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 First Session of the First Parliament OF King George I. Being the Fifth Parliament of Great Britain.
The Parliament meet.
ON the 17th of March, 1714-15, the Parliament met at Westminster according to the writs of summons. And the King being come to the House of Lords, and seated on the throne with the usual solemnity, the gentleman Usher of the black rod was sent with a message to the House of Commons, commanding their attendance in the House of Peers; the Commons being come thither, his Majesty's pleasure was signify'd to them by the Lord Chancellor, that they should return to their House and chuse their Speaker, and present him to his Majesty on the 21st.
Mr Compton elected Speaker.
The Commons being return'd to their House, the Earl of Hertford, son to the Duke of Somerset, propos'd the honourable (fn. 1) Mr Spencer Compton, knight of the shire for Sussex, for Speaker, and being seconded by (fn. 2) Lord Finch, he was elected Nem. Con.
On the 21st the King came to the House of Lords with the usual solemnity; and the House of Commons attending, presented the hon. Spencer Compton, Esq; for their Speaker, whom his Majesty approv'd; after which the Lord Chan cellor read the following Speech, deliver'd into his hands by the King.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"This being the first opportunity that I have had of meeting my People in Parliament, since it pleas'd Almighty God, of his good providence, to call me to the Throne of my ancestors, I most gladly make use of it to thank my faithful and loving Subjects, for that zeal and firmness that hath been shewn in defence of the Protestant Succession, against all the open and secret practices that have been used to defeat it: And I shall never forget the obligations I have to those who have distinguish'd themselves upon this occasion.
"It were to be wish'd, that the unparallel'd successes of a war, which was so wisely and chearfully supported by this Nation, in order to procure a good Peace, had been attended with a suitable conclusion: But it is with concern I must tell you, that some conditions even of this Peace, essential to the security and trade of Great Britain, are not yet duly executed; and the performance of the whole may be look'd upon as precarious, until we shall have form'd defensive alliances to guaranty the present treaties.
"The Pretender, who still resides in Lorrain, threatens to disturb us, and boasts of the assistance which he still expects here to repair his former disappointments.
"A great part of our trade is render'd impracticable; this, if not retriev'd, must destroy our manufactures, and ruin our navigation.
"The publick debts are very great, and surprizingly increas'd, even since the fatal cessation of arms. My first care was to prevent a farther increase of these debts, by paying off forthwith a great number of ships which had been kept in pay, when there was no occasion for continuing such an expence.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I rely upon you for such supplies a the present circumstances of our affairs require for this year's service, and for the support of the publick faith. The estimates shall be laid before you, that you may consider of them; and what you shall judge necessary for your safety, I shall think sufficient for mine.
"I doubt not but you will concur with me in opinion, that nothing can contribute more to the support of the credit of the nation, than a strict observance of all Parliamentary Engagements.
"The branches of the revenue, formerly granted for the support of the civil Government, are so far incumber'd and alienated, that the produce of the Funds which remain, and have been granted to me, will fall much short of what was at first design'd, for maintaining the honour and dignity of the Crown: And since it is my happiness (as I am confident you think it yours) to see a Prince of Wales, who may, in due time, succeed me on the Throne; and to see him blessed with many children, the best and most valuable pledges of our care and concern for your prosperity; this must occasion an expence to which the nation has not of many years been accustom'd; but such as surely no man will grudge; and therefore I do not doubt but you will think of it with that affection which I have reason to hope from you.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"The eyes of all Europe are upon you, waiting the issue of this first Session. Let no unhappy divisions of Parties here at home, divert you from pursuing the common interest of your Country: Let no wicked insinuations. disquiet the minds of my Subjects. The establish'd constitution in Church and State shall be the rule of my Government; the happiness, ease, and prosperity of my people, shall be the chief care of my life. Those who assist me in carrying on these measures, I shall always esteem my best Friends; and I doubt not but that I shall be able, with your assistance, to disappoint the designs of those who would deprive me of that blessing, which I most value, the affections of my People.
Mr Walpole's Motion for an Address of Thanks,
On the 23d, Mr Speaker having reported to the House the King's Speech, Mr Robert Walpole made a speech, in which he set forth the great happiness of these Nations by his Majesty's seasonable accession to the Crown; ran through the Mismanagements of the four last preceding years; and concluded with a motion for an Address of Thanks to the King, conformable to the several heads of his Majesty's Speech. He was seconded by the lord Hinchinbroke, (fn. 3) member for Huntingdon; and none but Sir William Whitlocke, member for the University of Oxford, having rais'd any Objection against Mr Walpole's motion, it was resolv'd,
That an Address be presented to his Majesty; and a Committee was appointed to draw it up, of which Mr Walpole was elected Chairman; which was as follows:
Most gracious Sovereign,
Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, return your Majesty their unfeigned thanks for your most gracious Speech from the Throne.
''Tis with inexpressible joy that we approach your Majesty, peaceably seated upon the Throne of your royal ancestors; and being throughly sensible of the many open and secret practices that have of late years been used to defeat the Protestant Succession, we cannot sufficiently adore the Divine Providence, that so seasonably interposed, and saved this Nation by your Majesty's happy accession to the Crown.
'Your faithful Commons receive with the highest gratitude, your most gracious assurances, that the established Constitution in Church and State, shall be the rule of your Government; and the safety, ease, and prosperity of your People, the chief care of your life. We are sensible of your goodness expressed to those who have distinguish'd themselves by their zeal and firmness for the Protestant Successi on: And as we doubt not, but the wisdom and steadiness of your Government will unite the hearts of all your faithful subjects in duty and affection to your sacred person, so we most humbly beg leave to assure your Majesty, that we not only highly resent the wicked insinuations used to disquiet the minds of your subjects, but are resolved, to the utmost of our power, to suppress and extinguish that evil disposition that is still at work to deprive your Majesty of the affections of your people.
'We are sensibly touch'd, not only with the disappointment, but with the reproach brought on the Nation by the unsuitable conclusion of a war, which was carry'd on at so vast an expence, and was attended with such unparallell'd successes: But as that dishonour cannot in justice be imputed to the whole Nation, so we firmly hope and believe, that thro' your Majesty's great wisdom, and the faithful endeavours of your Commons, the reputation of these your Kingdoms will in due time be vindicated and restored.
'We are under astonishment to find, that any conditions of the late peace, essential to the security and trade of Great Britain, should not be duly executed; and that care was not taken to form such alliances, as might have render'd that peace not precarious. And as no care shall be wanting in your loyal Commons to enquire into these fatal Miscarriages, so we entirely rely on your Majesty's wisdom, to enter into such alliances as you shall judge necessary to preserve the peace of Europe; and we faithfully promise to enable your Majesty to make good all such engagements.
'It is with just resentment we observe, that the Pretender still resides in Lorrain, and that he has the presumption, by declarations from thence, to stir up your Majesty's Subjects to rebellion: But that which raises the utmost indignation of your Commons is, that it appears therein, that his hopes were built upon the measures that had been taken for some time past in Great Britain. It shall be our business to trace out those measures whereon he placed his hopes, and to bring the authors of them to condign punishment.
'Your Commons are under the deepest concern, that a great part of our trade is render'd impracticable, which, if not retriev'd, must destroy our manufactures, and ruin our navigation: But tho' we are too sensible of those fatal consequences, we are not yet without hopes, that your Majesty's great wisdom, by the assistance of your Commons, may find means to extricate your People from their present difficulties.
'The blessings derived to these Nations from your Majesty's auspicious reign, are not confined to the present times; we have a prospect of future and lasting happiness entail'd upon your People by a long succession of your royal progeny. And as this is a blessing which these Kingdoms have a long time wanted, so they could never hope to have seen it so well supply'd, as in the person of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and his issue. Your faithful Commons shall therefore think it their duty to enable your Majesty to support the dignity of the Crown, and to make an honourable provision for the Royal Family.
'The surprizing increase of the publick debts, even since all thoughts of carrying on the war were laid aside, shall not discourage us from granting such supplies as shall be necessary for the service of this year, and the support of publick faith: And we do entirely concur with your Majesty in opinion, that nothing can contribute more towards preserving the credit of the Nation, than a strict observance of all Parliamentary Engagements, which we are firmly resolved upon all occasions inviolably to maintain.
Upon the reading of this Address, there arose a warm Debate in the House: Mr Shippen, Mr Bromley, Sir William Wyndham, Lieutenant General Ross member for the shire of Ross, Mr Cæsar member for Hertford, Mr Ward member for Thetford, Sir (fn. 4) Robert Raymond member for Ludlow, Sir William Whitlocke, Mr Hungerford member for Scarbrough, and some others, raised objections against divers expressions in the Address; but were answer'd by Mr Robert Walpole, General (fn. 5) Stanhope member for Cockermouth, Sir Gilbert Heathcote member for Helston, and Mr William Pulteney. General Ross, among the rest, insisted much, 'That the condemning the Peace, and censuring the late Ministry, was a reflection on the late Queen, whose act and deed the Peace was; and that he was sure the reflecting on the late Queen, could not be agreeable to his present Majesty.' He was answer'd by Mr Robert Walpole, and General Stanhope, 'That nothing was farther from their intentions, than to asperse the late Queen; that they rather designed to vindicate her memory, by exposing and punishing those evil Counsellors, who deluded her into pernicious measures; whereas the opposite Party endeavoured to screen and justify those Counsellors, by throwing on that good, pious, and well-meaning Princess, all the blame and odium of their evil counsels.' As to censuring the late Ministers, without hearing them, and condemning the Peace, without examining into particulars, as unjust and unprecedented, it was answer'd, 'That they must distinguish between censuring Ministers, and condemning the Peace in general, and condemning particular persons. That they might, in equity and justice, do the first, because the whole Nation is already sensible, that their honour and true interest were given up by the late Peace; that in due time they would call them to an account, who made and advised such a Peace; but God forbid they should ever condemn any person unheard.' On this occasion General Stanhope took notice of a report industriously spread abroad, 'That the present Ministers never designed to call the late Managers to an account, but only to censure them in general terms: But he assur'd the House, that notwithstanding all the endeavours that had been used to prevent a discovery of the late mismanagements, by conveying away several papers from the Secretaries Offices, yet the Government had sufficient evidence left, to prove the late Ministry the most corrupt that ever sate at the Helm: That those matters would soon be laid before the House; and that it would appear, that a certain English General had acted in concert with, if not received orders from, Marshal Villars.'
