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 Third Session, by way of Introduction to, and Illustration of, the Debates, which follow, to the End of the said Session.
A Series of the Proceedings of the Committee on the Supply and Ways and Means.
The House having resolved, on Feb. 2. that they would next Morning take into Consideration the Speech of the Lords Commissioners, appointed by his Majesty for holding that Parliament, to both Houses of Parliament, they accordingly proceeded next Day to take the said Speech into Consideration; and the same being again read by Mr. Speaker, a Motion was made, That a Supply should be granted to his Majesty; whereupon 'twas resolved, that the House would the next Morning resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the said Motion.
Thus the Committee of Supply was established in the usual Form, and as that Committee is in every Session one of the chief Committees, we shall give the History of it during last Session, before we give an Account of any of the Debates that happened in it; in order that our Readers may have at once, and as it were at one View, all the Resolutions agreed to in the same.
On the 4th, the Order of the Day being read, for the House to resolve itself into the said Committee, the said Speech of the Lords Commissioners was ordered to be referred to the same; and the House having then resolved itself into the said Committee, they resolved, That it was the Opinion of that Committee, that a Supply should be granted to his Majesty; which was on the Monday following reported and agreed to by the House Nemine Contradicente.
On the 9th, the House, according to Order, resolved itself again into the said Committee, and came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and all agreed to by the House, viz.
That ten thousand Men should be employed for the Sea- Serivce for the year 1737, beginning from Jan. 1. 1736: That a Sum, not exceeding 4l. per Man per Month, should be allowed for maintaining the said 10,000 Men for 13 Months, including the Ordnance for Sea-Service: And that a Sum, not exceeding 219 201l. 6s. 5d. should be granted to his Majesty for the Ordinary of the Navy (including Halfpay to Sea Officers) for the Year 1737.
On the 18th, the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and all agreed to by the House, viz. That the Number of effective Men to be provided for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Guernsey and Jersey, for the Year 1737, should be (including 1815 Invalids, and 555 Men, which the six independent Companies consist of for the Service of the Highlands) 17,704 Men, Commission and Non-commission Officers included: That a Sum not exceeding 647,549l. 11s. 3d. should be granted to his Majesty, for defraying the Charge of the said 17,704 Men: That a Sum not exceeding 215,710l. 6s. 5d. should be granted to his Majesty for maintaining his Majesty's Forces and Garrisons in the Plantations, Minorca and Gibraltar, and for Provisions for the Garrisons at Anapolis Royal, Canso, Placentia, and Gibraltar, for the Year 1737. See page 239.
(Page 341) On the 28th, the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and all agreed to by the House, viz. That a Sum, not exceeding 79,723l. 6s. 3d. should be granted to his Majesty, for the Charge of the Office of Ordnance for Land Service, for the Year 1737: That a Sum not exceeding 604l. 19s. 2d. should be granted to his Majesty, for defraving the extraordinary Expence of the Office of Ordnance for Land Service, and not provided for by Parliament: That a Sum, not exceeding 62,401l. 3s. 6d. should be granted to his Majesty, to make good the Deficiency of the Grants, for the Service of the Year 1736: That a Sum, not exceeding 10,043l. 3s. 10d. should be granted to his Majesty, to replace, to the Sinking Fund, the like Sum paid out of the same, to make good the Deficiency of the additional Stamp Duties at Christmas, 1735, pursuant to a Clause in an Act of Parliament passed in the 4th Year of his Majesty's Reign, for raising 1,200,000l. by Annuities and a Lottery for the Service of the Year 1731: That a Sum, not exceeding 42,187l. 10s. should be granted to his Majesty, on Account of the Subsidy payable to the King of Denmark, pursuant to the Treaty bearing Date, Sept. 19, 1734, for three Quarters of a Year, to Sept. 19, 1737.
On March 4, the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and all agreed to by the should be granted to his Majesty, upon Account, for OutPensioners of Chelsea Hospital, for the Year 1733: That a Sum, not exceeding 56,413l. 14s. 3d. should be granted to his Majesty, for defraying several extraordinary Services and Expences, incurred in the Years 1735 and 1736, and not provided for by Parliament: That a Sum, not exceeding 10,000l. should be granted to his Majesty upon Account, towards the Support of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich.
On the 9th, the House resolv'd itself again into the said Committee, and made some Progress; and on the 11th, being again in the said Committee, they came to the following Resolution, which was reported, and agreed to by the House, viz. That the Sum of one Million should be granted to his Majesty, towards redeeming the like Sum of the increased Capital of the South Sea Company, as is now commonly called Old South Sea Annuities. See page 341.
