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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Saturday, November 20.
Lord Brereton, one of the Commissioners.] It is not clear to them the necessity of borrowing any moneys at all; neither are the persons of whom borrowed, the time or the occasion mentioned. They find, by the Goldsmiths accounts, great sums are carrying on for interest.
Colonel Thompson, another of the Commissioners.] An hundred thousand pound appears upon his Ledger to be in cash, which they think was not really paid. It appears not to them that the Privy-seal was grounded upon a due information to his Majesty.
Lord Brereton.] He demands ten per cent. as paid to the Goldsmith, whereas he really paid but nine per cent. The Goldsmiths have gotten a new word in their taking more than six per cent. called Nomine pænæ money, which he understands not—Privy-seals pretended, but none brought to them by Sir Robert Long.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The charge is no distinct specification of the payments or receipts; if it appears upon his books that he has specified matter of receipts, though not matter of payment, then the charge is not good.
Mr Henry Coventry.] Would have it declared whether Sir George Carteret could give the Commissioners an account as Treasurer of the Navy—Wonders not that a door is not opened, when they knock at the wrong door.
Sir Philip Warwick.] The borrowing was joint betwixt the Lord Treasurer and the Treasurer of the Navy; whatever money was borrowed, the Lord Treasurer must necessarily receive it; whatever was done was always in Council.
Sir Robert Howard.] Nothing reserved to Parliament, but a condign punishment, upon the final determination of frauds and abuses, &c. By the Act, no power reserved either to Lords or us, but condign punishment.
Monday, November 22.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] It is part of a censure to withdraw, which cannot be without a vote. This Borough stands on the confines of two counties, In confinio comitatus, &c. and the Writs are directed to both Sheriffs, and they not to be found. Was taken down to the Orders of the House by Mr Garroway, for speaking to the merits of the cause, without the Member being withdrawn.
Tuesday, November 23.
Wednesday, November 24.
Mr Ayliffe, Counsel [for Sir George Carteret] to the 5th Observation.] Considerable sums charged as paid in the preceding year, which were not paid till the year following, 225,000l. the sum. General charge in Chancery is a ground of demurrer to the Bill. This is not such a judgment as does so bind them that they cannot alter it sedente curiâ, so that his Client can never be assured of an end. A considerable sum 1000l. may be to him, which it is not to the Parliament. If the charge be true, he is justifiable, though not stricto jure, yet in foro conscientiæ. If this be the way of that Court, and the custom of the Court is the Law of England, now we are accounting in another way; the Law has both Jacob's voice and hands too, and is gentle in favorem vitæ, and things are not brought ad aleæ examen. If then in the same year his Client has paid as much more as was omitted in the preceding year, the thing is as broad as long. For imprest money by way of advance, should the Merchant be charged a debtor for it, no man would deal. This way he used for the furnishing of stores for the King's use.
They account in the Navy the Julian way, beginning the first of January, therefore that money ought not to be otherwise accounted for. He appeals to all books heretofore made. It is the judgment of the Barons, expedit reipublicæ. He kept his books by the old way, but when that comes into a new handling, you may consider in rei veritate, that is, being a new Law, the advantage shall be taken to the accountant. He withdraws.
Lord Brereton.] The Commissioners are not by the Act liable to observe the method of the Exchequer; they think the Exchequer as much to blame as Sir George Carteret. He charges his imprest in the Ledger, but not in his Cash-book.
Mr Ayliffe, Counsel.] The Treasurer pays out imprest money by order of the Commissioners of the Navy, Comptroller, and principal officer. This case is that of the Constable, who is no judge of the fitness or unfitness of a warrant directed to him, being indictable for not executing it. The Treasurer has done his duty in obeying the order.
Lord Brereton.] The Treasurer may refuse payments. The Comptroller of the Navy has written to Sir George Carteret about imprest money, and he has abated none. It is a manifest wrong to account for imprest money, when none is paid.
On the seventh Article.] To one and the same person, moneys paid for one and the same service twice. The general stream of tickets went to Fenn. The Article proved in several instances. It is a like case with that of imprest—Ninety instances of this Article. The officers of the Navy checks upon one another.
Thursday, November 25.
A Petition [of Sir Edward Fitzharris, Bart. and Philip Alder, Gent.] against the Earl of Orrery (fn. 1) [was then read] containing in substance, raising of moneys, by his own authority, upon his Majesty's subjects; defrauding the King's subjects of their estates. The money raised was for bribing hungry Courtiers to come to his ends, and if the King would not, he had 50,000 swords to compel him (fn. 2).
