The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 4, 1706-1713. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Third Parliament of Great Britain. ; Mr. Bromley chosen Speaker.
November 25, The new Parliament met, according to Summons, and, proceeding to the Choice of a Speaker by Direction from the Throne, three Persons were put in Nomination, viz. Sir Thomas Hanmer, Mr. Smith, (formerly Speaker) and Mr. Bromley, which last was fix'd in by the Majority, and then approved by the Queen, who, afterwards made the following Speech to both Houses.
Her Majesty's Speech.
I Have, by calling this Parliament, made appear the Considence I place in the Duty and Affection of my Subjects; and I meet you here with the greatest Satisfaction, having no Reason to doubt but that I shall find such Returns, as will add new Life to our Friends, and entirely disappoint the Hopes of our Enemies.
'The carrying on the War in all its Parts, and particularly in Spain, with the utmost Vigour, is the likeliest means, with God's Blessing, to procure a safe and honourable Peace for us, and all our Allies, whose Support and Interest I have truly at Heart.
'For this purpose, I must ask from you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, the necessary Supplies for the next Year's Service: And let me put you in mind, that nothing will add so much to their Efficacy as Unanimity and Dispatch.
'I cannot, without great Concern, mention to you, that the Navy and other Offices are burthened with heavy Debts, which so far affect the public Service, that I must earnestly desire you to find some way to answer those Demands, and to prevent the like for the time to come; the Justice of Parliament in satisfying former Engagements, being the certain way for preserving and establishing national Credit.
'I am sensibly touched by what my People suffer by this long and expensive War, to which when it shall please God to put an End, the flourishing Condition of my Subjects shall be as much my Care as their Safety is at present.'
'And that all these may be transmitted to Posterity, I shall employ none but such as are heartily for the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, the Interest of which Family no Person can be more truly concerned for than myself.
These are my Resolutions, and your Concurrence with me in a steady pursuit of them will best manifest your Zeal for our Religion, for the Interest of our Country, for your own Safety, and for my Honour.'
The Commons Resolution for an Address.
The Commons having spent three days in qualifying themselves, the Speaker, on the 29th of November, reported the Queen's Speech to the House, whereupon it was unanimously resolved, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, to return the humble Thanks of the House for her Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne; and assure her Majesty, that this House would heartily concur in all the Particulars, which her Majesty had been pleased to recommend: That this House would effectually and speedily grant the necessary supplies for a vigorous carrying on the War, till such a Peace might be obtained, as her Majesty should judge to be safe and honourable for her Subjects, and all her Allies; that this House would preserve and establish the public Credit, and in all Respects answer the Expectation of those they represented, and shew how justly her Majesty had consided in the Duty and Affection of her People.'
Sir Thomas Hanmer's Motion thereon. ; Mr. Lechmere's Motion in favour of the House of Hanover.
This Resolution being taken, Sir Thomas Hanmer moved, 'That in the said Address, they should represent to her Majesty, that the most effectual way to give Spirit to her Friends, and defeat the restless Malice of her Enemies, would be by discountenancing all Persons of such Principles, and avoiding all Measures of such tendency, as might weaken her Majesty's Title and Government:' This Motion occasioned a small Debate, in which Mr. Lechmere said 'That they ought likewise humbly to caution her Majesty against such Measures and Principles, as might weaken the settlement of the Crown in the illustrious House of Hanover, and advance the Hopes of the Pretender.' No Member offering to second Mr. Lechmere, Mr. Harley, Chancellor of the Exchequer, stood up and said, 'That tho' the Protestant Succession was already sufficiently established and secured by several Acts of Parliament, so that it seemed needless to add any thing to them; yet, since a Motion was made in favour of the illustrious House of Hanover, it would look strange both at home and abroad, the same should drop:' Whereupon it was resolved, that the Clause offered by Mr. Lechmere should be inserted in the Address which was done accordingly. On the last day of November, Sir Thomas Hanmer reported the said Address, which he had himself drawn up, and which with an Amendment, was approved, being as follows:
The Commons Address to the Queen.
'Most gracious Sovereign, we your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, do joyfully appear before your Majesty, to return our most humble Thanks for your most gracious Speech from the Throne. We bring the Thanks of your whole People, whom your Majesty has made happy, by that Confidence you have been pleased to place in their Duty and Affection: And we bring our own most solemn Assurances, that we will make all such Returns as shall convince your Majesty, that your Confidence has not been misplaced.
'We are satisfied we lie under all possible Obligations, both from our Duty to your Majesty, and the Care we owe to our Country, effectually and speedily to grant the necessary Supplies for the vigorous Prosecution of the War in all its Parts, and especially in Spain. This we shall study to do, in such a manner, as may best answer the public Service, and be most easy to those we represent: And the same we shall continue to do, till such a Peace may be obtained, as your Majesty, in your Royal Wisdom, shall judge to be safe and honourable for your Subjects, and all your Allies
'We have no reason to doubt of your Majesty's Care in every thing that concerns the Interest and Welfare of your People; but we think ourselves obliged, in Justice to our Fellow-Subjects, and in order to make them bear, with greater Chearfulness, the burdens we shall find necessary to lay upon them, most humbly to beseech your Majesty, that you will please to continue your powerful Influences with all your Allies, that they may exert themselves in the common Cause with Resolutions equal, and Aids proportionable to ours.
'The Burden of those heavy Debts which press your People with so sensible a Weight, is, in some measure, alleviated by your princely Compassion. We shall endeavour to trace the Source of this great Evil, and to apply a Remedy suitable to it. The Honour and Justice of Parliament shall, by us, be inviolably maintained: and all such other Measures pursued, by which the public Credit may be preserved and established.
'Your faithful Commons are truly sensible of your Majesty's Wisdom and Goodness in those Resolutions which you have declared, and do most heartily concur in all which you have been pleased to recommend to them.
'We return your Majesty our most humble Thanks for the firm Assurances you have given, both by your Words and by your Actions, of supporting and encouraging the Church of England, as by Law established.
'As we are true Sons of that Church, we cannot but be tenderly concerned for its Prosperity, and for its Honour, and are by Affection and Principle, inclined to secure its Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship.
'As we are Fellow-Christians and Fellow-Subjects with those Protestant Dissenters, who are so unhappy as to entertain Scruples against Conformity with our Church, we are desirous, and determined, to let them quietly enjoy that Indulgence which the Law hath allowed them.
'As we are Lovers of our excellent Constitution both in Church and State, and sollicitous that our Posterity may be as happy in all future Ages, as we hope long to continue under your Majesty's most auspicious Reign, we shall always steadily adhere to the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, and be most watchful to prevent any Danger which may threaten that Settlement, so necessary for the Preservation of our Religion, Laws, and Liberties.
'These are ends truly worthy your Majesty's pursuit; and we do, with all humility, represent to your Majesty, that the most effectual way to give Spirit to your Friends, and defeat the restless Malice of your Enemies, will be, by discountenancing all Persons of such Principles, and avoiding all Measures of such Tendency as may weaken your Majesty's Title and Government, the Settlement of the Crown in the illustrious House of Hanover, and advance the Hopes of the Pretender, and all other Principles and Measures that have lately threatened your Royal Crown and Dignity, and which, whenever they prevail, will prove fatal to our whole Constitution, both in Church and State.'
Resolutions of the Commons about the Supply, &c. ; And about the Affairs of Spain.
On the first of December the Commons, in a grand Committee, took the Queen's Speech into Consideration, and resolv'd to grant her Majesty a Supply: Which Resolution was the next day reported and agreed to by the House. At the same time the Commons resolved to present an Address to the Queen, that she would be pleased to give Directions to the proper Officers to lay before the House the Estimates of the Navy, Land-Forces and Ordnance, and the Accompts of the public Debts upon those Heads; as also a State of the Numbers of effective Men, in her Majesty's Pay in Spain and Portugal, at the time of the Battle of Almanza, and a distinct Account of the Numbers of effective Men in her Majesty's Pay in Spain and Portugal, each Year since the Battle of Almanza. The Desires of which Addresses were afterwards readily comply'd with.
Queen's Answer to the Address.
40,000 Seamen and Marines voted. ; Land-Tax Bill ordered to be brought in.
On the 3d, the House, in a grand Committee, resolv'd, That 40,000 Men be employ'd in the Sea-Service for the Year 1711, including 8000 Marines: 2. That 4 l. per Man, per-Mensem, be allowed for maintaining the said 40,000 Men for thirteen Months. 3. And that 120,000 l. be allowed for the Ordinary of the Navy, for the Year 1711.' These Resolutions were reported and agreed to, the next day; and on the 6th, it was resolv'd, in a grand Committee on Ways and Means, to raise 4s. in the Pound by a Land-Tax, &c. upon which a Bill was ordered to be brought in.
40,000 Men to act on Land voted for.
The House in a grand Committee upon the Supply, having resolved 'That the 40,000 Men, which were raised to act in Conjunction with the Forces of her Majesty's Allies, be continued for the Year 1711. 2. And that the Sum of 919,092 l. 3s. 6d. be granted to maintain them:' Which Resolutions were also agreed to, the next day.
Bill for the Quarantaine. ; Controverted Elections, particularly of Bewdley.
On the 15th, The Commons order'd a Bill to oblige Ships and Persons coming from Places infected, more effectually to perform their Quarantaine, which, with the Land-Tax Bill, were prepar'd, and passed both Houses before Christmas. The Commons spent most of the intermediate time on a great many Petitions about controverted Elections, the most remarkable of which was in relation to the Return of Bewdley in the County of Worcester: And previous to the Hearing of the Merits of that Election, the Commons resolv'd to present an Address to the Queen, That the several Papers relating to the Charter of the said Borough, might be laid before the House; and to bespeak the Favour of the Commons for Mr. Winnington, the following Speech made in the House near two Years before, against the new Charter of Bewdley, was publish'd and dispersed.
Sir J. Packington's Speech about the Bewdley-Charter.
'Mr Speaker, I did not intend to have troubled you this Session, and I believe it will be to little Purpose now: For if a Gentleman stands up to complain of Grievances, altho' this House meets in order to redress them, he is represented as a Person that obstructs her Majesty's Business; if he finds fault with the Ministry, he is said to reflect upon the Queen; if he speaks against the Continuance of the War, to prevent the Beggary of the Nation, to prevent the moneyed and military Men becoming Lords of us who have the Lands, then he is to be no Object of her Majesty's Favour and Encouragement. This, Sir, is the Pass we are brought to, and this is the Freedom of Speech you were pleased to ask for at the Opening of this Session, and which of Right belongs to every Member of this House. I remember the time, when such Restraints as these would not have been suffered or endured; but we are under arbitrary, ministerial Power; and if ever there was an Instance of it, it is in this that is now before us: But, how great soever the Discouragements are to Freedom of Speech, I think myself obliged, as an English Gentleman, who never will comply with an arbitrary Ministry; as a Member of this House, who have been always zealous to support the Constitution of Parliaments; as a Neighbour to this Borough in the Case now before us, to speak my Mind with that Warmth I used to do, when the Liberties of my Country, or any Part of it, seemed to be touched. For though the Injury may be felt but by one single Man, or one single Society of Men; yet the Terror, the Concern, and Consequence of it, reaches unto all. We have had a Fact this Day of dangerous Tendency laid before us, of a new Charter forced upon an ancient Corporation, at the single Instance of a noble Lord, without a Surrender of the old, contrary to Law, to Reason, and the Right of the Members thereof; which they refused to accept, as being inconsistent to their former Charter of King James the First, and, as they conceived, void in itself; since 'tis impossible for two Charters, any more than two Grants, or two Leases, to have a Being at the same time. Ever since the Revolution, every thing has been transacted in this Corporation pursuant to the Charter of King James the First, the Right of the Bayliff and Burgesses, affirmed by Judgment in the Queen's-Bench, until this new Corporation was erected by this unprecedented Charter, which the old was so far from consenting should pass, that they opposed it, by entering Caveats in all the Offices, and by shewing that it was contrary to her Majesty's Intention, expressed in the Warrant,
'Thus, Mr. Speaker, have you seen the Prerogative enlarged and extended farther, I will be bold to say, than it was in the unhappy Reign before the Revolution. Every Gentleman remembers how highly things of this Nature were resented in King James's time, when Court-Arts were used to wheedle and terrify Boroughs into a Surrender of their Charters; and when they found that Method would not do, they endeavoured to take them away under Colour of legal Process, by bringing Quo Warranto's against them: This was then thought dangerous to the Constitution; and very well it might, for the People of England could expect no other Fruit from such a Proceeding, but that this House would be filled with Men of the Army, with Men of desperate Fortunes, with Pensioners, with Vassals of the Court, with Slaves of the Ministry, and with all those servile sort of Gentlemen, that give with one Hand to receive with the other, and thereby betray those they represent to arbitrary Power: But this Instance now before us, is more new and dangerous than taking away Charters by Surrender or Quo Warranto's; those Methods made some Noise, alarmed the free People of England, and you see what came of it. But this is a quicker, a more silent Method of doing it, which like white Powder, destroys the Liberty of the People, and subverts the Constitution of this House without Noise or Notice. I beg, Gentlemen, you would consider all the Circumstances with which this Charter was attended, and I am sure, you can't reflect upon them without Grief. First, as to the time, you have heard, Sir, how the Great-Seal of England was affixed to this Charter, upon the 22d of April 1708, the very same day there was an Order made in Council to issue out Writs, for Calling that Parliament: In this critical Juncture was this Corporation erected, I will not scruple saying, to serve the arbitrary Designs of those who are afraid of a free Election, who are afraid of a free and un-influenced Parliament: Such a Parliament would scorn to flatter great Men, would enquire into Miscarriages, and punish such as were faulty, would call those Ministers to an Account who should prevail with the Queen to turn Men of Ability and Consideration out of Place and Employment, for acting upon Principles of Honour and Conscience, and doing their Duty in this House. Another evil Consequence with which this Charter is attended, is, That so many new Electors, and a new Returning-Officer, are created by it, to the Infringement of the Liberty of the Subject, and making all Elections, in a Manner, depend upon the Will of the Prince. I hope, Gentlemen, you will seriously consider this Matter, that you will lay aside all Thoughts of Party in this Cause; for, if it be in the Power of the Crown to dissolve old Corporations, and erect new, in so exorbitant a Manner, we may bid adieu to Liberty and Property, and to all that has cost so much Blood and Treasure to maintain and defend; there will be no Difference between a Parliament of Great Britain and a Parliament of Paris.
