The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1660-1680. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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The Tenth Session of the Second Parliament.
On the 14th Day of February, the Parliament met again after a short Recess of not above two Months, and three Days; when his Majesty, having been attended to the House with the additional Pomp of his new Guards, made the following Speech from the Throne.
The King's Speech to both Houses.
'I Sent forth my Proclamation that there might be a good Appearance at this Meeting, having most Confidence in Full Houses, where the Well-being of the Church, and all other Interests of the Crown and Nation are best secured. When we last met, I asked you a Supply, and I ask it now again with greater Instance; the Uneasiness and Straitness of my Affairs cannot continue without very ill Effects to the whole Kingdom: Consider this seriously and speedily; it is yours and the Kingdom's Interest as well as mine; and the ill Consequence of a Want of an effectual Supply must not lie at my door. And that no Misapprehensions or Mistakes touching the Expences of the last War may remain with you, I think fit to let you know, That I have fully inform'd myself in that Matter, and do affirm to you, that no part of those Moneys that you gave to me, have been diverted to other Uses; but on the contrary, besides all those Supplies, a very great Sum hath been raised out of my standing Revenue and Credit, and a very great Debt contracted, and all for the War. One thing I must earnestly recommend to the Prudence of both Houses, That you will not suffer any Occasion of difference between your selves to be reviv'd; since nothing but the Unity of your Minds and Counsels can make this Meeting happy either to me or to the Nation. I did recommend to you, at our last Meeting, the Union of the two Kingdoms; and I did the same to my Parliament in Scotland; they have made a great Step towards it; and I do again seriously recommend that Matter to you. I have directed my Lord Keeper to speak more at large to you.'
The Lord Keeper's Speech.
Accordingly the Lord Keeper Bridgeman spoke as follows. 'My Lords, and you Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, At your last Meeting, his Majesty did acquaint you with the great Occasions he had for a Supply, and that he had forborn to ask it sooner, more in Consideration of giving some Time, for the Ease of the People after the Burden of the War, than that the Condition of his Affairs cou'd so long have wanted it: And his Majesty hath commanded me now to speak more fully and plainly upon this Subject. His Majesty hath not only by his Ministers, but in his own Royal Person examin'd the Accounts, touching the Expences of the last War, and hath thought himself concern'd to let you know, that all the Supplies which you gave him for the War, have been by him apply'd to the War, and no Part of them to any other Uses: Nay, so far from it, that if the Preparations towards the War shall be taken to be for the Use of the War, as they must be, a great Part of his own Revenue, to many hundred thousands of Pounds, hath been employ'd also, and swallow'd up in the Charge of the War, and what did necessarily relate to it. To which may be added the great Debts contracted by his Majesty in the War, and the great Charges in the Repairs of the Hulls of his Ships, and putting his Navy into such a Condition as it was before. Besides, his Majesty thinks it ought to be consider'd, that when the Charges of the War were at the highest, the inevitable Effects of it, and those other Calamities, which it pleas'd God at that time to bring upon us, did make so great a Diminution of his Revenues, that, besides all other Accidents and Disadvantages, the Loss that he sustain'd in Three Branches of his Revenue, in his Customs, Excise, and Hearth-Money, by reason of the War, the Plague, and the Fire, did amount to little less than to six hundred thousand Pounds. Thus you see, that tho' your Supplies have been great, yet the Charges occasion'd by the War, and the Calamities which accompany'd it, have been greater: And that the Debt which is left upon his Majesty, and which he complains of, hath been contracted by the War, and not by the Diversion of the Monies design'd for it.'
'His Majesty hath commanded me to say one Thing more to you upon this Subject, That he did not enter into the War upon any private Inclination or Appetite of his own. The first step he made towards it, did arise from your Advice, and the Promises of your Assistance: But if the Charges and Accidents of the War have outgone all your Supplies, and left him under the Burden of this Debt, he thinks that as well the Justice to your Promise, as the Duty and Loyalty you have always shew'd him, will oblige you to relieve him from it; and the rather, when you shall seriously consider, how uneafy this Burden must be to him, and what ill Consequences the Continuance under it must draw upon all his Affairs; in which Particular, you, and every Person you represent in this Nation, will be concern'd, as well as himself. His Majesty doth therefore command me in his Name, to desire you once more, and to conjure you, by that constant Duty and Loyalty which you have always express'd to him, and by all the Concernment you have for the Support of the Honour and Safety of his Government, to provide such a Supply for him at this Time, as may bear Proportion to the pressing Occasions that he hath, and to the State of his Affairs at home and abroad; and so speedily and so effectually, as may answer the Ends for which he hath desired it. His Majesty hath farther commanded me to put you in mind of what was at your last Meeting propos'd to you, concerning an Union between the two Kingdoms, and to let you know, that the Parliament of Scotland hath since declar'd to his Majesty, That such Commissioners as his Majesty shall name, shall be authoriz'd on their Part, to treat with Commissioners for this Kingdom, upon the Grounds and Conditions of the Union. His Majesty therefore thought fit now again to recommend it to you, to take that Matter effectually into your Consideration.'
During this short Session of Parliament, which lasted but a little above seven Weeks, four Things were chiefly in Debate and Agitation, namely, the unhappy Difference between the two Houses, the Prosecution of the Dissenters, the Union of the two Kingdoms, and the Supplies for his Majesty's Service. The first being reviv'd to such a Degree as might hazard the Success of the last, the King himself thought fit to interpose, and to make a Proposition of an Expedient; which, after eight Days sitting, he did to both Houses summon'd to Whitehall, in this following short Speech:
The King's Proposals to both Houses, in the affair of Skinner.
I Did very earnestly recommend to you the other day, That you wou'd not suffer any Differences between yourselves to be reviv'd; and I think it of so great Importance, that I have sent for you again upon the same Subject. I remember very well, that the Case of Skinner was first sent by me to the Lords. I have therefore thought myself concern'd to offer to you what I judge the best and safest way to put an end to the Differences: I will myself give present Order to raze all Records and Entries of this Matter in the Council Books, and in the Exchequer, and to desire you to do the like in both Houses, that no Memory may remain of this Dispute between you; and then I hope all future Apprehensions will be secured.'
It is accepted of.
This had such an Effect upon the House of Commons, who thought themselves the only Persons aggriev'd, that they immediately resolv'd, 'That in obedience to his Majesty's Command in his Speech, a Razure or Vacate be made in the Journal of the House of all the Matters therein contain'd, relating to the Business of the East-India Company and Skinner' Which was not only done, but they further Resolv'd, 'That the Humble Thanks of this House be return'd to his Majesty, in the Name of this House, and of all the Commons of England, for his Majesty's gracious Speech, and Favour therein express'd to this House, and the Commons of England.'
Resolutions against Dissenters.
This Point thus obtained, and several Informations having been preser'd to the House against the Meetings of Dissenters, especially one in the West, where it was said treasonable Words were spoke; they resolved, 'That the Thanks of this House be return'd to his Majesty, for his Care in giving Order to bring the Offenders to Justice; And that his Majesty would be pleas'd to consider the Danger of Conventicles in and near London and Westminster, from the Nature of those further Offenders, and to give Order for the speedy suppressing them: And likewise, that his Majesty wou'd give Order to put the Laws in execution against Popish Recusants; and that leave be given to bring in a Bill for the more easy and speedy Conviction of Popish Recusants.' In this Vote the Lords unanimously join'd; and accordingly, on the 11th of March, they attended the King in the Banquetting-House with the said Vote and Desire, who was pleas'd to declare, That effectual Course shou'd be taken in both Cases.
Several Acts passed. ; The Parliament breaks up.
