Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 1. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Tuesday, March 3.
[The Arguments delivered by Mr Offtey, in Mr Fitton's business. N. B. Most of the arguments the Sollicitor had formerly used at the Lords Bar, Offley delivered as his own, which made the Sollicitor go out of the House.]
Granger acknowledged, That he had counterfeited the Deed, and he revealed it afterwards, being troubled in conscience. [See p. 91.]
Whether the sentence be with the Law of England ? Fitton should be fined and imprisoned, till he bring out the libeller, and on good behaviour during life?
Whether the Lords, as a House of Lords, without Writ of Error, can originally so proceed?
In statutis de scandalis magnatum, not cognizable by the Lords; punishable elsewhere.—Where the common law does remedy, people are not to run to the House of Lords; where ordinary remedies fail only. Placit. Parliam, sol. 33. the Bishop of Winchester demurs to the Jurisdiction. Coke fol. 2. Jurisdiction of Courts. Both Houses sat together in Henry IIId. and Edward IIId's time; but afterwards, at the instance of the Commons, they parted, and then, by consent, the Lords had Jurisdiction; but by the multiplying of trivial cases it was laid aside, 5 Richard II. 13 Row. N. 10. It seems to the Lords not a parliamentary petition, but to be referred to the common law. Knowle's case a forcible entry. General supersedeas for Privilege of Parliament, not, but in particular cases; Privilege of Parliament would otherwise silence all law.
Now the Lords have made an order to retain or reject any cause whatsoever without limit.
The Judges would have passed the same sentence, if brought before them, by the statute de scandalis magnatum, if found guilty. He is now neither judged per judicium parum suorum, nor secundum leges Angliæ—It is against Magna Charta, there being no tryal by the neighbourhood, per vicinetum.
The claim of being tryed by law has from time to time been renewed, besides Magna Charta.
This being received, all cases by petition will be received there—Says not, they will have the same fate— The Lords, by this means, will be both Judges and accusers— 15 Edward III. one error of the Lords proceedings was, the matter came not originally before them—It was in a case of banishment—He has known a Jury returned de vicineto de Whitehall; but never "of Lords Spiritual and Temporal."
The Peers have no challenge amongst themselves, so Fitton has none—Fitton has no appeal, but error in the Lords, which, it is to be presumed, they will not acknowlege.
We have but one law both above and below stairs— If there was law for him below stairs, there is above; and why then should the Lords proceed by way of petition?—In Lord Lincoln's case, the Parl ament sitting, he had his action of Scandalum Magnatum, and recovered damages—He might sure, as well as Lord Gerrard, have brought it into Parliament.
Precedent seemingly to favour the Lords.
John Cavendish, fishmonger, complained against William de la Pole; William de la Pole proved he had paid Cavendish for his fish, and moved for justice against him, and Cavendish was fined for scandalizing the Lord.
Scandals in Parliament, and Scandals out of Parliament, very different—All reasonings in Parliament, not enquirable by law, nor subject to common Juries— Stroude's case is a general case—Sir Henry Yelverton, for speeches uttered against the Duke of Buckingham, was fined; but our question quite another case—One precedent in the negative is worth three in the affirmative.
Mr Swynfin (now of the House) in 1645, upon complaint of Lord Denbigh, of words that fell from him against that Lord, demurred against the Jurisdiction of the Lords—The Jurisdiction of the Star Chamber is now transformed into the House of Lords; but in somewhat a nobler way—Matters concerning Peerage are determinable in the House of Lords, and they judge all superiorities in Parliament and Council—As 1 Car. betwixt the Earls of Oxford and Lindsey, about the Lord Great Chamberlain's place, and the 30th of June, 14 of Eliz.—Should every private case of every Peer be brought into the House of Lords, it would set up, what the law detests, arbitrary government.
Empson and Dudley did not proceed by a half face of Justice; but summoned persons, and committed them, without any legal proceedings by way of Indictment.
The court to die, and yet the contempt to last longer than their Lordships last—Upon prorogation the parties are usually discharged—When the court ceases, usually the punishment for contempt does so.
Pritchard, and Lord Vaughan's case.
Fitton ought to have been released upon the first prorogation.
By this way of proceeding one court rides on the back of another.
[The Debate was adjourned till Tuesday the 10th.]
Wednesday, March 4.
