The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 6, 1714-1727. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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SPEECHES and DEBATES In the Third Session of the Second Parliament of King George I.
Anno 11. Geo. I. 1724.
THE Parliament met on the 12th of November, according to their last Prorogation, and the King being come to the House of Peers with the usual State, and the Commons attending, the Lord Chancellor read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses as follows:
The King's Speech at opening the Third Session.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Am persuaded, you share with me in the Satisfaction I feel at the prosperous Situation of Affairs: Peace with all Powers Abroad; at Home, perfect Tranquility, Plenty, and an uninterrupted Enjoyment of all Civil and Religious Rights, are most distinguishing Marks of the Favour and Protection of the Divine Providence. And these, with all their happy Consequences, will, I doubt not, by the Blessing of God upon our joint Endeavours, belong continu'd to my People.
"The same Provision by Sea and Land, for the Defence and Safety of the Nation, will continue to make us respected abroad, and consequently secure at Home. The same Attention to the Improvement of the publick Revenues, and to the Ease and Encouragement of Trade and Navigation, will establish Credit upon the strongest Basis, and raise such a Spirit of Industry, as will not only enable us gradually to discharge the National Debt; but will likewise greatly increase the Wealth, Power, and Influence of this Kingdom.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I have order'd the proper Officers to prepare and lay before you Estimates of the Expences for the Service of the ensuing Year; and, as they do not exceed what has been found by Experience to be absolutely necessary for the Security of the Kingdom, I make no Question but I shall have your ready Concurrence in raising the Supplies, in such Manner as shall be most easy to my People.
"There is one Thing that I cannot but mention to you, as deserving your particular Consideration. It is too manifest, that the Funds establish'd for the finishing the Works at Greenwich Hospital, and providing for a competent Number of Seamen there, cannot, in Time of Peace, be sufficient to answer the Expences of this great and necessary Work. It is therefore very much to be wish'd, that some Method could be found out to make a farther Provision for a comfortable Support to our Seamen, worn out in the Service of their Country, and labouring under old Age and Infirmities.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"You must all be sensible how much our present Happiness is owing to your Union and steady Conduct. It is therefore wholly unnecessary to recommend to you Unanimity and Dispatch in all your Deliberations. The Zeal and Abilities you have on all Occasions shewn in supporting the Interest of your Country, even under the greatest Difficulties, leave no Room to doubt of my having your intire and effectual Concurrence in every thing, that can tend to the Service of the Publick, and to the Good of my People."
Mr E. Thompson's Motion for an Address of Thanks, which is agreed to.
The Commons being return'd to their House, and Mr Speaker having reported his Majesty's Speech, Mr Edward Thompson mov'd for an Address of Thanks and Congratulation, which being unanimously resolv'd, a Committee was appointed to draw it up.
Nov. 13. Mr Thompson reported the said Address, which was agreed to Nem. Con. and on the 14th, presented to his Majesty by the whole House, as follows:
The Commons Address of Thanks to the King.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
Your Majesty's most dutiful and Loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great-Britain in Parliament assembled, return your Majesty the Thanks of this House for your Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne; and as your Majesty's fatherly Tenderness for your People, and the unspeakable Comforts of an easy Government, demand the sincerest Tribute of Duty; your Majesty's faithful Commons do now offer to your Majesty their most unfeigned Assurances of Gratitude and Loyalty, with that becoming Zeal and Affection that is particularly requisite at this Time.
'We beg Leave to congratulate with your Majesty on the prosperous Situation of Affairs at Home and Abroad; a Subject not only of Content, but of Joy: And we should be wanting to ourselves, and insensible of our own Prosperity, if we did not feel the same Satisfaction in reaping the Fruits of your Majesty's great Wisdom, that your Majesty hath in imploying it to direct and guide us to our own Happiness.
'Peace with all Powers Abroad, Plenty and Tranquility at Home, with a full and quiet Enjoyment of every Thing that is dear and valuable to us, are peculiar Marks of your Majesty's Government; which that they may be for ever remembred, this House will use their utmost Endeavours, by the Divine Assistance, to transmit the happy Consequences of these Blessings to the latest Posterity, as Monuments to Futurity of the Glories of your Majesty's Reign.
'To support the Interest and Credit of our Country, is to pay the most acceptable Obedience to your Majesty, and therefore this House will proceed with all Chearfulness and Dispatch in raising such Supplies as shall be necessary for the Honour and Safety of the Nation: We will labour to discharge gradually the National Debt, by the Improvement of the Publick Revenues; to increase our Wealth, by the Advancement of our Trade; and to establish our Strength, by the Encouragement of our Navigation; and are ready heartily to assist your Majesty in every thing that shall tend to the Security and Grandeur of your Majesty and your Kingdoms.'
To this Address his Majesty return'd the following Answer.
His Majesty's Answer.
I Return you my hearty Thanks for your loyal Address; I never made any Doubt, but that whenever the Honour and Interest of the Kingdom call'd upon you, I should meet with the same Return of Duty and Fidelity, and the same Affection and Zeal for my Service, as I have hitherto experienc'd on all Occasions.
Debate concerning the Number of Land-Forces.
Nov. 23. In a Committee of the whole House, the Commons consider'd farther of the Supply. The several Estimates of the Charge of Guards, Garrisons, and LandForces; of the Forces in the Plantations, Minorca, and Gibraltar; of the Out-Pensioners of Chelsea-Hospital, for the Year 1725, and of extraordinary Expences not provided for by Parliament, having been referr'd to the Committee, Mr H. Pelham open'd the Debate on those several Heads, shew'd the Necessity of keeping up the same Number of Guards, Garrisons, and Land-Forces, and mov'd for making the same Provision for them for the Year 1725, as was made for this Year. Mr Pelham's Motion was supported by Mr Treby, Sir Edmund Bacon, General Wade, and Mr Yonge; but was opposed by Mr Plummer, Mr Freeman, Sir William Barker, Lord Morpeth, Sir Joseph Jekyll, Mr Cornwall, Mr Snell, Mr Hungerford, and Mr Shippen, which occasion'd a warm Debate, that lasted till Four in the Afternoon. Those who oppos'd Mr Pelham's Motion, were not all of the same Opinion, as to the Number of Troops, some being for reducing the Army to seven or eight Thousand Men, as was done after the Conclusion of the Treaties of Ryswick and Utrecht, and others insisting only on the Disbanding of the 4000 Men rais'd upon Occasion of the late Conspiracy.
