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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Thursday, October 27.
[A Bill for regulating the making of Cloth was read the second time.]
Colonel Birch.] Would have that Bill general, that trade being not in corporations. The Committee to peruse the several Laws, already in being, concerning cloth, they being very many.
The House then took into consideration his Majesty's Speech, and,
Resolved, nem. con. That the King be supplied proportionably to his present occasion.
[Debate on a List of the King's debts being ordered in, and the charge of the Navy.]
Sir Thomas Clifford.] The debts on interest in the Exchequer are upon record, and in that we cannot err; the rest there shall be an account of. The present farm of the Custom-house is 400,000l. per ann. This year the farm ended. Besides that of the Customs full charged, 130,000l. advanced upon the new farm, at interest. The King's officers are content to take their payment at the latter, and without interest. In Exchequer register, not above 130,000l. Assignments have been given upon the Ordnance. When they entered, the Treasury had no money; since they came in, no man was paid before another; the rule they inviolably performed. They knew what straits particular men were put to, and the current of moneys came all to London. Merchants would have largely; therefore they took up money at 10 per cent. Asserts that money will never be plentiful, till this trade of Bankers be spoiled. Though Bankers have done great hurt, yet they have done some good; rather than the King should take up wares at 40 per cent. Gentlemens money lies sometimes four or six months dead; they let it at 10 per cent. Believes that 2 per cent. is the most they have got, reckoning Clerks fees, and ill money; eight months since they could not borrow at 10 per cent. 'Till the Commissioners of Interest can make out their account, we can inform you no farther. The debt of the Navy is upon the Wine Act; that is at 6 per cent. The Feefarms charge, and chimney-money, all upon record. The debt at interest is 1,300,000l, nine is at 10 per cent. the rest at 6 per cent. The now charge of setting out the Navy 800,000l.
Sir John Duncombe.] Cannot add more than has been said upon present memory. Hopes by Saturday the whole may be brought in ready.
Sir George Downing.] When he brought in the Bill for sale of Fee-farm rents, he told you the debt was about two millions; when the Commissioners entered first, it was three millions; the Commissioners, by God's goodness, have reduced it to two millions. Notwithstanding this year of peace, the Navy and the Ordnance alone have had, from Michaelmas 1667 to 1670, by assignments, 691,000l. victualling and all. A very great part of this money borrowed in the Exchequer, where the interest runs over and above what has been. With this sum the Commissioners of the Ordnance can give you an account of the ordinary of the Navy, 400,000l. per ann. besides stores, and repairs upon hulls. Thinks the charge the best bestowed money of the two, and the best an Englishman can do. As to interest, 600,000l. the Exchequer will show you. Will say no more, but that it is a convenient fashion now abroad, to take away a man's country, and then to give all Europe the reason of it. The French have brought up that fashion, and hopes we shall take notice of it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Would have an order for the several officers to bring you in an account, and then would be glad to hear any man's objection, and hopes to give an answer.
Colonel Birch.] Would have also the number of men, at the old calculation of 4l. the head.
[Adjourned to Monday.]
Monday, October 31.
[The House proceeded in the consideration of his Majesty's debts, a list of which was brought in.]
Mr Seymour.] What makes men carry all their money to London, but the gain by the Bankers? So that one way of removing the scarceness of money in the country, is the suppressing the Bankers, and the payment of the King's debts will suppress them. The insolence of the Algiers-men is the apprehensions of the King's weakness. Much of our misfortunes lie upon the great Statesman [Lord Clarendon] that your displeasure has been upon.
[A Committee was appointed to inspect the Estimate, &c. and consider how the debts were contracted.]
[Adjourned to Thursday.]