The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 3, 1695-1706. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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First Parliament of Queen Anne.
Queen's Speech to both Houses.
It is with great Satisfaction I meet this Parliament, which I have summoned to assist me in carrying on the just and necessary War, in which we are engaged; I have called you together as early as was consistent with your convenience in coming out of your several Counties; and I assure myself of such Evidences of your Affection to me, and of such Zeal for our common Cause, as will not only give Spirit and Forwardness to our own Preparations, but such Example and Encouragement to our Allies, as, by God's Blessing, cannot fail of a good effect, for the Advantage of the whole Confederacy.
'I have met with so many Expressions of Joy and Satisfaction in all the Counties, through which I have had Occasion to pass, that I cannot but look upon them as true measures of the Duty and Affection of all my Subjects.
'Gentlemen of the House of Commons, I must desire you to grant me such. Supplies, as will enable me to comply with our particular Treaties and Engagements already made, and such others as may be necessary for the Encouragement of our Allies, and the prosecuting the War, where it shall most sensibly affect our Enemies, and be most effectual for disappointing the boundless Ambition of France.
'And that my Subjects may the more chearfully bear the necessary Taxes, I desire you to inspect the Accounts, of the Public Receipts and Payments; and if there have been any Abuses or Mismanagements, I hope you will detect them, that the Offenders may be punished, and others be deterred by such like Examples from the like Practices.
'I must observe to you with some Concern, that the Funds given by the last Parliament have in some measure fallen short of the Sums proposed to be raised by them; and tho' I have already paid and applied to the Public Service the hundred thousand Pounds, which I promised to the last Parliament, yet it has not supplied that Deficiency.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, I cannot without much trouble take notice to you of the disappointment we have had at Cadiz: I have not yet had a particular Account of that Enterprize, nor of all the difficulties our Forces have met with there; but I have have had such a Representation of Disorders and Abuses committed at Port St. Mary's, as hath obliged me to give directions for the strictest Examination of that matter.
'I am earnestly desirous, for all our sakes, that this may prove a short Session; however, I hope you will find time to consider of some better and more effectual Method to prevent the Exportation of Wool, and to improve that Manufacture, which is of great Consequence to the whole Kingdom: on my part nothing shall be omitted for its Encouragement.
'I am firmly persuaded, that the Love and good Affection of my Subjects is the surest Pledge of their Duty and Obedience and the truest and justest Support of the Throne; and as I am resolved to defend and maintain the Church as by Law established, and to protect you in the full Enjoyment of all your Rights and Liberties, so I rely upon your Care of me; my Interests and your's are inseparable; and my Endeavours shall never be wanting to make you all Safe and Happy.'
The Commons Address.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled, do beg leave to lay before your Majesty our most humble and hearty Thanks for your most gracious Speech from the Throne, which gives us such Instances of your Majesty's tender Concern for your People, and of your entire Confidence in their Affections, as must engage them to make your Majesty the utmost Returns of Duty and Gratitude.
'It is great Condescension in your Majesty to take notice, in so public a manner, of the Expressions of Joy and Satisfaction, with which your Majesty was received in all the Counties through which you had Occasion lately to pass. All your Subjects have already received so many Benefits under the Influence of your Majesty's happy Government, that your Majesty must have met with the like, in any other part of your Dominions that you had honoured with your royal Presence.
'The late disappointment at Cadiz does the more affect us, because it gives your Majesty so much trouble; but this Misfortune cannot make us forget, that the Protection and Security of our Trade, the vigorous Support of your Majesty's Allies, and the wonderful Progress of your Majesty's Arms under the Conduct of the Earl of Malborough, have signally (fn. 1) retrieved the Antient Honour and Glory of the English Nation.