On the 19th, the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and all agreed to by the House, viz. That a Sum, not exceeding 20,000l. should be granted to his Majesty, towards settling and securing the Colony of Georgia in America: That a Sum, not exceeding 10,000l. should be granted to his Majesty, to be applied towards the Maintenance of the British Forts and Settlements belonging to the Royal African Company of England, on the Coast of Africa: That the Sum of 4000l. should be granted to his Majesty, towards repairing and finishing the Collegiate Church of St. Peter's Westminster: That a Sum, not exceeding 44,685l. 2s. 6d. shall be granted to his Majesty, upon Account, for reduced Officers of his Majesty's Land Forces and Marines, for the Year 1737: That a Sum, not exceeding 3945l. should be granted to his Majesty, for paying of Pensions to the Widows of such reduced Officers of his Majesty's Land Forces and Marines, as died upon the Establishment of Half-Pay in Great-Britain, and who were married to them before Dec. 25, 17 6, for the Year 1737: That a Sum, not exceeding 50,000l. should be granted to his Majesty, towards the Rebuilding and Repairing the Ships of the Royal Navy, for the Year 1737.
This was the last Time of the said Committee's Sitting, and by the above-mentioned Resolutions it appears, that the total Sum granted by this last Session of Parliament amounts to 2,025,172l. 2s. 9d. besides the Million granted for redeeming so much of the South-Sea Capital.
As soon as the House had agreed to the three Resolutions of the Committee of the Supply, first above-mentioned, relating to the Seamen and Navy, which was on Thursday, Feb. 10, they resolved, that they would next Morning resolve of Ways and Means for raising the Supply granted to his Majesty; and accordingly, next Day the House resolved itself into the said Committee, in which they resolved, That it was their Opinion, that towards the Supply granted to his Majesty, the Duties on Malt, Mum, Cyder and Perry, which, by an Act of Parliament of the 9th Year of his Majesty's Reign, had Continuance to June 24, 1737, should be further continued, and charged upon Malt which should be made, and all Mum which should be made or imported, and all Cyder and Perry which should be made for Sale, within the Kingdom of Great Britain, from June 23, 1737, to June 24, 1738 Which Resolution was, according to Order, reported to the House the next Day, and agreed to.
The said Committee was by Order continued from Time to Time, without sitting, till Monday March 14, when the House resolved itself again into this Committee, and came to the following Resolution, which was reported and agreed to by the House, viz. That towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, the Sum of 2s. in the Pound, and no more, should be raised in the Year 1737, upon Lands, Tenements, Hereditaments, Pensions, Offices, and personal Estates, in that Part of Great Britain called England, Wales, and the Town of Berwick upon Tweed; and that a proportional Cess, according to the 9th Article of the Treaty of Union, should be laid upon that Part of Great Britain called Scotland.
On the 18th, the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and agreed to by the House, but with some Amendments to the third, as belowmentioned, viz. That the Duty of 36s. a Barrel on Sweets (See page 480) granted by an Act of the 5th Year of her late Majesty Queen Anne, for the Term of 96 Years, and since made perpetual, should from and after June 24, 1737, cease and determine. That there should be granted to his Majesty for every Barrel of Sweets made for Sale, from and after June 24, 1737. the Sum of 12s. the said Duties to be paid by the Maker and Makers of the said Sweets, and so in Proportion of greater or lesser Quantities. That the Allowance of 5s. per Barrel on British made Gun-powder exported, granted by an Act of the 4th Year of his present Majesty's Reign which was to expire the End of that Session of Parliament, should be further continued for seven Years. That towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, a Duty of 2s. per Bushel should be laid upon all Apples, which at any Times or Times, from and after June 24, 1737, should be imported and brought into the Kingdom of Great Britain, over and above all Customs, Subsidies and Duties before imposed thereon. The Third Resolution as amended and aance of 4s. 6d. per Barrel on British made Gunpowder exported, granted by an Act of the 4th Year of his present Majesty's Reign, which was to expire the End of that Session of Parliament, should be further continued for seven Years.
