The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1660-1680. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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The second session of the second Parliament.
The King's Speech to both Houses.
I Know the Visit I make you this Day is not necessary, is not of course; yet if there were no more in it, it would not be strange that I come to see what you and I so long desired to see: The Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons of England met together to consult for the Peace and Safety of the Church and State; by which Parliaments are restored to their primitive Lustre and Integrity. I do heartily congratulate with you for this Day. But, my Lords and Gentlemen, as my coming hither at this time is somewhat extraordinary: It is to say something to you on my own Behalf, to ask something of you for my self; which is more than I have done of you, or of those that met here before you, since my coming into England. I need not have done it to them; and, upon my Conscience, I need not do it now. They did, and you do, upon all Occasions, express so great an Affection and Care of all that concerns me, that I may very well refer, both the Matter and Manner of your doing any thing for me, to your own Wisdoms and Kindness: And indeed, if I did think that what I am to say to you now did alone, or did most concern myself; if the uneasy Condition I am in, if the Streights and Necessities I am to struggle with did not manifestly relate to the public Peace and Safety, more than to my particular, otherwise than I am concern'd in the Public, I should not give you this trouble this Day. I can bear my Necessities, which merely relate to myself, with patience enough.
'Mr. Speaker, and you Gentlemen of the House of Commons, I do not now importune you to make more haste, in the constant Revenue of the Crown, than is agreeable to the Method you propose to yourselves: I desire you seriously to consider the insupportable Weight that lies upon it, the Obligations it lieth under to provide for the Interest, Honour and Security of the Nation in another Proportion than in any former times it hath been oblig'd to. I know very well, you have very affectionately and worthily taken all this into your Thoughts, and will proceed in it with as much Expedition, as I can reasonably wish; but I come to put you in mind of the crying Debts which do every day call upon me for some necessary Provisions, which are to be made without delay, for the very Safety of the Kingdom; of the great Sums of Money that should be ready to discharge the several Fleets when they come home, and for the necessary Preparations that are to be made for setting out new Fleets to Sea against the Spring; that Revenue being already anticipated to as important Services, which should be assign'd to those Preparations. These are the pressing Occasions which I am forc'd to recommend to you with all possible Earnestness, and do conjure you to provide for as speedily as possible, in such a manner, as may give us security at home, and some Reputation abroad. I make this Discourse to you with some Confidence, because I am very willing, and desirous, that you should thoroughly examine whether these Necessities I mention, be real, or imaginary; or whether they be fallen upon us by my Fault, by my own Managery, or Excesses, and provide for them accordingly. I am very willing that you make a full Inspection into my Revenue, as well the Disbursements, as Receipts: and if you find it hath been ill manag'd by any Corruption in the Officers I trust, or by my own Unthriftiness, I shall take the Information and Advice you shall give me very kindly: I say, if you find it; for I would not have you believe any loose Discourses, how confidently soever urg'd, of giving away eighty thousand Pounds in a Morning, and many other Extravagancies of that kind I have much more reason to be sorry, that I have not to reward those who have ever faithfully serv'd the King my Father, and myself, than asham'd of any Bounty I have exercis'd towards any Man.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, I am sorry to find that the general Temper and Affections of the Nation are not so well compos'd, as I hoped they would have been, after such signal Blessings from God Almighty upon us all, and after so great Indulgence and Condescensions from me towards all Interests. There are many wicked Instruments still as active as ever, who labour Night and Day to disturb the public Peace, and to make all People jealous of each other. It will be worthy of your Care and Vigilance, to provide proper Remedies for the Diseases of that kind; and if you find new Diseases, you must study new Remedies. Let us not be discourag'd; if we help one another, we shall by God's Blessing master all our Difficulties: These which concern Matters of Religion, I confess to you are too hard for me; and therefore I do recommend them to your Care and Deliberation, which can best provide for them. I shall not need to recommend, or put you in mind of the good Correspondence that ought to be kept between you for the Good of your selves, and me, and the whole Kingdom; and I may tell you, it is very necessary for us all. You will find whosoever doth not believe me, doth not love you; and they who have not Reverence for you, have little Kindness for me. Therefore, I pray, let us adhere fast to each other, and then we shall, with the Help of God, in a short time persuade, or oblige all Men to that Submission, and Obedience to the Law, as may constitute a full Measure of Happiness to Prince and People, and persuade our Neighbours to that Esteem and Value they have formerly had for us.'
