Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 6, 1648-1651. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Die Mercurii, 13 Novembris, 1650.
Parliaments and Elections.
Ordered, That it be referred to the Committee for Regulating of the Universities, to consider of the Primers, the new one now presented, and the old ones; and how the old ones may be suppressed; and report their Opinions therein to the House.
Transactions with France.
The House, according to former Order, did this Day proceed upon the Report from the Council of State, of the Matter of Fact of the Demand made by Monsieur Augier, for Satisfaction for Wrongs done to the English by the French: With the Opinion of the Judges of the Admiralty, and Doctor Walker, reported by Sir Henry Mildmay.
WHEREAS the honourable Council of State, established by Authority of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, hath given us Order, of the Eleventh of October 1650, to deliver unto the Judges of the Admiralty, on the Monday following, a Narrative of the State of Fact of what hath been done by us in Demand of Justice from the French, for the Wrongs and Losses of the English, suffered by their Depredations, and otherwise; and what Returns, Answers, or Effect, that his Demand had for Obtaining of Justice; do certify all whom it may concern, That, having been sent by the Parliament of England into the French Court, the Twenty-sixth of October 1644, with Credentials to reside there in their Behalf; we came to Paris the Second of December following; and, Two Days after, we delivered the said Credentials unto the Earl of Brienne, Secretary of State to the French King.
At the very first, it is observable, That the French King, having been informed, that the King of Great Britaine, late deceased, and the said Parliament, had given out Commissions to make War one against another, so that they were making Prizes one upon another, and were Two framed Parties, and both demanded free Retreat into the French Harbours, he did set forth an Ordinance the Tenth of July 1643, whereby he granted Liberty of the French Ports and Roads unto all Vessels on both Sides, with Prohibitions, unto all Persons of whatsoever Quality or Condition, to buy the depredated Merchandizes, upon the Penalties of the Ordinances; which should be rigorously observed.
This Ordinance having been several times infringed; namely, since our Arrival in Paris; in that several French Subjects were incessantly buying such Depredations; we represented divers times, both by Word of Mouth, and in Writing, unto the said Earl of Bryenne, and other French Ministers of State, the dangerous Consequence of it; and that, if the same were not prevented, the State of France would at last be responsible for it; since the said Parliament was trading in France under the Public Faith of the Treaties between the Two Nations; and namely, of the said Ordinance; which, if not observed, served only for a Snare, to intrap the said English Parliamenteers: But the said Disorders were then so far from being diminished, that all was like to fall into the extreme Confusion, in 1645, at the Instigation of the late Queen of England, and of her Council, who thought to have embroiled the Two Nations in point of Commerce. And although the Breach was then hindered, by our great Diligences; yet, after a very long Series of other Instances made by us, during Two Years, in good and due Form, in the Name of the Parliament of England, to have Satisfaction for the said Depredations, according unto the said Ordinance; and for the Injuries, Violences, and such Attemptings, continued upon the Parliamenteers in several Ports of France, specially to Boloyne and St. Malo; by imprisoning their Persons; by Extortions and Ransoms exacted from them by the Officers of the said Places; by taking away forcibly their Charter Parties, Bills of Lading, and other Papers; by sealing up their Studies; by Tumults, Commotions, and Seditions, raised against them, specially against such as acted in those Places by our Order; not an Officer being there to be found, who would or durst undertake to signify the least Act in their Behalf, without any other Pretence, but because they were Parliamenteers; we could receive no other Justice, but the Granting of some Arrests and Ordinances of the Thirtieth of May 1646, Eight-and-Twentieth of May, Fourth of September, and Eighteenth of December 1647, Eleventh of January and Seventh of February 1648, and several others, in the Behalf of divers particular Englishmen interested in the said Depredations: All which Arrests had no other Use, but to put us to great Charges for the Obtaining of them, and endeavouring to have them put in Execution, none of them having been executed in the least Point thereof; although Mr. Boucherat, Counsellor unto the French King, and Ordinary Master of the Requests of his Houshold, had been appointed Commissary, by the Arrest of June Seventh 1645, to dress a Verbal of the Grievances of the Petitioners: And that Mr. Le Roux, Lieutenant of the Long Robe in the Provost's of the King's Houshold, had made several Voyages into Picardy, Normandy, and Britany, about the same.
