House of Commons Journal Volume 11: 23 February 1695

Pages 243-246

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 11, 1693-1697. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1803.

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Sabbati, 23 die Februarii;

7° Gulielmi Tertii.


Caryll's Estate.

AN ingrossed Bill from the Lords, intituled, An Act to vest in Trustees certain Lands in Kent and Sussex, of John Caryll Esquire, for the Payment of Debts, and raising of Portions for younger Children; and to supply the Defects of a Conveyance intended for those Purposes; was read a Second time.

Resolved, That the Bill be committed to Mr. Machell, Mr. England, Mr. Brewer, Mr. Blofield, Sir Tho. Roberts, Sir Fra. Guibon, Sir Tho. Vernon, Sir Fra. Blake, Sir Tho. Dyke, Mr. Hedger, Sir Ra. Dutton, Mr. Stokes, Mr. Campion, Mr. Burrington, Mr. Lowther, Sir Wm. Drake, Mr. Christie, Mr. Holt, Mr. Fuller, Sir Walt. Yong, Mr. Lampton, Mr. Onslow, Sir Wm. Thomas, Mr. Bowyer, Sir Rich. Onslow, Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Mawdit, Mr. Boyle; and all the Members that serve for the Counties of Kent and Sussex, and the Cinque Ports: And they are to meet on Monday next, at Four of the Clock, in the Afternoon, in the Speaker's Chambers.

Brook's Estate.

An ingrossed Bill, from the Lords, intituled, An Act for the vesting the Manor of Madely, and other Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, in the County of Salop, the Estate of Bazil Brook Esquire, in Trustees, for raising Monies for the Payment of Debts, and for securing his Wife's Jointure, was read the First time.

Resolved, That the Bill be read a Second time.

Duties on Paper, &c.

Mr. Harcourt, according to the Order of the Day, reported from the Committee appointed to consider of the Act made the last Sestion for laying several Duties upon Vellum, Parchment, and Paper; and of the Doubts and Complaints relating thereunto; That they had considered the same accordingly; and had directed him to report the Matter to the House; which he read in his Place; and afterwards delivered in at the Clerk's Table: Where the same was read; and is as followeth; viz.

Stationers Complaints.

1st, That the Commissioners trade themselves, as Stationers; and have secured and ingrossed the greatest Part of the Stationers trade to themselves, and their Agents.

On Examination of this Complaint, and of the Commissioners Proceedings, it appeared to the Committee;

That, on the 1st of June last, the Commissioners sent to the Company of Stationers to desire them to meet, and consider whether they would give Security to supply the whole Kingdom with Paper and Parchment necessary, at reasonable and usual Rates.

That, on the 5th of June, the Company gave their Answer, That, as a Company it was not practicable for them to give such Security, or to serve the Commissioners.

Duties on Paper, &c.

Thereupon, Proposals were made to the Commissioners by Mr. Vincent and Mr. Baskett; but their Proposals were rejected; after which, the Commissioners contracted, but not in Writing, with Three wholesale Stationers; viz. Colonel Hadly, Captain Dorrell, and Mr. Baskett, to supply them with sufficient Quantities of Paper and Parchment for their Office; and serve the whole Kingdom.

It appeared to the Committee that Mr. Vincent and Mr. Basket had proffered to supply the Commissioners at much cheaper Rates than the Commissioners afterwards agreed for with the Three Stationers: And that the Three Stationers, considering the extraordinary Price the Commissioners paid them, get at least 30l. and, by some Goods, 40l. per Cent.

The Reasons the Commissioners gave, why they contracted with the Three Stationers, and not with Mr. Vincent, were;

1st, Because, out of the Monies they paid the Three Stationers, for Paper and Parchment, they discounted 10l. per Cent. to the King; all which was answered to the King: And that whatever the Profit was, over and above the 10l. per Cent. the Three Stationers got themselves; and the Commissioners themselves made no manner of Profit by the buying or selling Paper or Parchment.

2dly, That they took a Discount of 10l. per Cent. to the King; because they might not under-sell the other retail Stationers in Town.