Sir William Wyndham endeavoured to prove, that the Peace had been very beneficial to this Kingdom; and offered to produce a list of goods, by which it appear'd, that the Customs had increased near 100,000 l. per annum. But he was immediately taken up by Sir Gilbert Heathcote, who readily own'd, Sir William might, indeed, produce a list of vast imports from France, but defy'd him to shew that our exports thither, particularly of our woollen manufactures, had encreas'd since the Peace. He added, that imports being only our consumption, rather prove our loss than our gain; and that the Nation gets only by exports, which keep up our manufactures, employ our poor, and bring in returns in money; to which Sir William Wyndham made no reply. Sir William Whitlocke having suggested, that the new Ministry design'd to involve the Nation in a new war, and lay six shillings in the pound, was assur'd by Mr Robert Walpole, that none in the present Ministry were for a war, if the same could any ways be avoided; and that he doubted not, but Two Shillings in the Pound would be sufficient towards this year's service.
The Address resolv'd on.
After this Debate, a motion being made, and the question put, that the Address of Thanks be recommitted, it pass'd in the negative, by 244 voices against 138; and then it was resolv'd, That the House do agree with the Committee in the said Address; and order'd, that such Members as are of the Privy Council, should know his Majesty's pleasure, when he would be attended by the House. The King having appointed the next day, the Commons, with their Speaker, attended his Majesty accordingly at St James's, with their Address, to which his Majesty return'd the following Answer:
The King's Answer thereto.
"I Thank you for the many kind assurances you have given me in your dutiful and loyal Address.
"No endeavours shall be wanting on my part, to promote your true interest, and endear myself to all my People: And I will depend on your zeal and affection, to defeat all evil designs, that may tend to disquiet the minds of my People, and disturb the tranquility of my Government.
Exceptions made to some Passages in his Majesty's Proclamation for calling this Parliament, by Sir W. Whitlocke.
April 5th, the House being mov'd to appoint a day for taking into consideration the King's Proclamation of the 15th of January last for calling a new Parliament, and the same being read accordingly, Sir William Whitlocke made some exceptions to the said Proclamation, as unprecedented and unwarrantable, for which he was call'd upon by some members to explain himself; upon which he made a kind of excuse for what he had said.
The passages here suppos'd to be alluded to are as follows, viz. We cannot omit, on this occasion of first summoning our Parliament of Great Britain, in justice to ourselves, and that the miscarriages of others may not be imputed to us, at a time when false impressions may do the greatest and irrecoverable hurt before they can be clear'd up, to signify to our whole Kingdom, that we were very much concern'd, on our accession to the Crown, to find the publick affairs of our Kingdoms under the greatest difficulties, as well in respect of our trade, and the interruption of our navigation, as of the great debts of the Nation, which we were surpriz'd to observe, had been very much increas d since the conclusion of the last war: We do not therefore doubt, that if the ensuing Elections shall be made by our loving Subjects with that safety and freedom which by law they are entitled to, and we are firmly resolv'd to maintain to them, they will send up to Parliament the fittest persons to redress the present disorders, and to provide for the peace and happiness of our Kingdoms, and the case of our people for the future, and therein will have a particular regard to such as shew'd a firmness to the Protestant Succession, when it was most in danger, &c.
And by Sir William Wyndham. ; Motion for committing him to the Tower. ; It is oppos'd by Mr R. Walpole ; Sir W. Wyndham order'd to be reprimanded by the Speaker.
This Dispute would have been drop'd, had not Sir William Wyndham took up the cudgels, and even carry'd the matter farther, by advancing, that the said Proclamation was not only unprecedented and unwarrantable, but even of dangerous consequence to the very being of Parliaments. The Courtiers could not but take notice of so home a reflection, and thereupon call'd upon Sir William Wyndham to justify his charge; but Sir William, who judg'd he could not descend to particulars, without giving farther offence, declin'd explaining himself; tho' at the same time, he resolutely maintain'd his first assertion, saying, 'That as he thought some expressions in the said Proclamation of dangerous consequence, so he believ'd every Member was free to speak his thoughts.' He was answer'd, 'No doubt but every Member has that liberty, freedom of speech being one of the essential privileges of that House; but that the House has, at the same time, both the liberty and power to censure and punish such Members as transgress the rules of decency, trespass upon the respect due to the Crown, and so abuse the privilege of the House within doors, as to render it contemptible without.' Sir William being again call'd upon to explain himself, and still persisting in his refusal, some Members cry'd the Tower, the Tower; but Mr Robert Walpole warded off the blow by words to the following purpose. Mr. Speaker, 'I am not for gratifying the desire which the Member, who occasions this great debate, shews of being sent to the Tower; 'twould make him too considerable: But as he is a young Man of good parts, who sets up for a warm Champion of the late Ministry, and one who was in all their secrets, I would have him be in the House when we come to enquire into the conduct of his friends, both that he may have an opportunity to defend them, and be a witness of the fairness with which we shall proceed against those Gentlemen; and that it may not be said, that we take any advantage against them.' After several other speeches, which prolong'd this debate from one till half an hour past five in the afternoon, a motion was made, and the question put, that the House do now adjourn, which being carry'd in the negative by a majority of 212 voices against 134, a motion was made, and the question propos'd, that Sir William Wyndham having reflected upon his Majesty's Proclamation of the 15th of January last for calling a new Parliament, and having refus'd to justify his charge, although often call'd upon so to do, is guilty of a great indignity to his Majesty, and of a breach of the privilege of the House.' This motion occasion'd a fresh Debate, that lasted till seven of the clock; the Courtiers still insisting, that Sir William Wyndham should justify his charge, and Sir William as resolutely declining to do it, saying, he was ready to undergo whatever a majority might think fit to inflict upon him. At last the question being put that Sir William Wyndham should withdraw, the same was carry'd in the affirmative by 208 Voices against 129, whereupon Sir William withdrew accordingly; and with him, to a man, all the 129 Members who had been for the negative. Their antagonists being thus entire masters of the field, the question was put, and unanimously resolv'd; that Sir William Wyndham, having reflected upon his Majesty's Proclamation of the 15th of January last for calling a new Parliament, and having refus'd to justify his charge, although often call'd upon so to do; is guilty of a great indignity to his Majesty, and of a breach of the privilege of the House: after which, it was order'd, that Sir William Wyndham be, for the said offence, reprimanded in his place by Mr. Speaker: and that he should attend the House in his place the next morning.
Sir William Wyndham attending the next day in his place, Mr. Speaker address'd himself to him in this manner.
The arraigning a Proclamation issued by his Majesty for calling this present Parliament; and refusing to assign any Cause why such Proclamation is blameable; the House thought an Indignity to his Majesty, and so unwarrantable an use of that Freedom of Speech (which is the undoubted Privilege of Parliament) that the House thought they could not let it pass without Animadversion. But being willing their Moderation should appear, not withstanding their Lerity has been too much despised and contemned, they have inflicted the mildest Censure your Offence was capable of, and have commanded me to reprimand you in your Place; and in Obedience to their Command, I do reprimand you accordingly.
Whereupon Sir William Wyndham said:
I Very truly return my Thanks to you for performing that duty which is incumbent upon you from your office, in so candid and gentleman-like a manner.
'As I am a Member, I know I must acquiesee in the determination of the House. But as I am not conscious to my self of having offered any indignity to his Majesty, or of having been guilty of any breach of the privilege of this House; I have no thanks to return to those Gentlemen, who, under a pretence of lenity, have brought me under this censure.'
Gen. Stanhope's Motion for appointing a Committee, to inquire into the late Peace, and the Management of the late Queen's Ministry.
April 9. General Stanhope presented to the House, pursuant to their Address to his Majesty for that purpose on the 31st of March, all the powers, instructions, memorials, papers, &c. relating to the late negotiation of peace and commerce, and to the cessation of arms, which he delivered in at the table, and told the House, 'That nothing had been omitted, that might either answer the desire they had express'd of being throughly inform'd of what had pass'd in those important negotiations, or to satisfy the whole World, that the present Ministry acted with the utmost fairness and candour, and design'd to take no manner of advantage over the late Managers in the intended inquiries: That, indeed, the papers now laid before the House were only copies, but that the originals would be produc'd if occasion requir'd: Concluding, That those papers being too many, and too voluminous to be perus'd and examin'd by all the Members of the House, he thought it more convenient, and therefore mov'd, that the said books and papers be referred to a select Committee of twenty persons, who should digest the substance of them under proper heads, and report the same, with their observations thereupon to the House.' Mr. Ward Member for Thetford, said, 'Nothing could be fairer. That for his own part, tho' his principle was that Kings can do no wrong, yet he was of opinion, that Ministers were accountable for their male-administration.'
Mr. E. Harley's Defence of the Earl of Oxford. ; A secret Committee of 21 Members appointed.
Mr. Edward Harley, (fn. 6) Member for Leominster, on this stood up, and said, 'That it was easy to see that one of his nearest Relations was principally aim'd at, in the intended inquiries; but he might assure the House, that the said person, notwithstanding the various reports which had been spread concerning him, would neither fly his Country, nor conceal himself, but be forth-coming whenever he should be call'd upon to justify his conduct. That he hoped he would be able, upon the severest trial, to make his innocence appear to all the World; but if he should be so unhappy as to have been guilty of the crimes that were laid to his charge, he would think all his blood too small a sacrifice to atone for them.' Nobody oppos'd General Stanhope's motion: Mr. Hungerford only excepted against the number of twenty, and moved that one more might be added; which was agreed to, and it was resolved, That the papers before-mentioned be referr'd to a Committee of twenty one. That the said Committee be a Committee of Secrecy; that they be chosen by way of balloting: And, That the Members of the House should on the monday following prepare lists for that purpose, &c.
April 13, Colonel Bladen (fn. 7), member for Stockbridge, reported from the Committee, that the Majority had fallen upon the one and twenty Persons following, viz. Sir Richard Onslow, Bart. (fn. 8) member for Surry; Mr R. Walpole (fn. 9); Mr Cowper (fn. 10), member for Truro; General Stanhope (fn. 11); Mr Boscawen (fn. 12), member for Penryn; Mr W. Pulteney (fn. 13), member for Heydon; Mr Lechmere (fn. 14), member for Cockermouth; Daniel lord Finch (fn. 15), member for Rutlandshire; Mr John Aislabie (fn. 16), member for Ripon; Mr Vernon, member for Worcestershire; the Earl of Hertford (fn. 17), member for Northumberland; Mr Edward Wortley Montague, member for Westminster; Sir David Dalrymple, Bart. (fn. 18) member for Haddington, &c. Mr George Bailie (fn. 19), member for Berwickshire; Sir Joseph Jekyll (fn. 20), member for Lymington; Lieutenant General Erle (fn. 21), member for Wareham. ; Mr Richard Hampden (fn. 22), member for the County of Bucks; Sir Robert Marsham (fn. 23), member for Maidston; Mr Denton (fn. 24), member for Buckingham: Mr Thomas Pitt (fn. 25), sen. member for Old Sarum; Lord Coningsby (fn. 26), member for Leominster.