Mr Snell, Member for Gloucester, to shew the Danger of a Standing Army in a free Country, brought two Instances; the one of an Insult given by Dragoons encamp'd in the West, to some Country-Men that were merry-making; the other, of an Officer quarter'd at Gloucester, who, upon a Rejoicing-Day, would not permit the City Drums to beat, pretending, that none but the King's Drums had a Right to beat in the Garrison.' To the first of these Complaints Mr Treby answer'd, 'That by several Affidavits taken before the Magistrates in the Neighbourhood, it appear'd that a rude Mob of discontented People had given the first Insult and Provocation to the King's Troops, by calling them Roundheads, and other abusive Names, and singing or playing the Tune of, The King shall enjoy his own again, &c. To the other, it was said, That the Officer, who was guilty of that Piece of Indiscretion, was so far from being countenanc'd, that on the contrary, upon the first Notice given of it to the Secretary of War, he was order'd to be dismiss'd from his Majesty's Service; which Punishment he would have undergone, had not the Magistrates of Gloucester been satisfy'd with his Submission, and interceded for him.' Mr Hungerford endeavour'd to shew the Danger of regular Troops to a free Nation, and what little Occasion there was for them at this happy Juncture, and concluded, 'He could not imagine, what Use an Army could be put to, unless it were to extinguish the Flame that had been kindled in Ireland by the new Brass Half-pence, [meaning the base Half-pence coin'd by Mr Wood for the Use of Ireland,] and to force that People to swallow them.' But the most material Objections were urg'd by Mr Shippen, who upon this Occasion spoke as follows:
I Have spoke so often against maintaining an extraordinary Number of Land-Forces in Time of Peace, that I should now choose to be silent, if I had not the first Day of the Session enter'd my Claim to dispute the Continuance of the Four thousand Augmentation Troops, and if I did not think it my Duty to oppose every Proposition, which seems to carry the least appearance of Danger to our Constitution.
'I ask Pardon, especially of the Honourable Gentleman who moved it, if I take the present Question to be of this Nature. Nor can I be persuaded, that the frequent Imposition of unnecessary Taxes, or the Repetition of any Grievance, ought to beget an Insensibility, or a siavish Acquiescence in it. On the contrary, I think it ought to awaken and double our Attention, lest it should in time plead a Prescriptive Right, and gradually grow into an Establishment.
'If I may be permitted to consider the King's Speech, as the Composition of his Ministers, which tho' I know by Experience to be a more dangerous, [See p. 160] is yet a more Parliamentary Way, than to consider it as an Edict from the Throne, I will observe, that it does not ask the Opinion and Advice of the Commons, how far they will use their great, essential and undisputed Right of raising Money; but it positively prescribes the exact Provision we are to make, both by Sea and Land, for the Service of the ensuing Year; and, whether that be not a new Method of speaking to Parliaments, is with all Deference submitted to the Wisdom of this House, which is the best Judge of its own Privileges and Power.
'Surely, Sir, it is very melancholy to hear one Session after another, that, tho' we are in a State of Tranquility, as the Language is, yet we can neither be secure at home, nor respected abroad, without continuing above Eighteen thousand Land Forces in Pay.
'This Way of Reasoning entirely misrepresents our Circumstances and Condition. For it would suggest, that we cannot enjoy the Blessings of a good Reign, without enduring at the same time the Hardships of a bad one, which is a Contradiction in itself, and inconsistent with the Notions we, as Englishmen, must ever entertain of our legal Liberties, in Maintenance of which our Predecessors in Parliament though fit to alter the Lineal Succession of our Royal Family. This Way of Reasoning farther supposes, that the mutual Confidence betwixt his Majesty and his People is destroyed, that there is a Distrust on one hand and a Disaffection on the other, for which there is not the least Ground or Pretence. For his Majesty, by his Residence amongst us this last Summer, has not only given us the clearest Proof of his preferring the Welfare and Happiness of these Kingdoms to that of his own Foreign Dominions; but has for ever secured the Love of his Subjects here by his most gracious Affability and personal Condescensions to them. He has for ever secured that Tranquility at home, on which he is pleased with so much Satisfaction to congratulate his Parliament. Nor can this Tranquility be affected by the Clamours in Ireland against a late Patent, [meaning Mr Wood's Patent for Coining, which was afterwards recalled] for there is a large Army in that Kingdom sufficient to curb tumultuous Spirits, and to awe Patronizing Malecontents, should any such be found. Nay, if more Forces are judged necessary, either for the Honour or Safety of the Government there, that Kingdom is able and willing to maintain more on its own Establishment; and therefore all Arguments drawn from thence relating to the present Question must be inconclusive. The House may perhaps think fit, at a proper Season, to listen so far to the Complaints of our Fellow-Subjects in another Kingdom, as to call for this obnoxious Patent, and to examine into the Grounds of it. For the Misgovernment of Ireland has been frequently under the Examination of the House of Commons here, and such Examinations have formerly proved fatal to as great Ministers as England ever bred; which may be Matter of Reflection to their Successors, and to those it may concern; but can never be any Inducement to an English Parliament to pay one Soldier more, than is absolutely necessary for our own Use.
'Now all Rebellions, all Conspiracies, seem to be totally extinguished, not more by the late seasonable Exertion of Parliamentary Justice, than by the wise and prudent Conduct of those in the Administration. They have so carefully reviewed and modelled the Forces this Summer in every Part of the Nation, that, we are to hope, there are not left even so many, as three or four Serjeants and Corporals, who shall have Fool-hardiness enough to undertake again to draw the whole Army into wild and chimerical Attempts. They have freed the Church from all Apprehensions of Danger, by promoting only the most orthodox and learned Part of the Clergy to the Episcopal Dignity, and other Ecclesiastical Preferments. They have preserved the State, by advancing only Men of distinguished Ability and Experience to all great Offices and Civil Employments. They have, which is above all, reconciled their own Animosities, and have no other Contentions now, but who shall best serve his Majesty and the Publick, without any Views of accumulating immense Wealth to themselves, or of aggrandizing their own private Families. Such an Administration can never need the Assistance and Protection of above Eighteen thousand disciplined Troops. Such an Administration should not suffer the Army to run away with the Reputation of their good and great Works, or to assume the Glory of raising our Credit, enlarging our Trade, and establishing our present Prosperity.
'Nor are our Foreign Affairs in a less flourishing Condition, than those at Home, so far as I am capable of judging on the common Appearance of Things, without being in the Secrets of the Cabinet.
'We can have no Apprehensions from, our nearest Neighbour, France. For that Kingdom is engaged to us by many strict Treaties, and I have heard the French Bona Fides, of late Years, as much asserted and extolled in this House, as I have formerly heard it ridiculed and exploded. Besides, we have a vigilant Minister at Paris, who by his own Skill and Penetration in Politicks, as well as by good Advice and Assistance from hence, is not only promoting the British Interests there, but influencing and directing the French Councils.
'Nor can we have any Pretence to keep up those Forces on account of Danger from Spain. For, if that Monarchy should be indiscreet enough to retain the least harsh Remembrance of any pretended ill Usage from Great Britain: If it should resent our glorious and seasonable Conquest over their Fleet in the Mediterranean, [See p. 185] for which we struck a Medal with pompous Inscriptions: If it should insist on the Restitution of Gibraltar and Port-Mahon, which, in my humble Opinion, can never be surrender'd without the highest Infamy, as well as Injury, to England. I say, if any thing of this kind should remain in the Breast of the Court of Spain, notwithstanding our Treaties and daily Negotiations there, it is our Comfort, that we need fear no Invasion from their Armada; that the Mutability of their Counsels, their Pretensions in Italy, their Distance from Great Britain, render it impracticable for them, to annoy or distress us. And if King Philip's Resignation of that Crown was a good Argument the last Year, for continuing the Four thousand Augmentation Troops, then his Resumption of it now must be a good one for disbanding them this Year.