3dly, That, in Mr. Vincent's Proposals, there was no Allowance of any Profit to the King; nor any Allowance for the outside Quires: And therefore they thought the Proposals of the Three wholesale Stationers more reasonable; and contracted with them.

On Examination of that Part of the Complaint, which charged the Commissioners with ingrossing the Trade;

It was proved on the behalf of the Commissioners;

That all the Paper the Commissioners had sold at their Office, before Christmas last, was but 100 Reams.

That all the Paper and Parchment they sold at their Office, before Christmas last, was sold for no more than 115l.

That all the Paper they had sold in London, and sent into the Country, before Christmas last, did not amount to 1,800 Reams; of which, the Commissioners said, a great Part remained yet unsold; the Duty not being yet answered to them by their Agents:

But the Commissioners could give no particular Answers to what Quantities of Parchment they had sold, or what Quantities of Paper or Parchment they had bought of the Three Stationers;

The Stationers Answer to these Proofs were;

That the Three Stationers, before Christmas last, delivered a Bill of 4,000l. to the Commissioners for Paper and Parchment:

That the Three Stationers ingross all into their Hands, to supply the Commissioners: And, in a particular Instance, proved,

That Mr. Basket bought of one Person, of Coventry, 9,600 Skins of Parchment; besides a great Quantity that he bought at Bristoll, and other Places; and has since been with many of the greatest Dealers in Parchment, to buy all they had.

Another Complaint made by the Stationers was;
Stationers Second Complaint.

That the Commissioners allow their Agents in the Country 1s. 6d. in the Pound Discount, out of all the King's Duty which arises from the Goods their Agents sell in the Country; and also Time for Payment; but deny the Stationers the same Allowances, on prompt Payment.

The Commissioners admit, That they allow their Agents in the Country 1 s. 6 d. per Pound Discount; but no Time of Payment after the Duty came to their Hands: But said, That the Stationers in Town refuse to serve the Country on the same Terms.

They did likewise admit, That they allowed the Stationers bu 20s. out of every intire Sum of 50l. they paid at one Payment for the King's Duty; or else Three Twomonths Credit.

That they made this Allowance to the Stationers by Direction from the Commissioners of the Treasury; and that the Reason their own Agents in the Country had a greater Allowance was, in respect of their Travelling from Place to Place in the Country, and other Charges and Expences.

The Stationers Desire, as to this Particular, was, to have an equal Deduction with the Country Agents, or proportionable Discount on prompt Payment; and that they might have such a Discount out of smaller Sums than 50l.

It was further alleged, and proved, by the Commissioners, That all the Paper and Parchment which was sold at their Office, was sold much cheaper than the Stationers sell.

To which the Stationers answered, They sold as cheap as the Commissioners, when they sold in Quantities: but that in selling single Papers, or very small Parcels, sometimes they exceeded the Price; which they hoped they were excusable for doing; having lost great Part of their Trade.

Stationers Third Complaint.

It was also proved by the Stationers, That the Duty laid by the Act was too high; that they could trade further with 100l. Stock before the Act, than with 1,000l. since; the Duty on every Ream of Paper, stamped with the 6 d. Stamp, amounting to 12l.; which appeared to the Committee to be true.


The next Complaint made to the Committee was by the Officers of the Court of Chancery.

1st, That, by reason of many Doubtful and general Words in the Act, the Suitors in that Court had, for fear of the Penalty in the Act, paid the Duty for many things not intended to be charged; and for others several times over; which they made appear by many Instances.

P. 384. The Act charges for every Skin, or Piece of Vellum, or Parchment, on which any Grants, or Letters Patents, under the Great Seal of England, or Seal or the Duchy of Lancaster, or of any Honour, Dignity, Franchise, Promotion, Liberty, or Privilege, or Exemplifications of the same, or any of them, should be ingrossed or written, the Sum of 40 s.

Letters Patents.