'I hope, once more, Gentlemen, you will seriously consider how much the Honour and Justice of this House is concerned in the Determination of the Case now before you: The Eyes of the People have been some time opened; they will observe, they will judge of our Votings in this Cause; and expect from us, as we have put a Stop to unjust and exorbitant Power abroad, that we should neither suffer nor endure it at home.'
The new Charter of Bewdley, voted void and illegal. ; Two Acts pass'd.
On the 18th of December, the Commons order'd the Clerk of the Crown to attend the next Morning with the last Return for the Borough of Bewdley, by which Anthony Lechmere Esq; was return'd, and also with the Returns of Mr Herbert, now Lord Herbert, and Mr. Cornwall, to serve for the said Borough; and having the next day, fully heard the Merits of the Election for the said Borough, resolv'd 1. 'That Saiway Winnington Esq; was duly elected. 2. That the Charter dated the 20th of April 1708, attempted to be imposed upon the Borough of Bewdley, against the Consent of the ancient Corporation, was void, illegal, and destructive of the Constitution of Parliament. 3. That an Address be presented to the Queen, laying before her Majesty the Resolution of the House, and desiring, that she would give Directions to her Attorney-General to take the proper Methods for Repealing the said Charter, and for Quieting the said Borough in their Enjoyment of their Rights and Privileges;' The Queen readily comply'd with the Desire of this Address, and on the 23d of December gave the Royal Assent to the Act for the Land-Tax, and to another to oblige Ships, &c. to perform their Quarantaine: After which, both Houses adjourn'd themselves to the 2d of January.
Mr. Secretary St. John acquainted the Commons then, being re-assembled, 'That, pursuant to their Address of the 13th of December last, the Queen had directed Mr. Attorney-General and Mr. Sollicitor-General to take the most proper and effectual measures for repealing the Charter of Bewdley, mentioned in the said Address; as also that her Majesty had given Directions to the proper Officers to lay before the House, Accounts of Prosecutions ordered by, or carried on at the Expence of the Crown, &c. according to the Desire of this House, in their Address of the 22d of December last. He afterwards delivered to the House the following Message from her Majesty, signed by her.
The Queen's Message to the Commons.
'Her Majesty having received notice, that, that there has been an Action in Spain very much to the disadvantage of King Charles's Affairs; which having fallen, particularly, on the British Forces, the Queen immediately gave Directions for sending and procuring Troops to repair this Loss.
'Her Majesty acquaints this House with this Intelligence, and likewise with her Orders given thereupon, not doubting but the Parliament will approve thereof, and concur in their Assistance for remedying so great a Misfortune.
Their unanimous Vote thereupon.
After the reading of this Message, it was unanimously agreed to return her Majesty thanks for the same, and likewise to assure her Majesty, that this House was perfectly satisfied in her great Care, entirely depended upon her Wisdom, and would effectually support her Majesty in such Measures as she should think proper for retrieving the Loss in Spain. The Committee appointed to draw up this Address, reported the same to the House the next Day, and it being unanimously agreed to, it was resolved, That it should be presented by the whole House. Accordingly, the Speaker, with the whole House, attended the Queen at St. James's with the following Address.
Commons Address to the Queen.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain in Parliament assembled, do return your Majesty our humble Thanks for your most gracious Message, wherein your Majesty has been pleased to communicate to us the Intelligences you have received of an Action in Spain, very much to the disadvantage of King Charles's Affairs; and the Directions your Majesty has given for sending and procuring Troops to repair this Loss.
'We beg leave to assure your Majesty, that this Disadvantage will not discourage us from using our utmost Endeavours, to enable your Majesty to carry on the just and necessary War, in which you are engaged, for preserving the Liberties of Europe; but, after the many and undoubted Instances we have received of your Majesty's great Care and Wisdom, being perfectly satisfied in the one, and entirely depending on the other, we are resolved effectually to support your Majesty in the Prosecution of those Measures that your Majesty shall, on this Occasion, think proper for retrieving the Loss in Spain.'
Abuses in the Victualling-Office. ; Mr. Ridge admitted to clear himself.
On the 3d, Mr. (Harley) Chancellor of the Exchequer, acquainted the Commons, 'That, on Examinations relating to the Navy, taken before the Lords-Commissioners of the Treasury, some considerable Abuses had been discover'd in the Victualling; and that a Member of that House was named therein:' Upon which the Commons resolved to present an Address to the Queen, to have those Examinations laid before them: which being done accordingly, and the same referr'd to a Committee, Mr. Ridge, the Member named therein, desired that he might attend that Committee, to make his Innocency appear: of which, the Consequence will be seen in its proper Place.
Committee appointed to state the public Debts.
Address about the Contingencies cannot be comply'd with.
On the 8th, the House resolved to present four Addresses to the Queen, for several Accounts to be laid before them; one, particularly, for an Account of the Distribution of the Contingencies, and Forage, and Waggon-Money, granted for the Forces in Flanders: But though her Majesty comply'd with the Desires of the other three Addresses; yet, in relation to that about the Contingencies, her Majesty sent an Answer by Mr. Secretary St. John, That it was not possible, from the Nature of the Service, which requires the utmost Secrecy, for any Account of them to be made, but that they were really distributed.
Resolution to make Exchequer-Bills Specie.
The 13th, it was resolved to grant a Supply to the Queen, to enable her Majesty to make a Contract for the answering of all Non-Specie Exchequer-Bills, and converting them into Specie. And three Days after, they resolv'd to grant 45,000 l. a Year for that Purpose, as above specify'd.
Petition against the Palatines.
On the 15th, upon the reading of a Petition, complaining of the great Number of Palatines inhabiting in one House, in one of the Suburbs of this City called Southwark; a Committee was appointed to enquire upon what Invitation or Encouragement the Palatines came over, and what Moneys were expended in bringing them into Britain; and for maintaining them here.
Bill to repeal the naturalization Act. ; Rejected by the Lords.
Whether upon a Supposition that the Palatines were encouraged to come over by the late Act for a general Naturalization, or whether this was only the Pretence, a Bill was that very day, ordered to be brought in to repeal the said Act; which was afterwards sent to the Lords by whom it was rejected.
Accounts of Pensions laid before the Commons.
On the 17th, and the following days of that Month, several Accounts were laid before the Commons (pursuant to their Addresses) of Pensions payable out of the divers Branches of her Majesty's Revenues.
Ways and Means. ; The Malt Act passed by Commission. ; Other Ways and Means.
On the 18th, the House agreed to the Resolution, taken the day before in a grand Committee, upon Ways and Means, that the Duties on Malt, Mum, Cyder and Perry be further continued for one Year, from the 23d of June, 1711, to the 24th of June, 1712; and ordered a Bill to be brought in thereupon. This Bill having, in less than a Fortnight, passed through both Houses, the Queen, who happened to be a little indisposed with the Gout, commissioned several Lords to give it the Royal Assent, which they did on the last day of January. The same day, the House, in a grand Committee, came to several Resolutions, to continue the Subsidy of Poundage, and the Duties on Leather, and Coals, and to lay an Additional Duty on Candles, for the Term of 32 Years; which are to be a Fund, either for a Lottery, or for the Purchase of Annuities.
Debate about the Bill for limiting the number of Officers in the House of Commons; which is sent to the Lords.
Two days before, the engrossed Bill for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limiting the Number of Officers in the House of Commons, being read a third time in that House, and the Question put, whether it should pass, it occasioned a Debate, wherein several Members in the Court-Interest, endeavoured, by many Arguments, to shew the Inconveniency of such a Bill, especially, at this Juncture; but the Country Party prevailing, the Question was carried in the Affirmative, and the Bill sent up to the Lords.
Estimate of the Charge for the Forces in Spain and Portugal. ; A Fund for a Lottery voted.
Feb. 5th, Mr. Granville, Secretary at War, presented to the House an Estimate of the Charge of her Majesty's Forces upon the Establishments of Spain and Portugal, as the same was allow'd by Parliament for the Year 1710, to which was added an Account of the Augmentation of that Charge for the Year 1711, by the Alterations and Additions made since for carrying on the War in those Parts, as also of the exceedings which had accrued for that Service in former Years, not hitherto provided for. After which, in a Committee of the whole House upon Ways and Means, it was resolved, 'That a yearly Fund be charged and settled upon, and made payable out of the Subsidies of Poundage and other Duties upon several Merchandizes to be exported, and the several Duties upon Coals, Exportation of Leather, Ships trading into the Mediterranean, Woollen Cloth exported, and the further Duty upon Candles, which had been agreed to by the House for a term of thirty-two Years, to raise Money by way of Lottery,' which Resolution was reported and agreed to by the House on the 7th of February, the House not sitting the 6th, by reason of the Solemnity of the Queen's Birth-Day.
Ways and Means. ; Duties laid upon Hops.
The same Day, the Commons in a Committee of the whole House, consider'd further of Ways and Means to raise the Supply, and resolved, '1. That a Duty be laid upon all Hops of the Growth of Great Britain, or imported into the same. 2 That the said Duty upon Hops to be imported into Great Britain, be three Pence per Pound Weight, over and above the present Duties, on Flemish or other Hops imported, to be paid by the Importers. 3. That the said Duty upon all Hops of the Growth of Great Britain be one Penny per Pound Weight, to be paid by the Owner. 4. That no Hops be permitted to be imported into Ireland, except from Great Britain.' Which Resolutions were reported and agreed to the next Day, and a Bill order'd to be brought in thereupon, with an Instruction to the Committee appointed for that purpose, to make Provision in the Bill for a Draw-back upon all Hops of the Growth of Great Britain, to be exported to Ireland.
Bill ordered for the Importation of French Wines.
Mr. Conyers reported also the same day the Opinion of the whole House on Ways and Means, viz. That leave be given to bring in a Bill for repealing the Act of the third and fourth Year of her Majesty's Reign, for preventing all Trade and Commerce with France, so far as it relates to the prohibiting the Importation of French Wines; which Opinion was approved, and a Committee was appointed to bring in the said Bill.
Vote for making a Fund of 135,000 l. per Annum for a Lottery of 1,500,000 l. ; Public Debts. ; Resolutions to encrease the Revenues of the Post-Office. ; 1,500,000 l. granted for Spain and Portugal.
On the 9th the House, in a grand Committee, considered further of Ways and Means for raising the Supply, and resolved, 'That the yearly Sum of 135,000 l. be the Fund for raising 1,500,000 l. by way of a Lottery, and charged upon the Duties granted for a Term of 32 Years for that purpose:' Which being reported the 10th, was agreed to by the House, and a Bill ordered to be brought in thereupon, and upon the former Resolutions relating to the Duties granted, or appropriated, for raising a yearly Fund for a Lottery. Two days after, the House proceeded to take into Consideration the Report from the Committee appointed to examine and state the public Debts of the Navy, and other public Offices, for which no Provision was made by Parliament; and the said Report being read, was referred to the Consideration of the grand Committee of the Supply. Then, in a Committee of the whole House about Ways and Means, the Commons came to forty four Resolutions, for encreasing her Majesty's Revenues both In-land and Foreign, to arise in the general Letter-Office, or Post-Office, or the Office of Post-Master General; and settling the several Rates of Postage. These Resolutions being reported the 14th of February, were a greed to by the House; and a Bill ordered to be brought in thereupon: After which, in a Committee of the whole House, on the Supply, it was resolved, 'That the Sum of 1,500,000 l. be granted for the Service of the War in Spain and Portugal, for the Year 1711,' which Resolution was reported and agreed to the 15th.
Resolutions about the Abuses in the Victualling.
The same day the Commons took into Consideration the Report from the Committee appointed to enquire into the Abuses of the Victualling; and the said Report being read, it was unanimously resolved, 'That it appears to this House, that, in the Management of her Majesty's Brew-House, as well as in the Contracts for furnishing the Navy with Beer, there have been many notorious Imbezzlements, and scandalous Abuses, to the defrauding the Public of great Sums of Money, to the Injury and Discouragement of the Seamen: And ordered, That the Commissioners of Victualling have a Copy of the said Report.'
Mr. Ridge expelled the House, and an Address voted, for his being prosecuted.
After this Mr. Ridge was heard in his Place to the Matter of the Report relating to him, and being withdrawn, it was resolved, '1. That it appears to this House, that Thomas Ridge Esq; a Member of this House, is guilty of great Frauds and Abuses, by having contracted to furnish 5,513 Tons of Beer upon his own Account, and 2,704 of Beer in Partnership with Mr. Dixon, and having received Bills for the whole, altho' he deliver'd but 3,213 Tons of the first, and 1,269 upon the latter Contract.
Representation of the Commissioners of the Victualling. ; Further Resolutions about the Frauds and Abuses in the Victualling.
On the 22d, the Commissioners of the Victualling attending the House of Commons, according to order, they were called in, and presented to the House their Representation upon the Report made by the Committee appointed to examine the Abuse complained of in the Victualling: Which Representation was ordered to lie upon the Table until the Report of the said Committee be taken into Consideration, which was appointed to be on the Tuesday following. Accordingly, on the 27th of February, the House resumed the farther Consideration of the Report from the Committee, appointed to enquire into the Abuses of the Victualling, and came to the following Resolutions:
'1. That it appears to this House, That Mr. —Dixon, a Brewer at Portsmouth, is guilty of great Frauds and Abuses, in having contracted to furnish 2,704 Tons of Beer for the last Year's Service, in Partnership with Mr. Ridge, and receiving Bills for the whole, when he had delivered but 1,269 Tons.
'2. That Mr. Player, another Brewer at Portsmouth, is guilty of great Frauds and Abuses, in having contracted to furnish 7,724 Tons of Beer for the last Year's Service, and receiving Bills for the whole, when he had delivered but 4,164 Tons.