After this they proceeded with great Expedition, and several Bills being got ready, on the 11th of April, his Majesty came to the House of Peers, and pass'd these following Bills. 1. An Act for granting his Majesty an Imposition upon all Wines and Vinegar imported between June 1670, and June 1678. 2. An Act for taking away the Benefit of the Clergy from such as steal Cloth from Racks, and such as shall steal or imbezzle his Majesty's Ammunition and Stores. 3. An Act for Improvement of Tillage, and the Breed of Cattle. 4. An Act for ascertaining the Measures of Corn and Salt. 5. An Act for the Repairing the Haven and Peers of Great Yarmouth. 6. An additional Act for the better repairing of High-Ways and Bridges. 7. An Act for the Advancing the Sale of his Majesty's Fee-Farm Rents, and other Rents. 8. An Act to suppress and prevent seditious Conventicles. 9. An Act for settling the Imposition upon Brandy. 10. An Act for authorizing several Commissioners of the Realm of England, to treat with Commissioners of Scotland, for the Weal of both Kingdoms. 11. An additional Act for Rebuilding of the City of London, Uniting of Parishes, and Rebuilding of the Cathedral and Parochial Churches within the said City. 12. An Act to enable his Majesty to make Leases, Grants, and Copies of Offices, Lands, Tenements and Hereditaments, Parcel of his Highness's Dutchy of Cornwall, or annex'd to the same. Upon passing these Acts, his Majesty declar'd that it was his Pleasure that the Parliament shou'd be only adjourn'd, and that to the 24th Day of October; and thus the Tenth Session of this Parliament broke up, after it had sate a little above seven Weeks.
The Lord-Keeper's Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords, and you the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the House of Commons, When the two Houses were last adjourn'd, this Day, as you know, was prefix'd for our Meeting again; the Proclamation since issu'd, requiring all your Attendance at the same Time, shewing not only his Majesty's Belief that his Business will thrive best when the Houses are fullest, but the importance also of the Affairs, for which you are so called; and Important they are. You cannot be ignorant of the great Forces, both for Land and Sea-Service, which our Neighbours of France and the LowCountries have new raised, and have now in actual Pay, nor of the great Preparations they continue to make in Levying of Men, Building of Ships, filling their Magazines and Stores with immense Quantities of all sorts of warlike Provisions. Since the Beginning of the last Dutch War, the French have increas'd the Greatness and Number of their Ships so much, that their Strength by Sea is thrice as much as it was before. And, since the End of it, the Dutch have been very diligent also in augmenting their Fleets. In this Conjuncture, when our Neighbours arm so potently, even common Prudence requires that his Majesty should make some suitable Preparations; that he may at least keep pace with his Neighbours, if not out go them in Number and Strength of Shipping. For this being an Island, both our Safety, our Trade, our Being, and our Well-being depend upon our Forces at Sea. His Majesty therefore, of his princely Care for the Good of his People, hath given order for the Fitting out fifty Sail of the greatest Ships, against the Spring, besides those which are to be for Security of our Merchants in the Mediterranean; as foreseeing, if he should not have a considerable Fleet, while his Neighbours have such Forces both at Land and Sea, Temptation might be given to those who seem not now to intend it, to give us an Affront, at least, if not to do us Mischief. To which may be added, That his Majesty, by the Leagues he hath made for the common Peace of Christendom, and the Good of his Kingdoms, is oblig'd to a certain Number of Forces, in case of Infraction thereof; as also for the Assistance of some of his Neighbours, in case of Invasion. And his Majesty would be in a very ill Condition to perform his Part of the Leagues, if (while the Clouds are gathering so thick about us) he should, in hopes that the Wind would disperse them, omit to provide against the Storm.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, Having nam'd the Leagues made by his Majesty, I think it necessary to put you in mind, That, since the Close of the late War, his Majesty hath made several Leagues, to his own Honour, and infinite Advantage to the Nation: One, known by the Name of the Triple Alliance, wherein is Majesty, the Crown of Sweden, and the States of the United Provinces, are engag'd to preserve the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, concerning a Peace between the two warring Princes; which Peace produc'd that Effect, That it quench'd the Fire which was ready to have set all Christendom in a Flame; and besides other great Benefits by it, which she still enjoys, gave Opportunity to transmit those Forces against the Infidels, which would otherwise have been imbrued in Christian Blood. Another, between his Majesty and the said States for a mutual Assistance with a certain Number of Men and Ships, in case of Invasion by any others, Another, between his Majesty and the Duke of Savoy, establishing a free Trade for his Majesty's Subjects at Villa Franca, a Port of his own upon the Mediterranean, and through the Dominions of that Prince, and thereby opening a Passage to a rich Part of Italy, and a Part of Germany, which will be of a very great Advantage for the Vending of Cloth, and other our home Commodities, bringing back Silk, and other Materials for Manufactures here. Another, between his Majesty and the King of Denmark, whereby those other Impositions that were lately laid upon our Trade there, are taken off, and as great Privileges granted to our Merchants, as ever they had in former Times, or as the Subjects of any other Prince or State do now enjoy. Another, upon a Treaty of Commerce with Spain, whereby there is not only a Cession and giving up to his Majesty of all their Pretensions to Jamaica, and other Islands and Countries in the West-Indies, in the Possession of his Majesty or his Subjects, but withal, free Liberty is given to his Majesty's Subjects to enter their Ports for Victuals and Water, and Safety of Harbour, and Return, if Storm or other Accidents bring them thither; Privileges which were never before granted by them to the English or any others. Not to mention the Leagues formerly made with Sweden and Portugal, and the Advantages which we enjoy thereby; nor those Treaties now depending between his Majesty and France, or his Majesty and the States of the United Provinces touching Commerce; wherein his Majesty will have a singular Regard to the Honour of this Nation, and also to the Trade of it, which never was greater than now it is. In a word, almost all the Princes of Europe do seek his Majesty's Friendship, as acknowledging they cannot secure, much less improve their present Condition without it.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, His Majesty is consident that you will not be contented to see him depriv'd of all the Advantages which he might procure hereby to his own Kingdoms, nay, even to all Christendom, in the Repose and Quiet of it. That you will not be content alone to see your Neighbours strengthening themselves in Shipping, so much more than they were before, and at home to see the Government struggling every Year with Difficulties; and not able to keep up our Navies equal with theirs. He finds, that by his Accounts from the Year 1660, to the late War, the ordinary Charge of the Fleet, communibus Annis, came to about five hundred thousand Pounds a Year, and it cannot be supported with less. If that Particular alone takes up so much, add to it the other constant Charges of the Government, and the Revenue (although the Commissioners of the Treasury have manag'd it with all imaginable Thrift) will in no degree suffice to take off the Debts due upon Interest, much Iess give him a Fund for the setting out of this Fleet, which, by common Estimation thereof, cannot cost less than eight hundred thousand Pounds. His Majesty in his most gracious Speech hath express'd the great Sense he hath of your Zeal and Affection for him, and as he will ever retain a grateful Memory of your former Readiness to supply him in all Exigencies, so he doth with particular Thanks acknowledge your frank and chearful Gift of the new Duty upon Wines, at your last Meeting: But the same is likely to fall very short in Value of what it was conceiv'd to be worth; and should it have answer'd Expectation, yet far too short to ease and help him upon these Occasions. And therefore such a Supply as may enable him to take off his Debts upon Interest, and to set out this Fleet against the Spring, is that which he desires from you, and recommends it to you, as that which concerns the Honour and Support of the Government, and the Welfare and Safety of yourselves, and the whole Kingdom. Now, my Lords and Gentlemen, you may perceive by what his Majesty hath already said, that he holds it requisite that an End be put to this Meeting before Christmas. It is so, not only in reference to the Preparation for the Fleet, which must be in Readiness in the Spring, but also to the Season of the Year. It is a Time when you would be willing to be in your Countries, and your Neighbours would be glad to see you there, and partake of your Hospitality and Charity; and you thereby indear yourselves to them, and keep up that Iuterest and Power among them, which is necessary for the Service of your King and Country: And a Recess at that Time, leaving your Busine's unfinish'd till your Return, cannot either be convenient for you, or suitable to the Condition of his Majesty's Affairs, which requires your speedy as well as affectionate Consideration.'
Several Money Bills in Agitation.
