The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 3, 1695-1706. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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On Tuesday December 6th, a new Parliament met at Westminster; and his Majesty coming to the House of Peers with the usual Solemnity, sent for the Commons, to whom the Lord-Chancellor signified his Majesty's Pleasure, that they should proceed to the Choice of a Speaker, and present him on Friday next. The Commons made choice of Sir Thomas Littleton Bart. who being presented on December 9th, was graciously approved by his Majesty, who then made this Speech to both Houses.
'The one is, what Strength ought to be maintained at Sea, and what Force kept up at Land for this Year. All I shall observe to you upon this head is, that the flourishing of Trade, the supporting of Credit, and the quiet of People's Minds at home, will depend upon the opinion they have of their Security; and to preserve to England the Weight and Influence it has at present on the Councils and Affairs abroad, it will be requisite Europe should see you will not be wanting to yourselves.
'The second thing I shall mention to you as of great consequence, is the making some further Progress toward discharging the Debts, which the Nation has contracted by reason of the long and expensive War. In this the public Interest as well as Justice is concerned; and, I think an English Parliament can never make such a Mistake, as not to hold sacred all Parliamentary Engagements.
'I think it would be happy, if some effectual Expedient could be found for employing the Poor, which might tend to the Increase of our Manufactures, as well as remove a heavy Burthen from the People. I hope also you will employ your Thoughts about some good Bills for the Advancement of Trade, and for the further discouraging of Vice and Prophaneness. The Things I have mentioned to you being of common Concern, I cannot but hope for Unanimity and Dispatch.'
This Speech, as usual, being taken into Consideration by the House, it was thought by the Majority but a natural Effect of Peace, to reduce the Army. Accordingly, after the Affair had been thoroughly debated on both sides, they came to the following Resolutions, viz.
Vote to reduce the Army.
'That all the Land-Forces of England, in English Pay, exceeding seven thousand Men (and those consisting of his Majesty's natural-born Subjects) be forthwith paid and disbanded. And that all the Forces in Ireland, exceeding twelve thousand Men (and those his Majesty's natural-born Subjects, to be kept and maintained by the Kingdom of Ireland) be likewise forthwith disbanded. And they ordered a Bill to be brought in upon the said Resolutions, which was eagerly pushed on, and soon brought to perfection.
These Proceedings, we are told, made the King very uneasy; and the more so, because his Dutch Regiment of Guards, who had so long served him, was by this Bill to be torn away from him, and to be sent out of the Kingdom. However, his Majesty like a wise and good Prince, never opposing his own Will, to what seemed to be the Voice and Judgment of his People, chose rather to compliment the Commons, than to contend with them. So on Wednesday Feb. the 1st, the King came to the Parliament, and gave the Royal Assent to several Bills.
King's Speech to both Houses on that occasion.
I Came to pass the Bill for disbanding the Army, as soon as I understood it was ready for me: Though in our present Circumstances there appears great hazard in breaking such a Number of the Troops: And though I might think my self unkindly used, that those Guards who came over with me to your Assistance, and have constantly attended me in all the Actions wherein I have been engaged, should be removed from me; yet it is my fixed opinion, that nothing can be so fatal to us, as that any Distrust or Jealousy should arise between me and my People, which I must own would have been very unexpected, after what I have undertaken, ventured, and acted for the restoring and securing of their Liberties.
'I have thus plainly told you the only Reason which has induced me to pass this Bill: And now I think my self obliged, in Discharge of the Trust reposed in me, and for my own Justification, that no ill Consequences may lie at my door, to tell you as plainly my Judgment, that the Nation is left too much exposed.
'It is therefore incumbent on you to take this Matter into your serious Consideration, and effectually to provide such a Strength as is necessary for the Safety of the Kingdom, and the Preservation of the Peace which God hath given us.'
