present, and it was certain that King James would never have run into those counsels that ruined him if he had obtained the revenue only for a short term : which probably would have been done if Argyle's and Monmouth's invasions had not so overawed the House that it would then have looked like being in a conspiracy with them to have opposed the King's demand : I saw the King was not pleased, though he was persuaded to accept of the grant thus made him." (Burnet IV., p. 77.)
It is possible and it will be advantageous to outline more succinctly the story of the later proceedings of William's Parliaments in this matter of the King's standing revenue.
On the 8th April, 1690, the Solicitor General presented to the House the Bills intended to carry into effect the above votes of March 28th. He presented two Bills for settling the revenue upon their Majesties, viz. one for settling the [Temporary] Excise for their lives and the life of the longer liver of them and the other for settling the Customs of Tonnage and Poundage for four years.
Of these Solicitor General's Bills the one 2 Wm. and Mary, Sess. 1, c. 3, granting to the King for life the Temporary Excise ("certain impositions upon beer, ale and other liquors," with power to borrow 250,000l. thereon) passed the Commons on the 21st April and received the royal assent on the 23rd April, 1690.
The Act for granting the Customs for four years, 2 Wm. and Mary, Sess. 1, c. 4, was sent up on the 28th April and passed the Lords on the 30th April and received the royal assent on the 2nd May as an Act for granting to their Majesties a Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage and other sums of Money upon Merchandises Exported and Imported : with power to borrow 500,000l. thereon.
On the 21st April, 1690, a totally separate Bill was introduced into the Commons for declaring the hereditary revenue of the Crown to be vested in their Majesties. This latter Bill passed the Commons on the 17th May and was sent up to the Lords. Its passage in the Upper House was very expeditious. No amendments were made and on the 23rd May it was ready to be read a third or final time, when William came down to the House and adjourned Parliament to the following 7th July.
The Bill was therefore sacrificed. In the ordinary course of events the King's action would appear mysterious, for he was eager to have the hereditary revenue settled. But a glance at the abortive measure itself amply justifies him. The text of the Bill is preserved in the House of Lords MSS. It only concerned the hereditary Excise (that portion of the Excise which had been settled on the Crown at the Restoration in 1660 as an equivalent for the Crown's surrender of the feudal tenures), the Post Office, Wine Licences and Crown Lands. It therefore omitted from its purview all the additional revenue which had been granted to James II. and all the miscellaneous small branches of the revenue which still inhered in the Crown as of inheritance. Further, the Bill contained a provision for anticipating or borrowing on the Hereditary Excise and the Post Office up to 250,000l. towards the war in Ireland. Finally the Bill contained a rider to the effect that grants out of the revenue should determine at the death of the Sovereign.
It will be seen therefore that the clause for anticipations in this abortive Bill extended to the purely hereditary revenue the borrowing principle or pledging principle which William had only grudgingly conceded for the temporary revenue, i.e. for the Customs and the Temporary Excise. It was probably this which William objected to, primarily as a matter of principle but also as a matter of financial expediency. In view of the debts already resting on the civil list the proposal was unfair to that part of his expenditure.
We know so little as to the inner workings of William's mind that it is difficult to assert why he should have intervened at the precise moment when he did. But it is difficult to believe that he would ever have accepted such a Bill if it had been presented to him, and it is more than probable that he prorogued Parliament in order to avoid having to veto the measure.
To sum up. The net legislative result achieved up to May, 1690, was as follows :
William and Mary had been granted
(1) Temporary Excise for life.
(2) Customs for four years.
They had not yet been granted (save as by the declaratory votes of March 28)
(3) The Hereditary Excise, Post Office and Wine Licences.
(4) The Crown Lands.
(5) The small branches.
(6) The additional Duties of James II.'s reign.
And, secondly, the idea of the coordination of all these sources of revenues and of their levelling up or down to any fixed modicum (whether 1,200,000l. or any other) had not even been attempted or simulated.
And, thirdly, the Customs and Temporary Excise which constituted the main branches of the hereditary revenue of the Crown, the Civil or ordinary governmental revenue of the State, had been mortgaged for extraordinary war expenditure purposes.
As regards this last-named point, it is to my mind possible to argue that William had been not so much intentionally deceived as ignorantly misled by the chief managers in the House of Commons. There had been much talk of using the Excise and the Customs as a fund for anticipations or loans, and William had agreed to the idea (see supra, p. lxv seq.), but I feel convinced that he contemplated that such loans would be applied to meet the pressing needs of the Civil Government and not that they should be diverted to war purposes. Such diversion was contrary to the whole trend of English financial history, not merely in the 17th century, but for so many prior centuries, that it could be looked upon as distinctly unconstitutional. So great was the confusion in the debates in the House that the constitutional point would appear to have been overlooked. But the practical effect upon William's own Civil revenue was instantly appreciated.
The only insight into his mind which we possess on this point is a single sentence preserved in the jottings of his conversation with the Marquess of Halifax :
"speaking of the Bill of Revenue, he said it would bring him no credit : he spoke against the rider put to it."