This Speech produced a Vote from the House, 'That his Majesty should be supply'd proportionably to his present Occasions.' Accordingly they went upon Ways and Means of all Sorts, and in a short time began to form three several Money Bills; the First was for raising eight hundred thousand Pounds by way of Subsidies upon Real and personal Estates: The Second was an additional Excise upon Beer, Ale, &c. for six Years; and the last was for laying Impositions on Proceedings at Law, which was to continue nine Years. While these things were in agitation, Sir Samuel Sterling the late Lord Mayor, Sir Joseph Sheldon, Sir Andrew King, and others of the Lieutenancy, having committed Mr. Hayes, and Mr. Jekell, for attempting to bribe the Magistrates in Case of the Act against Conventicles; the Matter was brought before the House of Commons, and being debated, it was thus Resolv'd; 'That this House doth give Approbation to what was done by the late Lord-Mayor, Sir Samuel Sterling, and the Lieutenancy of London, in committing Mr. Hayes and Mr. Jekell; and that it was done in order to the Preservation of the King, and Peace of the Kingdom.' Notwithstanding this Vote, Mr. Jekell soon after ventur'd to sue Sir Andrew King at Law; of which Information being given to the Commons, they fell into a heat, and Resolv'd, 'That Mr. Jekell be sent for in the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, to answer his Contempt in prosecuting his Suit at Law against Sir Andrew King, after the Vote of this House, whereby it was declared, That the Commitment of the said Mr. Jekell was in order to the Preservation of the King, and Peace of the Kingdom.' And further, they order'd Mr. Burton, Counsel for Mr. Jekell, and Mr. Ogden his Attorney, to be likewise sent for in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, for their Contempt in moving and acting for Mr. Jekell, after the fore-mention'd Vote: But were afterwards on their Submission discharg'd.
The House adjourn'd. ; Sir John Coventry's Nose cut. ; The Tenth Session continu'd. ; Coventry's Act pass'd.
The House afterwards adjourn'd for a Month, in which Interval, Sir John Coventry, a leading Member, had his Nose cut, as' tis said, by order from Court, on this Occasion. In the Debate on the Supply, a Motion was made for laying a Tax on Play-houses, which was oppos'd by the Courtiers, who gave for a Reason, That the Players were the King's Servants, and a Part of his Pleasure. To this Sir John, by way of Reply, ask'd, If the King's Pleasure lay among the Men or Women Players? This Violence committed on a Member, as suppos'd, for what was spoken within doors, brought the House together in ill Humour, at the latter End of January: And so far did they carry their Resentment, that they declin'd all other Affairs till they had pass'd a Bill against those who were the Authors or Actors of the Villany. Accordingly they drew up a Bill, in which they made the Criminals incapable of any Pardon but by particular Act of Parliament, and made it Death for the future for any Man maliciously to disable or dismember another, to put out an Eye, to cut off a Nose or Lip, &c. and concluded all with one peculiar Clause, 'That his Majesty's royal Assent to this Bill should not determine this Session of Parliament.' This was afterwards commonly call'd by the Name of Coventry's Act; which being sent up to the Lords, his Majesty soon after, on the 14th of February, sent a Message by Mr. Secretary Trevor to acquaint them, 'That his Majesty was inform'd, that there had some Bills pass'd both Houses, and that there were others depending near their dispatch, which he desir'd them to hasten, especially those for his Supply: And lest they should not be ready for his Assent by the 22d of this Instant February, he had given Order for the Adjourning of the Session until the 10th of March next.
The Address of both Houses against Popery.
But notwithstanding this Message, they proceeded to other Matters as well as the Supplies, and in particular drew up the following remarkable Address against Popery, in which the Lords afterwards join'd: 'May it please your most Excellent Majesty, We your Majesty's most humble and loyal Subjects, the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament, being sensible of your Majesty's Constancy to the Protestant Religion, both at home and abroad, hold ourselves bound in Conscience and Duty to represent to your Majesty the Causes of the dangerous Growth of Popery in your Majesty's Dominions, the ill Consequence whereof we heartily desire may be prevented. And therefore what we humbly conceive to be some present Remedies for the said growing Mischiefs, we have hereunto added in our most humble Petitions:
Causes of the Growth of Popery
'That there are great Numbers of Priests and Jesuits frequenting the Cities of London and Westminster, and most of the Counties of this Kingdom, more than formerly, seducing your Majesty's good Subjects. 2. That there are several Chapels and Places used for saying of Mass in the great Towns, and many other Parts of the Kingdom, besides those in Embassadors Houses, whither great Numbers of your Majesty's Subjects constantly resort and repair without Controll: And especially in the Cities of London and Westminster, contrary to the Laws Established. 3. That there are Fraternities or Convents of English Popish Priests and Jesuits at St James's, and at the Combe in Herefordshire, and other Parts of the Kingdom; besides, several Schools are kept in divers Parts of the Kingdom for the corrupt Educating of Youth in the Principles of Popery. 4. The common and public selling of popish Catechisms, and other seditious Books, even in the Time of Parliament. 5. The general Reinissness of the Magistrates and other Officers, Clerks of the Assize, and Clerks of the Peace, in not Convicting of Papists according to Law. 6. That suspected Rccusants are free from all Offices chargeable and troublesome, and do enjoy the Advantage of Offices and Places beneficial; executed either by themselves, or Persons entrusted for them. 7. That the Advowsance of Churches, and Presentations to Livings are dispos'd by Popish Recusants, or by others entrusted by them as they direct; whereby most of those Livings and Benefices are fill'd with scandalous and unsit Ministers. 8. That many Persons take the Liberty to send their Children beyond the Seas to be educated in the popish Religion; and that several young Persons are sent beyond the Seas, upon the Notion of their better Education, under Tutors and Guardians who are not put to take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and usually corrupt the Youth under their Tuition, into Popery. 9. That there have been few Exchequer Processes issu'd forth since the Act of Parliament against Popish Recusants Convict, tho' many have been certify'd thither. 10. The great Insolencies of Papists in Ireland (where do publicly appear Archbishops and Bishops reputed to be made so by the Pope, in opposition to those made under his Majesty's Authority, according to the Religion establish'd in England and Ireland) and the open Exercise of Mass in Dublin, and other Parts of that Kingdom, is further a great Cause of the present Growth of Popery. That Peter Talbot, the Reputed Archbishop of Dublin, was publicly Consecrated so at Antwerp with great Solemnity; from whence he came to London, where he exercis'd his Function; and was all along in his Journey to Chester treated with the Character of his Grace by the Popish Recusants whom he visited: And at his landing at Dublin was receiv'd with very great Solemnity by those of the Popish Religion there, where also he exercis'd his Function publicly, great Multitudes then flocking to him, and still continue to do the same. His present Residence is within three Miles of Dublin, at his Brother's, Colonel Richard Talbot's, who is now here solliciting your Majesty as public Agent on the Behalf of the Irish Papists of that Kingdom.
Remedies against these growing Mischiefs
'We the Lords and Commons assembled in this present Parliament, do in all Humility represent unto your sacred Majesty in these our Petitions following; 1. That your Majesty by your Proclamation wou'd be most graciously pleas'd to Command, that all Popish Priests and Jesuits do depart this Realm, and all other your Majesty's Dominions, on or before a short Day to be prefix'd, at their Perils; except only such Foreign Priests as attend her Majesty's Person by the Contract of Marriage, and Ambassadors, according to the Law of Nations: And that all Judges, &c. do cause the Laws now in force against Popish Recusants Convict, to be put in due Execution: And in the first place, for the speedy convicting such Popish Recusants, that all Judges and Justices aforesaid do strictly give the said Laws in Charge unto the Juries at all Assizes and Sessions, under the Penalty of incurring your Majesty's highest Displeasure. 2. That your Majesty wou'd be pleas'd to restrain and hinder the great Concourse of your Native Subjects from hearing of Mass, and other Exercises of the Romish Religion, in the Houses of Foreign Ambassadors or Agents, and in all other Chapels and Places of this Kingdom. 3. That your Majesty wou'd be pleas'd to take care, and cause, That no Office or Employment of public Authority, Trust, or Command in Civil or Military Affairs, be committed to; or continu'd in the Hands of any Person being a Popish Recusant, or justly reputed to be. 4. That your Majesty wou'd be pleas'd to take notice of all Fraternities or Convents of English, and other Popish Priests, Jesuits or Fryars, and Schools for the Educating of Youth in the Principles of Popery, erected within your Majesty's Dominions, and to cause the same to be abolish'd, and the said Priests, Jesuits, Fryars and Schoolmasters to be duly punish'd for such their Insolencies. 5. That your Majesty wou'd be pleas'd from time to time to require and cause, that all the Officers of, or relating to the Exchequer, issue forth Processes effectually against Popish Recusants Convict certify'd thither. And that such Officers as shall refuse or neglect to do their Duty, as aforesaid, be severely punish'd for such their Failures. 6. That your Majesty wou'd be pleas'd to give Order for apprehending and bringing over into England one Pluncket, who goes under the Name of Primate of Ireland, and one Peter Talbot, who takes on him the Name of Archbishop of Dublin, to answer such Matters as shall be objected against them.'
