The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 3, 1695-1706. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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The Second Session of the 4th Parliament.
The Parliament met at Westminster on Thursday the 16th of November, and his Majesty with the usual Solemnity made this Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'I Hope you will not think I have called you out of your Countries too soon, if you consider, that our common Security requires a farther Provision should be made, for the Safety of the Kingdom by Sea and Land, before we are at the end of what was granted for that purpose last Session. and when you enter upon this Business, I believe you will think it necessary to take care of the Repairs of the Ships and of the Fortifications; without which our Fleet cannot be safe when it is in Harbour.
'I cannot omit to put you in mind of another matter, in which so great a Number of my Subjects is concerned, and wherein the Honour of the Kingdom, and the Faith of Parliaments is so far engaged, that our future Security seems to depend upon it; I mean, the making good Deficiencies of the Funds, and the discharging the Debts contracted by reason of the War.
'And till we may be so happy as to see the public Debts paid, I shall hope that no Session will end, without something done towards lessening them. While I am speaking to you on this Head, I think myself obliged to mention, with a particular concern, a Debt which is owing to the Prince of Denmark, the state whereof I have ordered to be laid before you.
'Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
'These things are of such Importance, that I must earnestly recommend them to your Consideration, and desire you to provide the necessary Supplies.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'There is nothing I could more rejoice in, than that I were not under the necessity of so often asking Aids of my People; but as the Reason of it is evident, because the Funds formerly applied to defray the Public Expence, are now anticipated for Payment of the Debts of the Kingdom; so it is my Satisfaction, that you all see that nothing of what is demanded, is for any personal use of mine: And I do faithfully assure you, that no part of what is given, shall be diverted from any Purpose for which it is designed.
'I believe the Nation is already sensible of the good Effects of Peace, by the manifest Increase of Trade, which I shall make it my Business to encourage by all means in my power; probably it might receive an Advantage, if some good Bill were prepared, for the more effectual preventing and punishing unlawful and clandestine trading, which does not only tend to defraud the Public, but prejudice the fair Merchant, and discourage our own Manufactures.
'The Increase of the Poor is become a Burthen to the Kingdom, and their loose and idle Life, does in some measure contribute to that depravation of Manners, which is complained of, (I fear with too much Reason.) Whether the ground of this Evil be from defects in the Laws already made, or in the Execution of them, deserves your Consideration. As it is an indispensable Duty, that the Poor, who are not able to help themselves, should be maintained; so I cannot but think it extremely desireable, that such as are able and willing, should not want Employment; and such as are obstinate and unwilling, should be compelled to labour.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'I have a full Assurance of the good Affections of my People, which I shall endeavour to preserve by a constant care of their just Rights and Liberties; by maintaining the established Religion, by seeing the Course of Justice kept steady and equal, by countenancing Virtue, and discouraging Vice, and by declining no Difficulties or Dangers, where their Welfare and Prosperity may be concerned. These are my Resolutions; and I am persuaded that you are come together with Purposes on your part suitable to those on mine. Since then our Aims are only for the general Good, let us act with Confidence in one another; which will not fail, by God's blessing, to make me a happy King, and you a great and flourishing People.'
The House, having taken this Speech into Consideration, agreed upon the following Address.
The Commons Address.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled being highly sensible, that nothing is more necessary for the Peace and Welfare of this Kingdom, the quieting the Minds of your People, and disappointing the Designs of your Enemies, than a mutual and entire Confidence between your Majesty and your Parliament, do esteem it our greatest misfortune, that after having so amply provided for the Security of your Majesty and your Government, both by Sea and Land, any Jealousy or Distrust hath been raised, of our Duty and Affections to your sacred Majesty and your People; and beg leave humbly to represent to your Majesty, that it will greatly conduce to the continuing, and establishing an entire Confidence between your Majesty and your Parliament, that you would be pleased to shew marks of your high displeasure towards all such Persons who have, or shall presume to misrepresent their Proceedings to your Majesty.
'And your Commons (having likewise a due Sense of the great Care and Concern, your Majesty has always expressed, for preserving and maintaining the Religion, Rights, and Liberties of your People, in defence of which your Majesty hath so often exposed your Royal Person) will use their utmost care and endeavours, to prevent and discourage all false Rumours and Reports, reflecting upon your Majesty and your Government, whereby to create any Misunderstandings between you and your Subjects.'
To this his Majesty was pleased to give the following Answer.
'Gentlemen, My Parliament have done so great things for me, and I have upon all proper Occasions expressed so great a Sense of their Kindness, and my Opinion has been so often declared, that the happiness of an English King depends upon an entire good Correspondence between him and his Parliament, that it cannot seem strange for me to assure you, that no Persons have ever yet dared to go about to misrepresent to me the Proceedings of either House. Had I found any such, they would have immediately felt the highest Marks of my Displeasure. It is a Justice I owe not only to my Parliaments, but to every one of my Subjects, to judge of them by their Actions: And this Rule I will steadily pursue. If any shall hereafter attempt to put me on other Methods, by Calumnies or Misrepresentations, they will not only fail of Success, but shall be looked upon, and treated by me as my worst Enemies.
'I am pleased to see by your Address, that you have the same Thoughts of the great Advantages which will ensue to the Kingdom, from our mutual Confidence, as I expressed to both Houses at the opening of the Session. I take very kindly the assurance you give me, of using your utmost care and endeavour to prevent and discourage all false Rumours and Reports reflecting upon me and my Government: And I faithfully promise you, that no Actions of mine shall give a just ground for any misunderstanding between me and my People.
Motion with regard to Lord Bellamont.
December 6th, it appearing to the House that a Grant had been made by Letters Patent to the Earl of Bellamont and others, of Pirates Goods; the Question was put, that the said Letters Patent were dishonourable to the King, against the Law of Nations, contrary to the Laws and Statutes of the Realm, an Invasion of Property, and destructive of Trade and Commerce, and pass'd in the Negative.
