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 Fifth Session of the Second Parliament of King George I.
Anno 13. Geo. I. 1726-27.
The King's Speech at Opening the Fifth Session.
I Acquainted you last Year with the Treaties of Peace and Commerce concluded between the Emperor and the King of Spain. As that sudden and unaccountable Conjunction gave, at the first Appearance, just Grounds of Jealousy and Apprehension to the neighbouring Powers of Europe, the subsequent Proceedings and Transactions in those two Courts, and the Secret and Offensive Alliances concluded between them about the same time, have laid the Foundations of a most exorbitant and formidable Power, and are so directly levelled against the most valuable and darling Interests and Privileges of this Nation, that we must determine either tamely to submit to the peremptory and unjust Demands of the King of Spain, in giving up Gibraltar, and patiently to acquiesce in the Emperor's usurped and extended Exercise of Trade and Commerce, or must resolve to be in a Condition to do our selves Justice, and to defend our undoubted Rights against these reciprocal Engagements enter'd into, in Defiance and Violation of all National Faith, and the most solemn Treaties.
"I have likewise received Information from different Parts, on which I can entirely depend, that the placing the Pretender upon the Throne of this Kingdom is one of the Articles of the secret Engagements; and if Time shall evince, that the giving up the Trade of this Nation to one Power, and Gibraltar and Port-Mahon to another, is made the Price and Reward of imposing upon this Kingdom a Popish Pretender, what an Indignation must this raise in the Breast of every Protestant Briton!
"Nor were these fatal Combinations confined to those Parts of the World alone, but they extended themselves into Russia; and had not the Designs of that Court against some of their Neighbours been prevented by the seasonable Arrival of our Fleet in those Seas, a Way had been open'd for invading these Kingdoms, and giving a powerful Assistance to any Attempt to be made from other Quarters.
"Such Circumstances would not suffer Me and my Allies, among whom there has been and is the most perfect Harmony, Union, and Concert, to be idle Spectators, and regardless of our own Safety and the Common Cause of Europe; for which purpose his most Christian Majesty has been at a great Expence, this last Year, in augmenting his Forces; and the States General, sensible of the imminent Danger, have not only acceded to the Defensive Alliance concluded at Hanover, but have come to strong and seasonable Resolutions for an extraordinary Augmentation of their Forces both by Sea and Land. The Accession of the Crown of Sweden is in such a Forwardness, and the Negotiations with the Crown of Denmark are so far advanced, that we may reasonably depend upon the Success and good Effect of them.
"This short View of the present Posture of Affairs will, I am confident, not only secure to Me the Support and Assistance of my Parliament, in carrying on this great and necessary Work, in Conjunction with my Allies; but justify the Measures hitherto taken, and the Expences already made.
"The Confidence you reposed in me last Year has been made use of for the Benefit of the Publick; and as the chief Article of Exceeding has, by my equipping and sending to Sea three considerable Squadrons, fallen upon the Head of the Navy, I am persuaded the Necessity of the Services, and the Security, Advantage, and Glory that has accrued to this Nation from those Squadrons, will sufficiently speak for themselves, as long as both Friends and Foes, with Joy, or Concern, confess they have seen and felt the Effects of the Naval Power of Great-Britain.
"It is not to be wonder'd at, that the Princes engaged in these Enterprizes are very much disturbed to see their Projects render'd abortive: The King of Spain, impatient of the Disappointments he has met with, can no longer disguise that Enmity to Us, which for some time he has only waited for a favourable Opportunity to declare. He has now ordered his Minister residing here, to depart immediately from this Country, leaving a Memorial, that is little short of a Declaration of War, wherein he again demands and insists upon the Restitution of Gibraltar. He does not himself deny the Offensive Alliance, nor his Engagements to support the Oftend Company: He makes my recalling those Squadrons, which his Conduct had put Me under a Necessity of sending to the West-Indies and the Coast of Spain, the Condition of any farther Correspondence between the two Crowns; and supposing the Continuance of my Fleets abroad to be actual Hostilities, threatens to repel them with Force, to the utmost of his Power.
"But not content with these Menaces, Insults, and Infractions of Treaties, his Catholick Majesty is now making Preparations to attack and besiege Gibraltar; and in order to carry on that Service, or to cover another Design, has assembled a great Body of Troops in that Neighbourhood: But the present State and Condition of that Garrison, with the Reinforcements I have ordered thither, give Me little Cause to apprehend, or my Enemies to hope for Success in that Undertaking. The certain and undoubted Intelligence I have, that it is now resolved to attempt an Invasion upon these Kingdoms in Favour of the Pretender, by an Embarkation from the Coasts of Spain, gives Me Reason to believe, that tho' the Siege of Gibraltar may probably be undertaken, the publick, avowed, and immense Preparations made for that Purpose, are chiefly calculated to amuse the World, and to disguise the intended Invasion, which, I am surely informed, has been for some Time agreed to be the first Step and Beginning of the long premeditated Rupture.
"These Considerations must awaken in you all such a Sense of our common and immediate Danger, as will, I doubt not, inspire you with a Zeal and Chearfulness in raising the Supplies necessary for the Defence of your Country, and for making good our Engagements with our Allies.
"I receive too much Satisfaction from the Happiness of my People, in their full Enjoyment and future Prospect of Peace, Ease, and Prosperity, not to be sensibly affected with these new Convulsions, and the unavoidable Necessity I am under, of asking larger Supplies of my People, and of desiring to be enabled to make such an Augmentation of my Forces, by Sea and Land, as the present Exigency of Affairs requires.
"I will order the proper Estimates to be laid before you, and such Treaties as I have made with Foreign Princes for the Hire of Foreign Troops; and as the Expence I was last Year in a particular Manner intrusted to make, has amounted to no considerable Sum, and the publick Utility may again require the like Services to be performed, I hope you will again repose the same Trust and Confidence in Me.
"It is with great Pleasure that I see the Time so near approaching, when such a considerable Addition will be made to the Sinking Fund; Let all that wish well to the Peace and Quiet of my Government, have the Satisfaction to see that our present Necessities shall make no Interruption in the Progress of that desirable Work of gradually discharging the National Debt: I hope therefore you will make a Provision for the immediate Application of the Produce of the Sinking Fund to the Uses, for which it was so wisely contrived, and to which it stands now appropriated.
"I have had no Thoughts of making any Acquisitions to any Parts of my Dominions; my whole Care and Concern has been to preserve and maintain the undoubted Rights and Privileges of my People; and therefore all my Measures have been Preventive and Defensive: But such Endeavours being now render'd impracticable, vigorous Resolutions, and a speedy Execution of them, can alone put an effectual End to the Dangers that surround us. However hazardous and desperate the Enterprizes formed against us may appear to be, your being assured that they are resolv'd upon, will, I am persuaded, be sufficient to prevail upon you, to put yourselves in a Condition to resist and defeat them.
"If preserving a due Balance of Power in Europe, if defending the Possessions of the Crown of Great-Britain, of infinite Advantage and Security to our Trade and Commerce, if supporting that Trade and Commerce against dangerous and unlawful Encroachments, and if the present Establishment, the Religion, Liberties, and Properties of a Protestant People, are any longer Considerations worthy of the Care and Attention of a British Parliament, I need say no more to incite my loyal and faithful Houses of Parliament to exert themselves in the Defence of all that is dear and valuable to them."
Mr Onslow moves for an Address of Thanks.