A Vote for Twelve Hundred Thousand Pounds.
Pursuant to this Speech the Parliament proceeded dillgently to Business, and the better to preserve the Peace of the Nation, both Houses immediately agreed to petition for a Proclamation, 'For disarming the disbanded and cashier'd Officers and Soldiers, and to command them to depart twenty Miles from the City of London, for such time as his Majesty shall think fit.' And the Commons, to shew their Readiness to assist the King in his Wants, on the same Day, voted, 'That the Sum of Twelve Hundred Thousand Pounds should be speedily paid and rais'd for the Supply of the King's Majesty's present Occasions;' and so proceeded accordingly. For which the King soon after return'd his hearty Thanks, and particularly express'd, How exceeding much he was beholden to the House of Commons for their great Gift, and the manner of it, in giving so freely. After which, he declared by a Message to the Commons, signifying, 'That, making the Good of his People the Subject of his Thoughts, and considering that the calling in the Money, called the Commonwealth's Money, by the last of this Month, might be prejudicial to his People, and hazard the Exportation of a great Part thereof, he was graciously pleased, by the Advice of his Privy Council, to direct a Proclamation to be issu'd, signifying his Majesty's Pleasure to accept of the said Money in any Payment to be made to him till the 25th Day of March next'
Proceedings against the Regicides renew'd. ; Harry Marten's Plea. ; The Chancellor's Declaration, concerning New Plots.
The first Parliament having respited the Punishments of several of the Regicides, as well those that lay under Condemnation, as others not so flagrantly guilty of that Crime, the Houses resum'd the Matter, and on the 25th of November those Regicides that came in upon Proclamation were brought to the Bar of the House of Lords, to answer what they could say for themselves, why Judgment should not be executed against them. They severally alledg'd, 'That, upon his Majesty's gracious Declaration from Breda, and the Votes of Parliament, and his Majesty's Proclamation, published by the Advice of the Lords and Commons then assembled in Parliament, they did render themselves, being advis'd that they should thereby secure their Lives; and humbly crav'd the Benefit thereof, and the Mercy of the Houses, and their Mediation to his Majesty in their Behalfs.' Harry Marten briskly added, That he had never obey'd any Proclamation before this, and hoped that he should not be hang'd for taking of the King's word now. New Debates arose about them, and a Bill was brought in for their Execution, which was read twice, but afterwards dropt; and so they were all sent to their several Prisons, and but little more heard of them. The Difficulty had like to have been the heavier upon them, by reason of several seditious Pamphlets publish'd about this time; and likewise by reason of a Message from the King, deliver'd by the Lord Chancellor in a Conference between both Houses. At which time the Chancellor declar'd, 'That the same did concern things of a high and dangerous nature, and that there had been a real Design, which had been forming ever since March last, to disturb the Union and Peace of this Kingdom:' And so proceeded to name several of the Parties engag'd, with the Manner and Contrivance of their barbarous Designs, and the Progress they had from time to time made therein. 'And that although their Designs were at present disorder'd, as to the effecting of them in this Town, to which end they made a general Invitation of disbanded Soldiers, and disaffected Persons, to resort hither about the 11th of this Month; yet they were still practising to put the same in execution in the Country: And that the Lords, to provide a Remedy against these Evils, had appointed a Committee of Twelve of their House, and desired that an answerable Number of the other House be join'd with the Lords, who might, during the Recess, examine the said traitorous Designs, and find out such Expedients, as they should perceive necessary for the preventing and suppressing them, and securing the Peace of the Kingdom.' All which they agreed to, and put in practice.
The King passes some Acts. ; The Parliament adjourn'd for three Weeks.