'The Emperor's personal Obligations to Great Britain are such, that it is impossible for him to entertain any ill Intentions against us, either on account of the Oftend-East-India Company, or of his Majesty's glorious Endeavours to remove the Religious Grievances in Germany, and to promote the Protestant Interest there, of which he is the great Guardian.
'The Dutch are our old natural Allies, and always ready to assist us. Nor is it their Fault, that we have sometimes disputed amongst our selves concerning the Expence of transporting their auxiliar Forces. They are bound to us, by antient Ties of Gratitude, for their original Preservation, and by, what is yet a stronger Cement, their own present Interest and Safety.
'As to the two Northern Crowns of Sweden and Denmark, They have in their Turns received our Protection, and tasted of our Bounty. We all remember the famous Æra, when Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds, as well as many smaller Supplies since, were raised on that Account. [See p. 125] Besides, we are to hope our Expeditions into the Baltick, under the Conduct of a brave Officer [Sir John Norris] here present, have been as effectual as they have been expensive, and that our Fleet has not only awed them into a Reconciliation betwixt themselves, but into an absolute Submission to Great Britain.
'The Czar is stretching his Conquests into remote Parts of the World, and if what we hear of a late Treaty be true, that it is made entirely in favour of Great Britain, without any regard to Foreign Principalities, we can apprehend nothing from our new Ally, who is otherwise so fully employed. For, however extensive our mediating Care may be, I presume we are not engaged with him to oppose the intended Succession of the Crown of Poland, or to settle the Balance of Empire in Persia.
'If such then is our prosperous Situation at Home and Abroad, Why should we be denied the promised happy Consequences of it? Why should we be afraid of reducing our Land Forces? Why should we not at least strike off the Four thousand Augmentation Troops, in Compassion to a Nation loaded, and almost sunk with Debt? For should a Storm arise after this Calm, should any new Events produce a Rupture in Europe, it will be time enough, if we are either prompted by our own heroick Disposition, or bound by any inviolable Treaties, to enter into the Quarrels of the Continent, I say, it will be time enough, when the War shall be actually declared, to lend our Assistance to those, whom we voluntarily espouse, or to perform our Engagements to our respective Allies, if they shall not be found romantick and impracticable. We have the Opinion of a most eminent Author in Civil Learning, 'That it is more grievous to any Nation to bear the least extraordinary Taxes in Times of Peace, than to endure the greatest Impositions in Times of War. Because a War may prove advantageous, may terminate in Conquest and glorious Acquisitions. But a Continuance of extraordinary Taxes, without it, must inevitably end in Poverty and Ruin.'
'Now I can never be so unjust to his Majesty's most mild and gracious Government, as to ascribe our present Tranquility to the Continuance of an extraordinary Number of Troops, any more, than I can believe, it would cease at the Reduction of Part of them. This would be a dangerous, as well as an absurd Doctrine, with relation to us at Home. For should it be admitted, that above Eighteen thousand Land-Forces have not only procured our present Tranquility, but that they are absolutely neccssary to the Security of the Kingdom; then it will follow, that the same Number will always be absolutely necessary; that a military Power is the most pacifick Form of Government; and that an Army will be a better Preserver of Peace and Plenty, a better Guardian of our Civil and Religious Rights, than the Law of the Land. This Doctrine too, considered with regard to the Respect and Influence we may have Abroad, is as absurd and ill grounded: For that Respect and Influence can never proceed from the Number of LandForces, we may think fit to burthen our selves with in Time of Peace: But it must proceed from the Advantages of our Natural Situation, from our Naval Strength, from our extended Commerce, from our vast Riches, which have enabled us to carry on long and expensive Wars; to maintain, when our Allies failed in their Quota's, three great Armies at once in three distant Nations; and these Advantages will ever enable us to hold the Balance of Power in Europe, unless worn out with unnecessary and insupportable Taxes.
'But, if not so much as the Four thousand Augmentation Troops are to be parted with, if they are to be continued till the Pretences of all the Princes in Europe shall be adjusted, till the different Interests of different Nations shall be reconciled, till the Claim of Bremen and Verden shall be fully settled and acquiesced in, till the long expected Form of a Congress shall be compleated, I freely own, I am not without my Apprehensions, that our immense National Debt, instead of being annually reduced, will be daily increased; that our present Grievances, for Grievances we have in the midst of all our Tranquility, instead of being speedily removed, will become perpetual, and we may dream of Blessings we shall never enjoy.
'On the whole, I am against continuing the Number of Forces proposed, and for disbanding at least the Four thousand Augmentation Troops.'
Mr Shippen having done Speaking, Mr. Yonge rose up and said, ' That he was oblig'd to the Gentlemen that spoke on the other Side, for furnishing him with Reasons for keeping up the present Number of Troops: That the prosperous Situation of Affairs, the Peace with all Powers Abroad, and the perfect Tranquility at Home, being in a great Measure, owing to the good Fosture we were in both by Sea and Land, which made us respected Abroad, and secure at Home, it were Imprudence not to continue those Forces on the same Foot. That the Parliament had indeed oblig'd King William, of glorious Memory, to reduce his Army to seven thousand Men. But what was the Consequence of it? Why, truely, the French King was thereby encourag'd to acknowledge and proclaim the Pretender, as King of England, and to seize on the Monarchy of Spain, which was the Occasion of a long, bloody, and expensive War. That as to the Reduction of the Army after the Peace of Utrecht, it was well known, that it was principally owing to those who were for having an Army of another Stamp. That this Reduction would have prov'd fatal to the Protestant Succession, had some People had Time to ripen their Designs. That at least it encourag'd a great Rebellion soon after his Majesty's happy, and almost miraculous, Accession to the Crown: And as the Spirit and Discontents which rais'd that Rebellion, were not yet wholly extinguish'd and subdu'd, they would soon see Insurrections at Home, and the Peace of Europe disturb'd Abroad, if they parted with the Army.' After this the Question being put upon Mr Pelham's Motion, it was carry'd in the Affirmative, by 206 Voices against 69; and resolv'd, I. That the Number of effective Men to be provided for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Jersey and Guernsey, for the Year 1725, be, including 1815 Invalids, 18,264 Men; Commission and Non-Commission Officers included. II. That the Sum of 654,488 l. 17 s. 8 d. be granted for the Charge of the said 18,264 effective Men, for the Year 1725.
A Petition of the Earl of Oxford and Lord Morpeth, complaining of the Deficiencies of the Accounts of the Masters in Chancery.
January 23. A Petition of Edward Earl of Oxford, and of Henry Lord Morpeth, two of the Guardians of the Person and Estates of Elizabeth Duchess Dowager of Montagu, a Lunatick, was presented to the House, and read, setting forth, That very great Sums of Money of the said Lunatick's Estate have, pursuant to Orders of the Court of Chancery, been brought before Mr Hiccocks, late one of the Masters of the said Court, and Mr Thomas Bennet his Successor, now one of the Masters of the said Court, in order to be placed out at Interest for the Benefit of the said Lunatick, upon Securities to be approved by the said Masters respectively: That upon examining into the Accounts of the Masters in Chancery, relating to the Suitors Monies brought before them, considerable Deficiencies appear; and that the said Mr Thomas Bennet has not deposited, pursuant to Orders of the said Court, several Mortgages for large Sums of Money, belonging to the Estates of the said Lunatick; neither hath he deposited nor secured, pursuant to Orders of the said Court, 9000 l. and upwards, of his Balance of Cash; and praying such Relief as the House shall think fit.