The most material Business that occurr'd next in the House, was the Report of the Commissioners for taking an Account of the Forfeited Estates in Ireland; an Abstract of which is as follows.
Report of the Commissioners for taking an Account of the Irish Forfeited Estates.
The Commissioners met with great Difficulties in their Enquiry, which were occasioned chiefly by the Backwardness of the People of Ireland to give any Information, out of fear of the Grantees, whose Displeasure in that Kingdom was not easily borne; and by Reports industriously spread and believed, that their Enquiry would come to nothing. Nevertheless, it appeared to them, that the Persons [outlawed in England, since the 13th of February, 1688. on account of the late Rebellion, amounted in number to fifty seven, and in Ireland to three thousand nine hundred and twenty one. That all the Lands in the several Counties in Ireland belonging to the forfeited Persons, as far as they could reckon, made 1060792 acres, worth per annum 211623 l. which by computation of fix years purchase for a Life, and thirteen years for the Inheritance, came to the full value of 2685138 l. That some of those Lands had been restored to the old Proprietors, by virtue of the Articles of Limerick and Galloway, and by his Majesty's Favour, and by Reversal of Out-lawries, and royal Pardons, obtained chiefly by Gratifications to such Persons as had abused his Majesty's royal Bounty and Compassion. Beside these Restitutions, which they thought to be corruptly procured, they gave an Account of seventy-six Grants and Custodiums, under the Great Seal of Ireland; as to the Lord Romney three Grants now in being, containing 49517 Acres; to the Earl of Albemarle in two Grants 108633 Acres in Possession and Reversion; to William Bentinck Esq; Lord Woodstock, 135820 Acres of Land; to the Earl of Athlone two Grants containing 26480 Acres; to the Earl of Galloway one Grant of 36148 Acres, &c. wherein they observed, that the Estates so mentioned did not yield so much to the Grantees as they were valued at, because as most of them had abused his Majesty in the real Value of their Estates, so their Agents had imposed on them, and had either sold or lett the greatest Part of those Lands at an Under-Value. But after all Deductions and Allowances, there yet remained 1699343 l. 14 s. which they lay before the Commons as the gross Value of the Estates since the 13th Day of February, and not restored; besides a Grant under the Great Seal of Ireland, dated the 13th Day of May, 1695. passed to Mrs. Elizabeth Villiers, now Countess of Orkney, of all the private Estates of the late King James, (except some small Part in Grant to the Lord Athlone) containing 95649 Acres, worth per Annum 25995 l. 18. s. Value, total 331943 l. 9. s. Concluding, that there was payable out of this Estate, two thousand Pounds per annum to the Lady Susanna Bellasis, and also one thousand Pounds per annum to Mrs. Godfrey, for their Lives; and that almost all the old Leases determined in May 1701. and then this Estate would answer the Value above-mentioned.—Signed Francis Annesley, John Trenchard, James Hamilton, and Henry Langford.
A Bill for applying the Forfeited Estates in Ireland to the Use of the Public.
The Commons having examined this Report, came to an unanimous Resolution, 15th of December, that a Bill be brought in to apply all the forfeited Estates and Interests in Ireland, and all Grants thereof, and of the Rents and Revenues belonging to the Crown within that Kingdom, since the 13th of February 1688, to the Use of the Public; and ordered a Clause to be inserted in that Bill, for erecting a Judicature for determining Claims touching the said forfeited Estates. They likewise resolved, That they would not receive any Petition from any Person whatsoever, touching the said Grants or forfeited Estates; and that they would take into Consideration the great Services performed by the Commissioners appointed to enquire into the forfeited Estates of Ireland.
Jan. 15. A Motion being made that the four Commissioners, who had signed the Reports, presented to this House, had proceeded in the Execution of that Commission with Understanding and Integrity; a Debate arose thereon, which was adjourned 'till the next Day, when it was resum'd; when six of the said Commissioners were examined as follows.
Examination of the said Commissioners.
Sir Richard Leving first by himself.
Mr. Speaker. Sir Richard Leving, The House having been inform'd of something that you have said to a worthy Member of this House (which I am confin'd to examine you to) I may name the Person, because you have said it, as the House is inform'd, to more than one: The Member's Name is Vernon, and it is in relation to some Discourse that passed between you and one or more of the Commissioners for the Irish Forfeitures concerning the private Estate being put into the Report. The House requires you to give an Account of what you informed that worthy Member.
Sir Richard Leving. Mr. Speaker, I shall very readily obey the Commands of the House; but, before that, I would inform you (if it be the Pleasure of the House) of all that then passed.
Mr. Speaker. Pray take your own Method, give an Account of what you know.
Sir Richard Leving. There was a Debate arose between the Commissioners concerning the reporting the private Estate: Upon that Debate I was of opinion, That that Estate ought not to have been reported, because not within our Power by the Act: Upon this a Debate happen'd, and several Reasons were offer'd why this might be understood to be a Forfeiture; one Reason that was given was, that the Estate was the late King James's Estate, and so it was forfeited. To which answer was made, That if King James had forfeited it, yet it was not within the Act, because the Words of the Act confin'd our Enquiry to Forfeitures since the 13th of February 1688. When that was said, there was another of the Commissioners, that did say, I was always of Opinion that this was a Forfeiture within the Act, because tho' King James had not forfeited before, yet he coming into Ireland on March 15, 1688, he committed Treason against King William and Queen Mary, and forfeited that Estate. It was then objected, That this private Estate of the late King was Parcel of the Possessions of the Crown of England, and was vested in him as Parcel of the Crown of England; and the Crown being vested in King William and Queen Mary by an Act of Parliament made in this Kingdom, which settled the Crown in King William and Queen Mary, the Crown and all the Possessions were vested in them Feb. 13. 1688. So that that Estate being actually in his Majesty then, and tho' otherwise it might have been conceiv'd that King James had forfeited afterwards, tho' not then attainted, it could not be conceived how he could forfeit that Estate because it was before in the King and Queen. And the same Gentleman that urged, that upon the 15th of March King James landed in Ireland and committed Treason, was pleased to say, I don't dislike the 30th of January, nor the Deed that was done that Day; I like both the Day and the Deed. I confess I was surpriz'd at it, and said, If those be your Reasons, and this is your Agreement, I declare I will never join in it.
