Debates in 1690: March 20th-31st

Pages 1-28

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 10. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

DEBATES IN THE House of Commons, From the Year 1667 to the Year 1694.

[Thursday, March 20, 1689-90.

THE new Parliament met (fn. 1); when his Majesty, in the House of Lords (by Sir Robert Atkins, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and Speaker of the House of Lords) commanded the Commons to proceed to the choice of a Speaker; and the House being returned, Sir John Lowther, Vice-Chamberlain to his Majesty, humbly proposed to the House, "That he conceived Sir John Trevor (fn. 1), both for his great experience in Parliamentary affairs, and knowlege in the Laws, was every way qualified for that employment;" and accordingly he was, on the Question put, allowed of, and chosen for the Speaker, and immediately conducted to the Chair by Sir John Lowther and Sir Henry Goodrick; where he acknowleged the great honour the House had done him; withall saying, "That he feared they had done themselves a great prejudice in making choice of him; an therefore he desired their leave to disable himself before th Royal Throne, that they might thereby have an opportunity of making a better choice." Journal of the Day.

Friday, March 21.

The House attended the King in the House of Lords, where his Majesty, after confirming Sir John Trevor Speaker, and allowing of and granting their usual Privileges, was pleased to make the following Speech:

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I am resolved to leave nothing unattempted, on my part, which may contribute to the Peace and Prosperity of this Nation; and finding my presence in Ireland will be absolutely necessary for the more speedy reducing of that Kingdom, I continue my resolution of going thither as soon as may be; and I have now called you together for your assistance, to enable me to prosecute that War with speed and vigour; in which I assure myself of your chearful concurrence, being a work so necessary for your own safeties.

In order to this, I desire you will forthwith make a settlement of the Revenue; and I cannot doubt but you will therein have as much regard for the honour and dignity of the Monarchy in my hands, as hath been lately showed to others: And I have so great a confidence in you, that, if no quicker or more convenient way can be found for the raising of ready Money, (without which the service cannot be performed) I shall be very well content, for the present, to have it made such a Fund of Credit as may be useful to yourselves, as well as me, in this conjuncture; not having the least apprehensions, but that you will provide for the taking off all such Anticipations as it shall happen to fall under.

It is sufficiently known how earnestly I have endeavoured to extinguish, or at least compose, all differences amongst my Subjects, and, to that end, how often have I recommended an Act of Indemnity to the last Parliament ! But since that part of it, which related to the preventing of private suits, is already enacted; and because Debates of that nature must take up more of your time than can now be spared, from the dispatch of those other things which are absolutely necessary for our common sasety; I intend to send you an Act of Grace, with exceptions of some few persons only, but such as may be sufficient to show my great dislike of their crimes; and, at the same time, my readiness to extend protection to all my other Subjects; who will thereby see, that they can recommend themselves to me by no other methods, than what the Laws prescribe; which shall always be the only rules of my Government.

"A farther Reason, which induces me to send you the Act at this time, is, Because I am desirous to leave no colour to any of my Subjects for the raising of disturbances in the Government; and especially in the time of my absence: And I say this, both to inform you, and to let some ill-affected men see, that I am not unacquainted how busy they are in their present endeavours to alter it.

"Amongst other encouragements which I find they give themselves, one of the ways by which they hope to compass their designs, is, by creating differences and disagreements in your Councils; which I hope you will be very careful to prevent; for be assured, that our greatest enemies can have no better instruments for their purposes, than those who shall any ways endeavour to disturb or delay your speedy and unanimous proceeding upon these necessary matters.

"I must recommend also to your consideration an Union with Scotland. I do not mean it should now be entered upon; but they having proposed this to me some time since, and the Parliament there having nominated Commissioners for that purpose, I should be glad that Commissioners might also be nominated here, to treat with them, and to see if such terms could be agreed on, as might be for the benefit of both Nations; so as to be ready to be presented you in some future Session.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I have thought it most convenient to leave the Administration of the Government in the hands of the Queen, during my absence; and, if it shall be judged necessary, to have an Act of Parliament for the better confirmation of it to her, I desire you would let such a one be prepared to be presented to me.

"I have this only to add, That the season of the year, and my journey into Ireland, will admit but of a very short Session; so that I must recommend to you the making such dispatch, that we may not be engaged in Debates, when cur enemies shall be in the field: For the success of the War, and the more thristy management of it, will both principally depend upon your speedy Resolutions; and I hope it will not be long before we shall meet again, to perfect what the time will not now allow to be done."

The Speaker, and the House, being returned, the rest of the day was employed in taking the Oaths, &c.

Saturday, March 22.