An objection being made by some members to Sir Joseph Jekyll's being one of the said Committee, he having not taken the oaths at the table; it was readily answered, that the same was not owing to any voluntary neglect, Sir Joseph Jekyll being employed in the circuits, as Judge of the County Palatine of Chester. Whereupon it was resolv'd, That Sir Joseph Jekyll being a Member of this House, was capable of being chosen of the Committee of Secrecy, altho' he had not been sworn at the table; And it was also order'd, I. That the books and papers order'd to remain in the custody of the Clerk, 'till this Committee was chosen, be delivered to the said Committee; and that they do examine the same, and report to the House what they find material in them; and that they, or any five of them, do meet this afternoon, and fit de die in diem; II. That the said Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records.
They meet and chuse a Chairman.
The Committee of Secrecy met that evening, and chose Mr Robert Walpole their Chairman; but that Gentleman being the next day taken ill, the Committee chose Mr Secretary Stanhope to supply his place of Chairman, and for dispatch sake, subdivided themselves into three Committees, to each of which a certain number of books and papers were allotted.
Motion relating to the Civil List. ; Debate thereon.
May 13, The Committee of the whole House having examin'd the accounts laid before them, relating to the Civil List in the Reigns of K. Charles II. K. James II. K. William III. and Queen Anne, and other papers on that head, the Courtiers offer'd the following question, viz. That it appears to this Committee, 'that the sum of 700,000 l. per annum was settled upon King William, during his life, for the support of his Houshold, and other necessary occasions; and at the time of his demise, after the deduction of 3700 l. a week which was apply'd to publick uses, was the produce of the Civil List revenues that were continued and settled upon Queen Anne, during her life.' Which question occasion'd a warm and long Debate. They who propos'd it had two things principally in their view; I. To vindicate the present Ministry from the aspersions cast upon them, and industriously spread about, by the emissaries of the late Managers, that the Courtiers design'd to give the King a larger revenue than his Predecessors had enjoy'd; and, II. To make good the branches of the revenue assigned for the support of the Civil List, which had been alienated, or abridg'd, so that the whole neat produce might amount to the sum of 700,000 l. per annum.
The leading Men among the opposite Party, being sensible of the first, and pretending, at least, to be ignorant of the consequences of this preliminary question, insisted a long while, 'That it was ensnaring: That what had been done by former Parliaments ought not to be a standing rule for the subsequent: That supposing the Parliament had given King William a revenue of 700,000 l. per annum for the Civil List, they ought to consider, that he was to pay out of it 50,000 l. per annum to the late Queen, then Princess of Denmark; 15 or 20000 l. per annum to the late Duke of Gloucester; and 40,000 l. for the dowry of the late King James's Queen: That after the late Queen's accession to the Throne, the Parliament taking notice that the produce of the Civil List revenues exceeded what they had been given for; the sum of 3700 l. per Week, (that is 192,400 l. per annum) was taken out of them, and apply'd to other uses; notwithstanding which deduction, the late Queen had honourably maintain'd her Family, and supported the dignity of the Crown: However, if the present revenues of the Civil List were not sufficient, they were ready to consent to an addition.' The Courtiers answer'd, 'That the question before them was founded upon facts, which, if deny'd, they were ready to prove by the records of the House.' But Sir William Wyndham still urging that the question was ensnaring, General Stanhope answer'd, 'That he would be very plain with them, and own, that as 'twas notorious, that great endeavours had been used to alienate the affection of the People from the King and his Government by false suggestions, that they design'd to plunge the Nation into extraordinary expences, they thought it highly necessary to clear his Majesty and his Ministers from that malicious aspersion.' To this the lord (fn. 27) Guernsey, member for Surry, reply'd, 'That the dissaffection of the People, if any, did not proceed from his Majesty, but from the hardships his Ministers put on the Friends of the late Ministry.' To which it was return'd, 'That as soon as it was made known to the world, how the late Ministry had used the whole Nation, nothing that could be done against them, would then be thought a hardship; but, however, that neither that noble member, nor any of his family, had reason to complain of hardships.' After some other Speeches, which prolong'd the Debate from two 'till about five in the afternoon, the Country Party endeavour'd to drop the question, by moving that the Speaker resume the Chair; but the question being put upon this question, the same was carried in the negative by 244 Voices against 148: After which, the first question was put, and carry'd in the affirmative by about the same majority. Then the victorious Party mov'd, That to enable his Majesty to support the dignity of the Crown, and to make an honourable provision for the Royal Family, there be granted to his Majesty, during his life, an additional revenue, which, together with the neat produce of the Civil List branches, may make up the clear yearly sum of 700,000 l. for the service of his Majesty's Houshold and Family, and for his other necessary expences and occasions.' The question being put upon this motion, the same occasion'd another great Debate. Sir Thomas Hanmer, Mr Bromley, Sir William Wyndham, Mr Cæsar, Mr Hungerford, and some other leading Members of the late Ministry, who, on this occasion, were strengthen'd and back'd by some eminent Members of the Court Party, did not at first directly oppose the question, but insinuated, 'That before they came to that resolution, it should be proper that a particular of the King's expences should be laid before the House.' Mr Walpole, General Stanhope, Mr Lechmere, and some other Courtiers, who, on this occasion, were join'd by some of the opposite Party, having exploded that proposal as altogether inconsistent with the King's honour, to have all the private expences of his Family and Houshold look'd into, as if he had need of a Guardian, the Country Party then mov'd, that the sum of 600,000 l. per annum be given to his Majesty, and 100,000 l. per annum settled on the Prince of Wales. The Courtiers perceiving that the proposal of giving the Prince of Wales a separate revenue, was only a design to divide the Royal Family, by lessening the next Heir Apparent's dependence on the King, oppos'd it with great warmth; and the question being put upon that motion, the same was carry'd in the negative by a great majority. The Country Party having lost these two points, some of that Party more openly oppos'd the main question, among the rest, Sir William Wyndham said, 'He had the honour to serve Queen Anne, and had the opportunity to look both into her revenue and expences; and he could assure the House, that about 500,000 l. per annum, were sufficient for the support of her Family and Civil List; tho' she reserv'd about 50,000 l. a year for the late King James's Consort.' The Courtiers were glad of this last confession; and General Stanhope desir'd the Committee to take Notice of what that Gentleman had advanc'd, because it would serve to confirm some matters, which the Committee of Secrecy had found in the papers that were laid before them. A Courtier, who, at that time, spoke on the opposite side, made some reflections on the present unthrifty administration of his Majesty's revenue; and, in particular, took notice of the salaries of the Judges being advanc'd; not, said he, for services done, but expected. Upon the whole matter, the question being put upon the motion before mention'd, about seven o'clock in the evening, the same was carry'd in the affirmative without dividing.
Motion for an Address to the King, to retrench Pensions, &c. ; Mr Robert Walpole's Speech.
May 18. The Commons resolved themselves into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the several lists and accounts of annuities, pensions, and bounties granted by the late Queen, or his present Majesty; upon which there arose a warm Debate. The leading Men among the Friends of the late Ministry, supported again by a great many Courtiers, exclaim'd against the pensions given by the Crown to several persons of quality, some of whom they nam'd who had no occasion for them; and a motion was made, that an Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be pleas'd to retrench all unnecessary pensions, and grant no more any such for the future. Hereupon Mr R. Walpole shew'd, 'That they ought not to stint the King's benesicence, nor debar his Majesty from the exercise of the most glorious branch of his royal prerogative, which is to bestow his favours on such as distinguish themselves in his service.' He was seconded by Mr Hampden, who, on the other hand, observ'd, that all the pensions about which so much noise was made, did not amount to above 25000 l. a year; and to wave the motion made by the Country Party, he mov'd, that the Chairman should leave the Chair; which, being put to the vote, pass'd in the affirmative, by 191 votes against 188; so that the Court Party carry'd it by three voices only.
700,000 l. per Annum granted to the King for his Household, &c.
May 23. The Commons, in a grand Committee on the Supply, came to this resolution, viz. That to enable his Majesty to support the dignity of the Crown, and to make an honourable provision for the Royal Family, there be granted to his Majesty, during his life, an additional revenue of 120000 l. per annum; which, together with the neat produce of the Civil List branches, may make up the clear yearly sum of 700000 l. for the service of his Majesty's Houshold and Family, and other his necessary expences and occasions. This resolution was May 24 reported, and agreed to by the House.
Motion on the Bill for regulating the Forces, &c.
June 1. The Lords having sent to the Commons, the Bill for the better regulating the Forces, &c. and the amendments to the Bill by the Lords being read, a motion was made, that the farther consideration of those amendments be adjourn'd, which was carry'd in the negative; and then those amendments being read a second time, were agreed to by the House. (fn. 28) Mr Shippen, member for Newton in Lancashire, having, on this occasion, reflected on the administration, as if they design'd to set up a standing army, and insinuated, as if, after all the great clamour that had been rais'd, their secret Committee would end in smoke; he was taken up by Mr Boscawen, who said, 'He could not forbear taking notice of the insolence of a certain set of men, who having committed the blackest crimes, had yet the assurance to dare the justice of the Nation; but he hoped those crimes would not long remain unpunish'd: That the Committee of Secrecy were ready to make their Report; and had directed their Chairman to move the House the very next day, that a day might be appointed for receiving the said Report; and that, in the mean time, he might venture to assure the House, that they had found sufficient matter to impeach of High Treason several Lords and some Commoners.' Mr R. Walpole said, 'That he wanted words to express the villany of the last Frenchify'd Ministry;' and General Stanhope added, 'he wonder'd, that men who were guilty of such enormous crimes, had still the audaciousness to appear in the publick streets.'
Mr Walpole's Motion for receiving the Secret Committee's Report.