'To these our most humble Petitions, proceeding from our Duty and Zeal for the Glory of God, and the Good of your Sacred Majesty, and from the Care incumbent on us for the Safety and Peace of these your Majesty's Kingdoms, we do in all Humility beseech your Majesty to vouchsafe a Gracious Answer: And we your Majesty's most loyal and obedient Subjects, the Lords and Commons in the present Parliament assembled, shall ever pray for your Majesty's long and happy Reign over us; and (as in Conscience we are oblig'd) shall constantly adhere to, and assist your Majesty in the Maintenance and Defence of your Majesty's Supremacy, and the true Protestant Religion now establish'd in your Majesty's Kingdoms, in opposition to all Foreign Powers, and Popish Pretences whatsoever.'
The King's Answer. ; His Proclamation against Papists.
When this Address was sent up to the Lords, they took some time to consider of it, as not being well satisfy'd with the Certainty of some Matters of Fact therein mention'd, as particularly the Chapels, Fraternities and Convents, and the Advancement of Peter Talbot; but, having afterwards in a Conference receiv'd Satisfaction, they join'd with the Commons, and together with them presented the Address to the King at the Banqueting-House in Whitehall. His Majesty made this most gracious Answer to them; 'My Lords and Gentlemen, I will take care of all these Things; I will cause a Proclamation to be issu'd out against the Priests; I will cause the Judges, and all other Officers to put the Laws against Papists in execution, and all other things that may conduce to the Prevention of the Growth of Popery. But I suppose no Man will wonder, if I make a difference between those that have newly chang'd their Religion, and those that were bred up in that Religion, and serv'd my Father and me faithfully in the late Wars.' The Houses return'd their Thanks for this Answer, and the King accordingly issu'd out his Proclamation, which began after the Manner that most of his Proclamations did upon this Occasion. The Substance was, 'Whereas the Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, have by their Petition presented to his Majesty their Fears and Apprehensions of the Growth of Popery, together with the Causes thereof, and also such Remedies as they conceive most proper to prevent such Mischiefs: Which Petition his Majesty having seriously consider'd, and with much Contentment approving the great care of the said Lords and Commons, for the Preservation of the true Religion established; to which his Majesty declares, as he hath always adhered against all Temptations whatsoever, so he will still employ his utmost Care and Zeal in the Maintenance and Defence of it. And therefore strictly commands all Jesuits and Romish Priests to depart out of England before the first of May, upon pain of having the Penalties of the Laws of this Realm inflicted upon them And his Majesty commands all Judges, &c. forthwith to put the Laws in Execution against all Popish Recusants, and such as are suspected to be so, in order to their speedy Conviction, and due Process upon such Convictions. And because there may be some Priests imprison'd in this Realm, unknown to his Majesty; all Sheriffs, &c. are within twenty Days to advertise some of the Lords of the PrivyCouncil of their Names, and for what Cause they were committed, to the end Orders may be given for their Transportation.'
The Commons Reasons against it.
After this the House proceeded with all Vigour upon the King's Supplies, the Subsidy-Bill, the Excise-Bill, and the Law-Bill; to which Three they afterwards added a Fourth Bill for Impositions on foreign Commodities. But this Prodigality in giving, receiv'd a Check in the House of Lords, by the celebrated Speech of the Lord Lucas (afterwards burnt by the Common Hangman,) which had such an Effect, that the Lords added several Provisos to the Subsidy-Bill: But the Commons refusing to allow them, a Conference ensued between the two Houses, in which they gave their Reasons as follow. 'First, the Privilege demanded was against the King, and against the Execution for his Supply, which ought not to be clogg'd with any unnecessary Circumstances; it being itself a Non omittas propter aliquam Libertatem. Secondly, the Privilege demanded is not due to their Lordships in point of Right, nor can it be insisted upon in point of Honour: 1. Because there is as much Reverence paid to their Lordships Privileges in this Bill, as ever was paid in a Bill of Supply; there being a Proviso, That the Taxes, to be collected for the Personal Estates and the Offices of the Peers, shall be collected by a Collector of their own. 2. The Amendments agreed to: 'That nothing therein contain'd shall be drawn into Example to the Privilege of the Ancient Rights belonging to the Peers:' So no Danger of any Ancient Right. 3. There Lordships are the best Judges of their own Honour; but in the Bill for the Royal Aid, there is the same Clause as in this Bill, yet their Lordships did not then think fit to add such a Qualification to that Clause. 4. It is true the Commissioners were named in that Act: but that can make no Difference in the Case, unless their Lordships be afraid where the Nomination is trusted to the King. 5. It wou'd be a Dishonour to your Lordships to have this Clause stand in the Bill: For it doth not concern the Tax upon Personal Estates or Offices, but supposes a Lord tax'd for his Land, and not a Hoof left upon the Land to distrain; and that, after all this, a Lord barricadoes up his House to resist a Distress: is it sit to suppose such a Case, or should it be treated with Ceremony when it happens? 6. If the Lord be return'd into the Exchequer, the meanest Bailiff of the Sheriff may break open the House of a Peer without more Geremony; why should a Commissioner be appointed in this Case, unless all Exchequer-Process be intended to be debarr'd by this Clause too? 7. No Distress can be upon a Peer without a Warrant under the Hands of two Commissioners; which is Caution enough. 8. The Lords have no Privilege above the Commons as to Execution against their Estates; And, therefore, we hope this Occasion shall not be taken to create Precedents for new Privileges in Payment of Money. 9. It wou'd discourage Persons from being Commissioners, if they must be Officers to attend the Distress, and no Man will be willing to serve. 10. The Act of Printing leaveth the Lords and Commons, as to the Privileges of Houses; and no Bill of Money did ever distinguish them. 11. The whole Duty may be avoided; for, in truth, there lies no Obligation upon any Commissioner to go with any Officer, and so the Matter may be wholly neglected. 12. If a Distress be wrongful, why should a Lord have a better Man to bring his Action against, than a Commoner; and who will ever go to subject himself to the Action of a Peer, if he be displeas'd with the Distress?'
Some Acts pass'd.
However convincing these Reasons were, their Lordships acquiesc'd; so that this and other Bills being ready, on the 16th of March, the King came to the House of Peers, and pass'd these following public Bills: 1. An Act for granting a Subsidy to his Majesty for Supply of his Extraordinary Occasions. 2. An Act for an Additional Excise on Beer, Ale, and other Liquors. 3. An Act for Regulating the making of Kidderminster Stuffs. 4. An Act to prevent the malicious Burning of Houses, Stacks of Corn and Hay, Killing and Maiming of Cattle. 5. An Act to prevent malicious Maiming and Wounding. 6. An Act for Revesting the Power of granting Wine Licences in his Majesty's Heirs and Successors, and for settling a Revenue on his Royal Highness in lieu thereof; which amounted to twenty four thousand Pounds a Year. 7. An Act for Continuance of a former Act, entitled, An Act to prevent Delays in extending Statutes, Judgment and Recognizances. 8. An Act for continuing of a former Act, to prevent Arrests of Judgments, and Superseding Executions.
The great Controversy between the Lords and Commons concerning Money Bills.
But the Disputes between the two Houses did not end here. Two more Money-Bills remain'd to be pass'd, the one far Impositions on Proceedings at Law, and the other, for an additional Imposition on several foreign Commodities: Which the Merchants esteeming a Grievance, they petition'd the House of Lords for Relief, who thought their Reasons of such Weight, that they demanded a Conference with the Commons upon the Case in dispute; and this being comply'd with, a Committee from both Houses were appointed, who met for the first time on April 19. The Earl of Anglesea was Speaker for the Lords, and Sir Heneage Finch, AttorneyGeneral, for the Commons. The particulars of the Conference were as follows.