[Debate resumed concerning the insolent Carriage, and Abuses committed by several persons, in interrupting and disturbing of Ministers in their Churches, and holding Meetings of their own.]
Sir Edm. Wyndbam.] Moves that the Act for the Militia be taken into consideration, to enforce these assembling people, of all sorts and sects, to be quiet; and that the Deputy Lieutenants may be purged, many being remiss in their duty, and others favourers of this sort of people.
Mr Seymour.] The strictness of the institution of the Spanish Inquisition, one of the greatest causes of the decay of that Monarchy—Mr Hobbes says, That when reason is against a man, a man is against reason— Why should we proceed in a way, that answers not our end? —'Tis said, that they are outrageous against Churchmen; if they have offended against law, let them be punished by law—But two ways of punishment; if pecuniary, that makes them desperate by poverty; if by Banishment, they will watch opportunities of mischief— 'Tis this Euroclydon, this violent East-wind, that brought in the caterpillers.
Mr Swynfin answers Sir Phil. Musgrave.] That what is done by the Act of Uniformity, is the same in Qu. Eliz. and King James's time, but then the oath now enjoined was not, nor any thing like it—Many that fled then, differed in judgment when abroad, but things were so managed in the subscriptions then, that they came home and conformed—But in after-times the Bishops enjoined severer canons—After Bishop Abbott's time, a great deal of alteration; something in doctrine, and many things in ceremonies; which had a great influence upon the misfortunes that succeeded—We have complaints of the thinness of churches, and now that before we consider any thing of his Majesty's speech, we make a second Address to him, to put the laws in execution—The Declaration from Breda not considered—What has the severity of the laws produced? So many poorer subjects than we had before, and the Crown weakened—Does any thing of this tend to the Honour of this House, or the safety of us abroad?—What service is in the Bishop's Courts that is answerable to the discontents that this penal law gives? He is not for any thing of toleration as to parties, but to indulge tender consciences that dissent only in ceremonies.
Sir John Birkenhead answers Mr Swynfin.] In Queen Eliz. time a toleration for Sectaries and Papists was much laboured—Was persuaded much not to disunite Stapleton, Harding, and Fitzherbert, from the Church, and they would promise neither to write nor preach; but yet she would not let them stay—Had she done it, her power to keep things quiet, as she did forty-five years in spite of them all, had been lost—Bellarmine took most of his arguments from these men—The Millenaries from a thousand hands petitioned about this very business of dispensation, but she would not grant it, though they were Legions—When King James summoned his Council about this, he told them, "His soul was not at rest, he was libelled both by Papists and Puritans for tolerating both."—He made the Judges assemble in the Star Chamber, where he declared, "God out mine and me, if ever I suffer Toleration!"—King James by this lived most peaceably. But when Mr Pym declared, That it was not the doctrine, but the discipline they dissented from, then they fell to tearing of surplices, and so things begin now; therefore would have his Majesty moved to put the laws in execution; that as we know our country's minds, the King may know ours.
Mr Waller.] Toleration is not the sense of his Majesty's speech, but of uniting his Protestant subjects—For us to go in a body to his Majesty to desire the laws against Conventicles may be put in execution—The Lords are concerned, it may be—They went once to the King for adjourning the House, but they ought to do it only in things that concern themselves—We would not have the Lords find the way to the King; it is a thing that looks like a disagreeing, to go without them, and with the King, not to consider his speech: Levity, anger, and haste, not to be in this business.—No consideration should weigh with him that looks like a ruin of the Church; though to improve trade, or make us greater—Some say history is, some say 'tis not so—Have not we, ever since we sat, backed this act with other severe laws, and still, if the Physician hath used all his arts, they are but conjectural, and all do the patient no good—The King makes Lords, but not Commoners; the people send us, and in Queen Eliz. time the people favoured the persecuted Protestants—Popery and Prelacy were the persecuted party, and the people love the last persecuted party—Perhaps the way we are in is so, perhaps not so—The Address is good, but moves for another day to consider of it.
Sir Walt. Yonge.] Bishop Bramhall, speaking of the restoration of the Church, not as a prophet, but foretelling events from causes, said, "That the Church, he feared, would not stand at a good game, but in desiring to be thirty-one, would hazard to draw out."
The herdsmen use not their beasts as the shepherd uses his sheep—Moves against the address.
Sir Robert Howard.] This address to his Majesty will work a despair in the Nonconformists.
