Second parliament of King William: Second session - begins 2/10/1690

Pages 384-389

The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 2, 1680-1695. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.

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In this section

Second Session.

October 2. Both Houses met, when the King made the following Speech.

King's Speech.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

Since I met you last, I have used my best Endeavours to reduce Ireland into such a condition this Year, as that it might be no longer a Charge to England: And it has pleased God to bless my Endeavours with such Success, that I doubt not, but I should have been fully possest of that Kingdom by this time, had I been enabled to have gone in the Field as soon as I should have done, and as is more especially necessary in Ireland, where the Rains are so great, and begin so early.

'I think myself obliged to take notice, how well the Army there have behaved themselves on all Occasions, and borne great Hardships with little Pay, and with so much Patience and Willingness, as could not proceed but from an affectionate Duty to my Service, and a Zeal for the Protestant Religion.

'I have already made it evident, how much I have prefer'd the Satisfaction of my Subjects before the most solid Advantages of the Crown, by parting with so considerable a Branch of its Inheritance: And it is no less apparent, that I have asked no Revenue for myself, but what I have readily subjected to be charg'd to the Uses of the War.

'I did at my Departure give order for all the public Accompts to be made ready for me against my Return, and I have commanded them to be laid before the House of Commons; by which they will see, that the real Want of what was necessary beyond the Funds given, and the not getting in due time that for which Funds were assigned, have been the principal Causes why the Army is so much in Arrear of their Pay, and the Stores both for the Navy and the Ordnance not supplied as they ought to be.

'Now, as I have neither spared my Person, nor my Pains to do you all the good I could; so I doubt not, but if you will as chearfully do your Parts, it is in your power to make both me and yourselves happy, and the Nation greats And on the other hand, it is too plain, by what the French have let you see so lately, that if the present War be not prosecuted with Vigour, no Nation in the World is exposed to greater Danger.

'I hope therefore, there will need no more upon that Subject, than to lay before you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, the State of what will be necessary for the Support of the Fleet and Armies, which cannot possibly admit of being lessen'd in the Year ensuing; and to recommend to your Care the Clearing of my Revenue, so as to enable me to subsist and to maintain the Charge of the Civil List; the Revenue being so engaged, that it must be wholly apply'd, after the first of November next, to pay off the Debts already charged upon it: And therefore a present Consideration must be had of the Arrears of the Army, which shall likewise be laid before you, and for all which I must desire a sufficient and timely Supply.

'It is farther necessary to inform you, that the whole Support of the Confederacy abroad, will absolutely depend upon the Speed and Vigour of your Proceedings in this Session.

'And here I must take notice, with great Satisfaction, of the Readiness which my Subjects of all Degrees have shewn both in this City, and in their several Countries, by giving their Assistance so chearfully as they did in my Absence, while the French Fleet was upon our Coasts. And besides this so convincing Mark of the good Inclinations of my People, I have found through all the Countries where I passed, both at my going into Ireland, and in my Return from thence, such Demonstrations of their Affection, that I have not the least doubt, but I shall find the same from their Representatives in Parliament.

'I cannot conclude without taking notice also, how much the Honour of the Nation has been 'expos'd by the ill Conduct of my Fleet, in the last Summer's Engagement against the French; and I think myself so much concern'd to see it vindicated, that I cannot rest satisfy'd till, an Example has been made of such as shall be found faulty upon their Examination and Trial, which was not practicable while the whole Fleet was abroad, but is now put into the proper way of being done as soon as may be.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

'I look upon the future Well-being of this Kingdom, to depend upon the Result of your Councils and Determinations at this time: And the Benefit will be double by the Speed of your Resolutions, insomuch, that I hope you will agree with me in this Conclusion, That whoever goes about to obstruct or divert your Applications to these Matters, preferably to all others, can neither be my Friends nor the Kingdom's.'

Addresses of Thanks, &c.

The Lords first, and then the Commons, presented their Majesties Addresses of Thanks, full of Expressions of Duty and Affection, and particularly with regard to the prudene Administration in the King's Absence.

A Motion about the Irish forfeited Estates rejected.

The same day, these Addresses were presented, the Commons voted the Supply; and the next day, October the 10th, granted 1,791,695 l. for the Navy, and Building of Ships. They granted also 2,294,560 l. for maintaining an Army of 69,636 Men. The Funds given for raising this Money, falling short of the Sums granted, a Motion was made for an Address to the King, that an Account of the forfeited Estates in Ireland should be transmitted to the House of Commons, to make those Forfeitures an additional Fund for Deficiencies. This Address was drawn up and reported, Oct. the 22d, by Sir (fn. 1) Thomas Clarges; but upon the Question, it pass'd in the Negative.

Upon the dropping of this Address, a Bill was brought into the House, to attaint those Persons that had been in Rebollion in England or Ireland, to confiscate their Estates, and apply the Produce to the Charge of the War. It pass'd the Commons, and was sent to the Lords for their Concurrence; but their Lordships, notwithstanding several Messages from the lower House, to quicken its Passage, laid it by; not only for the Reason Bishop Kennet gives, that the Court did underhand oppose it, because the King design'd to recompense the Services of several Persons with part of the Forfeitures; but because the Fund was by no means likely to raise a Million, as was propos'd by it. Notwithstanding, which, the Parliament was so forward in promoting the necessary Supplies, that, by the 25th of November, most of the Money-Bills were ready for the Royal Assent, which his Majesty having given, made the following Speech.