Second Conference between both Houses, April 19. 1671, on the Bill for Impositions on Merchandize.
This Conference was desired by their Lordships, upon the subject matter of their last Conference, concerning the Bill for Impositions on Merchandize, &c. wherein the Commons communicated it to the Lords as their Resolution, that there is a fundamental Right in that House alone in Bills of Rates and Impositions on Merchandize, as to the Matter, the Measure, and the Time.
And tho' their Lordships have neither Reason nor Precedent offered by the Commons, to back that Resolution, but were told, that this was a Right so fundamentally settled in the Commons, that they could not give Reasons for it; for that would be a weakening of the Commons Right and Privilege: yet the Lords in Parliament, upon full consideration thereof and of that whole Conference, are come to this Resolution, Nemine contradicente,
That the Power exercised in the House of Peers, in making the Amendments and Abatements in the Bill entitled, An Act for an additional Imposition on several foreign Commodities, and for Encouragement of several Commodities and Manufactures of this Kingdom, both as to Matter, Measure, and Time, concerning the Rates and Impositions on Merchandize, is a fundamental, inherent and undoubted Right of the House of Peers, from which they cannot depart.
Reasons of the Peers
I. The great happiness of the Government of this Kingdom, is, that nothing can be done in order to the Legislature, but what is considered by both Houses, before the King's fanction be given unto it; and the greatest Security to all the Subjects of this Kingdom, is, that the Houses, by their constitution, do not only give Assistance, but are mutual Checks to each other.
II. Consult the Writs of Summons to Parliament, and you will find, that the Lords are not excluded from the great and arduous Affairs of the Kingdom; and the Commons of England are but called to treat and give their counsel upon them all, without exception.
III. We find no footsteps in Record or History, for this new Claim of the House of Commons; we would see that Charter or Contract produced, by which the Lords divested themselves of this Right, and appropriated it to the Commons, with an exclusion of themselves: till then, we cannot consent to shake or remove Foundations, in laying whereof it will not be denied, that the Lords and Grandces of the Kingdom had the greatest Hand.
IV. If this Right should be denied, the Lords have not a Negative Voice allowed them in Bills of this nature; for if the Lords, who have the Power of Treating, Advising, giving Counsel, and applying Remedies, cannot mend, abate, or refuse a Bill in part, by what Consequence of Reason can they enjoy a Liberty to reject the whole? When the Commons shall think fit to question it, they may pretend the same grounds for it.
V. In any case of Judicature, which is undoubtedly, and indisputably, the peculiar Right and Privilege of the House of Lords, if their Lordships send down a Bill to the Commons, for giving Judgment in a legislative way, they allow and acknowledge the same Right in the Commons, to amend, change and alter such Bills, as the Lords have exercised in this Bill of Impositions, sent up by the Commons.
VI. By this new Maxim of the House of Commons a hard and ignoble choice is left to the Lords either to refuse the Crown Supplies, when they are most necessary, or to consent to ways and proportions of Aid, which neither their own Judgment, or Interest, nor the Good of the Government and People, can admit.
VII If a positive Assertion can introduce a Right, what security have the Lords, that the House of Commons shall not in other Bills (pretended to be for the general good of the Commons, whereof they will conceive themselves to be the fittest Judges,) claim the same peculiar Privilege, in exclusion of any deliberation, or alteration of the Lords, when they shall judge it necessary or expedient?
VIII. And whereas you say, this is the only poor thing which you can value yourselves upon to the King; their Lordships have commanded us to tell you, that they desire rather to increase, than any way diminish the Value and Esteem of the House of Commons, not only with his Majesty, but with the whole Kingdom; but they cannot give way that it should be raised by the undervaluing the House of Peers, and an Endeavour to render that House unuseful to the King and Kingdom, by denying unto it those just Powers which the Constitution of this Government, and the Laws of the Land, have lodged in it for the service and benefit of both.
IX. You did, at the Conference, tell us, that we did agree to a Book of Rates, without so much as seeing it, and that never a Book of Rates was read in the Lords House, and that the said Book of Rates was signed by Mr. Harbottle Grimstone, then Speaker of the House of Commons, and not sent up, lest the Lords Speaker might sign it too.
As for the Book of Rates, instanced by the House of Commons, it was made in a way different from all former Books of Rates, and by an Assembly called without the King's Writ; and which wanted so much the Authority of Parliament, that the Act they made was no Act, till confirmed by this Parliament: tho' the work which happily succeeded in their Hands, for restoration of the ancient Government of this Kingdom, will ever be mentioned to their Honour; yet no measure for Parliamentary Proceedings is to be taken from this one Instance, to the prejudice of the Right of the Crown in making Books of Rates, and of the Lords, in having their due Consideration thereof, when they shall be enacted in Parliament; which was so far from being according to former Usage, that the Lords considering the necessity and condition of that Time, and there being no Complaint, passed that Bill upon three readings in one Day, without so much as a Committee, little imagining the forwardness of their. Zeal to the King's Service in such Times, would have created an Argument in the future against their Power. And if the Lords did never read Books of Rates in their House, it is as true that the House of Commons do not pretend, nor did shew that ever any was read there but this.
Tho' where a Right is so clear, and Reasons so irrefragable, it is not to be required of those who are possessed of the Right to give Precedents to confirm it, but those who dispute the Right ought to shew Precedents or Judgments to the contrary, not pass it (sub silentio) upon the Point controverted: yet the Lords have commanded us to offer, and leave with you these following Precedents.
1. By Records both ancient and modern, it doth appear, that the Lords and Commons have consulted together, and confer'd one with another on the Subject of a Supply to the King, and of the Manner how the same may be levied As, 14 Edw. 3. N. 5. Apres grand trete et pleance entre les Grantz et les ditz Chevaliers et autres des Communes Esteans en dit Parl. est accorde et assentu per tous les Grantz et Communes, Sec. That they grant to the King the 9th of Corn and Wool, 29 Edw. 3. N. 11. 51 Ed. 3. N. 18. Certain there named, from time to time, to confer with the Commons, for their better help in consulting for the Raising of Money, and this sometimes by the King's Command, as 22 Ed. 3. N. 3. Sometimes by Motion and Appointment of the Lords; as 5 Ed. 3. N. 8. And in the Case of the great Contract for Tenures and Purveyances, 7 Jac. 14. of Febr. 1609. Sometimes by the Desire of the Commons; As 47 Ed. 3. N. and 4 R. 2. N. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Upon a great Sum demanded for the King, the Commons come to the Lords, and desire a Moderation of the Sum, and their Consideration how it should be levied; and hereupon was granted by Lords and Commons 12 l. of every Man, &c. It is observable that Nov. 13, it was said, the Lords sent for the Commons several Times before them, and proposed to them the Manner of levying the Money, and afterwards it was given: And again, 6 Rich. II. N. 14. And in the Case of the great Contract before mentioned, 7 Jac. 18. June, 1610. the Commons, at a Conference, desire to know what Project their Lordships will propound for levying that which shall be given, other than upon Land. And afterwards, in another Conference, by the Commons answer was made to the Lords Proposal, Agreed, that the Manner of levying it may be in the most easeful and contentful Way that, by both Houses, can be devised. See the whole Proceedings of the intended Contract, which do, in several remarkable Instances, shew that the House of Commons themselves did allow the House of Peers their Part, in treating and debating on the Subject of Money to be levied for his Majesty
2. That, in Aids and Subsidies, the Lords have anciently been expresly joined with the Commons in the Gift: as in the first we can meet with in our Statutes; That in the body of Magna Charta, cap. 37. The Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Knights, Freeholders and other on Subjects, have given to us the 15th Part of all their Moveables: Which must include Merchandize. This Style the ancient Grants of Subsidies and the modern ones too do retain (the troublesome Time, of the War between the Houses of York and Lancaster only excepted;) and even then it was (the Commons, by Advice and Consent of the Lords, give and grant) till the Beginning of King Charles the First, by these Words, We your Majesty's loyal Subjects in Parliament assembled, implicitly, or by the Words, We the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, expresly, the Lords are joined in the Grant, as, by the Perusal of the Statutes, will appear.
