The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 3, 1695-1706. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Second Parliament of Q. Anne. ; J. Smith Esq; chosen Speaker.
The Parliament met on Thursday the 25th, and her Majesty being come to the House of Peers, and seated on the Throne in her royal Robes, a Message was sent to the Commons requiring their Attendance in the House of Peers, whither they came accordingly. The Lord-Keeper then, by her Majesty's Command, signified to them her royal Pleasure, that they should forthwith proceed to the Choice of a fit Person to be their Speaker, and present him to her Majesty the 27th. The Commons being returned to their own House, it was scarce ever known in any Age there should be so many Members present, as at this Time; and the Nation was at a gaze, about the goud or ill Success of this Parliament, by the Choice they would make of their Speaker; the Candidates were the Right Honourable John Smith Esq; and William Bromley, Esq; many smart Speeches were made upon the Occasion; but, upon the Division of the House, the former carried it by a Majority of upwards of forcy; who being the 27th, presented to her Majesty, seated on her Throne in the House of Peers, her Majesty was graciously pleased to approve the Choice of a Person so well qualified for that high Employment: and then made a most gracious Speech to both Houses, as follows;
Queen's Speech in Parliament.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'I Have been very desirous to meet you as early as I thought you might be called together without Inconvenience to yourselves.
'And it is with much Satisfaction I observe so full an Appearance at the opening of the Parliament, because it is a Ground for me to conclude you are all convinced of the Necessity of prosecuting the just War, in which we are engaged, and therefore are truly sensible that 'tis of the greatest Importance to us to be timely in our Preparations.
'Nothing can be more evident, than that, if the French King continues Master of the Spanish Monarchy, the Balance of Power in Europe is utterly destroyed, and he will be able, in a short time, to engross the Trade and the Wealth of the World.
'No good Englishman could at any time be content to sit still and acquiesce in such a Prospect: And at this time we have great Grounds to hope, that, by the Blessing of God upon our Arms, and those of our Allies, a good Foundation is laid for restoring the Monarchy of Spain to the House of Austria; the Consequences of which will not only be safe and advantageous, but glorious for England.
'I may add, We have learnt by our own Experiences that no Peace with France will last longer than the first Opportunity of their dividing the Allies, and of attacking some of them with Advantage.
'All our Allies must needs be so sensible, this is the true State of the Case, that I make no doubt but Measures will soon be concerted, as that, if we be not wanting to ourselves, we shall see the next Campaign begin offensively on all sides against our Enemies, in a most vigorous Manner.
'I must therefore desire you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, to grant me the Supplies which will be requisite for carrying on the next Year's Service, both by Sea and Land, and at the same time to consider, that the giving all possible Dispatch will make the Supply itself much more effectual.
'The Firmness and Conduct which the Duke of Savoy has shewn, even amidst extreme Difficulties, is beyond Example.
'I have not been wanting to do all that was possible for me, in order to his being supported. I ought to take notice to you, that the King of Prussia's Troops have been very useful to this End. Your Approbation of that Treaty last Sessions, and the Encourogement you gave upon it, leave me no doubt of being able to renew it for another Year.
'I take this Occasion to assure you, that not only whatever shall be granted by Parliament for bearing the Charge of the War, shall be laid out for that Purpose, with the greatest Faithfulness and Management; but that I will continue to add, out of my own Revenue, all I can reasonably spare beyond the necessary Expences for the Honour of the Government.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'By an Act of Parliament passed the last Winter, I was enabled to appoint Commissioners for this Kingdom, to treat with Commissioners to be empower'd by Authority of Parliament in Scotland, concerning a nearer and more compleat Union between the two Kingdoms, as soon as an Act should be made there for that Purpose; I think it proper for me to acquaint you, that such an Act is lately passed there, and I intend in a short time to cause Commissions to be made out, in order to put the Treaty on foot, which I heartily desire may prove successful, because I am persuaded that an Union of the two Kingdoms will not only prevent many Inconveniences which may otherwise happen, but must conduce to the the Peace and Happiness of both Nations, and therefore I hope I shall have your Assistance in bringing this great Work to a good Conclusion.
'There is another Union I think my self obliged to recommend to you in the most earnest and affectionate manner, I mean, an Union of Minds and Affections amongst ourselves: It is that which would, above all things, disappoint and defeat the Hopes and Designs of our Enemies.
'I cannot but with Grief observe, there are some amongst us, who endeavour to soment Animosities; but I persuade myself they will be found to be very few, when you appear to assist me in discountenancing and defeating such Practices
'I mention this with a little more warmth, because there have not been wanting some so very malicious, as even in Print to suggest the Church of England, as by Law established, to be in danger at this Time.
'I am willing to hope, not one of my Subjects can really entertain a Doubt of my Affection to the Church, or so much as suspect that it will not be my chief Care to support it, and leave it secure after me, and therefore we may be certain, that they who go about to insinuate things of this nature, must be mine and the Kingdom's Enemies, and can only mean to cover Designs which they dare not publicly own, by endeavouring to distract us with unreasonable and groundless Distrusts and Jealousies.
'I must be so plain as to tell you the best Proofs we can all give at present of our Zeal for the Preservation of the Church, will be to join heartily in prosecuting the War against an Enemy, who is certainly engaged to extirpate our Religion, as well as to reduce this Kingdom to Slavery.
'I am fully resolved, by God's Assistance to do my Part.
'I will always affectionately support and countenance the Church of England, as by Law established.
'I will inviolably maintain the Toleration.
'I will do all I can to prevail with my Subjects to lay aside their Divisions, and will study to make them all safe and easy.
'I will endeavour to promote Religion and Virtue amongst them, and to encourage Trade, and every thing else that may make them a flourishing and happy People.
'And they who shall concur zealously with me in carrying on these good Designs, shall be sure to find my Kindness and Favour.'
Commons Address to the Queen.
October 6. The House presented their Address as follows.
'Most gracious Sovereign, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of England in Parliament assembled, are met together with Minds fully disposed to assist your Majesty in compassing the great and glorious Designs mentioned in your most gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, for which we beg leave to return our most hearty Thanks, and at the same time, to congratulate the glorious Success of Your Majesty's Arms, and those of your Allies.
'We are fully convinc'd, that the Balance of Power in Europe can never be restor'd, till the Monarchy of Spain is in the Possession of the House of Austria; and that no Peace with France can be secure and lasting, whilst the French King shall be in a Condition to break it; and therefore your faithful Commons are fully resolv'd effectually to enable your Majesty to carry on the War with Vigour, to support your Allies, and make good such Treaties as your Majesty shall judge necessary to reduce the exorbitant Power of France.
'It is no small Encouragement to your Commons, chearfully to grant the Supplies necessary for those great ends, to find a frugal Management, and a just and prudent Application of the public Money.
'We cannot omit, upon this Occasion, most thankfully to acknowlege your Majesty's Goodness in continuing to contribute out of your own Revenue to the Expences of the War.
'We want words to express the deep Sense we have of the many Blessings we enjoy under your Majesty's happy Government. We are throughly sensible of your affectionate Care to support and countenance the Church of England as by Law established, your Resolution to maintain the Toleration, and to encourage the Trade, Union, and Welfare of your People.
'This being the happy Condition of all your Subjects, it is the greatest Concern imaginable to us to find your Majesty has so just Reason to resent the Ingratitude of some, who endeavour to foment Animosities and Divisions amongst us: And we cannot without Indignation reflect, that there should be any so malicious as to insinuate that the Church of England, as by Law established, is, or ever can be in Danger for want of your Majesty's Care and Zeal to support and maintain it: Your Majesty's exemplary Piety, your steady Adhearence to the Church of England, leave no room to doubt but that these Suggestions proceed from your Majesty's and the Kingdom's Enemies; who, to cover their Disaffection to the present Establishment and Administration, endeavour to distract your Subjects with unreasonable and groundless Distrusts and Jealousies.
'Your Majesty may be assured, that your Commmons will zealously concur in every thing that may tend to discourage and punish such Incendiuries, and to disappoint your Enemies both at home and abroad.'
'Her Majesties gracious Answer.
'Gentlemen, I take very kindly the Confidence you express in my Care of the Public, and your Concern for the Occasion I have had to complain.
'I return you my hearty Thanks for the Assurances of your Support and Assistance, which, by God's Blessing, I shall always endeavour to improve for the Advantage and Happiness of my People.'
Another Address. ; Queen's Answer.