One of the Commissioners at this time was absent, but the next day that Gentleman was brought into the Room with the other Commissioners, and then this was debated again, and upon that Debate much of that Matter was spoke over again (not that relating to the 30th of January) but then it was again urg'd, that that Estate might be said to be forfeited; and the same Objections were repeated, and it seem'd to be assented to by the other Commissioners, that it was not strictly a Forfeiture, and some of them said it might not be within the Commission; then it was ask'd, Why then will you report it? And one of the Gentlemen did answer, that it was a villanous Grant, and therefore fit to be expos'd: I did not write down the Words at that time, because I had then no Intention of making any Complaint, or publishing these Matters. But since they have cut off our Hands and Seals from the Report, it made us think it necessary to do what we have done. And it being said by a Commissioner not here, but in Ireland, If we take it not to be within our Commission, why will you report it? for it will fly in the King's Face: To which another answered, Why the Commission flies in the King's Face; if you won't fly in his Face, you can't execute this Commission, or you must not execute it, one of them two.
Upon this it was further urg'd, That this Matter should be reported; and one of the Commissioners said, Tho' it was not clearly within the Act, yet he had receiv'd several Letters from several Members of this House to report this Matter, and he said it was as good (or contain'd in the Letter, that it was as good) do nothing as not to report it. There was upon this an Expression by one of the Commissioners, that a great Person was concern'd [that was my Lady Ork-y] and the Application of that was, that if he was so tender of that Person, we should not join with them in any thing else: For, Sir, the Debate was grown to this pass, whether if we did not join in this thing, we should not join in any thing else. This I think is the Substance of what I told that worthy Member: if I am ask'd as to any other Person, I shall give you a true Account.
Mr. Speaker. I am commanded to ask you, who were by upon this Discourse between you and the rest of the Commissioners concerning the Differences in Opinion, and how many; and particularly at that time that one of the Commissioners did say, that he thought that since it was not in your Commission to report that Grant, it would be a flying in the King's Face, &c.
Sir Richard Leving. It was the day that the Commissioner that was sick first came to us, I believe about the 24th of October last: There were present at that time the Lord Drogheda, Sir Francis Brewster, Mr. Annesly, Mr. Trenchard, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Langford, the Secretary, and myself, all were in the Room when this was said.
Mr. Speaker. Who was it said it was a flying in the King's Face? and who made answer that the Commission did fly in the King's Face?
Sir R. Leving. It was my Lord Drogheda said the first part, and Mr. Hamilton was the Person that said the other.
Mr. Speaker. Who said that concerning the 30th of January, that it was a good Day and a good Deed?
Sir R. Leving. That was the day before the other Discourse was; there were all but Mr. Trenchard, who was sick and came next day.
Mr. Speaker. Who said it, and upon what Occasion?
Sir R. Leving. It was not a particular Direction to any Person as I remember; but it was spoke by way of Answer: It was told Mr. Langford when he came in, the Objection that was made against this being return'd as a Forfeiture, &c. And then he said, I was always of Opinion that this was a Forfeiture, and that Kings might forfeit as well as others; and he thereupon said he did not dislike the 30th of January.
Mr. Speaker. You mention'd that some of the Commissioners said they receiv'd Letters from Members of Parliament to insert this Grant into the Report: Please to repeat who had them, and from whom?
Sir R. Leving. The first time I heard mention of any such Letter was the first Night: After we rose we went to Mr. Trenchard's Chamber, who was sick, to consult; for this Debate occasion'd some concern in our Minds, and we did apprehend some Breach amongst us, and went to his Chamber to see if we could come to an Accommodation; and offer'd Mr. Trenchard, and the rest of the Gentlemen present, That if they would take the whole Report without the private Estate, and sign it, we could join with them; and if they would put in an Article of the private Estate, they might sign it by themselves: for we thought if we could not agree to it, we would be no hindrance to them if they thought fit to do it; and then Mr. Trenchard said, he had Letters from several Members to report this private Estate, and that it would signify nothing if we did not report it.
Mr. Speaker. Did he say that from himself, or that it was in any Letter?
Sir R. Leving. I do not say that positively, he shew'd me no Letter.
Mr. Speaker. Did he name any Member?
Sir R. Leving. I do not remember that he named any Member.
Mr. Speaker. Who were present at that time in Mr. Trenchard's Chamber?
Sir R. Leving. Most of those Gentlemen I have named were there the next day.
Mr. Speaker. Who were by?
Sir R. Leving. My Lord Drogheda and Sir F. Brewster were not there, but the rest were there, and the Secretary I believe was there. The next day, when we met again, there were present, as I inform'd you, all the Commissioners; and then Mr. Trenchard, amongst other Discourse, did express himself in the said manner; and Mr. Annesly said, that he had received Letters from Members of the House.
Mr. Speaker. But Mr. Annesly nor Mr. Trenchard did not tell you the Contents of those Letters, nor from whom they receiv'd them.
Sir R. Leving. They said they had Letters to report this Estate, but they did not as I remember name any body, tho' I did hear from my Lord Drogheda and Sir Francis Brewster, that they had named Persons, but I did not myself take particular Notice of any body.
Mr. Speaker. Did they produce any Letter, or shew you any?
Sir R. Leving. Not then.
Mr. Speaker. When did you see any?
Sir R. Leving. I did see a Letter the next Morning, and that Letter was shew'd to me by Mr. Annesly, but I did not think that Letter came up to the Point they spake overnight.
Mr. Speaker. Can you remember the Contents of it?
Sir R. Leving. I had rather refer myself to the Letter; I believe Mr. Annesly has it.
Mr. Speaker. Who wrote it?
Sir R. Leving. Must I name him?