June 2, Mr Robert Walpole acquainted the House from the Committee of Secrecy, 'That they had examined the Books, &c. referred to them, and had matters of the greatest importance to lay before the House; and that the Committee had directed him to move the House, that a day might be appointed for receiving their Report.' Upon which, after a small Debate, it was order'd, that the said Report be receiv'd upon that day sev'nnight; and that all the Members do attend at that Time, upon pain of incurring the highest displeasure of the House.
The House adjourns.
June 3. The King came to the House of Peers, and gave the royal assent to the Malt-Bill and the Mutiny-Bill, and his Majesty being gone, the Commons return'd to their House, and order'd, that the Committee of Secrecy should have leave to sit during the adjournment of the House, who then adjourn'd 'till the 8th of June, by reason of the Whitsuntide Holidays.
Mr Walpole's Motion for apprehending such Persons as should be nam'd by the Chairman of the Secret Committee.
June 9, Mr Robert Walpole, from the Committee of Secrecy, acquainted the House, 'That he had a Report to present; (according to their order) but that he had the commands of the Committee to make a motion to the House before he read the Report; that there are in the Report matters of the highest importance: That although the Committee had power to send for persons, papers, and records, they did not think fit to make use thereof, believing it to be necessary, in order to bring offenders to justice, that some persons should be secur'd, before 'tis possible they should know what they are to be examin'd to; and left they should have notice from what should be read in the Report, to make their escape, he was commanded by the Committee, according to former precedents, to move, that a warrant may be issued by Mr Speaker, to apprehend certain persons who shall be nam'd to him by the Chairman of the said Committee; and that no Members may be permitted to go out of the House.
Hereupon it was order'd, I. That the Lobby be clear'd of all strangers, and the back-doors of the Speaker's chamber be lock'd up, and the key brought and laid upon the table; and that the Serjeant do stand at the door of the House, and suffer no Member to go forth. II. That Mr Speaker do issue his Warrant to the Serjeant at Arms attending the House, to take into his Custody such Persons as shall be nam'd to Mr Speaker by the Chairman of the Committee of Secrecy, in order to their being examined before the said Committee.
Hereupon Mr Speaker issued out his Warrant to the Serjeant at Arms, to take into his Custody several Persons that were nam'd to him by Mr Walpole, particularly Mr Matthew Prior, and Mr Thomas Harley, the first of whom was immediately apprehended, and the other some Hours after.
Report from the Secret Committee presented. ; And read.
This done, Mr Walpole acquainted the House, 'That the Committee of Secrecy had perus'd the Books and Papers referr'd to them, and had agreed upon a Report, which they had commanded him to make: That it was contain'd in two Books, one of which was the Report, and the other an Appendix to it, containing at large those Letters and Papers which were referr'd to in the Report.' And he read the Report in his Place, and afterwards deliver'd the same in at the Table, together with the Appendix and the Books which were referr'd to the said Committee. The Reading of the said Report having lasted from one till about Six in the Evening, a Motion was made by the Friends of the late Ministry, and the Question put, That the farther Consideration thereof be adjourn'd 'till next Morning, but it was carry'd in the Negative, by 282 against 171, and order'd, that the Report be now read: And the Clerk of the House having read Part of it, 'till half an Hour past Eight, the farther Consideration of it was adjourn'd.
Debate thereon. ; Mr Walpole impeaches Lord Bolingbroke of High Treason, &c. ; Debate thereon. ; The Impeachment of Lord Colingbroke agreed to by the House. ; Lord Coningsby impeaches Robert Earl of Oxford of High Treason. &c. ; Debate thereon. ; The Impeachment of Robert Earl of Oxford agreed to by the House. ; Articles against Lord Bolingbroke and the Earl of Oxford order'd to be drawn up. ; The Report from the Committee of Secrecy order'd to be printed,
June 10. The Commons resum'd the adjourn'd Consideration of the Report from the Committee of Secrecy, and the rest of the Report being read, which lasted 'till about four in the Afternoon, Sir (fn. 29) Thomas Hanmer, Bart. Member for Suffolk, mov'd, That the Consideration of the said Report be adjourn'd till the 21st of the same Month, and was seconded by the leading Men among the Friends of the late Ministry, who mov'd also, that the said Report be printed, to be perus'd by all the Members of the House. Hereupon Mr Robert Walpole said, 'He could not but wonder, that those Gentlemen who had shew'd so great Impatience to have the Report laid before the House, should now press for adjourning the Consideration of it. That as for the Committee of Secrecy, as they had not yet gone through all the Branches of their Inquiry, they could have wish'd some longer Time had been allow'd them to peruse and digest several important Papers. That in order to that, they would have de ferr'd three Weeks or a Month, the laying their Report before the House; but that some Gentlemen having reflected on the pretended Slowness of the Committee; since the said Report was now before them, they must e'en go through with it.' General Stanhope added, 'That for his own Part, he would readily agree to give those Gentlemen all the Time they could desire to consider of the Report; but that since they themselves had precipitated this Affair, he was of Opinion, they ought to prosecute it with Vigour, lest, by stopping on a sudden, they should fortify the Notion, which the Friends of the late Ministry had, with great Industry, propagated among the People, That the Report of the Committee of Secrecy would vanish into Smoke; the rather, because these malicious Insinuations had rais'd the Spirits and Insolence of the Disaffected, and were the principal Cause of the present Ferment among the giddy Multitude. That he agreed with the Member who had mov'd for the printing of the Report; that not only the House, but the whole World, might be convinc'd of the Fairness and Impartiality of their Proceedings; but that the Crimes of some Persons nam'd in the Report were so obvious to every Body, that they ought, in his Opinion, immediately proceed to the impeaching of them.' Some propos'd the adjourning the Debate 'till one Time, some 'till another; but the Court Party were resolv'd against any Delays; and the Question being put about seven in the Evening, on the Motion made by Sir Thomas Hanmer, it was carry'd in the Negative by 280 against 160. This Point gain'd, Mr Robert Walpole said, 'He made no Question, that, after the Report had been twice read, the whole House was fully convinc'd, that Henry Lord Viscount Bolingbroke was guilty of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours: That therefore he impeach'd him of those Crimes; but if any Member had any Thing to say in his Behalf, he doubted not but the House was ready to hear him.' After a deep Silence in the House for some Minutes, Mr Hungerford rose up and said, 'That, in his Opinion, nothing was mention'd in the Report, in Relation to the Lord Bolingbroke, that amounted to High Treason.' And General Ross said, 'He wonder'd no Body spoke in Favour of the Lord Bolingbroke: That, for his own Part, he had nothing to say at present; but reserv'd to himself to speak in a properer Time.' The Resolution for impeaching the Lord Bolingbroke of High Treason and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours, being pass'd, the Lord Coningsby stood up, and said, 'The worthy Chairman of the Committee has impeach'd the Hand, but I do impeach the Head; he has impeach'd the Clerk, and I the Justice; he has impeach'd the Scholar, and I the Master:' so impeach'd Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours. Hereupon Mr (fn. 30) Harley made a long pathetick Speech; wherein he endeavour'd to justify his Brother, the Earl of Oxford, 'as having done nothing but by the immediate Commands of the late Queen; urging, 'that the Peace was a good one, and approv'd as such by two Parliaments: Concluding, that the Facts mention'd in the Report, and which were charg'd on the Earl, could not be construed to amount to High Treason, but only, in strict Rigour, to Misdemeanours.' He was back'd by Mr (fn. 30) Thomas Foley, Member for Hereford, the Earl's Brother-in-Law, who complain'd of the Hardship put upon that Nobleman, in charging him with High Treason, before they had examined the Report: But what was yet more favourable for the Earl, was spoke by Sir Joseph Jekyll, one of the Committee of Secrecy, who said, 'That as to the Lord Bolingbroke, they had more than sufficient Evidence to convict him of High Treason, upon the Statute 25 Edward III. but that as to the Earl of Oxford, he doubted whether they had either sufficient Matter, or Evidence to impeach him of Treason.' But another Member of the Committee of Secrecy having assur'd the House, That besides what had appear'd before them, and was mention'd in the Report, they had other Evidence, viva Voce: It was resolv'd, without a Division, That this House will impeach Robert Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer, of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours: And order'd, that it be referr'd to the Committee of Secrecy, to draw up Articles of Impeachment, and prepare Evidence against Henry Viscount Bolingbroke, and Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer. After this, it was order'd likewise, that the farther Consideration of the said Report be adjourn'd; and that the said Report, with the Appendix, be printed.
And sent to the Sheriffs, &c.
June 11. The Commons order'd the Speaker to send a printed Copy of the Report from the Committee of Secrecy to the Sheriff of every County, and to the returning Officer of every City and Borough sending Members to Parliament.
June 15. Mr Walpole, from the Committee of Secrecy, acquainted the House, That he was directed by the Committee to move the House, That the Persons taken into Custody, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 9th Inst. might be examin'd in the most solemn Manner, according to former Precedents. Upon which it was order'd, That such Members of the Committee of Secrecy, who are Justices of the Peace for the County of Middlesex, should examine Mr Matthew Prior, and Mr Thomas Harley, at the said Committee.
Mr Prior order'd into close Custody.
June 17. Mr Walpole acquainted the House, That pursuant to their Order, Matthew Prior, Esq; had been, the Day before, examin'd before the Committee of Secrecy, and during a long Examination, there appear'd Matters of such Importance, that the Committee had directed him to move the House, that he might be confin'd in close Custody, and no Person permitted to come to him: Upon which it was order'd, That Mr Matthew Prior, now in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, be consin'd in close Custody, and no Person permitted to come to him without Leave from Mr Speaker.
The Account of what pass'd at Mr Prior's Examination, as drawn up by his own Hand, may be seen in the APPENDIX to this Work.
Gen. Stanhope impeaches James Duke of Ormond of High Treason, &c. ; Debate thereon.