This done the Commons went vigorously on with the necessary Supplies and other Matters; and on the 13th, resolved that an Address should be presented to her Majesty, to return her the Thanks of the House, for her great Regard of the Good and Welfare of both her Kingdoms of England and Scotland; for her great Care and Endeavour to settle the Succession of the Kingdom of Scotland in the House of Hanover; for preserving the Peace and promoting, the Union of the two Kingdoms; and to assure her that they would, to the utmost of their Power, assist her Majesty to bring that great Work to a happy Conclusion, and likewise that she would be graciously pleased to direct, that the whole Proceedings of the last Sessions of Parliament in Scotland, relating to the Union of the two Kingdoms, and the Settlement of the Succession of Scotland, in the House of Hanover might be laid before that House; and, having ordered an Address to be presented to her accordingly by such Members of that House as were of her Privy-Council, Mr. Secretary Harley acquainted them, That that having been done accordingly, her Majesty was pleased to answer, 'That she took very kindly the Sense they exprest of her Endeavours, to promote the Protestant Succession, and the Treaty of Union with Scotland; and that she had given Direction for complying with their Address, and that they should have the State of that Matter, as soon as it could conveniently be sent them.'
Proceedings on the Supply.
Proceeding afterwards upon the Supply they resolved, 357,000l. be granted for Guards and Garrisons, including 5000 Marines for the Fleet. That 886,233l. 18 s. 6 d. be for the maintaining the 40,000 Men. That 177,511l. 3s. 6d. be for the additional 10,000 Men. That the Proportion with Portugal be 10,210 Men and 222,379l. 5s. 10d. to maintain them. That 5000 Land Forces be maintain'd in Catalonia, and 96,729l. 11s. 4d. be for them. That 414,166l. 13s. 6d. be for her Majesty's Proportion to the Allies. That 48,630l. be for payment, for Bounty-Money to the Forces that were in Germany, 7,047l. to make good the additional Troops of Hanover and Zell, and 5,296l. for Levy-Money to recruit the Horses in Flanders.
On the 27th of November her Majesty came to the House of Peers; and being in her Royal Robes seated on the Throne, with the usual Solemnity, Mr. Acton, Deputy-Gentleman-Usher of the Black-Rod, was sent with a Message from her Majesty to the House of Commons, requiring their Attendance in the House of Peers. The Commons being come thither accordingly, her Majesty was pleased to make a most gracious Speech to both Houses, which is as follows:
Queen's Speech in Parliament.
'My Lords and Gentlemen.
'Having newly receiv'd Letters from the King of Spain, and the Earl of Peterborough, which contain a very particular Account of our great and happy Successes in Catalonia; and shewing at the same time the Reasonableness of their being immediately supported: I look upon this to be a Matter of so much Consequence in itself, and so agreeable to you, that I have ordered a Copy of the King of Spain's Letter to myself; a Letter from the Junto of the Military Army of Catalonia; and another Letter from the City of Vich; as also an Extract of the Earl of Peterborough's Letter to me, to be communicated to both Houses of Parliament.
'I recommend the Consideration of them to you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, very particularly, as the speediest way to restore the Monarchy of Spain to the House of Austria; and therefore I assure myself you will enable me to prosecute the Advantages we have gained in the most effectual manner, and to improve the Opportunity, which God Almighty is pleased to afford us, of putting a prosperous end to the present War.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'I must not lose this Occasion of desiring you, to give as much Dispatch to the Matters before you, as the nature of them will allow, that so our Preparations for next Year may be early, which cannot fail of being of great Advantage to us.'
The same Day an Address of the Commons was presented to her Majesty, to congratulate the glorious Success of her Arms, and those of her Allies in Catalonia; and to assure her Majesty, that the House would, to the utmost of their Power, enable her Majesty to prosecute the great Advantages already obtain'd there. And her Majesty return'd them many Thanks for the Assurances they had given her, which she did not doubt but would have a very good Effect both at home and abroad.
This done, the Commons, on the 28th, resolved, 'That 250,000l. be allowed for the Charge of her Majesty's Proportion, to prosecute the Successes of King Charles. That 120,000l. be for Land Service, and 120,000l. more to transport Land-Forces; 3,500l. for circulating Exchequer-Bills, and 57,000l. for another Year's Interest of unsatisfied Debentures; and next Day, the 29th, the Lords and Commons presented the following Address to her Majesty.
Parliament's Address to the Queen about her Allies.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, being justly alarm'd by the many Artifices which the Emissaries of France have put in Practice this last Year, in order to raise Jealousies, and create Misunderstandings amongst the Allies engaged in this necessary War for the Support of the Liberties of Europe; and being apprehensive left such malicious Insinuations, if they should pass unobserv'd, might in time so far take place, as to abate the Spirit, and slacken the Zeal of the Confederacy, do most humbly beseech your Majesty to use all possible Endeavours to preserve a good Correspondence amongst all the Confederates, and in a most particular manner, to maintain and cultivate a strict Friendship with the States General of the United Provinces.
'And we most humbly entreat your Majesty, that as in your own way of acting you have set before your Allies a great and noble Example, so you would be graciously pleased, by all other proper means to excite the whole Confederacy to make early and effectual Preparations and to exert their utmost Vigour in the Prosecution of the War against France.'
Her Majesty's most gracious Answer to the Address of both Houses of Parliament, was to this Effect.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, Your joining in this Address, is a very particular Satisfaction to me.
'The Opinion of both Houses of Parliament will always be of the greatest Weight with me. I shall readily comply with your Desire; and I make no Question but it will meet with a just Regard from all our Allies.'
December 3. Her Majesty was pleased to give the Royal Assent to An Act for exhibiting a Bill for naturalizing the most excellent Princess Sophia, Electoress and Dutchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Issue of her Body.
On the 8th, The Lords having resolved the Church to be in no Danger, and sent down their Vote, to the Commons for their Concurrence, the Question was put, Whether they should refer the same to a Committee of the whole House, and it was carry'd for the latter, Yeas 220, Noes 157, and agreeing with the Lords to fill the Blank their Lordships had left for the Word Commons, in the Resolve, they likewise agreed with them upon an Address to her Majesty. They presented it on the 14th, to this Effect.
Parliament's Address to the Queen.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, having taken into Consideration your Majesty's most gracious Speech at the Opening of this Parliament, have, upon mature Deliberation, come to the following Resolution.
'Resolved, By the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, That the Church of England, as by Law Established, which was rescued from the extremest Danger by King William the Third of glorious Memory, is now, by God's Blessing, under the happy Reign of her Majesty, in a most safe and flourishing Condition: and that whoever goes about to suggest and insinuate, That the Church is in Danger under her Majesty's Administration, is an Enemy to the Queen, the Church, and the Kingdom.
'Which we humbly beg leave to lay before your Majesty, and as your Majesty has been pleased to express a just Indignation against all such wicked Persons, so we assure your Majesty, That we shall be always ready, to the utmost of our Power, to assist your Majesty in Discountenancing and Defeating their Practices: And we humbly beseech your Majesty to take effectual Measures for the making the said Resolution public, and also for punishing the Authors and Spreaders of these seditious and scandalous Reports; to the end that all others may, for the future, be deterr'd from endeavouring to distract the Kingdom with such unreasonable and groundless Distrusts and Jealousies.' To this her Majesty was pleased to answer.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, I shall readily comply with your Address, and am very well pleased to find both Houses of Parliament so forward to join with me in putting a Stop to these malicious Reports.'
Mr. Cæsar gives Offence. ; And is committed Prisoner to the Tower.
The 19th, an engrossed Bill from the Lords, entitled, An Act for the better Security of her Majesty's Person and Government, and of the Succession to the Crown of England in the Protestant Line, was read a second time, and Charles Cæsar Esq; upon the Debate of the said Bill, standing up in his Place, and saying the Words following, (which were directed by the House to be set down in Writing at the Table)' There is a noble Lord, without whose Advice the Queen does nothing, who, in the late Reign, was known to keep a constant Correspondence with the Court at St. Germains.' And the said Mr. Cæsar endeavouring to excuse himself, and being called upon to withdraw, and he being withdrawn accord ingly, and a Debate arising thereupon; the House Resolved, That the said Words are highly dishonourable to her Majesty's Person and Government. And, That the said Charles Cæsar Esq; should for his said Offence be committed Prisoner to the Tower.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
On the 21st, Her Majesty was pleased to give the Royal Assent to, An Act for granting an Aid to her Majesty by a Land-Tax, to be raised in the Year one thousand seven hundred and six: An Act to Repeal several Clauses in the Statute made the third end fourth Years of her present Majesty's Reign, for securing the Kingdom of England from several Acts lately passed in the Parliament of Scotland: An Act for the Naturalization of the most Excellent Princess Sophia, Electoress and Duchess Dowager of Hanover, and the Issue of Her Body: And to three private Acts.