By this phrase credit William meant that the loans on the funds so appropriated would not go into his pocket, that is to say, would not be available to supply the needs and pay the debts of the Civil Government. Nor did he forget the subject when Parliament re-assembled. After several prorogations the House met on the 2nd October, 1690, when William addressed them pointedly as follows :
I recommend to your care the clearing of my revenue so as to enable me to subsist and to maintain the charge of the Civil List, the [my own] revenue being so engaged that it must be wholly applied after the 1st of November next to pay off the debts already charged upon it, (fn. 4)
and after waiting patiently or impatiently for nearly two months he came down to the Peers on the 25th November, 1690, and addressed both Houses in a short speech which concluded with a fresh reference to this subject :
"It is high time to put you in mind of making some provision for the expense of the Civil Government, which has no funds for its support since the Excise, which was designed for that service, and also the other branches of the [civil or ordinary or royal] revenue have been applied to other public uses [to wit to war purposes] : and therefore I earnestly recommend it to your speedy consideration." (fn. 5)
This portion of the King's Speech was debated in Grand Committee on the 26th and 27th November, but with the exception of ordering a Bill to annex the Duchy of Lancaster to the Crown and with the further exception of an order calling for a particular state of the revenue and a computation of the Civil List and a further order that the salaries, fees and perquisites of all officers under the Crown shall be applied to the use of the war, nothing was done during the remainder of 1690 and 1691 and the whole of 1692 (constituting the third Session of this Parliament) towards meeting Civil List debts or towards settling a livingwage revenue on the Crown. In the following Session, 1692-3, still less was done, for even the motion for the continuance of Tonnage and Poundage "for some time longer" was negatived the 23rd February, 1692-3. (fn. 6)
The culpability of the House in regard to this latter vote is particularly glaring, seeing that the Customs had only been granted to the Crown for four years, and if the grant was not renewed the main bulk of the Customs Duties would be uncollectible as from Christmas, 1694.
In the following Session, 1693-4the fifth Session of his second Parliamentagain nothing was done. Consequently when on the 12th November, 1694, he addressed the Houses at the opening of the sixth Session, 1694-5, William was obliged to bring the matter home to them :
"I must likewise put you in mind that the Act of Tonnage and Poundage expires at Christmas : and I hope you will think fit to continue that revenue to the Crown, which is the more necessary at this time in regard the several branches of the [my] revenue are under great anticipations for extraordinary expenses of the war and subject to many demands upon other accounts." (fn. 7)
On the 12th and 14th December the House resolved that the Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage be granted to their Majesties as from 26th December, 1694, for five years and no longer. The Bill passed on the 21st December, was rushed through the Lords in two sittings and received the royal assent on the 22nd December, two days before the existing grant would have expired. The new grant (6 William and Mary, c. 1), was for five years from 26th December, 1694.
At the end of 1694, therefore, the ultimate position was that the Grand Revolution of 1688 had made a hopeless muddle of the country's finance as far as concerned the fixed peace revenue or King's revenue of the country. It had neither granted that revenue for life, nor adopted the alternative principle of yearly grants. It had not considered the peace revenue as a whole, one part it had granted for life, other parts it had granted for term of years, other parts it had not considered or granted at all save by mere inoperative resolutions. And in the whole of this tangled, unguided, purposeless endeavour no estimate of the full civil or peace revenue and expenditure had been made, no attempt at the correlation of the two had been attempted, no guiding plan or principle had been adopted. To represent the ultimate outcome as the triumph of a Whig or constitutional or republican idea of starving the Crown in order to make it dependent on the Parliament is simply moonshine.
The ultimate outcome was due only to the complete want of guidance in the House, to the utter and deplorable disorder of its debates and to the lack of any financial sense in the bulk of the members irrespective of party. The utmost that can be said in defence of the Commons is that the war with France overshadowed every other issue and was exhausting the country. But to say this is simply to admit that the Parliamentary control of finance at the Revolution of 1688 was a signal and pitiable failure as compared with the management by Charles II.'s executive in 1665 when the strain was certainly as great.
The Provision For The Prince And Princess Of Denmark, And The Quarrel Between Queen Mary And Princess Anne
The vote of the 27th April, 1689, quoted supra, p. lx, viz.: "that the provision for the Prince and Princess of Denmark be part of the charge of the Civil Government" was the outcome of a motion which had been made as early as March 26th (Commons Journals, Vol. X, p. 66) and which on that occasion had ended in a resolution that "when the matter of the revenue shall come under consideration the House will then consider of settling a revenue upon the Princess Anne of Denmark." Now according to the accepted constitutional conceptions of the time it was an impertinence and could only be justified if the Commons had the intention of making special provision for the Prince and Princess as an addition to the King's own revenue. Further, it is instructive to note that these votes had passed as early as March 26th and April 27th, whereas the estrangement between Queen Mary and her sister Anne over this question is clearly of later date, being connected with the Commons' votes of Dec. 13th. The action of the House of Commons in passing this vote of April 27th was certainly a constitutional innovation and could only have been justified if it had been intended to tabulate the whole of the annual peace expenditure and thereupon to provide supply sufficient to cover it. Even so the wording of the vote was indelicate. Not only was it equivalent to saying to William "We, your faithful Commons, have no intention of making special Parliamentary provision for the Prince and Princess of Denmark. You must maintain them out of your own income" ; but it was also an act of intrusion into what was purely a domestic matter. On the occasion of the marriage of Ann with the Prince of Denmark James, as then Duke of York, had settled on them jointly in accordance with the terms of the marriage treaty, 10,000l. a year out of his own private income, viz., 5,000l. out of his interest in the Post Office and 5,000l. out of his interest in the Excise. Charles II. at the same time supplemented this by a grant of 10,000l. a year out of his own pocket, viz. out of the Excise. Both these settlements were purely private and were in the form of letters patent. Parliament had nothing to do with them. Subsequently when he came to the throne James II. in February, 1686, granted a further 10,000l. a year out of the Post Office thus making up a total income of 30,000l. per an., half thereof out of the Excise and half out of the Post Office. As before this grant by King James was a private domestic act of his own by patent and out of his own pocket or revenue. The usual procedure would have been for Parliament to renew the grant of the King's revenue and thereupon to leave the King to renew the private domestic arrangements which Charles II. and James II. had made, and further to add thereto what he felt disposed. This was certainly the accepted etiquette and usage of the age, and it was clearly and most justifiably the attitude which William took up in the quarrel which followed between the two sisters. The provision for the Prince and Princess was entirely a matter for the King's decision because he was dealing with his own. It was to come entirely out of his own pocket.