'3. That Mr. Rolfe, a Brewer at Harwich, is guilty of great Frauds and Abuses, in having contracted to furnish 2,782 Tons of Beer for the last Year's Service, and receiving Bills for the whole, when he had delivered but 1,102 Tons.
'4. That Mr. Best, a Brewer at Chatham, is guilty of Frauds and Abuses, in having contracted to furnish 455 Tons of Beer for the last Year's Service, and receiving Bills for the whole, when he had delivered but 331 Tons.
'5. That Mr. Tyhurst, a Brewer of Rochester, is guilty of great Frauds and Abuses, in having contracted to furnish 883 Tons of Beer for the last Year's Service, and receiving Bills for the whole, when he had delivered but 126 Tons.
'6. That Mr. Kelley, a Brewer of Deal, is guilty of great Frauds and Abuses, in having contracted to furnish 1,424 Tons of Beer for the last Year's Service, and receiving Bills for the whole, when he had delivered but 202 Tons.
'7. That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, that she will be pleased to give Directions to her AttorneyGeneral to prosecute the said Mr. Dixon, Mr. Player, Mr. Rolfe, Mr. Best, Mr. Tyhurst, and Mr. Kelly, for the said Frauds and Abuses.
'8. That Captain Whitehall, Agent-Victualler at Dover, is guilty of a great Misdemeanour, in dispensing with Mr. Kelly's Swearing to the Affidavit for Delivery of Beer, and in being privy to the Frauds and Abuses committed by the said Mr. Kelly.
'12. That Noah Overing, Master-Brewer, Bernard Goddard, deceased, late Clerk of the Brew-House, and Thomas James, Clerk of the Check at the Harts-Horn Brew-House, have been guilty of very great Misdemeanours, in signing Certificates for great Quantities of Malt and Hops, which were neither answerable to the Sample, nor fit for Use.'
'13. That the Commissioners for the Victualling of her Majesty's Navy, have been guilty of great Negligence and Remissness in their Duty; and that the Loss the Public has sustained by the many Frauds and Abuses that have been committed in the Victualling of her Majesty's Navy, has been chiefly occasioned by a notorious Mismanagement in that Office.
'15. That the Persons who have been instrumental in discovering the said Frauds and Abuses, have well-deserved her Majesty's Reward and Encouragement. After which it was Order'd, That the Report from the Committee appointed to enquire into the (fn. 2)Frauds and Abuses committed in the Victualling her Majesty's Navy, with the Resolutions and Order of this House thereupon be printed.'
Committee to enquire into false Musters in the Guards, &c. ; Complaint against Colohel Charters. ; Petitions against Persons listing themselves in the Guards for Pretection. ; Colohel Charters ordered into the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms. ; He is reprimanded, and discharged.
The House having, on the 5th, appointed a Committee to enquire into false Musters, and other Abuses in the Payment of her Majesty's Guards, and also Abuses committed in relation to Chelsea-Hospital, with Power to send for Persons, Papers and Records: This Committee did accordingly enquire into those Abuses; and, in particular, examined into a Complaint made against Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Charters, Captain of a Company in her Majesty's Foot-Guards, for extorting Money for releasing a Gentleman, who, having listed himself in his Company for Protection, was under Apprehension of being draughted off to Flanders. On the 13th, a (fn. 3) Petition of several Burgesses, Tradesmen, and other In habitants of the Liberty of Westminster was presented to the House and read, 'Complaining of Tradesmen entered and listed in her Majesty's Horse and Foot-Guards, to screen and protect them from their Creditors, altho' such Persons do not wear their Regimental Clothes, and never, or seldom, do Duty; by which Means, also, Tradesmen are deceived and drawn in to give Credit to such Persons; and praying that the same might be consider'd, and the Petitioners to be heard by their Council, so as they might be relieved in the Premisses:' Which Petition was referr'd to the Consideration of the Committee appointed to enquire into false Musters, and other Abuses in the Payment of her Majesty's Guards. Four days after, a Petition of several Citizens of the City of London, to the same purpose, being presented to the House; and, after the Reading thereof, referr'd to the said Committee; Sir Roger Mostyn, their Chairman, reported, that it appear'd to them, 'That Colonel Charters had menac'd and beaten Serjeant Pitman for the Information he had given to the said Committee, in Breach of the Privileges of the House:' Whereupon it was Ordered, That the said Colonel Charters be, for his said Offence, taken into the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms. It was then generally reported and believ'd, that Colonel Charters, in whose Company there appeared to be several Men listed only for Protection, would, for Example sake, have been cashier'd: But, having made his Submission to the House of Commons, he was, on the last day of February, brought to their Bar, where having, on his Knees, receiv'd a Reprimand from the Speaker, he was discharged out of Custody, paying his Fees.
Accounts of Moneys in the Exchequer, on the removal of the late Treasurer. ; Votes on the Bank-Proposal.
About this Time Mr. Lownds presented to the House (pursuant to their Address) an Account of the Receipts, Payments, and Remains of Moneys granted in Parliament for the Year 1710, as the same stood in the Exchequer at the Time the late Lord Treasurer was removed, viz. On the 10th day of August, 1710: And then, in a Committee of the whole House on Ways and Means, took into Consideration a Proposal given into the said Committee by the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, for making a Contract for answering all Non-Specie-Exchequer-Bills, and converting them into Specie, upon the Resolutions of this House of the 16th of January, and came to several Resolutions, which, being afterwards reported, were, with an Amendment to one of them, agreed to by the House; being as follows: First, That the Sum of 157,500 l. be granted to make good the Payment of the yearly Sum of 45,000 l. mentioned in the Proposal of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, until the 31st of July, 1714. Secondly, That, from the 31st of July, 1714, out of the Funds established by Act of Parliament, for Payment of Interest and Allowance, for discharging and cancelling of the Exchequer-Bills, made forth to the Amount of 2,900,000 l. Principal Money, besides Interest mentioned in the said Proposal, the like Sum of 45,000 l. per Annum, shall (after the Payment of such Interest and Allowance, and with Preference to the cancelling or discharging any the said Bills) be appropriated, and continued to the said Governor and Company, until such time as all the quarterly ExchequerBills, made, or to be made for the said Interest or Allowance, together with a Million of the said Bills, 2,900,000 l. and Quarterly Bills taken together, there shall not be standing out, and uncancell'd more that 1,900,000 l. in the whole, according to the said Proposal; subject, nevertheless, to such Provisoes of Redemption, as are in the said former Acts of Parliament, relating to the said Funds. Thirdly, That the said Governor and Company, in Consideration thereof, (for the Public Service, farther than the Acts beforementioned do require) be oblig'd, according to the said Proposal, to exchange, for ready Money, all such of the said ExchequerBills, as from time to time, and at all times, shall be in the Hands of any Person, or Persons, and be demanded of the said Governor and Company in exchange, for ready Money; whether such Bills, or any of them, shall or shall not have passed, or had a Currency in her Majesty's Revenue or Taxes. Fourthly, That the said Governor and Company be empowered to contract with any Persons for advancing to them, from time to time, such Sums, on such Terms as they shall find necessary for their more securely making good the said undertaking: And a Bill was ordered to be brought in upon the said Resolutions.
Account of Surplusages of Money passed into the Exchequer called for.
The same day it was resolved to present an Address to the Queen, that an Account be laid before the House, of what Surplusages of unappropriated Money had been paid into the Exchequer in each Year, since her Majesty's happy Accession to the Crown, and how much had been applied in Aid of Parliamentary Funds, or to other Uses; which Address was readily complied with.
Bill for qualifying Members of the House of Commons passed both Houses.
On the 16th, an engrossed (fn. 4)Bill for securing the Freedom of Parliament, by the further qualifying the Members to sit in the House of Commons, was read the third time, and several Amendments were made, by the House, to the Bill, after which the same was passed, and sent up to the Lords, who, on the 22d, gave their Concurrence to it.
On the 26th, the Commons read the third time, the recruiting Bill, which was approved, and sent to the Lords; after which, in a Committee of the whole House, they went through the Lottery Bill, the Report whereof was put off till the last day of February, when the Amendments made by the Committee were taken into Consideration, and further Amendments made, by the House, to the Bill. And a Clause being offered to be added to it, to lessen the Duties on Lead exported, the Debate that arose thereupon, was adjourned to the next Morning. While the Commons were upon this Business, they received a Message from her Majesty, by Sir William Oldes, Gentleman-Usher of the Black Rod, requiring their immediate Attendance in the House of Peers, where her Majesty gave the Royal Assent to, An Act to continue the Acts for recruiting her Majesty's Land-Forces and Marines, for the Service of the Year 1711. 2. An Act for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by the further qualifying the Members to sit in the House of Commons; and to two private Bills.
On the first of March, the Speaker of the House of Commons acquainted the House, 'That there had been with him, the Day before, in the Evening, the Prolocutor of the lower House of Convocation, with Dr. Stanhope, Dean of Canterbury; Dr. Stanley, Archdeacon of London; Dr. Smalridge, Proctor for the Chapter of Litchfield; and Dr. Delaune, Proctor for the Diocese of Oxford; and brought him an Order, and a Message, which were read, and are as follow, viz.
It was ordered by the lower House of Convocation, that the Prolocutor, attended by Dr. Stanhope; Dean of Canterbury; Dr. Stanley, Archdeacon of London; Dr. Smalridge, Proctor for the Chapter of Litchfield; and Dr. Delaune, Proctor for the Diocese of Oxford, should wait upon Mr. Speaker of the Honourable House of Commons, and impart him the following Message, agreed to by the said House, Nemine Contradicente.
Message from the Convocation.
'The lower House of Convocation have, with great Satisfaction, taken notice of an Instruction given by the honourable House of Commons to a Committee, [appointed to examine a Petition of the Minister and Church Wardens of Greenwhich, praying Relief for the rebuilding of that Church] to consider what Churches are wanting within the Cities of London and Westminster, and Suburbs thereof, and report the same to the House.
'It was in our thoughts to have done what in us lay towards setting forward so pious a Design; but we are glad to find our selves happily prevented by the Zeal of that honourable House; which, at the time that they placed you in the Chair, gave us an earnest of their entire Disposition, to do every thing that might be for the Honour and Advantage of the Church of England.
'We do, in the name of the whole Clergy of this Province, return our unanimous Thanks to the honourable the Commons, for this Instance of the Affectionate Regard they have shewn to the Welfare of the established Church, and the Common Interest of Religion.
'I am directed by the Clergy of the lower House of Convocation, to signify their Readiness to promote the Work now in View, by imparting such Lights as they are able to afford, in relation to the extreme want of Churches, in and about these populous Cities, under which we at present labour.'
Resolutions of the Commons thereupon.
Hereupon the Commons resolved, 'That this House will receive all such Informations, as shall be offered to them from the Clergy of the lower House of Convocation, with relation to the want of Churches in the Cities of London and Westminster, and Suburbs thereof.
'Secondly, That this House will, in all Matters immediately relating to Religion, and the Welfare of the established Church, have a particular Regard to such Applications, as shall at any time, be made to them from the Clergy in Convocation assembled, according to the ancient Usage, together with the Parliament.'
The Commons inclined to a further Resumption of King William's Grants. ; A Bill for Commissioners to examine their Value ordered.
The same day the House, being somewhat perplexed how to find Ways and Means to raise the great Supply granted to the Queen, and, at the same time, make Provision for the deficient Funds, and national Debts, bethought themselves of a further Resumption of King William's Grants: and ordered a Bill to be brought in, To appoint Commissioners to examine the Value of all Lands and other Interests granted by the Crown, since the 13th Day of February, 1688-9, and upon what Considerations such Grants were made, in order to resume the same, and to apply them to the Use of the Public; and Mr. Strangeways, Mr. Shippen, and Mr. Lockhart were appointed to prepare and bring in that Bill.
Clause to be inserted in the Bill for stating the public Accounts.
The same day the House read a second time, the Bill for taking, examining, and stating the public Accounts of the Kingdom, which was committed to a Committee of the whole House; and ordered, that the said Committee have power to receive a Clause, 'That no Person who shall be appointed a Commissioner by the said Bill, shall be capable of accepting, or holding, any Place, or Employment, of Profit, from, or under her Majesty, during the Continuance of this Parliament.' Then the House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, upon the Bill for repealing the Act of the 3d and 4th Years of her Majesty's Reign, entitled An Act for prohibiting all Trade and Commerce with France; so far as it relates to the prohibiting the Importation of French Wines: And heard the (fn. 5) Merchants upon the Petition referred to the Consideration of the Committee.
The Bill for Importing French Wines passed both Houses.
On the 3d the House resumed the Consideration of that Bill, made some Amendments to it, which, on the 5th, were agreed to, and the Bill ordered to be engrossed. The same was read a third time, the 10th of that Month, passed, and sent to the Lords House, whither the Portugal Merchants followed it with their Petition and Reasons. But though they were heard, by their Counsel, at the Bar of that House, on the 16th and 17th of the same Month, yet the Bill having been strongly recommended by several Members of the House of Commons, and the Expectation of good Wine being, of itself, a powerful Recommendation, their Lordships gave their Concurrence to it, having only made some Amendments, to which the Commons readily agreed.
Petition about the Trade to Africa. ; Bill to qualify Justices of the Peace in England.
On the 5th likewise a Petition of divers Merchants of London, Traders to Africa, and thence to the Plantations, in behalf of themselves, and many others, concerned in the said Trade, was presented to the House, and read, praying, 'That they might be heard touching the Premisses, that the said Trade might remain free and open to all her Majesty's Subjects, under such Regulations as should be thought meet.' And also, a Petition of the Planters and Merchants inhabiting the Island of Jamaica, was presented to the House, and read, praying, 'That the Trade to Africa might be open and free for all the Subjects of Great Britain, to trade thither on equal Terms:' Both which Petitions were severally ordered to be referred to the whole House, to whom the Petition of the African Company was referred; as were afterwards several other Petitions to the same purpose. The next day, the Commons ordered a Bill to be brought in, for the better qualifying Justices of the Peace, in that Part of Great Britain called England.