Mr. Speaker. Yes, the House expects it of you.
Sir R. Leving. His Name is Mr. Arthur Moore: And I did then take notice of it to Mr. Annesly, that this Letter did not amount to what they told us the Night before.
Mr. Speaker. You say you said to Mr. Annesly, you told us of a Letter you receiv'd from some Members to report this private Estate, but this Letter does not come up to what you told us. Upon which Mr. Annesly answered as for himself, If we do not report that private Estate, we had as good do nothing.
Sir R. Leving. I don't say so: Upon recollection, I do now believe that those Gentlemen, Mr. Trenchard and Mr. Annesley, did say that there was contain'd in the Letter that Expression, that if they did not put that Estate into the Report, they had as good do nothing; but when I once saw that Letter, I thought they had imposed upon us.
Then Sir R. Leving withdrew, and all the rest of the Commissioners that were then in Town, with their Secretary, were order'd to be brought in.
And accordingly Sir Francis Brewster, Mr. Annesly, Mr. Trenchard, Mr. Langford, and Mr. Hooper their Secretary were brought in.
Mr. Speaker. Gentlemen, I am commanded to enquire of you, and if you please you may speak severally to it: The House has been inform'd of some Discourses among you Gentlemen of this Commission, when you differed in Opinion about returning of King James's private Estate; the first time Mr. Trenchard was not there, and the next day that Mr. Trenchard was brought there: but I think the Discourse the House would enquire after was the second day when Mr. Trenchard was there, which was to this Effect, That some Argument being given why this Estate was a Forfeiture, and other Arguments being given that it was not, one of the Commissioners, as this House hath been inform'd, should say, If it be not within our Commission, 'tis a flying in the King's Face. Upon which another Commissioner made answer, Why the Commission itself flies in the King's Face; And for what are we sent hither but to fly in the King's Face, or to that effect?
Members. No, no.
Mr. Speaker. I beg pardon if I mistake, the Words were to this Effect: The Commission flies in the King's Face; and if you will not fly in his Face, you must not, or you cannot execute this Commission. You are all said to be present when these Words were spoken; so you will please to give account severally to the House what passed upon this Occasion, and what you remember of it. Sir Francis Brewster, if you please.
Sir Francis Brewster. I beg leave to say, I am sorry for any Differences between us, and that we were as hearty as any in the Execution of this Commission. But for the Matter of the Words now spoke of, there was some Discourse concerning the reporting that private Estate: Sir R. Leving said, it was not within our Enquiry. To which some Reply was made, Why if it was not within our Commission, yet it might be fit to be reported. My Lord Drogheda made answer, If it be not within our Commission, then it will be to fly in the King's Face to report it. Another then said, The Commission flies in the King's Face, and we can't act in this Commission unless we fly in his Face; I think that was said by Mr. Hamilton. Upon which some other Arguments went on to enforce the passing of it. At last some of the Commissioners said they had a Letter from several Members of the House of Commons, that gave them reason to believe they should report this Estate: I think it was said by Mr. Annesly. Upon which Sir R. Leving made answer, I do not think these Gentlemen have changed their Minds, that was, that Forfeitures might be made by Kings: Upon which it was answer'd, You are mistaken, a great many of your Friends are now come over to us; and they urged it still more, and at last they said they had had several Letters about it. I must confess I made answer, I know not whether you have had any Letter, I never had any: But I must needs say, If I had no other reason, I should not sign this Report, for I think I ought not to be directed by any private Member of the House of Commons, and that no Letter should prevail with me to do it; I am loth to name any one.
Mr. Speaker. The House expects it.
Sir F. Brewster. I think they nam'd Mr. Harcourt.
Mr. Speaker. Who named him?
Sir F. Brewster. Mr. Annesly. He did not say in his Letter particularly, but did say something to that purpose, that if we did not report the private Estate we had as good do nothing; and he said it was so in the Letter.
Mr. Speaker. Was you at Mr. Trenchard's Chamber the first Night that he was not at the Commission, the Night before he was brought thither?
Sir F. Brewster. No, Sir, I was not.
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Annesly, if you please, give an Account of what you know of this Matter: you hear to what the House hath a mind to be inform'd; 'tis as to the Discourse that happen'd amongst you the Commissioners the two days you differ'd in Opinion concerning the inserting of this Grant into your Report, and particularly as to the Words spoken by Mr. Hamilton, or what else you heard then.
Mr. Annesly. Truly, Mr. Speaker, I never expected to have been call'd to an Account for any thing that was said among the Commissioners in Ireland upon their Debates, or that any Gentleman in Commission with us would have acted such a Part here; otherwise I should have been more observant thereof. But the particular Expressions which some of us are charged with by the Evidence now given, are of so extraordinary a Nature, that I could not easily have forgotten them; Flying in the Face of the King, is so great a Reflection, and so foolish an Expression, that I think I could not have pass'd it by without the Censure it deserv'd. Sir, I do affirm to you upon my Reputation, my Credit and all that is dear to me, that I never heard the least Reflection upon the King by any of the Commissioners, either in their Debates or otherwise, in execution of their Authority.
When I had the Honour to be appointed by you one of your Commission, I naturally reflected upon the Part I was to act in it, the many Enemies I must in likelihood create upon a faithful discharge of my Duty, as well amongst Men in Power, the Grantees, as the Purchasers, and others claiming under them; of which I had some Knowledge, having been formerly in Ireland. However, I was resolv'd, upon a very short notice, not only to subject my own private Concerns to Disappointments, but to dispose of other Mens Business, with which in the way of my Profession I was entrusted, to their best Advantage in my Absence.
In discharge whereof I did act (and I hope it will appear I did so) with all imaginable Integrity. And it will be my hard Fortune, if after such my Endeavours I should fall under your Displeasure.
And as to what is alledg'd with respect to Mr. Harcourt, I do not remember that I ever mention'd his Name upon any Debate at our Board, whereby to influence any Man in his Judgment; nor indeed upon any other Account except in private Conversation, by drinking his Health, and by expressing myself with that Gratitude which became me towards one whom I had receiv'd particular Obligations from, and deserv'd well from me.
