Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 1. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, December 1.
The Earl of Orrery, in his seat near the Bar, answers his charge. Because of his indisposition of the Gout (fn. 1), Sir Robert Howard asked leave that he might sit, which was granted.
Earl of Orrery.] Acknowleges, with all humbleness, the justice and favour of the House, in having the ten Articles sent him. The Articles bring no less than his life and estate, and, what should be more than both, his loyalty, in question; but he has innocence, without which he durst not appear before the House. He should be un worthy to serve his country in this place, should he fly your justice. In some places the Articles are dark, and in some places intricate and immethodical. If, by reason of some months sickness, and a spirit wounded with such a charge, he misexpress himself, he hopes he shall be pardoned.
Article I. He thinks rather a narrative than a charge. The charge says not that those he corresponded with were traytors or rebels. It is no crime to hold correspondence with the Militia, for if they had power to do ill, they had power to keep from ill; they were the interest the King took care of. Should he say, "England lies a bleeding, now London is burning," these were words to stir up compassion rather than rebellion. They (the Petitioners) accuse him of no bad intention in what he did, and no ill consequence followed upon it.
To Article II. "That he gained to his own use great sums of money, to raise up sedition, and told the Purchasers, that unless money was raised to feed the hungry Courtiers, nothing would be done; and levied 13,750l. to obtain his ends by corrupt means, which moneys were converted to his own use:"
Answers, It is not his custom to use uncivil language to any, much less to a Courtier. The King will find those who exhibited the Articles more apt to rebell than the Irish interest. There were voluntary subscriptions of one penny per acre towards the charge of getting an Act of settlement. Is it a likely thing that he should put them into rebellion, and not head them; cheat them of their money, and think to have an interest in them? If this Article were true, he was fitter to be sent to Bedlam than to answer it here—He protests he lost 300l. by that business—Desires that he who received the money, may certify what he received. It is as ordinary to take subscriptions of this nature, as for the Fens—This has been these nine years, and no complaint made—Denies the Black List—It is strange that 700l. raised voluntarily in 1661, should beget a rebellion in 1663—Another penny per acre was raised by Act of Parliament—It is not likely he should refuse what is given him by Act of Parliament.
Answers, If any were punished it was for some insolence done, not for bringing Certioraris. Denies letters for non-appearance. He has granted many Petitions— Denies incroaching upon any man's freehold, unless in forcible detainers. His Court of Precedency never meddles with it; but they have power to quiet possessions, after three years quiet possession. Fitzgerald (fn. 2) was a person who forfeited his estate by rebellion. There was a letter from a High Sheriff, directed to the Lord President of Munster, and, in his absence, to the Vice-President, complaining of Fitzgerald's forcible detaining a castle, and resisting the Sheriff's power; defying his power in open words, as if running into rebellion. The Lord Chief Justice of Ireland said to him, "he was obliged to assist the Sheriff, and his forces to be subservient to the Sheriff," and this in a time when we feared invasion from the French, and a strong place, and the best port in Ireland. Never heard complaint against any man, nor ever hindered due prosecution of Law.
To Article IV. The Article before was of protecting English, now of an Irish murderer (fn. 3), "that he should get him bailed, and so he escapes." If the Justice, upon his letter, do bail a man not bailable by Law, it was his fault; he knows not for what the man was committed.
To Article V (fn. 4). Has witness to clear this. Sir John Broderick and Sir Richard Osborne will prove the action to be voluntary; that land in his possession, and had set it for 99 years. [They were granted him by the King, as Rebels lands, and the title was afterwards confirmed by Walsh himself.]
To Article VI (fn. 5). Denies any trust from either soldiers or adventurers, but as a friend to both, and a Privy-Counsellor of England and Ireland.
To Article VII (fn. 6). Denies any creatures of his own to have taken to farm the King's revenue. The revenue is openly set at the Council-board in Ireland—Never saw the Lord Lieutenant, nor any Counsellor, refuse the larger offer. Only the Excise beginning in 1663 and ending 1664, it was not valued at above 20,000l. But the Aldermen of Dublin proffered, if he would take it, they would give 30,000l. rent, and if they might take it, they would secure the rent to Lord Kingston and him. The Article mentions not in what kingdom. It is obscure, as if it meant more than it does express. By this they got but 150l. apiece. They had a warrant after a full hearing to set it for 36,000l. and they gave 39,000l.