Sir Tho. Clifford.] All the great zealots of the Roman church are pleased in orders according as the light of their zeal guides them—The Clergy find we have a sick body—The Convocation sit daily—The Lords have a concern as well as we, and in this business they are not at all consulted with.
We have a fire in the middle of the room, let us not kick it about to set all on fire.
Mr Boscawen.] Let us not compell people in point of conscience, as the Spaniards baptized, by driving thousands of Indians into the river at once.
[Resolved, That the House address themselves in a Body to his Majesty, to desire him to issue forth his Proclamation for the enforcing the Laws against Conventicles, &c.]
[March 5, omitted.]
Friday, March 6.
A Message from his Majesty, "to hasten the Supply, being pressed by his Allies, and the spring being sar advanced, and having occasion for building more ships and forts, &c.
[In a Grand Committee on the Supply.]
Sir Tho. Meres, in his report from the Custom-house.]
A Moiety of the Tobacco that comes into England does not go out again, nor a tenth of the wines.
Sir John Duncombe.] The estimate of Sheerness, Gravesend, and Plymouth, will come to 90,000 l.
Mr Sollicitor Finch] Would have the intention of the House commensurate to the occasion—Would have no negative questions, but affirmative—That the sum shall be 300,000 l.
Mr Waller, speaking of the ill victualling of the ships, said,] Meum elementum non est cibus, only vehiculum nutrimenti—Doubts that the not setting out a fleet the last year, was a greater charge than the setting out would have been. By Chatham miscarriage, once the two millions and a half served but five months—He would have the 300,000 l. come whole the interest for the King considered; the last was granted with consideration for the taking up the 1,600,000 l.
Sir Abraham Collen] Moves to have a Committee to enquire into an Impost upon Coaches.
Sir Thomas Meres.] 'Tis a poor thing, that after expending six millions for trade, that now trade will not bear 300,000 l.
Mr Jones.] Laying it upon trade will be a great hindrance to the building of the city—Should the customs be laid double, the farmers would not give half so much for them as they do; it puts such a discouragement upon trade—Places of trade have been more taxed than the country—He pays for his goods more than for his land in the country ratably—Would have the common shoulder bear the common burden.
Mr Sollicitor Finch] Calls this of Imposition upon the Custom-house, a home-excise upon shipping—The Dutch have gained our privilege in the Levant, of freight, and worked us out quite; and this way is to discourage navigation yet more.
Col. Birch.] This way destroys all foreign trade, by putting yet more difficulties upon it; as for example; if upon galls, you destroy all your dying, and so your woollen manufacture—Proposes a sub-Committee to take proposals only, and digest them for the House.
[A Committee was appointed to consider of raising of money by the Duty of Tonnage of goods imported.]
Saturday, March 7.
[Debate on the Supply resumed.]
Sir Cha. Wheeler.] The Duke of Ormond has lately had granted to him 50,000 l. for his own use, and above 100,000 l. more in the Butler's land granted to him, for which he had no pretence of evidence at all—He has had more granted to him from the King than any subject in England, except Lord Clarendon—Would have that enquired into for raising the King's supply.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Made a motion for the Sale of Dean and Chapters lands; which
Sir Robert Howard.] Seconded; and proposed a way how it might be done; and yet they not prejudiced.
[The project took not.]
Lord Cavendish.] Moves, that offices, both at Court and elsewhere, might be rated, with Lawyers.
Sir John Northcote.] Would have added to them, dignified Clergy, and Ecclesiastical Officers.
Mr Secretary Morrice.] The lands came to the Clergy by favour—They have no inheritance in them—What did first found, may overthrow—The Canon Law, that makes it sacrilege to alienate, says also, that what any Churchman does accumulate must not be put to a secular use, but revert to the Church—Many have wives and children, which may be considered; but many have none, and good temporal estates—They were, I know, given with great devotion and execration; and I would not take any of those coals from the altar, for fear of burning my own fingers—Education is chargeable, especially to men of eminent learning in those places—They hold in Frank Almoyne (fn. 1) —They are to pray for us, and I would not have them meddled with.
[The consideration of the Manner of the Supply was deferred till Monday.]
[March 9, omitted.]
Tuesday, March 10.
[Debate on a Clause to be added to the Bill for preventing Thests and Robberies. The first paragraph, touching eighty days for apprehending Thieves, being read, it passed in the Negative, 72 to 36. The second paragraph, relating to Robberies between Sun-rising and Sun-setting, was next read.]