The Speaker reported and read to the House his Majesty's Speech, as above.]


SIR John Lowther.] I should be glad to be informed of the method by which you will proceed, in the consideration of the King's Speech: Nothing is more certain, that not only the good of this Nation, but of all Europe, depends upon your Resolutions. I move, that the House may go into a Committee, which is most proper for Gentlemen to have liberty to speak as often as they please. No one man can comprehend what he has to say, at once. I move to go into a Committee.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I should be glad to know the business of that Committee, when we go into it. The Speech is of divers parts. One part is most necessary to be immediately thought of, and that is of Supply; the reason why you support the War, is to support the Kingdom; that being so, you will but mispend your time on Supply. I thought you would have been moved to give the King Supply by a Vote for it. I move you for it, but I name no proportion.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I observe, that, in part of the King's Speech, the King speaks of "the Revenue," and I think that is Supply. I would read the Speech in Paragraphs, and then Gentlemen may move as they please.

Mr Hampden.] I am in some difficulty what to say. It is not the first time I have seen a Committee have general directions. If a Supply be moved for, then you are to go into a Committee, to consider the matter.

Sir Edward Seymour.] According to the ancient Rules and Orders of the House, you may consider all the other parts of the King's Speech, but of Supply, nothing. You are not to part with Money upon any consideration, without consideration. If you will go upon all the parts, except what relates to Supply, you may; but there is no consideration of such moment, as to take off your padlocks from Money, considering the poverty of the Nation.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] I agree with Seymour that, if Supply be first moved, then you go into a Committee. The King desires "a settlement of the Revenue, as other Monarchs have had;" it is not immediately a Supply.

Sir Christopber Musgrave.] If you consider the granting a Revenue, you go against the methods of the House.—We are told, "this is not granting Money,"but I take it to concern Money as much as may be. It is giving Money, and then you ought to appoint a day for the consideration of that Motion: I hope you will not precipitate matters, so as to break the Rules of the House. I am as ready to support the Government as any man, and you are secure not to suffer by going according to the Rules of the House. I would appoint a day, &c.

Sir John Lowther.] I desire leave to be heard again. I would not have any body think, that I intended, by my Motion, to surprize the House. I did not understand "a Bill for the Revenue" to be a Motion for Supply; but if that be the sense of the House, I am for a farther day; and I doubt not but, the necessity of the Motion considered, you will appoint a speedy day. If those who understand the method of the House better than I, agree for a Bill. I move for to-morrow morning; but because I would not displease nor surprize any body, for my own part, though there be prudence on one part for a longer day, there are affections on the other side for a speedy day.

The Speaker.] The reason of a Grand Committee is, that there should be no surprize. In the late King James's time, the House immediately entered into a Grand Committee, because the Motion of Supply was not opposed. You may put the Question for tomorrow, or when you please.

Mr Hampden.] It is moved for "to-morrow to go into a Grand Committee, to settle the King's Revenue." The Motion is said to be for raising Money. The House does ever religiously observe Order every way. I ever shall be for it; but, in that Question, I would not involve another Question. Gentlemen say, "settling the Revenue is granting Supply;" but let us hear why, and why not. But keep to that first Question, "That a Motion being made for settling the King's Revenue, to appoint a day to consider of it."

Sir Edward Seymour.] Your Books will direct you. Put your Question in the words of your Order, and that will direct you.

Mr Sacheverell.] I would a little consider and open what is to-morrow's work, I have always been of opinion, that the French King is the most likely to trouble England, and I doubt not but Gentlemen will not give a Million in Trade to support him. I have showed it formerly, as manifest as the Sun shines. I can bring undeniable proofs of it out of the CustomHouse Books. But if you settle the Revenue before that be considered (which will be done in a day or two) till that be, I cannot give my consent to give away so great a sum

Sir Henry Goodrick.] This must be, in consequence, settling a new Book of Rates, but you cannot remedy this: Unless you bring all others into the same prohibition, yours will signify little; but if the meaning be for a new Book of Rates, you have not time now to do it. All Europe will have a vast advantage by having that Trade, and you will lose it. I would have Gentlemen tell us, whether it be practicable in a month's time?

Mr Sacheverell.] I did not talk of a prohibition, only the consideration of so great an evil, and when the House has an account of it, I only lay it before you.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] If he moves not for a new Book of Rates, he moves for nothing. How comes this to you? Now you are to consider of the Revenue, he tells you "that the Trade with France is a Million." I believe, by the Book of Rates, of 27 or 28 years standing, comparing it when in War, there is a great over-balance. That Paper of the French Trade has walked this House long. But, as Sacheverell uses to say, "he would have things above-board," if you settle the Revenue on the King and Queen, without the Book of Rates—I have heard say, that it may be done in a week's time. We may have Peace with France, Pax quœritur bello. I would so settle Trade as it may be for the future.