'After your Majesty's repeated Assurances, we neither doubt of the full Enjoyment of all our Rights and Liberties, nor of your Majesty's defending and maintaining the Church as by Law established; your Majesty has been always a most illustrious Ornament to this Church, and have been exposed to great hazards for it; and therefore we promise ourselves, that in your Majesty's Reign, we shall see it perfectly restored to its due Rights and Privileges, and secured in the same to Posterity; which is only to be done by divesting those Men of the Power who have shewn they want not the Will to destroy it.
'The Prospect of these Blessings, and your Majesty's desire to have the Accounts of the Public Receipts and Payments inspected, and to have any Abuses and Mismanagements thereof punished, will very much endear your Majesty to your People; and encourage us most chearfully to assist your Majesty with those Supplies that may effectually enable your Majesty to make good such Alliances, as shall be necessary to prosecute the War where it shall most sensibly affect your Enemies, and thereby disappoint the boundless Ambition of France.
'Your Majesty may safely rely upon the Care of your faithful Commons: The value you are pleased to set upon the Love and Affection of your Subjects, is the highest Obligation that can be laid on them, to give your Majesty pledges thereof in their Duty and Obedience. They are and shall always be sensible, that your Majesty's Interest and their's are inseparable; and as they gratefully acknowledge your Majesty's great Designs to make them safe and happy, so their Prayers and sincerest Endeavours shall never be wanting to make your Majesty's Reign more prosperous and more glorious than any of your Majesty's Royal Predecessors.'
Sir John Packington's Complaint against the Bishop of Worcester.
I. 'That soon after the last Parliament rose, the Bishop of Worcester took upon him to send to me to desist from standing to be elected Knight for that County, and to threaten me, that if I would not desist, he should think himself obliged to speak against me to his Clergy.
II. 'He sent some Letters himself, and his Secretary sent others, to several of his Clergy, with Directions to make what Interest they could against me in their several Parishes, and where they could not prevail with such who voted singly for me in the last Election, to give a Vote for one or both the other Candidates, they should desire them to stay at home; and in order to this, his Lordship sent them Copies of the Poll of their respective Parishes.
III. 'He aspersed me to his Clergy, branding me and my Ancestors with several Vices; and at his Confirmation and Visitations sollicited his Clergy to vote against me, representing me as very unfit to serve in Parliament, and threatning them with his Displeasure, if they did not vote against me.
IV. 'He aspersed me and my Ancestors to several of the Laity, who were his Tenants, and threatned them, that if they would not vote against me, they should never renew any Estate under him, and that he would set such Marks upon them, that his Successors should not suffer them nor their Children to renew any more.
V. 'Mr. Lloyd, the Bishop's Son, aspersed me, and gave scandalous Characters of me to several Freeholders, whom he sollicited to vote against me, and told them I voted for bringing in a French Government.
VI. 'The Bishop's Secretary aspersed me to several Freeholders in the like manner, representing me as unfit to sit in the House, threatning them with the Bishop's Displeasure; and said, They might as well vote for the Prince of Wales as for me.'