To Article VIII (fn. 7). Answers, He paid arrears to the army, according to the King's Declaration at Breda—Knows not to have done it either to those out of the army, or to such as opposed the King's Restoration—Only one gentleman of quality turned out of the army, for being an Anabaptist, a little before the King's Restoration. This was the man that came eightscore miles to discover the plot at Dublin, to whom he gave 100l. which he looked upon with contempt, and protested he would never serve any farther, if rewards were offered him— Denies the "employing the Halberdiers that were the guard at the King's murder." He turned out a nephew of his own, who had married a daughter of one of the King's Judges.
To Article IX (fn. 8). Denies the selling of a foot of land to any Irish rebels—Denies the buying of any lands of any Irish Papist, except 15 acres near Dublin, for which he paid 400l. for the convenience of his horses; had the seller of it been judged nocent, he had lost his title— One acre of land in Limerick is valued at eight in Kerry, and his lot happened to be in Kerry, and so his troop after that rate were satisfied in Kerry, according to the claim; but they have lost both their time and money, for want of due claim by the Act.
To Article X. and last (fn. 9). This Article, if true, would strike him dumb with its weight. The charge is general, and he denies it. All these look rather like aspersions than accusations, and so this general Article he must answer generally, No. He, being one of the Council, advises one way for the farming of the King's rents; another, another way. He had nothing to do with what the King would do in mercy; they are only to do what law enjoins them. It is not crime, but difference of opinion, he is charged with. The great point is of "compelling the King with 50,000 swords;" had it entered into his heart, he durst not have appeared here; and he wishes those 50,000 swords in his heart, if he said the words—Hopes that his Judges will consider the accusers, and the accused. At least it is not a probable thing he should utter such words in 1659; they had then such tumblings and tossings as were in England. He had then sent a letter to his brother, Lord Shannon, then with the King, viz. "That if your Majesty will be pleased to transport yourself into Ireland, to your Protestant subjects, we will receive you, and do our best to restore you to the rest of your dominions." This was as early as any. If doubted, the King will clear it. If this be true, and whilst uncompelled by necessity, and out of choice and duty, is it likely that when the King was actually restored he should say these words? Fitter for Bedlam, if ever he said them, than to be here, and is it likely that in six or seven years he should put nothing in action? 50,000 swords must surely be meant English. He has done several services since the words, but no overt act since the saying them. That a man, at the head of an army seven years, should not do some overt act is strange. That these words should lie seven years concealed is a misprision of Treason.—Not accused of any overt act, since only men say it. What he can say in point of Law will be ridiculous; yet though the words that were asserted, the Judges declared formerly not Treason, yet he trusts more in the judgment of the House. "Concealing his Majesty's affairs, and advancing his private fortune," are generals—Humbly desires no more to be done for him than your justice will put you upon; and so beseeches God to direct the House, and withdraws (fn. 10).
Sir Thomas Clifford.] Would not have the sword of this House of Impeachments be blunted upon offences of this Nature—Stars, in their courses, do not amaze us; but Comets give us apprehensions.—Would have impeachments of this nature upon great and considerable occasions.
Serjeant Maynard.] Considering the time, and the thing, if ever it was, and the Petitioners must go into Ireland for their witnesses, and this noble Lord's reputation suffer in the mean time, would have it referred to the Law (in Lord Strafford's case.) One of the King's Counsel once under the gallery, he remembers, desired, in another case, this might be the question, If any man in his conscience thinks this to be Treason, let him say, Aye.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] Little foundation in Lord Orrery's Answer made, to build upon. We may say by his Answer, that the greatest part is not probable, and some things impossible to be true. He affirms words may be Treason, or not, according to circumstance; and in a case of blood infinitely to be considered before acted —To say, "I will kill the King," ever was Treason. By a Statute of Henry VIII. it was felony to scatter papers that such and such a man has spoken Treason. The words to be Treason must be within such a time; for the words should be after the Settlement in Ireland; and what need "compelling," when the thing is done, and all the acts concomitant and subsequent have been for quiet and settlement? Let every man lay his hand upon his heart —But if these words tended to kill the King, it is a Treason. "Would be compelled," an indication of fear; "should" is much different. It is an accusation to this House, and from this House; will you imprison upon out-doors accusation? You may have the House, at this rate, garbled when you please—Would have the accusations transmitted to the Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, where the offences charged were done, and so represent it to the King.