This was more than a punctilio and was the real cause of the estrangement between the Queen and the Princess Anne. Instigated by the Marlboroughs some steps were made in Parliament towards settling a revenue on the Prince and Princess. In her 'Memoirs' Queen Mary details the affair as follows : "I had a very sensible affliction also at this time, which was to see how my sister was making parties to get a revenue settled and said nothing of it to me. The King did not think fit I should say anything of it to her ; and indeed she avoided carefully ever since I came from Hampton Court all occasions of being alone with me. This business as a mere matter of faction went on until there were great heats in the House about it. At last in a Committee it was carried against the Princess ; upon which the King next morning sent her a message by Lord Shrewsbury to desire she would put an end to all this and that he would for this year give her 50,000l. and when his own revenue was settled would take care that the [said] sum should be settled on her and, being sensible she must be in debt, he offered to pay her debts besides. This the Lord Shrewsbury first proposed to the Lord Marlborough, who begged he would not own he found him, his wife would by no means hear of it, but was like a mad woman and said the Princess would retire if her friends would not assist her : and when he [Shrewsbury] spoke to my sister [Anne] herself the answer was she had met with so little encouragement from the King that she could expect no kindness from him, and therefore would stick to her friends. When I heard this I thought it no longer time to be silent, but upon her coming to me next night I spoke to her. She could tell me no one thing in which the King had not been kind to her, and would not own herself in the wrong for not speaking to either of us so that I found as I told her she had shewed as much want of kindness to me as respect to the King and I both. Upon this we parted ill friends and she will make no advance to me, not having once been to Kensington since. So I came hither the day before Christmas Eve and 'tis now the last day of the old year. But the King thought it an ungenerous thing to fall out with a woman, and therefore went to her and told her so : upon which she said he should find by her behaviour she would never give him cause. But neither after this did she say anything to me."
In this account of the interview Mary is naturally more reticent, but the Duchess of Marlborough's account is more specific : "Taking her sister one night to task for it, the Queen asked her what was the meaning of these proceedings, to which the Princess replied she heard her friends [in the House] had a mind to make her some settlement. The Queen hastily replied with a very imperious air, Pray what friends have you but the King and me?"
Curt as the words were, and unkind, they express succinctly the accepted constitutional idea of the time and ultimately, as will be seen, Anne was obliged to desist from negotiating with a party in the Commons and to accept a settlement at William's hand. But this conclusion was not reached until after much party manuvring and heated debates in the House. Although a personal matter, the episode possesses a constitutional importance and it is convenient to complete the account of it here.
The account in Grey's Debates, Vol. IX., pp. 198-9, on the initial discussion of this subject in the House during the debate of 26th March, 1689, is as follows :
Tuesday, March 26th, 1689.
On Settling A Revenue On Princess Anne.
Sir Thomas Clarges : You cannot settle a revenue upon anybody. I remember at Oxford there was a Bill to enable the King to settle a revenue upon the Duke of York. I would have the King's revenue inspected.
Sir William Williams : There was a revenue of 60,000l. for the Duke of York settled and the Post Office. He had power to appoint a Postmaster-General by patent, and that is a certain revenue worth 100,000l. per annum, and the Wine Licenses. These were vested in the Duke of York. There was care then taken for the maintenance of his dignity. It is fit to consider the Princess, who did more than women in their ordinary course. She forsook her father for the sake of the Protestant religion, and ought to be made exemplary by us, and a monument for her for ever. I would refer it to a Committee.
Mr. Hampden : I move very tenderly. In motions of this nature, that are acceptable, we are most subject to errors in the management of it. She may be in want of money, but you cannot refer money to a private Committee. But if there be any way to propose, I would hear it. When the way of raising the money is found out, that is the proper time to have it moved. I remember at Oxford when the money was granted for the Duke of York, there was grumbling.
Mr. Harbord : Something has been said that reflects upon the King, as if the Princess was in want. When the King was at the Treasury he said "he would have the money all go for public uses." For the Fleet, the Queen Dowager, and the Princess Anne, these were the uses, and they are taken care for.
Sir Henry Capel : You do two great things in taking care for this Princess, of great honour and virtue, and support to the Protestant religion. Though there be no precedent for a private Committee to consider of money, I would not have this debate go off without some words in your question, viz., "That when the revenue is stated, the Princess may be considered."
Mr. Boscawen : I would have the Princess have the revenue of the Post Office, but not the Office ; that ought to be in the Crown, for the inspection and management of letters.
[Resolved that when the matter of the revenue shall come under consideration, the House will then consider of settling a revenue upon the Princess Anne of Denmark. (fn. 8) ]
This vote of the 26th March, followed by that of the 27th April, as above, were the only allusions to the subject of the Princess Anne until the 17th July. On that date the Commons resolved that the order of 26th March last relating to the Princess Anne of Denmark be referred to the Committee of the whole House which is to consider the Bill for settling the revenue (Commons Journals, X, p. 225, 17th July, 1689). But again nothing was done thereon for nearly a month, until the 9th August, 1689, when the Commons Journals give the following account of the further proceedings in this matter :
Mr. Hamden reports from the Committee of the whole House to whom was referred the consideration of the order of March 26th last for considering of settling a revenue for the Princess Anne of Denmark, that the Committee had come to a resolution thereupon as follows : That it is the opinion of this Committee that there be an additional provision for a revenue for the Princess Anne of Denmark for her life only of 40,000l. per an. And the question being proposed that the House do agree with the Committee, a debate arose thereupon.