The Commons being return'd to their House, and Mr Speaker having reported his Majesty's Speech, Mr Onslow mov'd, 'That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return him the Thanks of this House for his most gracious Speech from the Throne; To acknowledge his Majesty's Goodness, in acquainting his Parliament with the several Proceedings and Alliances entred into between the Emperor and the King of Spain, giving such just Cause of Jealousy to the neighbouring Princes and States, so formidable and destructive of the true Balance of Power in Europe, and striking at the Foundation of the most valuable Privileges and Interests of the Subjects of his Majesty, and those of his Allies; To declare the Resentment of the Commons of Great-Britain, at the unjust Demand of the King of Spain for the Restitution of Gibraltar, and the unwarrantable Usurpation of the Emperor, in erecting and carrying on the Ostend Trade, and their mutual Obligations to support each other in these unjustifiable Attempts and Undertakings: But above all, to express our highest Indignation at the Resolutions and Engagements entred into, for attempting to place the Pretender on the Throne of these Kingdoms; To return his Majesty the Thanks of this House, for his great Care in strengthening his Alliances, and for employing his Royal Fleet so usefully for the Security, Advantage, and Glory of this Nation. And, as this House cannot but look upon the Measures and Resolutions, taken in Opposition to and in Defiance of most solemn Treaties, as tending to an immediate Rupture, humbly to desire his Majesty, that he will forthwith give the necessary Orders for putting this Kingdom in a Posture of Defence; and to assure his Majesty, that this House will not only chearfully and effectually raise the Supplies necessary for the present Exigency of Affairs, but will stand by and support his Majesty in making good his Engagements with his Allies; in preserving the Balance of Power in Europe; in defending the Possessions of the Crown of Great-Britain; in supporting the Trade of this Nation against all unjustisiable Encroachments; and in defeating and confounding all Attempts that shall be made in Favour of the Pretender, and to the Destruction of our Religion, Liberties, and Properties; and that this House will apply the Produce of the Sinking Fund to its proper Uses; and repose such a Trust and Confidence in his Majesty, as the publick Utility shall require, and his Majesty shall find reasonable and necessary, for carrying on the great Work in which his Majesty is engaged, for the Interest and Security of his People, and the common Cause of Europe.'
This Motion was seconded by the Hon. Mr John Finch (fn. 1), Member for Higham-Ferrers; but was strenuously opposed by Mr Shippen, Sir William Wyndham, Mr Hungerford, Mr William Pulteney, and Sir Thomas Hanmer; who were answer'd by Mr Doddington, Mr Horatio Walpole, and Sir Robert Walpole. Mr Shippen urg'd, 'That the Matter of Peace and War is of the greatest Weight that can fall under the Consideration of that Assembly; That as his Majesty's Speech contain'd many Points of the highest Moment and Importance, so no doubt his Majesty, in his great Wisdom and Goodness towards his People, expected, on this Occasion, not only the Support, but likewise the Advice of that House: That, in order thereto, they ought maturely to deliberate on those several Heads, which could not be done before several Papers were communicated to them, that seem'd absolutely necessary to state some Facts relating to those weighty Matters; That the Motion, as it was drawn up, imply'd an Approbation of Measures taken to prevent Dangers; which seem'd preposterous before they knew either what those Measures were, or whether those Dangers were real; That therefore they ought, for the present, to content themselves with returning his Majesty the most humble Thanks of the House for his most gracious Speech, with Assurances of supporting his Majesty in all just and necessary Measures; and appoint a Day for taking the said Speech into Consideration.'
Sir W. Wyndham.
Sir William Wyndham took Notice of the Unsteadiness of our Counsels, and observ'd, 'That of late Years our Measures had been in a perpetual Fluctuation; that Penelopelike, we were continually weaving and unravelling the same Web; one time raising up the Emperor to depress France, and now we were for depressing the Emperor, which could not be done without aggrandizing France, which, in the End, may make the latter too powerful: So that at this rate, under Pretence of holding the Balance of Europe, we should be engaged in continual Wars.'
Mr Hungerford said, 'That the Dangers with which we were threaten'd, were not, in his Opinion, so great, as they were by some People represented to be: That the Czarina's and the King of Spain's Design of invading us with five or six Men of War seem'd altogether romantick, since such a Project, may, at any time, be defeated by our ordinary Guard-Ships, much more when we had such strong Fleets at Sea: That therefore the Fears of the Pretender were groundless and chimerical, and he could not tell how they could bring him ever, unless they borrowed Captain Gulliver's floating Island. As to the Ostend Company, he owned it to be a Neicnal Concern, and a very just Motive to a War with the Emperor; but that it had been an easy Matter to nip that Project in the Bud: For, if he was rightly inform'd, ten thousand Pounds would have prevail'd with the Marquess de Prie to drop it, whereas now, when that Company has had time to get Footing both in Europe and in India, it may prove a difficult Matter to suppress it. That as to Gibraltar, the Demand of which was alledg'd as a Proof of an offensive Alliance between the Emperor and Spain, he had in his Pocket the Purport of the Secret Article relating to that Affair, which was only, That in case the King of Spain could produce a positive Promise from GreatBritain to restore Gibraltar, his Imperial Majesty would engage to become a Mediator and Guarantee for the Performance of such a Promise. That, upon the whole Matter, he hoped Things were not yet brought to so desperate an Issue, but that some Means of Accommodation might be found out, without running into an expensive War, and augmenting our Forces, which, he was afraid, would prove an Aggravation of Misfortunes.'
Sir Tho. Hanmer.
Sir Thomas Hanmer declar'd, 'That if the Dangers they were threaten'd with, were so real, and so imminent as some People pretended, he would be one of the foremost in the most speedy and most vigorous Resolutions. But that he thought those Dangers yet extream distant, to say no more— That, indeed, some Foreign Princes may make a political Use of the Pretender, as a State Bug-bear to frighten and alarm us, and thereby endeavour to make us subservient to their ambitious Designs; but that, in his Opinion, his Interest was never so low, nor his Party so inconsiderable and so despicable, as at present, and, therefore in this Day's Debate he ought to be left intirely out of the Question. That he was apprehensive the Acquisition of some Dominions Abroad had sown the Seeds, and were the true Causes of the Divisions and Distractions, which now threaten the general Tranquility of Europe, by drawing us into unaccountable Compliances for the Emperor, on the one Hand, and into a Promise, at least a Conditional one, for the Restitution of Gibraltar on the other Hand: Both which had brought us at last into the present Difficulties.
In Answer to these Objections, Mr Doddington took Notice, 'That the Eyes of all Christendom were, at this critical Juncture, fix'd upon the British Parliament, whose Resolutions had ever a great and just Weight and Influence in all the Affairs of Europe: And the Season of the Year being so far advanced, they ought not to slip the first Opportunity that offer'd to give his Majesty the strongest Assurances of supporting him in all his Engagements, he had enter'd into with his Allies, and in the Measures that shall be judg'd necessary, for securing the Rights and Interests of his Subjects, and the common Cause of Europe. That Delays were often dangerous, and might be fatal in the present Situation of Affairs, which required vigorous and speedy Resolutions, both for the Encouragement of our Friends, and the perfecting some Alliances, that were already in great Forwardness; and for the Discouragement of our Enemies, who had already block'd up Gibraltar, and threaten'd it with a Siege. That the Measures that had been taken, were but a Consequence of the last Year's Resolutions, which that House had come to, after a full Examination, and mature Consideration of the State of Affairs, then laid before both Houses by his Majesty: But that however, such an Address as was proposed, did not preclude a farther Inquiry into those Matters.'