Mr Waller.] When the Law of the Hundreds repaying the robbery was made, men had not the use of firearms; nothing but clubs and pitchforks; and the thieves might have been stopped—Crepusculum, in that Law, is an uncertain thing; one man sees when another doth not.
Mr Vaughan.] By the Almanack a man may know when the Sun rises; but for Crepusculum every man may know it, and he is not put upon an impossibility of swearing.
Sir Richard Temple.] Would not have swearing in the case—Too much to rest upon that—We may establish iniquity by a law.
[It passed in the Negative.]
[Debate on the Supply resumed.]
Mr Vaughan.] All taxes in effect are Land Taxes— They are distinguished only by names, and are not really different.
Mr Waller.] The Subsidy is with a salvo contenemento, the sparable part of a man's estate, debts, and charge of children considered—In Land-tax there is no consideration of debts, &c. though a man owes as much as he is worth; therefore most unequal.
Sir Robert Howard.] Subsidy is still land-tax in effect; it will immediately come out of the country—As to wine, it cannot be laid at the Custom-house; 'tis not there to be found. Excise will have an army of officers —Would have it upon the retailer, by pint and quart.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] Imposition upon the Spanish wines is the most unreasonable and unnatural thing that can be—The way to make a breach with the house of Austria, now well cemented—But we fear, what is little troublesome and chargeable will endure—But can any, with impudence, continue a charge longer than the Law has given?—We need fear none but ourselves in the continuation of it.
Mr Coventry.] Fears that the taking the duty from hand to hand, beginning at the Custom-house, will bring more money to Westminster Hall than to the King.
[Resolved, That a Committee of the whole House be free to consider of a way to raise moneys upon Wines.]
Wednesday, March 11.
[The House resumed the Consideration of the latter part of the King's Speech, about uniting his Majesty's Protestant subjects.]
Sir John Goodrick.] Moved that the Convocation might take this business into their consideration.
Sir Thomas Meres.] It may be his Majesty's Proclamation may reconcile them, finding no countenance from hence.
Sir Robert Holt.] Would know what the Nonconformists desire, declared by some body; if their arguments are not convincing, then to adhere to our former vote.
Colonel Sandys.] Never knew a Toleration, without an army to keep all quiet—Let persons concerned propose what they would have.
Sir Humphry Winch.] What they will ask, and what they will take, vastly different—Thinks we need not give an indulgence, nor make the Laws severer—Heresies commonly take root from the innocency of their authors, which has made them increase here—An army is as dangerous to establish by being too strait-laced, as by giving toleration—He had rather new-model the Sectaries, than that they should have an interest in future Parliaments to model us.
Sir John Earnly.] Would have the Ecclesiastical Courts reformed, which are so obnoxious.
Sir William Hickman.] The Bishop has little power in the Church but Ordination—The Ecclesiastical Courts are complained of by the Bishops as mysterious and troublesome to the people
Mr Swynfin.] Education in another way has been a great cause of separation—Proposes one question concerning the thing itself, That some condescension from the laws in being may be had, to unite his Majesty's Protestant Subjects.
Sir Philip Warwick.] If we could so relax the law, as not to loose the law, he would willingly condescend to some indulgence, that neither the agenda nor the credenda may be violated—If I prove that a man needs not scruple any thing in the Church, why should he be farther indulged?—Would have care taken, that, after indulgence, they get not a footing to destroy the whole— 'Tis an unreasonable thing to pass a vote, that some condescension may be, before we know what.
Mr Ratcliffe.] Would have the Act of Uniformity revised, to discover what, in that Act, is too strict, as renouncing the Covenant, Assent and Consent—Moves that a conference may be allowed, of both persuasions, and to recommend that, in which they all agree, to your consideration; and that if any thing should be established for a law, that an eye may be had to real tender consciences—That Ecclesiastical Courts may be regulated.