Resolved that the debate be adjourned until the settling of the [King's] revenue comes under the further consideration of the House.
After a two months' adjournment, the Parliament reassembled late in October, and with some little wavering returned to the subject of the Princess Anne in connection with the Bill for authorising the collection of the public revenue for a year. On the 5th December, 1689, the House of Commons agreed that the Committee for that Bill should be instructed to take care that there be a provision made therein for the Prince and Princess Anne for the said year. (fn. 9) Eight days later in Committee the following debate took place (Grey's Debates, IX, p. 477) :
Friday, December 13th.
Debate On Princess Anne's Revenue, Etc.
Mr. Hawles : Pensions in Henry VII.'s time were granted to the Judges out of the Customs. They were not well paid, and at Black-Fryars they all consulted upon it, and agreed, "That an action at law did lie against the Customers." In Queen Elizabeth's time there was a case of a pension granted to a physician in Edward VI.'s time. They agreed, "That it had a continuance for the doctor's life." When Charles II. was on his death bed, he made grants of settlements of the revenue. I was against such disposal then, and am so now. Let the Princess have her 30,000l. per an. by her patent, not by virtue of that patent, but by gift by Act of Parliament.
Sir John Trevor : As to Sacheverell's opinion, "That the King cannot grant away Aids given in Parliament," I wish it were so, but it has not been so these 4 or 500 years. The Judges of Westminster Hall have still judged it, as in the case of Prizes [Prizage] and Aulnage. Nay, the King has granted Demesnes [Decimas] and Quinzes after the Parliament had granted them to him. By ancient law, the King cannot part with the patrimony of the Crown. Complaint was made in Edward III.'s time that by several Acts lands have been settled in the Crown, yet opinions were strong in Westminster Hall that the King could grant [? such lands]. 1,200,000l. per annum was granted away with a non obstante. It has been complained of in Parliament formerly. I wish it had been considered in the Bill of Rights. Except the Judges will declare, "That the Act of Parliament does bind the King," 'tis but hedging the cuckow. I wish with all my heart you would make it so.
Sir Thomas Lee : I wish the clause singly for the Princess and her only. The same reason for this saving for her is the like for all persons concerned. That which saves her grant, with a great many others, makes her case only for a colour.
Mr. Garroway : Our case is now settling a revenue for the first year. Let the letters patent be what they will, we weaken them not. According to order, the Princess is to be provided for, and if I live so long as to settle the revenue, I would make her's as firm as may be ; but this is only a revenue for her till the King's revenue be settled. Let it be 40,000l. for this year.
Sir Thomas Clarges : I see great matter is made of the consequence of settling this upon the Princess, that it may be a precedent in another place, but when the same case is, I would never deny it. In Parliament it is a constant rule to favour grants from the Crown. In Henry VI. and Edward VI., etc., as before, there were several Acts of Parliament confirming letters patent, and they have always favoured and indulged such grants, and now you will make the Princess the first example of annulling these grants! This grant is but for a year, but if you let this have no continuance it will be hard. The Aulnage is an imposition, so is the Butlerage. But what troubles me most is that this should be made the first step.
Col. Birch : I have waited all this day to see what this debate would tend to. For this noble Princess all agree to a comfortable and noble subsistence. This is neither seasonable nor puts strength to that patent etc. If it be as to the second part, an augmentation, you must time it. I hope the King may be in a better condition (I will not call it "good luck"). Upon the whole, I agree that, as has been moved, we may make such a noble allowance as the times will bear ; but the King's allowance is cut, and cut soundly ; and, though this is the worst timed business that ever was, yet I am for carrying it on. But if you name this patent, as is moved, you will prejudice thousands. Lay aside naming it, and you must do it, and have the patent before you. Name not the patent at all, for you will do more hurt than good by it.
Mr. Finch : I perceive that gentlemen apprehend that a saving of the right of this patent is saving the right of all others ; it is quite contrary, for saving this patent by name leaves all others loose. I must say it is a new question, because it is the first time that it was made a question. If it was never questioned, I hope it is according to law. I remember you have been told of the dismal consequences, "That this would be a leading precedent to provide for all the King's children." The Judges resolved it in the Bankers' case, "That one grant was good, and another naught." It is the first time I have ever heard that case reproached. I remember the whole debate of the Hereditary revenue, Whether that for life ceased? But nobody made a question, Whether the Hereditary revenue ceased? Do you mean to determine a question that no man ever made? In the meantime do no hurt to the patents. Leave them as they were.
Sir Thomas Lee : I remember I heard a learned gentleman, upon occasion of the Bill for Sale of the Fee-Farm Rents, of the King's Council, say, "That the King held them as his Crown, in fee, and could sell them, but purchasers would not come up to the price, without an Act of Parliament." When they come to say how judgments of law have been, let them tell me how long Kings have lived upon their subjects' grants.
Mr. Finch : Lee does refresh my memory. I do remember there was some private opinion that the Hereditary revenue was gone, but it was not the opinion of this House. As for the fee-farm rents, the King could sell them without Act of Parliament, but if the Hereditary revenue ceased, why did you think it a necessity of an Act of Parliament? I think the argument is alike with that and the fee-farm rents.
