The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1734-1737. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Minutes, &c. of the First Session of the Eighth Parliament of Great Britain; by way of Introduction to, and Illustration of, the Debates, &c. which follow, to the End of the said Session.
February, the 6th.
Order relating to Elections.
It was Resolved, That in the Petition of any Elector or Electors, for any County, City or Place, sending Members to Parliament, complaining of an undue Election and Return, and alledging that some other Person was duly elected, and ought to have been returned; the sitting Member, so complained of, might demand and examine into the Qualifications of such Person, so alledged to be duly elected, in the same manner as if such Person had himself petitioned: Which Resolution was declared to be a standing Order of the House.
Dispute about Order.
The 13th. A Motion for certain Accounts (See Page 48) having been made, canvass'd and divided upon, Henry Pelham, Esq; moved to adjourn, which brought on a short Debate about Order, because it was said, that when a Question had been moved, and for some Time debated, the House was so much in Possession of it, that it could not be put off by Adjournment, without an unanimous Consent: But Mr. Speaker declared, that, according to the general Opinion, the Rule mentioned was to be observed at all Times before four o'Clock in the Afternoon; but after that Hour, tho' a Question had been for some Time debated, it was thought it might be put off by Adjournment, without any unanimous Consent: Whereupon the Question was put for adjourning, which was carried in the Affirmative without a Division.
Votes on the Supply.
The 14th. Resolved that a Sum not exceeding (fn. 1) 794,529l. 4s. 7d. be granted to his Majesty, for defraying the Charge of 25,744 Men, for Guards and Garrisons, and other his Majesty's Land-Forces in Great Britain, Guernsey, and Jersey, for the Year 1735. See the Debate, Page 51.
On the 21st of February the House went again into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of the Supply granted to his Majesty, when they came to several Resolutions, which were on the 24th agreed to by the House, and were as follows, viz.
That a Sum not exceeding (fn. 2) 215,710l. 6s. 5d. be granted to his Majesty, for maintaining his Majesty's Forces and Garrisons in the Plantations, Minorca and Gibraltar, and for the Provisions for the Garrisons at Anapolis Royal, Canso, Placentia and Gibraltar, for the Year 1735.
That a Sum, not exceeding 10,273l. 1s. 7d. be granted to his Majesty, for defraying several extraordinary Expences and Services incurred Anno Dom. 1734, and not provided for by Parliament.
That a Sum not exceeding 18,850l. 9s. 2d. be granted to his Majesty, upon Account, for Out-pensioners of ChelseaHospital, for the Year 1735. See Page 73.
On the 28th of February, his Majesty came to the House of Peers, and the House of Commons being sent for, his Majesty was pleased to give the Royal Assent to the Bill, entitled, An Act for continuing the Duties upon Malt, &c. in that Part of Great Britain called England; and for granting to his Majesty certain Duties upon Malt, &c. in that Part of Great Britain called Scotland, for the Service of the Year 1735; and to one Naturalization-Bill. See Page 89.
Other Votes on the Supply
On the 7th of March the House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of Ways and Means for raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, and came to several Resolutions, which were next Day reported to the House, and are as follow:
That towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, there be issued and applied the Sum of one Million, out of as have arisen, or shall or may arise from the Surplusses; Excesses, or Overplus- Moneys, commonly called the Sinking-Fund.
That towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty; the several Duties on Salt, and also on Red and White Herrings, delivered out for Home-Consumption, which, by an Act of the 7th Year of his present Majesty's Reign, were continu'd and granted to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, until the 25th Day of March, 1742, be further continu'd from the 24th Day of March, 1741, to the 25th Day of March 1746.
And Bills were brought in soon after, pursuant to these Resolutions.
Petition of George Herriot, &c.