A Motion relating to the Masters in Chancery. ; The Debate thereon.
This Petition coming unexpectedly into the House, whilst the Accounts of the Masters in Chancery were put in a Course of Examination before the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal, the said Petition was ordered to lie upon the Table: But a Motion being made, That the proper Officer, or Officers, of the Court of Chancery, do lay before this House Copies of the Orders made by the Court, relating to the Accounts, and the Effects belonging to the Suitors, in the Hands of the Masters of the Court of Chancery, dated the 17th and 21st of December last, with Copies of the Reports therein mentioned; and also the Accounts of the said Masters relating thereto, with their several Explanations of the said Accounts; a great Debate arose thereupon, in which some severe Animadversions were made on the Conduct of the Earl of Macciesfield, late Lord Chancellor. Then Mr Henry Pelham mov'd, ' That the Debate be adjourn'd to the 9th of February, which was carried by a great Majority.'
February 9. Mr Methuen acquainted the House, that he had a Message from his Majesty to the House, sign'd by his Majesty; and that he was commanded by his Majesty to lay before the House Copies of several Reports and other Papers relating to the Masters in Chancery; and he delivered his Majesty's Message to Mr Speaker, and the said Copies and other Reports, at the Table. His Majesty's Message was read by Mr Speaker, as follows, viz.
King's Message relating to the Suitors in Chancery, and the Accounts of the Masters.
His Majesty having Reason to apprehend, that the Suitors of the Court of Chancery were in Danger of losing a considerable Sum of Money from the Insufficiency of some of the Masters, thought himself obliged, in Justice and Compassion to the said Suitors, to take the most speedy and proper Method the Law would allow, for inquiring into the State of the Masters Accounts, and securing their Effects for the Benefit of the Suitors: And his Majesty having had several Reports laid before him in pursuance of the Directions he had given, has ordered the said Reports to be communicated to this House, that this House may have as full and as perfect a View of this important Affair, as the Shortness of the Time, and the Circumstances and Nature of the Proceedings would admit of."
Then the said Reports, together with some of the Papers referr'd to therein, were read, and order'd to be taken into farther Consideration on the 12th Instant.
The House consider the King's Message and the Papers referr'd to therein. ; After the Consideration whereof, Sir G. Oxenden moves for impeaching Thomas Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. ; Debate thereon.
Feb. 12. The House took into Consideration the several Reports and Papers referred to in his Majesty's Message of the 9th Instant. After the reading Part of the said Papers, Sir George Oxenden, Bart. rose up, and said, 'That it manifestly appear'd by these Reports, which after the strictest Inquiry, and upon the maturest Deliberation, had been drawn up by Persons of the greatest Weight and Authority, for their Abilities, Experience, High Stations, and Integrity; That enormous Abuses had crept into the High Court of Chancery, chiefly occasion'd by the Magistrate, who was at the Head of that Court, and whose Duty consequently it was, to prevent the same. That the Crimes and Misdemeanors of the late Lord Chancellor were many, and of various Natures, but might be reduc'd to these three Heads. I. That he had taken into his own Hands the Estates and Effects of many Widows, Orphans, and Lunaticks, and either had dispos'd of Part of them arbitrarily to his own Profit, or conniv'd at the Officers under him making Advantage of the same. II. That he had raised to an exorbitant Price the Offices and Places of the Masters of Chancery, and in order to enable them to pay to him those high Prices and Gratuities for their Admission, had trusted in their Hands large Sums of Money belonging to Suitors in Chancery. III. That in several Cases he had made divers irregular Orders. So that in his Opinion, that first Magistrate in the Kingdom was fallen from the Height of the Dignities and Honours, to which he had been rais'd by the King's royal Bounty and Favour, to the Depth of Infamy and Disgrace. And therefore he mov'd, That Thomas Earl of Macclesfield be impeached of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.'
The House resolve to impeach the Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanours, and a Committee appointed to draw up Articles accordingly. ; A Bill order'd to indemnify Masters of Chancery, on Discovery of what Sums they paid for their Places,
This Motion was seconded by Mr Strickland, and Mr Doddington, who said, ' The Misdeamenors of the late Lord Chancellor were of the greatest and most dangerous Consequence, since most of the Estates in England, once in thirty Years, pass through the Court of Chancery.' Mr William Pulteney, who stood up next, said, ' That it was far from his Thoughts to endeavour to abate the just Resentment which the Gentlemen who spoke last, shew'd against the great Abuses that had been committed in the Court of Chancery: But that in his Opinion, they went a little too fast in so weighty and important an Affair, by which Means they might lose the very End they aim'd at, viz. the effectual punishing the Person by whose Neglect, at least, those Abuses had been committed; That whatever Deference they ought to pay on this Occasion, to the Capacity, Experience, Integrity, and Authority of the Persons who had drawn up the Reports that had been laid before them, yet it little became the Dignity, and was even derogatory to the Prerogative of that House, which is the grand Inquest of the Nation, to found an Impeachment upon those Reports, without a previous Inquiry, and Examination into the Proofs that were to support it; and therefore mov'd, that this Affair might be referred to the Consideration of a select Committee.' He was back'd by Sir William Wyndham, who urg'd, 'That by proceeding by way of Impeachment upon Reports laid before them from above, the Commons would make a dangerous Precedent, and seem to give up the most valuable of their Privileges, viz. the Inquest after State Criminals.' Sir Wilfred Lawson, and Sir Thomas Pengelly supported Mr Pulteney's Motion. But Mr Yonge (fn. 1), and Sir Clement Wearg (fn. 2) answer'd those Objections, whereupon the previous Question was put, Whether the Question be now put upon Sir George Oxenden's Motion? Which after some Debate was carry'd in the Affirmative, by a Majority of 273 Voices against 164. Then the main Question being put, it was resolv'd by the same Majority, That Thomas Earl of Macclesfield be impeach'd of High Crimes and Misdemeanors; and it was order'd, that Sir George Oxenden do go up to the Lords, and at their Bar, in the Name of the House of Commons, and of all the Commons of Great Britain, impeach Thomas Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanors; and acquaint them, that this House would, in due Time, exhibit particular Articles against him, and make good the same. Then a Committee was appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield; to which Committee the several Reports referr'd to in his Majesty's Message, were referr'd. After this, upon a Motion made by Mr West, and seconded by Mr Edward Thompson, a Bill was order'd to be brought in, To indemnify the Masters of Chancery from the Penalties of the Act of the 5th and 6th Years of King Edward VI, against buying and selling of Offices, upon their discovering what Consideration, Price, or Gratuity they paid, or agreed to pay, for the Purchase of, or for their Admission to, their Offices.