The next Day, which was the 20th of December, the Money Bill, and the three other Bills being ready for the Royal Assent, the King came to the House of Peers, where the Commons Speaker presented to his Majesty a Bill for granting Twelve Hundred and Sixty Thousand Pounds to the King, to be levy'd by an Assessment of Seventy Thousand Pounds by the Month, for Eighteen Months. At the passing of this Bill, the King, in a short Speech, 'gave very hearty Thanks to the House for their great Present, and declared, That he had receiv'd the Benefit of it before he had it; the Reputation thereof having given him Credit both at home and abroad: And that he was not more willing to give his Royal Assent to that Bill, than he should have been to pass any Bills whatsoever, which that House should present to him for his People's Good.' He likewise pass'd other three Bills at this time; the first, An Act for regulating Corporations; the second, For preventing vexatious Delays in Law-suirs; and the last, For impowering his Majesty to make Leases of his Lands in the Dutchy of Cornwal. Upon the passing of which, the Parliament was adjourn'd to the 10th Day of January; and so breaking up, had a Recess for near three Weeks.
And meets again. ; A Message from the King to the Commons.
The Parliament being again met, January 10, according to Adjournment, the joint Committee of Lords and Commons appointed to make enquiry during the Recess, into certain Plots about that time said to be on foot, gave in their Report, which (if we may judge by the Account deliver'd to the Lords by Chancellor Hyde) was so contriv'd as to render them as formidable as possible; tho' apparently, with little Foundation: notwithstanding which, they had such weight with the Commons, that they proceeded with all possible Expedition to establish the Security of the Crown, by uniting the Militia to the Prerogative, and that of the Church to the Act of Uniformity. After which, taking into consideration the State of the Revenue, and willing to render the King yet more easy on that Head, they offer'd great Encouragement to all who should advance Money by way of Loan to answer his present Necessities: But were prevented, February 18, by the following Message from his Majesty, delivered by Secretary Morrice, who inform'd the House, 'That he had Directions from his Majesty to desire the House, that they wou'd put a Supersedeas to any further Debate upon the Bill for Permission to such Persons as should advance Money for his Majesty's present Occasions, to take Interest at Ten per Cent. That his Majesty, finding the Bill might have some ungrateful Relish in it, resolv'd to put himself upon the greatest Streights, rather than adventure upon any Course, that might in the least seem to disgust this House, or prejudice his good Subjects; and therefore would endeavour to find some other Means to supply his present urgent Occasions, and desir'd the Bill might be laid aside.' This Message affected them so much, that they immediately returned their humble Thanks to the King for his Tenderness to his People, and order'd, That his Majesty be made acquainted, That this House would leave no means unattempted to advance his Majesty's Revenue, and supply his present urgent Occasions.'
The King finding his Necessities to increase, within ten Days after, order'd the House of Commons to attend him at Whitehall, in a Body by themselves: Which was accordingly done upon the first of March; when his Majesty, after some remarkable Acknowledgments of their extraordinary Services, and having declared, That he knew most of their Faces, and never hoped to find better Men in their Places, proceeded thus:
The King's particular Speech to the Commons alone.
You will wonder now, after I have willingly made this just Acknowledgment to you, that I should lament, and complain, that I, and you, and the Kingdom are yet without that present Fruit and Advantage, which we might reasonably promise ourselves, from such a Harmony of Affections, and an Unity in Resolutions, to advance the publick Service, and to provide for the Peace and Security of the Kingdom, that you do not expedite those good Counsels that are most necessary for both. I know not how it comes to pass, but for these many Weeks past, even since your last Adjournment, private and particular Business hath almost thrust the Consideration of the public out of doors: And in truth, I do not know that you are nearer settling my Revenue than you were at Christmas: I am sure I have communicated my Condition to you without Reserve; what I have coming in, and what my necessary Disbursements are; and I am exceedingly deceived, if whatsoever you give to me, be any other ways given to me, than to be issu'd out for your own Use and Benefit. Trust me, it shall be so; and if you consider it well, you will find that you are the richer by what you give, since it is all to be laid out, that you may enjoy the rest in Ease and Security. Gentlemen, I need not put you in mind of the miserable Effects which have attended the Wants and Necessities of the Crown. I need not tell you that there is a Republican Party still in the Kingdom, which had the courage to promise themselves another Revolution: And you know the only way, with God's Blessing, to disappoint their Hopes, and reduce them from those extravagant Desires, is to let them see that you have so provided for the Crown, that it hath wherewithal to support itself, and to secure you; which is all I desire, and do desire it only for your Preservation. Therefore I do conjure you by all the Professions of Affection you have made to me, by all the Kindnesses I know you have for me, to betake yourselves to some speedy Resolutions, and settle such a real and substantial Revenue upon me, as may hold some proportion with my necessary Expences for the Peace and Honour of the Kingdom; that they who look for Trouble at home, may despair of their Wishes; and that our Neighbours abroad, by seeing all is well at home, may have that value and esteem for us, as may secure the Honour and Interest of the Nation, and make the Happiness of this Kingdom, and of this City, once more the Admiration and Envy of the World.