Four days later, December 17th, the Committee reported its proposal for the suggested provision in the following form as a clause to be appended to the Bill for collecting the public revenue :
"Provided always and be it enacted that nothing in the said Act shall extend to the patent made by King James II. giving to the Prince and Princess of Denmark 30,000l. per an. : but enacts that they are to have 40,000l. more out of the revenue arising by Excise of ale, beer etc., to be paid at the four most usual and quarterly days of payment and their receipt to be a sufficient discharge." (fn. 10)
The debate of the 17th December which led to this report still turned on the same significant constitutional principle.
On The Clause For Saving Princess Anne's Patent Or Grant, Etc. (Grey's Debates, IX, p. 493.)
Mr. Boscawen : I have as high an esteem for the Prince and Princess of Denmark as any man, and I would be understood not to speak with reflection. For the first part of the clause the Committee had no power to confirm the patent. To confirm this, implies a diffidence in the King and Queen. If the Hereditary revenue be not fallen, it is still in being.
Mr. Hampden : Your instruction to the Committee was nothing but "to provide a pension for Princess Anne for a whole year," and this clause is not brought in according to that instruction.
Sir Henry Capel : I hear there is a patent for this pension, but to take notice of it here is an extraordinary thing, and the improperest thing to be joined with this Bill ; it is joining brass to clay, and not justifiable in the nature of it. There is an expression in the paper which is an interdictive to the second clause of the Bill. What authority that honourable Lord (Cornbury) has to bring it in, I know not ; but I am sure he ought to have good warrants. If your hands are tied up to such a clause, where is the money to be received? In the Excise Office? I do not know more Exchequers than one. Have a care : by the course of the government of the Exchequer any man may know what the receipts are, and see how money goes out. At the Excise Office they will not show their books. This may be a countenance to other grants of King James, which, I hope, you will not allow. Upon the whole, I think it much better to lay this aside wholly. I would do that which should express respect and bounty, but this is not a proper time. In this great revolution, this Prince and Princess were great instruments in delivering us from popery and slavery. 'Tis true, we are delivered from popery and slavery here, but there is another kingdom that lies under it. Now everybody, the very farmer, retrenches in his family, and trade is grown low, but when it is a proper time no man shall be more ready to increase the Princess's revenue than myself ; but I do say there may be a time when the hearts of people will go more with such a thing, and, I believe, it will be more acceptable to this Prince and Princess. This is very surprising. As to our constitution of the Exchequer, I would have it be more consonant to the Government, that there may be no gift of money here but to the Crown. Let the preamble mention all respect imaginable, that the arrears may be paid, and address the King for a revenue for the Prince and Princess for this year, such as the King shall judge necessary, this exigency of affairs of the kingdom considered, and hereafter it may be thought of ; and in the meantime address to the King to this purpose.
Mr. Foley : I think here are two exceptions not to be answered. The first is, I think this clause was not brought in according to order. This clause confirms the letters patent to the Princess and the heirs of her body, and that is against the order, the Bill being but temporary. Next, I hope, though the merits of this Princess be great, yet that you will not break orders of Parliament, when the letters patent were never read, which, by this clause, you confirm, whether good or no, and you know nothing that is contained in them.
Sir Thomas Clarges : There is little difference betwixt this Grand Committee and the House, only that in this the Speaker is not in the chair. Your order is "to provide for the Prince and Princess for one whole year," and the patents are confirmed but for a year and no more. I take it this patent was possessed and legally invested in her. But "that, without reading the patents, you cannot confirm them," that is a mistake. In the Parliament of Henry VIII. and Edward VI., where letters patent were granted from such and such a Prince, it is impossible they should be all read. By the Statute for confirmation of all Cathedrals and Colleges, from Henry III.'s time to Henry VIII., they were all confirmed. It is said "that now it is not a seasonable time," but is it not seasonable that the Prince and Princess and the Duke of Gloucester should have meat, drink and cloaths. This revenue is not very extraordinary, considering their quality. We are not to say here "that the King was not consulted in this." I hope it will never be admitted that we should take instructions from the King to pass Bills here. There was 24,000l. a year charged on the Post Office for the Duke of York in lieu of the charge upon the Excise, and the Exchequer never took fee of it. I think this is so just and so honourable to their merits, who forsook all their pomp, father and mother, for our laws and liberties, with their lives too, in this Revolution, that I would agree to the clause.
Mr. Hampden : I think this very hard to pay this 70,000l. this year. In the state you are in it is a very great hardship to the King and kingdom. I shall deal as generously in the offices I am in as any man that would be in office. I meddle not with this patent ; I think it is a good patent, but not regular to confirm it here. You charge this branch of the revenue with this ; will you say the King shall receive for his Civil List the other part? The Queen then has not received this 70,000l. If it be looked into, you shall see what is done. You have granted two shillings per pound etc., and the King has liberty by that Act to take up 300,000l. He has but betwixt this and Saturday next to take it up, and I guess very largely if there be 100,000l., and that is to pay Ireland and Holland and the Army here. How much will be left of your two shillings per pound? The Excise that goes out, suppose, 14,000l. per week, that must go towards paying this. The Customs are 200,000l. per an. less this year than formerly, and here is all to maintain what I have told you. This is a melancholy prospect. I move to have the letters patent recited, and this clause re-committed, and so much as they have by the patent to be received, and no more.