Mr H. Walpole.
Mr H. Walpole, in Answer to the Objection of the Unsteadiness of our Counsels, observ'd, 'That it had often been Matter of Complaint; but that it was the unavoidable Result of our Situation, which puts us on that Necessity, and, at the same Time, gives us the Prerogative of holding the Balance of Power in Europe: But that besides the preserving of that Balance, which was in great Danger of being destroyed by the Conjunction of the Emperor and King of Spain, and the Intermarriages of their Issue, we had an intimate and immediate Concern in maintaining our invaluable Rights and Privileges of Commerce, which had been notoriously invaded; and in defending our Possessions of Gibraltar and the Island of Minorca, which we had acquired, in lawful War, at a vast Expence of Blood and Treasure, and which had been yielded to us by several solemn Treaties.'
Sir R. Walpole.
Sir Robert Walpole said, 'As to the Promise of restoring Gibraltar to the King of Spain, That such a Promise not having been made while he had the Honour to be in the Administration, he could say nothing to it; That if such a Promise was ever made, he durst aver, That it was conditional, and made void and invalid by the King of Spain's refusing to comply with the Conditions on which it was made; and that whenever the Performance of that Promise was mention'd to him, as insisted on by the King of Spain, he always delivered it as his six'd and positive Opinion, That Gibraltar could not be given up without the Consent of Parliament. As to the Ostend-Company, which a Gentleman suggested, might have been nipp'd in the Bud; he left it to the House to judge, whether it had not been highly imprudent and impolitick in us, to quarrel with the Emperor about it, before we had engag'd both France and Holland in the Danger and Expence of that Quarrel, who have, at least, an equal Concern with us, in the Suppressing of the Ostend Trade. And as to the Danger of an Invasion in favour of the Pretender, such early Measures had been taken to defeat it, that he hoped by this Time, it was pretty well over: But that besides the glaring Appearances of Enmity to his Majesty, and of Favour and Countenance to the Pretender's Friends, at the Courts of Vienna and Madrid, his Majesty had such undoubted and concurring Evidence of a form'd Design to invade his Dominions, that it had been the most unpardonable Want of Duty, and a criminal Supineness in his Ministers, not to take all possible Precautions against it. And, as to any Measures that had been taken many Years ago, and to which another Member ascribed the Convulsions which now threaten the Tranquility of Europe, he was not at all concern'd in those Measures; and so could say nothing to them; neither were, indeed, such remote and groundless Causes a proper Subject for their present Consideration.'
At last, the Question being put upon Mr Onslow's Motion, it was carried in the Affirmative, by 251 Voices against 81; and a Committee was appointed to draw up an Address accordingly, which was the next Day reported and agreed to.
An Address resolv'd on, and presented.
'The Communication, which your Majesty has been pleased to make, of the Proceedings and Transactions in Europe for some Time past, and of the Engagements entered into between the Emperor and the King of Spain, is an Instance of your Majesty's singular Goodness, in being as desirous to give your People all reasonable Satisfaction, as you have ever been solicitous for their Good and Welfare.
'We are very sensible of the fatal Tendency of the sudden and unaccountable Conjunction between those two Crowns; and as this Nation has always looked with jealous Eyes upon the very Beginning of every Attempt made by their Neighbours to establish a Commerce, at the Hazard and to the Prejudice of our undoubted Rights and Privileges; We cannot but be greatly alarmed to see these Incroachments upon our Trade, and notorious Infractions of Treaties, accompanied with a Scheme of Greatness that lays the Foundation of a most exorbitant Power, which, if not timely opposed, and withstood with Vigour and Resolution, may become formidable to all Europe, and enable the Aggressors, without Controul, to maintain their unwarrantable Attempts.
'Nor can we at all doubt of the Spirit and Design of this new Friendship and Alliance, when we see it cemented by mutual Obligations for supporting one of the Contracting Powers in the unjustifiable and usurped Exercise of the Ostend Trade, at the same Time that a peremptory Demand is made and insisted upon by the other, for the Restitution of Gibraltar, a Place of such Importance to the Trade of this Kingdom.
'But the Consideration that creates the highest Resentment in your faithful Commons is, to see that whenever the Ambition of Foreign Princes leads them to aspire and grasp at exorbitant Power, or to acquire and possess themselves of any valuable Rights and Privileges belonging to the Subjects of your Majesty and your Allies, all Guarantees, and the most solemn Engagements of Faith and Gratitude to your Majesty, purchased by the Blood and Treasure of this Nation, are cancelled and forgot; and it is vainly imagined that your Majesty must either tamely submit to, and patiently acquiesce under, the greatest Indignities and Injuries to your Crown and People, or be insulted with Menaces and Projects in favour of a Popish Pretender.
'But your Majesty's loyal, faithful, and affectionate Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain, sensible of the inestimable Blessings they enjoy under your Majesty's most gracious and happy Government, have too great a Regard to the Honour and Dignity of your Crown, and too much Abhorrence and Detestation of an abjured Pretender, to suffer these vain Terrors to have any ill Effect upon their Minds or Deliberations.
'It is with Indignation that we see this injurious Treatment and these provoking Insults; and it is with an unshaken Fidelity and Resolution, that we are determined, with our Lives and Fortunes, to stand by and support your Majesty against all your Enemies.
'We must, at the same time, with all Gratitude, acknowledge your Majesty's Wisdom and Vigilance, in strengthening your self with the Alliance of Powers united in Interest, and best able to withstand the impending Danger, and to support the Common Cause of Europe.
'We see, with the greatest Satisfaction, the Naval Power of Great-Britain appearing in distant Regions, in its proper Lustre, so usefully and wisely employed to carry Safety and Protection to your own Subjects and to your Allies, and to curb and restrain the boasted Projects of the Disturbers of the Peace of Europe.
'And as we cannot but look upon the Measures and Resolutions concerted and taken in Opposition to, and in Defiance of the most solemn Treaties, as tending to an immediate Rupture, We humbly beseech your Majesty, that you will be pleased forthwith to give the necessary Orders for putting this Kingdom into a Posture of Defence; and we assure your Majesty, That we will not only cheerfully and effectually raise the Supplies necessary for the present Exigency of Affairs, but will support your Majesty in making good your Engagements with your Allies, in preserving the Balance of Power in Europe, in defending the present Possessions of the Crown of Great-Britain, in supporting the Trade of this Nation against all unjustifiable and pernicious Incroachments, and in defeating and confounding all Attempts that shall be made in Favour of the Pretender, and for the Destruction of our Religion, Liberties, and Properties.
'And that all, who wish well to the Peace and Quiet of your Majesty's Government, may have the Satisfaction to see, that our present Necessities shall make no Interruption in the Progress of that desirable Work of gradually discharging the National Debt, we will consider of the most proper Methods for immediately applying the Produce of the Sinking Fund, to the Uses for which it was so wisely contrived, and to which it stands now appropriated; and will repose such a Trust and Confidence in your Majesty as the publick Utility shall require, and as your Majesty shall find reasonable and necessary for carrying on the great Work in which your Majesty is engaged, for the Interest and Security of your People, and the common Cause of Europe.'
The King's Answer thereto.