The General Words of Letters Patents in this Clause include Commissions of Rebellion, which are but Processes of that Court; Sheriffs Patents, Writs of Assistance, Commissions of Bankrupts, Commissions of Assize, and Association, and of Si non omnes; which were supposed never intended to be charged by the Act.

It is doubted by the Officers of this Court, whether there is not the same Duty payable for the Inrolment of Letters Patents, and also for estreating them into the Exchequer, which is only for the Benefit of the King, as is payable for the Letters Patents.

P. 387. The Act charges every Skin of Vellum, or Parchment, or Sheet of Paper, on which any Decree or Dismission should be made in any Court of Equity with the Sum of 6 d.

By reason of these general Words a Duty may be demanded Four Times over for the same thing, and sometimes oftener; viz.

Decree or Dismission. 1st, The Decretal Order.
2dly, For the Doquet of it.
3dly, For the Inrolment of it.
4thly, For the Exemplification of it.

And afterwards, if any Copy be taken, the Duty must be paid a Fifth time for that Copy.

Proceedings in the Court of Equity in the Exchequer are subject to be taxed several times over, in the same manner.

Habeas Corpus.

P. 388. Every Habeas Corpus is charged with the Sum of 5s.

It is supposed, That the Act designed only to charge such Writs of Habeas Corpus with that Duty, which were brought for the removing of any Cause out of one Court into another; and not such Writs which were merely Processes of any Court.

This was likewise proposed to the Committee, from the several Officers of the other Courts in Westminsterhall.


It was also proved, That for Petitions, though not particularly charged by the Act, yet, by reason of general and doubtful Words in the Act, a Duty was forced to be paid before they could be answered.


That upon every Injunction out of Chancery a double Duty might be demanded; one for the Writ, and another for the Doquet.


It likewise appeared to the Committee, That Exemplifications are charged, and pay so many several Duties of 5 s. as there are Skins of Parchment; not one single Duty of 5s.

This was likewise objected by the other Courts in Westminster-hall.


P. 389. The Act charges on every Skin, or Piece of Vellum, or Parchment, upon which any Record of Nisi prius, or postea, should be ingrossed or written, the Sum of 2s. 6d.

Nisi prius.

Upon hearing the Officers of the Court of King's-Bench to this Clause, it appeared, That if this Clause were literally taken, most Records of Nisi prius would be charged with a much greater Duty than the Act mentions; for that those Records are wrote in very narrow Pieces of Parchment; and where there are special Pleadings which often happen in Causes of small Value, there are so many of those small Pieces of Parchment, in one Record of Nisi prius, that the Duty would amount to 20 or 30s. or upwards.

P. 393. The Act charges 6d. a Sheet for the Copy of any Record.

Copies of Records.

The Greatness of which Duty, as it was proved, wholly obstructed the taking forth of any such Copies.

These Two last Clauses equally concerned the Courts of Common Pleas and Exchequer.

Common Pleas.

P. 389. The Act charges every Judgment, in any of the Courts at Westminster, with the Sum of 2s. 6d.

These general Words seem to include common Recoveries, which nevertheless have not paid such a Duty.

It was desired the Act, in that respect, might be explained; and also as to interlocutory Judgments, and Judgments on any Scire facias.


The Act charges every Piece of Parchment on which any Writ is ingrossed with the Sum of 6d.

These general Words charge all Writs, which issue out of the Exchequer, for his Majesty's Profit only.

P. 399. The Act charges, that nothing shall be wrote on any Parchment, or Paper, until such Parchment or Paper be stamped.

This is impracticable by the Rules and Methods of the Court of Exchequer; in many Instances, there being a Necessity to enter several Rules on the Backs of many of their Writs, after the Writs are actually returned.

P. 385. The Act, charges for every Skin of Vellum, or Parchment on which any Grant shall pass, under the Seal of the Exchequer, 40 s.

These General Words do include all Leases on Outlawries, which are granted to the Prosecutors at their very great Charge, and are grantable ex debito justitiæ.

P. 389. The Act charges every Recognizance with the Sum of 5s.

Duties on Paper, &c.