The King's Speech to both Houses.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

I Take this occasion with great Willingness to assure you, that I am extremely sensible of the Zeal and Chearfulness of your Proceedings in this Session of Parliament, and of the Readiness which you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, have shewn, in granting such large Supplies towards the pressing Occasions of the Army and Navy.

'And I do farther assure you, that I shall not be wanting on my part, to see them carefully apply'd to those Uses for which you intend them.

'At the same time, I must observe to you, that the Posture of Affairs abroad does necessarily require my Presence at the Hague, before the End of the Year; and by consequence, I must desire you to lose no time, in the dispatching and perfecting such farther Supplies, as are still necessary for the Navy and Army. And not for them alone; but it is high time also to put you in mind of making some Provision for the Expence of the Civil Government, which has no Funds for its Support, since the Excise, which was design'd for that Service; and also the other Branches of the Revenue, have been applied to other public Uses: And therefore I earnestly recommend it to your speedy Consideration.'

On Saturday the 20th of December, the King came again to the House of Lords, and pass'd another Money-Bill, for a Duty upon all East-India Goods, and all wrought Silks imported. 'His Majesty, at the same time, acquainted both Houses, how sensible he was of their good Affections towards him, and of their sincere Endeavours to promote the true Interest of their Country, in continuing to provide further Supplies towards defraying the Charge of the War, which he would take care to see diligently and strictly apply'd to the Uses for which they gave them. He added, he had lately acquainted them, that the Posture of Affairs abroad, would not admit of deferring his Journey to the Hague, much beyond that Time; and that he put them in mind of it now, in hopes that Consideration would prevail with them to use all possible Dispatch of what still remain'd to be done, for the more vigorous Prosecution of the War. And concluded with telling the Commons, That if some annual Provision could be made for augmenting the Navy, and building some new Men-of-War, it would be a very necessary Care at that Time.'

570,000 l. granted.

Four days after, the Commons unanimously resolv'd, That 570,000 l. be given to their Majesties, for building seventeen Third-Rate Men-of-War of 60 Guns each, which Sum was rais'd by an additional Excise. A Bill, appointing Commissioners for public Accounts, being pass'd, the Commons chose nine of their own Members for that Commission, who were Sir Robert Rich, Sir Thomas Clarges, Paul Foley Esq; Robert Austin Esq; Sir Matthew Andrews, Sir Benjamin Newland, Sir Samuel Barnardiston, Sir Peter Colliton, and Robert Harley Esq;.

The King being impatient to be at the Congress in Holland, came to the House of Lords, January the 5th, and having pass'd all the Bills, public and private, that were ready, made the following Speech to both Houses:

The king's Speech to both Houses.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

Having lately told you, That it would be necessary for me to go to Holland, much about this Time, I am very glad to find, that the Success of your Endeavours to bring this Session to a happy Conclusion has been such, that I am now at Liberty to do it. And I return you hearty Thanks for the great Dispatch you have made in finishing the Supplies you have designed, for carrying on the War; which it shall be my Care to see duly and punctually applied to that Service for which you have given them. And I do likewise think it proper to assure you, That I shall not make any Grant of the forfeited Lands in England or Ireland, till there be another Opportunity of settling that Matter in Parliament in such manner as shall be thought most expedient.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

'As I have reason to be very well satisfied with the Proofs you have given of your good Affection in this Session of Parliament, so I promise myself the Continuance of the same at your Return into your several Countries. And as every Day produces still fresh Instances of the Restlessness of our Enemies, both at home and abroad, in designing against the Prosperity of this Nation and the Government established, so I do not doubt, but the Union and good Correspondence between me and my Parliament, and my earnest and constant Endeavours for your Prefervation on the one hand, joined with the Continuance of your Zeal and Affection to support me on the Throne, will, by the Blessing of God, be at all times too strong for the utmost Malice and Contrivance of our Common Enemies.'

Then the Lord Chief-Baron Atkyns, by the King's Command, declar'd to both Houses, ' It was his Majesty's Pleasure, that they should adjourn themselves till the 31st of March; and they should have timely Notice, if there was to be a Session then.' We must not part with this Session, withbut remembring that several Acts were left unfinish'd, as, An Act to regulate Trials in Cases of High-Treason: An Act relating to the African Trade: And, An Act to charge the Estate of the late Lord Jeffreys in Leicestershire, with the Sum of 14,760 l. and Interest, to Edmund Prideaux Esq; of Ford-Abbey, on the Edge of Devonshire and Somersetshire.


  • 1. Mr. Oldmixon, in his History, takes Occasion from this Incident, not only to inveigh against Sir Thomas Clarges, but all those who, by making strict Enquiries into public Affairs were guilty, according to him, of obstructing the Parliament's Application to those Matters recommended to them by his Majesty. It may not be amiss, therefore, in this Place, to put the Reader in mind that Archdeacon Echard was as much out of humour with the Anti-Court Members during the Reign of Charles II. as Mr. Oldmixon with those who thwarted our great Deliverer. That the said Mr. Oldmixon, in exposing the Stuarts and their Historian Echard, is a Patriot, a Courtier for King William, a Patriot afterwards in opposition to Lord Oxford, and thenceforward, a little space excepted, a Courtier again. Such Tyrants are Prejudice and Interest !