After which her Majesty made the following most gracious Speech to both Houses.
Queen's Speech in Parliament.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'The Unanimity of your Proceedings in this Parliament, has already had so good an Effect all over Europe, that I can't but take notice of it to you with great Satisfaction. The good Disposition you have shewn in doing your Part, so fully towards an Union with Scotland, is also very acceptable to me; and I hope it will prove for the Advantage and Quiet of both Kingdoms.
'Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
'I must not omit to take this Occasion of returning you my hearty Thanks for the great Dispatch of this seasonable Supply, which you have given me: I look upon it as a sure Pledge, That the same Zeal and Affection for my Service, and the Good of the Kingdom, will carry you through all the necessary Parts of the public Business in this Session.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'In case you now think of some Recess, as is usual at this Season, I make no doubt you will afterwards return with the same good Disposition, to give all possible Dispatch to the public Affairs still depending, and bring this Session of Parliament to a happy Conclusion.'
The Commons give the Duke of Marlborough Thanks. ; His Grace's Answer.
The same Day the House adjourn'd to the 7th of January: When they met again, and Resolved, That the Thanks of their House should be given to his Grace the Duke of Marlborough, for his great Services perform'd to her Majesty, and the Nation, in the last Campaign, and for his prudent Negotiations with her Majesty's Allies, and appointed a Committee for that Purpose: Who having attended his Grace, his Grace said, 'He was so sensible of the great Honour that was done him by this Message, that he could not have the least Concern at the Reflections of any private Malice, while he had the Satisfaction of finding his faithful Endeavours to serve the Queen, and the Kingdom, so favourably accepted by the House of Commons.
Votes about the Supply.
'The next day it was Resolved, 'That towards the Supply granted to her Majesty, a Tax should be laid upon all Grants of Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments, and Pensions, made since the 6th day of February 1684; That the said Tax should be a fifth Part of the Value of the Grant, at the time of the Grant made: That the Duties upon Malt, Mum, Cyder and Perry, granted by an Act of the first Year of her Majesty's Reign, and continued by several subsequent Acts till the 24th of June 1706, should be further continued from the 23d of June 1706, till the 24th of June 1707: And that a further Duty should be laid upon all LowWines, or Spirits of the first Extraction, made, or drawn from any foreign Materials, or any Mixture with foreign Materials: And Order'd a Bill to be brought in upon the said Resolutions.'
On the 21st it was farther voted, 'That the Duties upon Coals, Culm and Cinders, which, by an Act of the first Year of her Majesty's Reign, entitled, An Act for further Continuing the Duties upon Coals, Culm and Cinders, were to continue until the 15th day of May 1708, (Charcoal made of Wood being always excepted) should be further continued from the 14th day of May 1708, until the 30th day of September 1710.
The Queen's Message to the Commons about the Authors of the Memorial. ; Their Address about it. ; The Queen's Answer.
The same day, Mr. Secretary Harley acquainted the House, That her Majesty, in pursuance of the Address of both Houses, put out a Proclamation, in which was An Encouragement for Discovery of the Author or Authors of The Memorial of the Church of England, &c. the (fn. 1) Printer of which Book, being now in Custody, and other Persons be ing examin'd, in whose Depositions there appear'd the Names of some Members of this House: Her Majesty's Tenderness for any thing which had the Appearance of the Privileges of this House, had inclin'd her to command him to acquaint the House therewith, before she directed any further Proceedings in the said Examination.' Thereupon the Commons Order'd the Serjeant to go with the Mace into Westminster-Hall, the Court of Requests, and Places adjacent, and summon the Members there to attend the Service of the House. And the Serjeant being return'd the House Resolved, 'That an humble Address should be presented to her Majesty, returning the Thanks of the House, for her gracious Message that Day, and her tender Regard to the Privileges of that House; and to desire, that she would be pleased to give Order for a further Examination into the Authors of the Libel mentioned in the said Message.' Which Address being presented accordingly, Her Majesty was pleas'd to answer, 'That she was glad to find this House express so much Resentment against the Libel mention'd in her Message, and took very kindly the Confidence this House reposed in her, which she would make the best Use of, for the Advantage of the Public.'
Acts passed by the Queen.
On the 16th of February the Queen came to the House of Peers, in the usual State, and the Commons being sent for up, her Majesty gave the Royal Assent to An Act for continuing the Duties upon Malt, Mum, Cyder and Perry, for the Service of the Year, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Six; An Act for continuing the additional Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage, and certain Duties upon Coals, Culm and Cinders, and additional Duties of Excise; and for settling and establishing a Fund thereby, and by other Ways and Means, for Payment of Annuities, to be sold for raising a further Supply to her Majesty, for the Service of the Year, One thousand Seven Hundred and Six, and other Uses therein mentioned; An Act for making the Town of New-Rosse in the County of Wexford, in the Kingdom of Ireland, a Port for the exporting Wool from Ireland into this Kingdom; An Act for making the River Stower Navigable, from the Town of Maningtree in the County of Essex, to the Town of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk; and to 13 private Bills.
And then her Majesty made the following Speech to both Houses:
The Queen's Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Cannot but take this Occasion to return you My hearty Thanks, for the great Care and Concern you have shewn to promote every thing in this Session, that may tend to the public Good.
'Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
I must thank you in particular for your having so fully complied with your Assurances to me, at the opening of this Parliament, that you would give all possible Dispatch to the public Supplies. There is scarce any Instance to be given, where so great, and I hope, effectual Supplies, have been perfected in so short a Time.
'I look upon this to proceed not only from your great Zeal for the public Service, but from a just Impression upon your own Minds, that there is a necessity of making extraordinary Efforts, to support and encourage our Allies, and to be early in endeavouring to disappoint the Designs of our Enemies.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'It will be convenient to make a Recess in some short time, I hope therefore you will continue to give all Necessary Dispatch to what may yet remain unfinished of the public Business before you.'
An Account of the Regency-Bill. ; Debate about Civil and Military Officers.
The Lords having, by the Regency-Bill, entitled, An Act for the better Security of her Majesty's Person and Government, and of the Succession to the Crown of England, in the Protestant Line, repealed the Clause inserted in an Act passed some Years before, for settling the Succession, by which all Civil and Military Officers were made incapable to sit or vote as Members of the House of Commons, after her Majesty's Decease; and having sent down that Bill to the House of Commons for their Concurrence, the latter, who saw the Dike against the future Power, and Influence of the Court thrown down, resolved in some Measure, to repair it, by admitting only 47 Civil and Military Officers into their House; and amongst them, ten Privy Councellors, five Flag-Officers, and as many Land-Generals. The Bill, thus amended, was sent up again to the Lords, who made some Alterations to the Clause inserted by the Commons, their Lordships excluding only the Commissioners of the Prize-Office, and all such new Officers, as the Court might create for the time to come. Two Conferences were held about these respective Amendments, between the two Houses; and the Report of the latter Conference being made in the House of Commons, on the 15th Instant, the same occasioned a long and warm Debate. 'The Court Party endeavoured to shew the Injustice of excluding from the House, such as were actually performing Service to the Nation: urging, that as all Counties, and Corporations of England have by their Charters, liberty to elect such as they thought best qualified to represent them in Parliament, they should in great Measure, be deprived of that Liberty, by this Exclusion of several Officers Military and Civil, who, by Reason of the great Estates they had in those Corporations, seldom fail'd, and had more Right than any others, to be chosen; and that the Exclusion of those Officers would very much abate the noble Ardour which several Gentlemen shewed at this Juncture, to serve the Nation, in this just and necessary War; since they should not but look upon it as a Disgrace to be made incapable of serving likewise their Country in Parliament.' The opposite Party, which consisted of those called High-Church Men, with whom not a few Low-Church Men joined, on this Occasion, 'shewed the ill Use a bad Prince might make of a Parliament, in which there should be many of his Creatures, such as generally were all those that had Employments immediately depending on the Crown; and their Arguments had such Weight, that the other Party foreseeing they should lose the Question, agreed to the Postponing of three of the Lords Amendments, having already agreed to one of them.' But three days after, the Court Party being reinforced, by the return of those, who for some time, had voted on the contrary side, the Lords Amendments were approved with some few Alterations, to which the Lords agreed, on the 19th.