3. That, in Subsidies of this nature, viz. Customs, the Lords have joined with the Commons in the Grant of them; and that at the very Beginning of these Impositions, as when 30s. upon every Sack of Wool (a home, native Commodity) was granted to Edw. I. in the third Year of his Reign, to him and his Heirs; the Grant is Magnates, Prælati & tota Communitas concesserunt. See Parl. Roll. 3 Ed. 1. M. 1. N. 1. And other ancient Rolls do also shew, that the Lords joined with the Commons in Gift of Moneys, as Close Roll, 3 Ed. 1. M. 12. Endors. 3. Grant of a 15th, and Part Roll, 3 Ed. 1. M. 6.
4. And more particularly in Impositions of this very Species, Tonnage and Poundage: The Lords were ever, at the first beginning, joined with the Commons in the Grant, as the Parliament Roll, in 47 of Edw. 3. N. 10. The first Establishment of it by Act doth declare; where 'tis expresly said, The Lords and Commons do grant. And this Style did continue in Acts of this nature till the end of Rich. II. After which, in those troublesome Times, the Style was various, till K. Hen. the VIIIth's Time, and this Style of Acts of Tonnage and Poundage was; We the Commons, with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, do give and grant. This Form of Gift in Tonnage and Poundage, lasted Edw. VI. Queen Mary's, Queen Elizabeth's and King James's Time, as the Statutes themselves do declare.
5. And, to prove most undeniably, that the Lords have their Share, in the Gifts of Aids and Supplies to the King, see the Act of 9 Hen. IV. commonly called the Indemnity of the Lords and Commons.; which provides, that the Lords shall commune apart by themselves, and the Commons by themselves. The latter End enacts expresly, That the King shall thank both Lords and Commons, for Subsidies given him.
6. That the Lords may make Amendments and Altera tions in Bills which grant Tonnage and Poundage, (the very question now between us) appears in an eminent Book Case, 33 Hen. VI. Feb. 17. which was a Consultation of all the Judges in England, and the Master of the Rolls, and the Clerk of the Parliament called in, to inform them as to the Manner of Proceedings of Bills in Parliament: Where it is said, That if the Commons grant Tonnage and Poundage to endure for four Tears, and the Lords grant it but for two Years, it shall not be carried back to the Commons, because it may stand with their Grant, but must be so enrolled. And that the Lords have made Amendments and Alterations in the Bills, granting Tonnage and Poundage, appears by that Statute of the first of Edw. VI. and the first of Queen Elizabeth even in the very point now in dispute, such Amendments as do lessen the Sum of the King, as the 1st of Hen. VIII.
The PROVISO itself was read at the Conference
'We have seriously consulted our Judgments and Reasons to find Objections, if it were possible, against the Power of the Lords, and are so far from finding any, that we are fixed in Opinion, that the want of it would be destructive to the Government, and Peace of the Kingdom, and the Right of the Crown, in balancing and regulating of Trade, and making and preserving Leagues and Treaties with foreign Princes and States; and the Exercise of it cannot but be for the Security of all, and for the Ease, benefit, and satisfaction of the Subject.
'Their Lordships are very far from designing to obstruct this Gift, no not for a Moment of time, much less for ever, as was hinted to them at the last Conference: And therefore they desire the House of Commons to lay it to heart and consider, if it should so happen (which they heartily wish it may not) that there should be an Obstruction upon occasion of this Difference at whose door it must lie; theirs, that assume to themselves more than belongs to them, to the prejudice and diminution of the others Right; or theirs, that do only exercise that just and lawful Power, which, by the very Nature and constant Practice of Parliament is, and for many Ages hath been, vested in both Houses.
'Their Lordships had under Consideration and Debate the desiring a free Conference with your House, upon the Reasons of the Amendments in Difference between the Houses; but when they found that you had interwoven your general Position with every Reason you had offered, as for your particulars, it seemed to them that your Judgments were prepossessed, and they hold it vain, and below the Wisdom of Parliament, to reason or argue against fixed Resolutions, and upon Terms of Impossibility to persuade; and have therefore applied themselves only to that Point, which yet remains an Impediment in the way of free and Parliamentary Debates and Conferences, which must necessarily be first removed, that so we may come to a free Conference upon the Bill itself, and part with a fair Correspondence between the two Houses.'
That Mr. Attorney (Sir Heneaze Finch) told them, that, because the Matter is of moment, the House of Commons have trusted none to give their Words but themselves; and, therefore, have ordered it to be in Writing, which is as follows, viz.
The Sense of the Commons.
The Commons have desired this Conference, to preserve a good Correspondence with the House of Peers, and to prevent the ill Consequences of those Misunderstandings which may possibly interrupt the happy Conclusion of this Session, and of all future Parliaments too, if they be not very speedily removed: Wherein the Commons are not without Hopes of giving your Lordships full Satisfaction in the Point in question, and that without shaking any Foundations; unless it be such as no Man should lay, much less build upon, the Foundation of a perpetual Dissension between the two Houses Three things did surprize the Commons at a former Conference, concerning the Bill for an additional Imposition on several foreign Commodities.
1. That where they expected a Discourse upon some Amendments to that Bill, they met with nothing but a Debate of the Liberties of their House, in the Matter, Measure and Time of Rates upon Merchandize, with a kind of Demand that those Liberties might be deliver'd up to your Lordships, by our public Acknowledgments, before there should be any farther Discourse upon that Bill.
3. And lastly, That your Lordships should be so easily induced to take this Resolution, if there be not other Motives for it than those Precedents and Reasons, which your Lordships have been pleased to impart to us.
The Commons confess, that the best Rule for deciding of Questions of Right between both Houses, is the Law and Usage of Parliaments: and the best Evidence of that Usage and Custom of Parliaments, are the most frequent and authentic Precedents: Therefore the Commons will first examine the Precedents your Lordships seem to rely upon, then they will produce those by which their Right is asserted; and in the last place, they will consider the Reasons upon which your Lordships ground yourselves.
By the Nature of Precedents, which your Lordships produce, there is an evident Departure from the question, as the former Conference left it: There the Doubt was narrowed to this single Point, viz. Whether your Lordships would retrench or abate any Part of the Rates which the Commons had granted upon Merchandize; here the Precedents do go to a joint Power of imposing and beginning of Taxes, which is a Point we have not yet heard your Lordships to pretend to, tho' this present Difference prepares way for it. Therefore either these prove too much, by proving a Power of imposing, or they prove nothing at all, by not proving a Power of lessening.
And yet they do not prove a Power of imposing neither, for those Words, (the Lords and Commons grant) must either be understood reddendo singula singulis; that is, the Lords grant for themselves, and the Commons grant for Counties, Cities and Boroughs, whom they represent, or else the Word (Grant) must be understood only by the Lords Assent to what the Commons grant: because the Form of Law requires, that both join in one Bill, to give it the Force of a Law.
This answers the Statute of Magna Charta, cap. 37. and those few Instances where it is said, The Lords and Commons grant, viz. 47 Ed. III. N. 10. 4 R. II. N. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. 6 R. II. N. 14. But what Answer can be given to those ancient and modern Precedents and Acts where the Grant moves, and is acknowledged to come from the Commons alone, of which a multitude shall be herein after mentioned? The Case of the 14th of Ed. III. N. 5. Apres Grand trete et pleance entre lez Grantz et Chevaliers et Communs fuit assentu, &c. is no Grant of the ninth Sheaf, as your Lordships cited it to be; but an Agreement, that the Nones, granted in a former Parliament, should now be sold, because the Money came not in fast enough. The 22d of Ed. III. N. 5. which your Lordships cited to prove that the King did sometimes command the Lords to consult with the Commons about raising of Money, proves little of that; but it proves expresly, that the Commons granted three fifteenths; and as the Grant runs wholly in their Names, so the Record is full of many Reasons why they would grant no more, and upon what Conditions they granted so much. Tho' they seem to make a Shew in your Lordships Part, yet they prove two things of great Importance to the Commons.