On the 12th of the same Month, a Petition of George Herriot, Provost of the Royal Burgh of Haddington in Scotland, Robert Forrest, Brewer there, John Hay, Sadler there, George Hunter, Wheelwright there, and George Walker, Skinner there, was presented to the House; alledging, That, upon Application made the 24th of October then last, by James Ereskine, John Claddel, Andrew Wilson, and others; assuming to themselves the Name of Magistrates in the said Burgh, and complaining that the Petitioners had disturbed them in the pretended Exercise of their Offices; the Hon. Andrew Fletcher of Miltoun, one of the Judges of the Court of Justiciary, and also of the Court of Session in Scotland, though there was evidently no Foundation for such Complaint, without any Jurisdiction to judge of the Merits of the Election of Magistrates of the said Burgh, without any Notice given to the Petitioners; or any of the other Persons concerned; and so, without hearing them, or calling them before him, gave forth a summary Warrant, directed to all Officers whom it concerned, Civil or Military, to search for, seize and apprehend the Persons of the Petitioners and many others, to the Number of forty Burgesses and Inhabitants, whereof seventeen were acting Magistrates or Counsellors of the said Burgh, where-ever they should be found in Scotland, and to imprison them within the nearest sure Prison; that this Warrant was lodged in the Hands of Humphry Colquhoun, one of the Macers or Messengers of the Court of Justiciary, without the Privity of any other of the Judges of that Court; and, as the Petitioners have Reason to believe, the said Andrew Fletcher order'd the said Macer to take Directions from Patrick Lindsay, Provost of Edinburgh, as to the Manner of executing that Warrant; and such Directions were accordingly given, as the Petitioners have Reason to believe, in Writing; that this Warrant was accompany'd by an Order from Brigadier-General Moyle, then acting as Commander in chief of the Forces in Scotland, to the commanding Officer of the Dragoons then quarter'd in Haddington, to assist with his Dragoons in the Execution of the Warrant; that upon the 25th Day of the said Month of October, the Petitioners were seized by the said Humphry Colquhoun; and though the next sure Prison was that of Haddington itself, or that of North Berwick, and though the Petitioners desired either to be committed there, or to be carry'd to Edinburgh, the Seat of the Courts of Justice, where they might apply for Redress; yet he told them, that his Orders were to carry them to the Prison of Dunbar, and no other, a Place twenty Miles distant from Edinburgh, and eight Miles from Haddington, and three Miles further from Edinburgh than North Berwick; and though the pretended Crime was bailable, and Alexander Hepburn, the Sheriff's Substitute, to whom the Petitioners apply'd, was by Law impowered, and willing to admit them to Bail, the said Humphry Colquhoun told them, that he could not dismiss them upon Bail, his express Orders being to take no Bail, but to commit his Prisoners to the Prison of Dunbar; where they were accordingly imprison'd from the 25th Day of October, to the 27th of the said Month, till, by Warrant from the Hon. David Ereskine of Dun, another of the Judges of the said Courts of Justiciary and Session, the Petitioners were set at Liberty, and Execution of the Warrant was staid against the rest, upon Bail given by the Petitioners and them; and that since that Time no criminal Prosecution has been moved for, upon any of these pretended Crimes charg'd against the Petitioners or the rest; that these Proceedings, as the Petitioners apprehend, and are advised, were utterly illegal and and oppressive on the Part of the said Andrew Fletcher of Miltoun, tending to destroy the personal Liberties of every Subject, the Freedom of the Royal Burghs, and of Consequence the Freedom of Election of Members to serve in Parliament for such Burghs; and as the Petitioners can hope for no Redress but from the Justice of Parliament; therefore praying the House to take the Premisses into Consideration, and to grant such Redress therein as may effectually prevent such Oppressions in Time coming, and as otherwise to the House shall seem meet.
Motion and Division thereon.
After this Petition was read, a Motion was made for referring it to a Committee of the whole House, upon which there was a long Debate; but the Question being at last put, it was, upon a Division, carry'd in the Negative, by 197 to 155.
Though this Petition relates to a private Affair, yet it is of such an extraordinary Nature, and has such a close Connection with the Freedom of our Government, and with the Liberty of the Subject, that we could not omit taking Notice of it, being of Opinion it will make a very remarkable Episode in the History of the present Age, and will certainly contribute towards the Catastrophe, almost as much as any Incident that has lately happen'd: Besides, it gave Occasion, we believe, to the following Motion, which was made on Friday following.
Motion relating to wrongous Imprisonment.
That Part of an Act of the Parliament of Scotland in 1701, intitled, An Act for preventing wrongous Imprisonment, and against undue Delays in Trials, might be read; which being accordingly read, it was moved, 'That Leave might be given to bring in a Bill for explaining and amending the said Act;' and the same being agreed to, Mr. Dundass, the Lord Polwarth, and Mr. Sandys, were ordered to bring it in.