Transactions with France.
That, among the Instances made by us unto the French Ministers of State, we delivered, the Eighth of November 1647, a general Quier of the Complaints of the English grieved in the Kingdom of France, unto the said Mr. Boucherat, and demanded of him at the same time a speedy Satisfaction, in the Name of the Parliament of England; offering unto him at the same time, and to the other Ministers, the like Justice from the said Parliament upon the pretended Grievances of the French; desiring of them mutually their Quier. Yet to this Day they gave us no Communication of their said pretended Grievances; though, from time to time, we have pressed them much for it; nor gave us any real Justice unto this Hour, upon our said Quier, delivered as aforesaid: And that the Parliament of England having been weekly informed by us of our said earnest Instances, and of the small Fruit thereof, by the continued Delays of our Satisfaction upon the Contents of the said Quier; and that even (contrary to the Treaty of 1606, made between the Two Nations for the Liberty of Commerce, Art. 2, 14, 17, and 23) the King of France had, by his Declaration of October 22, 1648, Article 12, prohibited all Merchants to bring into the Kingdom of France any Woollen or Silk Draperies wrought in England; with Defences unto all his Subjects to buy any, or use any, upon Penalty of forfeiting the same, and of a Fine of Fifteen hundred Livres; for which Wrong we demanded Reparation, in the Name of the said Parliament, by our Remonstrance presented to the said King the 27/17 of the same Month; upon which we received no Answer, notwithstanding our often-reiterated Solicitations for the same; and that the said Depredations were continued more than ever, by the French, upon the English, in both the Seas; being at last weary of so many Delays, Infractions, Connivances, and Injustices, made contrary to the said Treaties, and even against their own Arrests, Ordinances, and Declarations, and against the Law of Nations, for which the Interessed had caused their Clamours and Complaints daily to be founding at their Door; having given us Order, by a Dispatch of the Council of State established by their Authority, dated 14/4 July 1649, to prescribe the Time of Forty Days unto the said French Ministers of State, within which they should give Satisfaction to the said English interessed; for Want whereof, they would, when expired, grant them Letters of Reprisals upon the French Nation; we signified the said Order unto the Earl of Bryenne the 30/20 of the said Month, at which time begun the said Forty Days: Whereunto the said Earl having, by his Answer of the Fourth of August written to us by Order of their French Majesties then at Compeigne, desired us to deliver all the English Complaints unto Monsieur Haligre, one of the Directors of the Finances; we delivered unto the said Monsieur d' Haligre a Quier of them the 11/1 of the same Month, relative unto that which formerly had been by us delivered to Monsieur de Boucherat: And that, notwithstanding our continual Solicitations to get Reparation afore the End of Forty Days (which ended the 9/30 September/of the same, all that we could get was to obtain, Two Days afore the said End, a Declaration of his said Majesty the Seventh of the said September, whereby Messieurs de Belieure Counsellor of State, D' Haligrce and D' Morieugis Directors of the Finances, Jouquet Master of the Requests, and the said Monsieur Boucherat, were appointed Commissioners to receive the Complaints of the English; to see, examine, and liquidate, their Losses, Damages, and Interests; and inform of it to his Majesty; who thereupon should order what he should think fit: And that the said Commissioners have been so far from attending the Redressing of the said Grievances contained in the Quier, that, to the contrary, nothing hath been done by them to this Day.
Which having been taken into Consideration by the said Parliament, and Council of State, and that the Prizes were continued more hotly than ever in the Streights, by the French upon the English, even by the French King's own Ships; and that, instead of doing Justice, and punishing the Actors and Pirates, according to their own Ordinances aforesaid, they were supported, and the said Prizes daily confiscated in the Council de la Marine;
Transactions with France.