2. That when they are begun, the Lords can neither add nor diminish, else it was in vain to adjust the Matter by private Conference beforehand, if the Lords could have reformed it afterwards, which shews what little Service the Records of 29 Ed. III. N 11. 51 Ed. III. N. 18. can do your Lordships in the present Question. From the Time of Richard II. your Lordships came to the seventh of Jac. to tell us of the Treaties between the Lords and Commons, touching the Contract for Tenures in Capite; wherein the Lords being to be Purchasers, it was less subject to Objection, to confer both of the Method, and Manner how the Price agreed might be paid, for the Satisfaction of the King: But this Matter hath so little Assinity with the present Question of lessening Rates upon Merchandize given by the Commons, that nothing but a Scarcity of Precedents could ever have persuaded your Lordships to make use of this Instance.
As for the Precedent of 3 Ed. I. cited by your Lordships, the Commons have most reason to reply upon that Case. Your Lordships say, that in the beginning Impositions, when 40s. upon a Sack of Wool was granted to Ed. I. and his Heirs, the Lords joined in the Grant; for the Words are, Magnates, Prælati, & tota Communitas concesserunt, wherein are these Mistakes.
1. That the Record was not a Grant of 40 s. upon a Sack of Wool, as your Lordships suppose, but a reducing of 40 s. upon a Sack, which Edw. 1. took before Magna Charta was confirmed, to half a Mark, viz. 6s. 8d. per Sack; and it was at the Prayer of the Commons, as some Books say, and cite for it. 3 Ed. 1. M. 24.
2. That Record which your Lordships cite, is twice printed, once in the second Part of the Institutes, page 531. and again in the fourth Part of the Institutes, page 29. And by both those Places it is evident, that the concesserunt is only to be applied to the tota Communitas, and not to the Magnates; for this was a Grant only of the Commons, and not a Grant of the Lords: And to demonstrate this beyond all possibility of Scruple, the printed Books do refer to Statute the 25th Ed. I. cap. 7. called Confirmationes Chartæ; wherein it is expresly declared by Act of Parliament; for by the last Statute it appears, that the male tote of 40 s. was again demanded by Edw. I. and was therefore now abrogated, saving to the King and his Heirs the Demy-Mark upon a Sack of Wool, granted by the Commonality, which is the very same Grant of the 3d Ed. I. cited by your Lordships in the present Question: But this is also a convincing Evidence, that those Words (the Lords and Commons grant) are Words of form, and made use of in such Cases, where the Grant did certainly proceed from the Commons alone. And, to clear this Precedent, we pray your Lordships to take notice of the Statute of the 2d and 3d of Ed., VI. cap. 36. where a Relief is given to the King by Parliament, and in the Title of the Act (as also in the Body of the Act) it is called all along, the Grant of the Lords and Commons; yet in the 3d and 4th of Ed. VI. cap. 23. this former Act is rejected, and there it is acknowledged to be only a Grant of the Commons.
3. That no Report should be made to the King of what the Commons have granted and the Lords assented to, till the Matter be perfected; so that a plain Declaration is made, that the Commons grant, and the Lords assent.
3. 'Tis impossible to be Law, being against the constant Usage, and Practice of Parliament; for then your Lordships may not only lessen the Rates and Time, but you may chuse whether you will send us the Bill or no back again with Amendments, which was never heard of; and if that may be, why was it done so now?
5. Brook, Parliament 7. puts a Query upon the Case, as it deserved; but if the Law-Books are to be heard in this Case, 30 Hen. VIII. Dier. 43. in judicial Authority; where Subsidy is defined to be a Tax assess per Parl. et gre al Roy per les Communs durant VII. de che Roy tauta per le Defence de Merchants sur le mere.
The Provitos in the Bill, 1 Hen. VIII. which your Lordships seem mainly to rely upon, we conceive to be of no force at all, unless it be against your Lordships; for, as it appears by your Lordships Journals, the Case was this: The Bill itself did not pass the 3d Hen. VIII. and upon the 43d Day of the Parliament, the Lords assented to it; afterwards, upon the 45th Day, two Provisos came in, one touching the Merchants of the Staple of Calais; both were signed by the King and the Lord Chancellor; and the Bishop of Winton did declare, that the signing of those Proviso's by the King's own Hand was enough, without the Consent of either House: So that the Additions of those Provisos prove nothing for which your Lordships cited them, because,
Only this may be fit to be observed by the way; that as the Bill was a Grant of the Commons alone, so the Thanks for the Bill were given to the Commons alone; and so it appears upon the Indorsement of that Record.
The Wars of York and Lancaster are so far from weakening these Precedents, that they strengthen them rather; for no Man can think the Lords were then in less Power, or less careful of their Right than your Lordships are now: Wherefore, if in those Days those Forms were approved by those mighty Men, it is a sign the Right is clear.
15 Hen. VII. In Ireland was the first Grant of Tonnage and Poundage, but it is said, at the Prayer of the Commons it is enacted; which in a Kingdom, where they are not tied to Forms, shews the clear Right.
We your poor Commons by Advice, &c. grant: And also it avers the Right, time out of mind to be in the Commons. This Stat. 1 Eliz. cap. 19. gives us occasion to put your Lordships in mind of another Precedent, which appears in your Journal; for, while this Bill was passing, the Inhabitants of Cheshire and Wales petitioned the Lords upon the second Reading, that for as much as they were subject to pay the Queen a certain Duty called Mises, that therefore they might be excused of the Subsidy, and abated their Part of it.
The Lords, who then knew they had no Power to diminish any Part of the Aid granted by the Commons, did therefore address themselves to the Queen in their behalf. The Queen commanded an Entry to be made in the Journal of the House of Lords, That she was pleased the Cheshire-men and Welsh-men should be respited the Mises when they pay Subsidies, and respited the Subsidies when they pay Mises: Which as it is a strong Proof that the Commons alone grant, so no body can diminish their Grant, else what need had the Lords to apply themselves to the Queen for it?
17 Car. I. Tonnage and Poundage was granted once for a Month, then again for three Months, but still the Grant was by the Commons in those Days, how tumultuous soever: the Commons did not rise against the Lords, they agreed well enough.
In short, all these Grants were of the Commons, yet none of these Bills were ever varied by your Lordships, or your Predecessors, which, if there had been such a Right, would some time or other have been exercised, tho' in very small Values, purposely to preserve that Right.
Thus an uninterrupted Possession of this Privilege ever since the 9th of Hen. IV. confirmed by a Multitude of Precedents both before and after, not shaken these 300 Years, is now required to be delivered up, or an end to be put to all farther Discourse; which Opinion, if it be adhered to, is, as much as in your Lordships lies, to put an end to all future Transactions between the Houses in Matters of Money, which we pray your Lordships to consider.
Reasons offer'd by the Commons.
1st. Because there appears not to the Commons any colour, from the Precedents cited by your Lordships, why your Opinion should be so fixed in this point, we suppose the main Defence is in the Reasons that have been given for it.
That Paper begins with an observation, that your Lordships have neither Reason nor Precedent offered by the Commons to back their Resolution, and yet concludes with an answer to a Precedent then cited by the House of Commons, viz. The Act of Tonnage and Poundage, now in force; and if your Lordships had but one Precedent then, you have now a great Number beside; of these, 3 Ed. I. 1 Hen. VIII. 9 Hen. IV. and divers others your Lordships furnished us with.
Before the Commons answer to your Lordships Reasons in particular, they desire to say first in general, that it is a very unsafe thing in any settled Government, to argue the Reasons of the fundamental Constitutions; for that can tend to nothing that is profitable for the whole.
And this will more sensibly appear to your Lordships, if the Grounds and Foundations of Judicature be examined; for there are several Precedents in Parliament, and some in Book Cases, which prove, that Judicature is not to be exercised by all the Lords, but only by such as the King is pleased to appoint; so is the Book Case of 22 Ed. III. N. 3. A. B. And so in Parliament Roll, 25 Ed. III. N. 4. Several other Precedents, where the Commons, by the King's good Pleasure, have been let into a share of the very Judicature, are 42 Ed. III. N. 20, 21. 31 H. VI. N. 10. 8 of Ed. IV. Hugh Price's Case in the Rolls of Parliament.