'Gentlemen, I hear you are very zealous for the Church, and very solicitous, and even jealous that there is not expedition enough used in that Affair. I thank you for it, since I presume it proceeds from a good Root of Piety and Devotion: But I must tell you, I have the worst luck in the World, if, after all the Reproaches of being a Papist, while I was abroad, I am suspected of being a Presbyterian, now I am come home. I know you will not take it unkindly, if I tell you I am as zealous for the Church of England, as any of you can be, and am enough acquainted with the Enemies of it on all sides: That I am as much in love with the Book of Common-prayer, as you can wish, and have prejudice enough to those who do not love it, who, I hope, in time will be better inform'd, and change their minds; and you may be confident, I do as much desire to see an Uniformity settled, as any amongst you. I pray trust me in that Affair: I promise you to hasten the Dispatch of it with all convenient Speed; you may rely upon me in it. I have transmitted the Book of Common-Prayer, with those Alterations and Additions which have been presented to me by the Convocation, to the House of Peers, with my Approbation, that the Act of Uniformity may relate to it; so that I presume, it will be shortly dispatch'd there: And when we have done all we can, the well-settling that Affair will require great Prudence and Discretion, and the Absence of all Passion and Precipitation. I will conclude with putting you in mind, that the Season of the Year, and the Good you may do, will require a Recess into the Country, where you will find that many Tares have been sown in your Absence: The Arrival also of my Wife, whom I expect the next Month, and the Necessity of my being out of Town to meet her, and' to stay some time before the comes hither, makes it very necessary that the Parliament break up before Easter, to meet again in the Winter: And that it may do so, I pray lay aside all private Business, that you may in that time dispatch the public —The mention of my Wife's Arrival puts me in mind to desire you to put that Compliment upon her, That her Entrance into the Town may be with more Decency, than the Ways will now suffer it to be; and to that purpose, I pray you would quickly dispatch and pass such Laws as are before you in order to the amending of those Ways, and that she may not find Whitehall surrounded with Water. I will detain you no longer, but do promise myself great Fruits of this Conversation with you, and that you will justify the Confidence I have in your Affections, by letting the World see, that you take my Concernments to heart, and are ready to do what I desire for the Peace and Welfare of the Kingdom."
This plausible Speech is said to have had such an Effect, that they proceeded to comply with every Particular demanded in it, with all possible dispatch: Accordingly they soon after prepar'd a Bill for Repairing the Streets and Highways in and about the Cities of London, and Westminster; A second (penal) against the People call'd Quakers: And, in settling the King's Revenue, appointed 60,000 l. to be distributed among the suffering Cavaliers, whose Loyalty had been their Ruin.
The Act of Uniformity, and several others being now ready for the Royal Assent, May 19, the King came to the House of Peers, and being attended by the Commons, was, after certain introductory Compliments, harangu'd by their Speaker with the following good Speech, as tis call'd by Mr. Archdeacon Echard.
The Speaker's Speech to the King.