Mr. Ettrick : I know not that the methods of the Exchequer are more broken by this than by privy seals, but the most weighty objection is want of money. As for Capel's joining "brass with clay," I am sorry Capel's opinion is that no part of it is hereditary. We should have gone a little farther had it not been for the necessity, viz., the whole revenue that was formerly the Duke of York's.
Col. Birch : My affections at that time did, in a great measure, captivate my reason. Since that we have had time to sleep, and my affections stand as high as ever they did. As to this patent, the question is whether this debate, as the case stands, is seasonable? I cannot but admire at my own weakness when they all agree (and something gives them cause that I do not see). I would do no prejudice to this patent, but I would augment the Princess's revenue. But can anybody say this is seasonable? Now our condition is low, will this turn to sense, to be so lavish to throw away 40,000l. per an. when the King wants for his and our protection? Is this like to create a good understanding with the King? Give me leave to go a little farther. I would lay aside the whole clause and represent to the King the condition of the Princess. The Duchess of Cleveland had a pension on the Excise. I [as Auditor of the Excise] told her "It could not be, for it was contrary to law, and she must go to the Exchequer." I never made up any account from the Excise but to the Exchequer, neither can I. Our necessities are beyond expression. I cannot answer it but to lay aside this clause, and go to the King etc.
Sir Robert Cotten : This debate is as if 30,000l. would save or lose the kingdom. The Duke of Schomberg was taken notice of in particular, and had 20,000l. paid him for his great generosity in coming over. King James withdrew the Princess's Exhibition [sic? provision] for some time, and now it would be hard to lessen it.
Mr. Hampden, Jun. : For want of union in Royal Families ill men have made use of it, and have either ruined or given a great shake to them. There was a good understanding betwixt Lewis XIII. and his brother, the Duke of Orleans, who had a great appanage. One Abbot Rivier was about the Duke of Orleans. What use made they of this? It proved the effusion of a great deal of blood in France. This King of France (a great politician) never gave his brother such a revenue, but a dependent revenue, and he has lived well and easily with him, but dependent upon him. I know no other way but to compare the past with the present. We know how in England the contest was kept up between the Houses of York and Lancaster. The Princess has contributed very much to this Revolution ; therefore I would put no difference in the Royal Family. There was a motion, "That the Queen might have 100,000l. per an. distinct from the King," but the Queen was willing to be without it. This Queen's revenue is anticipated, and yet she sits still without this. The Duke of Schomberg had a considerable sum given him, and do you think that the King and the Queen will not have more affection for their sister than for Duke Schomberg? I would lay aside the clause.
Mr. Solicitor Somers : The proviso is of two parts, one to confirm letters patent, and the other for an additional revenue for the Princess. It is said, "It was never the intention of the House that the letters patent should be declared good, and therefore not to be considered." If they were not referred to the Committee, no notice can be taken of them. I have heard of an attaint and men never answered to it, condemned unheard, and so of patents. I have heard the patents read, and I believe if they had been settled in the name of another man they would have been much more for their advantage and satisfaction. Therefore that is one reason why I would not read them. It has been said, "We are not to ask the King's mind what to do here," but if any man take upon him to say, "It is the King's mind," we ought to enquire whether it be true. We have messages from the King on other occasions, and why not on this? In the case of the Duke of York's grant etc., there was a contract brought into the House betwixt the King and the Duke. No man can more honour the Prince and Princess, or is more highly sensible of her quitting her King and father than I, when I consider she had heard so much of Divine right from the clergy. Granting a revenue, by Act of Parliament, to a subject is always dangerous in this House. Though that of the King and the Duke was a contract expressly recited, "such letters patent as the King should hereafter grant," yet it gave power in the Act to the King to make that settlement, and, I hope, it will be always done with the same security to the King and satisfaction to the people. Here is a necessity of providing for the Royal Family. The Crown has always taken care of the several branches of it, by offices etc., and nothing can make all the Royal branches depend upon the Royal Family more. The King must retrench, and [yet here is] so large a proportion to one of the Royal Family. I hope the Princess may have many Dukes, a large and a numerous issue, and that a revenue may be provided for them, but for so large a revenue to be granted now, by the precedent of the Duke of York, is of dangerous consequence, and was the beginning of our miseries that we afterwards felt.
Sir Edward Seymour : I wonder now, and it is matter of surprise to me, not to agree with the Committee. The objection is the irregularity of the proviso. I say it is regular, and, if it was otherwise, it is irregular. How can we provide for the Princess and leave the patent doubtful? It is objected "It was never known that a patent was confirmed and never read." It was offered to be read, and now made use of as if he had an Act of Parliament for it, and it tumbled down the stairs. If you will lay the Act of Parliament, in the Excise, a good payment, without the Exchequer, it is good, and they dare not deny the payment. Having gone thus far, I have one argument that if those who have done and suffered so much for the Protestant religion shall not have marks of your favour, I hope they shall of your justice.
Mr. Hampden, Jun. : I think Seymour has spent so much time in the West (he had been long absent), and as Speaker of the House, that he has not had time to read history.
Sir Edward Seymour : At least, I hope to make better use of what I have read than that gentleman.
Mr. Finch : If the Duke of York, the Heir Presumptive of the Crown, engaged in an interest against the kingdom, should have such a grant, sure that has greater force when persons support your laws and liberties. Which way should the provision have been brought in? Will you include or exclude these patents? If you exclude the patent, you must mention the patent. It was said, "If they are not good, you ought to make them good by law," and I desire this law may do it. It is said to be "of dangerous consequence to provide for the King's children." If the Parliament will not, and the King cannot, how shall they be provided for?