Which is read twice, and order'd to be engross'd,
February 13. Sir George Oxenden reported, That he had been at the Bar of the House of Lords, and in the Name of this House, and of all the Commons of Great Britain, had impeached Thomas Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanors, and acquainted the Lords, That the Commons would, in due Time, exhibit particular Articles against him, and make good the same. After this, Mr West presented to the House, a Bill, For indemnifying the Masters in Chancery from the Penalties of the Act of the 5th and 6th Years of King Edward the VI, against buying and selling of Offices, upon their discovering what Consideration, Price, or Gratuity they paid, or agreed to pay, for the Purchase of, or for their Admission to, their respective Offices. Which Bill was immediately read the first, and second Time, and without going through a Committee, order'd to be engrossed.
And passes the House.
Feb. 15. The said engrossed Bill was read the third Time, pass'd and sent up to the Lords.
Feb. 24. Sir George Oxenden acquainted the House, that he was directed by the Committee appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment against the Earl of Macclesfield, to move the House, That such Persons as the Committee should find it necessary to examine, be examined in the most solemn Manner; which was order'd accordingly.
A Bill relating to the Building 50 new Churches being read a second Time, Mr Onslow moves for a Clause to disable any Body Politick or Corporate from buying any Advowsons of Livings. ; Debate thereon.
March 17. A Bill, For better effecting the pious Intention of building fifty New Churches, &c. pursuant to a Message from the King, Feb. 10. recommending such a Bill to the Consideration of the House, was read a second Time, and committed to a Committee of the whole House, who were order'd to receive a Clause, to confirm Ministers and Curates in the Enjoyment of such poor Livings as are, or shall hereafter be, augmented by the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, for the Augmentation of the Maintenance of the poor Clergy; Hereupon a Motion was made by Mr Arthur Onslow, and the Question put, ' That the said Committee have Power to receive another Clause or Clauses, to disable or render incapable any Bodies Politick or Corporate, Brotherhoods or Societies, to purchase or take any Right of Advowson, Patronage, Presentation, Nomination, Collation, or Donation of, in, or to any Benefice with Cure of Souls; or of, in, or to any Donative, or any other Ecclesrastical Preferment whatsoever.' He was seconded by Serjeant Miller, and back'd by Mr Sandys, and some other Members, but being oppos'd by Mr Yonge, Mr Oglethorpe, Mr Hungerford, and Mr R. Walpole, the previous Question being put, that the Question be now put, it was carried in the Negative, by 144 Voices against 74. The Design of this Motion was to restrain the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, from purchasing new Advowsons and Presentations of Benefices.
Sir George Oxenden reports the Articles from the Committee of Impeachment against the Earl of Macclesfield. ; Debate thereon. ; The said Articles order'd to be engross'd,
March 18. Sir George Oxenden, from the Committee appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, acquainted the House, that they had drawn up several Articles accordingly, which they had directed him to report to the House; and he farther acquainted the House, that they had other Matters depending before them, relating to their Inquiry: and he read the Report in his Place, and afterwards deliver'd the Articles in at the Table, where they were read by the Clerk. These Articles were one and twenty in Number, and the two first relating to Offences said to be committed before the Act of Indemnity passed in the Year 1721, Mr Conduit, Member for Whitchurch, mov'd, that the said Articles be recommitted. Hereupon Mr Walter Plomer, one of the Committee that had drawn up the Articles, said, ' That the Crimes, for which the Earl of Macclesfield was impeached, being complicated, and having a Relation to, and Dependence upon, one another, they could not mention one without the other.' He was answer'd by Sir Philip Yorke (fn. 3), who spoke for the Motion for recommitting the Articles. To this, Sir Thomas Pengelly (fn. 4), reply'd, ' That in the Case before them, they ought to distinguish between an Act of Oblivion, and an Act of Indemnity: That the first is begun in either House of Parliament, and being the Act of the three Estates, or of the whole Legislature, clears and purges Offenders of all Crimes therein specified: But that it is otherwise with an Act of Indemnity, which flows from the meer Grace and Clemency of the Sovereign, is sent down to the Parliament, who are at Liberty either to accept or refuse it, but not to alter any Thing; and regards only Crimes committed against the King, his Predecessors, and Successors; which was not the Case of the Earl of Macclesfield, who stood impeach'd for Crimes and Misdemeanors committed in a high Office and Trust, against his Fellow-Subjects.' This was answer'd by Mr Yonge, to whom Mr West reply'd; and to the latter Sir Gilbert Heathcote. But Sir Clement Wearg having strenuously supported Sir Thomas Pengelly's Argument, the opposite Side drop'd the Motion without dividing. Then the Report being read, Paragraph by Paragraph, the several Articles were agreed to by the House, and order'd to be engrossed. It was also order'd, that a Clause be prepared, saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit any farther Articles against the said Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, and that he might be put to answer the said Crimes and Misdemeanors.
March 19. Sir George Oxenden presented to the House a Clause saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit farther Articles against the Earl of Macclesfield, which was agreed to, and order'd to be engross'd with the Articles of Impeachment against the said Earl.
And carried up to the Lords by Sir George Oxenden.
March 20. The engrossed Articles of Impeachment of High Crimes and Misdemeanors against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield were read, and order'd to be carried to the Lords by Sir George Oxenden; who being return'd reported, that he had been at the Bar of the House of Lords, and left with the Lords the said Articles of Impeachment.
April 8. Mr R. Walpole acquainted the House, That he had a Message from his Majesty to this House, sign'd by his Majesty, and he delivere'd the same to Mr Speaker, who read the same to the House, as follows, viz.
King's Message relating to the Civil List Debts.
"The Necessities of his Majesty's Government having render'd it impracticable for his Majesty to make any considerable Retrenchments in the Expences of his Civil List; and having engag'd his Majesty in some extraordinary Expences, which, he is persuaded, his loyal Commons will believe have been employ'd, not only for the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, but for the Interest and Prosperity of his People; His Majesty hopes, from the known Zeal and Affection of this Parliament to His Person and Government, that he may be enabled to make use of the Funds, lately settled for the Payment of the Civil List Annuities, and for re-placing the same to his Majesty, in the most advantageous Manner, and upon the Credit thereof to raise a Sum of Money sufficient to redeem those Annuities, and to discharge the present Debts contracted in his Civil Government."
Which is referr'd to a Committee of the whole House.
Hereupon it was resolved to take his Majesty's most gracious Message into Consideration, the next Day, in a Committee of the whole House; and, in the mean Time, Mr Scrope, by his Majesty's Command, presented to the House, An Account of the Debts upon the Civil List, at Michaelmas 1724, and also, An Account of the Payments into the Exchequer upon the Deductions of Six-Pence in the Pound, [See p. 259.] for the Year ending at Lady-day, 1725. And the said Accounts being read, were severally ordered to be referred to the Consideration of the said Committee.
Mr Pulteney's Motion for an Address for an Account of Pensions, &c. paid from the 25th of March, 1721, to the 25th of March, 1725. ; Which is agreed to.
After the Reading of these Papers, Mr Pulteney took Notice, ' That it was not long since [viz. July, 1721.] a Fund was given to discharge the Debts of the Civil List; and therefore it was Matter of Surprize, that so many new ones had been contracted in so short a Time; that if Things were carried on at this Rate, there would be no End of it; that it was incumbent upon them to inquire into the Causes of this growing Evil; and therefore mov'd, That an Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would graciously be pleased to give Directions, that the proper Officer or Officers of the Exchequer, Excise, Customs, and Post-Office, do lay before the House an Account of all Monies which have been issued and paid out of the said Offices to any Person or Persons on Account, for the Privy-Purse, Secret-Service, Pensions, Bounties; or any Sum or Sums of Money to any Person or Persons whatsoever without Account, from March 25th, 1721, to March 25th, 1725.' And being back'd by several Members, the said Address was voted accordingly.