It was proposed to the Committee, Whether it was the Intent of the Act to charge any other Recognizance with that Duty, except a Recognizance for the Payment of Money: And also, Whether the Commission, which is annexed to the Record of Nisi prius, issuing out of the Court of Exchequer, which is but in the Nature of a Distringas, ought to pay any greater Duty than a Writ of Distringas pays.

There are divers Allocaturs and Exoneraturs signed on Sheriffs Accounts, in the Treasurer's Remembrancer's Office in the Exchequer, which are for Allowance of Monies expended by the Sheriffs in Discharge of Debts taken in Charge, and that prove illeviable; and these, being a Sort of Judgments, fall under 2s. 6d. each Duty: But it is a Doubt, by the Officers of the Court, whether directly within the Intention of the Words, "Judgments signed," in the Act: If they are, it is a further Charge on all Sheriffs.

There are also Copies of Seizures and Inquisitions, made purely for the King's Debt, to be sent over to the Clerk of the Pipe, which fall under a Duty of 6d. a Sheet, by the Words "of Copies of Records, or Proceedings, in any of the Courts at Westminster."

General Doubts and Complaints by all the Courts.

1st, It was proposed to the Consideration of the Committee, by the Officers of every Court in Westminster-hall, Whether the general Rules, that were not pronounced in their respective open Courts, ought to pay the Duty, by reason of the doubtful Words in the Act, of any Rule or Order being given.

2d, That if it was the Intention of the Act to charge all such Rules, it was impracticable and impossible to have every particular Rule stamped; it being the Method in the several Courts to enter those common Rules so close together, that there is not Space enough for those Stamps to be set.

3d, That the Stamps are not so carefully fixed to the Paper and Parchment, but that they many times come off, and are lost.

4. That the Words "Notarial Act, Contract, and other Proceedings whatsoever," in the several Clauses following 394, and 406, are so very doubtful, that they expose all Rersons to the Forfeiture.

P. 404—5. That the Act of Parliament exempts Paupers from the Payment of this Duty; which, as the Act is penned, may prove very dangerous to the Officers of the several Courts, who have no Methods of proving who are Paupers, and who are not, if they should be called to an Account for the same, at any Distance of Time.

6. The Greatness of the Forfeiture may prove the Ruin of many Persons, who may offend by reason of any doubtful Construction of the said Act.

Inferior Courts.

P. 386. For Admittance of any Officer, &c. in any Court whatsoever, a Duty of 40s. is payable.

This extends to Serjeants, and all inferior Officers, admitted in Corporations, and other inferior Courts: Which was complained of as a great Hardship.

By express Words, the Proceedings in inferior Courts of Law and Equity are charged.

It was alleged, That these Courts, and particularly the Court of Stannary, were for the Ease and Benefit of the Suitors; and that this Act was a very great Charge to them.

Certificates of Marriages.

P. 388. That Seamens Widows, whose Husbands have lost their Lives at Sea, in the King's Service, are forced to pay for their Certificates; for, by the Custom of the Navy-Board, they cannot receive their Husband's Pay, though they have taken out Administration, without a Certificate: Which is also complained of as a Grievance.


P. 387. The Act charges every Deed, which shall be inrolled, with a Duty of 5s.

It was proposed to the Committee, Whether the Intent of the Act was, That all Deeds should be charged which are inrolled for safe Custody only; or whether, only those Deeds should be charged which operate by Inrollment.

Duties on Paper, &c.

It was also proposed, That the great Difference of the Duty, which was laid by the Act, between Deeds inrolled and not inrolled, hath, in a great measure, prevented many Inrollments since the passing of the said Act; whereby that Office was very much prejudiced.

The Two Universities.

P. 386. Every Skin, or Piece of Vellum, or Parchment, or Piece of Paper, upon which any Register, Entry, Testimonial, or Certificate, taken in either of the Two Universities, shall be ingrossed or written, is charged with a Duty of 40s.

It was desired this might be so explained, That a Duty of 40s. might not be paid for the Entry or Register of every Degree; for generally very many Degrees are registred in the same Sheet or Skin of Parchment; and if every Degree was to pay, instead of charging every Skin or Sheet with 40s. the Charge on every Sheet or Skin might arise to 100l.; sometimes to 200l.