Mr. Hawles : When Charles V. in his will gave great portions to his children, Cardinal Guimeni said, "If you provide thus, your son may set up for himself."
Mr. Godolphin : I am agreeing for the proviso. It is said, "This is not agreeable to your order." By rule when you grant money you are to go into a Committee of the whole House ; and that is an objection against the whole Bill. The method proposed the last Session was part of the revenue for life and part for years. I am sorry that was not then complied with, which will be looked on oddly abroad by your Allies. Will they be with you for your revenue for a year, and no longer? The greatest part of disturbance is usually for persons not at their ease. Let the Princess be at ease. I believe the King will not give so great a sum as this, but at the recommendation of this House.
Mr. Attorney Treby : I would leave this to farther consideration, and recommit it. I find gentlemen in the fashion, making confession of their faith. When the rights of Monarchy are invaded, and the rights of the people, I think not fit for this company. If I call the Princess's virtues apostolical, I am not amiss. She left her father, her beloved mother, and dear half brother for the Protestant religion. This may tend to lay a foundation of distrust between the King and the Princess, and then that shakes what we must all be safe in. Under colour of a year's revenue by this you bring in a clause of perpetuity. I think the patent not invalidated by leaving out this clause.
Mr. Comptroller Wharton : What is orderly is not against the order of the House, but the orders of the Court! (said by Lord Falkland). I was never ordered by the Court, and never will be.
Lord Falkland : I did not say "anybody was ordered by the Court," but "If as agreeable to the orders of the House, as to the orders of the Court, you had not had this debate." I meant the order of "the Exchequer Court."
Mr. Garroway : If it were possible, I would have no question. The King will hear what we do. I fear a question may make divisions. Hereafter the King will take care of the Princess, and pray adjourn the debate.
As the suggested clause did not please the House it was referred back to the Grand Committee, and on the following day, December 18th, quite a different attitude was adopted. The patent of James II. was declared to remain in full force, nothing in the Act extending either to confirming or the invalidating thereof, and accordingly a new form of proviso as follows was adopted in place of the first draft clause above, and at the same time it was ordered that an humble address be made to the King that he be pleased to make a provision for the Prince and Princess Anne of Denmark of 50,000l. in the whole for the year beginning at Christmas next :
"Provided always and be it enacted that nothing in this Act contained shall extend or be construed any way to extend to the confirming or invalidating certain letters patents bearing date the 20th day of February in the second year of the reign of the late King James II. and granted by the said late King to the Right Honourable Henry, Earl of Clarendon, Laurence, Earl of Rochester, and others in trust for the Prince and Princess of Denmark containing a grant of the yearly sum of 30,000l. issuing out of certain revenues therein mentioned : but that the same shall be continued and remain in as full force and in the same state and condition as they were before the making of this Act and no other ; anything herein to the contrary notwithstanding.
"Resolved that an humble address be made to his Majesty that he will be pleased to make a provision for the Prince and Princess Ann of Denmark of 50,000l. in the whole for the year beginning at Christmas next." (Commons Journals, Vol. X, p. 312.)
The debate which preceded this resolution was as follows, Grey's Debates, IX, p. 500 :
Wednesday, December 18th.
In A Grand Committee. On The Recommitment Of The Bill For The Revenue.
Col. Birch : I conceive you have order to debate, or lay aside, the whole clause relating to the Princess. I think it is far better to debate the whole clause. It will prevent loss of time and misunderstanding. There may be honour to the Princess and no benefit. Let gentlemen consider the scope of the debate yesterday, viz. "That it may be with honour to the King, and a noble subsistence for the Princess." I would rather lay it aside or make an humble address to the King that her arrears may be paid, and a continuation of her pension.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I think Birch has misled you ; to debate it paragraph by paragraph is the usual method. Two have relation to one another, the others are distinct and have none. Debates move regular if they are kept to the strict proposition. For that which relates to other patents it does not strengthen them, but rather weakens them, this patent being directly named, and no more confirmed. In private Bills, you admit of saving rights, and much more should in this.
Sir William Leveson Gower : I move that you will confirm the patent, in consideration of the treaty between the two Crowns of England and Denmark, for provision of younger children. Here is but 30,000l. per an. on this consideration. The Duke of Schomberg is General and General of the Ordnance, the best places in England. I grudge them not the Duke, but shall we not confirm, now we have 10,000 Danes sent over to fight for us? I would know whether it was agreed that this patent should be confirmed by Act of Parliament? I suppose when the Articles of Marriage were made they intended to rely upon the King and the patent ; and I think it is as much reason now to do it, and they may have as good effect of it. It cannot be supposed but that the Princess may have better effect of this patent, now she is of the same religion with her sister than when she was of a different religion from her father. When you settle the King's revenue it will be the proper consideration that she have subsistence for a year. I desire that it may run plain, free and clear that it may last no longer than that term ; it is in proportion what you intend for either King or Queen. I move, "That you will order the Committee to draw up a clause, or by address to the King, that this allowance to the Princess may be free and clear in such proportion as large as it can go, for this year, the condition of the kingdom considered."
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I am not for putting the patent in better condition than it was before nor worse. If it be the same as it was before I am not against it.
Mr. Garroway : I am one of those that would have the patent no better and no worse. I desire only a saving the patent, and I shall offer some words to it, viz. "that the patent remain in as full force as it was before notwithstanding this Act."