The Queen's Answer to the Address about Newfoundland. ; The public Revenues voted to have been duely applied.
The same Day, Mr. Secretary Hedges acquainted the House, that their Address relating to the Newfoundland Trade, having been presented to the Queen, her Majesty was pleased thereupon to say, 'That she was fully sensible of the great Importance of the Trade and Fishery of Newfoundland, and would be very careful to encourage and protect it.' Two days after the House of Commons, (according to order) proceed to take into further Consideration the Accounts of the Revenues and Debts ever since her Majesty's happy Accession to the Crown; and resolved, 'That it appeared to the House, That the public Revenues granted, or arisen since her Majesty's happy Accession to the Crown, had been duely applied to the happy Uses, under a prudent Management, to the Advancement of the public Credit, and for the Advantage and Honour of the Nation.'
A Complaint against the Papists in Lancashire.
On the 27th, the Commons read a third time, a Bill, Intitled, An Act for naturalizing Vincent de Laymerie, and others; and divided, upon the Question, whether the Persons naturalized by that Act, should have Right to vote for Parliament-Men? Which was carried in the Affirmative, by a Majority of 169 Voices against 126; and so the Bill pass'd that House, as it did that of the Peers. The same Day, 'A Petition of the Gentry and Clergy of the South-parts of Lan cashire, at their Monthly-Meeting, February the 12th, 1705. in the Borough of Wigan, for suppressing Prophaneness and Immorality, pursuant to her Majesty's gracious Proclamation, and by and with the Bishop of Chester, their Diocesan's Allowance, offer'd jointly and unanimously to the honourable Knights, Citizens and Burgesses in this present Sessions of Parliament, was presented to the House, complaining of several Grievances they labour'd under, from the Priests, Romish Gentry, and Popish Emissaries, and praying for Relief therein. And after the reading of this Petition, it was unanimously resolved, 'That an humble Address should be presented to her Majesty, that she would be pleased to issue out her Royal Proclamation for the putting in Execution the Laws which were in force against such Persons as had or should endeavour to pervert her Majesty's Subjects to the Popish Religion; and order'd, that a Bill be brought in for making more effectual the Act of the eleventh Year of his late Majesty's Reign, For the further preventing the Growth of Popery.' This Bill was accordingly presented the next day, by Sir James Montague, and read the first time.
A Bill to prevent the Growth of Popery. ;The Method to put it off. ; Arguments against the Bill. ; The Bill rejected.
On the first of March the Commons gave it a second Reading, and went through it in a grand Committee. By the Act of the eleventh Year of King William III. For the further preventing the Growth of Popery, it was provided, 'That all Papists should, within six Months after they had reach'd the Age of eighteen, take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, or declare themselves Protestants; in default whereof, their Estates were to go to the next Heir, being Protestants.' Now this Clause was so lamely express'd, that the Roman Catholics found two Means to evade it. First, there being in several Families, a Gradation of Age among the several Heirs to the same Estate, it happen'd, that though the Person that was come to the Age of eighteen, did not take the Oaths prescribed by that Law, yet the Title of the Protestant-Heir remain'd undecided, as long as any next Popish-Heir was under Age. Secondly, (and this was the main Inconveniency) It lying, by that Clause, upon the next Heir to him, who, at the Age of eighteen, refused to declare himself a Protestant, to prove that he had not made the said Declaration, it was impossible for the said next Heir to prove such a Negative. Now to make that Clause binding effectual, it was enacted, in this Bill, 'That all Papists or reputed Papists, should within six Months after they had reach'd the Age of eighteen, not only declare themselves Protestants, but prove also, that they had made such a Declaration. On the 3d, when Sir James Montague was to report to the House the Amendments made to the Bill by the Grand-Committee, the Duke of Norfolk (the Chief among the Roman Catho lics in England) petition'd, 'That he might be heard by his Council for Explanation of some Words in the Bill, and for such Relief to him, as to the House shall seem meet.' Upon the Reading of this Petition, the Commons order'd that the Duke of Norfolk be heard by his Council, as to his Property in the Office of Earl-Marshal of England only: But his Council not being then ready, the House heard Sir James Montague's Report, and then order'd the Bill with the Amendments to be engross'd. It's very remarkable, that this happen'd on a Saturday, with all which Proceedings the Roman-Catholics were strangely alarm'd and confounded, as well they might; however, having the Opportunity of the Sunday to try what they could do to ward off the fatal Blow, they may heartily thank the Foreign Ministers of their own Communion, for the Representations made in their Behalf, who did not want Arguments to shew how such a Law might be prejudicial to the Common-Cause, at such a Conjuncture: Insomuch that when the Bill came to be read the third time, on the 4th, which was the very next Day, several other Amendments were made to it: After which, the Question was put, That the Bill do pass? This occasion'd a great Debate, wherein Colonel Godfrey, Mr. Boscawen, and Mr. Asgil, endeavour'd to shew the Injustice of such a Law; urging, 'That the depriving Papists of their Estates, was almost as if hard as taking away their Lives: That it would look as if they approv'd the Persecution exercis'd by the French King, and other Catholic Princes, over their Protestant Subjects, if they should imitate their violent Proceedings: And that this Act would certainly disoblige the Roman-Catholic Powers in Alliance with us, some of whom, out of Respect to the English Nation, had lately shew'd some favour to their Protestant Subjects.' There was little said against these Reasons, and so the Bill was rejected, by a Majority of 119 Votes against 43.
March 8, a Complaint was made to the House of Commons of a printed Pamphlet entitled, A Letter from Sir Rowland Gwynne to the Right Honourable the Earl of Stamford; which was read at the Table, and some of the most remarkable Passages are as follow.
Sir Rowland Gwyane's Letter to the Earl of Stamford.
My Lord, I did long since receive the Letter your Lordship was pleas'd to honour me with, of the 9th of November; and have hitherto delay'd returning any Answer to it, that I might with more Deliberation tell you my thoughts upon a matter of so great Importance.
I did also expect, that some Friends would have discover'd to us the wicked Designs you suspected to lie hid under the Advice to the Queen, to invite the Electoress over into England; and shew'd us better Reasons than I have yet seen, why they were not for it.
'But I must own, that I am hitherto at a loss in this Matter, and not a little surpriz'd to see them act so contrary to the Opinion they were formerly of.
'The Occasion of my last Letter to your Lordship, was to communicate to you a Letter writ by the Electoress to my Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, in answer to one that her Royal Highness had received from his Grace; wherein she thought fit to declare her Respect for the Queen's Majesty, and the good Intentions she hath always had for the Good of England.
Her Royal Highness being informed, from several Persons of Credit, that her good Inclinations for the Queen and the Nation, were misrepresented; some having reported, that she did not think of England; others that she might give arise to Intrigues against the Queen and the Public, if she came thither:
She thought herself therefore obliged to declare to my Lord Arch-Bishop and others she wrote to, and also to tell the Duke of Marlborough and the Earl of Sunderland, when they were here, that she would always most sincerely maintain a true Friendship with the Queen; and also be ready to comply with the Desires of the Nation in whatever depends upon her, tho' she should hazard her Person in passing the Seas, if they thought it necessary towards the Establishment of the Protestant Succession, and for the Good of the Kingdom: But that, in the mean time, she lived in great Quiet and Content there, (without meddling with Parties or Cabals) and left it to the Queen and Parliament to do whatever they should think fit.
I did therefore believe I should please your Lordship by sending you so desirable a Declaration, by recommending you as a fit Person to be consulted upon it, and by entreating you to communicate it to our Friends, being well assur'd of your Zeal for the Protestant Succession, and Friendship for me.
'But I was very much surpriz'd when I found, by your Answer, that you did attribute her Royal Highness's Declaration, which was so necessary in itself, to the Artifices of the Jacobites.
'What, my Lord, would you then be pleased that the Electoress should not think of England, and that the People should believe so? or that she would countenance Cabals against the Queen? Or ought one to be called a Jacobite for undeceiving the World of so gross and wicked a Misrepresentation?
The Electoress hath been often desir'd to declare, that she was willing to come into England; but she never thought fit to give any Answer to it (further than she submitted herself and Family to the Pleasure of the Queen and Parliament) 'till she was press'd to declare, That she would not approve of the Motion to be invited to come over.