The Commons were so well pleased with this gracious Complaisance of the King, that they immediately resolved, That an humble Address be presented to the King, to give his Majesty Thanks for his most gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament with the Assurances of this House, That they will stand by, and assist his Majesty in the Support of him and his Government, against all Enemies whatsoever. And they accordingly put their Resolution into this Form of Address.
Commons Address of Thanks.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in Parliament assembled, being highly sensible of the Difficulties your Majesty has undertaken, the Labours you have sustained, and the Hazards you have run, in rescuing us from Popery and Arbitrary Power, restoring our Liberties, and giving Peace and Quiet to all Christendom; beg leave to return our most hearty Thanks, for your most gracious Speech: In which you express so great a Regard for the good Will and Affections of your People, and have given so undeniable a Proof of your Readiness to comply with the Desires of your Parliament; and as your Majesty has shewn a most tender and fatherly Concern for the Security and Safety of your People; so give us leave to assure your Majesty, That you shall never have reason to think the Commons are undutiful, or unkind to your Majesty; but that we will upon all occasions stand by, and assist your Majesty in the Preservation of your sacred Person, and Support of your Government against all your Enemies whatsoever.'
Admiral Russel's Account.
March 10. An Account of Admiral Russel's Receipts and Disbursements for the Service of the Navy was laid before the House. Whereby it appear'd that the Admiral had received 10,000 l. and had disbursed 18,666 l. But, of the Items contained in his Account, but two Vouchers being sent to the Auditors, one of which was for 2000 l. and the other for 400 l. the said Auditors refused to pass the said Account, till they received his Majesty's Command, signify'd from the Admiralty-Board.
The 11th, The House divided, on a Motion that the Bill for granting a Supply of 1,484,015 l. for Disbanding the Army, &c. should then be read a second Time, it pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 72, Noes 139.
A Bill to restrain the Number of Officers in the House of Commons pass'd.
An Account of Cash, &c. in the hands of the Treasurer of the Navy.
At the Foot of this Account, was a Note signifying, That the Money due for Wages was then paying off, and that the 60,031 l. Tallies for the Yards, was just received, and would likewise be paid to the Workmen, as soon as they could be turn'd into Money.
An Account of Grants.
A Grant to Sir Francis Leigh, in consideration of 600 l. paid into the Exchequer, and 1000 l. to Sir Henry Sheers, of certain Lands forfeited by John Strafford Esq; out law'd; under the yearly Rent of 6s. 8d.
A Privy-Seal, for paying 85,000 l. with 6 per Cent. Interest, to Prince George of Denmark, in lieu of 340,000 Rixdollars due to the said Prince upon two Mortgages on the Isle of Janneren, and the Baillieries of Transbuttle and Steinhurst, Part of the Duke of Holstein's Territories, surrender'd to the said Duke on his Majesty's Promise to pay the same.
A Warrant from his Majesty, to the Trustees for Sale of Fee-farm Rents, to convey a Fee-farm Rent of 66 l 13 s. 4d. per Ann. arising out of Brigstock-Park, to Frances, Countess Dowager of Salisbury, her Heirs and Assigns for ever, in Corroboration of her Title to the said Rent and Arrears thereof, purchased of his Majesty.
A Grant of 200 l. per Ann. to lsaac Manley Esq; for the Life of his (fn. 1) Father John Manley Esq; payable out of the Post-Office.
A Grant to Nathaniel Crow, of the forfeited Estates, Real and Personal, belonging to Arthur Mangey, Robert Child, and J. Hurst, convict of High-Treason, subject to the Payment of 256 l. 6 s. and Interest to Richard Ashton Esq; and 300 l. to such Persons as his Majesty shall be pleased to appoint.
A Grant to John Gore, his Heirs and Assigns for ever, of the Reversions expectant upon several Estates for Lives in several Manors, &c. belonging to Sir William Williams Bart. and which were devis'd to his Majesty after the Deaths of two Sons of Sir Bourchier Wray and others, subject to the Payment of a Rent-Charge of 540 l. per Annum, and other Incumbrances.