Mr Edw. Seymour.] We have found that a charge of High Treason in the House of Commons, is a remedy for the gout—Wonders that the words have been called in question, reflecting on the Duke of Ormond. This had never been brought in question, if those had been silenced —Would have him summoned; but if he cannot come, would have his charge sent him—The alteration of a monosyllable, "should be compelled," and "would be compelled," makes it Treason or not Treason.
Sir Robert Howard.] No discourses of well or ill men should come before us, when a person is accused. A Lawyer in discourse may make Treason. 13 Car. II. does not extend to this—It is a hard thing these words should have been concealed thus long; no man can make this Treason by 25 Ed. III.—Ireland has been the seat of confusion, dissatisfied Papists and Protestants.
Sir Robert Howard.] The Earl of Meath came to acquaint him with his business, which he will tell you more of hereafter—Moves that the business may be prosecuted, and that if Lord Orrery cannot come, he may be brought in a chaise—What way you will go, pray resolve on presently—On 25 Ed. III. he cannot be accused; if on 13 Car. II. it lies at their doors that so long have concealed it.
Sir Robert Atkins.] If words import something to be done, they are within 25 Ed. III. The Article is, "By threatening, that his Majesty should be compelled, if he would not confirm the estates of a party headed by the Earl." Something in another article, as bad as this in the second article; "to stir up the people to rebellion, and in order to that raise money;" he thinks that is Treason.
Mr Coleman.] 25 Ed. III. limits no time for Treason; words are a self-conviction of Treason, whereby he discovers the intention that he would do, or has done, the thing; when he threatens first, and says, "the King shall be compelled," thinks it Treason within that Statute.
Sir Richard Temple.] Thinks the words are a misprision of the King's Government—Words, though not Treason, may be evidence of Treason; if they do design to perpetrate some Treason, they are Treason—Would have the Petitioners called in, to know whether they have two witnesses to prove these words. By too long silence, they might have time to execute their Treason—If you conclude it Treason, the person must hear his charge read in his place, and his answer, and then withdraw.
Mr Swynfin.] Would be informed how you will proceed, in order to information where he may be tryed, the treasonable words being said to be spoken in Ireland. He must first be heard, and witnesses must be examined.
The words may be Treason, or not Treason, according to circumstance—Thinks it a Parliamentary way to appoint some short time for examination of witnesses, and then call it what you will, and draw up the charge.
Mr Steward.] Voluntas (in Treason) dabitur pro delicto. The Petitioners have told you they will make it out— Whoever is accused of High Treason ought to be sent for in custody, especially if such an accusation will cure a man of the gout; in answer to Mr Seymour.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] Words are Treason, or not Treason, according to circumstances; Lord Stanley's case in Perkin Warbeck, &c. Henry VII. The case of the Maid of Kent, "If Henry VIII. did not take his Wife Catherine again, &c." that case conditional treason; one an opinion, the other a resolution. Should and would, two witnesses must precisely agree in the words—He never thought his Majesty, nor his Council, so much asleep, as not to receive an accusation of this nature, if the person made the complaint in due time. The offence, in point of accusation, is the same within doors as without, only we give vigour to an accusation—No man knows, when a spirit of accusation is up, when it will rest again, and he never knew much good done in Parliaments, where many impeachments were—Every petty Sessions of the peace being open to accusations of this nature, would have a Committee to enquire into all circumstances, and the result reported to ground your resolutions in it.
Sir Robert Howard.] If they be trucking witnesses, to keep this in the dark so long, they deserve a rebuke, and at least to give security to prosecute. Lord Orrery will undergo any torture rather than the torture of not answering his charge.
Ordered, That a copy of the Articles against Lord Orrery be sent him by the Serjeant at Arms, and his Attendance required, to give his answer to them; if he be not able to come, then that the Serjeant is to leave a keeper with him, [to attend him till he is (fn. 3).]
Friday, November 26.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If 100,000l. to be raised, he has one way; if higher, another way; if he was in the Million corner (reflecting on Sir Robert Paston (fn. 4), who made such a motion) another way. The money already given to the use of the Navy 6,000,000l. and 325,900l. reckoning that of the Customs, which was given for that use—437,000l. the Prizes; many more things allowed, there is a million yet good, not spent, towards the war. Out of the Chimney money 700,000l. No obligation lies upon us in point of debt, as to our votes of our lives and fortunes.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The King, it seems, is in debt, but how, he wonders; the Country is in debt also— Moves that the Supply may not exceed 300,000l. and that not to be raised by Land-Tax, or home Excise.