Sir Walter Yonge.] The case of the Clergy of England with the King, is as a master of a family that has quarrelsome servants; one will not stay unless the other goes away—No good to be had by Conference, or the Convocation.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Has a great kindness for the Preshyterians, being assistant in their prayers and endeavours in the restoration of his Majesty; but could wish their penitence had been as public as their first offences were, as the custom of the Church ever was—But for the Independents, which are Anabaptists, &c. many of them are not Christians, some Arians, and some Socinians; but the Presbyterians are right as to matters of the first Four Councils, which are indisputable—But when they scruple that of the Chancellors in the Church, and other novelties, not above five hundred years standing, and if no other thing than reducing things to the first four General Councils, be the case, would have a Committee appointed by us and the Lords, to consult with both Houses of Convocation, and hopes by that to bring in many Papists also.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Let us do what is fit for ourselves to do; and if we do what is reasonable, and that gives them not satisfaction, it rests not at our door— The kingdom of Poland has the greatest toleration in the world, and no standing Army, but upon occasion of war—Their Militia is their only standing Army, which is made up of all opinions, and they have never had any wars upon religious accounts; and in their civil wars upon temporal affairs, persons of all opinions have mixed—Barnevelt, in Holland, only offered at a disturbance, and was taken off—The only party there was Arminian, which he could wish was not so much received amongstour Clergy—Predestination and Free-will, in our thirtynine Articles, have occasioned all our disputes in the Church of England—The Calvinist way has a loop-hole to let Arminianism into our articles—All along Queen Elizabeth's, King James's, and King Charles's time, whenever any of these points were disputed, at degree of Doctor, all the points were regulated by the Convocation, and then the current of the Church of England ran the Calvinist way—Besides at the Synod of Dort—So long as the Church was true to itself, the Nonconformist never hurt the Church; but as soon as innovation and alteration came in by the Churchmen, and they favourites with the crown, the Church declined—In Ceremonies we have much alteration; the Communion-table set Altarmanner, whereas it ought to be in the body of the Church, that the guests might come to the table, and the second service might be the better heard—No Canon for the bowing at the Altar, or, if any, quite laid aside— Now, if new ceremonies have been made, besides putting the Tapers [on the Communion-table,] if private persons have dared to intrude these things against law, what will be the end? and none but such as will comply with this innovation shall have any preferment; and as this way has once ruined the Church, he hopes the Parliament will not countenance the doing of it again— King Edward and Queen Elizabeth prepared all things before they came to the Parliament—Would have the King applied to, to give us some subject-matter to work upon.
Sir John Cotton.] The Presbyterian tenets are most destructive to our government—"That the King is but Minister Bonorum:" "He is greater than any one man, but less than the People:" "Salus populi suprema lex," and many more such.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Theodosius, the Emperor, so enjoined the sanctions of the councils, that no man, unconformable to them, could administer the sacraments— Socinus's opinions crept into the Sects of Poland, which made the Cossacks always enquire, when they made any inroads, what the Sectaries did—Religion in Holland is subservient to trade—They reproved Mr Price, the English minister, and sent him away, for preaching against their Sunday markets.—Queen Elizabeth's Council advised her to keep Edward VIth's Liturgy, in which she made little alteration, and enjoined conformity; and King James, in his Acts of Indemnity, excepts Nonconformists—Queen Elizabeth would never suffer Nonconformity, though the Earl of Essex would have given security for the peaceableness of the persons—King James let them have a conference at Hampton Court; he would abate nothing: at last Dr Reynolds came in and conformed—Queen Elizabeth was favourable to Papists, but made severe laws against Priests; and when the People had no Mass they came to Church—The Articles of the Church of England were drawn so, that both parties might subscribe— The Convocation was a very mixed assembly of both persuasions—No Canon nor Sanction enjoins bowing at the Altar—Bishop Morton never did it; 'tis left at liberty —In Judaism, Paganism, Mahometanism, and Christianity, in none of them a toleration is suffered—The Pope may suffer Milan to have St Ambrose's Litany, and Bohemia to administer the sacrament in both kinds; this he may do in one Church, but not several customs in one Church—He would never advise his Prince to do what has destroyed his father—He would not have the odium of this business lie upon the King—He would have no application made to him in it—Let there be no Conventicles, and the Church will be fuller—Must their Mother, the Church of England, bow to a few novices; and for the old ones, they have falsified their former oaths and subscriptions—For benefices, no man has three, as is alleged; if any man has three, they are, ipso facto, by law forfeited—Conference has been already at the Savoy —It has done no good—He would have the Convocation sent to.
Mr Coventry.] Here is one side against Bishops, and another against the silenced Ministers; between them both, I fear, we shall have no religion—The King bids us, in his Speech, do it, and we send to the King to do it— Would have the Committee for Religion revived, to receive what shall be proposed.