I never had any Letter from Mr. Harcourt, that took the least notice of the private Estate, nor indeed that related to the Execution of our Commission, except in one Letter he said I might easily imagine with what Pleasure he heard of the Success of our Labours, and that he was glad to find by the Account I gave him, that the Forfeitures were likely to answer the End for which we were sent over, and that was the only Letter I receiv'd from him during my stay in Ireland. Hearing abroad of such a Letter being mention'd in the House, I look'd all the Letters I receiv'd from any of the Gentlemen of this House during my stay in Ireland; but I own I am very unwilling to produce the Letters of any Person who favour'd me with his Correspondence, and do hope I shall not be oblig'd to it.
Mr. Speaker. For that you will have the further Pleasure of the House; but do you say you never heard of those words of Flying in the King's Face, or that your Commission did Fly in the King's Face?
Mr. Annesly. From the time we first began to execute our Commission, till our Power was determin'd, I never was absent one Hour, I think I may say one Moment from Business; and I assure you I never heard those Words, nor any thing like them, fall from any one of the Commissioners. As to the Debate among the Commissioners about returning the private Estate, some hot Words did pass, and I will take Notice to you (if you please) of some of them.
The Gentleman on my Left-hand did give very abusive Language to one of the other Commissioners.
Mr. Speaker. To whom?
Mr. Annesly. To Mr. Trenchard.
Another of the Commissioners said, he would battle it with us at the Bar of the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker. Who was that?
Mr. Annesly That was my Lord Drogheda. Says Sir Francis Brewster, I have as good Friends as you, meaning Mr. Trenchard, and we shall be as well heard there as you. Mr. Trenchard answer'd, I don't fear what you can do, if you won't be an Evidence against me: The ill Language Sir Francis gave, forced that Expression from him; the Resentments were high, and the rest of the Commissioners then present endeavour'd to pacify and make them Friends. I own I then little suspected that Sir Francis, who took the Expression so ill, would have made good Mr. Trenchard's Words at this Bar; if I had, I should have taken more notice of what passed. There might be some other Particulars that Sir Francis Brewster has charg'd us with, which I may have omitted answering; if you please, Sir, to remind me of them, I will give them the best Answer I can.
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Trenchard, if you please to give the House an Account of what you know of this Matter?
Mr. Trenchard. I was present at the Debate about the private Estate, which was managed with great Warmth, and much said on both sides; but I do not remember one Word which this Gentleman speaks of, that was directly so said; I do own there were some Words that might give Umbrage to this Accusation with those that were resolv'd to misunderstand them. The Occasion was this: My Lord Drogheda, as I remember, or Sir Richard Leving said, it would be Flying in the King's Face to report this Grant. Upon which one of the Commissioners reply'd; My Lord, We have heard too much of this Argument already, and 'tis time to have done with it; we were not sent here to flatter, and if the enquiring into the Mismanagement of the Forfeitures be a flying in the King's Face, then our whole Commission is a flying in his Face. 'Tis not dishonouring, but vindicating his Majesty, to shew he has been abus'd by ill Men; and I doubt not but he will desert them when he has discover'd it, as the best and wisest Princes in all Ages have done. More than this I do affirm, upon the Reputation of a Gentleman, and the Word of an honest Man, was not said whilst I was at the Board.
Mr. Speaker. Who said the Words you have repeated?
Mr. Trenchard. 'T was I, Sir.
Mr. Speaker. You don't remember that Mr. Hamilton said any thing as to the flying in the King's Face?
Mr. Trenchard. I do affirm that Mr. Hamilton, to the best of my Memory (and I think I could not mistake it) did not say any Words relating to that Matter, more than that since we had enquired into the private Estate, and it was known in both England and Ireland, we should be thought bribed and corrupt if we did not report it: But I am very sure he said no Words dishonourable of his Majesty; and if he had, I would have resented it at that time, as I suppose these Gentlemen would have done, and call'd upon others to have taken notice of it
Mr. Speaker. What Words did you hear said in your Chamber?
Mr. Trenchard. A great Part of the Time I was in that Kingdom, I was confin'd to my Chamber being sick, which I impute in a great measure to the Fatigue of our Commission, during which time I had the Favour to be visited sometimes with ten or a dozen in an Evening, sometimes twice the number of the People of the best Fashion in that Country, and amongst the rest my own Brethren often oblig'd me with their Company; without doubt in this time many Subjects were discours'd of, but the Particulars of any one Discourse I do not remember. I never treasure up what is said in private Conversation; and if I did, I scorn to tell it.
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Langford, you hear what the Gentlemen have given an Account of, tis of what passed between you about putting the private Estate into the Report, and whether upon my Lord Drogheda's saying it would be a Flying in the King's Face, Mr. Hamilton answer'd, Our Commission flies in the King's Face?
Mr. Longford. I was present when this Debate happen'd about the private Estate, and it was with a great deal of Heat. It was objected by my Lord Drogheda, that it would be a Flying in the King's Face to report the private Estate, and was not in our Commission. It was answer'd by Mr. Trenchard, we had that too often mention'd, to put us by the Execution of this Commission; that we did not think the discovering Abuses, a flying in the King's Face; but that, on the contrary, we should do Service to his Majesty to lay the Matter before him, that he might see how the Grants were dispos'd of, and how he was deceiv'd in them; and he thought it was also necessary that both this House and the Kingdom should know it.
Mr. Speaker. What did Mr. Hamilton say?
Mr. Langford. I did not hear Mr. Hamilton speak one Word relating to the King, on this Point.
Mr. Speaker. Do you know of any Letters from Members of this House?
Mr. Langford. No, Sir, I had not the Honour to be acquainted with many Members; I had no Letter myself, nor did I see any.
Mr. Speaker. You are accus'd about Words of your own.
Members. Do not ask him to that.