Mr Williamson (fn. 5).] Upon a calculation of the Dutch expences and ours, theirs began in 1664 and 1665; they spent eight millions in all that time, we had not spent half. This we had from one amongst them—On Holland were laid eleven millions, and on some provinces 19 millions—In September they had not only spent all that, but they anticipated 1666, 67, and 69, besides a debt they paid four per cent. for—As we have had neglects, our neighbours have had also. They continue the same tax, and levy still, now the war is done.
Sir Fretchville Holles.] The Dutch press none, and therefore they must give double pay. This war, they built an entire new fleet, with stores, and now they are much fitter for a war than when they began; but by our accounts it appears much otherwise with us.
Mr Secretary Trevor.] To the proportion of the aid—This and the next year, and hereafter, the King may have occasion; so it is as necessary that a provisional charge be, as well as a present, considered.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Payments get into a few hands in this town, which makes money scarce in the country—Knows of no man that has been punished for mismanagement—The Court of Wards was never thought above 80,000l. a year to the King; the Excise now, instead of it, 300,000l. a year, and so rateably other things; and as things are managed with greater expence than ordinary, so the revenues are greater.
Mr Garroway said,] Indeed it is a pitiful sum to them that are like to pay none of it—Hopes that we shall not be in the condition of France, where all the money is in one pocket. This sum will set you out a good fleet, and hopes we may have something left in our pockets to get on horseback with, to defend ourselves upon any emergency—Would have the Customs appropriated to the use of the Navy. For some of the King's debts, it is no matter if they be never paid; for "if they be ever paid, they cheat the King" (as Tom Beal, the Hatter, said) the provisions for the Navy have been laid in at such exorbitant rates. We hear of nothing but Give, Give—To whom? To the Bankers, Backwell, and the rest, or to set up a hundred more glass coaches.
Colonel Birch.] The great mismanagement has been in this House; unless some course be taken here that moneys be not at 10 per cent. we shall never be safe. Keep the street-door shut, and we may talk in the hall at leisure. If it has cost us 8 per cent. where it might have been for 3 per cent. it is a strange management.—Some of these debts are like ships in harbour, that double the expence every month. The debt for commodities may keep cold, other debts must be paid. We must necessarily be great abroad, by keeping ships ready, though but with six men in a ship; you might fill them in a month's time, had your credit been kept up in paying the seamen, anchor-men, smiths, &c. Not being paid, for the next commodities you shall pay more than ten per cent.
Mr Garroway.] No answer has been made to, "Why not a million in cash?" When accounts are made up, hopes to have some more out of them—Would have the sum not exceed 400,000l. and not be raised upon LandTax, or home Excise.
Saturday, November 27.
[On the Lords Bill, for taking away Privilege, and increasing the numbers of Peers upon tryals (fn. 6).]
Mr Garroway.] Finds that the Lords have a great deal of business upon their hands, and they would be troubled no more with such business; desires they may not be troubled farther with this Bill—Would have it thrown out—In a clandestine manner they have destroyed our Liberties, together with some of the King's Prerogative.—They cannot act but when we act—Would have it thrown out with indignation.
Mr Boscawen.] The Commons are as well the Great Council as the Lords; give them their way of tryal, and you may give them all—By their Bill they would insinuate into the people, that by taking away Privilege the Lords are the only men—The Rump took away the Lords Privilege, and the Lords would take away ours——The Lords, it seems, are willing to pay their debts, and the Commons are not.
Sir Lancelot Lake.] Whether their number, in their Bill, for their own tryals, of 41, be, because they have more Lords than formerly, or whether less justice in a few? We sit not here for wages as formerly, and therefore it is fit we should have our liberties still—Though the Bill be not so good as to be passed, yet not so bad as to be thrown out—Sodom and Gomorrah had been saved if they had had ten righteous persons; save this Bill if it have ten good lines, which he thinks it has, and would have it read again.