Mr Boscawen.] The civil wars in England come upon various occasions—Though the occasion of the last was much upon this account, yet it is not probable there will be any more—Many other occasions may bring them.
Mr Seymour.] Will rather veil the infirmities of his mother, the Church, than proclaim them in Gath and Askalon—He is for Comprehension—Two or three of the most eminent Presbyters may be made Bishops, and so an end of Nonconformity—Would have a liberty, but no farther than whether to wear a plain garment, a fringed or embroidered one, that these persons may be useful to the support of the Government—He is for no middle way—If a man sinds not his account in the Government he lives under, he will never labour to support it—The effects of the Act of Uniformity have been much for the good of Holland, in point of trade—Mischiefs having outgrown politic remedies, they must have gentle remedies—He would have an address to his Majesty, to give them some liberty that might not endanger the public peace.
Sir Robert Atkins.] Would have his Majesty name some persons, such as he shall think fit; not of both persuasions, but persons of prudence.
Sir Robert Carr.] Fears that his Majesty is possessed that the House of Commons is fond of Toleration, and that we are possessed that his Majesty is fond of it.
[The farther Debate was ordered to be reassumed this day month.]
Thursday, March 12.
[Debate concerning the Supply resumed.]
Colonel Sandys.] Moves for Privy-seals, as in the business of 1588, when an Act of Parliament could not be speedily had—Would have an Act to extend to moneyed persons only; no man to lend above 500 l. and none under 50 l.
Sir Jonathan Trelawney.] Moves for a Committee to go to treat with the citizens, to advance 100,000 l. upon the security of the House.
Mr Waller.] Would not have the people sold for offices—The forbidding any Member to receive or farm this money, as if, now nothing is to be got by this business, that none of our Members should meddle with it.
[Resolved, That Commissioners be appointed to assess retailers of wine and brandy for the raising the hundred thousand pounds towards the Supply.]
Friday, March 13.
[Upon some proffers of a Debate about the latter part of the King's Speech, which the Bill against Conventicles seemed to cross.]
Sir Thomas Littleton.] It is dangerous to make laws too big to be executed, although some over-forward men may execute them—The Churchmen are arrived to that pass, as to bring in what ceremonies they please, though they lie under suspicion of Popery; and that others must conform to these innovations—What hope can we have of their doing any good from those that should be men of mercy, and carry things with the greatest severity ?
Sir Giles Strangeways.] When such formidable mushrooms should start up in a night that are too great for the Law, no prudent state will suffer their Laws to be flown upon—'Tis a trouble to him to hear the Church of England arraigned—It was upon the suspicion of Popery that Archbishop Laud's head was cut off; and what will they have Popery seven years hence, when asking blessing is now Popery?—Is this the way to make union, for every man to be tolerated his profession ?—Would have ourselves in this House reformed—He is sorry to hear any thing of Toleration countenanced here—No man can blame him for being zealous in his religion, as they are in theirs—Must a father yield his authority to his son ?
[Leave was given to bring in a Bill for continuance of the former Act against Conventicles.]
Saturday, March 14.
[A Paper was brought in by the Commissioners of Accounts, concerning Prize goods. " Sir George Carteret desired a few days the better to explain his accounts to the Commissioners—The Lord Lieutenants militia money not meddled with by the Lord Treasurer—Captain Valentine Pine absconds, and will not answer his charge about the moneys for fortifications, &c.—Tickets were paid at the Navy-Office that were bought when the seamen could not be paid—Many other abuses about tickets—The Commissioners had made progress into several other offices."]
Tuesday, March 17.
[Debate concerning the Supply resumed.]
Sir William Coventry.] Merchants in Holland, having not much land to purchase there, employ their money generally in trade—'Tis otherwise in England; for as soon as a merchant has got a good stock of money, he presently buys an estate—They still plant tobacco in England, and if more imposition be laid, it will destroy the foreign tobacco, and nurse up our English plantations —We import much from abroad, and the laying the duty at the Custom-house will much hinder the bringing it in.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In tobacco you cannot tell who is the last retailer, it goes through so many hands; four or five at least; therefore would have it rated at the Customhouse.
Sir Thomas Clifford, speaking of the Plantations.] Once a year Long Lane is swept of old cloaths and books— What costs the merchant 40 l. yields the King 80,000 l. and sometimes the merchant will lose and forfeit his tobacco, when it is damaged, rather than pay the Custom.