June 21. The House having, according to Order, consider'd farther of the Report from the Committee of Secrecy, Gen. Stanhope stood up and said, 'He wish'd he were not oblig'd to break Silence on that Occasion; but that as a Member of the Secret Committee, and of that great Assembly, which ought to do the Nation Justice, he thought it his Duty to impeach James Duke of Ormond of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours;' and was seconded by Mr Boscawen. Hereupon Mr Archibald Hut cheson, (fn. 31) Member for Hastings, made a long Speech in behalf of the Duke of Ormond, wherein he set forth, 'his noble Birth and Qualifications; and the great Services which both he and his illustrious Ancestors had perform'd to the Crown and Nation; urg'd, That in the whole Course of his late Conduct, he had but obey'd the late Queen's Commands; and concluded, That if all that was alledg'd against his Grace in the Report could be made out, it would, in the Rigour of the Law, amount to no more than High Misdemeanours.' This Speech made a great Impression on the Assembly; and Mr Hutcheson was seconded by General Lumley, Member for Arundel, who said, among other Things, 'That the Duke of Ormond had, on all Occasions, given signal Proofs both of his Affection and Love for his Country, and of his personal Bravery and Courage, particularly at the Battle of Landen, where he was wounded and taken Prisoner; and that the late King William was extremely satisfy'd with his Grace's gallant Behaviour. That his Grace had generously expended the best Part of his Estate in the Wars, living in a most noble and splendid Manner, for the Honour of his Country: That therefore, in Consideration both of his great Services, and his illustrious Relations, if he had of late been so unfortunate as to fail in any Part of his Conduct, they ought not to proceed against him with the utmost Rigour of the Law; the rather, because he ever meant well, and was drawn into ill Measures by crafty Ministers.' Sir Joseph Jekyll spoke likewise in Favour of the Duke of Ormond: He said, 'That if there was Room for Mercy, he hoped it would be shewn to that noble, generous, and courageous Peer, who, for many Years, had exerted those great Accomplishments for the Good and Honour of his Country. That if of late he had the Misfortune to deviate from his former Conduct, the Blame ought not, in Justice and Equity, be laid to him, but to them principally, who abusing his Affection, Loyalty, and Zeal for the Service of his Royal Mistress, had drawn him into pernicious Counsels: That therefore, as the Statute of the 25th Edward III. on which the Charge of High Treason against his Grace was to be grounded, had been mitigated by subsequent Laws, the House ought not, in his Opinion, to take Advantage of that Act against the Duke, but only impeach him of High Crimes and Misdemeanours.' He added, 'That some Persons endeavour'd to aggravate the Duke of Ormond's Faults, by charging upon him the Riots and Tumults which the Populace committed daily in many Places; but that he durst averr, that his Grace did no Ways countenance those disorders; and if the disaffected made use of his Name, unknown to him, his Grace ought not to suffer for it.' General Ross laid great Stress upon Sir Joseph Jekyll's Opinion, and said all he could in his Commendation, and the Duke's Defence. Sir William Wyndham, Member for Somersetshire, Mr Thomas Onslow, Member for Surrey, Mr Ward, Mr Hungerford, and some other Members of both Parties, spoke also on the same Side: But Mr Lyddal, Member for Lestwithiel, Mr Hampden, and Mr Thompson, (fn. 32) Member for Ipswich, did strongly support General Stanhope's Motion; answer'd all that had been alledg'd in the Duke's Favour; and among other Things represented, 'That he ever affected Popularity; that he could not be ignorant of the Tumults and Riots of which his Name was the Signal; and that since he did not publickly disown them who made Use of his Name, his Silence was a tacit Approbation of their Proceedings, and seem'd to summon the People to a general Insurrection.
The Impeachment of the Duke of Ormond agreed to by the House, and Articles against him order'd to be drawn up.
Sir Edward Northey, (fn. 33) Member for Tiverton, said that he did not disown, but that in the Report of the Committee of Secrecy, there were some Matters, on which an Impeachment of High Treason might be grounded against the Duke of Ormond; but he did not think it proper to explain himself farther on that Occasion. Mr Lechmere, spoke plainer, and mention'd a Case parallel to the Duke's, which had been adjudg'd Treason. This Debate lasted from One till about half an Hour past Ten, when the Question was put, and resolv'd by a Majority of 234 Voices against 187, to impeach James Duke of Ormond of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours. After which it was order'd, That it be referr'd to the Committee of Secrecy to draw up Articles of Impeachment, and prepare Evidence against James Duke of Ormond; and that the farther Consideration of the said Report be adjourn'd to the next Morning.
Mr Aislaby impeaches Thomas Earl of Strafford of High Crimes and Misdemeanours.
June 22. The Commons resum'd the Consideration of the Report from the Committee of Secrecy, and Mr Aislaby, who spoke first, 'Took Notice of the general Concern that had appear'd the Day before in the House, for the noble Person that was impeach'd; because they were persuaded, 'twas rather through Weakness than Malice that he had follow'd pernicious Counsels; but that, in his Opinion, few, if any, would speak in Favour of another Lord, whom he was to impeach. That the Person he meant, was Thomas Earl of Strafford, one of the Plenipotentiaries of Great Britain at the Congress of Utrecht; whose Conduct had been vastly different from that of his Colleague, the Lord Bishop of London. (fn. 34) That this good and pious Prelate seem'd to have been put at the Head of that Negociation, only to palliate the Iniquity of it, under the Sacredness of his Character; but was little more than a Cypher in the Absence of the Earl of Strafford. That the Bishop not being in the Secret, had acted with Reserve and Caution, and would do nothing without the Queen's special Commands; whereas the Earl of Strafford not only was forward to venture and undertake any Thing, as he expresses himself in one of his Letters, to be the Tool of a Frenchify'd Ministry; but in many Instances had gone beyond his Instructions, and advis'd the most pernicious Measures. That having impartially weigh'd the different Conduct of these two Ministers, he was glad that nothing could be charg'd upon the Bishop, since it gave them an Opportunity to convince the World, that the Church is not in Danger; but mov'd that Thomas Earl of Strafford be impeach'd of High Crimes and Misdemeanours.' Mr Aislaby afterwards enlarg'd upon this Charge, which he reduc'd to these three principal Heads, viz. I. 'The Earl of Strafford's advising the fatal Suspension of Arms, which was soon after attended with several Misfortunes that befel the Allies; and at last reduc'd them to the Necessity of submitting to the Terms of an unsafe, dishonourable Peace. II. Advising the seizing of Ghent and Bruges, in order to distress the Allies, and favour the Enemy. III. The Insolence and Contempt with which he had treated the most serene House of Hanover, and their Generals and Ministers.'
Debate thereon. ; The Impeachment against the Earl of Strafford, agreed to by the House, and Articles order'd to be drawn up against him.
Mr Bailie, having seconded Mr Aislaby, Sir William Wyndham endeavour'd to justify the Earl of Strafford, as to the first Head, by saying, 'That the Peace, which was but the Sequel and necessary Consequence of the Suspension of Arms, had been approv'd as such by two successive Parliaments, and declar'd advantageous, safe, and honourable.' Mr Shippen, Mr Ward, and Mr Snell, Member for Gloucester, spoke also in Favour of the Earl of Strafford; as did also Mr Hungerford, who, among other Things, said, 'That tho' the Bishop of London had an equal Share with the Earl of Strafford in the Negociation of Peace, he was, it seems, to have the Benefit of his Clergy.' General Ross having likewise said something to excuse the Suspension of Arms, General Cadogan (fn. 35) Member for Woodstock answer'd, 'That considering the Situation of both Armies, the Confederates lost the fairest Opportunity they ever had in Flanders, to destroy the Enemy's Army, and to penetrate into the very Heart of France;' but added, 'That nothing less could be expected from a Princess and a Ministry, who had entirely deliver'd themselves into the Hands of France.' Sir James Campbel, Member for the Shire of Argyle spoke also against the Earl of Strafford: Sir David Dalrymple, summ'd up what had been said on both Sides; and having illustrated the present Case by parallel Instances and proper Observations, urg'd, that both by the Civil and Statute Laws, the Earl of Strafford was, at least, guilty of High Crimes and Misdemeanours. Hereupon, about seven in the Evening, the Question was put, and by 268 Voices against 100, it was resolv'd, That the House will impeach Thomas Earl of Strafford of High Crimes and Misdemeanours; and order'd, That it be referr'd to the Committee of Secrecy, to draw up Articles of Impeachment, and prepare Evidence against the said Earl.
Debate on the Bill for explaining the Act of K. W. III. For the Limitation of the Crown, &c.
July 4. The House resolv'd' itself into a grand Committee, upon an ingrossed Bill from the Lords, intitled, An Act to explain the Act made in the 12th Year of King William the Third, intitled, An Act for the farther Limitation of the Crown, and better securing the Rights and Liberties of the Subject. A Clause having been inserted in the said Bill, whereby a Door seem'd to be left open for the Admission of Foreigners into Places, many of the Court Party, headed by Mr Hampden, look'd upon that Bill as dangerous to our Constitution; and the Friends of the late Ministry, who resolv'd to oppose it, thinking this a proper Opportunity to make it drop, mov'd that the Consideration of it be put off to another Day: But the Question being put thereupon was carried in the Negative by 141 against 139. Then the Committee went thro' the Bill, and made an Amendment to the Clause before-mention'd, the Report of which was put off 'till the 6th of July. On that Day Mr Lowther, Member for Cumberland, reported from the Committee of the whole House, to whom the engrossed Bill from the Lords, intitled, An Act to explain the Act made in the 12th Year of the Reign of King William III. intitled, An Act for the farther Limitation of the Crown, &c. was committed, the Amendment they had directed him to report to the House; which he read in his Place, and afterwards delivered in at the Table, where the same was twice read: And a Motion being made, that the Bill be recommitted, there arose a Debate that lasted near three Hours: Mr Shippen, with some others raised several Objections against the Bill, but were answered by Mr Robert Walpole, Mr Boscawen, and some others of the Court Party, and the Question being put upon the said Motion, it was carried in the Negative by 190 against 140. And then the Amendment, with an Amendment thereto, was agreed to by the House.
Mr Walpole from the Committee of Secrecy reports the first ten Articles against the Earl of Oxford.
July 7. Mr Robert Walpole, from the Committee of Secrecy, acquainted the House, 'That the Committee having prepared Articles of Impeachment of High Treason and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours, against Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, had commanded him to acquaint the House, that they should, in a short Time, have farther Articles against the said Earl; and that the Committee had directed him to report the Articles, already prepared, to the House:' And he read them in his Place, and afterwards delivered them in at the Table, where they were once read.