Lottery Bill passed.
The same day likewise, the Royal Assent was given to the Bill for raising 1,500,000 l. by Lottery; which vast Sum with an Overplus of 270,000 l. was subscribed before the opening of the Books: which is a further Instance of national Wealth, Avarice, and Infatuation.
Baron Bothmar's Letter about Money due to the Elector of Hanover communicated to the Commons.
On the 7th Mr. Lownds acquainted the Commons, 'That her Majesty had commanded him to lay before this House, a Copy of a Letter from Baron Bothmar to Mr. Secretary St. John, with a Copy of a Warrant of his late Majosty, for paying 37,500 Crowns to the Elector of Hanover; and he presented the same to the House accordingly. And the Title being read, it was ordered, 'That the Copy of the said Letter and Warrant be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of the whole House, who were to consider farther of the Supply granted to her Majesty. Two Days after, the House resolved itself into that Committee, and came to the following Resolutions, viz.
Resolutions about the Supply.
'1. That the Sum of 5,130,530 l. 5s. 5 d. be granted for Payment of the Debts of the Navy, and for Services perform'd by them, on Account of Land-Forces, to Michaelmas, 1710, exclusive of the Register-Office.
'6. That the Sum of 378,859 l. 5 s. 8 d ¼ be granted for the discharging the Debts incurr'd between Michaelmas and Christmas, 1710, in the several Offices of the Navy, Victualling and Transports, and for Interest on the Army and Transport-Debentures.
'7. That the Sum of 9375 l. be granted to satisfy the Money due, upon Account of Subsidies, to the Elector of Hanover and Duke of Zell, pursuant to a Treaty bearing date the 14th of May, 1696.' Which were agreed to by the House.
The 9th, it was resolv'd to present an Address to the Queen, concerning the villainous (fn. 6)Attempt committed on the Person of Mr. Harley, which being immediately drawn up and sent to the Lords, for their Concurrence, their Lordships readily agreed thereto. However, the Queen being still indispos'd, it was the 13th before both Houses waited upon her Majesty with the following Address.
'Address on the Attempt made on Mr. Harley by Guiscard.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, have, to our great Concern, been informed of a barbarous and villainous Attempt, made upon the Person of Robert Harley Esq; Chancellor of your Majesty's Exchequer, by the Marquis de Guiscard, a French Papist, at the time when he was under Examination for Treasonable Practices, before a Committee of your Majesty's Council.
'We cannot but be most deeply affected, to find such an Instance of inveterate Malice against one employed in your Majesty's Council, and so near your Royal Person; and we have reason to believe, that his Fidelity to your Majesty, and Zeal for your Service, have drawn upon him the Hatred of all the Abettors of Popery and Faction.
'We think it our Duty, upon this Occasion, to assure your Majesty, that we will effectually stand by and defend your Majesty, and those who have the Honour to be employ'd in your Service, against all public and secret Attempts of your Enemies; and we most humbly beseech your Majesty, that you will be pleased to take all possible care of your sacred Person, on whose Life the Welfare and Happiness of your People, as well as the Liberties of Europe entirely depend.
'And we do in all Humility represent to your Majesty; that one effectual Means, couducing to the Safety of your Majesty's royal Person, will be to give such Directions, as, in your great Wisdom, shall seem most proper, for causing Papists to be removed from the Cities of London and Westminster.'
'My Lords and Gentlemen, I take this Address very kindly from you, on the Occasion of that barbarous Attempt upon Mr. Harley, whose Zeal and Fidelity in my Service must appear yet more eminently, by that horrid Endeavour to take away his Life, for no other Reason that appears, but his known Opposition to Popery and Faction.
'Your warm Concern for the Safety of my Person and the Defence of those employed in my Service, is very grateful to me; and I shall always continue my Care for the Welfare and Happiness of my People, by using all Means that may most effectually conduce to those Ends, and particularly, by giving the proper Directions for removing Papists from the Cities of London and Westminster, according to your Desire.'
'I think it would be reasonable to make a Law to punish with Death such villainous Attempts on the Lives of Magistrates, in the lawful Execution of their Office, though, by God's Providence, the Mischiefs design'd do not take Effect.'
Resolutions of the Commons thereupon.
The said Answer being afterwards reported to the House, it was thereupon unanimously Resolved, 'That an humble Address be made to her Majesty to return the humble Thanks of this House for her Majesty's most gracious Answer to the Address of both Houses of Parliament, and to assure her Majesty, That this House will provide a Bill to pass into a Law, to punish with Death such villainous Attempts; and ordered, 'That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make an Attempt on the Life of a Privy-Counsellor to be Felony without Benefit of the Clergy; and that Mr. AttorneyGeneral, Mr. Cæsar, Sir Gilbert Dolben, Mr. Manley and Mr. Hungerford do prepare and bring in the same.
A Scheme of the Number of Churches, Chapels and Meeting-Houses, laid before the Commons.
The 10th, the Speaker acquainted the Commons, 'That the Day before, in the Evening, Mr. Prolocutor of the LowerHouse of Convocation, came to him, and, by their Order, deliver'd to him a Scheme of the Number of Churches, and Chapels, and Meeting-Houses, within 27 of those Parishes in and near the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Suburbs thereof, where additional Churches were judg'd to be most wanted; together with a probable Calculation of the Number of Families and Souls within those several Parishes, which they desired might be laid before this House.' And the Title thereof being read, the said Scheme was referr'd to the Consideration of a Committee already appointed for that Business, pursuant to the Resolutions mention'd in my last.
Report about the Bill for stating the public Accompts.
On the 12th, Sir Simeon Stuart reported from the Committee of the whole House, to whom the Bill for taking, examining and stating the Public Accompts of this Kingdom was committed, that they had left the Blanks in the Bill for the Commissioners Names, and for the Title of the Bill, to be filled up by the House, and had made several Amendments, which he read, and afterwards delivered in at the Table; where they were read and agreed to by the House Then it was Order'd, 'That the Bill with the Amendments be engross'd; and Resolv'd, 1. That the Number of Commissioners be seven. 2. That no Person be a Commissioner who hath any Office of Profit, or is accountable to her Majesty. 3. That the Commissioners may be Members of this House. And 4. That the Commissioners be chosen by way of balloting.' After which it was Order'd, 'That the Members of the House should prepare Lists to be put into Glasses of seven Persons Names to be Commissioners for taking, examining and stating the public Accounts of this Kingdom.' Which being done accordingly, a Committee was appointed to examine the Lifts: And Mr. Scobel reported, that the Majority fell upon the following Persons, viz.
Names of the seven Commissioners chosen by balloting.
|Number of Voices.|
|The Honourable Henry Bertie Esq;||246|
|George Lockhart Esq;||224|
|Salway Winnington Esq;||225|
|Francis Annesley Esq;||217|
|Clobery Bromley Esq;||194|
|Thomas Lifter Esq;||168|
|William Shippen Esq;||151|
Complaint against Sir James Mountague. ; Colonel Gledhill charges him at the Bar of the House of Commons, but not being able to make it good, that Matter is put off.
A remarkable Passage relating to an Election now bespeaks our Attention. On Monday, the 19th of February, Mr. Eversfield, Knight of the Shire for the County of Sussex, made a Complaint to the House, of a Letter, which, he was informed, had been written by Sir James Mountague, a Member of the House for the City of Carlisle, in order to promote his Election there, and, which he conceived, reflected on her Majesty's Honour. Being ask'd, Whether he had seen the Original of that Letter? He said he had not, but only a Copy of it; for the Truth of which he was ready to produce his Voucher. Sir James Mountague denying the Fact, and offering to prove the contrary, the Enquiry into that Matter was put off to the next Day; when the House being inform'd, That Colonel Gledhill was at the Door, and had something to offer to the House; he was call'd in, and, at the Bar, charg'd Sir James Mountague with writing the Letter before-mentioned, reflecting upon the Honour of her Majesty. This occasion'd a long and warm Debate, and Sir James Mountague still denying the writing of such a Letter; and desiring that the Bishop of Carlisle, to whom he had, indeed, written a Letter about his Election, and who waited in the Lobby, might be examined about it; Colonel Gledhill, on the other hand, desired time to produce his Witnesses, who, he said, were in the Country, to prove his Charge. Whereupon; by a Majority of 153 Voices against 151, it was ordered, That that Matter be taken into Consideration on that Day (fn. 7) three Weeks.
On the 9th of March, the Commons being informed, That the Queen had ordered the Officers of her Army in Spain, to repair to their Commands there, resolved to address her Majesty, That she would be pleased to give leave to Colonel Gledhill to stay some days longer: Which her Majesty readily granted.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle censured for dispersing Sir James Mountague's Letters.
On the 14th the House resumed the Consideration of the Complaint; and the Colonel was called in, and some Witnesses were examined, as well on his Part, as of Sir James's: Who being withdrawn, and the House being informed, That the Lord Bishop of Carlisle, (who had been mentioned in the Evidence given at the Bar, in relation to a Letter written to him by Sir James Mountague, and several Copies of Part thereof transcribed by his Lordship, and sent to several Persons) desired to be admitted to be heard; he was admitted in, and heard accordingly. And his Lordship being withdrawn, Sir James Mountague was heard likewise. This occasioned a warm Debate, that lasted till late at Night: After which the Commons Resolved, 'That it appears to this House, That William Lord Bishop of Carlisle hath dispersed several Copies of a Letter, pretended to have been received from Sir James Mountague (a Member of this House) in order to procure Sir James Mountague to be elected a Citizen of the City of Carlisle, reflecting on the Honour of her Majesty; and, by concerning himself in the said Election, hath highly infring'd the Liberties and Privileges of the Commons of Great-Britain.' Then the Question being put, That Colonel Gledhill has made good his Charge against Sir James Mountague; it passed in the Negative. But, nevertheless, it was Resolved, That Colonel Gledhill had sufficient Grounds for bringing the said Charge before this House.
The Queen being indisposed with an aguish Distemper, and there being several Bills ready, her Majesty commissioned the Lord Keeper, the Lord President of the Council, and some other Lords, to give them the Royal Assent. Accordingly, on the 17th of March, their Lordships having desired the immediate Attendance of the Commons in the House of Peers, they gave the Royal Assent to these three public Bills, viz.
Acts passed by Commission.
1. An Act for enabling and obliging' the Bank of England, for the time therein mentioned, to exchange all Exchequer-Bills for ready Money upon Demand; and to disable any Person to be Governor, Deputy-Governor, or Director of the Bank of England, and a Director of the East-India Company at the same time.
2. An Act to repeal the Act of the 3d and 4th Years of her Majesty's Reign, entitled, An Act for prohibiting all Trade and Commerce with France, so far as it relates to the prohibiting the Importation of French Wines.
3. An Act for ratifying several Purchases lately made with the public Stock of the County of Devon, and for making farther Purchases, for the Use of the said County, with the public Stock thereof; and also for Regulating and better Employment of the public Stock of the said County: And to a private Act.
Lieutenant-Col. Fitz-Patrick ordered to be taken into Custody, for challenging Major-General Peirce, a Member of the House.
Two days after, a Complaint being made to the House of Commons, that Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz-Patrick had challenged Major-General Peirce, (a Member of this House, for Words he had spoke in the Debates of this House) in Breach of the Privilege of this House: It was ordered, That the said Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz-Patrick (for having challenged Major-General Peirce, a Member of this House, for Words he had spoke in the Debates of this House) was guilty of a Breach of the Privilege of this House; and ordered, 'That Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz-Patrick be taken into the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms.'
Further Resolutions about the Supply.
On the 20th, the Commons read, the third time, the engrossed Bill to continue the Acts for punishing Mutiny and Desertion, &c. which was passed, and sent up to the Lords: After which, Mr. Conyers reported from the Committee of the whole House on the Supply, that they had come to these two Resolutions, viz.
'2. That the Sum of 103,003 l. 11 s. 4 d. be granted for the Use of such Proprietors, or Inhabitants of Nevis, and St. Christophers, who were Sufferers by the French Invasion, and who have settled, and shall resettle their Plantations in the said Islands.'
Clobery Bromley Esq; the Speaker's Son, dies. ; Whereupon the Commons adjourned till the 26th.
These Resolutions were readily agreed to; after which, the House being informed, that Clobery Bromley Esq; Son to the Speaker, died that Morning; out of Respect to the Father, and to give him time, both to perform the Funeral Rites, and to indulge his just Affliction, they thought fit to adjourn to Monday the 26th of that Month.
Ways and Means. ; Acts passed. ; New Duties laid on Hides and Skins.
That Day, the Commons being met again, resolved themselves into a Committee of the whole House, to consider farther of Ways and Means for raising the Supply: But while they were upon this weighty Business, they were interrupted by a Message from the Lords, by Sir William Oldes, Gentleman Usher of the Black-Rod, who acquainted the House, that the Lords, authorized by virtue of her Majesty's Commission, desired their immediate Attendance in the House of Peers; whither the Speaker, with the House, being gone accordingly, the Lords Commissioners gave the Royal Assent to the Act, to continue the Acts for punishing Mutiny and Desertion, and false Musters, and for better Payment of the Army and Quarters, and for approving of Mediciucs for the Army: And to one private Bill. The Commons being returned to their House, resolved themselves into a grand Committee; made a farther Progress in the Matter of Ways and Means, and having again taken the same into Consideration, the next Day, came to this Resolution, 'That towards raising the Supply granted to her Majesty, a Duty be laid upon all Skins and Hides, of any Beasts whatsoever, of the Product of Great Britain, and imported into the same, over and above the present Duties upon the Importation of any of them.'
After which, Mr. Secretary St. John acquainted the House, That he had a Message from her Majesty, signed by her Majesty; and he presented the same to the House; which Mr Speaker read, and was as follows, viz.
The Queen's Message to the Commons for the building of new Churches.