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Hooper, you hear to what Purpose you are call'd in.
Mr. Hooper. Yes, I do, the whole Matter seems strange to me; I have not been absent from the Board, except when I was sick at Limerick, one Hour during the whole Execution of this Commission: Nor did I hear one Word spoken reflecting upon his Majesty, unless the Insinuation, that doing our Duty would be Flying in the King's Face, which I think was a great Reflection upon him; and I think Mr. Trenchard has very well repeated his own Words. I am sure in Substance they are the same. I am confident there was no Letter produc'd whilst I was at the Board, from any Member: And I believe by what Conversation I had with the four Commissioners, they never had any but what was fit to be produc'd; and for the Substance of what Mr. Annesly and Mr. Trenchar I have said, I know it to be true. I never heard Mr Hamilton speak but with great Honour of the King; and I do positively assert, to the best of my Memory, he never said any such Thing, as is alledg'd against him, at the Board. I am confident I was present at all the Debates about the private Estate, and do remember the three dissenting Commissioners did immediately declare themselves against the inserting it in the Report; three others that are present did as readily declare for it. So that Mr. Hamilton being in a manner solely left to determine this Matter, complain'd that it was a great Hardship upon him; for says he, my Lord Ork-y is my Relation and my Friend, and besides I am a Tenant to the private Estate, and 'tis very severe that the Decision of this Matter should lie upon me. He added, he should be very well pleas'd if the Objection had been made sooner, and perhaps it might have had more Weight with him; and truly, Mr. Speaker; it did not appear that there was one of the Commissioners for above five Months, but seem'd to be peremptory for the reporting it, and accordingly Sir Richard Leving, and Sir Francis Brewster, join'd in the Examination of many Witnesses to the Value of it at Limerick, and other Places, till about five days before the Power of the Commission ceas'd, when I mov'd the Board that I might have some Direction about that Estate; and they made an Order that I should immediately prepare the Report, and put this in it. And Mr. Hamilton gave this Reason when he join'd with the Commissioners, We have made so great a Noise about this Estate, by examining so many People to the Value, and sending for the RentRolls of it, that it is now the public Discourse that it will be reported; and I know the World must needs say that we are bribed and corrupted if we do it not: If it was possible, I should be glad to be excus'd; but I will rather lose my Friend, I will rather lose my little Estate, than be thought guilty of Bribery and Corruption, and so gave his Consent to the reporting of it. And for the Words relating to Flying in the King's Face, I affirm they are false.
Sir Francis Brewster. I desire to speak a few Words: You were pleas'd to ask me to give an Account of what pass'd about the Words, Flying in the King's Face, and I find the House expects I should give an Account of the whole that pass'd then: And I beg leave to say farther, that when the Debate was about the private Estate, and those Words were said about Flying in the King's Face, which my Lord Drogheda, and others will take their Oaths of, and I believe Mr. Hamilton will not deny; at the same time this was said by Mr. Trenchard, I heard you talk of flying in the King's Face, I hope 'tis not flying in his Face; but this I must tell you, 'tis a villainous Grant, and ought to be expos'd. Upon his speaking so, Words arose, and that Gentleman gave me ill Language; but my Language was not so bad, but he was forced to beg my Pardon at the Board, and I did not his; there he stands, let him deny it if he can.
Mr. Trenchard. Sir, it is true, I did ask his Pardon, and the Occasion was this, as Mr. Annesly has acquainted you: I was provoked by his opprobrious Language to reply, I feared him in no Capacity but as an Evidence, which he took very heinously: He repeated the word Evidence; he said 'twas below a Gentleman, below a Man of Honour, that such a one ought to be shun'd by all civil Conversation, that I had better have stuck a Dagger in his Heart, than have called him an Evidence; which now I think, Mr. Speaker, he won't resent so highly. This put the Board in great Disorder, and one of the Commissioners whisper'd to me (I think it was the absent Member, but I am sure all agreed in it) you know he is a very simple, old Fellow; and tho' he gave the Affront, you are in the wrong that you are capable of being angry with him. Truly, Sir, I was conscious to myself that I was much to blame, to suffer myself to be provoked by him; and therefore, that the Debate might be interrupted no longer, I ask'd his Pardon. As to the other Part I am charg'd with, that I called the Grant of the private Estate a villainous Grant, I directly deny it. 'Twas possible I might say 'twas an extravagant Grant, an unreasonable Grant, an unconscionable Grant, that the King was imposed upon and deceiv'd in this Grant, to give that for 5000 l. per Ann. which is worth between five and six and twenty thousand. These are Words that amount to it, and might fall from me, but that I used the Word villainous I positively deny; 'tis a Word I don't use in my ordinary Conversation, a Word that never comes out of the Mouth of a Gentleman, and is false.
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Annesly, 'tis understood that you receiv'd a Letter from a worthy Member of this House, Mr. Moore; and I think you told us that you had that Letter, and all other Letters that you had received from any Members; I know not whether the House will order the rest, but that worthy Member desires that his Letter may be produc'd if you have it.
Mr. Annesly. Mr. Moore has desir'd it, has he?
Mr. Harcourt. I desire mine too.
Mr. Speaker. Mr. Harcourt would have his too.
Mr Annesly It is with great Regret that I bring the Letters of Gentlemen here, especially those I receiv'd from any of the Members of this House, who did me the Honour to correspond with me at that time; tho' I think there is nothing written in them that any Man need decline owning. And therefore, I think it will be more for their Service to shew them, lest they may be suspected for what they don't deserve: If this House obliges me to lay them all before them, I must submit.
Members. No, no.
Mr. Speaker. But that Gentleman desires you to produce his.
And Mr. Harcourt also desires his.
Mr. Annesly. I have but four in my Hand, one from Mr. Moore, one from Mr. Harcourt, the rest are from Mr. Sloane.
Mr. Sloane. I desire he will produce mine too.
Mr. Speaker. I think you named but three, Mr. Sloane desires his too.