Votes on the Supply.
On Monday the 17th of March, the House resolv'd itself again into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of the Supply granted to his Majesty, when they resolved to grant his Majesty the following Sums, viz.
The Sum of 10,393l. 5s. 11d. to compleat the Sum of 81,568l. 5s. 11d. for Services incurred by augmenting his Majesty's Forces, and in concerting such other Measures, as the Exigency of his Majesty's Affairs required. The Sum of 49,834l. 13s. 4d. upon Account, for reduced Officers of his Majesty's Land Forces and Marines, for the Year 1735. The Sum of 3780l. for paying off Pensions to the Widows of such reduced Officers of his Majesty's Land Forces and Marines, as dy'd upon the Establishment of Half Pay in Great Britain, (and who were marry'd to them before the 25th of December 1716) for the Year 1735. The Sum of 79,760l. 3 s. 9d. for the Charge of the Office of Ordnance for Land-Service for the Year 1735. The Sum of 24,693l. 1s. 6d. for defraying the extraordinary Expence of the Office of Ordnance for Land-Service, not provided for by Parliament. The Sum of 36,405 l. 15 s. 4 d. to make good the Deficiency of the Grants for the Service of the Year 1734. The Sum of 37,557 l. 13s. 4d. for making good the Deficiency of the general Fund. The Sum of 198,924 l. 9s. 7d. for the Ordinary of the Navy (including Half-Pay for Sea-Officers) for the Year 1735. The Sum of 10,000 l. towards the Support of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich. The Sum of 10,000 l. towards the Maintenance of the British Forts and Settlements belonging to the Royal African Company of England, on the Coasts of Africa. The Sum of 26,000l. towards settling and securing the Coloney of Georgia in America. The Sum of 4000 l. towards the Repair of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter Westminster: And the Sum of 3500 l. for the Repair of the Tower and Roof of the Parish Church of St. Margaret Westminster.
Total of the said Supply.
By adding these Sums to the Sums before granted, viz. for Seamen 1,560,000 l. For Land-Forces, 794,529 l. 4 s. 7d. For Garrisons, 215,710 l. 6s. 5 d. For extraordinary Expences incurred, 10,273 l. 1 s. 7d. For OutPensioners of Chelsea College, 18,850 l. 9 s. 2 d. And for the Denmark Treaty, 56,250 l. Our Readers will see, that the Supply granted for this Year, amounts to 3,150,452 l. 4s. 7 d.
On the 19th. it was order'd, that Leave should be given to bring in a Bill for the better securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limitting the Number of Officers in the House of Commons; and Mr. Sandys, Mr. Wortley, Mr. How, Sir John Hind Cotton, Mr. Watkin Williams Wynne, and Sir William Lowther, were ordered to prepare and bring in the same; which was accordingly presented to the House on the 21st, by Mr. Sandys.
The same Day, the House having resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House on Ways and Means, resolved, That towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, the Sum of two Shillings in the Pound, and no more, should be raised in the Year 1735, upon Lands, &c. and that a propdrtionable Cess (according to the 9th Article of the Treaty of Union) should be laid upon that Part of Great Britain called Scotland: And a Bill, pursuant to this Resolution, was order'd to be brought in.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
On Monday the 24th Day of March, his Majesty came to the House of Peers, and gave the Royal Assent to the two following public Bills, viz.
An Act to punish Mutiny and Defertion, and for the better Payment of the Army and their Quarters.
An Act to indemnify Persons who have omitted to make and subscribe the Declarations contained in the Act of Uniformity, of the 13th and 14th Years of King Charles II, within the Time limitted by Law, and for allowing further Time for doing thereof.
And to two Bills for repairing Roads, and two private Bills.
On the 27th, a Committee was appointed to consider the Laws in Being relating to the Maintenance and Settlement of the Poor, and to consider what further Provisions might be necessary for their better Relief and Employment: And the said Committee having consider'd and examin'd this Affair with great Care and Attention came to several Resolutions as follow.
Resolv'd, That it was the Opinion of that Committee,
Votes relating to the maintainance of the Poor.