The said Council of State gave us to understand, by a Dispatch of October the First 1649, how sensible they were of the said Delays and Proceedings; and that they intended not to wait the Leisure of the French Ministers therein any longer; but would presently give Letters of Marque and Reprisal to the Parties interessed, to right themselves; and would give them all Assistance in it; commanding us at the same time to forbear to treat with the said Ministers further about those Businesses, but only to receive of them a satisfactory Satisfaction, and sufficient Security for it, in case they would decree it. Of which Dispatch we caused a Translate to be delivered to the Cardinal Mazarin the 16/6 of the said Month; which produced no kind of Effect; but, to the contrary, the said Prizes and Confiscations being still continued upon the English as before, the said Council of State granted Letters of Marque upon the French to several interessed; and gave us Order to repair into England, by their Dispatch of March the 20th 16 50/49. In Witness whereof, and of all the Premises, we have signed and sealed this Present, in London, the 24/14th of October 1650.
The Sum of the Whole is this, That I, being Resident for the Parliament and Commonwealth of England in the French Court, have, by such Orders and Directions as were sent me during the Time of my said Residence, and especially such as I received from the Council of State since this Nation became a Commonwealth, represented earnestly, frequently, and instantly, to the French Officers and Ministers of State, and to such great Officers of that Court as were particularly designed from and under the King, and Queen Regent, and Court of France, to treat with me therein, the manisold and particular Spoils and Depredations done to the English, both in their Ships and Goods, at Sea and in Ports, some by the Ships of the French King, and others by other French Ships; and that, contrary to the League and Treaties between England and France, and contrary to the Course of free Commerce, they had in their French Courts of Judicature allowed of such Spoils and Depredations done by the French to the English; and had likewise made Seizures of the Persons, and Goods, and Books of Accompts, of some of the English, in their Towns, and in the Houses and Places of the Englishmens Dwellings and Residence in some Parts of France: All which, as they amounted to vast Damages; so, in respect they were not at all suppressed nor repaired, but rather countenanced, and approved, and increased more and more; I was therefore commanded, in the Name of the Commonwealth of England, to let them know, that, having attended so long without Effect, and received so many Delays, but no manner of effectual Justice or Reparation; so that they, still going on in their Depredations, did, in effect, deny Justice to the English in gross; that therefore, unless, within Forty Days following such Signification, they would proceed to give the Parliament effectual Satisfaction for the said Spoils and Damages done to the English, the Parliament would take it as a full Denial of Justice; and grant Reprisals against the French, for Recovery of Satisfaction. All which I did, in the Names of the Commonwealth of England, faithfully relate, declare, and represent, to the Earl of Brienne, being Secretary of State, and to the other great Officers and Ministers of State of the French Court appointed in that Behalf: And the Forty Days expired the 9/30th of September/August 1649; but no manner of Reparation was made, nor Justice therein done, by the French; but they went on in their Spoil and Depredations of the English as before. Made in London, the 24/14 Day of October aforesaid, 1650.
Ordered, That the Judges of the Court of Admiralty be impowered and authorized to proceed to Adjudication of such Ships and Goods of the French King, or any of his Subjects, already sent in to the Collectors of Prize Goods; and such as shall, from time to time, hereafter be sent in unto them; according to the Tenor of the Instruction given by the Council of State to the Generals of the Fleet.
Ordered, That the Council of State be authorized and appointed to proportion, dispose, and order, Monies arising out of such Ships and Goods so adjudged, and to be adjudged, for the Uses, and in the like Proportions, as is appointed by the Act for making the Ships and Merchandizes of the King of Portugall, or his Subjects, to be Prize, is appointed.
Ordered, That the Salary of the Collectors for Prize Goods, for the Ships, Vessels, and Goods, which shall be taken from the French King, or his Subjects, and adjudged Prize, shall be Three-pence in the Pound, and no more.