Also there is a Precedent of an Act of Parliament passed by the King and Commons alone, without the Lords, viz. 1 Ed. VI. 65. and that twice approved, viz. 1 Eliz. cap. 17. and the 5th of Eliz. cap. 19. which both allow and commend this Act.
Shall we therefore argue the Foundations of the Legislature, because we have such Precedents? But to come to particulars; your Lordships first Reason is from the Happiness of the Constitution, That the two Houses are mutual Checks upon each other.
Answer So they are still, for your Lordships have a Negative to the whole; but, on the other side, it would be a double Check on his Majesty's Affairs, if the King may not rely upon the Quantum, when once his People have given it; therefore the Privilege, now contended for by your Lordships, is not of use to the Crown, but much the contrary.
2. Your Lordships Reason, drawn from the Writ of Summons, is as little concluding; for though the Writ does not exclude you from any Affairs, yet it is only, de quibusdam arduis negotiis, and must be understood of such as by Course of Parliament are proper, else the Commons upon the like Ground may entitle themselves to Judicature, for they are also called to treat de quibusdam arduis.
Answer. To this rhetorical Question the Commons pray they may answer by another Question; where is that Record or Contract, by which the Commons submitted, that Judicature should be appropriated to the Lords, in exclusion to themselves? Where-ever your Lordships find the last Record, they will shew the first endorsed upon the Back of the same Roll.
Answer. The King must deny the whole of every Bill, or pass it; yet this takes not away his Negative Voice. The Lords and Commons must accept the whole general Pardon, or deny it, yet this takes not away their Negative.
The Clergy have a Right to tax themselves, and it is a part of the Privilege of their Estate; doth the upper Convocation-House alter what the lower grants; or do the Lords ever abate any part of their Gifts? Yet they have a Power to reject the whole. But if Abatement should be made, it would insensibly go to a raising, and deprive the Clergy of their ancient Rights to tax themselves.
Answer. If Contracts were now to be made for Privileges, the Offer might seem fair, but yet the Commons should profit little by it; for your Lordships do now industriously avoid all Bills of that nature, and chuse to do many things by your own Power, which ought to be done by the Legislative; of which we forbear the Instances, because your Lordships, we hope, will reform them; and we desire not to create new differences, but to compose the old.
6. Your Lordships say, you are put to an ignoble Choice, either to refuse the King's Supplies when they are most necessary, or to consent to such Ways or Propositions, which neither your own Judgment, nor the Good of the Government or People can admit.
2dly. It gives you Power to raise and increase Taxes, as well as to abate; for it may be sometimes your Lordships Judgments, that it is for the Interest of Trade to raise and increase a Rate, and then still you are brought to the same ignoble Choice, unless you may raise the Tax.
But it is a very ignoble Choice put upon the King and his People, that either his Majesty must demand, and the Commons give so small an Aid as can never be diminished, or else run the hazard of your Lordships Examination of the Rates, whose Proportion in all Taxes, in comparison to what the Commonalty pay, is very inconsiderable.
Answer. We hope no Assertions or Denials, though never so positive, shall give or take away Right; but we rely upon usage on our side, and non-usage on your Lordships part, as the best evidence, by which your Lordships or we can claim any Privilege.
Answer. We have a great Confidence in his Majesty's Goodness, that nothing can lessen his Esteem of our dutiful Affections to him; and we hope we deserve so well of our Country, by our deportment towards his Majesty, that we shall not need your Lordships recommendations to any, who wish well to his Majesty, or the present Government; but we are so far from wishing to raise an Esteem by any diminution of your Lordships Honour, or Privileges, that there never was any House of Commons, who ever had a more just and true Respect for that noble Constitution of a House of Peers; of which your Lordships have had frequent Instances, by our consenting to several Clauses in Bills for securing and improving your Lordships Privileges.
And because the Right of the Commons, there asserted, was pursuant to a former Precedent in 1642, and possibly had not passed so, if the younger Members of that Convention had not learned from some of those great and noble Lords, who now manage the Conference for your Lordships, and were then Commoners, that this was the undoubted Right of the Commons.
To conclude; The Commons have examined themselves and their Proceedings, and find no cause why your Lordships should put them in mind of that Modesty their Ancestors shewed, who always paid a great deference to the Wisdom of the Lords; for they resolve ever to observe the Modesty of their Ancestors, and doubt not but your Lordships will also follow the Wisdom of yours.
To these the Lords proceeded to make some replies: and, particularly, as to their having no Power to alter the Subsidies of the Clergy, nor an Act for a general Pardon; they said, these were things eccentric to Parliaments, and had their Motion in another Sphere: The Convocation gave one, and the King of his free Grace bestowed the other; and the Parliament only gave them the force of Law, and might chuse whether they would do it or not; and consequently this was no ways to the case in dispute. But to read the Commons Money-Bill three times in their House, and to commit it, without any Power of debating upon it, was a solemn piece of Pageantry, beneath the Dignity of a Parliament. As to the point of Judicature, they alledged, it belonged to the Peers before the very being of a House of Commons, rather as the grand Council of the Nation, than as part of the Parliament; and being vested in the King, as well as themselves, might possibly exist without the sitting of a Parliament. As to Precedents they alledged, we have several for us; but it were enough for our Justification, if there be none against us; and there could be but one of these kinds, either that we have of ourselves disclaimed such a Power, or that it hath been denied them when they have claimed it; and whosoever sheweth one of either, Erit nobis magnus Apollo.
The Commons Address. ; The King's Answer. ; He passes several Acts.
But before they could finish their Arguments, or put any period to this great Controversy, on the 22d of April, his Majesty, who had been used to cut those Knots that were not easily unty'd, came to the House of Peers, in order to a Prorogation. But before that, the two Houses found so much time as to present his Majesty with an Address, 'That his Majesty wou'd be graciously pleas'd, by his own Example, to encourage the constant wearing of the Manufactures of his own Kingdom and Dominions, and discountenance the Wear of any Manufactures made in foreign Countries.' His Majesty very graciously accepted their humble Motion, and was pleas'd to declare, 'That he willingly comply'd with their Desires therein; and did assure them, that as he had already put it in practice in his own Person, so he wou'd for the future take care, that it shou'd be observed by himself, and those of his Family.' After which he gave his Royal Assent to the several Bills that were presented to him, fourteen private Acts, and eighteen public; of which last were, 1. An Act to prevent the Delivery up of Merchant Ships, and for the Increase of good and serviceable Shipping. 2. An Act for exporting of Beer, Ale, and Mum. 3. An Act for laying Impositions on Proceedings at Lam. 4. An Act for the better settling of intestate Estates. 5. An Act for determining of Differences touching Houses burnt within four Years since the late dreadful Fire of London. 6. An additional Act for ascertaining the Meafures of Corn and Salt. 7. An Act for the more certain Recovery of Fines and Forfeitures due to his Majesty. 8. An Act for the better paving and clearing the Streets and Sewers in and about London. 9. An Act for the Relief and Release of poor Prisoners for Debt. 10. An Act for the Discovery of such as have defrauded the Poor of London of the Moneys given them at the Times of the late Plague and Fire. 11. An Act for the better regulating of Work-Houses, for setting the Poor on work. 12. An Act for the better Settlement of the Maintenance of the Parsons, Vicars and Curates in the Parishes of London, burnt by the late dreadful Fire. 13. An Act for vesting certain Fee-Farm Rents, and other small Rents, in Trustees. 14. An Act to prevent Frauds in the buying and selling Cattle in Smithfield and elsewhere. 15. An Act for the better preservation of the Game, and for securing Warrens not enclosed, and the several Fishings of the Realm. 16. An Act for the taking Accounts of sixty thousand Pounds, and other Moneys, given to the loyal, indigent Officers. 17. An Act to prevent the planting Tobacco in England, and for regulating the Plantation Trade. 18. An Act to revive a former Act, entitled, An Act to prevent the Disturbances of Seamen and others, and to preserve the Stores belonging to his Majesty's Royal Navy. Upon passing these Acts, his Majesty without any Speech, prorogu'd the Parliament.