Mr. Annesly There are two from Mr. Sloane, one from Mr. Harcourt, and the other from Mr. Moore.
Which Letters Mr. Annesly delivered in to the Clerk.
Mr. Annesly. I think it my Duty to say something for Mr. Hamilton who is absent, and that is to assure you that I never heard any Words fall from him that were unbecoming a Gentleman fit to be intrusted by you in this Commission; and as for that which is said of Mr. Trenchard, 'tis false as to my hearing of it: I was present at all the Debates, and I do not remember the least thing that ever came from him, reflecting upon the King or his Grants, in the whole course of our Conversation, otherwise than as he has told you himself.
There having been divers groundless and scandalous Aspersions cast upon Francis Annesly, John Trenchard, James Hamilton and Henry Langford Esqrs;
Resolved, That the said four Commissioners have acquitted themselves, in the Execution of that Commission, with Understanding, Courage and Integrity.
That Sir Richard Leving, another of the said Commissioners, has been the Author of the said groundless and scandalous Reports upon the four Commissioners beforementioned.
That the said Sir Richard Leving be committed to the Tower for the said Offence.
And he was committed accordingly.
Two Days after, the Bill for applying the Irish Forfeitures to the Use of the Public, was read a second Time, and committed to a Committee of the whole House. Upon this Occasion, the Courtiers made a Motion, and caused the Question to be put, That the said Committee be empowered to receive a Clause for reserving a Proportion of the Forfeited Estates in Ireland, to the Disposal of his Majesty; which passing in the Negative, it was resolved on the 18th, That the advising, procuring and passing the said Grants of the Forfeited and other Estates in Ireland, had been the Occasion of contracting great Debts upon the Nation, and levying heavy Taxes on the People; that the advising and passing the said Grants was highly reflecting on the King's Honour; and that the Officers and Instruments concerned in the procuring and passing these Grants had highly failed in the Performance of their Trust and Duty.
Resolutions on the Supply. ; The Resumption Bill ordered.
All this while the Business of the Supply went on, and they resolv'd, That the Sum of 76383 l. now remaining in the Exchequer, on account of Tonnage and Poundage, with what the Subsidy should bring in more to the 25th of December, should be applied towards the Payment of Seamens Wages, and that 220000l. be borrowed at 5 per Cent. for the same Use: That 7000 Seamen be the Complement for the next Year's Service; that 1800l. be allowed for Bounty-Money to the Officers of the Fleet; 90,000 l. for the Extraordinary of the Navy; 300,000 l. for Guards and Garrisons; and 25,000 l. for the Office of Ordnance for the Year 1700. They likewise made a Provision for Half-Pay to the disbanded Officers; and laid two Shillings in the Pound Land-Tax. On the 6th of February they resolv'd to raise Money to discharge the Debt due to Army; and being in a hot Scent after Grants, a Motion was made and the Question put, That the procuring or obtaining of Grants of Estates belonging to the Crown, by any public Minister concern'd in the directing or passing such Grants, to or for their own Use or Benefit, while the Nation lay under the heavy Taxes of the late War, was highly injurious to his Majesty, and prejudicial to the State, and a Violation of the Trust repos'd in them. Whereon the Court-Party carried it in the Negative; but at the same time, they gave their consent to an Order for bringing in a Bill, To resume the Grants of all Lands and Revenues of the Crown, and all Pensions granted by the Crown since the 6th of February, 1684, and for applying the same to the Use of the Public.
On February the 15th, the Commons proceeded to consider further of the State of the Nation; and upon a very hot and long Debate, it was resolved, That an Address be presented to his Majesty, representing to him the Resolutions of this House of the 18th of January last, relating to the Grants of the Forfeited Estates in Ireland.
On the 21st, the Commons in a Body having waited on the King, with their Address of the 15th of that Month, in relation to the Irish Forfeitures, his Majesty told them:
Votes of the House relating to the said Grants presented to his Majesty, with the Address. ; The King's Answer.
I WAS not led by Inclination, but thought myself obliged in justice to reward those who had served well, and particularly in the Reduction of Ireland, out of the Estates forfeited to me, by the Rebellion there. The long War in which we were ingaged did occasion great Taxes, and has left the Nation much in debt; and the taking just and effectual Ways for lessening that Debt and supporting Public Credit, is what, in my Opinion, will best contribute to the Honour, Interest and Safety of this Kingdom.'
Warm Votes thereon.
The Speaker having, five Days after, reported this Answer, the Commons were so provoked by it, that they resolved, That whosoever advised it, had used his utmost Endeavours to create a Misunderstanding and Jealousy between the King and his People.
Ways and Means
Coll. Granville, afterwards Lord Granville, was, during this Interval, Chairman of the Committee of the whole House, who took into Consideration the State of his Majesty's Revenue, and Resolv'd, That there had been a great Loss in his Majesty's Revenue of Excise; and, That it be an Instruction to the Committee of the whole House, to whom the Land-Tax and Irish Forfeiture Bills were committed, that they receive a Clause to enable his Majesty, for the Improvement of the Revenue, to let to farm the Duties of Excise; but no Member of the House to be a Farmer or Manager of Excise.
On the 7th of March they voted 1000 l. to be paid the Earl of Drogheda, Francis Annesly, John Trenchard, James Hamilton, Henry Langford, Esqrs; and to James Hooper, Secretary to the Commissioners; but to Sir Richard Leving and Sir Francis Brewster, who had been at as much Trouble as the rest, only 500 l. each, in Consideration of their Expences. They laid a Duty on Irish Hops, on East-India Goods, and continued the Duties on French Goods and Wines, towards raising the Supply; and ordered a Clause in one of the Money-Bills for the importing, Custom-free, a certain Quantity of Paper for printing Dr. Alix's Ecclesiastical History. They Resolved, That a Supply be granted to his Majesty towards the Payment of his Proportion of the Debt owing to the Prince of Denmark, and the Moneys to be rais'd to be laid out in this Kingdom, and settled upon the Prince and Princess, and their Issue, according to their MarriageAgreement. That an Address be presented to his Majesty that he would use his Endeavour to procure other Princes and States to pay their Proportions of the said Debt. They agreed upon a Supply for the Coinage, for circulating Exchequer-Bills one Year longer, for making good the Deficiencies of the three Shillings in the Pound, in the eighth Year of his Majesty's Reign, and of the Duty on stamp'd Paper and Parchment, granted in the same Session of Parliament; of the Malt-Tickets and Quarterly Poll granted in the next Year, for paying off the Transport-Debt, and for Payment of the Debt due to the Navy, and sick and wounded Seamen.