'This was such Advice that it gave her just Reason to suspect, that there were some secret Designs against the Succession, or at least tending to alienate the Affections of the People from her Person: And this was a further Reason for the Declaration she made, that she might not be misrepresented.
'Your Lordship farther tells me, That you will not dip in any thing of this kind, (I use your own Words, that I may not mistake your Meaning) which tends, in your Lordship's Opinion, to set up two Courts in England, in opposition to each other?
'Did I propose anything to your Lordship but to do justice to Truth by making known to our Friends her Royal Highnss's good Intentions? And can you complain of me for desiring a thing so just in itself, and which every honest Man ought to do? How then can your Lordship imagine, that this tends to set up two Courts in opposition to each other?
'It is plain, by the Electoress's Declaration, that she hath said nothing therein, either to desire her being invited over, or to hinder it; but she leaves all to the Queen and Parliament. I told you this and you seemed to take it ill, or at least otherwise than I intended it.
'Whoever did represent this to your Lordship as a thing that may disturb our present Quiet and future Peace, must be an Enemy to both.
'Do you think, my Lord, that the Electoress ought to declare, That she would not come into England? or that she herself should obstruct any Invitation that the Queen and the Parliament may give her? This might be taken as an Abdication of her Right to the Succession. But I can assure your Lordship, that she will not betray the Trust and Confidence the People of England have reposed in her, nor injure her Family.
'It is true, that she is much advanced in Years, and, according to the Course of Nature, may not live long; but the Elector and Prince-Electoral have many Years to come, in all appearance, and have Vertues that deserve the Crown of England, whenever it shall please God that the Reversion shall come to them.
'Can you approve of such Advice? Or can you think the Authors of it Friends to her, or her Family, or, which is more, Friends to England?
'Must we say, that those who speak against her, are her Friends; and those who speak for her, are her Enemies? This seems to me to change the Name and Nature of things.
'When your Lordship considers what I have said, and reflects upon it in your Heart, I doubt not, but you will see that you have been imposed upon by those who are Jacobites themselves in their Hearts, or something worse, if it be possible, and certainly design to subvert the Protestant Succession establish'd by Law, or so to weaken it, that it may depend upon Accidents, or upon the Humour and Interest of particular Men: For none but such can have the Malice to invent, and insinuate to others, that the Presence of the Successor is dangerous.
'This is a thing that hath not been heard of in other Countries and is directly against Common-Sense.
'This is a (fn. 2) new Paradox, which cannot be conceived in England, by any but those, who are very weak, or corrupted.
'We ought to maintain the contrary; since we know that we have secret and dangerous Enemies at home, and an irreconcilable and powerful Enemy abroad, who may have both the Will and the Power to hinder the Passage and Establishment of the Successor, at the time when it may be most necessary; and totally thereby to subvert our Constitution, if it does not please God once more, to preserve us by his manifest Providence.
'You go on, my Lord, and desire that I would advise the Electoress to take care that she is not imposed upon by the Jacobites: But this Caution is very unnecessary; for I can assure you that her Royal Highness does not consult them in any thing, and much less will she do it in what relates to the Succession: For if she did, she must act against all Rules of good Reason and Sense.
'You may say that they are Jacobites who give these Advices: But her Royal Highness did not want any Advice to express and declare herself, as she hath done, in a manner so suitable to her former Conduct.
'If we will suppose that this proceeds from the Jacobites, we must, at least, think that it is for their Interest.
'But can you believe, my Lord, that it is, in any manner, for their Interest to persuade the Protestant Successor to declare her Esteem and Affection for the Queen and Nation? And yet this is all that her Royal Highness hath express'd in her Letter to the Lord Arch-Bishop.
'Such Jacobites must be very silly, and not to be fear'd, who should advise that which must destroy all their Hopes. For the Electoress's Declaration was to take off all the groundless Suspicions, to unite all honest Men and to secure our Con stitution: And therefore your Lordship, and all our Friends, ought to have desired her Royal Highness to explain herself after this manner; and all that wish well to their Country, ought to thank her for having done it.
'We Whigs would have been formerly very glad to have seen such a Declaration from her Royal Highness. I pray then, my Lord, judge what Opinion the Electoress ought to have, at present, of our Steadiness and Principles, if she should receive Advice from us, so contrary to what she ought to have expected.
'But I do not apply this to your Lordship: For I am persuaded that you will be one of the first that will quit this Mistake, and condemn the strange Notions that have been imposed upon you by others.
'We have been proud to say, that the House of Hanover, the People of England, and our Posterity, were most obliged to the Whigs, next to the King, for settling the Succession upon that most Serene House: And how much should we be to be blamed, if we should lose this Merit, by parting with our Principles, that were so well grounded upon Honour, and the public Good; and by destroying the Work of our own Hand, for a base and uncertain Interest; or for a blind Obedience to those, who lead others where they please, and yet are led themselves by their Passions, or imaginary Prospects, of which they may be disappointed?
'For if they hope to get into Favour by such Methods, they cannot be long Serviceable nor preserve the Favour they seek; for they will soon be cast off, when it is found that they have lost the Esteem and Affection of the People, by their weak or mercenary Conduct.
'They cannot do any thing that will better please their Enemies; for, while they think to keep down the Tories by a Majority, and oppose them, even in things so reasonable and just; they will raise their Reputation, instead of lessening it.
'If others think fit to quit their Principles, yet I will never part with Mine; for I am still of the same Opinion that the best Englishmen profess'd themselves to be of, in the late King's time; and I find no reason for any honest Man to change.
'I am sorry for those who suffer themselves to be imposed upon; but they who have wicked Designs, may one Day repent of them. And I will be bold to say, that they must either plunge the Nation in the greatest Confusion to make it unable to punish them; or that they will be answerable for the Dangers into which they are like to bring it.
'Those who betray their Country, will have little Satisfaction or Assurance of enjoying their hoped-for Advantages, which will be embitter'd by their Guilt, and the perpetual Apprehensions they will have; and nothing but a timely Death can deliver them from being punish'd as they deserve; whether the Nation continues to flourish, and escapes the Designs laid to enslave it, or whether it be ruin'd by Popery and Tyranny; which may happen by their artful Conduct, in making us neglect our own Safety.
'For if Tyranny and Popery prevail, many of them will suffer under the French and Jacobite Cruelties, which will not be less, than those we have read of in Queen Mary's time; and they, that may think themselves the most secure among us, will be happy if they can save only their Lives.
'So terrible a Revolution is, perhaps, more to be apprehended, than People think.
'But if it does not happen at present, yet it may come to pass, even in the Life-time of those who believe they may contribute towards it with Impunity.
'They themselves may feel those Miseries which they would carry down to Posterity, and even to their own Children, if they have any; and this only to satisfy their own present Passions, at the Expence of their Country, and contrary to their Duty both to God and Man.
'These, my Lord, are the Sentiments and Measures that are wicked in themselves, and that we ought to abhor; and not the Thoughts of endeavouring better to secure the Protestant Succession, by having the next Heir of the Crown in the Kingdom.
'But your Lordship is told, that the coming of the Electoress into England, will set up two Courts, that will oppose each other.
'I cannot conceive how any body could tell you such a thing, or what colour they cou'd have for so base an Insinuation.
'For the Electoress declares, 'That she will be entirely united with the Queen; and that all those, who imagine she will countenance any Intrigues against her Majesty, will be very much deceiv'd in their Expectations.' Yet, notwithstanding, it seems there are some People, who endeavour to persuade your Lordship, that even this sincere Declaration tends to raise Confusion.
'Is not this, in plain terms, to contradict what the Electoress hath said, and to put an Affront upon this great Princess, and your Lordship, as well as upon all others, who have had the Honour to converse with her Royal Highness, and must have done her justice?
'The World knows that she is a Princess, whose natural Temper is generous, and obliging, and sincere, and of a public Spirit.
'Are not you, my Lord, then obliged as much as any Man living, boldly to contradict these malicious Calumnles which you know to be false, to set them right who are misinform'd, and to oppose those who endeavour to impose upon others?
'But let us suppose what you say, and allow, that (contrary to all appearance) discontented or ill Men may impose upon the Electoress's Good-nature, and incline her to do such things, as may displease the Queen.
'What hurt can that do? Since her Royal Highness's Court can have no Power in England, and must be subject to the Queen's Court, who is the Sovereign.