The Earl of Macclesfield's Answer to the Articles of Impeachment referr'd to the Committee.
The same Day the Earl of Macclesfield having given into the House of Lords his Answer to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him by the Commons; their Lordships sent, the next Day, a Copy to the House of Commons, who referred the Consideration thereof to the Committee appointed to draw up the said Articles of Impeachment.
Debate on the King's Message relating to the Civil List Debts. ; Motion for raising a Million for redeeming the Annuities of 25,000 l. per Annum, charg'd on the Civil List; and for paying the King's Debts.
April. 9. A Motion being made for the Speaker to leave the Chair, that the House might go into a Grand Committee, to consider of his Majesty's most Gracious Message about the Debts of the Civil List, Mr Pulteney represented, 'That the House having order'd an Address to be presented to his Majesty, for several Papers relating to the Civil List and other Expences, they ought, in his Opinion, to put off the Consideration of his Majesty's Message, till those Papers were laid before the House; it being natural to inquire into the Causes of a Disease, before one applies Remedies to it.' Mr Yonge, Mr H. Pelham (fn. 5), and Mr R. Walpole, having oppos'd it, Mr Pulteney said, 'He wonder'd how so great a Debt [viz. 508,367 l. 19 s. 4 d.] could be contracted in three Years Time, but was not surprized some Persons were so eager to have those Deficiencies made good, since they and their Friends had so great a Share in it. And desired to know whether this was all that was due, or whether they were to expect another Reckoning?' To this no direct Answer was given; but in general, it was said, 'That there was, indeed, a heavy Debt on the Civil List, and a great many Pensions; but that most of these had been granted in King William's and Queen Anne's Reigns, some by King Charles the Second, and very few by his present Majesty. That since the Civil List was first settled for his Majesty, an Expence of about 90,000 l. per Annum had happen'd, which could not then be foreseen, and therefore was left unprovided for: That upon Examination of the Account given in of the Civil List Debts, it would appear, that most of those Expences were either for the necessary Support of the Dignity of the Crown and Government, or for the Publick Good: That there was, indeed, a Pension of 5000 l. of another Nature, viz. upon Account of the Cofferer's Place, but which could not well be avoided; for both the Lord Godolphin, who was in that Office, and his Father, had so well deserv'd of the Government, that they could not handsomely remove him without a Gratuity; and therefore they gave his Lordship a Pension of 5000 l. to make Room for the worthy Gentleman, [meaning Mr W. Pulteney] who now enjoys (fn. 6) that Post.' Then the Commons, in a Grand Committee, took his Majesty's Message into Consideration, and a Motion was made, 'That for the Redeeming the Annuities of 25,000 l. per Annum, charged on the Civil List Revenues, by an Act of Parliament of the Seventh Year of his Majesty, and for discharging the Debts and Arrears due from his Majesty to his Servants, Tradesmen, and others, his Majesty be enabled to raise any Sum, not exceeding one Million, by Exchequer-Bills, Loans, or otherwise, on the Credit of the Deductions of Six-pence per Pound, directed by the said Act of the Seventh Year of his Majesty's Reign, and of the said Civil List Revenues, at an Interest or Rate not exceeding 3 l. per Cent. per Annum, till Repayment of the Principal.' This Motion occasion'd a farther Debate; but the Question being put, it was resolv'd in the Affirmative, by 239 Votes against 119. This Resolution being the next Day reported, was agreed to by the House, and a Bill was ordered to be brought in thereupon.
Address for an Account of the Produce of the Civil List from 1699, to 1715.
April 10. It was resolv'd to address his Majesty, for an Account of the gross and clear Produce of the Branches of the Revenue of the Civil List Funds, from Christmas 1699, to Lady-day 1715. Which Address was readily complied with.
Lord Finch offers to the House a Petition of Henry late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke.
April 20. The Lord Finch (fn. 7), Knight of the Shire for Rutland, having offered a Petition of Henry St. John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, to be presented to the House: Mr R. Walpole acquainted the House, that he had received his Majesty's Commands to acquaint the House, That the Petitioner had, seven Years since, made his humble Application and Submission to his Majesty, with Assurances of Duty, Allegiance, and Fidelity, which his Majesty so far accepted, as to give him Encouragement to hope for some future Marks of his Majesty's Grace and Goodness; and that his Majesty is satisfied that the Petitioner's Behaviour has been such, as convinces his Majesty that he is an Object of his Majesty's Mercy; and his Majesty consents that this Petition be presented to the House.
Then the said Petition was brought up and read, setting forth, That the Petitioner is truly concerned for his Offence, in not having surrendred himself, pursuant to the Directions of an Act of the first Year of his Majesty's Reign, whereby the Petitioner was attainted of High Treason, and forseited all his Real and Personal Estate, [See p. 39.] and by Reason thereof hath suffered very great Losses: That upon the Petitioner's Marriage in 1700, Sir Walter St. John, Bart. and the Lord Viscount St. John, the Petitioner's Grandfather and Father, together with the Petitioner, made a Settlement of their Family-Estates in the Counties of Wilts, Surrey, and Middlesex, all which Premisses, except a very small Part thereof, are now in the Possession of the Petitioner's Father, and the Petitioner cannot become intitled thereto for his Life, until after his Father's Decease: That the Petitioner hath, in most humble and dutiful Manner, made his Submission to his Majesty, and given his Majesty the strongest Assurances of his inviolable Fidelity, and of his Zeal for his Majesty's Service, and for the Support of the present happy Establishment, which his Majesty hath been most graciously pleased to accept; and praying, that Leave may be given to bring in a Bill for enabling the Petitioner, and the Heirs Male of his Body, notwithstanding his said Attainder, to take and enjoy the said settled Estate, according to the Limitations of the said Settlement, or other Assurances therein mentioned; and for enabling the Petitioner to hold and enjoy any Personal Estate or Effects whereof he now is, or hereafter shall be possessed, and to invest the same in the Purchase of any Real or Personal Estate within this Kingdom.
And moves for a Bill to be brought in according to the Prayer of the said Petition. ; Debate thereon. ; A Bill order'd to be brought in accordingly.