1. That the Laws in being, relating to the Maintenance of the Poor of this Kingdom, are defective; and notwithstanding they impose heavy Burthens on Parishes, yet the Poor, in most of them, are ill taken Care of.
2. That the Laws relating to the Settlement of the Poor, and concerning Vagrants, are very difficult to be executed, and chargeable in their Execution; vexatious to the Poor, and of little Advantage to the Public; and ineffectual to promote the good Ends for which they were intended.
3. That it is necessary, for the better Relief and Employment of the Poor, that a public Workhouse or Workhouses, Hospital or Hospitals, House or Houses of Correction, be established in proper Places, and under proper Regulations, in each County.
4. That in such Workhouse or Workhouses, all poor Persons, able to labour, be set to work, who shall either be sent thither, or come voluntarily for Employment.
5. That in such Hospital or Hospitals, Foundlings and other poor Children, not having Parents able to provide for them, be taken Care of; as also poor Persons that are impotent or infirm.
6. That in such House or Houses of Correction, all idle and disorderly Persons, Vagrants, and such other Criminals as shall be thought proper, be confined to hard Labour.
7. That towards the Charge of such Workhouses, Hos pitals, and Houses of Correction, each Parish be assessed or rated, and that proper Persons be empower'd to receive the Money so to be assessed or rated, when collected, and also all voluntary Contributions or Collections, either given or made for such Purposes.
8. That such Workhouses, Hospitals, and Houses of Correction, be under the Management of proper Persons, Regard being had to such as shall be Benefactors to so good a Work.
9. That such Persons as shall be appointed for the Management of such Workhouses, Hospitals, and Houses of Correction, be one Body politic in Law, capable to sue and be sued, and of taking and receiving charitable Contributions and Benefactions for the Use of the same.
10. That for the better understanding, and rendering more effectual the Laws relating to the Maintenance and Settlement of the Poor, it is very expedient that they be reduced into one Act of Parliament.
These Resolutions were reported to the House on the 2d of May, and on the 7th of the same Month, were all agreed to without Amendment, except the 9th, which was amended thus, viz.
Resolved, That such Persons as shall be appointed for the Management of such Workhouses, Hospitals and Houses of Correction, be one Body politic in Law, capable to sue and be sued, and of taking and receiving charitable Contributions and Benefactions, in Money, for the Use of such Bodies politic.
And then this Resolution so amended, was agreed to by the House.
On the 28th of March, Mr. Dundass presented to the House (according to Order) a Bill, for explaining and amending an Act pass'd in the Parliament of Scotland, in the Year 1701, entitled, An Act for preventing wrongous Imprisonment, and against undue Delays in Tryals. Which was read a first Time, and order'd to be read a second Time.
A Petition of the general Assembly of Scotland.
On the 10th of April, a Petition of the then late General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, was presented to the House and read, representing, That Patronages have, since the Reformation, been deemed by the said Church a very great Grievance, and not warranted by the Word of God, and have at all Times been struggled against; that, soon after the Revolution, an Act of Parliament was made in Scotland, abolishing the Power of Patrons to present Ministers to vacant Churches; and at the Union of the two Kingdoms, the Establishment of the Church of Scotland, in all its Rights and Privileges, by that and other Acts of Parliament made or ratify'd after the Revolution, was declared to be a fundamental and essential Condition and Article of that Union; and at that Time, it was the Right and Privilege of the said Church to be free from Patronages; but that, by an Act passed in the 10th Year of her late Majesty Queen Anne, entitled, An Act to restore the Patrons to their antient Rights of presenting Ministers to the Churches, vacant to that Part of Great Britain called Scotland, the aforesaid Act passed in the Reign of King William, was rescinded, in so far as concerned the Power of Patrons to present Ministers to vacant Parishes, and other Advantages, which had been the chief Things bestowed on Patrons, in Lieu and Recompence of their former Right of Presentation, were nevertheless suffered to continue with them; and therefore praying the House to pass a Bill for repealing the aforesaid Act of Parliament, passed in the 10th Year of Queen Anne, in so far as concerns the Power of Patrons to present Ministers to vacant Churches, in order to restore the Church of Scotland to the Rights and Privileges she was possessed of at the Union of the two Kingdoms.