Mr Vaughan.] If their Lordships weighty affairs hinder them now, as their Bill expresses, when they are over they will reassume their tryals of original causes. It may be inferred they have a power over us, from the Statute De scandalis magnatum, and titles in Jurymen to try their causes—Letters from Chancery, instead of Subpæna, will all come to the Lords House—The hypocritical clause, which destroys all our Liberties, lawful judgment of Peers, or Law of the land; it was never intended, sure, by the Lords that this Bill should pass us, therefore would have it laid aside.
Sir Job Charlton.] Would be loth it should come to that Mr Garroway said; If they arm, we shall arm too. If this Parliament do not end this business, another will go higher—Would retain the Bill to mend it.
Sir Robert Howard.] One line only to be grafted upon in this Bill, viz. "Be it enacted by the Lords and Commons." Suppose their Privilege and ours taken away by this Bill, yet they retain them by the Proviso. If another Parliament has less to do than this, they will take their judicature again. "Difficult cases" they mention. All Law-suits are "difficult cases"—It is beyond the hopes of man ever, by way of Bill, to reconcile this business; they will deny Bills, and so shall we.
Mr Waller.] It is said, that all the hurt they can do is when we sit, and that not considerable; but their orders bind when we sit not. Their House is called Curia nostra, the King's; so to leave it, cannot be so sure as to enact, which will bind the King. They are persons of honour, and would rather reform themselves than be reformed; but if, by our fault, we have given them precedents against us, we must blame ourselves. Nec meum nec tuum, sed dividatur. The objections are not so fatal as to make the Bill be thrown out—Tryal by themselves —Great officers sit there; they would be as safe as we—'Till Edward the first's time, no man was arrested—They call us the Lower House—Thinks the foundation as necessary as the ornament. Nothing a more Parliamentary way than throwing out Bills; but if we do, the blame will be ours—Speech and conference declares reasons; hopes that may do some good. Books they write already, so may we—We have offered them a Bill—The people are a great weight; throw us down, and we shall roll and overthrow things—The two Houses are the two hands; the right will want the left. The privilege of this House can no way be repaired, but by the Lords. 3 Car. the Speaker was forbidden to put a Question, and some Members were secured; here was a window out of Whitehall into the Parliament. A vote did us no good in our book, which is no record. We went to the Lords, they helped us. In the ship-money they justified us; not only in our liberties, but the whole property of the nation was restored by them—They may err, so may we; sometimes we can never have enough, at other times any thing contents us—One half of London burnt, the other half almost undone by building, diversities of opinions, rents fallen—Would have no difference betwixt the Lords and us.
Sir Thomas Lee.] A tryal of Peers, to make them exempt from the Crown. The Barons made war without this Privilege. Statute 1 Henry IV. began by our desires. No appeals shall be in Parliament, but all futurely, by the Law of the Land. One private person could not appeal another by the Statute, and so was the Judges opinion in Lord Clarendon's case, when accused by the Earl of Bristol—14 Edward III. a power given to some Bishops, Earls, and Barons, to enquire into delays of justice; sure they had not this power before the Act gave it them.
Sir John Birkenhead.] In Prorogation, Liberties and Privileges of Peers are out; then are they subject to Westminster-hall as well as other Commons—Will you take away all Privilege from them? They, by this Bill, will be possessed of no more than they had before—Looks upon the difference as fatal as betwixt King and Parliament—Kill not the thing before the time, lest we all wring our hands, and curse the day we ever did it.
Colonel Birch.] He never saw but that one extremity begat another; 1649 began the tragedy of the King; 1669 now by the Commons with the Lords. Suppose we retain it, will it be looked upon abroad well? Neither would reject it totally; some things may be returned to the Lords—Would have it gently laid aside.