After the Reading of this Petition, the Lord Finch mov'd, that a Bill be brought in, according to the Prayer of the late Viscount Bolingbroke's Petition. This Motion was seconded by Mr R. Walpole, who, having repeated Part of what he had before laid before the House, by the King's Command, in the Petitioner's Behalf, added, 'That he was fully satisfied, that he had sufficiently attoned for his past Offences, and therefore deserv'd the Favour of that House so far, as to enable him to enjoy the Family Inheritance that was settled upon him; which, according to the Opinion of the best Lawyers, he could not do by Virtue of his Majesty's most Gracious Pardon, without an Act of Parliament.' This was confirm'd by Sir Philip Yorke and Sir Clement Wearg. Then Mr Methuen (fn. 8) stood up, and strenuously opposed the Lord Finch's Motion; he said, 'That as he had the Honour to be one of the King's immediate Servants, it might, perhaps, by some be thought unbecoming his Station, to appear against a Petition, to the presenting of which his Majesty, in his Royal Clemency and Goodness, had graciously been pleased to give his Consent: But that being at Liberty to follow the Dictates of his Conscience in this Matter, he would freely declare his Opinion, that the Publick Crimes for which this Petitioner stood attainted, were so heinous, so slagrant, and of so deep a Dye; as not to admit of any Expiation or Attonement; and whatever he might have done to deserve his Majesty's Private Grace and Pardon, yet he thought him altogether unworthy of any National Favour.' Hereupon Mr Methuen instanc'd the late Lord Bolingbroke's scandalous and villainous Conduct, while he had a Share in the Administration of Affairs in the last Reign. How he was the principal Adviser of, and Actor in, the wicked Measures that were then pursued; his clandestine Negociation of Peace without the Privity of the Queen's Allies, contrary to the express Tenor of the Grand Alliance; his insolent Behaviour towards all the Confederates in general, and the Dutch in particular; his sacrificing the Interest of the whole Confederacy, and the Honour of his own Country, particularly in the base abandoning of the poor and brave Catalans: A Transaction with which he had an Opportunity to be intimately acquainted, as having had the Honour, at that Juncture, to serve the Nation as the Queen's Minister in Portugal; and to sum up all his Crimes in one, his traiterous Design of defeating the Protestant Succession, the Foundation of both our present and future Happiness; and of advancing a Popish Pretender to the Throne, which would have involv'd his Native Country in endless Misery. Mr Arthur Onslow, Lord William Paulet (fn. 9), Sir Thomas Pengelly, and Mr Gybbon (fn. 10) supported Mr Methuen; Serjeant Miller hereupon said, 'That he was against the Motion for three Reasons, I. Because he thought it against the Interest of the King. II. Against the Interest of his Country. III. Against the Interest of the present Ministry. That he loved the King better than he loved himself; and hated his Enemies more than he did. That he loved his Country as he loved himself; and as he thought its Interest inseparable from the King's, so he would not have any publick Favour shewn to one, who had acted in so notorious a Manner against both. And as for the present Ministers, he was so well satisfied with their just, prudent, and successful Management, that he would not see them expos'd to the Cabals and Intrigues of their inveterate, though seemingly reconciled Enemies.' On the other Hand Sir Thomas Hanmer and Dr Friend spoke for the Motion, and took that Occasion to extol his Majesty's Royal Clemency; and then the Question being put, on the Lord Finch's Motion, it was carried in the Affirmative by 231 Votes against 113, and his Lordship and Mr R. Walpole were ordered to bring in a Bill according to the Prayer of the late Lord Bolingbroke's Petition.
Sir George Oxenden reports the Committee's Replication to the Earl of Macclesfield's Answer to the Articles of Impeachment; Which is order'd to be engross'd,
April 23. Sir George Oxenden reported from the Committee, to whom it was referred to consider of the Answer of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him, 'That the said Earl had industriously avoided giving a direct Answer to several Matters positively alledg'd against him, and had endeavour'd to disguise the Crimes laid to his Charge; and that many Parts of the said Earl's Answer are contradictory and inconsistent; and the Committee did humbly submit to the Judgment of the House their Opinion, that for avoiding any Imputation of Delay in the Commons, in a Case of so great Moment, a Replication be forthwith sent up to the Lords, maintaining the Charge of the Commons; and that the Committee had prepared a Replication accordingly, which he read in his Place; and the said Replication being read a second Time, it was resolved to be the Replication of the Commons to the Answer of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield; and order'd that the said Replication be engrossed.
And sent to the Lords.
April 24. The Commons read the engrossed Replication to the Answer of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, which was order'd to be sent to the Lords.
The Bill in Favour of Lord Bolingbroke, read the first Time,
April 27. Lord Finch presented to the House a Bill, For enabling Henry St John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, to take and enjoy several Manors, Lands, &c. which was receiv'd, read the first, and order'd to be read a second Time.
And a second Time, and committed.
April 30. The late Lord Bolingbroke's Bill was read a second Time and committed to a Committee of the whole House, who were ordered to receive a Clause or Clauses, 'For preserving the Inheritance of all the Family Estate in the said Bill mentioned, to the Issue Male of the Lord Viscount St John, on Failure of Issue Male of the said Henry St John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, with Proviso to the said late Viscount Bolingbroke to charge the said Estate with a Sum of Money, and to make Leases in like Manner, as he was enabled to do by the Marriage Settlement in the said Bill mentioned, and to make a Jointure, and Provision for younger Children.'
Lord W. Paulet moves for a Clause to disable Henry late Lord Boling-broke from Sitting in Parliament, or holding any Place. ; Debate thereon.
May 3. The Order being read for the House to resolve itself into a Grand Committee upon the late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke's Bill, the Lord William Paulet mov'd, That it be an Instruction to the said Committee, That they have Power to receive a Clause to disable the said Henry St John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, to be a Member of either House of Parliament, or to have or enjoy any Office or Place of Profit or Trust under his Majesty. This Motion was back'd by several Members, but was opposed by Mr Robert Walpole, and the Question being put thereupon, it was carry'd in the Negative by 154 Voices against 84. After this the Commons in a Committee of the whole House, went through the said Bill, and made several Amendments thereto, which being the next Day reported by the Lord Finch, were, with an Amendment to one of them, agreed to, and the Bill so amended, order'd to be engross'd.
Lord Bolingbroke's Bill pass'd and sent up to the Lords.
May 5. The engross'd Bill, For enabling Henry St. John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, and the Heirs Male of his Body, notwithstanding his Attainder, to take and enjoy several Manors, Lands, and Hereditaments, &c. was read the third Time, pass'd, and sent up to the Lords.
Names of the Managers at the Earl of Macclesfield's Trial.
May 6. The Commons order'd, That the Committee appointed to manage the Evidence against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, be at Liberty to proceed in such Manner as they shall think most important for the speediest expediting of the said Trial. Then upon a Message from the Lords, importing, That their Lordships were ready to proceed on the Trial of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, the Names of the Managers were called over by the Clerk, viz. Sir George Oxenden, Bart. (fn. 11) Sir Clement Wearg, Sir Thomas Pengelly, Sir William Strickland, Bart. (fn. 12) Mr Doddington, Lord Morpeth, Mr Arthur Onslow, Mr Palmer, Mr Walter Plomer, Sir John Rushout, Bart. Mr Edward Thompson (fn. 13), Mr Philips Gybbon, Mr Hedges, Mr Sandys, Mr West (fn. 14), Mr Snell, Mr Lutwyche, Hon. Mr Thomas Gower, and Mr. Cary (fn. 15). Accordingly the said Managers went up to the Bar of the House of Lords, to proceed on the Trial, which held till the 26th of this Month, and being printed by Authority, may be found at large in the 6th Volume of the STATE TRIALS.
The Lords send a Message to the House, that they were ready to give Judgment against the Earl of Macclesfield. ; Debate thereon. ; The Thanks of the House order'd to be given to the Managers, by Mr Speaker.