'Her Majesty having received an Address from the Archbishop, Bishops, and Clergy of the Province of Canterbury, in Convocation assembled, to recommend to the Parliament the great and necessary Work of building more Churches within the Bills of Mortality, is graciously pleased to approve so good and pious a Design: And does, accordingly, very heartily recommend the carrying on the same, to this House, particularly in and about the Cities of London and Westminster; and does not doubt but effectual Care will be taken in this Matter, which may be so much to the Advantage of the Protestant Religion, and the firmer Establishment of the Church of England.'
Resolution of the Commons thereupon.
Whereupon the Commons resolved, 'That the humble Thanks of this House be returned to her Majesty, for her Majesty's most gracious Message, in recommending so good and pious a Design, as the building of Churches in and about the Cities of London and Westminster; and to assure her Majesty, that this House will enable her Majesty to make an effectual Provision for the carrying on so good and necessary a Work:' And appointed a Committee to draw up an Address upon the said Resolution, and upon the Debate of the House.
Vote of the Commons for building 50 new Churches in London and Westminster.
April the 6th, Mr. Annesly reported from the Committee, to whom the Petition of the Minister, Church-Wardens, and several other Inhabitants of Greenwich, in the County of Kent, and several other Petitions were referred; and who were also to enquire what Moneys remain in the Hands of the Commissioners for rebuilding the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's, and consider what the Produce of the Duties in being, appropriated for that Purpose, may amount to for the time to come, and make an Estimate of what will be necessary for finishing and adorning the said Church, and other the Purposes in the Acts mentioned, for building the Cathedral Church of St. Paul's; and also to consider what Churches are wanting within the Cities of London and Westminster, and Suburbs thereof, and report the same to the House; that the Committee had considered the several Matters to them referred, and had directed him to report how the same appeared in relation thereunto, and had come to a Resolution, which they had also directed him to report to the House, and he read the said Report and Resolution, and afterwards delivered the same in at the Table, where the same were read, and the Resolution agreed to, viz. 'That, in the several Parishes in and about the Suburbs of the Cities of London and Westminster, fifty new Churches are necessary to be erected for the Reception of all such as are of the Communion of the Church of England, computing 4750 Souls to each Church: And then the said Report was referred to the Consideration of the Committee of the whole House, who were to consider farther of the Supply.'
The Commons Address thereupon.
'Most gracious Sovereign, we your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, have, with the utmost Satisfaction, received your Majesty's gracious Message, recommending to us the great and necessary Work of building new Churches, in and about the Cities of London and Westminster.
'We are sensible how much the want of them hath contributed to the increase of Schism and Irreligion, and shall not fail therefore to do our Parts towards the supplying that Defect, being entirely disposed to promote every thing that is for the Interest of the established Church, and the Honour of your Majesty's Reign.
'Neither the long expensive War in which we are engaged, nor the pressure of heavy Debts, under which we labour, shall hinder us from granting to your Majesty whatever is necessary to accomplish so excellent a Design, which, we hope, may be a Means of drawing down Blessings from Heaven on all your Majesty's other Undertakings, as it adds to the number of those Places, where the Prayers of your devout and faithful Subjects will be daily offered up to God, for the Prosperity of your Majesty's Government at home, and the Success of your Arms abroad.'
The Queen's Answer.
'Gentlemen, your Address is extremely acceptable to me, as it is a Proof of your Zeal for the Interest of the established Church, and for the Advancement of Religion: I will take care that what you grant, shall, in the most speedy and effectual Manner, be applied to the good Purpose for which it is intended.'
A Bill ordered for laying Duties on Hides and Skins.
Mr. Conyers having, on the 2d of April, reported the thirty nine Resolutions before mentioned, about the Duties on all Hides and Skins, the same were, (with Amendments to some of them) agreed to by the House; and a Bill ordered to be brought in upon the same, and upon the Resolutions of the 29th of March last.
On the 14th, the Commons proceeded to take into Consideration, the Report from the Committee, to whom the Petition of the Minister, Church-Wardens, and Inhabitants of the Parish of St. Olave in Southwark, in the County of Surrey, together with the principal Inhabitants of the adjacent Parishes, was referred; and who were to enquire upon what Invitation, or Encouragement, the Palatines came over, and what Moneys were expended in bringing them into Great Britain, and for maintaining them here, and by whom paid; and the said Report being read, the Resolutions of the Committee upon the said Petition, were also read a second time, and agreed to by the House as follows, viz.
Resolutions about the bringing over the poor Palatines.
'2. That the inviting and bringing over into this Kingdom the poor Palatines, of all Religions, at the public Expence, was an extravagant and unreasonable Charge to the Kingdom, and a scandalous Misapplication of the public Money, tending to the Encrease and Oppression of the Poor of this Kingdom, and of dangerous Consequence to the Constitution in Church and State.
Those who advised it voted Enemies to the Queen and Kingdom.
Bill to prevent Bribery in Elections dropped.
The 16th, the Commons read the third time an engrossed Bill for the better preventing Bribery and Corruption, and other undue Practices in Elections of Members to serve in Parliament: And the Speaker having opened the Bill, several Amendmends were made to it: but a great Debate arising thereupon, the same was adjourned to the next day; when the Question being put, that the Bill do pass, it was carried in the Negative.
Commissioners for resuming King William's Grants chosen.
The same Day, the Commons proceeded to the Choice of Commissionors for examining the Value of Lands, and other Interests granted by the Crown, since the 13th day of February, 1688, and upon what Considerations such Grants were made, in order to resume the same, and apply them to the Use of the Public; and the Clerk and Clerk Assistant went on each side the House with Glasses, to receive from the Members, the Lists of Persons Names to be Commissioners. A Committee being afterwards appointed to examine the Lists, they made their report the 18th, and it appeared that the following Persons had the Majority, viz.
|Sir Simeon Stuart||277|
|Mr. Hind Cotton||212|
The two last having an equal Number of Votes, the Commons ballotted again for a Commissioner on the 21st of the same Month, and upon examining the Lists, it was found, that William Wrightson Esq; had the Majority.
The Resumption Bill rejected by the Lords.
The 24th, the Commons read the third time, the Bill for resuming the Grants made by the Crown since the 13th of February, 1688, and, having inserted in it the Commissioners Names, resolved, That the Bill do pass, and sent it to the Lords for their Concurrence. But, on the last day of April, their Lordships rejected that Bill; which, by many, was thought partial, and, injurious to the Memory of the late King William.
The Queen's Message to the Commons about the Emperor's Death, and to quicken their Proceedings.
'Her Majesty is pleased to acquaint this House with the ill News she hath received of the Emperor's Death; and, being sensible of the Consequence this great Loss may be of to the Allies; how disheartened some of them may be on the one hand, and how diligent France will be on the other, to improve every Accident to their own Advantage, her Majesty is desirous to let you know, that, immediately, on the first News of the Emperor's Sickness, she came to a Resolution to support the Interest of the House of Austria, in this Conjuncture, and to use her utmost Endeavours to get the King of Spain made Emperor, in which the StatesGeneral have likewise concurred with her Majesty; and, since that, her Majesty hath taken the most proper Means to engage all those who have a Share in this Election, and are in the Interest of the common Cause, to join with her, in bringing this great Work to a good Issue, and she hath an entire Confidence in the Affection and Duty of her Parliament, that, with their Assistance, under the Protection and Blessing of Almighty God, she shall be enabled to make a happy Conclusion of this War, in a safe and honourable Peace.
'The Season of the Year, and the Length of time that has passed since your Meeting, will make you all wish, that you may be at liberty to attend the public, as well as your own private Affairs, throughout the Kingdom; and therefore her Majesty does recommend to you, so to hasten your Consultations about all the public Concerns, that her Majesty may put a speedy end to this Session.'
Hereupon it was unanimously resolved, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, to return her Majesty the humble Thanks of this House, for her Majesty's most gracious Message, and to assure her Majesty, that this House is truly sensible of the great Loss the Alliance hath sustained by the Death of the Emperor, and of the early and wise Care her Majesty has been pleased to take, to prevent the ill Consequences thereof, by resolving to support the Interest of the House of Austria, and by endeavouring to get the King of Spain elected Emperor. And farther, to assure her Majesty, that she may safely place an entire Confidence in the Duty and Affection of this House, which cannot be discouraged by this Misfortune, from supporting her Majesty in all those Measures, she; in her great Wisdom, shall judge proper, to bring this War to an happy Conclusion, by a safe and honourable Peace; and that this House will give all possible Dispatch to the public Business depending before them, that so her Majesty may put a speedy end to this Session.'
A Committee being appointed to draw up an Address upon this Resolution, they withdrew immediately into the Speaker's Chamber for that purpose; and soon after Sir Thomas Hanmer, their Chairman, reported the said Address, which, with an Amendment, being agreed to, was sent to the Lords for their Concurrence, a Message having been sent before to their Lordships, to desire them to continue sitting. The Lords having readily concurred with the Commons, the same Evening both Houses waited on the Queen with the following Address:
Address of both Houses to the Queen.
'Most gracious Sovereign, We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons of Great-Britain in Parliament assembled, beg leave to return your Majesty our most humble Thanks for your Majesty's most gracious Message. We are truly sensible of the great Loss the Alliance hath sustained by the Death of the Emperor; and do, with all Duty, acknowledge the early and wise Care your Majesty has been pleased to take, to prevent the ill Consequences thereof, by resolving to support the Interest of the House of Austria, and endeavouring to promote the Election of the King of Spain to the Empire.
Your Majesty may safely place an entire Confidence in our Duty and Affection, and may rest assured, That we cannot be discouraged, by this, or any other Misfortune, from supporting your Majesty in all the Measures, which your Majesty, in your great Wisdom, shall judge proper, to bring this War to a happy Conclusion, by a safe and honourable Peace. And being truly convinced, how necessary it is to give all possible Dispatch to the public Business, we will use our utmost Diligence in every Part of it depending before us, that your Majesty may have the Satisfaction of putting a speedy End to this Session.'
The Queen's Answer.
'My Lords and Gentlemen, I thank you very heartily for this Address; it is of great Importance, that the World shall know, that both Houses of Parliament do so unanimously approve the Measures I have taken on this Occasion of the Emperor's Death, which will very much encourage our Allies to continue united in the Common Cause.'
Report about the Imprest Accompts. ; Resolutions of the Commons thereupon.
On the 4th Mr. Auditor Harley had reported from the Committee, to whom it was referr'd to enquire how far the several Imprest Accomptants had passed their respective Accompts, and to consider of Methods for the more effectual and speedy compelling the said Accomptants to pass their Accompts; and to obviate all Irregularities, and unnecessary Delays in the same, the Matter as it appeared to them, which they had directed him to Report to the House; and he read the same in his Place, and afterwards delivered in the Report at the Table Hereupon it was Ordered, That it should be taken into Consideration the Tuesday following; on which Day it was further put off, first to the 17th, and then to the 24th of that Month, when the Commons came to the following Resolution, 'That, of the Moneys granted by Parliament, and issued for the public Service to Christmas, 1710, there were (fn. 8)35,302,107 l. 18s. 9d. for a great Part whereof, no Accounts had been laid before the Auditors, and the rest not prosecuted by the Accomptants, and finished. Then the further Consideration of that Report was put off till the 28th of the same Month, when, after some Debates, it was Resolved, 'That the not compelling the several Accomptants duly to pass their respective Accompts, had been a notorious Breach of Trust in those that, of late Years, had had the Management of the Treasury, and an high Injustice to the Nation.' Then a Motion being made and the Question put, That the farther Consideration of the said Report be adjourn'd, it passed in the Negative; and, after a further Debate, it was Resolved, 'That the several Accomptants who had neglected their Duty in passing their Accompts, ought no longer to be entrusted with the Receiving the public Money.' And Ordered, That the said Report be printed.
Bill for altering the Standard of the Plate. ; Bill ordered for the better preserving Public Credit, by restmining the Number and ill Practices of Brokers.
On the 17th of April, the House had appointed two Committees, one, to consider the Acts of Parliament relating to the Brokers of the City of London, and under what farther Regulations it might be proper to put them. The other, to bring in a Bill for altering the Standard of Plate. On the 28th Sir Robert Davers reported the Opinion of the first of these two Committees, which was, 'That Leave be given to bring in a Bill, for the better preserving public Credit, by reviving the Act made in the 8th and 9th Years of the Reign of the late King William III. entitled, An Act to restrain the Number and ill Practices of Brokers and Stock-Jobbers, with some Regulations, and to preserve the Equivalent given, by Law, to the Mayor and Commonalty, and Citizens of the City of London: Which was approved, and a Bill ordered to be brought in accordingly.
Resolutions on Ways and Means.
'1. That towards raising the Supply granted to her Majesty, the Power of granting Licences for Hackney-Coaches, within the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Limits of the Weekly-Bills of Mortality, be continued.
'3. That the said Licences so to be granted, do not take effect till after the 24th day of June 1715; and that the Power of granting the same, do continue for the Term of 32 Years, from thence next ensuing.
'4. That upon every one of the said Licences, to be granted for Hackney-Coaches within the Cities of London and Westminster, and the Limits of the Weekly-Bills of Mortality, there be reserv'd a Rent of 6s. 8 d. per Week, to be paid during the Continuance thereof.
'5. That the Rates allowed to Hackney-Coachmen by the former Act for Licensing and Regulating HackneyCoaches, and Stage-Coaches, be continued to the HackneyCoachmen, hereafter to be licensed, as aforesaid.
'12. That the Commissioners for Licensing and Regulating Hackney-Coaches, be impowered to settle the Rates for such Licensed Hackney-Chairs, so as the same do not exceed the Rates allowable to Hackney-Coachmen, for half the same Distance.
'13. That, for making good the Sum of 103,003 l. 1 s. 4d. for the Use of such Proprietors or Inhabitants only of Nevis and St. Christophers, who were re-settled, or shall resettle their Plantations in the said Islands, Debentures be made out, and delivered to the said Sufferers, or their Attorneys, and be payable with Interest, after the Rate of 5 l. per Cent. from making forth the same, in the like Manner, as the unsatisfy'd Debentures which were charged on the Irish Forfeitures, are to be satisfy'd and discharged.
Resolutions about the Supply.