Debate thereon. ; Debate on the Eleventh Article. ; The said Articles agreed to,
After this it was moved that the farther Consideration of the said Articles be adjourn'd to that Day se'nnight; but it was carry'd, without dividing, That the said Report be read a second Time the next Day. At which Time the first Ten Articles of Impeachment against Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, were read a second Time; and upon the Question severally put thereupon, with Amendments to some of them, there was a long Debate from Two 'till Eight in the Evening, when they were agreed to, by 280 against 125. Then a Motion being made and the Question put, That the farther Consideration of the said Report be adjourn'd 'till the next Morning, the same was carry'd in the Negative, by 247 against 139. Hereupon the Eleventh Article was read a second Time, and amended by the House; and then there arose a great Debate, upon the Question, Whether the said Article was High Treason? Sir Robert Raymond, Mr William Bromley, (fn. 36) Member for the University of Oxford, Sir William Wyndham, Mr Edward Harley, Mr Thomas Foley, Mr Ward, and Mr Hungerford, maintain'd the Negative; and were strongly supported by Sir Joseph Jekyll, one of the Committee of Secrecy, who said, 'That it was ever his Principle to do Justice to every Body, from the highest to the lowest; being persuaded, that it was the Duty of an honest Man never to act by a Spirit of Party. That he hoped he might pretend to have some Knowledge of the Laws of the Kingdom; and as, in the Committee of Secrecy, he had taken the Liberty to differ from his Colleagues, he would not scruple to declare now to the whole House, that, in his Judgment, the Charge in Question did not amount to High Treason.' Most of the other Members of the Committee of Secrecy were offended at this Speech: And thereupon Mr Robert Walpole answer'd, 'That there were both in and out of the Committee of Secrecy, several Persons, who did not, in the least, yield to the Member that spoke last, in Point of Honesty; and who, without derogating from his Merit, were superior to him in the Knowledge of the Laws; but who, at the same Time, were satisfied that the Charge specified in the Eleventh Article amounted to Treason.' Mr Walpole was back'd by General Stanhope, the Lord Coningsby, General Cadogan, Mr Boscawen, and Mr Aislaby; and the Eleventh Article being amended, the same was agreed to by the House, by 247 Votes against 127. Mr Harley endeavoured to justify the Earl of Oxford, I. By urging that he ever acted by the late Queen's positive Commands; to prove which, he offered to produce two Letters from her Majesty; and II. The Necessity of making a Peace; He having upon this Occasion, advanc'd, that the Dutch prolong'd the War, and that their Deputies in the Army had often prevented the giving the Enemy a decisive Blow. General Cadogan answer'd, that the Dutch were more concern'd than any Prince or State in the Grand Alli ance to put an End to the War; and undertook to prove, that there had not been any Campaign in Flanders, except that in which the Duke of Ormond commanded, that was not mark'd and famous to all Posterity, for some signal and glorious Event, to the Advantage of the common Cause? Then the rest of the Sixteen Articles were severally read a second Time, and with Amendments to some of them, agreed unto by the House, who ordered, That the said Articles be engrossed; and, that a Clause be prepared saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit any farther Articles against the said Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer; and that he may be sequester'd from Parliament, and committed to safe Custody.
And ordered to be carried to the Lords by Lord Coningsby.
July 9. The above Clause was offered to the House; and being twice read, and agreed to, was ordered to be engrossed with the Articles of Impeachment. The same Day the Ingrossed Articles of Impeachment against Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, were read; after which it was order'd, I. That the Lord Coningsby do carry the said Articles to the Lords: II. That his Lordship be directed, before he exhibit the said Articles to the Lords, to impeach Robert Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, to the Effect following, viz.
'The Commons assembled in Parliament having received Information of divers traiterous Practices and Designs of a great Peer of this House, Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer; have commanded me to impeach the said Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours: And I do here in their Names, and in the Names of all the Commons of Great Britain, impeach Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours. I am farther commanded by the House of Commons to pray and demand of your Lordships, That the Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer may be sequester'd from Parliament, and forthwith committed to safe Custody.
After this, the Lord Coningsby, attended by most of those Members who voted for the Impeachment, went up to the House of Peers, and at their Bar impeached Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, in the Form above-mentioned; and then left with their Lordships the Articles of Impeachment against the said Earl, which the Reader may find at large in the STATE TRIALS, Vol. 6. p. 103.
July 20, The King came to the House of Lords, and the Commons being sent for, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to such Bills as were ready; after which the Lord Chancellor read a Speech deliver'd into his Hands by his Majesty from the Throne, as follows:
King's Speech relating to an Invasion by the Pretender.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"The Zeal you have shewn for preserving the Peace of my Kingdoms, and your Wisdom in providing so good a Law to prevent all riotous and tumultuous Proceedings, give me great Satisfaction; but I am sorry to find that such a Spirit of Rebellion has discover'd itself, as leaves no Room to doubt, but these Disorders are set on Foot and encourag'd by Persons disaffected to my Government, in Expectation of being supported from Abroad.
"The Preservation of our excellent Constitution, and the Security of our holy Religion, has been, and always shall be, my chief Care; and I cannot question but your Concern for these invaluable Blessings is so great, as not to let them be expos'd to such Attempts as I have certain Advices are preparing by the Pretender from Abroad, and carrying on at Home by a restless Party in his Favour.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"In these Circumstances, I think it proper to ask your Assistance, and make no doubt but you will so far consult your own Security, as not to leave the Nation, under a Rebellion actually begun at Home, and threaten'd with an Invasion from Abroad, in a defenceless Condition: And I shall look upon the Provision you shall make for the Safety of my People, as the best Mark of your Affection to me.
Commons Address of Thanks. ; Mr Freeman's Motion thereon.
The Commons being return'd to their House, it was resolv'd, Nemine Contradicente, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, to return the most humble and dutiful Thanks of this House to his Majesty, for communicating to his Parliament, the Advices he has received of an Attempt preparing to be made upon the Nation from Abroad, abetted and encouraged by treasonable Practices at Home, in Favour of a Popish Pretender; and to assure his Majesty, that this House will, with their Lives and Fortunes, stand by and support his Majesty against all his open and secret Enemies; and to desire his Majesty, that he will immediately give Directions for sitting out such a Number of Ships as may effectually guard the Coasts, and to issue out Commissions for augmenting his Forces by Land; assuring his Majesty, this House will, without Loss of Time, effectually enable him to raise and maintain such a Number of Forces, both by Sea and Land, as shall be necessary for the Defence of his sacred Person, and for the Security of his Kingdoms. After this, Mr Freeman, Member for Hertfordshire, stood up, and represented, 'That in so important a Juncture, they ought to lose no Time in drawing up an Address; and therefore mov'd, That the said Resolution be forthwith laid before his Majesty by the whole House.' He was seconded by the Lord Guernsey, Member for Surry, who said, 'It was well known he had, on many Occasions, differ'd from some Members in that House; but being now convinc'd that our Liberty, Religion, and all that is dear to Englishmen, were aim'd at, he would, laying his Hand on his Sword, rather die with his Sword in his Hand, than survive the Pretender's coming in, tho' he were to enjoy the greatest Honours and Preferments under him.' Mr Hampden having likewise back'd Mr Freeman's Motion, it pass'd into a Resolution, Nem. Con. and Mr Boscawen, who was order'd to wait on the King to know his Majesty's Pleasure, when he would be attended by the House, having, about six in the Evening, reported, that his Majesty had been pleased to appoint immediately at his Palace at St James's, the House went thither, with their Speaker, and laid before his Majesty the said Resolution, to which the King was pleas'd to return the following Answer.
King's Answer thereto.
"I Thank you heartily for this Address. The Zeal and Vigour which you shew upon this Occasion, will, I trust in God, enable me to defeat the evil Designs of our Enemies. I will immediately give Directions for such an Increase of our Forces, by Sea and Land, as I shall judge necessary for your Security; and will order Estimates of the Charge thereof to be laid before you.
Mr R. Walpole's Motion for an Address to the King, to allow the Officers on Half-Pay Full Pay. ; The Address agreed to. ; The King's Answer.
July 26. Mr Robert Walpole took Notice, 'Of the Measures the King had taken, pursuant to the Desire and Advice of that House, to secure his Dominions; but represented, that in Case of an Invasion, the Standing Troops and new Levies would hardly be sufficient; and as he thought it necessary, so he mov'd, that the Officers in Half-Pay should be put in a Capacity to serve the Nation, by allowing them Full Pay.' General Stanhope seconded Mr Walpole's Mation; and General Ross only having made a slight Objection to it, suggesting, that, to save Expences, the Standing Regiments might be augmented, it was resolved, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, that he would be graciously pleased to allow Full Pay to such Half-Pay Officers as were not otherwise provided for; and that his Majesty would give Orders to the said Officers to hold themselves in Readiness, to be employ'd in such Manner as his Majesty should think fit; and to assure his Majesty, that this House will supply such extraordinary Expence as his Majesty should be at on this Account, out of the next Aids to be afterwards granted by Parliament. This Address being the same Day presented to the King, his Majesty was pleas'd to say, "That he look'd upon it as a fresh Instance of the Duty and Affection of this House, and of their Zeal for the Security and Preservation of his People and Government.
Mr Walpole, from the Committee of Secrecy, reports farther Articles against the Earl of Oxford;
July 30. Mr R. Walpole reported from the Committee of Secrecy, that they had directed him to exhibit farther Articles of Impeachment of High Crimes and Misdemeanours against Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, which he read in his Place, and afterwards delivered them in at the Table, where they were read; and a Motion being made, and the Question put, that the farther Consideration of the said Articles be adjourn'd 'till the Tuesday following, it pass'd in the Negative. After this it was order'd, that the said Articles be read one by one; which was done accordingly, and, with Amendments to one of them, upon the Question severally put thereupon, they were agreed to by the House; who order'd, That the said Articles be engrossed; and, that a Clause be prepared for saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit any farther Articles against the said Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer.
Which being agreed to, Lord Coningsby is ordered to carry to the Lords.
August 2. The engrossed farther Articles of Impeachment against Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer were read; after which it was order'd, that the Lord Coningsby do carry those Articles also to the Lords; which his Lordship did immediately. The said farther Articles the Reader may see in the STATE TRIALS, Vol. 6, p. 116. The same Day the King went to the House of Peers, and the Commons being sent for and attending, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to such Bills as were ready.
Mr Walpole reports the Articles of Impeachment against Lord Bolingbroke. ; Which are agreed to.
August 4. Mr R. Walpole from the Committee of Secrecy acquainted the House, that the Committee had prepared Articles of Impeachment of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors against Henry Viscount Bolingbroke; and that the Committee had commanded him, at the same Time, to acquaint the House, that they shall, in a short Time, have farther Articles to lay before the House against him; and that the Committee had directed him to report the Articles already prepared, to the House. Then Mr Walpole read the Articles in his Place, and afterwards delivered them in at the Table, where they were once read, and then a second Time, Article by Article, and upon the Question severally put thereupon, agreed unto by the House; who order'd, That the said Articles be engrossed; and that a Clause be prepared, for saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit any farther Articles against the said Henry Viscount Bolingbroke, and that he may be sequestred from Parliament and committed to safe Custody.