On the said March 18, the Order of this Committee was continued from Time to Time, 'till Friday, May 6, when the House resolved itself again into the said Committee, and came to the following Resolutions, which were reported to the House on the Monday following, and were as follow, viz. That 'twas the Opinion of that Committee, that, towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, there should be issued and applied the Sum of one Million out of such Monies as had arisen, or should or might arise of the Surplusses, Excesses, or Over-plus Monies, commonly called the Sinking Fund. That, for the Encouragement of the Paper Manufacture of this Kingdom, there should not be allowed any Drawback or Repayment of Customs charged upon foreign Paper, which should be imported into Great Britain, upon the Exportation thereof. That, towards raising the Supply granted to his Majesty, a further Duty of 9d. per Bushel should be laid upon all Oysters imported into Great Britain. Of these three Resolutions the first and second were agreed to by the House; but the third was re-committed.
On the 17th, the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and agreed to by the House, viz. That the several Rates and Duties then payable upon foreign Oysters imported into this Kingdom, should from and after June 24, 1737, cease and determine. That a Duty of 7d. per Bushel Strike-Measure of the Winchester Corn bushel, should be laid upon all foreign Oysters imported into this Kingdom, in lieu of all other Rates before imposed thereon.
This was the last Time of the said Committee's Sitting, and from their Resolutions it appears, that the Ways and Means proposed for raising the Supply for the present Year, were (besides the Million granted out of the Sinking Fund) the Malt Tax, which is generally supposed to produce near 700,000l. a Year, and the Land-Tax, which, at 2s. in the Pound, produces near a Million; and for making good the Deficiency, his Majesty was enabled to borrow any Sum or Sums of Money, upon the Credit of the Duties laid on Sweets, not exceeding 500,000l. at an Interest of 3 per Cent per Annum.
A Proposal towards lowering the Interest of all the redeemable National Debts to 3 per Cent. per Ann. and thereby to enable the Parliament to give immediate Ease to his Majesty's Subjects, by taking off some of the Taxes which Manufacturers. As likewise to give Ease to the People, by lessening the Annual Taxes for the current Service of Year, viz.
A Proposal for lowering the Interest of the public Debts.
That an Offer be made to the Proprietors of the SouthSea Annuities, as well old as new, at such Times as the Transfer Books shall be shut, in the following manner, viz.
That all Persons be at Liberty to make their Option for the whole, or any part of their Capital, of one or more of the Particulars under mentioned; for which Purpose, Books to be laid open at the South-Sea House, viz.
All who desire to be paid their Money, to enter their Names and Sums in one Book.
Those who shall chuse to have Annuities for certain Terms of Years, and the Capital to be annihilated, may subscribe in particular Books for that Purpose, at the following Rates: For 47 Years, at 4 per Cent. per Ann. 31 Years, at 5. 23 Years, at 6. 19 Years, at 7. 16 Years, at 8. 13 Years, at 9. 12 Years, at 10.
That the Proprietors of so much of the Capital as shall not be claim'd in Money, nor subscribed into some of the Annuities for Terms of Years, shall, for the future, be entitled to the Annuity of 3 per Cent. per Ann. only.
And, for the Encouragement of the Annuitants to accept of 3 per Cent. per. Ann. it is proposed, That they be not subject to Redemption or Diminution of their Annuities for the Term of fourteen Years.
And that all the Annuities for Terms of Years be transferable at the South-Sea House, without any Charge; as well as the Annuities, which shall be continued at 3 per Cent. per Ann.
And that all the Annuities for Terms of Years commence from the Determination of the Annuities of 4 per Cent. without any loss of Time.
'Tis apprehended, that this Offer will be more beneficial to the Proprietors, than the remaining in their present Situation, and receiving a Million at a time, to be divided alternately between the old and new Annuities, which must affect them in a very high manner, as it tends generally to reduce their Capital, by continually laying out the Money paid off in new Annuities at advanced Prices.
If the Parliament should be willing to indulge any Persons, not being Foreigners, who may be advanced in Years, with Annuities for Term of Life; the following Rates are submitted to the Consideration of Gentlemen who have turned their Thoughts to this Subject, viz. Persons 44 Years old or upward, 7 per Cent. for Life. 53 —— 8. 59 —— 9. 63 —— 10.
If these Rates for Lives, or any other Rates, should be thought convenient to be offered.
It is then proposed, that the old and new Annuitants be permitted to subscribe any Part of their Capital, they being within the Limitation of Years above expressed.
And that none of the Proposals foregoing, be made for ready Money; because it is reasonable, that the present Creditors should have the Preference in any advantageous Offer made by the Parliament, as this is apprehended to be, since Money may be raised at 3 per Cent. per Ann. with a Liberty of redeeming the same at Pleasure. See the Debate founded on this Proposal, page 382.