'If your Majesty but please to cast your Eyes upon the Table, and behold the great Number of Bills that there present themselves before you, like so many Sheafs of Corn bound up, and ready to be housed; and will vouchsafe to see how both my Hands are fill'd with no light Presents from your loyal Commons; and if your royal Majesty, the great Lord of the Harvest, shall vouchsafe to crown this Day by your Concessions to our Desires, the World wilt then see how great a Duty your People chearfully pay both to your royal Person and your Government, and likewise how great a Zeal your Majesty hath, by the faithful Advice of your Lords and Commons, to settle the Church in her ancient Glory, and to restore the happy People of this Nation to their ancient Rights and Privileges. Some foreign Writers, that envy the Happiness of our Government, injuriously asperse this Nation with a reproachful Saying, That the Crown of England is only maintain'd by the Benevolence of the People, which is never granted, but in exchange of some royal Prerogative. Great Sir, we know the strongest Building must fall, if the coupling Pins be pull'd out; therefore our Care hath been to prepare such Constitutions, that the Prerogative of the Crown, and the Propriety of the People, may, like squared Stones in a wellbuilt Arch, each support the other, and grow the closer and stronger for any Weight or Force that shall be laid upon them. We cannot forget the late disputing Age, wherein most Persons took a liberty, and some Men made it their Delight, to trample upon the Discipline and Government of the Church; the Hedge being trod down, the Foxes and the Wolves enter'd, the Swine and other unclean Beasts defiled the Temple: At length it was discern'd, the Smectymnian Plot did not only bend itself to reform Ceremonies, but sought to erect a popular Authority of Elders, and root out Episcopal Jurisdiction. In order to this Work, Church-Ornaments were first taken away, then the Means whereby Distinction or Inequality might be upheld among ecclesiastical Governors; then the Forms of Common Prayer, which, as Members of the public Body of Christ's Church, were enjoin'd us, were decry'd as superstitious, and in lieu thereof, nothing, or worse than nothing, introduced.' Your Majesty, having already restored the Governors and Government of the Church, the Patrimony and Privileges of our Chuchmen; we held it now our Duty, for the Reformation of all Abuses in the public Worship of God, humbly to present to your Majesty a Bill for the Uniformity of public Prayers, and Administration of Sacraments. We hope the God of Order and Unity will conform the Hearts of all the People in this Nation, to serve him in this Order and Uniformity.
Next to the Worship and Service of God, we apply'd ourselves to the settling our great Concern the Militia: We have already, according to our Duties, and the Laws, declared the sole Right of the Militia to be in your Majesty: And we humbly tender your Majesty a Bill for the better Regulation and Ordering the Standing Forces of the Nation; wherein we have taken care to make all things so certain, that your Lieutenants and their Deputies may know what to command, and all the People learn how to obey. And, because our late Wounds are yet but green, and possibly before the Body politic be well purg'd, may incline to break out again, whereby your Majesty may be forc'd to draw your Sword before your Treasury be supply'd with Money, we have consented that your Majesty may raise for the three next ensuing Years, one Month's Tax in each Year, after the Rate of seventy thousand Pounds per Mensem, if necessity shall so require. In the next place, according to your Majesty's Commands, we have survey'd the wasted Revenue of the Crown; and in pursuance of our Promises, do humbly propound to your Majesty a fair Addition: We consider'd that great Part of your Revenue is but for Life, and depends upon the Peace and Trade of the Nation, and therefore may be much impaired by foreign Wars; therefore we have sought something that might arise within our Walls, and not be subject to such Contingencies. We fix'd at last upon those Places where we enjoy our greatest Comforts and Securities, our Dwelling-houses; and, considering even that Security is secured to us by your Majesty's Vigilance and Care in the Government, we have prepared a Bill, That all Houses in this Kingdom, of the yearly Value of above twenty Shillings, and not inhabited by Alms-men, shall pay to your Majesty, your Heirs and Successors, two Shillings yearly, for every Chimney-hearth in each House for ever. When the great Achirophels of our latter Age had by force ravish'd the venerable Laws of this Nation, then every petty Arrist in his way, yea the very common Beggars had the Confidence to offer Violence to their Chastity. We have therefore been constrain'd to prepare several Bills for the Regulation of Trade, our Cloathing Trade, our Fishing-Trade, our Trade for Stuffs, our Trade for Silks; and for the better Maintenance of Intercourse in Trade, to re-inforce our former Laws for maintaining the Highways, with some Additions for Decency and Pleasure of Travellers. God in his Providence hath determin'd, That the Poor we must have always with us: Some are made so by the immediate Hand of God; others by their Loyalty, Duty and Service to your royal Person, and your blessed Father; others by their own Wickedness and Idleness: We have taken care to relieve the first, to encourage the second, and to reform the last. Nor hath the Case of any private Person been unwelcome to us; those many private Bills that lie before your Majesty do enough confirm this Truth, That where we found it just and honourable, we have deny'd cur helping Hand to none that pray'd it. And, now, great Sir, after these many Months most painful and faithful Service of your Majesty and our Countries, we hope we shall have leave to go home, to visit our Relations, to tell our Neighbours what great things your Majesty hath done for us, what great things, absit Invidia Verbo, we have done for your Majesty, and what great things God hath done for us all; and to pray Almighty God for his Mercy to this Nation, in the Continuance of your Majesty's long and happy Reign over us.'