Mr Walpole reports the Articles of Impeachment against the Duke of Ormond. ; Debate thereon.
August 5. Mr R. Walpole, from the Committee of Secrecy, acquainted the House, that the Committee had prepared Articles of Impeachment of High Treason, and other High Crimes, and Misdemeanours, against James Duke of Ormond, which they had directed him to report to the House. Then Mr Walpole read the said Articles in his Place, and afterwards deliver'd them in at the Table, where they were once read; and afterwards a second Time, Article by Article. A Motion being made, and the Question put, that the House, agree to the First Article, there arose a warm Debate, in which a Member said, that the Report of the Committee of Secrecy had begun to open his Eyes; and that the Duke of Ormond's Flight had fully convinc'd him, that the Heads of the Tory Party were a Set of Knaves and Villains, who design'd to have ruin'd their Country, and made it a Province of France. The Lord (fn. 37) Stanhope, Member for St Germans, said, he never wish'd to spill the Blood of any of his Countrymen, much less the Blood of any Nobleman; but that he was persuaded, that the Safety of his Country required that Examples should be made of those who had betray'd it in so infamous a Manner. The Lord (fn. 38) Finch, Member for Rutlandshire, spoke also on the same Side; and after some other Speeches, the First Article was agreed to by a Majority of 177 Voices against 78; and then the other Articles, upon the Question severally put thereupon, were also agreed unto by the House: After which it was order'd, That the said Articles be engrossed; and that a Clause be prepared for saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit any farther Articles against the said James Duke of Ormond; and that he may be sequester'd from Parliament, and committed to safe Custody.
Mr Walpole order'd to carry up to the Lords the Articles against Lord Bolingbroke.
August 6. The engrossed Articles, against Henry Viscount Bolingbroke, were read, after which it was order'd, I. That Mr R. Walpole do carry the said Articles to the Lords; II. That he be directed, before he exhibits the said Articles to the Lords, to impeach Henry Viscount Bolingbroke to the Effect following, viz.
'The Commons assembled in Parliament having receiv'd Information of divers traiterous Practices and Designs of a great Peer of this House, Henry Viscount Bolingbroke, have commanded me to impeach the said Henry Viscount Bolingbroke of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours: And I do here in their Names, and in the Names of all the Commons of Great Britain, impeach the said Henry Viscount Bolingbroke of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanours. I am farther commanded by the House of Commons to pray and demand of your Lordships, that the said Henry Viscount Bolingbroke may be sequestred from Parliament, and forthwith committed to safe Custody.'
Who being sled, is attainted of High Treason.
Accordingly, the same Day, Mr Walpole accompanied by a great many Members of the Commons, at the Bar of the House of Lords, impeach'd Henry Lord Viscount Bolingbroke as above; and the same Day the Lords sent a Message to acquaint the Commons, that their Lordships had order'd Henry Viscount Bolingbroke to be forthwith attach'd, by the Gentleman Usher of the Black-Rod attending the House of Lords, and brought to their Lordships Bar, to answer the Articles exhibited against him by the House of Commons: But the Lord Bolingbroke had long before retir'd into France. Hereupon the Commons order'd a Bill to be brought in to summon Henry Viscount Bolingbroke to render himself to Justice by a Day therein to be limited, or, in Default thereof, to attaint him of High Treason.
General Stanhope ordered to carry to the Lords the Articles against the Duke of Ormond. ; Who being gone off is also attainted.
August 8. The engrossed Articles against the Duke of Ormond were read, upon which it was order'd I. That General Stanhope do carry the said Articles to the Lords; II. That he be directed to impeach James Duke of Ormond, in the same Form as Henry Viscount Bolingbroke; which he did the same Day. The Articles of both which Impeachments may be seen in the POLITICAL STATE for August 1715. But the Duke of Ormond on the 21st of July before, embarking privately on board a Vessel on the Kentish Coast, landed in three Days in France: Upon which the Commons August the 10th, order'd a Bill to be brought in to summon and attaint him in like Manner as the Lord Viscount Bolingbroke. Those two Bills having pass'd both Houses, receiv'd the Royal Assent.
Mr Walpole reports the Articles against the Earl of Strafford.
August 31. Mr. Walpole, from the Committee of Secrecy, acquainted the House that the Committee had prepared Articles of Impeachment of High Crimes and Misdemeanours against Thomas Earl of Strafford; which he read in his Place, and afterwards deliver'd in at the Table, where they were read. Then it was order'd, that the said Articles be read a second Time, Article by Article; which being done accordingly, the said Articles were severally agreed unto by the House, who order'd, that the said Articles be engrossed; and that a Clause be prepared, saving Liberty to the Commons, to exhibit any farther Articles against the said Thomas Earl of Strafford, and that he may be put to answer the said Crimes and Misdemeanours.
Which being agreed to, Mr Aislaby carries up to the Lords.
September 1. The said Clause was offer'd to the House, read, agreed to, and order'd to be engrossed with the Articles of Impeachment; which being done accordingly, the said engrossed Articles of Impeachment of High Crimes and Misdemeanours against Thomas Earl of Strafford, were read, and it was order'd, I. That Mr. Aislaby do carry the said Articles to the Lords; II. That, before he exhibit the said Articles, he do, at the Bar of the House of Lords, impeach the said Thomas Earl of Strafford of High Crimes and Misdemeanours: which Mr. Aislaby, accompanied by many Members, did immediately; The Articles at large the Reader will find in the POLITICAL STATE for September 1715.
Earl of Oxford's Answer to the Articles of Impeachment read. ; Debate thereon. ; Mr. Walpole reports the Replication to the Earl of Oxford's Answer, which being agreed, to Lord Coningsby is order'd to carry to the Lords.
September 7. The Lords sent a Message to acquaint the Commons, that the Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer had put in his Answer to the said Articles of Impeachment; and also to deliver to the House of Commons a true Copy thereof, for which we refer to the STATE TRIALS, Vol. 6. p. 123. Hereupon the Commons order'd that the said Answer be read on the Monday following, and the said Answer being then read accordingly, there arose a small Debate. Mr Robert Walpole, among other Things, said, 'He had not yet had Time to peruse and examine that Answer, but that he now heard it read with a great deal of Attention, and, in his Opinion, it contain'd little more than what had been suggested in Vindication of the late Measures, in a Pamphlet intituled, The Conduct of the Allies, and repeated over and over in the Papers call'd, The Examiner. That the main Drift of this Answer seem'd to prove these two Assertions, I. That the Earl of Oxford had no Share in the advising and managing the Matters mention'd in the Articles against him, but that the late Queen did every Thing; and II. That the late Queen was a wise, good, and pious Princess. That if the second Proposition were not better grounded than the first, the Reputation of that excellent Princess would be very precarious: But as every-body must own her to have been a good and pious Queen, so it was notorious that the Earl of Oxford, as prime Minister, was the chief Adviser, Promoter, and Manager, of the Matters charged upon him in the Articles: And therefore his Answer was a false and mallcious Libel, laying upon his Royal Mistress the Blame of all the pernicious Measures he had led her into, against her own Honour and the Good of his Country: That he hoped the Earl's endeavouring to screen himself behind the Queen's Name, would avail him nothing: That 'tis, indeed, a Fundamental Maxim of our Constitution, that Kings can do no Wrong; but that, at the same Time, 'tis no less certain, that Ministers of State are accountable for their Actions; otherwise a Parliament would be but an empty Name; the Commons would have no Business in that Place; and the Government would be absolute and arbitrary. That though the Earl had the Assurance to aver, that he had no Share in the Management of Affairs that were transacted while he was at the Helm, yet he pretended to justify the late Measures: And therefore, in that Respect, his Answer ought to be look'd upon as a Libel on the Proceedings of the Commons, since he endeavour'd to clear those Persons, who had already confess'd their Guilt by their Flight. Mr. Shippen could not be altogether silent on this Occasion: He said, ' That it would not become him to desend the Earl's Answer, since, as a Member of that honourable Assembly, he was become one of his Accusers: But that he could not forbear wishing, that this Prosecution might be dropt, and that the House would be satisfy'd with the two late Acts of Attainder. That this Wish of his was the stronger, because one of the principal Reasons that induc'd the Commons to impeach the Earl of Oxford, subsisted no longer, the Affairs of Europe having receiv'd a sudden Turn from the Death of the French King; whereby the Renunciation of King Philip began to take place, in the Advancement of the Duke of Orleans to the absolute Regency of France.' Mr. Aislaby answer'd, 'That he hoped 'twas to little Purpose the Gentleman who spoke last, endeavour'd to move the Pity and Compassion of the House, and persuade them to drop this Prosecution. That this was not a proper Time to examine and reply to the Earl of Oxford's Answer; and therefore he would content himself with saying, in general, that it was a Contexture of the Shifts, Evasions, and false Representations, contain'd in the three Parts of The History of the White-Staff. That as to what had been suggested concerning the Event which seem'd to have strengthen'd the Renunciation, he did not deny, there might be something in it; which was manifest from the great Joy the well-affected to the Government had shewn, on this Occasion, and from the Mortification and Despair that appear'd in the Faces of a certain Party: But that, after all, it could not yet be ascertain'd, that the Renunciation was in Force; that there was a vast Difference between the Regency and the Crown; that Time only would decide that Matter; but that even supposing that, by the Concurrence of unforeseen Events, King Philip's Renunciation should, at last, take place, yet the same would not justify the Ministers who proposed and laid it as the Foundation of the late Peace, since they with whom they treated, were so frank and so sincere as to tell them, that it could never be valid, by the Fundamental Laws of France.' After some other Speeches, it was order'd, That the Answer of Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, be referr'd to the Committee appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment and prepare Evidence against the impeach'd Lords; and that the said Committee do prepare a Replication to the said Answer: Accordingly on Sept. 16. Mr. Robert Walpole, from the Committee, reported the said Replication, which he read in his Place, and afterwards deliver'd in at the Table, where the same was read, agreed unto, and order'd to be engross'd. The Monday after the engrossed Replication was read, and it was order'd, that Lord Coningsby do carry the same to the Lords; which his Lordship did accordingly. The Reader will find the said Replication at large in the STATE-TRIALS, Vol. 6. p. 147.
The Committee of Secrecy impowered to fit notwithstanding the Adjournment of the House.