Address relating to Capt. Kidd.
The 16th, an Address was presented to the King, That Capt. Kidd might not be tried, discharg'd, or pardon'd, until the next Session of Parliament; and that the Earl of Bellamont, Governour of New-England, might transmit over all Instructions and Papers taken with, or relating to the said Kidd; which his Majesty complied with.
Commissioners nominated for the Sale of the Irish Forfeitures.
March 26. The House having considered of the Number, Qualifications, and Manner of chusing the Trustees for the Bill of Irish Forfeitures, they Resolved, That the Number of the said Trustees be thirteen. That no Person be a Trustee who had any Office or Profit, or was accountable to his Majesty; or was a Member of this House. And that the said Trustees be chosen by ballotting. Two Days after, the several Members of the House having given in Lists of thirteen Persons Names; which were put into Glasses, the Majority fell upon Francis Annesly, James Hamilton, John Biggs, John Trenchard, James Isham, Henry Langford, James Hooper, Esqrs; Sir Cyril Wyche, John Cary, Gent. Sir Henry Sheers, Thomas Harrison, Esq; Sir John Worden, William Fellows, and Thomas Rawlins, Esqs; The two last Persons having equal Voices, either of them must have been left out; but the House being informed, that Sir John Worden was a Baron of the Exchequer, in the County-Palatine of Chester, during his Life, at ayearly Salary from the Crown, it was Resolved, That the said Sir John Worden was not capable of being Trustee in the said Bill, and so the other two stood.
Bill of Resumption pass'd.
On the 2d of April, the Commons passed the Bill for granting an Aid to his Majesty, by Sale of the Forfeited and other Estates and Interests in Ireland; and by a Land-Tax in England for the several Purposes therein mentioned: and sent it to the Lords for their Concurrence.
Proceedings of the House ordered to be printed.
The 8th, the House ordered the Report of the Commissioners for Irish Forfeitures to be published; and that the Resolutions of the 18th of January last, the Resolution of the 4th of April 1690, relating to the forfeited Estates; his Masty's Speech to both Houses, the 5th of January, 1690-1. the Address of the House to the King the 5th of February last; his Majesty's Answer thereunto the 26th of the same February, and the Resolution of the House thereupon; and lastly, the Address of the House of Commons, of the 4th of March, 1692-3, and his Majesty's Answer thereunto, be also reprinted with the said Report. And Resolv'd, That the procuring or passing exorbitant Grants, by any Member now of the Privy-Council, or by any other that had been a PrivyCounsellor in this or any former Reign, to his Use or Benefit, was a High Crime and Misdemeanour.
Amendments made, by the Lords, to the Bill of Supply.
On the other hand, the Court finding their Party extreemly weak in the House of Commons, endeavoured to oppose the passing of this complicated Bill in the House of Lords; to which the Majority of that illustrious Assembly was inclined; some out of Complaisance to the King, and most of them because they looked upon the tacking of one Bill to another, as an Innovation in parliamentary Proceedings, and such as evidently tended to retrench, if not wholly to take away the Share the Peers of England ought to have in the legislative Authority. But because they could not reject the Bill without leaving the urgent Necessities of the State unprovided, their Lordships contented themselves to make great Amendments to that Part of it that related to Forfeitures. The Commons having considered and unanimously disapproved the said Amendments, sent to desire a Conference with the Lords thereupon; appointed a Committee to draw up Reasons to be offered to their Lordships; resolved, That two Days after, they would proceed in the further Consideration of the Report given in by the Commissioners for Irish Forfeitures; and ordered a List of his Majesty's Privy-Council to be laid before the House.
Conferences between the two Houses thereon.
On the 9th of April, a Conference was managed between both Houses, in which the Lords did warmly insist on their Amendments; and the Commons as vehemently maintain'd their Disagreement with their Lordships. The next Day two Conferences were had on the same Subject, and with as little Success; at which the Commons were so exasperated, that they ordered the Lobby of their House to be cleared of all Strangers; the Back-Doors of the Speaker's Chamber to be lock'd up; and that the Serjeant should stand at the Door of the House, and suffer no Members to go forth; and then proceeded to take into Consideration the Report of the Irish Forfeitures, and the List of the Lords of the Privy-Council.
The King desires the Lords to comply, which they do.
The King being informed of the high Ferment the Commons were in, and apprehending the Consequences, sent a private Message (by the Earl of Albemarle) to the Lords, to pass the Bill without Amendments; which their Lordships did accordingly, and acquainted the Commons with it.
This Condescension did not wholly appease the Commons, who, pursuing their Resentment against the present Ministry, put the Question, That an Address be made to his Majesty, to remove John Lord Somers, Lord Chancellor of England from his Presence and Councils for ever; which though it was carried in the Negative, by reason of the acknowledged Merit and great Services of that Peer, yet it was Resolved, That an Address be made to his Majesty, that no Person, who was not a Native of his Dominions, except his Royal Highness Prince George of Denmark, be admitted to his Majesty's Councils in England or Ireland.
The King did not think it proper to receive any such Address, and therefore to prevent the offer of it, his Majesty came the day following, viz. Thursday, April 11. to the House of Peers, and after passing a great Number of Bills, commanded the Earl of Bridgwater to prorogue the Parliament to the 23d of May. It was afterwards dissolved on the 19th of December; and a new Parliament called, to begin at Westminster, Feb. 6th.