I Return you my Thanks for this very Dutiful and Loyal Address: The just Sense you have express'd of the present Posture of Affairs in Europe, and the hearty Assurances you have given me of your Support in defending my Possessions and the Rights and Privileges of my People, as they are Evidences of your known Zeal and Affection to my Person and Government, I am persuaded they will confirm the Spirit and Vigour of my Allies, and convince my Enemies how vain and ill-grounded all their Expectations are, of being able to succeed in any Attempts to disturb the Peace of Europe, and in offering Injuries and Insults to this Nation.
A Supply voted.
Jan. 21. Mr Farrer, from the Committee of the whole House, reported the preceding Day's Resolution for a Supply, which was agreed to Nem. Con. and it was resolv'd, to address his Majesty for the usual Estimates for the Year 1727.
Address to the King for Copies of some Letters, Memorials, &c. resolv'd on. ; Motion for several others rejected.
Jan. 23. The Commons resolv'd to address his Majesty for the Accession of the States General to the Treaty of Hanover, together with the separate Articles, if there were any; as also for the Copies of such Memorials, and Letters with the Answers thereto, as passed between his Majesty's Ministers, and the Courts of Vienna and Spain, since the Communication of the Treaty of Peace between the Emperor and the King of Spain; to his Majesty, by the Emperor's Minister: But a Motion being made by Sir William Wyndham, and the Question put, to address his Majesty, for a Copy of the Memorial presented to the King of Sweden, by Mr Poyntz, his Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary, relating to the Accession of the Crown of Sweden to the Treaty of Hanover, dated at Stockholm the 4th of June, 1726: As also another Motion being made by Mr Pulteney, and the Question put, to address his Majesty, for the Secret Offensive Alliance between the Emperor and the King of Spain, both these Questions were carried in the Negative, without Dividing.
Debate concerning the Number of Land Forces.
Jan. 25. The Commons, in a Grand Committee, consider'd farther of the Supply, particularly with Relation to the Land Forces; and Mr Henry Pelham, having shewn the Necessity of an Augmentation of about eight Thousand Men, Dragoons and Foot, the same was warmly opposed by Mr Shippen, Dr Friend, Sir William Wyndham, Mr Hungerford, and others; who were answer'd by Mr Henry Pelham, Col. Bladen, Sir William Yonge, and General Wade; so that it was, at last, resolv'd by 250 Voices against 85, I. That the Number of effective Men to be provided for Guards, Garrisons, and Land Forces for the Year 1727 be, including 1850 Invalids, and 555 Men, which the six Independent Companies consist of for the Service of the Highlands, 26,383 Men; II. That the Sum of 885,494 l. 9 s and 4 d. be granted for defraying the Charge thereof. These Resolutions, being the next Day reported, were agreed to by the House.
Sir R. Walpole's Motion for a Land-Tax of 4 s. in the Pound, which, after some Debate, is agreed to.
Jan. 27. Copies and Translations of several Memorials, Letters, &c. relating to the Courts of Vienna and Spain, were laid before the House, and order'd to lie on the Table; after which, in a Grand Committee, the Commons consider'd of Ways and Means to raise the Supply, and Sir Robert Walpole having shew'd the Necessity of laying four Shillings in the Pound on Land, the same was opposed by some Members, who alledged, 'That it were more eligible to apply the Produce of the Sinking Fund towards the present Necessities; but the Question being put upon Sir Robert Walpole's Motion, it was resolv'd in the Affirmative, by 190 Voices against 81, which Resolution, being the next Day reported, was agreed to by the House.
Mr Sandys's Motion for a Copy of the Letter, on which the K. of Spain founds his Demand of the Restitution of Gibraltar. ; Debate thereon.
February 6. Mr Sandys moved, 'That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to communicate to this House, Copies of the Declaration, Letter, or Engagement, which in the Marquiss de Pozobueno's Letter to the Duke of Newcastle of the 21st of December last, is asserted to be a positive Promise, upon which the King of Spain founds his peremptory Demand for the Restitution of Gibraltar, which had been so solemnly yielded to the Crown of Great-Britain by the Treaty of Utrecht, and was afterwards confirm'd and granted to GreatBritain by the King of Spain's Accession to the Quadruple Alliance.' This Motion was seconded, and strenuously supported by Sir William Wyndham, Mr Hungerford, and also by Mr William Pulteney, who took Notice of a Letter, written in 1721, to one of the Emperor's Plenipotentiaries at Cambray, wherein a Promise for the Restitution of Gibraltar was expresly mention'd:' But they were oppos'd by Mr Henry Pelham, Mr Thomas Broderick, Mr H. Walpole, and Sir Robert Walpole. The latter did not disown, 'That such a Promise might indeed have been made in a former Administration; but this he was sure of, that if there was such a Promise, it was upon certain Conditions, which, not having been perform'd within the limited Time, was thereby become invalid; and as for the Declaration or Letter, the Communication of which was insisted on, the same was altogether impracticable and unprecedented; the private Letters of Princes being almost as sacred as their very Persons.' Then the previous Question being put, whether the Question upon Mr Sandys's Motion should be put? It was carried in the Negative, by 204 Voices against 97. The Reader will find a Copy of this Letter in the APPENDIX.
Address for Papers relating to the Imperial Ostend-Company. ; Lord Morpeth's Motion relating to the Fleet sent into the Baltick last Year. ; Debate thereon.
Feb. 7. The Commons resolv'd to address his Majesty for Copies of such Memorials and Representations, as have been made to the Court of Vienna, concerning the Charter granted to the Ostend Company, with the Answers thereto: After which, the Lord Morpeth mov'd, 'That another Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to direct Copies to be laid before this House, of all such Memorials, or Representations to his Majesty, from the Crowns of Sweden and Denmark, as did induce him to send the Squadron of Ships the last Year into the Baltick, at so great an Expence to this Kingdom.' He was seconded by Sir William Wyndham; but opposed by Sir William Yonge, and the Hon. Mr Verney. Hereupon Mr Walpole endeavoured to justify all the Steps that had been taken by Great-Britain, since his Majesty's happy Accession, particularly from the Opening of the Congress of Cambray to this present Time, to preserve the Balance of Power, the Peace of Europe, and the Tranquility of the North; and with this last View to prevent the Czarina's Designs against Sweden and Denmark, in favour of the Duke of Holstein. Mr William Pulteney answer'd him, and was replied to by Mr Broderick; and the Question being put upon the Lord Morpeth's Motion, it passed in the Negative, by 196 Voices against 79.
Motion relating to the Sum of 125,000 l. charg'd for Extraordinaries in the Account of the Deficiencies of last Year's Grants. ; Debate thereon.
Feb. 13. Upon the Order of the Day, for the House to go into a Grand Committee to consider of the Supply, several Papers were referr'd to the said Committee, viz. The Copy and Translation of the Convention between GreatBritain, the States-General, and the Landgrave of HesseCassel, February 13th, 1701-2, also the Estimate of the Charge of 4000 Horse and 8000 Foot of the Landgrave of HesseCassel, from the 1st of April, to the 24th of December 1727. Then a Motion was made by the Court-Party, and the Question put, 'That the Account shewing how the Money given for the Service of the Year 1726, has been disposed of, distinguished under the several Heads, until the first Day of February 1726-27, and the Parts thereof remaining unsatisfied, with the Deficiency thereupon, be referr'd to the said Committee:' But there being in that Account an Article of the Sum of 125,000 l. charged, in general Terms, as issued out for other Engagements and Expences over and above such as are therein particularly specified, Mr Shippen, Mr Onslow, and Mr William Pulteney strenuously insisted, 'That before the said Account of the Deficiency of the last Year's Grants was referr'd to the Grand Committee, which Reference, according to the Usage of Parliaments, tacitly implies an Acquiescence in the Disposal of the Money therein mentioned, the House should be acquainted with a particular Disposition of so considerable a Sum as that of 125,000 l. This was as strongly opposed by Sir William Strickland, Mr Horatio Walpole, and Sir Robert Walpole, so that the previous Question being put, That the Question be put upon the Motion before-mention'd, the same occasion'd a Debate that lasted till six in the Evening, when the said previous Question being call'd for, it was resolv'd in the Affirmative, by 178 Voices against 78; and the main Question being put, it was ordered, That the said Account be referr'd to the said Committee. This done, the House went into a Grand Committee on the Supply, and resolv'd to grant the Sum of 160,306 l. 17 s. 5d. to make good the Deficiency of the Grants for the Year 1726.