'1. That a Supply be granted to her Majesty for the Buildof fifty new Churches, and for purchasing Scites of Churches and Church-Yards, or Burial-Places, and also Houses for the Habitations of the Ministers of the said Churches, in or about the Cities of London and Westminster, or the Suburbs thereof, and for making such Chapels as are already built and capable thereof, Parish-Churches; and also for finishing the Repairs of the Collegiate-Church of St. Peter's Westminster, and the Chapels of the same.
'2. That for encouraging the bringing Wrought-Plate into the Mint to be coined, there shall be allowed to such Persons as shall so bring the same, after the Rate of 5 s. 5 d. per Ounce for the old Standard, and 5s 8d. per Ounce for the new Standard, for all Plate on which the Mark of the Goldsmiths Company of London, or any City, is set; and for uncertain Plate, not so marked, (being reduced to Standard) after the Rate of 5 s. 6 d. per Ounce.'
Mr. Harley's great Project to satisfy all public Debts. ;Resolutions of the House thereupon.
On the second, the Commons being in a Committee of the whole House on Ways and Means, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed a Scheme he had form'd, to satisfy all public and national Debts and Deficiencies, by allowing the Proprietors of those Debts and Deficiencies an Interest of six per Cent. per Ann. redeemable by Parliament; and incorporating them to carry on the Trade to the South-Seas; which, if once settled, will yearly bring vast Riches from Peru and Mexico into Great-Britain. This Project being received with general Approbation, the Committee came to these Resolutions:
'1. That a yearly Sum not exceeding 140,000 l. for 32 Years out of the Weekly-Sum of 700 l. arising out of the Post-Office, and out of the Duties upon Hides, Skins, Vellom and Parchment, granted in this Session of Parliament, be set a-part, and appropriated for raising a Sum not exceeding 1,500,000 l. by Contribution, for Exchequer-Orders payable in Course, with a certain Encrease of Principal and Interest, according to several Classes, with Addition of Chances.
'2. That a Fund be granted to her Majesty, her Heirs and Successors, for Payment of the Interest of 6 l. per Cent. per Ann. from the 24th of December, 1711. for the several Public Debts and Deficiencies, for which a Supply was granted, by the Resolutions of this House, the 10th of March last; and also for the Interest for the said Debts and Deficiencies to the 25th of December, 1711; and that such Fund be made redeemable by Parliament.
'3. That towards the raising the said Fund, the several Impositions and additional Impositions, Rates and Duties, and Sums of Money, which by an Act made in the eighth Year of her Majesty's Reign, entitled (among other things) An Act for continuing several Impositions, Additional Impositions and Duties upon Goods imported, to raise Money by Way of Loan for the Service of the Year 1710, were granted and continued, or apply'd for the Payment of the Principal-Money, to be lent or advanced by Virtue of the said Act, or the Interest thereof, shall be granted and continued to her Majesty, her Heirs and Successors, from the several Days and Times, for which, by the said Act they are so granted and continued, or apply'd for Ever, redeemable by Parliament.
'4. That, in order to make the said Fund the more effectual, all such Tallies and Orders as have been made out by virtue of the said Act, made in the eighth Year of her Majesty's Reign, shall be engrasted into, and upon the said general Fund, and that the several Impositions, Additional Impositions, Rates and Duties, and Sums of Money by the said Act granted, continued or apply'd, for the Payment of the said Tallies and Orders, shall be made a Part of the said general Fund, for paying the said Principal and InterestMoney, during all such Time as the same are by the said Act granted, continued, or apply'd, as aforesaid.
'5. That, towards the said Fund, the Duties upon Candles, and Rates upon Money to be given with Clerks and Apprentices, which, by an Act made in the eighth Year of her Majesty's Reign, were granted to her Majesty from the first Day of May, 1710, for the Term of five Years, be farther granted and continued to her Majesty, her Heirs and Successors, from the last day of April 1715, for Ever, redeemable by Parliament.
'7. That what the said Rates and Duties before agreed to be Part of the said Fund, for Payment of the said Interest, shall fall short of paying the said Interest, such Deficiency shall be annually paid out of the first Aids, that shall, from time to time, be granted by Parliament.'
A Bill ordered to be brought in thereupon.
These Resolutions being the next day reported, were agreed to by the House; and Mr. Conyers, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Thomas Powis, Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Sollicitor-General, Mr. Auditor Harley, and Mr. Lownds, were ordered to bring in a Bill thereupon.
Bill for altering the Standard of Plate.
'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, that she would be pleas'd to give Directions to the Officers of the Mint, to receive all such wrought Plate as should be brought to them, and to give Receipts to such Persons as should bring the same, for the Amount thereof, at the several Rates and Prices agreed by this House, to be allow'd for such wrought Plate as should be brought to the Mint to be coin'd; and that the same might be immediately coin'd into Shillings and Six-Pences. It was also resolv'd, that all such Receipts to be given by the Officers of the Mint, for any wrought Plate, should be accepted and taken for the full Amount thereof, in Payments to be made upon any Loans, or any Contributions upon any Funds to be granted in this Session of Parliament.
Resolutions about the Arrears of Taxes.
Then the House proceeded to take into Consideration the Report from the Committee, who were to consider of the Arrears of Taxes granted by Parliament, in whose Hands they were, and what had been the Occasion of such Arrears. And the said Report being read, it was Resolved,
That it appears to this House, that there was in Arrear the 8th Day of December, 1710, of the several Land-Taxes for five Years, ending the 24th of March 1709, the Sum of 272,596 l. 8s. 8d. of which there was standing out, the beginning of April, 1711, the Sum of 180,439 l. 7s. 6d. ½. 2. That the not obliging the Receivers of the Land-Taxes and other Receivers of the public Revenues, to pay the Money by them received into the Exchequer, according as they were required by Law, has been a great Loss to the Public, and one Cause of the Debts of the Nation.
Bill to raise 1,500,000 l. by Annuities, by Lottery, &c. ; 1,500,000 l. being subscrib'd in less than a Days, it is resolv'd to raise 500,000 l. more the same way.
On the 7th Mr. Conyers presented to the House a Bill for raising 1,500,000 l. for Orders to be payable in Course out of a Fund of 140,000 l. per Annum, for 32 Years, with a certain Increase of Principal and Interest, according to several Classes, with Addition of Chances: The Scheme whereof had, by the Direction of the Lords Commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, been drawn up and publish'd in English, French, and Dutch, by Mr. John Blunt, who had likewise form'd the Scheme of the Lottery for raising 1,500,000 l. This Bill was read the first time, the next day; and it is observable that the Under-Tellers of the Exchequer, and Mr. Blunt having, the Day before, begun to receive Money towards this new Fund, near 1,500,000 l. were subscribed in less than two Days; whereupon the Receivers were order'd to take in no more Subscriptions; and it was resolved to raise two Millions Sterling, by increasing the said Fund of 144,000 l. to 186,670 l. per Ann. for 32 Years; and to reserve the 500,000 l. not yet subscrib'd, for such as brought their Plate into the Mint, which many did in great Quantities.
350,000 l. granted for building 50 new Churches &c.
On the same Day, the House, in a grand Committee upon the Supply, resolv'd to grant to her Majesty a Sum not exceeding 350,000 l. for the building of 50 new Churches and Churchyards, or Burial-Places, and Houses for the Habitations of the Ministers of the said Churches in and about the Cities of London and Westminster, or the Suburbs thereof, and for making such Chapels as are already built, and capable of, public Churches, and for finishing the Repairs of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter's Westminster, and the Chapels of the same: which Resolution being the next Day reported, was agreed to by the House.
A Paper relating to the Bill about the Mine-Adventurers censured.
On the 12th, upon a Complaint made of a printed Paper deliver'd at the Door of the House of Commons, and dispers'd, entituled, Observations on the Bill relating to the MineAdventurers, several Paragraphs of it were read, and thereupon it was unanimously resolved, 'That the said printed Paper was a false, malicious and scandalous Libel, highly reflecting on the Honour and Justice of this House, and the Proceedings thereof; and a Committee was appointed to enquire who was the Author, Printer and Publisher of the said Libel. Six Days after, Mr. Carter made a Report from that Committee, in which Sir Humphrey Mackworth, a Member not then in the House, being named, the Consideration of the said Report was put off 'till the next Day, when Sir Humphrey being in his Place, own'd and begg'd Pardon for the writing of the Paper.
Bills to examine and state the Accounts of the Equivalent paid to Scotland. ; 18 Resolutions about Ways and Means.
On the 14th of the same Month, upon the Report made by Mr. Lockhart, from the Committee to whom the Petition of William Seaton Esq; in the Name of the Commissioners for the Equivalent was referred; the Commons resolv'd, 'That proper Persons be appointed to take, state and examine the Accounts of the Commissioners of the Equivalent, relating to the Sum of 398,085 l. 10 s. paid to Scotland, in the Terms of the Act of Union; and order'd a Bill to be brought in to empower the Barons of the Exchequer in Scotland, to take, examine and state the said Accounts. After this, Mr. Conyers reported eighteen Resolutions, taken in the Committee of the whole House, about Ways and Means for raising the Supply; all which (except the 2d and 12th, which were disagreed to) were agreed to by the House: being in Substance,
'That farther Duties be laid to arise in the Office for stampt Vellom, Parchment and Paper; that the said farther Duties be eight Pence for every Piece of Vellom, Parchment, or Paper, upon which shall be written any Certificate or Debenture for drawing back any Custom or Duties; That the Duties be four Pence for any Bill of Lading; that the said Duties be one Penny for every Sheet Almanack, or Kalender, and two Pence for any other Almanack; That the said Duties be 5 s. for any Licence for retailing of Wine; and 1 s. for any Licence for selling of Ale, Beer and other exciseable Liquors: that Six-Pence be laid upon every Pack of playing Cards, and 5 s. upon every Pair of Dice; that ten Shillings per Ton be laid upon all Rock-Salt exported, over and above the present Duties payable for the same, to be paid by the Exporter; that all the said Duties be granted for 32 Years; that all the aforesaid Duties upon Hackney-Coaches and Chairs, and the Overplus, as well of the Duties upon Hides and Skins, as of the 700 l. a Week out of the Revenues of the Post-Office, be made a Fund for raising a farther Sum of 500,000 l. for the Service of the War: That, towards ruising the Supply for building Churches, the Duty of twelve Pence per Chalder for Coals and Culm imported into the Port of London, granted by an Act of the 8th Year of King William III. and which will expire on the 29th of September 1716, be continued to the 29th of September 1724. And lastly, That the Duty of two Shillings per Chalder for all Coals and Culm imported into the Port of London, granted by an Act of her present Majesty's Reign, and which will expire on the 15th of May, 1716, be continued to the 29th of September, 1724.
And ordered a Bill or Bills to be brought in upon the said Resolutions, agreed to by the House; and upon the Resolutions of the House, on the last of April, relating to HackneyCoaches, and Hackney-Chairs, and also relating to the Proprietors and Inhabitants of the Islands of Nevis and St. Christopher's.
And about the Encrease of public Debts, and diverting Money appropriated by Parliament.
On the 15th, Mr. Lownds (Secretary of the Treasury) presented to the House (according to Order) the Representations and Memorials made by the Commissioners of the Victualling, relating to the Provisions and Victualling of the Land-Forces, with a List of them. And the Order of the Day being read, for taking into farther Consideration the Report from the Committee, to whom it was referred, to examine and state the public Debts of the Navy, and other Public-Offices, for which no Provision was made by Parliament: The House proceeded to take into Consideration, the said Report; and the said Representations and Memorials were read, after which it was Resolved, 1. That the Encreasing the public Expences beyond the Supplies annually granted by Parliament, hath been the chief Occasion of the Debts of the Nation, and an Invasion of the Rights of Parliament.
'2. That it appears to this House, That the Sum of 660,806 l. 7 s. 7 d. hath been paid out of the Moneys issued to the Service of the Navy, for Provisions supplied to LandForces sent to Spain and Portugal, and for the Garrison of Gibraltar, for which no Deductions have been made from the Pay of those Forces, nor any Part of that Sum assigned to the Victualling, notwithstanding the several Letters and Representations made to the Treasury in that Behalf.
'3. That such diverting of Moneys issued to the Service of the Navy, to the Land-Service, hath lessened the Credit of the Navy, discouraged the Seamen, occasioned the paying extravagant Rates on the Navy-Contracts, and was a Misapplication of the public Money.
Bill to prevent Duelling.
The same day, Sir Peter King presented to the House, A (fn. 9) Bill to prevent Duelling, which was Read the first Time, and ordered a second Reading.
The next day the Queen came to the House of Peers with the usual Solemnity, and the Commons being sent for up, and attending, her Majesty gave the Royal-Assent to the following public Acts: 1. An Act for establishing a General-PostOffice, and for settling a weekly Sum out of the Revenues thereof, for the Service of the War, and other her Majesty's Occasions. 2. An Act for laying certain Duties upon Hides and Skins, and upon Vellom and Parchment, for the Term of 32 Years. 3. An Act for laying a Duty upon Hops. 4. An Act for taking, examining and stating the public Accompts of the Kingdom. 5. An Act to make an Attempt on the Life of a Privy-Counsellor, in the Execution of his Office, to be Felony, without Benefit of Clergy. 6. An Act for the better preventing of excessive and deceitful Gaming. 7. An Act for making more effectual an Act of the forty third Year of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, entitled, An Act concerning the Assizes of Fuel, &c. 8. An Act to render more effectual an Act made in the sixth Year of her present Majesty, entitled, An Act to repeal a Clause in an Act of the 7th Year of the Reign of his late Majesty, for mending Highways, which enjoins Waggoners, and others, to draw with a Pole between the Wheel-Horses, or with double Shafts, and to oblige them to draw only with six Horses or other Beasts, except up Hills. 9. An Act for repairing and amending the Highways leading from Royston in the County of Hertford, to WandsfordBridge in the County of Huntington. 10. An Act for repairing the Highways from Sheet-Bridge in the Parish of Petersfield to the Town of Portsmouth, in the County of Southampton. 11. An Act to enable her Majesty to grant the Scite of the Castle of Exon (Parcel of her Duchy of Cornwall) for ninety nine Years, for the Use and Benefit of the County of Devon. 12. An Act for repairing the Highways between Dunstable and Hockley, in the County of Bedford. 13. An Act for the Preservation of white and other Pine-Trees, growing in her Majesty's Colonies in America; for the Masting her Majesty's Navy. 14. An Act for rendering the Proceedings on Writs of Mandamus and Informations in the Nature of a Quo Warranto more speedy and effectual, and for the more easy trying and determining the Rights of Offices, and Franchises in Corporations and Boroughs. And to twenty eight private Bills.