Sir Thomas Clarges : Since the Treasury may be streightened by this proviso, as it is apprehended, I do not believe this revenue was in the Crown in 1688 ; and since it is said not to be in the [marriage] treaty I hope they may provide for themselves by proviso as in Private Acts. These are letters patent upon valuable considerations. I know a clause in an Act of Parliament may take away the benefit of any [patent under the] great seal. These patents are said to be "a perpetuity" and I think this clause offered is a reasonable clause. Though the King has taken great care of the Princess, yet others have not. She has not yet had Michaelmas quarter and now it is within ten days of Christmas.
Mr. Sacheverell : I am surprised at what I heard this morning. Here are words offered neither to confirm nor invalidate the patent. It is said by another "he would confirm the patent," but that is more than you intend ; therefore it is necessary to know the next clause, what this is that gentlemen talk of a saving. If there be a good title to these patents I cannot agree to confirming them and there is no need of that nor the other. Let me know whether we shall confirm or not confirm them.
Sir Henry Goodricke : I am against the salvo of marriage consideration, but if to be left in the state you found it in what is the meaning of the saving? There is something in the grass. There are certain persons put in [as] trustees for this patent that are under illegal capacities, not qualified by the Test ; there is one that is abroad (Lord Sunderland) especially. Will you put them in a capacity of this trust? I am not willing they should be taken notice of. If this contract of marriage be allowed by you every Prince that treats marriage with you will have it, as at Paris, registered in the Court of Parliament. By this you will put the Crown upon hardships.
Mr. Finch : I perceive it is everybody's opinion to do no advantage or disadvantage to the patents. All men are of opinion that this clause will do no hurt. If any of these trustees are in an incapacity, the others being not, you confirm such only as are capable by law. If trustees are attainted it voids their trust, but it invalidates not the rest.
Sir William Williams : I am clearly for saving the right of the patents : and let them stand or fall upon their own bottom. There may be a jealousy, but I suppose the design is that the collection of the revenue shall not hinder the patent from its vigour and strength. I would postpone this clause.
Sir Thomas Lee : According to the true rules of order you are out of the way. I take it when it is recommitted it is as when first brought to the Committee. After all of it is gone over gentlemen may present a clause.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I think you have nothing committed to you but the clause. I move to have it postponed.
Sir Thomas Lee : I will only justify point of order. Why was it recommitted? It was because it went farther than the House ordered.
Sir William Williams : The clause provides more for the Princess than for the King. Therefore I would lay it aside.
Sir William Leveson Gower : I offer these words [as an addition] to the clause "that whereas the Prince and Princess have been highly instrumental in this happy Revolution the sum of ... be given them etc."
Sir Thomas Lee : I think an address to the King as strong as anything you have had proposed, but to enact this clause is not leaving it to the King. He must do it or part with the Bill. In the case of the Duke of York that was mentioned, the Commons did not grant it to him, but desired the King to confirm such letters patent. Pray look over that grant and make it so as that the King makes the grant.
Mr. Garroway : I would have the clause run in this Bill "that the King would order so much money as we shall name in this House." Such a clause I think as obligatory as an enacting clause. Again I would name a sum that the Prince and Princess may have so much for this year, that the King may be enabled to appoint that sum you shall name, by quarterly payments.
Mr. Comptroller Wharton : I am sorry for the debates and heats yesterday. I feared an ill consequence : but I hope there will be none to-day. As for the motion I made I have not been at the Court of Exchequer nor Court at Kensington for it, but I heard the King say "he would be content the Prince and Princess should have an allowance for their subsistence." And I move for an address accordingly. I have no orders to propose it ; but as from myself I move "that they may have the addition of 20,000l. per an."
Resolved that an humble address be made to his Majesty that he will be pleased to make a provision for the Prince and Princess Anne of Denmark of 50,000l. [in the whole for the year] beginning at Christmas next.
The Act here referred to (1 William and Mary, Sess. 2, c. 3, for preventing all doubts and questions concerning the collecting the public revenue) will be found discussed, supra, p. lix, in its bearing on the larger constitutional question of annual voting of supply. In the present connection it is only necessary to note that when the Act finally passed all reference to this proposed increase of the Princess Anne's dowry disappeared, and all that survived was a proviso that nothing in the Act should invalidate the patent of James II. in favour of the Princess, but that same should remain in force. The address itself (desiring the King to make a provision of 50,000l. a year in the whole) was voted separately on the 21st December and the full text of it is entered in the Journals. It was presented on the 23rd December. (fn. 11)
Thus the House had in the finish returned not merely to a proper sense of good taste and decorum, but to the only possible constitutional procedure as known or conceived at the end of the 17th century. The matter was recognised as one of the royal prerogative and was left to the will of the King. And it was in this spirit that the King concluded the transaction. Treating it as a private or domestic matter within his own disposition, he signed a warrant on the 11th February following, 1689-90, for a privy seal for an additional 20,000l. per an. to the Prince and Princess, making their total income 50,000l. per an. as from Christmas, 1689. It is noticeable by the way that the King took this action two months and more before the passing of the Bill on April 23rd following (2 William and Mary, Sess. 2, c. 3), which conferred upon the Crown the Temporary Excisewhich was the fund to be charged for the said annuity. William's procedure is entirely that of a royal grant made purely as a matter of prerogative. The only concession which he made was that in the preamble of the privy seal he inserted a clause declaring that the grant was pursuant to an address of the late House of Commons. Further than this, the King reserved to himself the right of deciding how the grant should be paid. For it will be found that some six years later on the occasion of the deliberations as to a list of reductions of the Civil List, the King directed that "the 50,000l. for the Princess must not be in this list, for she must be paid out of the Excise itself (and not loans) according to her patent."