September 20. Mr. Walpole reported from the Committee appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment, and to prepare Evidence against the impeach'd Lords, that they having, pursuant to the Order of Reference from the House, consider'd of the State and Circumstances of the Commitment of Mr. Prior, thought proper to make a Report thereupon to the House. After Reading the said Report the Commons order'd, that the Committee appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment, and to prepare Evidence against the impeach'd Lords, be impower'd to fit, notwithstanding any Adjournment of the House.
Sir W. Wyndham, Sir John Packington, Mr. Ed. Harvey, Mr. Foster, Mr. Anftis, and Mr. C. Kynaston, order'd, at the King's Request, to be apprehended.
September 21. General Stanhope, Secretary of State, acquainted the Commons, That he was commanded by the King to communicate to the House, that his Majesty having just Cause to suspect, that Sir William Wyndham, Member for Somersetshire; Sir John Packington, Member for Worcestershire; Mr. Edward Harvey, Member for Clithero; Mr. Foster, Member for Northumberland; Mr. Anftis, Member for Launceston; and Mr. Corbet Kynaston, Member for Shrewsbury, are engag'd in a Design to support the intended Invasion of this Kingdom, hath given Order for apprehending them; and his Majesty desires the Consent of this House to his causing them to be committed and detain'd, if he shall judge it necessary so to do, in Pursuance of the late Act of Parliament for impowering his Majesty to commit and detain such Persons as his Majesty shall suspect are conspiring against his Person and Government. Hereupon it was resolv'd, Nem. Con. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, returning the Thanks of this House for his gracious Message this Day, and for his tender Regard to the Privileges of this House; and to desire, that he will be pleas'd to give Orders for the committing and detaining the several Members nam'd in the said Message, pursuant to the Act of this Session of Parliament for that Purpose.
Scaffold order'd to be erected for the Earl of Oxford's Trial.
The same Day, the Lords sent a Message to acquaint the Commons, That their Lordships having address'd his Majesty, humbly to desire, that he would be pleas'd to cause-Directions to be given to the proper Officers for preparing a Scaffold in Westminster-Hall, for the Trial of Robert Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, who now stands impeach'd by this House of High Treason, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors, his Majesty had been graciously pleas'd to say, "He would give Directions to the proper Officers pursuant to the said Address."
The same Day likewise the King went to the House of Peers, and the Commons attending, the Speaker, upon presenting the Money-Bills, made the following Speech to his Majesty:
The Speaker's Speech to the King, on presenting the Money-Bills.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
'Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses in Parliament assembled, have now finish'd the Supplies granted to your Majesty for the Service of this present Year. Your Commons had much sooner offer'd these Supplies to your Majesty, had not their Zeal for your Majesty's Service, and the Duty they owe to their Country, led them into Inquiries which have drawn this Session to an unusual Length.
'But your Commons could not see, without the utmost Indignation, the Glories of her late Majesty's Reign tarnish'd by a treacherous Cessation of Arms; the Faith of Treaties violated; that ancient Probity, for which the English Nation had been justly renown'd throughout all Ages, expos'd to Scorn and Contempt; and the Trade of the Kingdom given up by insidious and precarious Treaties of Commerce, whilst the People, amused with new Worlds explor'd, were contented to see the most advantageous Branches of their Commerce in Europe lost, or betray'd.
'Such was the Condition of this Kingdom, when it pleas'd the Divine Providence to call your Majesty to the Throne of your Ancestors, under whose auspicious Reign your Commons with Pleasure behold the Glories of the Plantagenets (your Majesty's royal Ancestors) revive; and have an unbounded Prospect of the Continuance of this Happiness, even to the latest Posterity, in a Race of Princes lineally descended from your Majesty.
'And that nothing might be wanting on the Part of your Commons, to establish your Majesty's Throne on solid and lasting Foundations, they have apply'd themselves, with unweary'd Diligence, to vindicate the Honour of the British Nation, and to restore a mutual Confidence between this Kingdom and its ancient and faithful Allies, by detecting the Authors of these pernicious Counsels, and the Actors in these treacherous Designs, in order to bring them to Justice, by the Judgment of their Peers, according to the Law of the Land, and the Usage of Parliament.
'It was not to be expected, but that the Enemies to the Nation's Peace, would use their utmost Endeavours to obstruct your Commons in these Inquiries; but despairing of any Success in the Representative Body of the Kingdom, they fomented Tumults among the Dregs of the People at Home, and spirited up the Pretender to an Invasion from Abroad, This gave your faithful Commons fresh Opportunities of shewing their Affection to your Majesty's Person, and their Fidelity to your Government, by their unanimous Concurrence in granting such Supplies as were sufficient to disappoint the one, and by their passing such Laws as were necessary to suppress the other; and, in every Respect, to express their Abhorrence of a Popish Pretender, concerning whom, nothing remains unsuspected, but his Bigotry to Superstition, and his Hatred to our holy Religion; for the Advancement of which your Majesty has express'd your pious Care, by recommending to your Commons the providing Maintenance for the Ministers who are to officiate in the new Churches. This your Commons readily comply'd with, trusting, that the Prayers there offer'd to the Almighty, will bring down a Blessing on all your Majesty's Undertakings; and not doubting, but that the Doctrines there taught, will be a Means to secure the Quiet of your Kingdoms, and the Obedience of your People.
'The Revenue set apart for the Uses of the Civil Government, your Commons found so much intangled with Mortgages and Anticipations, that what remain'd, was far from being sufficient to support the Honour and Dignity of the Crown: This your Commons took into serious Consideration, and being truly sensible, that on your Majesty's Greatness the Happiness of your Subjects entirely depends, they have put the Civil Revenues into the same State, in which they were granted to your Majesty's glorious Predecessor, King William, of immortal Memory; and thereby enabled your Majesty to make an ample Provision for the Prince of Wales, whose heroick Virtues are the best Security of your Majesty's Throne, as his other personal Endowments are the Joy of all your faithful Subjects.
'I should but ill discharge the Trust reposed in me by the Commons, did I not lay before your Majesty, with what Cheerfulness they receiv'd your Majesty's gracious Intentions for her Royal Highness the Princess; and with how much Readiness and Unanimity they enabled your Majesty to settle a Revenue suitable to the Dignity of a Princess, whose Piety, and steady Adherence to the Protestant Religion, is the Glory of the present Age, and will be the Admiration of all future Generations.
'May it please your Majesty,
'The Bills which the Commons have prepar'd to compleat the Supplies for this Year's Service, and for the other Purposes I have mention'd, are severally intitled,
I. An Act to enable his Majesty to settle a Revenue for supporting the Dignity of her Royal Highness, &c.
II. An Act for enlarging the Capital Stock and yearly Fund of the South-Sea Company, &c
III. An Act for making Provision for the Ministers of the fifty new Churches, &c.
'Which they with all Humility now present to your Majesty for your Royal Assent.'
After this, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to the three Bills before mention'd, as also to fix more publick, and to nine private Bills.
Then his Majesty was pleas'd to declare from the Throne, that he had order'd the Lord Chancellor to deliver his Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament, in his Majesty's Name and Words, which he did accordingly, as follows:
The King's Speech at adjourning the Parliament.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Am perswaded you are all by this Time very desirous of some Recess, and that it cannot be deferr'd longer, without great Inconvenience to your private Affairs.
"But before I part with you, I must return you my most sincere Thanks for your having finish'd, with so much Wisdom and Unanimity, what I recommended to your Care; and particularly I must thank you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, for the Provision you have made, as well for the Support of the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, as for the other necessary Occasions of the Publick; especially for your having done it by Means so little burthensome to my People; which, I assure you, recommends the Supplies to me above any other Circumstance whatsoever.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"The open and declar'd Rebellion, which is now actually begun in Scotland, must convince all, who do not wish to see us given up into the Hands of a Popish Pretender, of the Dangers to which we have been, and are still expos'd.
"I thought it incumbent upon me, to give you the earliest Notice of the Designs of our Enemies, and I cannot sufficiently commend the Zeal and Dispatch with which you impower'd me, at a Time when the Nation was in so naked and defenceless a Condition, to make such Preparations as I should think necessary for our Security. You shall have no Reason to repent of the Trust and Confidence you repose in me, which I shall never use to any other End than for the Protection and Welfare of my People.
"It was scarce to be imagin'd, that any of my Protestant Subjects, who have known and enjoy'd the Benefits of our excellent Constitution, and have heard of the great Dangers they were wonderfully deliver'd from by the happy Revolution, should, by any Arts and Management, be drawn into Measures that must at once destroy their Religion and Liberties, and subject them to Popery and arbitrary Power, but such has been our Misfortune, that too many of my People have been deluded, and made instrumental to the Pretender's Designs, who had never dar'd to think of invading us, or raising a Rebellion, had he not been encourag'd by the Success his Emissaries and Adherents have already had in stirring up Riots and Tumults, and by the farther Hopes they entertain of raising Insurrections in many Parts of my Kingdoms.
"The endeavouring to persuade my People, that the Church of England is in Danger under my Government, has been the main Artifice employ'd in carrying on this wicked and traiterous Design. This Insinuation, after the solemn Assurances I have given, and by having laid hold on all Opportunities, to do every Thing that may tend to the Advantage of the Church of England, is both unjust and ungrateful: Nor can I believe so groundless and malicious a Calumny can make any Impression upon the Minds of my faithful Subjects, or that they can be so far misled, as to think the Church of England is to be secur'd by setting a Popish Pretender on the Throne.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"The Proofs this Parliament has given of their unshaken Duty and Affection to me, and of their Love and Zeal for the Interest of their Country, will recommend you to the good Opinion and Esteem of all who have their Religion and Liberty truly at Heart, and has laid a lasting Obligation upon me; and I question not, but by your farther Assistance in the several Countries to which you are going, with the Blessing of Almighty God, who has so frequently interpos'd in Favour of this Nation, I shall be able to disappoint and defeat the Designs of our Enemies.
"Our Meeting again to do Business early in the next Winter, will be useful on many Accounts; particularly, that the sitting of Parliaments may be again brought into that Season of the Year which is most convenient; and that as little Delay may be given as is possible to your judicial Proceedings; and I shall at present give such Orders to my Lord Chancellor, as may not put it long out of my Power to meet you on any sudden Occasion."
And then the Lord Chancellor, by his Majesty's Command, said,
The House adjourns to Oct. 6th.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
'It is his Majesty's Royal Will and Pleasure, that both Houses should forthwith severally adjourn themselves to Thursday the sixth Day of October next.'