Bill for the Trade to the South-Seas. ; Petition of the East-India Company.
Mr. Conyers having, on the 17th, presented to the House a Bill for making good Deficiencies, and for satisfying the public Debts, and for erecting a Corporation to carry on a Trade to the South-Seas; which was read the first time, and a second time the next day: The United Company of Merchants trading to the East-Indies, who thought the Bill might, in some measure, be derogatory to their Charter, presented a Petition thereupon to the House, praying, that they might be heard by their Counsel, to such Part of the Bill as related to the said Company. Whereupon it was Ordered, 'That the said Petition be referred to the Consideration of the Committee of the whole House, to whom that Bill was committed; and that the Petitioners be heard thereupon by their Counsel, if they thought fit.' But the Committee having inserted a Clause in their favour in that Bill, the East-India Company made no further Application about it.
Resolution for a Representation to the Queen about Mismanagements and Abuses. ; Instructions to the Committee about the Bill for the Trade to the South-Seas.
On the 24th, it was Resolved, 'That an humble Representation be made to her Majesty upon the several Reports and Resolutions of this House relating to the Imprest-Accompts, the public Debts, the Arrears of Taxes, the Abuses in the Victualling, the Bringing over the Palatines, and the Charter imposed upon the Corporation of Bewdley, in the County of Worcester: and upon the Debates of the House, a Committee was appointed to draw up the said Representation.' The same day it was Ordered, That it be an Instruction to the Committee of the whole House, to whom the Bill for making good Deficiencies, and for satisfying the public Debts, and for erecting a Corporation to carry on a Trade to the South-Seas was committed, First, To receive a Clause or Clauses, 'That the Persons in the Debts and Deficiencies provided for by the said Bill, may be at liberty whether they will be concern'd in the carrying on the Trade to the South-Seas.
'2. That they have Power to receive a Clause to give further Time to those Persons who have already neglected to pay the Duties upon Moneys given with Clerks and Apprentices, and to secure the better Payment of those Duties for the future.
'3. To receive another Clause, That the Persons interested in the said Debts and Deficiencies, be enabled to chuse the Directors and Managers in the Corporation intended by the said Bill to be erected.'
Then the House Resolved itself into that Committee, went through the Bill, and made several Amendments to it, which being the next day reported, were agreed to by the House. After this, the Question was put, Whether the Governor of the Corporation should be chosen by the Queen, or the Members thereof; and it being carried for the Queen by a Majority of 100 Voices against 25, the Bill was order'd to be engrossed.
The next day the House proceeded to take into Consideration, the Report from the Committee who were appointed to enquire into false Musters, and other Abuses in the Payment of her Majesty's Guards, and also Abuses committed in relation to Chelsea-Hospital; and unanimously Resolved,
Resolutions about False-Musters in the Guards, and against Lieutenant-Colonel Charteris.
That it appears to this House, that, in several Companies of her Majesty's Foot-Guards, there have been great Abuses in keeping but two Thirds of their Compliment of effective Men, and in protecting many Debtors from their Creditors. 2. That Lieutenant-Colonel Charteris has been guilty of the said Abuses, and also of threatning and tampering with the Witnesses produced before the said Committee. 3. That the said Resolutions be laid before her Majesty, and that her Majesty be humbly desired to give Directions, That the said Lieutenant-Colonel Charteris may be punish'd for the said Offences, and that effectual Care may be taken to punish all Persons that have been guilty of False-Musters, or other Abuses in the Guards, and to prevent the like for the future. 4. That the imprisoning Persons in the Savoy-Prison, without any Authority in Writing from a Commission-Officer, putting them in Irons, and selling them to be sent abroad, has been a great Violation of the Liberty of the Subject 5. That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, That Patrick Hurley, Samuel Wilson, John Man, John Hare, William Birket, James Bamford, Remark Bunworth, William Hardisty, Richard Sedan, and John Ackland, who have given Evidence before a Committee of this House, touching the Abuses aforesaid, may be discharged from the Service of the Army, and protected from being pressed again into the said Service. 6. That it appears to this House, that Mr. Joseph Billers, and Mr. John Theedam, have done good Service, in detecting the said Abuses, and deserve Encouragement for the same.
Mr. Paterson's Petition laid by.
Resolutions of the Commons about Losses in the Revenue of the Customs upon unrated East-India Goods.
June 1. The House took into Consideration, the Report from the Committee, to whom it was referred, to examine the Matter of the Reports of the Auditors of the Imprests, and others, relating to the Method of computing the Duties on East-India unrated Goods; and the Resolutions of the Committee were read, and agreed to by the House, as followeth, viz.
'1. That it appears to this House, that there has been a very great Loss to the Revenue of the Customs, upon unrated East-India Goods, and other unrated Goods, by the Method practised in the Custom-House, in the computing the Duties on the said unrated Goods; whereby, when there has been no more than 18 l. 8s. 9d. ½ per cent. received for the Duties, there has been allowed for the same Duties to the Importer 52 l. 2 s. 6 d. By which Method it appears, that notwithstanding an Additional Duty of 12 l. per cent. was laid on the said Goods, yet no Advance was made by the said Duty.
'2. That it appears to this House, that by the Method of calculating the Duties upon China Ware, in every 18 l. 8s. 9d. ½ received, there has been lost to the Public the Sum of 11 l. 10s. 10d. And ordered, that the said Resolution be laid before her Majesty.
The House taking into Consideration, the great Losses which have been, and will, for the future, be annually to the Clerk, Serjeant at Arms, Clerk-Assistant, and other Clerks, Officers, and Servants attending this House, by reason of the passing the Bill for a general Naturalization, this Session, and in respect to the late Orders made concerning the passing of private Bills through this House, and otherwise:
Resolved, Nemine Contradicente, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, that she will be graciously pleased to take the said Losses of the Clerk, Serjeant at Arms, Clerk-Assistant, and other Clerks, Officers, and Servants attending this House, into her Consideration, and to give them such Recompence and Encouragement, with respect to their several Trustees, as she in her Royal Wisdom shall think fit: Be humbly renewed to her Majesty.
Bill for raising two Millions sent to the Lords. ; The Queen's Answer to several Addresses of the Commons.
On the 4th the House read the second time the engrossed Bill for raising two Millions out of a yearly Fund of 186,670 l. for 32 Years, &c. to which several Amendments were made, and the Bill passed, and sent to the Lords. Then Mr. Secretary St. John reported to the House, that their Address of the 2d, in behalf of the Clerks, and other Officers attending this House, having been presented to the Queen, her Majesty was pleased to answer, 'That she would do according to the desire of this House.' He also reported, that the Queen received very graciously their Address relating to the Duties upon unrated East-India Goods; and that their Resolutions of the 26th of May last, relating to the Abuses in the Guards; and their Address relating to the Discharge of Patrick Hurley, and others, having likewise been laid before her Majesty, she was pleased to answer, 'That she would take care to punish the Persons complained of, and to prevent the like Abuses for the future; and that she would give Orders for the discharging the said Patrick Hurley, and the other Persons mentioned in the said Address, as desired, and protect them from being press'd again into the Service.' Then the House, having made some Amendments to the engrossed Bill, to repeal part of an Act made in the 6th Year of her Majesty's Reign, entitled, An Act for Encouragement of the Trade to America, and passed, and sent it to the Lords, adjourned to the Thursday following.
Mr. Secretary St. John having, the same day, acquainted the House, that the Queen had appointed that Evening, to be attended by this House, with their Representation; the Commons, with their Speaker, repaired to St. James's at the appointed time, and presented to her Majesty the said Representation, as follows:
Representation of the Commons to the Queen.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, have, with the utmost Zeal and Unanimity, applied our selves to the Dispatch of those great and important Affairs, which your Majesty was pleased to recommend to us from the Throne, and we humbly hope, that we have, in every Respect, answered your Majesty's Expectations in calling this Parliament.
'In making suitable Provisions for the public Service, we have met with great Difficulties from the Anticipation of Funds, and the large Sums with which the public Revenues stand charged for long Terms of Years to come: However, we have not been discouraged, but have, with great Diligence, carried on our Endeavours to raise such Supplies, as, we trust, will be effectual, not only for the Service of the present Year, but also for the Discharge of the heavy Debts, so long, and so justly complained of. And, as the absolute Necessity of carrying on the War, and our Resolutions to support the public Credit, and maintain the Honour and Justice of Parliament, have obliged us to encrease the Burthen of Taxes upon our Fellow-Subjects, so we are persuaded, that the same Reasons will induce them to pay those Taxes with Chearfulness and Satisfaction.
'At the same time, we have thought it another part of our Duty, to enquire into the Causes of the heavy Debts we labour under, and to trace the Source of that great Evil, as what we thought would, in some degree, satisfy the Minds of your People, and prevent the like Mischief for the future.
'This was a Promise, and an Assurance which we presumed to give your Majesty at the beginning of this Session: and now, at the Conclusion of it, we beg leave to lay before your Majesty the Result of our Enquiries, which, we hope, your Majesty will not judge to be unworthy your Royal Consideration.
'In examining into the State of the War, and looking back from the beginning of it, we find, that, in several Years, the Service has been enlarged, and the Charge of it encreased beyond the Bounds prescribed, and the annual Supplies granted by Parliament: To this new and illegal Practice, we must, in great measure, ascribe the Rise and Growth of the heavy Debts that lie upon the Nation; nor does the Consequence of it end there; for, we must also represent it to your Majesty as a dangerous Invasion of the Rights of Parliament. The Commons must ever assert it as their sole and undoubted Privilege, to grant Money, and to adjust and limit the Proportions of it; and when your Majesty has recommended to them, to consider of Supplies, and they have deliberated upon the several Estimates for the annual Services, and consider'd and determined what the Nation is able to bear, their Proceedings would be very vain and ineffectual, if, after the respective Sums are stated, and granted, those, through whose Hands the Disposition of them passes, are allowed, in any measure, to alter and enlarge them. This is an Attempt which very little differs from levying Money without Consent of Parliament, as will appear to your Majesty from this one Consideration, that a Charge of that kind once incurred, and laid as a Debt upon the Navy, or any other public Office, is so far binding upon Parliament, that, how little soever they approve of the Means by which it was contracted, yet the public Credit being pawned, the Commons cannot, without the Ruin of that, refuse to provide for it.
'This also has been an Occasion, why great Sums of unappropriated Money, arising from the Exceedings and Surplusages of some of the Funds granted by Parliament, have not been applied, as they ought to have been, in aid of the Deficiencies of other Funds. Had this just Care been observed, the Debts of the Nation could not have encreased to so exorbitant an Height: But other Uses were found out, such as were neither voted, nor addressed for, by Parliament, which, therefore, we adjudge to have been a Misapplication of the public Money.
'With regard to the Debts of the Navy, we find, that one great Discouragement and Burthen, which that Part of the Service has lain under, has been from a Liberty that has been used, of diverting several Sums issued to that Service, and transferring them to other Purposes, for which they were not intended; particularly, that the Sum of 660,806 l. 7s. 7 d. belonging to the Navy, has been paid for Provisions supplied to Land-Forces sent to Spain and Portugal, and for the Garrison of Gibraltar; for which, no Deductions have been made for the Pay of those Forces, nor any Part of that Sum re-assign'd to the Victualling, notwithstanding the several Acts of Parliament provided, and the many Letterswrit, and Representations made to the Treasury in that behalf. This unjustifiable Proceeding has been a Discouragement to Seamen, occasioned the paying extravagant Rates upon Contracts, and has very much contributed to sink the Credit of the Navy.
'To this we must add the many notorious Embezzlements, and scandalous Abuses, which appear to have been practised, as well in the Management of your Majesty's Brew-House, as in the Contracts for furnishing the Navy with Beer. We have already presumed to address your Majesty, that several Persons whom we have discovered to have been guilty of those Frauds, should be prosecuted at Law for their Offences; and we entirely rely upon your Majesty's most gracious Assurance, that those Prosecutions should be effectually carried on: But we must also upon this Occasion, beg leave, farther to represent to your Majesty, That the Commissioners appointed to take care of the Victualling your Majesty's Navy, have been guilty of great Negligence and Remissness in their Duty; for, the Instructions, which go along with that Commission, are so well adapted to the preventing those very Abuses which have been committed, that nothing but a notorious Mismanagement in that Office, and an inexcusable Neglect in pursuing those Instructions, could have given way to the great Loss the Public has sustained in that Part of the Service.
'The evil Effects of this Mismanagement in public Offices, and Misapplication of Parliamentary Supplies, have been encreased by the very Methods of bringing in the public Money; for it has appeared to us, that the Receivers of the LandTax, and of the other Revenues, have not been called upon to pay in the Money they had received, in due time, as the Law requires. Such has been the extreme Remissness, and unaccountable Indulgence of those, whose Duty it was to oblige those Receivers to make due and punctual Payments, that on the 8th Day of December, 1710, there was an Arrear of the several Land-Taxes, for 5 Years, ending the 24th of March, 1709, amounting to the Sum of 272,596 l. 8 s. 8 d. some part of which was paid into the Exchequer after the Commons had ordered an Enquiry into that Matter; yet the Sum standing out, at the beginning of April, 1711, was 180,439 l. 7 s. 6 d. ½. From the Omissions, the Public remains long under the Load of Interest, for want of that Money which lies in the hands of Receivers; so that the Supplies granted to your Majesty, however large, or well proportioned to the Occasions of the War, could never prove effectual to prevent the Incumbrance of Debts, whilst they were neither collected nor disbursed faithfully, according to the Ends and Methods designed by Parliament.