March 21. His Majesty went to the House of Peers, and gave the Royal Assent to (1) The Mutiny Bill. (2) To an act for laying a Duty of Two-Pence Scots upon every Pint of Ale or Beer vended within the Town of Dunbar, to be apply'd to the Use of the said Town, for necessary Buildings and Repairs, and to three private Bills.
Royal Assent given to several Bills.
April 22. His Majesty went to the House of Peers, and gave the Royal Assent to the following Bills: 1. For granting an Aid to his Majesty by a Land-Tax. 2. To make perpetual the Act 7 Geo. II. to prevent the infamous Practice of Stockjobbing. 3. For the better repairing and paving the Highways, Streets and Water-Courses, and for enlightening the Streets, Lanes and Passages, and better regulating the Nightly Watch within the City of Salisbury. 4. For enlarging the Term for repairing several Roads leading to the City of Worcester, and for reducing the Toll on Sheep and Lambs by the said Act. 5. For making more effectual two Acts for repairing the Highways from Old Stratford in Northamptonshire, to Dunchurch, Warwickshire. 6. To raise Money to discharge the Debts incurred on account of Building a Goal and Court Rooms, for the Use of the County of Bucks. 7. For continuing a Duty of Two-pennies Scots on every Pint of Ale sold within the Town of Dumfreis, for Building a Church and making a Harbour there; and for laying a Duty on the Tonnage of Shipping, &c. for the better repairing of the said Harbour. 8. For making navigable Worsley-Brook, from Worsley-Mill in Lancashire, to the River Irwell in the said County. And to 10 Private Bills.
Clause slipt into the Land-Tax Bill.
It is remarkable that in the Land-Tax Bill above-mention'd, a Clause was fraudulently slipp'd in to exempt the Prince of Wales from paying the Sixpence in the Pound, call'd Civil-List Money. which amounted to upwards of 1000l.
A Motion to enquire by what Authority. ; Over-ruled by a Motion for the Order of the Day.
And, the same Day the Bill was pass'd, a Motion was made for an Enquiry, by what Order or Authority his Royal Land-Tax Bill, exempted from paying any Fees for himself and Houshold; and it being a Point of Order, a Debate arose, whether the House ought not to have moved for an Instruction for a Clause to authorise such Alteration: But another Motion being made, that the Order of the Day be read, and the Question being put on the last-named Motion (the Bill for reducing the Interest to 3 per Cent.) the House divided, and carry'd it in the Affirmative, and read it a 1st Time, and ordered it a 2d Reading that Day Se'nnight.
May 24. A Message was sent by his Majesty, to desire the Commons to settle a Jointure of 50,000l. per Ann. on her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales: A Bill was unanimously order'd in accordingly.
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
Acts passed this Session were as follow, viz. March 7, The Malt Bill. 21, The Mutiny Bill. That for laying a Duty of Twopence Scotch on every Scotch Pint of Ale, brewed for Sale within the Town of Aberbrothock. And a Road Bill.
And May 20, The Land-Tax Bill. That for granting Two Millions for 1738, and paying the Bank a Million for redeeming an Annuity of 40,000l. For explaining an Act for Application of the Forfeited Estates of the late Earl of Derwentwater and Charles Radcliffe. An Act to empower the Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen to set a Price on Sea-Coals for one Year. To enforce the Execution of the Gin-Act. To secure the Payment of Rents, and prevent Frauds by Tenants. To indemnify Persons who have omitted to qualify themselves for Offices, read Prayers, and make the Declarations and Subscriptions required within the Times limited by Law, and for allowing further Time for those Purposes. For allowing further Time for Enrolment of Deeds and Wills made by Papists, and for Relief of Protestant Purchasers, Devisees and Lessees. For Relief of such Prisoners for Debt as have by unavoidable Accidents lost the Benefit of the Act passed the last Session for the Relief of insolvent Debtors; and for the Indemnity of such Sheriffs and Goalers as have incurred any Penalties on account of such Prisoners not being discharged; and for extending the Benefit of the said Act to Creditors, whose Debtors were committed to Prison since Jan. 1. 1730, and were detained there on Jan. 1. 