An Address for an Account of the said Sum.
Feb. 14. The above-mentioned Resolution being like to meet with great Opposition, by reason of the 125,000 l. abovemention'd, it was moved, and resolv'd, without dividing, to address his Majesty for a particular and distinct Account of the Distribution of the Sum of 125,000 l. which, in an Account laid before the House, shewing how the Money given for the Year 1726, has been disposed of, is charged to have been issued for other Engagements and Expences, ever and above such as are therein particularly specified, for the securing the Trade of this Kingdom, and preserving the Peace of Europe; and also of the Times when the said Sum of 125,000 l. was issued and distributed. After this, Mr Farrer reported the Resolution on the Supply above-mentioned, which was agreed to.
Petition from the Commissioners of Hawkers to enable them to compound for a Debt to the Crown.
Feb. 15. A Petition of George Townsend and others, late Commissioners for Licensing Hawkers, &c. was presented to the House, and read, praying, That Leave may be given to bring in a Bill to enable the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury to compound with the Petitioners for a Debt due to the Crown, occasioned by the Default of Thomas Tomkins, late Cashier of the said Office, who hath withdrawn himself beyond the Seas, or that they may have such other Relief as to the House shall seem meet. Sir Robert Walpole having acquainted the House, That his Majesty gave his Consent, that such a Bill might be brought into the House, as was desir'd by the Petitioners, the said Petition was referr'd to a Committee of the whole House.
Sir Paul Methuen reports the King's Answer to the above Address.
Feb. 21. Sir Paul Methuen reported to the House, That their Address of the 14th Instant, viz. 'That his Majesty would be graciously pleased to direct the proper Officers to lay before this House a particular and distinct Account of the Distribution of the Sum of 125,000 l. which, in an Account laid before this House, shewing how the Money given for the Year 1726 has been disposed of, is charged to have been issued for other Engagements and Expences, over and above such as are therein particularly specified, for the securing the Trade of this Kingdom, and preserving the Peace of Europe, and of the Time or Times when the said Sum of 125,000 l. was issued and distributed,' had been presented to his Majesty; and that his Majesty had commanded him to acquaint this House: "That the Sum of Money mentioned in this Address has been issued and disbursed, pursuant to the Power given to his Majesty by Parliament, for necessary Services and Engagements of the utmost Importance to the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdom, and the Tranquility of Europe, and which require the greatest Secrecy; and therefore a particular and distinct Account of the Distribution of it cannot possibly be given, without a manifest Prejudice to the Publick."
Upon which Mr Pulteney moves for a second Address upon that Head.
Hereupon Mr William Pulteney endeavour'd to shew the Insufficiency of that Answer, alledging, That he had an entire Confidence in his Majesty's great Wisdom, paternal Care, and Royal Word; but that, when in the last Session the House came to a Resolution, 'effectually to provide for and make good all such Expences and Engagements as should be made, for the Security of the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdom, and for the Preservation of the Peace of Europe;' [See p. 370.] the Commons did not thereby divest themselves of their undoubted Right of being acquainted with the Disposition of publick Money; that if they gave up so essential a Right, that House would become altogether useless, or serve only blindly to approve of, and register the Acts and Deeds of the Ministers. That he did not, in the least, doubt the issuing and Disbursement of the 125,000 l. in Question, for necessary Services: But that if they were satisfied with such a general Account, the same might, in future Reigns, prove a very dangerous Precedent, and serve to cover Imbezzlements of the publick Treasure; therefore he moved, 'That a farther humble Address be made to his Majesty, humbly representing the indisputable Right of this House, to have particular and distinct Accounts laid before them of the Disposition of all Money granted by this House, for the Service of the Publick; and that this House did most earnestly beseech his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to order such an Account of the 125,000 l. said to have been expended for securing the Trade of this Kingdom, and preserving the Peace of Europe, to be forthwith laid before the House.'
This Motion was seconded by Mr Shippen, but was opposed by Mr Doddington, Mr Lewis, [of Southampton] and Sir William Yonge; upon which there was a high and warm Debate, from one till six in the Afternoon. The Courtiers represented, 'That the Sum in Question was inconsiderable, and that it was impossible effectually to carry on important Negotiations, without expending a great deal of Money in Secret Service.' And Mr St. John Broderick mention'd, in particular, a Case in Queen Anne's Reign, when the Commons acquiesced in such a general Answer, for a more considerable Sum. The Precedent by him quoted was read by the Clerk, as follows, viz.
'On the 16th of January 1710-11, Mr Secretary St John (fn. 2) acquainted the Commons, that their Addresses of the 5th and 8th Instant, had been presented to her Majesty, viz. That she would be pleased to give Direction to the proper Officers to lay before the House, Accounts relating to the Poundage and Days-Pay, deducted out of the Pay of the Army; of the Deficiencies of the Grants, and of the Funds since Michaelmas 1701; of the Payment of her Majesty's Proportion of Subsidies to her Allies; of all the Pensions, payable out of the Revenue, and Warrants and Directions for Pensions; and also of the Distributions of the Contingencies, and Forage and Waggon Money, granted for the Forces in Flanders, in her Majesty's Pay, and of the Distributions of the Money granted for Contingencies of the Guards, Garrisons and Land-Forces in Great-Britain: And that her Majesty had been pleased to give Directions for laying all the said Accounts before this House, except the Accounts of Contingencies, and that the Account touching the Deficiencies of the Grants and Funds, had already been laid before the House; and that other of the Accounts were preparing, and would soon be laid before the House; but that as to the Account of Contingencies, it was not possible from the Nature of the Service, which required the utmost Secrecy, for any Account of them to be made; but that they were really distributed.'
Some Objections were raised to this Precedent, as if the Case was not parallel: Besides which, Mr Onslow chiefly insisted on the Promise made to the House the last Session, by a great Man in the Administration, That they should have a particular Account of all the Money that should be expended upon that Vote of Credit, which Promise induced the House to come so readily into it. They were answer'd by Sir William Strickland, Mr Trelawney, Mr Conduit (fn. 3), and Sir Robert Walpole; to whom Sir Thomas Hanmer reply'd; after which the Question, upon Mr Pulteney's Motion, being call'd for, it was carried in the Negative, by 235 Voices against 110. Then it was mov'd, and resoiv'd, without dividing, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return his Majesty the Thanks of this House, for his great Care and Wisdom, in taking such Steps and entring into such Engagements, as his Majesty thought would best conduce to the Security of the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdom, and to the Preservation of the Peace of Europe; And to assure his Majesty, That this House, placing an entire Confidence in his Majesty's Goodness and Regard for the true Interest of his People, will stand by and support his Majesty, in all such farther Measures as his Majesty shall find necessary and expedient for preventing a Rupture, and for the Honour and Advantage of these Kingdoms.