It was urged, on the behalf of the Universities,

That Degrees in the Universities were no Advantage to the Graduates, but merely Qualifications for future Preferments: All which are taxed by the Act:

That the greatest Number of Graduates are Bachelors of Arts, who are not generally able to pay the Charge of 40s.:

That the Degree of Master of Arts is thought unnecessary by many Persons; and so great a Duty will very much discourage the taking that Degree:

That the Degree of Bachelor of Divinity is very burdensome, and scarce taken by any but such who are forced to it by the Statutes of their College.

It was also desired, That the Word "Testimonial, or Certificate," might be declared to extend only to a Testimonial under the Seal of the University; and not of a private College.

Some other Doubts on the Construction of the Act.

Whether Surrenders of Copyholds ought to pay a Duty of 5s.

Whether Indorsements, on any Deed of any Assignment, Surrender, or otherwise, are to be stamped.

Whether Informations, Indictments, Processes, Rules, Orders, which are for his Majesty's Benefit; Respites of Recognizances, Percature of Issues, Confession of Pleas, Noli pros. Cesset processus, Warrants of Nisi prius, and Tales, or to acknowlege Satisfaction, or Fiats to any manner of Writs signed by his Majesty's Attorney General; Informations, Affidavits, or Examinations, taken by Justices of the Peace in their Office; Respite of Execution by any Court or Judge, written in the Calendar Circuit, and Newgate Pardons; Mitigation of a Fine set in Terrorem, or Remittitur entered the same Term; and Justices Recognizances; are not chargeable under divers general Words in the Act.

Ordered, That the Consideration of the said Report be referred to a Committee of the whole House.

Resolved, That this House will, upon Thursday Morning next, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the said Report.

A Message from the Lords, by Sir Miles Cook and Sir Lacon William Child:

Mr. Speaker,

Lords desire a Conference.

The Lords desire a present Conference with this House, upon the Subject-matter of the last Conference.

And then the Messengers withdrew.

Resolved, That this House doth agree to a present Conference with the Lords, as their Lordships desire.

And the Messengers were called in again: And Mr. Speaker acquainted them therewith.

Ordered, That the Managers who managed the last Conference, do manage this Conference.

And they went to the Conference.

And, being returned;

Mr. Boyle reported, That they had met the Lords at the Conference: And that it was managed by the Duke of Bolton: And that he acquainted them, That the Lords do agree, that the Word "Five," shall stand in the Bill for regulating of Tryals in Cases of High Treason, and Misprision of Treason; but that they do insist on their other Amendments, to which this House disagreed.

Resolved, That this House will, upon Wednesday Morning next, take the said Report into Consideration.

Leave of Absence.

Ordered, That Sir Henry Fane have Leave to go into the Country, for Recovery of his Health.

Ordered, That the Lord Norries have Leave to go into the Country, for Recovery of his Health.

Ways and Means.

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of Ways and Means for raising the Supply to be granted to his Majesty, for carrying on the War against France with Vigour.

Mr. Speaker left the Chair.
Sir Tho. Littleton took the Chair of the Committee.
Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair.

Sir Thomas Littleton reported from the Committee, That they had come to several Resolutions; which they had directed him to report, when the House would please to receive the same.

Ordered, That the said Report be made upon Tuesday Morning next.

Sir Thomas Littleton also acquainted the House, That he was directed by the said Committee to move, That they may have Leave to sit again.

And a Motion being made, and the Question being put, That this House will, upon Monday Morning next, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of Ways and Means for raising the Supply, to be granted to his Majesty, for carrying on the War against France with Vigour.

The House divided.

The Yeas go forth.

Tellers for the Yeas, Sir Wm. Strickland,
Sir Walter Young:
Tellers for the Noes, Mr. Pendarvis,
Sir Wm. Drake:

So it was resolved in the Affirmative.

And then the House adjourned till Monday Morning, Nine a Clock.