'Thus far we have proceeded in discovering some of those Causes which have brought so great a Weight of Debts upon the Nation, and we might have made a much greater Progress in our Enquiries, if the Accounts of the public Money had been regularly passed; but to our great Surprize and Concern, we find, That they who, of late Years, had the Management of your Majesty's Treasury, and ought to have compelled the several Accomptants duly to pass their respective Accompts, have been guilty of so notorious a Breach of Trust, and of so high an Injustice to the Nation, that the Moneys granted by Parliament, and issued for the public Service to Christmas, 1710, there remains unaccounted for the Sum of 35,302,107 l. for a great part of which no Accompts have so much as been laid before the Auditors; and for the rest, though some Accompts have been brought in, yet they have not been prosecuted by the Accomptants, and finished. This has made it impracticable for us to arrive at so exact a knowledge of the State of the Nation, with regard to the public Money, as we wished and might have expected; and your Majesty will please to consider, in such an immense Sum unaccounted for, how many Embezzlements may be concealed, and how justly it may be suspected, that so scandalous a Remissness has been allowed with no other Design. We humbly beseech your Majesty, that you will give immediate and effectual Directions for the compelling the several Imprest Accomptants speedily to pass their Accompts; and, in the mean time, we humbly hope, your Majesty will approve the Resolution of your Commons, 'That such of the Accomptants who have neglected their Duty in prosecuting their Accompts, ought no longer to be entrusted with receiving the public Money.'
'We cannot omit taking Notice to your Majesty, of another extraordinary Instance, in which the public Money has been misapplied, by bringing over the poor Palatines to inhabit and settle themselves in this Kingdom: This was not only an extravagant and unreasonable Expence in itself, but many other ways uneasy and grievous to your People; for, as it was visible, that such Numbers of necessitous and useless Foreigners must unavoidably tend to the Encrease and Oppression of the Poor of this Kingdom, so, being a Mixture of People of all Religions, it was evident, how dangerous they might prove to the Quiet of our Government, and the Constitution of our established Church. Upon what Encouragement and Invitation they came over, we have not been able to discover; but we look upon it as certain, That the calling over so many Families from a Country so remote, could not be brought about without Industry and Contrivance; and those who were concerned in it, seemed to have been conscious of the Evil of their own Designs, by the Secrecy with which they pursued them. Your Majesty, in your great Wisdom, will best recollect from whence this Attempt and Advice proceeded, and we humbly represent it as our Opinion, That the Authors of it were Enemies to your Majesty and your Kingdom.
'We beg leave to offer to your Majesty's Consideration but one thing more, which has alarmed your People with just Fears, the arbitrary Attempt of new modelling Corporations, by imposing a Charter upon the Borough of Bewdley; a Charter void and illegal, not being accepted by the Corporation then in being, destructive of the Constitution of Parliament, in transferring the Rights of Electors to others; and injurious to your Majesty's Subjects, in divesting them of their Franchises and Freeholds, even after they had been affirmed by Judgments upon the rigorous Prosecutions of Quo Warranto's. We return your Majesty our most humble Thanks for putting a stop to so pernicious a Precedent, by ordering the proper Methods to be taken for repealing the said Charter, and quieting the Borough in the Possession of their ancient Privileges: We are truly sensible of your Majesty's tender Regard to the Rights of all your People; and we cannot without Indignation reflect upon the oppressive Designs of those evil Counsellors, who endeavoured to have brought a Blemish of this kind upon your Majesty's most just and gentle Reign.
'From all these evil Practices, and worse Designs, of some Persons, who had; by false Professions of Love to their Country insinuated themselves into your Royal Favour, irreparable Mischief had accrued to the Public, had not your Majesty in your great Wisdom, feasonably discovered the fatal Tendency of such Measures; and, out of your singular Goodness to your People, removed from the Administration of Affairs, those who had so ill answered the favourable Opinion your Majesty had conceived of them, and, in so many Instances, grosly abused the great Trust reposed in them. Your People could with greater Patience have suffered the manifold Injuries done to themselves, by the Frauds and Depredations of such evil Ministers, had not the same Men proceeded to treat your sacred Person with Undutifulness and Disregard; but, as the Interests of your Majesty and your People are inseparable and by your Majesty and your good Subjects inseparably pursued, the Wrongs which these Men had done to the Public, drew upon them your Royal Displeasure; and their Irreverence towards your Majesty justly exposed them to the Indignation of your People.
'Your Majesty had, from the beginning of your auspicious Reign, expressed a truly Christian Moderation by Promises of Lenity and Protection to all your peaceable Subjects, and of Countenance and Favour to those who should most recommend themselves by their Zeal for the established Government in Church and State; but these Ministers framed to themselves wild and unwarrantable Schemes of Balancing Parties, and under a false Pretence of Temper and Moderation, did really encourage Faction, by discountenancing and depressing Persons zealously affected to your Majesty and to the Church, and by extending their Favour and Patronage to Men of licentious and impious Principles, such as shake the very Foundation of all Government, and all Religion.
'Out of our unfeigned Zeal for your Majesty's Honour and Service, and our faithful Affection to the public Good, we cannot forbear, with all Humility and Earnestness, to beseech your Majesty, that you would avoid, as the greatest Enemies to your Royal Dignity, and to your People's Safety, all Persons who shall endeavour to engage you in such pernicious Measures, and that you would employ, in Places of Authority and Trust, such only as have given good Testimonies of their Duty to your Majesty, and of their Affection to the true Interest of your Kingdom.
'These are the humble Desires of your faithful Commons, and these we know to be your Majesty's gracious Intentions. From your tender Concern for this Church and Nation, and from what you have lately done, and are going on to do, for the Happiness and Satisfaction of your People, we promise ourselves a favourable Acceptance of this our Application; and from our Duty to your Majesty, and our Fidelity to our Trust, your Majesty may confide in us, that we will, upon all Occasions, defend and support your Majesty, and our happy Constitution, against all Enemies and Opposers whatsoever.'
Address for enquiring into the State of the Forces and Fortifications in Spain and Portugal. ; Another for supporting the Trade to Africa. ; And a third in favour of the Inhabitants of Nevis and St. Christophers.
The 7th, the Speaker reported the said Answer; after which the House resolved to address her Majesty, 'To appoint Persons to enquire into the Number and Quality of the Forces in her Majesty's Pay in Spain and Portugal, and to examine the State of the Payments and Accompts relating to the said Forces, and to the Garrisons and Fortifications of Gibraltar and Port-Mahon; and also the Accompts of the Agent - Victuallers and Commissioners of Stores in those Parts.' They also resolved to present two other Addresses to the Queen; one 'That she would be pleased to take such Measures as her Majesty should judge most proper, for the supporting the Settlements in Africa, and preserving the African Trade, till some other Provision be made by Parliament for the same; and that her Majesty would take into Consideration the Nature of that Trade, and how it might be best carry'd on for the Service of the Kingdom.' The other. 'That an Account be laid before this House, the Beginning of the next Session of Parliament, of the Distribution intended to be made of the Debentures directed to be delivered by the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, for Relief of the Sufferers in the Islands of Nevis and St. Christophers; and of the Re-settlements made there by the said Sufferers.'
Orders for new Writs in the room of Members advanc'd to Places. ; Mr. Benson made Chancellor of the Exchequer. ; And Sir Tho. Frankland continued Master of the Post-Office. ; Mr. Finch made Master of the Jewel-House. ; Sir W. Wyndham Master of the Hart and Buck-Hounds. ; Edw. Jeffreys made one of the Justices for the County of Pembroke, &c. ; Edw. Philips Esq; Comptroller of the Mint. Charles Cæsar Esq; Treasurer of the Navy. ; Sir Thomas Mansel Comptroller of the Houshold. ; Edward Foley Esq; Receiver of the Duties on Hides and Skins. ; John Ward Esq; one of the Justices of the Counties of Chester and Flint, and one of the Queen's Counsel Learned. ; Fran. Gwynne Esq; one of the Commissioners of Trade.
The Lords having pass'd the Bill for raising two Millions, without Amendment, it was generally expected, that the Queen would, that day, have come to the House of Peers, to put an end to this long Session: But it was thought fit to let the Commons sit some Days longer, to give them an Opportunity to make Orders for the issuing out new Writs for electing Members in the room of such as were advanced to (fn. 10) Places of Trust and Profit. Accordingly, the Commons order'd, that very day, a new Writ to be made out, for a Citizen, for the City of York, in the room of the honourable Robert Benson Esq; made Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer and another new Writ for the electing a Burgess for the Borough of Thirsk, in the County of York, in the room of Sir Thomas Frankland, appointed to manage the Duties of the Post-Office. Then the Commons adjourn'd to the next Saturday, when new Writs were order'd to be issued out for electing a Knight for the County of Surrey, in the room of the honourable Heneage Finch Esq; who was made Master of her Majesty's Jewel-House; another, for electing a Knight for the County of Somerset, in the room of Sir William Wyndham Bart. advanced to the Office of Master of her Majesty's Hart and Buck-Hounds. This done, the Commons adjourn'd again to the 12th, and being then met, order'd other new Writs to be made out, for electing, 1. A Burgess for the Borough of Droitwich, in the County Worcester, in the room of Edward Jeffreys, appointed one of her Majesty's Justices for the Counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen, and Cardigan. 2. A Burgess for the Borough of Ilcester, in the County of Somerset, in the room of Edward Philips Esq; made Comptroller of the Mint. 3. A Burgess for the Borough of Hertford, in the room of Charles Cæsar Esq; appointed Treasurer of the Navy, in the room of Robert Walpole Esq; 4. A Knight for the County of Glamorgan, in the room of Sir Thomas Mansel, advanc'd, or rather restored, to the Office he enjoyed some Years before, of Comptroller of the Queen's Houshold, in the room of Sir John Holland. 5. A Burgess for the Borough of Droitwich, in the room of Edward Foley Esq; made Receiver of the Duties upon Hides and Skins. 6. A Burgess for the Borough of New-Radnor, in the room of the Right Honourable Robert Harley, now Earl of Oxford, &c. call'd up to the House of Peers. 7. A Burgess for the Borough of Newtown, in Lancashire, in the room of John Ward Esq; made one of the Justices of the Counties of Chester and Flint, Denbigh and Montgomery, within the Principality of Wales, and one of her Majesty's Counsel Learned in the Law, in the room of Mr. Lechmere. And in the 8th and last place, a Burgess for the Borough of Totness, in Devonshire, in the room of Francis Gwynne Esq; appointed one of the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations. After this, Mr. Secretary St. John acquainted the Commons, that her Majesty had readily comply'd with their Desires in the three last Addresses, about the Commissioners to be sent to Spain and Portugal; the Trade to Africa; and the Debentures to be given to the Sufferers in the Islands of Nevis and St. Christopher's.
The same day, the Queen being come to the House of Peers, with the usual State and Solemnity, and the Commons sent for up, and attending, her Majesty gave the Royal Assent to the following public Bills, viz.
1. An Act for making good Deficiencies, and satisfying the public Debts, and for erecting a Corporation to carry on a Trade to the South-Seas, and for the Encouragement of the Fishery; and for Liberty to trade in unwrought Iron with the Subjects of Spain; and to repeal the Acts for Registering Seamen. 2. An Act for licensing and regulating Hackney-Coaches and Chairs, and for charging certain new Duties on Stampt-Vellum, Parchment and Paper, and on Cards and Dice, and on the Exportation of Rock-Salt for Ireland, and for securing thereby, and by a Weekly-Payment out of the PostOffice, and by several Duties on Hides and Skins, a yearly Fund of 186,670 l. for 32 Years, to be apply'd to the Satisfaction of such Orders as are therein mentioned, to the Contributors of any Sum not exceeding two Millions, to be raised for carrying on the War, and other her Majesty's Occasions. 3. An Act for granting to her Majesty several Duties upon Coals, for building fifty new Churches, &c. 4. An Act for the Encouragement of the Trade to America. 5. An Act for reviving and continuing an Act made in the first Year of her Majesty's Reign, for the more effectual preventing Abuses and Frauds of Persons employed in the Working up the Woollen, Linnen, Fustian, Cotton, and Iron-Manufactures of this Kingdom. 6. An Act for the Relief of the Creditors and Proprietors of the Company of Mine-Adventurers, by establishing a Method for settling the Differences between the Company and their Creditors, and uniting them, in order to an effectual Working the Mines of the said Company. 7. An Act for making the Act of the 5th Year of her Majesty's Reign, for the better Preservation of the Game, perpetual, and for making the same more effectual. 8. An Act for raising the Militia for the Year 1711, although the Month's Pay formerly advanced, be not repaid. 9. An Act to dissolve the present, and prevent the future Combination of Coal-Owners, Lightermen, Masters of Ships, and others, to advance the Price of Coals; in Prejudice of the Navigation, Trade and Manufactures of this Kingdom, and for the farther Encouragement of the CoalTrade, 10, An Act for the better Preservation and Improvement of the Fishery within the River of Thames, and for Regulating and Governing the Company of Fishermen of the said River. And to seven private Bills.
'I thank you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, in a particular Manner, for what you have done. You have comply'd with my Desire in granting a Supply for Building many new Churches, and you have not only enabled me to carry on the War, but have made effectual Provision for paying those heavy Debts, which were almost grown an insupportable Burden on the Public; and this, at a Time, when our Enemies, every where, pleased themselves with the Hopes, that the Supplies for the Service of the current Year could not have been found. You have disappointed them in all Respects, and by the great Sums you have raised, (the greatest ever granted to any Prince in one Session) you have restored the public Credit, which I will take care to preserve, by a frugal Management.
'The Satisfaction I take in the Power with which God has entrusted me, is, to employ it for the Protection and Good of all my People, whose Prosperity I have as much at Heart as ever any of my Predecessors had.
'It is needless for me to repeat the Assurances of my earnest Concern for the Succession in the House of Hanover, and of my fix'd Resolution to support and encourage the Church of England as by Law Established.