If the Duty be laid at the Custom-house, the less will be imported—But if a patentee can get money by it as formerly, why should not money be raised now upon it by law ?—The serpent will be no more in this weed at the Custom-house than by way of excise.
Mr Waller.] 'Tis much worse to lay this upon the Customs than wines; Plantations being not in that case —We have Negatives upon all old ways, which, is continued, is the way, (though in other words) to say, the King shall have no Supply—Though the merchants are against the Custom-house way, and would lay it upon land, yet if no rents are paid, we cannot buy of them, and they at last must perish with us.
Sir Robert Carr.] Finds that Excise, from the beginning of the Session, has been aimed at, rather than a Supply.
Mr Vaughan.] When you find what the merchant has, you may easily guess at the proportion rented by the retailer.
Mr Swynfin.] A motion that carries all its form along with it, is most plausible—It was the multitude of commodities that occasioned a multitude of officers, when collected upon retailers; but now here is but one commodity charged.
[Resolved, That an additional Duty be laid on wine at the Custom-house.]
Wednesday, March 18.
[On the Supply—About charging money at interest.]
Sir Charles Harbord.] Fears it will discover our nakedness, and deceive the King, in the raising this money.
Sir Lancelot Lake.] If we go thus from one Poll to the other, he fears the country will be too hot for us— We had better have a Palate Bill than a Poll Bill— Would have it upon wine and beer.
Sir Humphrey Winch.] Would have this thing Excise defined, that we may know what this Devil is, to avoid him—He takes it only to be the cutting off the sparable part of a commodity.
Mr Vaughan.] If you lay it upon trade in a subsidiary way, it will be objected, Shall no body else bear any thing but such as have stocks?—Unless the gentlemen of trade will appositely explain themselves, we cannot well debate this argument—In common commerce men have not the money their stocks may justly bear; so laying it upon Poll, it will be concurrent, if you lay it universal—We have gone so far as to declare we cannot lay it upon land—If we lay it upon Poll, that must be upon their estates, which you have declined, unless you would lay it upon the colour of a man's cloaths—Upon titles and dignities, it is still upon estates—Suppose you would excuse a person not worth 20 l. the last Poll you had not 300,000 l. what can you then estimate this Poll at, and you take that up you have so often declined.
Mr Prynne.] For consiscation of those estates of the Duellists (Duke of Buckingham, &c.) in this interval of Parliament, towards his Majesty's Supply.
Sir Thomas Littleton said,] They have their pardons from the King, and if Prynne had not his, he might have been in the same predicament—The Clergy may bear a Subsidy better than any sort of people—'Tis now seven years since the King came in—If you revert the Clause in the Bill that exempts the Clergy, it will do your work—The Bill of 2,500,000 l.
Mr Secretary Morrice.] The Poll moderately laid, the Clergy may bear it as well as any sort of people. Now they are about to renew their leases.
[Debate, whether the Clergy should be comprehended in the Poll Bill.]
Sir William Coventry.] The Chapter of Windsor alone has laid out 26,000 l. in repairs, and other charitable uses, since they were restored—Generally the old Clergy are dead, and have left their successors in very lean places—He has many other instances of that nature, but is unprepared to speak to the business; but will satisfy any gentleman, he having collected many particulars of that nature.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] Besides the iniquity and injustice of the example, the Clergy estates being already gone into other families, never any tax since our late necessities were the Clergy taxed with, but by the Convocation; but in a Poll Bill, as they are a part of mankind, they have been—Never did the Parliament lay any tax upon the Laity, that the Clergy did rise without taxing themselves in their Convocation—If they, who know the sore and the weaker places of the Clergy, tax themselves, can we know them better?—The Papists say that since Pater Noster was out of England we have built few churches; but Bishop Andrews demonstrates, that the Clergy, in works of piety, are not, since that time, debtors to mankind—His Grace of Canterbury (fn. 2) is now building a theatre at Oxford worth 15,000 l.—Look upon Cardinals and their nephews (we have none of them) and you will not see such public works, or any like ours, either public or private.