[The question being propounded, That a day be appointed for the accusers to produce witnesses to make good the charge, the previous question for putting it was carried, 116 to 114. After which the main question passed in the Negative, 121 to 118.]
Resolved, That this [Accusation against the Earl of Orrery] be left to the Law, to be prosecuted in the King's Bench (fn. 11).
Thursday, December 2.
The complaint against him was for demanding of money of vessels that went up and down the river, contrary to Law; and for imprisoning persons refusing, and shooting at their vessels, if they came not to pay the pretended duty. [This had been voted a Grievance, and a high extortion, three days before.]
Mr Spry.] Moves to have it laid upon Wine and Brandy, being of most general consumption—Would have the trade of Wine free, without Licences; and to be raised at the Custom-house, and so it will reach all, as well what the Merchant spends in his own house, as the Gentleman.
Friday, December 3.
Eighth Observation against Sir George Carteret.] "Several Moneys allowed for cloaths, which were not paid." This Observation (say the Commissioners) is the least in value, but shows want of care in examining the sea-books. Wade has had a private trade with the slop-sellers, wherein he has cozened the King of 25,000l. but this will be most properly charged upon the Commissioners of the Navy.
Mr Ayliffe, Counsel.] This Article is so inconsiderable that it requires not much invention in Law; for de minimis non curat lex. But hopes he shall not offend in confessing some things, and palliating the rest. Either the ticket was not marked, and then his client not to blame that he did not deduct it; as to this money, if he had notice to forbear, he must pay it to the King.
Lord Brereton.] The Commissioners have not "swept dust into corners," as alleged by the Counsel, but have made all corners clear. The expression "of sweeping dust," &c. was excepted against, and a reprimand was given to the Counsel.
Ninth Observation.] "Moneys in his Hands, and the Navy unpaid, when the fleet lay for want of pay, as in Chatham business—190,000l. as appears by Sir Robert Vyner's books, and by Alderman Blackwell's books 50,000l. and upwards. His Royal Highness, foreseeing this, had utterly forbid it."
Mr Ayliffe reads the Observation.] Great sums of moneys appear upon cash-books, when the seamen sold their tickets for want of pay (charged upon the King's account.) Sums of money, if intended current money of the Exchequer, and not current money of England; tallies and paper-money is so there, and the King's coin lodged there. In tallies he had in his hands, great sums, but not in any other sense. In strict Merchants words, there are no cash-books; but ours are Exchequer-books, which comprehend the orders and tallies, as well as ready money. That the soldiers had not money is a thing to be lamented, and not to be helped, having nothing but cash of tally, and cash of order, but no cash of ready money. No Treasurer is accountable to an Audit, but for what moneys he receives; as to bonds and bills, unless he has received moneys upon them, he is answerable only for the bonds, &c. The 200,000l. was not received at the time it was promised to be lent; not lent till a month after, and so the Treasury was fed by them with parcels, instead of the whole sum, by reason of the disorder the fire made, and the Goldsmiths being called upon by private persons for their own.—In all the books of 1638, 1639, and 1640, moneys were accounted for in the preceding year, which were not paid till the subsequent year.
Lord Brereton.] The Goldsmiths say positively that Sir George Carteret might have had the moneys, if he had them not. Mr Meynell said, that from the time Sir George Carteret borrowed the money, he might have had it, and it was his own fault he had it not.
Saturday, December 4.
[The business of Skinner again debated. Of this Debate there is no mention in the Journal, all the proceedings being erazed. It was occasioned by the Lords having levied a fine on Sir Samuel Barnardiston.]