May 27. The Lords sent a Message to the Commons, acquainting them, that their Lordships were ready to give Judgment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, if the Commons, with their Speaker, would come and demand the same. Hereupon a Motion was made, and the Question proposed, That this House will demand Judgment of the Lords against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield; which occasioned a warm Debate, that lasted till Five in the Afternoon, when the previous Question being put, That the Question be now put, it was carried in the Affirmative, by a Majority of 136 Voices against 65; and then the main Question being put, it was resolv'd, That this House will demand Judgment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield. This done, the Commons resolv'd, Nem. Con. That the Thanks of this House be given to the Members, who were appointed the Managers of the Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, for their faithful Management in their Discharge of the Trust reposed in them. Hereupon Mr Speaker gave them, they standing up severally in their Places, the Thanks of the House, as follows:
The Speaker's Speech on that Occasion.
IT is with the greatest Chearfulness, that I obey the Commands of the House on this Occasion; and yet I was never, on any Occasion, more scnsible of the Difficulties of performing them as I ought; but I have this Satisfaction in this Motion's being made when I least expected it, that my not being prepared may be some Excuse for those Defects, which I should not have been able to have supply'd, had I had never so long a Time for Consideration.
You have maintained the Charge of the Commons, with that Force of Argument, Beauty of Expression, and Strength of Reason, as would have gained you the bighest Applause in the most flourishing of the Grecian Commonwealths; and I may add,
— Nec dignius unquam Majestas meminit sese Romana locutam.
But I shall not enlarge farther on this Part of your Praise, being sensible that I am not able to express myself in a Manner suitable to the Dignity of the Subject; your own Tongues are only equal to such an Undertaking; and were I able to do it, your Modesty would not permit it: I shall therefore proceed in obeying the Commands of the House, in such a Manner, as you yourselves may hear it, not only without Offence, but I hope with Satisfaction; by endeavouring to set in their proper Lights the great and lasting Benefits your Country will receive by your faithful Discharge of your Duty.
You have stopp'd the Cries of Orphans, and dried up the Tears of the Widow; even those who must ever be insensible of the Benefits they receive, Ideots and Lunaticks, and such only can be insensible of them, will be Partakers of the Fruits of your Labours.
But you are more particularly intitled to the Thanks of this House, by having made the Prosecutions of the Commons against great Offenders, practicable; The Power of Impeachment, that Sword of Vengeance, which the Constitution has put into the Hand of the Commons, and which, when drawn by Party-Rage, when directed by the Malice of Faction, or wielded by unskilful Hands, has 100 often wounded that Constitution it was intended to preserve, has now, by your able Management, turn'd its Edge to its proper Object, a Great Offender; and if the Wound it has given should not be so deep, as many expect; yet you may be very sure, it never can be imputed to the Want of Strength in your Arm; And I hope and trust, from your prudent Conduct through the whole Progress of the Trial, that this great Privilege of the Commons will ever remain a Terror to evil Doers; and that it may be a Praise to them that do well, the House has unanimously come to this Resolution,
Resolv'd, Nemine Contradicente, 'That the Thanks of this House be given to the Members, who were appointed the Managers of the Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, for their faithful Management in their Discharge of the Trust reposed in them.'
Which is ordered to be printed.
The Commons unanimously resolv'd, That Mr Speaker be desired to print the above Speech, and sent Sir William Gage with a Message to the Lords, to acquaint them, That the Commons, with their Speaker, intended immediately to come to the House of Lords, to demand Judgment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield.
The Commons demand Judgment against the Earl of Macclesfield, who is fin'd 30,000 l.
Though it is not properly within the Compass of our Design, to take Notice of any Proceedings of the Commons at the Bar of the House of Lords, yet, as the Judgment of their Lordships against the Earl of Macclesfield gave Occasion to an Address from the House of Commons to the King, it will be necessary here to add, That the Commons with their Speaker went up to the House of Peers; where Mr Speaker having demanded Judgment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, for the High Crimes and Misdemeanors of which he was impeached by the Commons, the Lords, by the Mouth of Sir Peter King (fn. 16), Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common-Pleas, their Speaker, pro Tempore, gave the following Judgment, viz. 'That Thomas Earl of Macclesfield be fined in the Sum of Thirty Thousand Pounds unto our Sovereign Lord the King; and that he be imprisoned in the Tower of London, and there kept in safe Custody, until he shall pay the said Fine.'
The House address the King that the Earl of Macclesfield's Fine may be applied towards making good the Deficiencies of the Masters in Chancery. ; Which his Majesty consents to.
May 31. It was resolved, Nem. Con. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, 'That he would be graciously pleased to order, That the Fine imposed by the House of Lords, on Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, or any Part thereof, as the same shall be paid into the Exchequer, be issued and paid into the Court of Chancery, to be applied towards making good any of the Losses of the Suitors occasioned by the Deficiencies of the Masters of the said Court, as that Court shall think fit to direct.' And it was order'd, that the said Address be presented to his Majesty by such Members of the House as are of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council. About half an Hour after, Mr Robert Walpole reported to the House, That the said Address had been presented to his Majesty; and that his Majesty had commanded him to acquaint the House, That he would give the necessary Orders according to the Desire of the House.
The same Day the King being come to the House of Lords, with the usual State, and the Commons being sent for up and attending, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to the Bill in Favour of the late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, and to several other Bills.
After which the Lord King, Speaker of the House of Lords, read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament, as follows:
The King's Speech at concluding the Third Session.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Am come to put an End to this Session of Parliament, which, though it has been extended to an unexpected Length, has been so well employed for the Service and Interest of the Publick, that I assure myself it will be to the general Satisfaction of the Nation.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons, "The prudent Use you have made of the present flourishing State of Credit, by a certain Reduction of more than three Millions seven hundred Thousand Pounds to an Interest of Four per Cent. and by a wise Provision for the Redemption thereof by Parliament, without farther Notice, on Payment of such Sums as the Circumstances of the Government will from Time to Time admit, has secured a considerable Addition to the Sinking Fund, not subject to the Hazard of future Events.
"You have not only raised the Supply for the Service of the current Year, at the lowest Rate of Interest that has been ever known, but without laying any new Burthen on my People, you have enabled me to discharge the Debts of my Civil Government: Debts contracted by necessary and unavoidable Expences, and in Support of such Measures of Government as have greatly increased the Happiness of my People: You have thereby shewn your just Regard to my Honour, and the Dignity of the Crown.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"As all our publick Blessings are the happy Effects of the general Tranquility we now enjoy, I cannot but express my Satisfaction in the Provision you have made, for suppressing and preventing Disturbances and Commotions in those Parts where the Peace of the Kingdom might have been most endanger'd.
"Nothing more remains necessary, than to tell you, that I entirely depend on the faithful Discharge of your Duties in your several Stations, and on your constant Care in your respective Countries, to preserve the Peace and Quiet of the Publick; but I know not how to part with you without first returning you my very hearty Thanks for the many repeated Instances you have, in this Session, given me of your Duty and Affection; all such Returns may be expected from me, as can be made by the most indulgent Prince to an affectionate and loyal People."
The Parliament prorogued.
Then the Lord King, by his Majesty's Command, prorogued the Parliament to the first of July; They were afterwards farther prorogued to the 20th of January.