1736, and have chose to continue there. An Act to continue an Act for the better Regulation of Lastage and Ballastage on the River Thames. For building a Bridge cross the Thames from the Woolstaple, Westminster, to the opposite Shore. For better regulating the Manufacture of Narrow Woollen-Cloaths in the West-Riding of Yorkshire. For repairing the Harbour curing the Harbour of Minehead, Somersetshire. For making a Dock or Bason at Liverpool. To two Acts for draining certain Fens in Lincolnshire, and the Isle of Ely. For rebuilding the Parish Church of All-Saints in the City of Worcester. For finishing the Church of St. Mary Rotherhith, and purchasing an additional Burial-Ground. For rebuilding the Parish-Church of Christ-Church, Surry. To continue the Duty of Two Pennies Scots on each Pint of Beer or Ale sold in the Town of Inverness in Scotland. To vest the Estate of Hugh Nash, Esq; (late escaped out of the Fleet) in Trustees for the Benefit of his Creditors. For the more effectual securing the Payment of certain Sums of Money, directed by an Act of Queen Elizabeth, to be paid by the Treasurers of the Counties of England and Wales, for the Relief of the Prisoners in the King's-Bench and Marshalsea. For punishing such as shall injure any in their Persons or Properties, with intent to hinder the Exportation of Corn. An Act to explain an Act for rebuilding St. Leorard's Church, Shoreditch. To continue two Acts for encouraging the Growth of Coffee, and securing the Trade of the Sugar-Colonies in America. For enlightening the Streets, &c. in the Parish of Christ-Church, Middlesex. To amend an Act for preventing Inconveniencies that may happen by Privilege of Parliament. To secure the Estates of Papists turning Protestants against Disabilities, and for the more effectual vesting in the two Universities the Presentations of Benefices belonging to Papists. To 6 Road Acts, and to 27 private Bills.
And for the History of the Supply, &c. it is thus summ'd up in the following Speech, made by the Speaker to the Throne, the last Day of the Session.
Speaker's Speech at the close of the Session.
Most gracious Sovereign.
'Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, attend your Majesty with several Bills, and with one among the rest for your Royal Assent concerning the Supplies granted for the public Service of the Year, allowing Three Millions Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds, for the Maintenance of your Fleets, Armies, and discharging a Million of the National Debt, and other Purposes.
'Your Commons at first made Provision bar for 10,000 Seamen, they being sufficient for the common Service; but having since been called on, by the Sufferings and Grievances of your Majesty's Subjects, to strengthen your Hands, to defend your Rights, and do them Justice against the lawless Power of the Spanish Nation in the Seas of America where your Majesty's Subjects have, by Nature and unrestrained by Compact, an equal Right with them, and are not to be subject to any Obstruction or Molestation whatsoever in their Passage over those free and open Seas; they have readily granted 10,000 more. To suffer the Spaniards to rummage our Ships, is to give them a Right to the Sovereignty of those Seas, as it was always deemed by Great Britain; and was never allowed by any of your Majesty's Predecessors.
'These Depredations deserved the Consideration of your Commons; and these Outrages (if continued) will deserve your Resentment. To their Plunder they have added Insults; and to their Insults, Cruelties: Insults the more sensibly felt, as they come from a People whose Power we always deemed inferior; and whose Strength we ever subdued when tried. With these Sentiments your Commons applied to the Father of their Country for Redress; and received such an Answer as the Father of their Country should give; for which your faithful Commons make their grateful and dutiful Acknowledgments. Their Application on this Occasion was on behalf of their Trade, which is the Life and Spirit of this Nation; resting persuaded, that by your Interposition, you will be able to obtain Justice for past Injuries, as well as further Security of your trading Subjects, for the Sake of the Dignity of your Majesty's Imperial Crown, and the Honour of the British Nation; which they are sensible never were, nor ever can be, more secure than under your Majesty's Royal Protection;
'Since your Majesty's Paternal Care has preserved this Nation under many Difficulties from the Calamities of War, and every good Man hopes you will be able to accomplish the great Work before you, without it; yet if the Lot be so, that no Satisfaction for our Losses and Sufferings can be had, nor Security for the future, nor the Credit of the British Nation supported but by Force of Arms; there's not one Man in the Nation, whose Heart and Hand would not be willing to support your Majesty therein, as your faithful Commons are willing and ready to do.
'To these necessary Ends, they desire your Majesty's Royal Acceptance of the Supplies which they have granted for that Purpose; which, with several other Bills upon the Table, are ready for the Royal Assent, and are for the Benefit of the Public; particularly that which restrains the Privilege of Parliament; a Work begun before, but now compleat; and which will put an End to a Practice that tended to the Reproach and Dishonour of Parliament.'