Sir Robert Howard.] Is ready to prove, that a Lord, or Lords, did pay the money, and not Sir Samuel Barnardiston. By this precedent we are at mercy; bills are excluded us; but if all remedies fail, moves for a conference, if it may be done. Supposes that the Lords have a mind to bury all differences, and if resolved, that an obliteration may be in both our books, and in the Exchequer. If this be a dishonour to the Lords, and they scruple our return to our former Privileges, then we that are hurt must cry out; then, he believes, we must come to Declaration. The people, seeing a printed book against us, will conclude themselves at the Lords mercy, for life and fortune; but would have all imaginable ways attempted first, before we come to Declaration.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] The papers upon our Journal are as full as any Manifesto can be—No precedents of the Lords can bind the Commons—If we have no Liberties but what the Lords will allow, surely they are but small— We are at an end of all legislative remedies; the best of our hopes is a moral convenience and security, though not a mathematical one—By conference would not argue our Liberties, but to vacate the record, for we never had such an occasion. The fine was paid, it seems, by an old gentleman in the Exchequer, Pro fine per magnates imposito. This ought to be vacated by the Barons of the Exchequer; but it is too hard to put that upon them which is, we find, too hard for ourselves. Would then have such a remedy as the Lords can give us, and, it may be, they will give us that in honour, which we cannot in justice extort from them. Would have no Petition read, where the right of any Commoner shall be invaded. Would not have one estate complain to the King against the other; nor would have the Commons appeal to the people by remonstrance. But we confess, and allow them all rights of nobility; that is, subject, and not governing nobility; when they shall find such an application, does not doubt but the Lords will do it thus; and he hopes it may have success; believes it, and advises it.
Sir Richard Temple.] Our right is established, but we know not how to come by it; if we must make it matter of request, would have it done by way of the King, then the Lords; because we cannot make it our right, must we petition for it? The consequence of this precedent will be worse than all the rest; it is a yielding that we have no right, and is a subjecting of us to be a "lower House" indeed. Moves that we may be as strong in the precedents as the Lords. We can begin a Bill to take away the King's Prerogative; cannot we reach the Lords by way of Bill to regulate their Judicature? Would have reasons why we reject the Lords Bill entered into the Journal. Says, we may demand a conference upon the subject-matter of their Bill (which was disliked, and changes his word into) our Bill; rather thinks the razure on all parts is reasonable. Prays that, in full Parliament, the King may call his learned Counsel, the Judges, and rectify this, and would have such a clause put into the Money Bill, and doubts not but it may do the business.
Mr Waller.] Would be loth to take away the Lords Judicature, because they have protected the Commons once in their Liberties. If the Lords stop the Money Bill, it will be ad captandum populum. We would give away the people's money, and they would not. It is unjust to the King, for we have said we will plainly give it; unjust to the people, we give 400,000l. for that which is the people's already. Would go by way of conference. In Lord Mordaunt's case we had a conference, but it was, why they would not give us a conference, which was not matter of Judicature, but matter of Honour; he remembers then a Bishop, with a great Journal under his arm; he thought it had been St. Augustine. He has seen a Lord, and an Earl (Middlesex) at the Bar. The King says, Nulli negabimus; but they go higher, and deny us. But would have a conference.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The people will be glad that any thing in the Bill may hinder money. A subject-matter must be resolved; but whether upon the Lords, or ours, all one; but never heard a conference on Bills thrown out; Bills thrown out are dead and perished. Would have it on the proceedings of both Houses.
Mr Waller, farther explains himself.] Solomon says of the ways of Wisdom, that all her ways are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Would not have downward remedies, by way of protestation; would move upwards, to the Lords.
Sir William Lewis.] This Debate is like original sin; we need not so much trouble ourselves how we came into it, as how to get out of it. Moves that the Lords may be moved about this record of Barnardiston.
Mr Coleman.] We are in a regular way, when the legislative calls the judicial to account. Thinks we are against ourselves in having their Journal razed; but thinks our Journal affords as good authority in Law as the Lords. Suppose that all Journals were razed, yet some speeches and books are printed, in which the fact is mistaken; so that these books will remain to your prejudice, and razures of your arguments, which is unequal. If then we can procure that no farther proceedings be, and that the record of Barnardiston may be razed (which must be by authority of Parliament,) hopes it may satisfy us. If not, why we may not apply ourselves to the King, he knows not; to him we owe allegiance, to the Lords none.