A Warrant to the Lords Justices to levy 8000 l. pursuant to a Clause in the Act of Settlement, or Explanation, on the Estates of several Roman Catholicks; and to pay the same to Lionel, Earl of Orrery, pursuant to a Grant of Charles II. to Roger Earl of Orrery.
A Grant to Thomas Pendergrass, his Heirs and Assigns for ever, of several forfeited Lands of the clear Yearly value of 334 l. 0 s. 2 d. ½ to make good the Deficiency of a former Grant for 500 l. a Year.
A Grant to Thomas Lord Coningesby, for the Offices of Vice-Treasurer, General-Receiver, Pay-Master General, and Treasurer at War, with the Yearly Fee of 60 l. 13 s. 4 s. Sixpence in the Pound in all Payments made by him or his Deputies, during Pleasure.
A Grant to Richard Fitzpatrick Esq; of all the forfeited Estate of Barnaby Lord of Upper Ossory, valued at 60 l. per Annum, and subject to the Payment of 35 l. per Annum to Dorothy Lady Dowager of Upper Ossory, for Life.
A Grant or Demise to Major-General Stewart, in Consideration of a Release of 3537 l. 12 s. 8 d. due to him on account of his Regiment, the Loss of his Right Arm, and other Losses; certain forfeited Estates of the clear Yearly value of 751 l. 18 s. 5 d. ¾ for 99 Years.
A Grant to John Ellis Esq; his Heirs and Assigns for ever, of the forfeited Estate of his Brother Sir William Ellis, from whom there was due to the said John Ellis 1200 l. and Interest; the said Estate was otherwise much encumbered
A Warrant to lease out the Estates of Sir Valentine and Sir Nicholas Browne, at the best improved Value for 2 Years, and out of the Produce to pay to the Earl of Bellamont 1000 l. a Year, (which by virtue of a former Grant, was charg'd to be paid out of the said Estate, to the said Earl for 999 Years,) and 400 l. more to Helen Viscountess, Kenmure, for the Support of herself and Children.
The King's Message to the Commons.
'His Majesty is pleased to let the House know, that the necessary Preparations are made for transporting the Guards who came with him into England; and that he intends to send them away immediately, unless, out of Consideration to him, the House be disposed to find a way for continuing them longer in his Service, which his Majesty would take very kindly.'
Upon reading this Message, the question was put, 'That a Day be appointed to consider of his Majesty's said Message; but it was carried in the Negative, and resolved, 'That a Committee be appointed to draw up an humble Address, to be presented to his Majesty, representing the Reasons why the House cannot comply with the purport of his Majesty's Message this Day communicated to the House.' And this (fn. 2) Address was accordingly prepared, as follows, and delivered on the 24th.
The Commons Address.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, do, with unfeigned Zeal to your Majesty's Person and Government, (which God long preserve) most humbly represent to your Majesty,
'That the passing the late Act for disbanding the Army, gave great Satisfaction to your Subjects; and the readiness your Majesty has expressed by your Message, to comply with the punctual execution thereof, will prevent all Occasions of distrust or jealousy between your Majesty and your People.
'It is, Sir, to your loyal Commons an unspeakable Grief, that your Majesty should be advised to propose any thing in your Message, to which they cannot consent, with due Regard to that Constitution your Majesty came over to restore, and have so often exposed your Royal Person to preserve, and did in your gracious Declaration promise, that all those foreign Forces which came over with you, should be sent back.
'In duty therefore to your Majesty, and to discharge the Trust reposed in us, we crave leave to lay before you; that nothing conduceth more to the Happiness and Welfare of this Kingdom, than an entire Confidence between your Majesty and your People; which can no way be so firmly established, as by entrusting your sacred Person with your own Subjects, who have so eminently signalized themselves on all Occasions, during the late long and expensive War.'