Several Papers relating to the Ostend Company laid before the House.
Feb. 22. Sir Paul Methuen presented to the House Copies of such Memorials and Representations, as had been made to the Court of Vienna, concerning the Charter granted to the Ostend Company, with the Answers thereto.
Feb. 28. In a Committee of the whole House, they examin'd the Allegations of the Petition of the late Commissioners for Licensing Hawkers and Pedlars, and also the Papers annex'd to it, and likewise call'd in and examin'd several of the Persons order'd by the House to attend the said Committee, and came to several Resolutions, the Report whereof was put off till the 7th of March. Upon this Occasion very severe Reflections were made on the Neglect and loose Management of his Majesty's Revenues.
The Report from the Committee relating to the Petition from the Commissioners of Hawkers, &c. ; Which is agreed to.
March 7. Mr Farrer reported from the Committee of the whole House, to whom the Petition of George Townsend, &c. late Commissioners for Licensing Hawkers, &c. had been referr'd, the Resolutions they had directed him to report, which were as follows, viz. I. That it appears to this Committee, That no Money was paid into his Majesty's Exchequer on Account of the Duties upon Hawkers and Pedlars, from Midsummer 1719, to Midsummer 1723, except 1500 l. although the Commissioners for managing the said Revenue are required, by Act of Parliament, to pay all the Money arising by the said Duties, into the Exchequer, once in every Week. II. That it appears to this Committee, That by Reason of the loose, careless, and neglectful Management of the late Commissioners for the Duties upon Hawkers and Pedlars, there is a Deficiency of 36,693 l. 13s. 5d. over and above 6000 l. which has been paid by the Securities of Thomas Tomkins, late Cashier to the said Commissioners.
Debate on that Occasion. ; The above Petition rejected.
The said Resolutions, being severally read a second Time, were, upon the Question severally put thereupon, agreed to by the House: After which, Sir William Wyndham took Notice of the Neglect of those who were a Check on the Managers of that Branch of the publick Revenue; and who therefore ought in Time to have call'd upon them, for the Money that pass'd through their Hands, according to the Direction of the Act of Parliament. That it might be said, that they were even more guilty than the Commissioners of Hawkers and Pedlars themselves; since they not only had connived, for four Years, at the Imbezzlement of the publick Money, but had, for three Years more, neglected to recover the same, and seem'd, at last, to have encourag'd a Petition to the House, to have it remitted; and that the granting such a Petition, would be giving a Parliamentary Sanction to such vile Practices, and opening a wide Door for the like Mismanagements of the publick Treasure.' He was seconded by Mr William Pulteney, who animadverted very severely on the Neglect of the Commissioners of the Treasury, whose Office and Duty it was, to have call'd the Petitioners to Account.' Hereupon Sir William Yonge endeavour'd to excuse the present Administration, the Failure of the Cashier of the Commissioners of Hawkers and Pedlars, which had occasion'd the Deficiency in Question, having happen'd before their Time; and the Multiplicity of arduous, important and intricate Affairs that fell out since, having so taken up the Attention of the Managers of the Treasury, that it was no Wonder if so inconsiderable a Branch of the Revenue had escaped their Notice.' And then mov'd, 'That the Petition of the late Commissioners of Hawkers and Pedlars be rejected; which was carried without dividing. Nevertheless, some Gentlemen of the Country Party, came on again to the Charge, and inveigh'd against the Audaciousness of some Persons, who, by their corrupt Management, thought themselves so powerful and secure, as to dare to screen the greatest Offenders.' To which an eminent Member replied, 'That he could not help reflecting on the Envy and Rancour of some Men, who made it their constant Business to thwart and revile those who had the Honour to have a Share in the Administration, and who, not satisfy'd with shewing their Malignity within those Walls, shot likewise their Poison in the Dark, and scatter'd it under Allegories in vile Libels.' To prevent farther Altercation the Courtiers call'd for the Order of the Day, and the Question being put thereon, it was carry'd in the Affirmative, by 248 Voices against 124.
Lord Fitzwilliams takes Notice of an abusive Memorial being presented to the King, by the Emperor's Minister; and moves for the same to be laid before the House;; Which is agreed to.
March 8. Lord Fitzwilliams, Member for Peterborough, took Notice, 'That on the 2d Instant Monsieur de Palm, the Emperor's Resident, in an Audience he had of the King, deliver'd into the Hands of his Majesty, a Memorial in Latin, couch'd in a very indecent and injurious Stile, altogether unusual, and very unbecoming the Majesty of Crown'd Heads; and to add to the Indignity, that the said Memorial was, the next Day, publickly dispers'd, and that printed Copies of Translations of it, one in English, the other in French, had been sent to several Members of both Houses of Parliament, Aldermen of London, and other Persons, together with a Translation in the same Languages, of a Letter from the Count de Sinzendorf, to M. de Palm, wherein that Resident was order'd, 'To present the said Memorial, first to the King of Great Britain, and afterwards to publish it to the whole Nation.' His Lordship added, 'That this Appeal from a Foreign Power to the People of Great Britain, against their lawful Sovereign, was so unprecedented, and so great an Insult upon the Crown of Great Britain, and on his Majesty's sacred Person, that he thought the House ought to resent it in the most lively Manner; and thereupon he mov'd, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to give Directions, that the said Memorial, presented to his Majesty by Monsieur de Palm the Imperial Resident, might be laid before the House; and being seconded by Sir Gilbert Heathcote, the said Address was order'd to be presented.
Sir Paul Methuen lays before the House a Copy of the said Memorial.
March 10. Sir Paul Methuen, by his Majesty's Command, laid a Copy of Monsieur de Palm's Memorial before the House, together with the Translation of it; whereupon it was resolved to take the same into Consideration on the 13th.
Debate thereon. ; An Address resolv'd, on that Occasion.
March 13. The Commons proceeded to take into Consideration the Memorial presented to his Majesty by Monsieur de Palm; and the Translation of the said Memorial being read, Complaint was made to the House, that the Substance of the said Memorial had been printed and publish'd in a Paper intitled, Translation of a Memorial, &c. whereupon the said Paper was brought up to the Table and read; after which the Lord Fitzwilliams, Sir Robert Walpole, Mr Onslow, Sir William Yonge, Mr Doddington, and Sir William Strickland; also Sir William Wyndham, Mr William Pulteney, Mr Sandys, Mr Shippen, Mr Hungerford, and Sir John St Aubin, spoke on this Occasion, and agreed in expressing the highest Indignation and Resentment at the Affront offer'd to his Majesty, by the Memorial deliver'd by Monsieur de Palm; and, in a particular Manner, at his Audaciousness in printing and dispersing it throughout the Kingdom; and very severe Reflections were made on the ill Returns from his Imperial Majesty to the great Obligations he had to Great Britain. They only differ'd, as to the Manner of Wording their Censure upon so extravagant an Insult upon his Majesty; but at last it was moved, and resolved, Nem. Con. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, 'To express the highest Resentment of this House at the Affront and Indignity offered to his most sacred Majesty, by the Memorial delivered by Monsieur de Palm the Emperor's Resident, and at his Insolence in printing and dispersing the same throughout the Kingdom; To declare their utmost Abhorrence of this audacious Manner of appealing to the People, against his Majesty; and their Detestation of the presumptuous and vain Attempt of endeavouring to instill, into the Minds of any of his Majesty's faithful Subjects, the least Distrust or Diffidence in his most sacred Royal Word; To return his Majesty the Thanks of this House, for his Care and Vigilance, in discovering the secret and pernicious Designs of his Enemies, and his Goodness in communicating to his Parliament the Dangers that threatened this Kingdom; And to assure his Majesty, that this House will stand by and support his Majesty against all his open and secret Enemies, both at Home and Abroad; and effectually defeat the Expectations of all such as may have, in any Manner, countenanced, encouraged, on abetted the Disturbers of the publick Tranquility in this ex travagant Insult upon his Majesty, or flattered them with Hopes, that an obstinate Perseverance in their destructive Measures, could stagger the Firmness of the British Nation, in Vindication of his Majesty's Honour, and the Defence of their Rights and Privileges.' And a Committee was appointed to draw up an Address upon the said Resolution.