'I will not touch upon things that have pass'd in our time, and confirm what I say.
'So that it is most absurd, to make People believe, that this pretended Opposition of the two Courts, can bring us into so great Dangers, as those we may avoid, by having the Protestant Heir in the Kingdom. Let us, in the mean time, examine these Pretences, how absurd soever.
'If we will keep the next Protestant Heir at a distance, it must be allowed to be grounded upon two Suppositions: First, that the Queen is against the Electoress's coming over; and Secondly, that her being in England during the Queen's Life, is a thing ill in itself.
'These two Propositions are wicked and criminal in them selves: For to say, that the Queen would take away, from the presumptive Heir, the right of coming into England, is to cast a great Reflection upon her Majesty, and to create a misunderstanding between her Majesty, and the Person in the World she ought to be most united with.
'But to maintain, That the Electoress's being in England, is ill in itself; one must declare himself to be of a most ridiculous, or of a most malicious Opinion. For either it must be a general Rule, that the Successor must be always kept out of the Kingdom: Or, it must be supposed, that the People have just Reason to entertain some just Notion in Prejudice to the Electoress. But the general Rule is, absolutely, not to be maintain'd. There is neither Law nor Example to justify it.
'For if it were so, then her Majesty, when Princess of Denmark, must have been sent out of the Kingdom; and yet no Man ever pretended to broach so traiterous an Opinion.
'And all the World knows, that the Electoress may come over whenever she pleases, without being invited.
'All wise Princes and Governments, that have had a Succession, have ever thought, that the securing of that Succession, was a present and great Security to the public Safety; without considering whether there should arise any real or imaginary Disputes between the Sovereign and the next Heir.
'And I also hope that our Friends will never pretend to have any Reason to insinuate, That they ought to have any Jealousies of the Electoress, as to her own Person.
'For People must be very malicious to say, or very ill inform'd to believe, that she is weak or disaffected, that she loves Divisions, or that intriguing Persons can manage and turn her at their Pleasure.
'You know, my Lord, that she is infinitely above these Characters.
That she is wise, and hath the greatest Tenderness in the World for her Relations, and particularly for her Majesty.
'That she is charitable to all Men, a Friend to English Liberty; and so knowing, that she cannot be easily imposed upon. All those who are acquainted with her, ought to believe, that the Queen would be well pleased with her agreeable Temper and Conversation.
'Her moderate Behaviour hitherto ought to assure us of the Continuance of it for the time to come.
'Her quiet Temper, her Zeal for our Preservation, and her Esteem for the Queen, have made her not comply with the Advice of some, who called themselves Whigs; which might have given Offence, if she had follow'd them.
'If, after all this, People can think, that her Presence in England can be any Prejudice to the Queen or Kingdom, they must be very ungrateful.
'And it is no less injurious to her Character to misrepresent the publishing a Letter, that was so judiciously writ, and so necessary, at this time, to suppress these groundless Reports.
'This Letter, which I sent to your Lordship, was only to confirm what she had said to Mr. Howe, who is the first of the Queen's Ministers that have come to this Court, that hath owned he had orders to declare to her Royal Highness the Queen's good Intention, further to secure the Succession in her Royal Highness's Family.
'So that no body can say, that she hath done any thing at present, but what came from the Queen herself.
'It also appears, that it is a most skilful and malicious Contrivance of some, to cry out, Jacobitism; as soon as any body they do not like, speaks of inviting over the presumptive Heir
'Those who are sincerely for so proper a Method to secure the Succession, ought to take the Advantage of joining in this Point with all whoever are for it, let their Character be what it will.
'For when Men mean well, they will thoroughly pursue their Point, and consider the nature of things as they really are in themselves.
'If those whom you suspected to have had wicked Designs, were not sincere in shewing their Zeal to invite the presumptive Heir, we ought to have taken them at their word; and by this means they had been punish'd as they deserv'd, by being catch'd in their own snare.
Then the Crown might have been join'd with the Church, in an excellent Address to the Queen, and both voted out of Danger.
'May the Judgment, Honour and Candour of our Friends, never be called in Question by our own, and other Nations; for their very visible Mistake, in losing this great, and, per haps, irrecoverable Opportunity they had to oblige their Country for ever.
'If the Motion to invite the Successor could be of any use to the Jacobites, it must be because it was not receiv'd
Ought a good thing to be disapprov'd, because a Man I suspect, or do not love, proposes it?
If we maintain this Position, we shall put it into the power of the Jacobites, to hinder any good Resolution we can desire to take; for it will be enough, if any one we call a Jacobite, seems to agree with us.
It is a shame that we should be imposed upon by such weak and malicious Notions.
In short, to oppose the further securing of the Protestant Succession, is to act directly for the Jacobites; and to hinder the Successor's coming into England, is to oppose the further securing of the Succession, in my humble Opinion.
The Succession and England are in great Danger from the present Conjuncture of Affairs.
The Success of the present War, which is, as yet, very uncertain, will have the greatest Influence on this Subject.
Our Constitution does not allow of a standing Army in time of Peace, though we have a formidable Neighbour, who hath always a Will, Power and Pretences to surprize us, whether we are in Peace or War with him, if we are not ever upon our Guard: And he aims at no less, than to subvert our Religion, Liberty and Property.
Under such Circumstances, we ought to think of all possible means to secure ourselves against a Deluge of Blood, and an universal Confusion.
The Subversion of our Constitution is much to be apprehended; if it should so unfortunately fall out, that there should be a Demise; and the Successor, being absent, should not be in a Condition to pass the Seas, while the Enemy may have time to prevent all our good Measures.
It is certain, that those, who are not sensible of the Consequences, that may attend our Negligence, and the Malice of our Enemies, on such an Occasion; must either be corrupted, or very indifferent, as to the Safety of their Country.
Therefore it is necessary, that the presumptive Heir should be always establish'd in England: And it would be better husbandry, to make an honourable Provision for him suitable to what was settled in the late Reigns; than to be at the Charge of a War, to recover his Right, and our own Liberties, from the Dangers which they then may be in This may save us great Sums, which we may be oblig'd to lay out, to bring him over; and yet, perhaps, we may not have the Success we desire.
We may well remember, that the Nation paid Six Hundred Thousand Pounds for the Expence of the Prince of Orange's Expedition to deliver us from the Danger our own Folly had brought us into: And yet it was a hundred to one, that he succeeded, tho' so many. Men of Quality and Interest, both in Church and State, did appear for him.
But the Expence of Money is the least Evil that our Negligence may bring upon us: Since our Religion, Lives, and Liberties, and all are at Stake.
Your Lordship further says, that the Court was threaten'd last Sessions with this Motion, and dared with it ever since the Parliament was chose; and that it is your Opinion, that the Electoress should not give any further Countenance to it.
I use your Lordship's own Words, and do assure you, that the Electoress hath not meddled with, nor countenanced any Design, otherwise than appears in her Letter to my Lord Archbishop; having had no Knowledge of what was to be proposed in her Favour before the Motion was made.
But since you had such early notice of this Design I do the more wonder, that this Motion was not made by those who belong'd to the Court: Since it is most manifestly for her Majesty's Interest, as well as that of the Nation, that the presumptive Heir should be establish'd in England.
You could not then have had a Pretence to complain, that it came from Men you did not like; and we have no Reason to think that it would not have been agreeable to the Queen, if the whole matter had laid before her Majesty, who does every thing that can be advised for the Good of Europe and of her own Subjects.
'Tis a strange Notion, to think, that the Presence of the Successor can ruin the Succession.
And it is very unlikely, and not to be supposed, that the Successor (at least any of those we have in this Family, who have a true Respect and Love for the Queen, and true Honour and Virtue in themselves) will ever be a Cause of Confusion in England, by his Presence; This must be invented by those, who ought to be as much suspected as any, by all, who are for the Protestant Succession: And it carries so much Malice and Wild-fire in it, that I am afraid to touch it any more.
'As to the other Methods proposed in the House of Lords, for the better securing of the Succession: tho' I have all the Deference in the World for their Lordships, as well as for the honourable House of Commons; yet I am persuaded (with great Submission) that the Parliament will yet think, such Measures not sufficient for these Ends, and will, in time, consider of others more effectual.
We hear from England, That the Laws have been considered which relate to the Administration of the Government, in case a Demise should happen during the Absence of the Successor; and that they are found defective.