In Pursuance of this Petition, Leave was given to bring in Bill for this Purpose, and Mr. Plumer, Mr. Ereskine, Mr. Forbes, Mr. Areskine, Sir James Ferguson, and Mr. Hume Campbell, were ordered to prepare and bring in the same; which Bill was presented by Mr. Plumer on the 18th, but did not pass.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
On Thursday the 15th of May, the King came to the House of Peers, and the Commons being sent for, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to the following public Bills, viz.
An Act for granting an Aid to his Majesty, by a LandTax, to be raised in Great Britain for the Service of the Year 1735.
An Act for enabling his Majesty to apply the Sum of One Million out of the Sinking Fund, for the Service of the Year 1735.
An Act for granting and continuing the Duties upon Salt, and upon Red and White Herrings, for the farther Term of four Years; and for giving farther Time for the Payment of Duties, omitted to be paid for the Indentures and Contracts of Clerks and Apprentices.
An Act for the Application of the Rents and Profits of the Estates forfeited by the Attainders of James late Earl of Derwentwater and Charles Radcliffe.
An Act to continue several Laws therein mentioned, for the better Regulation and Government of Seamen in the Merchants Service; for the regulating of Pilots of Dover, Deal, and the Isle of Thanet; for preventing Frauds in the Customs, and to prevent the clandestine Running of Goods, and for making Copper Ore of the British Plantations an enumerated Commodity.
An Act to continue an Act passed in the third Year of his present Majesty's Reign, entitled, An Act for granting Liberty to carry Rice from his Majesty's Province of Carolina in America directly to any Part of Europe Southward of Cape Finisterre, in Ships built in and belonging to Great Britain, and navigated according to Law; and to extend that Liberty to his Majesty's Province of Georgia in America.
An Act to continue some Laws therein mentioned, relating to the Encouragement of the making of Sail Cloth in Great Britain, and for Encouragement of the Silk Manufactures in this Kingdom.
An Act for regulating the quartering of Soldiers during the Time of Elections of Members to serve in Parliament.
An Act to indemnify Persons, who have omitted to qualify themselves for Offices and Employments within the Time limited by Law; and for allowing further Time for that Purpose.
An Act to indemnify Protestant Purchasers of Estates of Papists, against the Penalties or Forfeitures Papists are liable to, for not having inrolled their Estates, in pursuance of an Act of the 3d Year of King George I. for that Purpose.
An Act to explain and amend an Act passed in the second Year of the Reign of his present Majesty, entitled, An Act for the Relief of Debtors, with respect to the Imprisonment of their Persons.
An Act for the Amendment of the Law relating to Actions on the Statute of Hue and Cry.
An Act for rendering the Laws more effectual for punishing such Persons as shall wilfully and maliciously pull down and destroy Turnpikes for repairing Highways, or Locks, or other Works erected by Act of Parliament for making Rivers navigable; and for other Purposes therein mentioned.
An Act for the public registering all Deeds, &c. within the North Riding of the County of York, after the 29th of September 1736.
An Act for the Encouragement of the Arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching historical and other Prints, by investing the Property thereof in the Inventors and Engravers, during the Time therein mentioned.
And to ten Road and other Bills of a private Nature, and to sixteen private Bills. For the King's Speech, See page 101.
The Number of contested Elections at the opening of the Parliament was seventy one.
The Account laid before the Parliament of 81568l. incurred by augmenting his Majesty's Forces, and concerting such Measures as the Exigency of Affairs have required, pursuant to the Vote of Credit, formerly mentioned, is in Substance, viz. 115003 Crowns, being a Moiety of 230000 Crowns payable by Treaty to the King of Denmark for Levy-Money for a Body of 6000 Danish Troops, and 62500 Crowns, being a Moiety of 230000 Crowns, Bank Money of Hamburgh, payable to the King of Denmark for an annual Subsidy, pursuant to the said Treaty, of which a Quarter became due the 19th of December, O. S. The rest of the 81568 l. was for transporting the eight Regiments of Foot from Ireland to this Kingdom, and for Levy-Money to augment the said Regiments, and the sending Six Companies from Gibraltar to Jamaica.
The Expences incurred in the Sea Service, Anno 1734, pursuant to the said Vote of Credit, amounted to 125,142l.