'Gentlemen, I came hither to restore the ancient Constitution of this Government. I have had all possible Re gard to it-since my coming, and I am resolved through the Course of my Reign, to endeavour to preserve it entire in all the Parts of it.
'As to my Subjects who served during the War, I am an Eye-Witness of their Bravery, and of their Zeal for my Person and Government; and I have not been wanting to express my Sense of this to my Parliament as well as upon other Occasions.
'I have all the reason to trust and to rely upon them that a Prince can have; and I am satisfied, there is not one Person among them capable of entertaining a Thought, that what was proposed in my Message, proceeded from any distrust of them.
'It shall be my study to the utmost of my power, to perform the part of a just and a good King: And as I will ever be strictly and nicely careful of observing my Promise to my Subjects, so I will not doubt of their tender Regards to me.'
This Answer, though it could not but please, yet it would not move the Commons from their Resolutions; so that the Dutch Guards were soon after shipped off for Holland: Which, though it seemed to weaken his Majesty in his Military Defence and Safety, yet it strengthened his Interest in the Hearts of all good Subjects, who saw now in an extraordinary Instance, that the King could deny himself any thing to oblige his People.
Royal Assent, given to several Acts.
The same Day likewise, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to An Act to prevent the excessive distilling of Spirits from Corn, &c. An Act to enlarge the Trade to Russia. An Act to prevent irregulor Returns of Members to serve in Parliament; and to several private Acts.
A Negative put on issuing more Bills of Credit from the Treasury.
The Day before the Transactions relating to the Dutch Guards, the Question being put that the House do agree with the Committee of the whole House upon the Supply, That more Bills of Credit be issued out of his Majesty's Treasury, which shall be current in all Branches of the public Revenue; it pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 148, Noes 182.
'That the Order made by the Commissioners of the Admiralty, September 12, 1695, giving Henry Priestman Esq; an Allowance of ten Shillings per Diem, from the Date of his Commission, as Commander in Chief before Sallee in 1684, till the Ship Bonadventure was paid off, over and above his Pay as Captain of the said Ship, was very unreasonable and a Misapplication of the public Money.
'That the (fn. 3) Victualling any of his Majesty's Ships by others than by the Victuallers appointed for that Service, or their Agents, is contrary to the Course of the Navy, and may be of ill consequence.
'That the Deductions of Poundage taken by the PayMasters of the Navy, for Slop-Clothes, Dead Men's Clothes, Tobacco, Chest at Chatham, Chaplain and Surgeon, is without Warrant, and ought to be (fn. 4) accounted for.
'And that the passing any Account of Moneys impress'd for the contingent Use of the Navy, without regular Vouchers, or such other Proof, as the Nature of the Service will admit, either with, or without a Sign Manual, is contrary to the Rules and Methods of the Navy, and of dangerous Consequence.
'All which we beg leave to lay before your Majesty, desiring that you will be graciously pleas'd to (fn. 5) take effectual Care that the Mismanagements herein complain'd of may be prevented for the future.
His Majesty's Answer.
'Gentlemen, I will consider your Address: It is my desire that all sorts of Mismanagements and Irregularities should be prevented or redress'd; you may be assured I will take the best Care I can, in relation to the Navy; the right Management whereof, is of so great concern to the Kingdom.'
|The 30th, the Accounts relating to the Transports were laid before the House; whereby it appear'd, that there had been paid on that Service — l.||100,107||8||5½|
|That there was still due —||441,637||9||5|
|And that the Cash in the Office amounted to||9030||16||1|
Certain Letters of Mr. Chivers a Member complain'd of.