The Commons at a Conference desire the Concurrence of the Lords to the said Address.
March 14. The Lord Hervey was sent from the Commons, to desire a Conference with their Lordships upon a Matter of the highest Importance to the Honour and Dignity of the Imperial Crown of Great Britain. This Conference being readily agreed to by the Lords, and the Managers of both Houses met in the Painted Chamber, those of the Commons desired the Concurrence of the Lords to the Address relating to Monsieur de Palm's Memorial, which had been drawn up by their Committee, reported by the Lord Fitzwilliams, and agreed to; and the Managers for the Commons left the said Address with the Lords, with other Papers relating thereto.
Which being agreed to, is presented.
March 15. At a second Conference, the Managers for the Lords declared to those of the Commons, that their Lordships had agreed to the said Address; which the next Day was by both Houses presented to the King, as follows:
The Joint Address of both Houses to the King on occasion of the Emperor's Memorial.
We your Majesty's most dutiful and faithful Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, think it our indispensible Duty to express the highest Resentment at the Affront and Indignity offered to your most Sacred Majesty, by the Memorial deliver'd by Monsieur de Palm, the Emperor's Resident; and at his Insolence in printing and dispersing the same throughout the Kingdom.
'This audacious Manner of appealing to the People against your Majesty, under the Pretext of applying to you for Redress and Reparation of supposed Injuries, and turning a Memorial, presented to your Majesty, into a seditious Libel, is a Proceeding that creates in us the utmost Abhorrence and Detestation.
'The Endeavouring to instill, into the Minds of any of your faithful Subjects, the least Distrust or Diffidence in your Majesty's most Sacred Royal Word, or to make a Distinction between your Majesty and your People, is an Attempt as vain as presumptuous; for, by your Goodness, the Interest of your Majesty and your People is but One, and as inseparable; as their Duty, Affection and Confidence in your Majesty are most justly and deservedly unalterable; and if Time has not effaced the Memory of the glorious Exploits and important Succours, confessed to have been received from Great-Britain; Gratitude, Affection and Esteem for this Nation will be best manifested, by doing Honour to the King, whom the People honour, and Justice to the People, whose Rights and Privileges the best of Kings is now defending against the Invasions and Incroachments made upon them.
'We return your Majesty our sincerest Thanks for your Care and Vigilance, in discovering the secret and pernicious Designs of your and our Enemies, and for your Goodness, in communicating to your Parliament the Dangers that threatened this Kingdom.
'And we beg Leave to assure your Majesty, That no Amusements, by artful or evasive Denials, shall lead us into a false Security, or divert us from exerting our selves in Vindication of your Majesty's Honour, or from defending and supporting your Majesty against all your open and secret Enemies, both at Home and Abroad. And if any among your own Subjects have been so wicked as to countenance, encourage and abet the Disturbers of the publick Tranquility, in this extravagant Insult upon your Majesty, or flattered them with Hopes, that an obstinate Perseverance in their destructive Measures could stagger the Firmness of the British Nation; We are resolved effectually to defeat all such groundless Expectations, and to convince the World, that the Intrigues of a Few cannot, in any Degree, abate or slacken that Vigour and Resolution, with which a true Love and Concern for our Country, a just Sense of its Interests, and an unshaken Loyalty to your Majesty have inspired us.'
His Majesty's Answer thereto.
Your unanimous Concurrence, in this dutiful and affectionate Address, gives me the greatest Satisfaction. The just Concern you express for my Honour and the Dignity of the Crown is very becoming a British Parliament. And this fresh Proof of your Confidence in me will convince the World, that all Attempts to divide our Hearts and Interests will be vain and ineffectual."
Mr Scrope's Motion for a Vote of Credit. ; Debate thereon.
April 12. After the Reading of the Order of the Day, for the House, to resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House to consider farther of the Malt-Bill, Mr Scrope mov'd, 'That it be an Instruction to the said Committee, that they have Power to receive a Clause of Appropriation, with a Power to his Majesty to apply such Sums of Money as shall be necessary for answering and de fraying such Expences and Engagements, as have at any Time been, or shall before or until the 25th of December 1727, be made by his Majesty, in concerting such Measures as he, in his great Wisdom, thinks will best conduce to the Security of the Trade and Navigation of this Kingdom, and to the preserving and restoring the Peace of Europe.' He was seconded by Mr Farrer, and back'd by Sir Edmund Bacon, Lord Gage, Sir William Yonge, Sir Philip Yorke, Mr Talbot (fn. 4), and Mr Doddington, who alledg'd, in Support of the Motion, 'That his Majesty was so unwilling to put his Subjects to any extraordinary Expences, that he had demanded no more Supplies this Session, than what he thought absolutely necessary for the Service of the Year: But that, in the present Posture of Affairs, some unforeseen Accidents might require a farther Expence, for which no Estimate could now be made, because some Treaties, which his Majesty thought fit to enter into, were not yet finish'd; therefore they ought to enable his Majesty to answer such Contingencies; That the House had several Times repos'd the same Confidence in his Majesty, which had never been abused; and what was now ask'd was only for a short Time. They were oppos'd by Mr How, Mr Winnington, Mr Hopkins, Mr St John Broderick, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Lord Morpeth, Mr Thomas Broderick, Mr Gore, Mr Wortley Montague, Mr Lutwyche, Sir William Barker, Mr Danvers, Mr Daniel Pulteney, Mr Shippen, Sir William Wyndham, Mr Palmer, and Mr Sandys, who urg'd, 'That it was unparliamentary to ask or grant Supplies without an Estimate of the Expence; That the Clause moved for was inconsistent with that Part of the Bill which forbids the issuing of the Supplies thereby granted, to any other Purposes than those specified; and render'd ineffectual that Appropriation of the publick Money, which the Wisdom of all Parliaments had thought a necessary Security against the Misapplication of it, which was the more to be feared, because no Provision was made to oblige any Person to account for any Money that should be disposed of, by Virtue of the Power in this Clause. That vast Sums had already been granted, which appeared sufficient to answer any Occasions, as far as their present Views could reach; and if any unexpected Emergency should demand a farther Supply, it might be provided for, in the usual Manner, when Necessity required: That this might be done with less Inconvenience, and with less Danger of Misapplication, than by such a Delegation of almost a Dictatorial Authority to the Ministers. That this Parliament had already given so many Instances of their Zeal and Affection for his Majesty, that there could be no room to doubt of their Readiness to make good whatever his Majesty should expend, in concerting such Measures as, in his great Wisdom, he should think most conducive to the Advantage and Interest of his People. That such an unlimited and absolute Power ought never to be given in a free Government, but upon Occasions of evident Necessity, when the very Being of the Government is in imminent Danger. That the reposing a Confidence in the Crown, in the Disposition of such immense Sums of Money, as by the Advice of unthrifty Ministers may be expended, might be attended with great Prejudice to the Properties of the Subject, and great Danger to our most excellent Constitution, which cannot be preserved, but by a strict Adherence to those essential Parliamentary Forms of granting Supplies only upon Estimates, and of appropriating the same to Services and Occasions publickly avow'd and judg'd necessary. That the departing from these excellent Methods would, by Degrees, render Parliaments altogether useless. That the Precedents alledged to justify this Clause were far from being full to the Point, and satisfactory; and if they were, ought not to be follow'd, lest Clauses of the same Nature might become so frequent, as in time to lodge in the Crown, and in the Ministers, an absolute and uncontroulable Power of raising Money upon the People, which by our wise Constitution is, and with Safety can only be, lodg'd in the whole Legislature.' Mr Hungerford observ'd, in particular, 'That they had already given four Shillings in the Pound upon Land, which he could not but think a very heavy and extraordinary Tax, especially considering they were more than once told by a great Man, that in his Opinion we should have no War: But if now they pass'd this Clause, it would be tacking a Tail to a Whale, which might sweep away the other sixteen.' The Debate being ended about eight in the Evening, and the Question put upon Mr Scrope's Motion, it was carry'd in the Affirmative, by 225 Voices against 109; and the House having resolv'd itself into a Grand Committee, the Clause above mention'd was added to the Malt-Bill.