Sir Edward Thurland.] 4 Edward III. Persons taken by writ from the Lords—The King's Council never granted any. 10 Richard II. the famous Law of Præmunire— Magna Charta, confirmed 40 times. What a consequence will it be, when we shall begin nothing but money business here! The Exchequer record will be an inference upon the matter of the Bill at the conference.
Mr Steward.] The Bill is gone, and so the subjectmatter with it. If the record be a feigned thing (as is alleged) it is a Præmunire to both King, Lords, and Commons, and should be enquired into. It is a judgment between party and party, and what have you a precedent for in it, that the King should supersede a judgment between party and party, and so it may futurely fall upon any Commoner.
Colonel Birch.] All men will agree, that we cannot stand still. By the former ways, the Lords took away our estates; by their last Bill, our lives too. He is for no middle ways; must we go such ways as if we could not have remedy? To raze the record, would be the way to make Barnardiston be put in prison again. Would try some ways, but beg last.
Sir Charles Harbord.] If we cannot go to the King, God help us, and the King too! They can cite no clear case in it, whenever their jurisdiction was pleaded to. Would have conference upon the subject-matter, merely, of the jurisdiction they claim.
Monday, December 6.
Mr Love.] The cheat in collecting the duty is in a sort of people called Satyrs, who have a way they call running, that is, by taking cellars near the Vintners, slip these Wines into their cellars privately by night.
Tuesday, December 7.
Sir Walter Yonge.] The Mayor of Bridgwater has a preponderating voice, viz. when the voices are equal, the Mayor has a casting voice. The Election of London is not by the popularity, because they chuse their Representatives for every Ward, who are the Common-Councilmen, and they chuse the Parliament-men, with the Court of Aldermen. The popular Election else would be monstrous. It is the same in other cities and corporations, where the Wards chuse the Council-men, and not the corporation.
Sir Richard Temple.] There would be no Elections at all, if, upon an equality of voices, there was no preponderating voice. If a Borough consists of twelve, how can you have an Election, if numbers be equal? The Mayor must have two voices, or none at all—But it is wholly against the Law. The Mayor, like our Speaker, should reserve his voice till it comes to casting.
Sir Robert Howard.] Reports from the Committee, Reasons to be delivered at the Conference with the Lords, on Skinner's Business (fn. 12).
These following heads the Committee desired might be reduced into votes. They received, upon debate, some alterations, but were not fitted for the Conference, by reason of the suddenness of the prorogation.
3. That no Court whatsoever has power to judge or censure any Petition, prepared for and presented to the House of Commons, [and received by them,] unless transmitted from thence, or the matter complained of by them.
4. Whereas a Petition, by the Governor and Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, was presented to the House of Commons by Sir Samuel Barnardiston, and others, complaining of Grievances therein, which the Lords [have] censured as a scandalous paper, or libel; the said censure and proceeding of the Lords against [the said] Sir Samuel Barnardiston, are contrary to, and in subversion of, the Rights and Privileges of the House of Commons, and the Liberties of the Commons of England.
5. That the continuance, upon record, of the judgment given by the Lords, and complained of by the House of Commons, in the last Session of this Parliament, in the case of Thomas Skinner, and the East India Company, is prejudicial to the Rights of the Commoners of England.
Wednesday, December 8.
[This Debate was on the resumed consideration of the Report made by Sir Robert Howard, and is also erazed, but was as follows. The first and second votes were agreed to, with some amendments. On the question for agreeing to the third vote, Yeas 109, Noes 73. Then the fourth and fifth votes were agreed to; and a Committee was appointed to prepare reasons and arguments to justify the propositions.]
Mr Coleman says,] That in the Lords Journal, they find the words preparing, contriving, libelling, and petitioning. Prepare is too large a word for us to put in; a word that would punish the Counsel, or writer of the Petition.
Thursday, December 9.
Mr Garroway.] 12l. per ton Spanish wines, and 8l. per ton French wines, laid at the Custom-house, will raise 700,000l. without Brandy. All people generally take an advantage in their practice from our Acts, as Attorneys and Excisemen; so that we make Acts for their fallacious benefits. Half the value mentioned will come to 150,000l. exclusive of Brandy.