The King's Speech to both Houses at the Prorogation.
I Think there have been very few Sessions of Parliament, in which there have been so many Bills, as I have passed this Day: I am confident, never so many private Bills, which I hope you will not draw into Example. It is true, these late ill Times have driven Men into great Streights, and may have oblig'd them to make Conveyances colourably, to avoid Inconveniences, and yet not afterwards to be avoided; and Men have gotten Estates by new and greater Frauds than have been heretofore practis'd: And therefore in this Conjuncture, extraordinary Remedies may be necessary, which hath induced me to comply with your Advice, in passing these Bills; but I pray let this be very rarely done hereafter. The good old Rules of the Law are the best Security; and let not Men have so much Cause to fear, That the Settlements they make of their Estates, shall be too easily unsettled, when they are dead, by the Power of Parliaments.
My Lords and Gentlemen, You have so much oblig'd me, not only in the Matter of those Bills which concern my Revenue, but in the Manner of passing them, with so great Affection and Kindness to Me, that I know not how to thank you enough. I do assure you, and I pray assure your Friends in the Country, That I will apply all you have given me, to the utmost Improvement of the Peace and Happiness of the Kingdom; and will, with the best Advice and good Husbandry I can, bring my Expences within a narrower Compass. Now I am speaking to you of my own good Husbandry, I must tell you, that will not be enough: I cannot but observe to you, That the whole Nation seems to me a little corrupted in their Excess of living. Sure all Men spend much more in their Clothes, in their Diet, in all their Expenses, than they have used to do. I hope it hath only been the Excess of Joy, after so long Sufferings, that hath transported us to these other Excesses; but let us take heed that the Continuance of them doth not indeed corrupt our Natures. I do believe I have been faulty myself; I promise you, I will reform, and if you will join with me in your several Capacities, we shall by our Examples do more Good, both in City and Country, than any new Laws would do. I tell you again, I will do my Part, and I will tell some of you, if you do not do yours. I hope the Laws I have pass'd this Day, will produce some Reformation with reference to the Multitude of Beggars and poor People which infest the Kingdom Great Severity must be used to those who love Idleness and refuse to work, and great Care and Charity to those who are willing to work. I do very heartily recommend the Execution of those good Laws to your utmost Diligence; and I am sure I need not put you in mind so to settle the Militia, that all seditious Insurrections may not only be prevented, to which the Minds of too many are inclined, but that the People may be without reasonable Apprehension of such Insecurity. You will easily believe, that it is very necessary for the public Justice of the Kingdom, and even for the Preservation of the Reverence due to Parliaments, that I make this a Session; and it will be worthy of your Wisdoms when you come together again, to provide that there be not so great a Clamour against the multitude of Protections. I will say no more, but renew my hearty Thanks to you all, and refer the rest to the Chancellor.'
The Substance of the Lord Chancellor's Speech.
Accordingly the Lord Chancellor made a long and affecting Speech, of which some Account ought to be given. He told them, 'That they had, like the richest and noblest Soil, yielded the King two full Harvests in one Year; and therefore it was but good Husbandry to lie fallow for some time: They had not only supply'd the Crown to a good degree for discharging many Debs and Pressures, under which it even groan'd, and enabled it to struggle with the present Streights and Necessities, Debts not contracted, and Necessities not run into by Improvidence and Excess; but they had wisely provided such a constant growing Revenue, as might with God's Blessing preserve the Crown from those scandalous Wants and Necessities, as had lately expos'd it and the Kingdom to those dismal Miseries, from which they were but even now buoy'd up: For whatsoever other human Causes might be assign'd, according to the several Fancies of Men, of the late miserable Distractions, they could not be so reasonably imputed to any one Cause, as to the extreme Poverty of the Crown: The want of Power could never have appeared, if it had not been for the want of Money. They had therefore worthily provided for the Vindication and Manifestation of the one by the Bill of the Militia, and for the Supply of the other by the Act for the Additional Revenue; and he doubted not but both the present and succeeding Ages would bless God, and celebrate their Memories for those two Bills, as the Foundation of their Peace, Quiet and Security. Then he proceeded to take notice, 'That the Spirit of Libelling was never more pregnant than at present; neither King, Parliament, Church, nor State could escape those Strokes of the Tongue, from which God alone could preserve the most innocent and excellent Persons. Men, he said, were no ways dispos'd to remember the general excellent Temper of the Time of Queen Elizabeth, the blessed Resignation of the People then to the Crown, the awful Reverence they then had to the Government, and to the Governors both in Church and State; but they remember, as if it was but Yesterday, how few Subsidies Parliaments then gave to the Queen, how small Supplies the Crown then had from the People, and wonder that the same Measures should not give the same Reputation, and make the same Noise in Christendom. But they were superior to such Reproaches, and well knew, that as to his present Majesty, at least two Parts of three, that have been given to him, have been issu'd out for Disbanding Armies never raised by him, and for Payment of Fleets never sent out by him, and of Debts never contracted by him. They also knew the vast Disparity between the former Times and the present, upon the account of the mighty Encrease of Commerce, Naval Powers, and other extraordinary things, in the several Parts of the World; so that the Crown was now at the necessary Expence by Sea and Land, of eight hundred thousand Pounds a Year, which formerly did not cost it eighty thousand Pounds a Year.