Sir W. Yonge moves for 370,000 l. to be granted out of the Ceal-Duty towards the Supply. ; Debate thereon.
April 26. The House went into a Grand Committee to consider farther of Ways and Means for raising the Supply; and Sir (fn. 5) William Yonge mov'd, 'That towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, the Sum of 370,000l. be raised by Loans, or by Exchequer-Bills, to be charged on the Surpluses arisen, or to arise, from and after Michaelmas 1726, for the Duties on Coals and Culm, granted by an Act of the Fifth Year of his Majesty's Reign, from the 29th of September 1725, to Lady-Day 1751, and by a subsequent Act of the Sixth Year of his Majesty's Reign, made perpetual, and which are reserved for the Disposition of Parliament.' This Motion was seconded by Mr (fn. 6) Doddington, and back'd by Sir (fn. 6) Charles Turner, Mr H. Pelham, Mr Talbot, Mr Onslow, and Sir Philip Yorke; but was strenuously opposed by Mr Shippen, Mr How, Mr Hungerford, Sir Joseph Jekyll, Mr Barnard, Mr Bootle, Mr Wortley Montague, Sir William Strickland, Mr Palmer, Mr Hutcheson, Mr William Pulteney, and Sir William Wyndham. The Objections offered against the Motion, were, 'That, by several Votes and Acts of Parliaments, all the Exceedings or Surpluses of publick Funds were to be applied towards the lessening of the publick Debts, or to the Increase of the Sinking Fund; and that this Disposition could not be altered without wounding publick Credit, which was already extreme low, since the taking off any Part of the Mortgage could not but lessen the Security of the Debt. That it was somewhat strange, such a Motion should be made by those very Persons who had the Honour of being in the Administration, who could not have forgot what his Majesty had so strongly recommended from the Throne, at the Opening of this Session,' "That the Produce of the Sinking Fund might be immediately applied to the Uses for which it was so wisely contrived, and to which it now stands appropriated." 'And that this Motion was still the more surprizing, after the large Vote of Credit the House had so lately come to.' To all this the Court-Party answer'd, 'That the Surpluses on Coals could not be deemed a Part of the Sinking Fund, since they had never been appropriated, but were reserved for the Disposition of Parliament.' And the Question being, at last, put upon Sir William Yonge's Motion, it was carried in the Affirmative, by 209 Voices against 82.
A Bill order'd to be brought in according to Sir W. Yange's Motion;
April 27. Mr Farrer reported the said Resolution, which being agreed to, a Bill was order'd to be brought in thereupon, which the next Day was read the first Time, and ordered to be read a second Time.
Which passes the House.
May 15. The King came to the House of Peers, with the usual State, and the Commons attending, his Majesty gave the. Royal Assent to several Bills; after which, the Lord Chancellor read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses, as follows:
King's Speech at concluding the Fifth Session.
I Acquainted you, at the Opening of this Session, with the Dangers which threatened this Kingdom, and the Peace and Liberties of Europe. I am now to return you my Thanks for the Zeal and Dispatch with which you have proceeded upon the several Points I then recommended to your Care; for the Confidence you have reposed in me; and for the Assurances you have given me of your Support and Assistance in Vindication of my Honour, and in the Maintenance and Defence of the undoubted Rights and Privileges of this Nation, so openly and notoriously invaded and attacked.
"The Siege of Gibraltar proves, beyond all Dispute, the End and Design of the Engagements entered into by the Emperor and the King of Spain; but the Preparations I had made for the Defence of that Place, and the Bravery of my Troops, will, I doubt not, convince them of the Rashness and Folly of that Undertaking. However, the Love of Peace has hitherto prevailed upon me, even under this high Provocation, to suspend, in some Measure, my Resentments; and instead of having immediate Recourse to Arms, and demanding of my Allies that Assistance which they are engaged and ready to give me, I have concurred with the most Christian King and the States General, in making such Overtures of Accommodation, as must convince all the World of the Uprightness of our Intentions, and of our sincere Disposition to Peace; and demonstrate to whose Ambition and Thirst of Power the Calamities of a War are to be imputed, if these just and reasonable Propositions are rejected. In the mean Time, I have the Pleasure to acquaint you, that the Crown of Sweden has acceded to the Treaty of Hanover, and that the Convention between me, his most Christian Majesty, and the King of Denmark, is actually signed.
"The Vigour and Chearfulness you have shewn, in raising so effectually, and upon such easy Terms, the necessary Supplies for the Service of the current Year, are not only Instances of your Zeal and Affection to me, but demonstrate the established Credit, Power, and Strength of this Kingdom.
"It would have been a great Satisfaction to me, if before your Separation I had been able to speak to you more positively, and with greater Certainty, upon the present Posture and State of Affairs: But as you have now dispatch'd the Publick Business, and as the Season of the Year requires your going into your respective Countries, I choose rather to put an End to this Session, than to keep you any longer together unnecessarily. The Provisions you have made, and the perfect Union and Harmony between me and my Allies, will, I hope, enable me, by the Divine Assistance, either to withstand and defeat the Designs of our Enemies, if their Conduct shall bring upon us the Necessity of a War; or to improve the Blessings of Peace, if Peace can, with Justice, Honour, and Security, be obtained."
The Parliament prorogued. ; The Death of King George I.
Then the Lord Chancellor, by the King's Command, prorogued the Parliament to the 27th of June: On the 3d of the same Month, his Majesty set out to visit his German Dominions; and on the 14th, an Express arriv'd at St. James's, with Advice, that his Majesty was taken ill suddenly on the Road, and died at Osnabrug on the 11th, in the 68th Year of his Age, and the 13th of his Reign: He was succeeded in the Throne by his only Son and Heir, his Royal Highness, George Prince of Wales.