The 5th, a Complaint was made to the House of certain Letters written by Henry Chivers Esq; a Member, as not only reflecting on, but misrepresenting several Members of the House; which Letters are as follow:
Yesterday we had a great Contest in the House, concerning augmenting the Forces; in which my Brother Member signaliz'd himself for the Good of his Country. He made a very violent Speech for keeping up more Forces than the Sense of the House was for; so that we poor Country-Gentlemen were forc'd to labour hard, and sit late to overcome them: I do really believe he will never give his Country one Vote, he is so link'd in with the Court-Party. If you please, you may communicate this to your Friends, and let them know that I shall always be ready to serve both them and you, here and elsewhere. So I remain
I Have sent you his Majesty's Speech, and a List of those Gentlemen who voted for a standing Army. The Question was whether the Army should stand, or the Bill be thrown out: But God be prais'd we carried it. The Number for disbanding the Army was 221, and the List will satisfy you how many were against it. So I remain
These Letters being read, Mr. Chivers was ordered to attend in his Place, but pleaded Indisposition by way of Excuse: Upon which, a Motion being made for him to attend the next Day notwithstanding, it was carried in the Affirmative, Yeas 119. Noes 83. But he not obeying the said Summons, the Question was put, that he be sent for in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, and pass'd in the Negative, Yeas 99. Noes 134.
Resolved, That the publishing the Names of the Members of this House, and reflecting upon them, and misrepresenting their Proceedings in Parliament, is a Breach of the Privilege of this House, and destructive of the Freedom of Parliament.
List of General Officers.
The 4th, a List of General Officers was presented to the House, consisting of three Generals of Horse, at 6 l. a Day; seven Lieutenant-Generals, at 4 l. a Day; eight MajorGenerals, at 2 l a Day; and eleven Brigadier-Generals, at 1 l. 10 s. a Day; at which Rates the Total per Ann. amounted to 29,382 l. 10s.
Pensions on the Royal-Oak Lottery.
Commissioners for the taking an Account of the forfeited Estates in Ireland.
|Francis Annesly Esq;||222|
|Henry Earl of Drogheda||220|
|John Trenchard Esq;||208|
|James Hamilton Esq;||158|
|Henry Langford Esq;||136|
|Sir Richard Leving||127|
|Sir Francis Brewster||122|
Bill of Supply pass'd.
Resolutions on the Petition of Russel against Gwynn.
That the said Gwynn, being likewise Collector of the Customs and Excise, hath frequently imported great Quantities of Salt, on board the said Packets, without paying either Custom, or Excise, and charg'd the same to the King, as if he had paid both.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
The 4th, the King came to the House of Peers, and pass'd several Bills, as, An Act for raising 1,484,015 l. for disbanding the Army, &c. An Act to lay Duties upon Sweets; An Act for encouraging the Newfoundland-Trade; An Act for preventing the Exportation of Wool; An Act against Burglaries. For a free Market at Billinsgate; for suppressing of Lotteries; for the more effectual charging the Duties upon Rock-Salt: An Act for limiting certain Times within which Writs of Error shall be brought for the reversing of Fines, &c. another Tithe-Act; An Act for taking off the remaining Duty upon Glass-Ware; An Act to enable Posthumous Children to take Estates as if born in their Fathers' LifeTime; An Act for the Imprisonment of Counter, and others, for the Assassination Plot; and a great many private Acts.
'At the Opening of this Parliament, I told you my Opinion was, that you were come together with Hearts fully dispos'd to do what was necessary for the Safety, Honour, and Happiness of the Kingdom; and having nothing else to recommend to you, I had reason to hope for Unanimity and Dispatch.
'You have now sat so many Months, that the Season of the Year, as well as your particular Affairs, make it reasonable you should have a Recess. I take it for granted, you have finish'd all the Bills, which for the present you think requisite to be pass'd into Laws: And I have given my Assent to all you have presented to me.
'If any thing should be found wanting for our Safety, the Support of Public Credit, by making good the Faith of the Kingdom, as it stands engag'd by Parliamentary Securities, and for discharge of the Debts occasion'd by the War, or towards the advancing of Trade, the suppressing of Vice, or the employing of the Poor; which were all the things I propos'd to your Consideration when we met first, I cannot doubt but effectual Care will be taken of them next Winter: and I wish no Inconveniencies may happen in the mean time.'