The End of the Second Session of the Second Parliament.
After this he proceeded to other Topics, and intimated the Necessity of making the People understand 'the Profit, Benefit and Fase, which always attended a chearful Obedience, and Submission to Laws and Government; and declar'd that a little Pains, Kindness and Condescension in the Wise, towards the Weak, half the Diligence and Dexterity in Conversation and Example, which had been used to corrupt the People in their Loyalty and Understanding, would quickly reduce them to their primitive Temper, namely, to be the best Neighbours, and the best Friends, and the best Subjects in the World. And he doubted not but the great Piety and Devotion, the Moderation, Charity and Hospitality of the Bishops, in their several Dioceses, would in a short time recover the poor mis-led People: And tho the Frowardness and Pride of some of their Teachers was not enough subdu'd; tho' some of the Clergy still repeated their old Errors, and did still discredit all their other Doctrine, with the Absence of any visible Repentance; yet he hoped the Laity would soon return into the Bosom of the Church, and easily discern the Fraud and Imposture of their Seducers; and that all Diligence would be used, heartily to reconcile both Clergy and Laity, by all Means which may prove effectual.' Then speaking of the Sharpness of the new Laws, he intimated, That the Execution of them still depended upon the Wisdom of the most discerning, generous, and merciful Prince, who having had more Experience of the Nature and Humour of Mankind, than any Prince living, could best distinguish between the Tenderness of Conscience, and the Pride of Conscience, between the real Effects of Conscience, and the wicked Pretences to Conscience; who knew how to guard himself and the Kingdom from the Violence of a malicious corrupted Will and Understanding, and to secure both from the feeble Nets of deluded Fancies and Imaginations: In a word, a Prince of so excellent a Nature, and so tender a Conscience himself, that he had the highest Compassion for all Errors of that Kind, and would never suffer the Weak to undergo the Punishment ordain'd for the Wicked.' Then he intimated to them, That many honest Persons, in the late Times, were misled by not discerning Consequences, who would as soon have renounc'd their Part in Heaven, as concurr'd in the first unwarrantable Action, if they had suspected what follow'd But the most dangerous Enemies to the public Peace, he said, were the Republicans, the Commonwealths-Men, who were every Day calling in the Aid of the Law, that they might overthrow the Law, which they knew to be their irreconcileable Enemy; a People restless in their Counsels, and no less punctual and industrious in their Correspondencies, abroad as well as at home: Therefore they could not be too vigilant and inquisitive as to those Men. Then speaking of the Happiness they had procured, he told them, That they wanted only one Blessing, the Arrival of their Queen, whom God had now safely brought to the Nation; a Queen of such rare Perfection in Body and Mind, of such great Endowments of Wisdom, Virtue, and Piety, that they might from her reasonably promise themselves all the Happiness they were capable of; and there could not be a more transcendent Instance of the King's Love and Passion for his People, than that he had stay'd these four Days to take his leave of them; and that he might give them this Day's Work, all these good Laws, had deny'd himself so long the enjoying the greatest Comfort he is assured of in this World. Then exhorting them again to testify their Joy, and transmit it into their Countries, he, by the King's Command, prorogu'd the Parliament till the 13th Day of February.