Mr Waller.] In these things, on both sides, great mistakes, and much partiality—In King James's time, for the Palatinate, we here gave three subsidies, the Clergy six—He has been told by old men it was usual, but withall, that this House never taxed the Clergy—But in the tax for Ireland, the Clergy were taxed with the parish; but what they lost by it in dignity they got in profit—We then broke in upon them—The matter was about religion—Should we make a new Law, we break in upon them afresh—Among themselves they will consider the meaner Clergy—Let us see what they will do, and consider them accordingly—Perhaps we may do less upon them than they themselves; therefore put no negative upon them.
Mr Vaughan.] Affirms that the Clergy were never here rated till our Interregnum—The Clergy, upon the roll, is often called one of the estates, in calculating the quality of the people, but in Law-making not—He would set the House right in that point.
[A Poll Bill was ordered to be brought in, in which no householder not worth 20 l. was to be taxed for himself or his children; and so much of the 200,000 l. which should not be raised by the Poll Bill, or otherwise given this Session, should be supplied by an imposition upon wines at the Custom-house.]
[Adjourned till after Easter.]
Thursday, March 26, 1668.
[A Bill to enable the County Palatine of Durham to send two Knights for the County, and two Citizens for the City of Durham, was read.]
Mr Crouch.] The West and the North have already so many Knights and Burgesses, that the Midland, in all taxes, smart for it, in their being over-rated.
Mr Steward.] It is a hard case that that County should be taxed in all Parliaments, and yet have no representatives.
Mr Voughan.] Thinks the inconvenience of Durham is now no more than formerly—If we have all our Members here, we have no room for them—If we bring in more Members, we may, by the same reason, multiply them to as many more—The county of York has many, but they may as well put in for Knights for every Riding; and the northern parts are sufficiently provided already.
Sir Thomas Strickland.] The County Palatine of Durham was never taxed in Parliament by ancient privilege before King James's time, and so needed no representatives; but now being taxed, it is but reasonable they should have.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Moves that the Shires may have an increase of Knights, and that some of the small Boroughs, where there are but few electors, may be taken away, and a Bill for that purpose.
[On a division, the Bill was rejected, 65 to 50.]
[Sir William Coventry gave this particular to several of the Members of the expences of the Clergy since the King came in, viz. " That the Bishops, Deans and Chapters, and Prebends, in repairs, abatements of fines, redemption of captives, and other charitable uses, have disbursed 413,800 l."]
Friday, March 27.
[A Bill for the relief of the wives and children of persons dying intestate, was read the second time.
The custom of London, after payment of the debts, obliges the administrator to leave the remainder to be divided between the wife and children, one third to the wife, and the rest equally to be divided amongst the children. A Bill was moved for to compell the administrators to do the same throughout England.]
Doctor Burwell.] The power of granting administration is as ancient as the Church of England itself.
Mr Milward.] The case prayed by the Bill is, That a writ De rationabili parte bonorum may be all England over, to take it out of the Church, and put it into the hands of twelve men—He would have it distributed amongst the wife and children, but the power not wholly to be taken out of the Ecclesiastical Courts; but the business committed may be consulted at the Committee to redress them.
Sir Charles Harbord.] The Civil Lawyers must not be discouraged; the Court of Admiralty upholds our trade, and there are foundations in most colleges for breeding up that profession.
[It was moved, that the Civilians might be heard at the Bar; to which the Speaker said, " That hearing things at the Bar is " but lately crept in amongst us; it was not so anciently."]
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would not have these proceedings changed, but the faults amended—Would have it enquired, whether these proceedings of the Chancellors were anciently so, or are innovations—It is too slight a consideration to have it discussed by a Committee of ten persons—It is an alteration of a Law already made.
Mr Vaughan.] If you hear this at the Bar by council, what Law can you make that will not occasion you to be moved, that council should be heard ? The Bond for due administration is not for distribution, but for due administering debts—The Bond is in the King's name, and the forfeiture the caution; but here is no distribution for the wife and children: the whole matter is clearly out of them—In Magna Charta this writ De rationabili parte bonorum was at Common Law, and discontinued only since Fitzherbert's time—But if it be clear that the rationabilis pars may be had amongst the children, it matters not whether the power be in the Ecclesiastical Courts, or at Common Law.
Sir Job Charlton.] Would not have this power of administration discretional—The power of Committees hearing council on both sides, is derived from the House, and needs not be inserted in the order.
The Speaker.] Impositions, by way of tax, cannot come down from the Lords by way of amendment in a Bill; but Penalties may.
[The Bill was committed.]
[March 28, 30, and 31, omitted.]