This may well be, for neither our Ancestors nor we did ever imagine, That any good Englishman would oppose the Establishment of the rightful and lawful next, or presumptive Protestant Heir in the Kingdom; but that he should be ready at hand to support the Constitution, whenever the Succession came to him.
'And this is more necessary at present, than ever; since there is a Pretender supported by France, who usurps the Stile and Title of King of England to her Majesty's great Dishonour, and Danger of the Protestant Succession.
As for the Act to secure the Queen's Person and Government, &c. the Powers which the Lords Justices are to have, for the time being, must be very great; and may be liable to bring Dangers, if not Ruin to the Kingdom, if they shall happen to fall into the Hands of ill Men.
The Heir being kept at a Distance will not be able, in time of Danger and Confusion to distinguish his Friends from his Enemies; since he will not be acquainted with the Nobility and Gentry, whom he would have known if he had been in the Kingdom: And therefore will be under great Difficulties how to name proper Persons to join with the seven Lords-Justices.
Besides, it is very doubtful how far his Orders and Choice will be respected; for many Pretences and Measures may be put in practice by a powerful Skill to elude them.
Who can say what Men will be in the great Employments, when a Demise may happen?
Those we think the best Friends to the Succession may die before that time comes; and those whom we call Jacobites, or others who are such in their Hearts, without being known, may yet come into those Employments
The Power of the Nation both by Sea and Land, and even the Treasure, may be in ill Hands; and if this happens, they may dispose of the Crown and Succession as they please.
One single Person may usurp the Power of all the LordsJustices and Council, as it did fall out in Edward the VIth's time, by the Subtlety of the Duke of Northumberland to the great Prejudice of your Lordship's Family.
'And this hath often happen'd, both in England, and other Countries, tho' Criminals have been frequently punished.
But such Circumstances may be more dangerous in England at present, than People thought them in former Ages.
The happy Criminals are always applauded, far from being punish'd.
Such a single Person at such a Conjuncture may chuse to play the Game of Cromwell, or that of Monk, for the false, or for the true Heir.
And the time may come, in which the Pretender with the great foreign Power, and the Intrigues within the Kingdom may be able to gain more People than the Successor, being absent and destitute of the necessary Supports especially after the Dissolution of the great Alliance, which may justly be apprehended in time of Peace; as it did happen after the Treaties of Nimeguen and Ryswick, and as it is very like to fall out again after this War; if more effectual Measures are not taken in the Kingdom as well as Abroad. And if the Allies do not find their Security in our Constitution, and in the Succession.
'The Lords have made an excellent Address to the Queen, to maintain a good Intelligence with the Allies and particularly with the States-General.
But it is to be wish'd that this good Intelligence may be so extended, and that such Measures may be taken, that we may be always certain of their Assistance to secure the Protestant Succession.
England and the States are the great Support of the Protestant Religion and Interest, and of the Liberties of Europe. 'Tis undoubtedly the Interest and Safety of both, always to maintain a good Correspondence and true Friendship. Therefore the wise and honest Ministers on both sides will easily find the most proper Means to prevent any Quarrel, and will preserve a perfect Union, which must be grounded upon the Obligation and Necessity of each others mutual Defence.
England may, and ought to depend upon its own Wisdom and Force, to defend itself; being secured and quiet at home.
And we have had hitherto the good Fortune to preserve our Liberties, when most other Nations have lost theirs.
But late Experience has shewn us how near we may come to Slavery by our Negligence And also, how necessary it may then be to recur to, and how dangerous to rely upon foreign Aid, as to our own Safety.
We can be in no Danger under her Majesty's Reign, and wise Conduct.
But we are to apprehend and prevent, to the utmost of our Power, any ill Accidents, that may befal us, when it may please God to take our good Queen from us
Who knows what Men or Parties may rise up at home and abroad? We ought, therefore, like honest and wise Men, to set things upon the best and surest Foundations. At least we ought not to weaken the Succession, by neglecting the proper Means for its Security.
'Tis true, that the Invitation of the presumptive Heir hath no Negative put upon it: But it is also true, that if it had pleased our Friends in Parliament at this time, when they were a Majority to advise her Majesty to it, in Concurrence with others; that this would have better secured the Protestant Succession, and our Constitution, than all the Laws the Nation can make.
'I pray, my Lord, what will our Acts of Parliament, our Oaths, the Proclamation of the Successor, and even our Lords-Justices signify, if the Successor is not certain of passing the Sea, and of being possessed of the Fleet, the Troops, the Treasure, the Garrisons, the Sea-Ports, the Tower, and the City of London?
The World will wonder at, and we shall deplore our fatal Blindness; if we are capable of being amused by imaginary Securities, and neglect, at this time of day, what is really necessary for our Safety.
Laws are no more than Cobwebs against Power and Force.
The History of England doth furnish us with many Examples, which shew that the next Heirs to the Crown have been often excluded from the Succession to it, by their being absent at the time of the Demise.
We have an Instance now before us in Spain, which hath cost us much Blood and Treasure, and is like to cost us much more; besides, what England doth, and may suffer by the Loss of that Trade, which was next to that of our West-Indies, the most profitable to us.
For if King Charles had been in Spain before the Death of the late King, it might, in all Probability, have prevented this General War; and the French King would never have attempted the Conquest of Spain, if he had not had Footing there before; nor the Spanish Ministers have dared to do what they did, if the Arch-Duke had been present at Madrid.
'Therefore to hinder the next Heir's coming into England, will be a very great Reflection upon us: For it must tend to the Destruction of, or at least, very much hazard our Religion and Liberties.
And so we ought to consider of our Dangers in due time: since it may so happen, That it may not be in our Power to secure the coming over of the Successor: And I will only mention what has been said in England, that we are not always sure of a protestant Wind.
A thousand other Accidents may befal us, if we trust to the last Extremity.
Therefore we ought now to take right Measures, That the Successor may be always established, and sure to possess himself of the Power, whenever it shall please God to afflict us with a Demise: And that we may be as little exposed as is possible, either to Chance or Treachery.
The Queen seems to be of this Opinion, and all honest Men ought, and will contribute all they can to make it agreeable and easy to her Majesty.
The Electoress, and the other Princes of this Family, do always praise and admire the Care that the Queen takes of the Interest of Europe against our Common Enemy; and pray for her Majesty's long Life and Happiness.
God be thank'd the Queen is in good Health, but, alas! She is mortal, and must our Safety depend upon an Accident, that must befal the best of Mankind?
It is true, that the Electoress hath many Years more than her Majesty, and that the Queen is in the Vigour of her Age; and therefore, that the Electoress is not like to survive her Majesty; but our Interest and Safety consists in making such Provision once for all, whether the Electoress lives or not, that the next Heir may be always present, or in a Condition to be so; without which, in my humble Opinion, we cannot be safe, otherwise than by an extraordinary Providence.
My Lord Haversham hath always shewed himself so true a Friend to this Family, and the Constitution of England; that I thought no Man could be more proper to be advised with upon the Electoress's Letter.
I ask your Lordship's Pardon for troubling you with so long a Letter; but I thought myself obliged in Duty to my Country, and Friendship to you, to speak plainly upon this Question, which contains the Happiness or Misery of England: And therefore I hope that all wise and honest Men will take care how they decide it. I am
Your Lordship's most Obedient
And most Humble Servant.
Censure pass'd upon it.
After the reading of this Letter, the Commons resolv'd, That it was a scandalous, false and malicious Libel, tending to create a Misunderstanding between her Majesty and the Princess Sophia, and highly reflecting upon her Majesty, upon the Princess Sophia, and upon the Proceedings of both Houses of Parliament; that an humble Address should be presented to her Majesty, That she would be pleased to give Order for the Discovery and Prosecuting the Author, Printer and Publishers of the said Pamphlet, and that the said Resolutions should be communicated to the Lords at a Conference, and their Concurrence desir'd thereunto.' Their Lordships not only readily concurr'd with the Commons on the 11th, but likewise agreed upon an Address to be presented to her Majesty, pursuant to the said Resolutions; to which Address they desired the Concurrence of the Commons, who heartily joined with them, and so the next day, both Houses presented the following Address to the Queen:
Address of both Houses to the Queen, about Sir Rowland Gwynne's Letter.
We your Majesty's most dutiful and obedient Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons in Parliament assembled, beg leave to acquaint your Majesty, That, having taken into serious Consideration a printed Pamphlet, entitled, A Letter from Sir Rowland Gwynne, to the Right Honourable the Earl of Stamford, We came to the following Resolution.