'I Think I have more Reason to hope for something of Consideration from you, than from most others of the Clergy of this Diocese, and something also more from the Freeholders in your Parish, than in most other Parts of the County; and therefore I thought I had reason to take it ill of your Neighbours, that they should give their Votes as they did, for the chusing of Sir J. Packington to be Knight of the Shire, when, in order to that very Election, he had publish'd two Libels, full of horrible Lyes, against myself, and several others of the Bishops, that had never given him the least Provocation. This grieved me much, but yet I had wherewith to comfort myself, in believing that those Libels might not have come to their Knowledge; tho' as I since understand great Care was taken by Sir John's Agents to publish them all over your Neighbourhood. But now since, I understand there is a third Libel come abroad, which is written against me in particular. The declar'd Cause of it is not only my opposing Sir J. P's Election, which, after my coming into the Country, and finding his Libels publish'd among my Tenants by his Servants, I sent him word I thought myself obliged to do, unless he would be pleased to desist from standing, as I earnestly desired him to do more than once: But this Author hath found, that I was the Writer of a Printed Half-Sheet, called The Character of a Churchman, and that this was written against Sir J. P. for hindering his Election; and for this he scourges me most unmercifully, with such a Tongue, as that St. James describes. For that Character of a Churchman, I do declare to you in the Presence of God, That, I neither writ it nor know the Author of it; but I certainly know, That Sir J. P. is not once mention'd in it, nor had I at the time when that was printed any Breach with Sir J. P. nor Occasion to do this with respect to the Election, for it was printed before I came to London, and that was before the Dissolution of the former Parliament, which if I had foreseen, I had certainly staid longer in the Country. After all this, it is true that I sent a great number of those Half-Sheets into the Country, as I did of such other small Things, upon several Accounts. They were sent chiefly on the Account of our unhappy Differences in Convocation, and for promoting the most pious Designs of Reformation. On this last Account it was that I sent this Character of a Churchman, without making any Reflection upon any particular Person. I did indeed know, that the Devil would be mad at me for it, and now I have found the Effects of his Wrath: He hath set a Son of his to write against me, which I thank God is the worst he can do. This Account I have given you of this third Libel, in hopes it may have some Effect upon you and your Neighbour Mr. Hodge, to whom I desire you to shew what I have written. I hope you will both of you consider, whether any such Promise as that you have made to that Gentleman, to make him your Representative in Parliament, can oblige you to any thing else but Repentance of your having made such a Promise, and to bring forth Fruits meet for Repentance. For my part, I leave this upon your Souls, desiring you both to do in this Matter as you think you can best answer it to God at the great Day, which I doubt not you believe, and expect as well as I. I pray God direct you. I am,
'YOU cannot but have heard, and probably have seen how the Bishops of this Church in general, and 5 or 6 of them in particular, have been abused with impudent Lyes in two Libels that were published by Sir John Packington almost a Year since, in order to his last Election. At that time I had not given him the least Provocation; and for the other abused Bishops, few of them knew his Face. Since that time, finding at my Return from London, where I was all the while, he was libelling me in the Country, that he had published these Libels, some of them with his own Hands, and the rest by his Agents, I could not but think myself obliged by all honest ways to oppose his Election, if he would stand; which I sent to him 3 times to let him know, and to desire he would forbear.
'Hereupon there comes out a third Libel against me, which I have only seen, but could not get a Copy of it. I never saw any thing wrote with such a furious Rage of railing, and scoffing, and lying; which, I thank God, can do me no hurt, nor will it do him Service, if I may so call it, in promoting his Election, which I think would be the greatest hurt that could happen to him.
'It is for the preventing of this that I writ to my Friends, earnestly to desire them to get what Votes they can for Mr. Bromley and Mr. Walsh; and to keep away as many as they can of them that will vote for Sir John Packington.
Resolved, That it appears to this House, That the Proceedings of William Lord Bishop of Worcester, his Son, and his Agents, in order to the hindering the Election of a Member for the County of Worcester, has been malicious, unchristian, and arbitrary, in high Violation of the Liberties and Privileges of the Commons of England.
Novemb. 20, Mr. Comptroller reported to the House, That their Resolution and Address to her Majesty for the removing William Lord Bishop of Worcester, from being Lord Almoner to her Majesty, had been presented to her Majesty; and that her Majesty was pleased to give this most gracious Answer.
'I am very sorry that there is Occasion for this Address against the Bishop of Worcester: I shall order and direct, that he shall no longer continue to supply the Place of Almoner, but I will put another in his room to perform that Office.'
On the 21st, the Speaker acquainted the House, that there had been with him that Morning, the Prolocutor of the lower House of Convocation, and also the Dean of Canterbury, Arch-Deacon Ottley, and Mr. Moor, and had brought him the following Order:
An Order of the lower House of Convocation.