Sir John Duncombe.] The money cannot be paid at the Custom-house in seven years, the way proposed. The objections return from whence they came, and there is an end of them. There will be cheats in all ways, go which way you will, and many were foreseen.
Sir Thomas Meres.] He is no friend either to King or people, that makes the people pay much, and the King receive little. Though we put votes backwards and forwards in little things, it is not to be endured in point of money.
Sir George Downing.] The great part of our ready money goes for canvasses. In this case here is no demonstration, as one and two make three; you must have accounts from persons experienced—Would have 5l. for French Wine per ton, and 7l. for Spanish.
Friday, December 10.
Sir Robert Carr.] Moves that witnesses may be sent for by order, there being, he hears, strict proceedings against persons who come over out of Ireland, without leave, by loss of command—Would not have the business lie at our doors.
Colonel Sandys.] The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland is so strict upon our Members, that, if they come over to do their duty here, others must be put into their commands—Moves that some directions may be given to prosecute Lord Orrery; for his being quit of his charge will be the greatest honour that ever came to him.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Lawyers, unâ voce, said, That the charge was Treason; but that question was not in Lord Orrery, who was used very civilly; but would not have us lose our justice in our civility.
[The Journal says, That it was resolved to address the King, that witnesses may have liberty to come over from Ireland (fn. 13).]
Mr Love.] The consequence of his negligence and ignorance is such, that the King may have the ill effects when he shall set out his fleet again. Persons that serve for stores, that must lose 20 per cent. will cozen the King in price or quantity. The eyes of all the nation are upon us this day—Moves for "suspension."
Sir Thomas Clifford.] Thinks it proper that Mr Love's charge should have been given when Sir George Carteret was in the House. He engaged his own credit to set out the fleet when the King was at Salisbury; he had it from the King's own mouth.
Mr George.] Remembers no such thing as "suspension." But, by general order, they who had to do with the soap-boiling monopoly, were to withdraw; and they did so, and new members were chosen in their stead.
Sir Henry Herbert.] By "suspension," it is in the power of the House to receive the Member again or not. Sir Henry Mildmay was suspended, and in the factious times was called back again. No man was higher in Monopolies than he; when factions, and arms, appeared against the King, he and some others were called in again. Another gentleman, who was for the King, was expelled—Never remembers the suspension of any man, but for things arising out of the House. "Observation" is no judgment upon any man, no more than a man is innocent for a plausible defence.
Mr Seymour.] Judicature, as to expulsion, is yours; his non-attendance is a great neglect, and looks as if he had nothing farther to say. "Suspension" is but an order of the House, which lasts no longer than the Session.
Sir Thomas Oshorne.] Moves to have him sent for in, he being in the Painted Chamber; the business having been brought in after twelve of the clock, against order, he took his liberty in not attending.
Mr Waller.] Questions whether the man be fit to be made a precedent. In Lord Strafford's case it was said, "Hares and wolves are differently to be dealt withall." He knew the man beyond sea, and he had the honour to hold the last sword for the King. He held out his castle to the last, and made his terms honourably. The man that took him said, he had orders to hang him, if he did not yield. He was imprisoned at Paris in the Bastile, the only Englishman imprisoned in France for the King. Is this the man fit to make a precedent of? He has had fair warning to run these two years; he has staid all this while—Thinks him not such a monster as to be made a precedent of.
Sir Robert Howard.] Will not make comparisons betwixt imprisonment here, and beyond sea. If the crimes committed be "monstrous," it is reasonable the precedent should be so. If this, of tickets, was not a monopoly, knows not what was. The nation takes the proceedings of the Commissioners for a judgment, which is more than you have to ground an impeachment upon. By what you have heard, thinks you cannot do less than suspend him.
Mr Swynfin.] Dislikes both the arguments for and against him—Would proceed according to Parliamentary rules. It comes not before us originally, but by Report from the Commissioners; so then we are to do no more than what has been done before us, we having only the credit of these Observations, which is improper for us to judge him upon, because others have judged him. Nay, if the Observation be granted, it may not be a crime, viz. "Money in his hand"—Generally; no particular sums named. He provokes you to prove any buying of tickets, opposed it, and [was] no monopoliser of them.
Saturday, December 11.
February 14. The House met (fn. 14), but no Debate is taken notice of till]