That the said Pamphlet is a scandalous, false and malicious Libel, tending to create a Misunderstanding between your Majesty, and the Princess Sophia, and highly reflecting upon your Majesty, upon the Princess Sophia, and upon the Proceedings of both Houses of Parliament.
May it please your Majesty, This seditious Libel having been, of late, with great Industry dispers'd among your Subjects, we humbly beseech your Majesty to give strict Orders for the Discovery of the Author, Printer and Publishers thereof, to the end they may be brought to condign Punishment, according to the utmost Rigour of the Law. And we pray your Majesty to use all Means, which shall seem proper to your Royal Wisdom, for preventing such insolent and dangerous Attempts for the future.
The Queen's Answer.
To this Address, the Queen was pleased to give the following Answer:
My Lords and Gentlemen, Nothing can be more acceptable to me, than so seasonable an Instance of your Concern to preserve a good Understanding between me and the Princess Sophia, and of your Care to defeat the Artifices of designing and malicious Men.
'I am fully sensible of the very ill Design of the Paper, which you have so justly censured, and I will not fail to give the necessary Directions for complying in the most effectual Manner with all you desire in your Address.'
Votes about the beter manning of the Fleet.
There being, at this Juncture, no less, than about 12000 Seamen wanting to Man her Majesty's Navy, both the Lords and Commons took, severally, that weighty Affair into Consideration, and after some time spent therein, the Commons came to these Resolutions: 1st, 'That, in order to the speedy and more compleat manning of her Majesty's Navy for the Year 1706. the Justices of Peace, and other Civil Magistrates throughout the several Counties, Ridings, Cities, Towns and Places, within the Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed, be empower'd, and directed forthwith to make, or cause to be made, strict and diligent search for all such Seamen, or Sea-faring Men, as lie hid, and are not in her Majesty's said Service. 2dly, That the said Justices, and other Civil Magistrates, do take up, send, conduct and convey, or cause to be taken up, sent, conducted and conveyed, all such Seamen or Sea-faring Men to be deliver'd to such Persons as shall be appointed to receive the same. 3dly, That a Penalty be inflicted upon every Person who shall presume to harbour or conceal such Seamen or Sea-faring Men. 4thly, That a Reward be given to every Person who shall discover and take up such Seamen, or Sea-faring Men, as aforesaid the same to be distributed and paid to every such Discoverer or Person so taking up such Seamen or Sea-faring Men respectively, out of the Money given for the Service of the Navy. 5thly, That Conduct-Money be allowed for conveying and subsisting such Seamen and Sea-faring Men, according to the present Usage of the Navy. 6thly, That, for the Encouragement of the said Service, every Seaman who shall be turn'd over from one Ship to another, shall be paid his Wages, which shall appear to be due to him in the Ship from which he was turn'd over, before such Ship to which he shall be turn'd over do go to Sea, either in Money, or by a Ticket, which shall entitle him to an immediate Payment. 7thly, That such able-bodied Landmen, who are liable to be raised for the recruiting her Majesty's Land-Forces and Marines, be raised for the said Service, in the like manner, and delivered to such Persons who shall be appointed to receive the same: And order'd, that the Committee to whom the Bill for the Encouragement and Encrease of Seamen, and for the better and speedier manning her Majesty's Fleet, and for making Provision for the Widows and Orphans of all such as shall be slain, or drowned, in her Majesty's Service, and for the Support of Trade, is committed, have power to receive a Clause or Clause pursuant to the said Resolutions: And that it be an Instruction to the said Committee, that they have power to receive a Clause for discharging of such Seamen, and other insolvent Persons, as are in Prison for Debt, and delivering them into her Majesty's Service on board the Fleet.'
This was perfected, and pass'd both Houses in four Days and the Lords and Commons having, after several Conferences, agreed upon the Bill, entitled, An Act for the Amendment of the Law, and the better Advancement of Justice, the Queen came to the House of Peers on the 13th, and the Commons being sent for up, her Majesty gave the Royal Assent to the following seventeen public Acts, viz.
Queen passes Acts.
1. An Act for laying farther Duties on Low Wines, and for preventing the Damage to her Majesty's Revenue by Importation of foreign cut Whalebone, and for making some Provisions as to the Stamp Duties, and the Duties on Births, Burials and Marriages, and the Salt Duties, and touching the Million Lottery Tickets, and for enabling her Majesty to dispose of the Effects of William Kidd, a notorious Pirate, to the Use of Greenwich Hospital, and for appropriating the public Moneys granted in this Session of Parliament. 2. An Act for the better Security of her Majesty's Person and Government, and of the Succession to the Crown of England in the Protestant Line. 3. An Act for repairing the Highways between Barnhill and Hatton Heath in the County of Chester. 4. An Act for the better enabling the Master, Wardens and Assistants of Trinity House, to rebuild the Light-House on the Edystone Rock. 5 An Act for the better ordering and governing the Watermen, and Lightermen, upon the River of Thames. 6. An Act for enlarging the Pier and Harbour of Parton, in the County of Cumberland. 7. An Act for the paying and clearing the several Regiments commanded by Lieutenant-General Stewart, Colonel Hill, and Brigadier Holt, and for supplying the Defects of the Muster-Rolls of these, and several other Regiments. 8. An Act for the better collecting Charity-Money on Briefs by Letters-Patent, and preventing Abuses in relation to such Charities. 9. An Act for the Increase and better Preservation of Salmon, and other Fish, in the Rivers within the Counties of Southampton and Wilts. 10. An Act for the better recruiting her Majesty's Army and Marines. 11. An Act to empower the Lord High Treasurer, or Commissioners of the Treasury, to issue out of the Moneys arising by the CoinageDuty, any Sum not exceeding Five Hundred Pounds over and above the Sum of Three Thousand Pounds yearly, for the Uses of the Mint. 12. An Act for continuing An Act made in the Session held in the Third and Fourth Years of her Majesty's Reign, entitled, An Act for punishing Mutiny, Desertion, and false Musters, and for the better Payment of the Army and Quarters. 13. An Act for raising the Militia for the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Six, notwithstanding the Month's Pay formerly advanced be not repaid, and for an Account to be made of Trophy-Moneys. 14. An Act to enlarge the time for registering unsatisfied Debentures upon the forfeited Estates in Ireland, and for renewing of other Debentures which have been burnt, lost or destroyed. 15. An Act for the Encouragement and Increase of Seamen, and for the better nd speedier manning her Majesty's Fleet. 16. An Act to prevent Frauds frequently committed by Bankrupts. And, 17. An Act for the Amendment of the Law, and better Advancement of Justice; As also to an Act for naturalizing Vincent de Laymerie, and others, and to 52 other private Bills: After which her Majesty made the following Speech to both Houses.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
Being now come to a Close of this Session, I am to return you my Thanks for having brought it so speedily to a good Conclusion; especially for the wise and effectual Provision made to secure the Protestant Succession in this Kingdom, and the great Advances on your Part, towards procuring the like Settlement in the Kingdom of Scotland, and a happy Union of both Nations.
I am very well pleased likewise with the Steps you have made for the Amendment of the Law, and the better Advancement of Justice.
I must again repeat to you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, that I am extremely sensible of the Dispatch you have given to the public Supplies; I assure you I will be very careful that they may be applied, in the most effectual Manner, for our Common Interest.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
'At the Opening of this Parliament, I recommended, with great Earnestness, an entire Union of Minds and Affections among all my Subjects, and a sincere Endeavour to avoid and extinguish all Occasions of Divisions and Animosity; I am much pleased to find how entirely your Sentiments have agreed with mine. Your Unanimity and Zeal, which I have observed, with great Satisfaction, throughout this whole Session, against every thing that tends towards Sedition, doth so much discourage all such Attempts for the future, and hath set such an Example to the whole Kingdom, that, when you are returned into your several Countries, I doubt not but you will find the Effects of it every where, and I assure myself you will make it your Business and Care to improve and perfect that good Work you have so far advanced here; and by continuing to shew a just dislike of all Factions, and turbulent Proceedings, and resolved to discountenance the Encouragers of them, you will soon make the whole Kingdom sensible of the good Effect of so prudent and happy a Conduct.'
The Parliament prorogued.
Then the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (by her Majesty's Command) prorogued the Parliament until Tuesday the 21st Day of May next.