Novemb. 20. Ordered, 'That the Prolocutor, the Dean of Canterbury, Arch-Deacon Ottley, and Mr. Moor, do attend Mr. Speaker of the honourable House of Commons, and return our most humble Thanks to him, and to that honourable House, for the great Favour to the Church and Convocation, which they had on all Occasions been pleased to express; and particularly for that late Regard which they of themselves, without Suggestion, were pleased to have to the Privilege of this House, in the Case of one of our Members, who had the Misfortune to fall under their Displeasure.'
Queen's Message relating to the Earl of Marlborough.
'The Earl of Marlborough's Services to her Majesty, and to the Public, have been so eminent, both in his Command of the Army, and in his having established an entire Confidence and good Correspondence between her Majesty and the States-General, that she has thought fit to grant the Title of a Duke of this Kingdom to him, and to the Heirs male of his Body, and also a Pension of 5000£. per Annum, upon the Revenue of the Post-Office, for the Support of this Honour, during her Majesty's natural Life. If it had been in her Majesty's power, she would have granted the same term in the Pension as in the Honour; and she hopes you will think it so reasonable in this Case, as to find some proper Methods of doing it.'
The Commons, after the reading of the Message, seemed for some time to be in a maze, and kept so long silent, that (it was said) the Speaker stood up, and looked round, to see if any body would speak to it: And at length Mr. S— having broke the Ice, the Debate ran very high upon the Occasion; and amongst others, common Fame gave out, that an old Member should say, 'That though he had accepted of an Employment at Court, yet, he never did it with a Design that his Mouth should be sewed up in that House, when any thing was offered that he thought detrimental to his Country.' And the House at length having wisely weighed this important Affair, instead of complying with the Message, on the 21st, presented the following Address to her Majesty in relation to it.
Commons Address thereon.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects the Commons in Parliament assembled, humbly beg leave to declare our unanimous Satisfaction in the just Esteem your Majesty has been pleased to express of the eminent Services performed by the Duke of Marlborough, who has not only, by his Conduct of the Army, retrieved the ancient Honour and Glory of the English Nation, but by his Negotiation established an entire Confidence and good Correspondence between your Majesty, and the States-General, and therein vindicated the Gentlemen of England, who had, by the vile Practices of designing Men, been traduced, and industriously represented as false to your Majesty's Allies, because they were true to the Interest of their Country.
'It is to their unexpressible Grief, that your Majesty's most dutiful Commons find any Instances, where they are unable to comply with what your Majesty proposes to them; but they beg leave humbly to lay before your Majesty the Apprehensions they have of making a Precedent for the future Alienations of the Revenue of the Crown, which has been so much reduced by the exorbitant Grants of the last Reign, and which has been so lately settled and secured by your Majesty's unparallel'd Grace and Goodness.
'We are infinitely pleased to observe by your Majesty's late gracious Acceptance of the Duke of Marlborough's Services, that the only way to obtain your Majesty's Favour, is to deserve well from the Public; and we beg leave to assure your Majesty, that whenever you shall think fit to reward such Merit, it will be to the entire Satisfaction of your People.'
'I shall always think myself much concerned to reward those who deserve well of me, and of the Public: On this account, I bestowed some Favours on the Duke of Marlborough, and I am glad to find you think they are well placed.'
The Controversy between the two Houses relating to the Bill of Occasional Conformity.
There had been a Bill brought in early this Session by the Commons, for preventing Occasional Conformity; and though there was a good deal of Opposition made to the Bill by some Gentlemen of that House, yet it was carried there by a great Majority; and on the 2d of December, sent to the Lords for their Concurrence. The Lords were so little fond of this Bill, that apprehending it, or some other Bill they did not wholly like, might one time or other be tacked to a Money-Bill by the Commons, they passed a Vote, That it would be an Infringement of the Privilege of their House. When the Bill came to be considered by the Lords, they were pleased to make several Amendments to it, which occasioned several Conferences between the two Houses; as follow after the Bill, which it is thought expedient to annex, as necessary for the right understanding the Matter in question.