Sir Richard Temple.] If dissolution must follow, dissolution of all Parliaments must follow; we have been more yielding to them than any Parliament. This great exception is, that it comes from the Lords in this manner—The Lords say nothing of judicature, that must come from the Commons—Do not all attainders begin here? It is impeachments, we are demandants, and must judge with them. The Act which took away Appeals began in the Commons House. Before Lord Lieutenants in Queen Elizabeth's time, every Lord was charged by name—Then they would not assert themselves. In Lord Latimer's case, upon prayer of the Commons, sentence was altered by the King. They are no legislative Court, only an executive Court. The King allowed Lord Bristol Counsel in case of Treason. In their book it shall never be a precedent for the future. Any private man may have writ of Error of any Court to the Lords; it is strange the Commons should not have any address by conference, where Judicature is a question—If the Lords would raze all out of their Journal, that would be better than this Bill.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] Not safe, nor useful, to throw out, or keep, this Bill—Unless to have one neither like this, nor what we sent up—Since they have taken this way not to amend ours, he would have this sent up by way of amendment, and upon conference we may show them how shameful it is we should have this sent us; and at a conference may be informed, whether the Privilege they mention in their Bill be such as is known by Law, or any new unknown one. By this Bill any man may settle a trust in a Peer, and the party avoid justice. If a man have a decree, how can it be executed? What reason have the Lords to take to themselves the cognizance of criminal causes? They claim this as the supreme Court of Justice, from whence flows all Justice as from a fountain. This is a thing royal only, and flows from none but the King. Dernier resort is to the King; originally their Judicature was but an expedient, because all the Judges are there present. The King assigned a number of Lords to examine the business in Lord Warwick's Case. The King reverses a judgment from Jersey and Guernsey; it is, Rex solus non si solus. Precedents to be abhorred in the book. Alice Price banished—Must they be Calcate in Terrâ firma, as the Council of Venice do their noblemen? 2 Henry IV. Earl of Kent's case— The Lords attainted the persons that assaulted him—Must they do so still? Are there Judges betwixt the King and us, and none betwixt the Lords and us?—Would know why five Lords, making a House, must judge our lives and liberties, and they not judge themselves under 41. It may be, the Lords, by their everlasting seat in Parliament, are pleased to put us in mind of our mortality—Power of calling and dissolving of Parliaments always in the King—Why should the Lords touch that power in a Bill by reflection? Hopes the Lords shall never drive us to a dissolution, to reproach the King with our long sitting—Now, since you cannot have a conference, and they have executed their judgment against the Company, in Skinner's case, who will ever knock at your doors, when you are not able to give remedy? They could not ever hope that the Clause of 41 would pass, if they did not think something in the Bill were for that convenience. The Lords beyond the sea, and absent, and minors, will not make up probably 41. There is a Hiatus of 170 years in the precedents the Lords mention in the book—For appeal to the King, it is a new thing, and of great difficulty, you put upon him, out of his power, and he will not make a schism in this Government. Our Bill is a continual record upon our Journal of continual claim from us. It is our Privilege; the Lords should have theirs they are born to; but should their Lordships sit silent and sullen, in discontent, their Lordships would sit uneasily in their robes. He would go so far towards an agreement, that it may be only our faults, we would not part with our inheritances.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] To send up a second Bill, would be to have a second foil—Would have us rest upon our votes—Would have it laid aside, with this consideration entered in the Journal, "That this shall not tend to the hindrance of any intercourse between the two Houses."
Mr Swynfin.] Proper reason for not reading a Bill a second time, is, when no part of it can be mended. In the enacting Clause, viz. that no cause of original complaint shall be tryed, &c. it is a plain owning, assuming, and now enacting, that nothing shall be taken from the Lords, but what is in express words taken by this Act; we are content not to be troubled with civil Causes, tryable in any other Court, but reserve still a power— That word "lower House" was never used but in Henry VIIIth's time, when the House of Commons was much imposed upon—This breaks off our intercourse only as to this business, but nothing else; you may send up any vote, or reasons, why you lay it aside.
Serjeant Maynard.] They will not admit your right, unless they take away some of the King's with it. A man has done an injury, and he that has done it complains—Would have a conference, if possible, to demonstrate to them, how anti-monarchical a thing this of tryal by 41 is, when for some hundred years there were not so many to be had; how many of the 41 may be allied, and of how dangerous a consequence it may be to the Crown—He hopes these things, laid home, may convince them upon conference.
Sir Thomas Clifford.] Is as brim-full of indignation against the Bill as he that has expressed the most animosity— When they are providing for their own, whilst we are securing our liberties—We are the "lower House," they only the "great Council"—When all is done, taking away our Privileges, whereas long sitting is a trouble to us great enough—It is by some said, "Let us have conference by precedent;" but shall we do any thing against the essential part of passing Bills, which is by communicating reasons before we have three times read the Bill? We began the City Bill, which is Judicature and that of Accounts, as high as any—In criminal tryals, there we are given up to another government—Fears we shall have the worst of it in conferences, therefore would go on to another business, and leave this as it is.
Mr Garroway.] Desired that the King might be moved, that the execution of the order of the Lords against the East India Company might be stopped; (but the motion was laid aside, because it would put the King upon too much difficulty between the two Houses.)