Mr Papilion.] I believe all Gentlemen have the same dislike to France; but it was that Book of Rates he mentions, when the Court favoured France. I have known the time; when the French Trade was an advantage to England; but now we are in War with France; but when we come to Peace, then it will be proper to make a settlement of the Rates; but if you make one now, you must make a new one then, when time is proper. Now we are at enmity with France, it will be of no advantage at all, but loss of time.

Sir John Knight.] I was in hopes that Sacheverell, when he gave you an account of French Trade, would have told you how Trade is now carried on with France. There is a Ship at Bristol with all Commodities for France. I desire it may be considered.

[Resolved, Nem. con. That the humble and hearty Thanks of this House be presented to his Majesty, for his gracious Speech.

Resolved, Nem. con. That the House will assert and support the Government under their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary, both by their Counsels and with their Assistance, to the utmost of their Power.

Resolved, That the whole House do attend his Majesty with the said Resolutions; and that this House will, on Wednesday morning next, take into consideration his Majesty's gracious Speech.]

Monday, March 24.

The House attended his Majesty at Whitehall.

Tuesday, March 25, 1690.

The Speaker reports, That, in Answer to the Resolutions of the House, presented yesterday to his Majesty, his Majesty was pleased to express himself to this effect:


"I thank you for your Address, and for your Resolution to assist and support me: And as I have ventured my Life for the Nation, so I am resolved always to do.

"I hope you will take my Speech into your speedy consideration, and that this may be a happy Session."

[Sir Thomas Mompesson, in his Place, asked Pardon of the House, and of Mr Okeden, for assaulting. Mr Okeden in the Lobby, an Account thereof being given by Mr Piper and Col. Trelawney, Members of the House, and the Serjeant at Arms, and Door Keepers; and the Speaker acquainted Sir Thomas Mompesson, "That the House had considered that he was an ancient Member; and therefore were very indulgent to him by their Resolution, which he acquainted him with, and required him to ask Pardon accordingly," which he did do.]

March 26, Omitted.

Thursday, March 27.

In a Grand Committee, on the Supply.

Mr Hampden, Chancellor of, the Exchequer, in the Chair.

Sir John Lowther.] It was your Resolution yesterday to go to-day into a Grand Committee, to consider of Supply. The first Paragraph of the King's Speech is about "settling the Revenue," and it is to that I stand up to move you. For rescuing you from arbitrary Government, and restoring you to your Religion and Laws, the King has done his part; there remains our part to be done. The reducing Ireland is a great work to be done; the King is willing to go thither in Person, to make your Charge easy; and I hope the King's return will be victorious and speedy: And when he does expose his Person, and we are at our ease at home, for expressing our gratitude. I move you "to settle the Revenue on King William and Queen Mary for their Lives."

Serjeant Maynard.] If the King be necessitous, he will have necessitous Counsellors about him. The Revenue of the Crown-Land is all gone, it is aliened from him; he can have nothing from his Land, but from Parliament. The Question is, What and for how long you will give him? A King in want can never be quiet. As for the Revenue, I would not have it too much—Consider Quantum, quomedo, et quamdiu. I move, "That it may be settled for three years." As King of England, if all were quiet, I would have it for Life; that the King may be a Freeholder as well:as we. As for the relief of Ireland, that is a distinct consideration by itself.

Sir John Thompson.] You cannot put the Question, "for settling the Revenue for Life," without leave from the House. The Order is, "to consider about Supply."

Sir Thomas Lee.] I always thought, that they that gave the Crown of England "a Revenue," gave "Supply." I speak only to Order. I think "the matter of the Revenue" is the only Debate before you.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think you cannot put that Question; before you come to that, you must go to the particular parts of the Revenue; you must tell us what you mean by "Revenue." As for the Excise, part of it is Hereditary; it was so, and I know not what has made it otherwise. Before you put the Question, I would know whether all the Customs and Excise be complicated in the Question. Would you have all the Revenue for Years turned into Lives? First, consider whether any part be Hereditary, and whether you will make it all so; when that is ordered, then consider Supply. The first Question is, "Whether a Supply shall be granted;" and then the House may be moved for a Bill.

Mr Paul Foley.] What you are now debating is of vast consequence to us, and England, for ever. I would know what the Revenue is, and what it is likely to prove, and not to settle a Revenue for Life, as is necessary in War, but in time of Peace. When Charles II returned, it was generally agreed, that 1,200,000l. per annum, was a sufficient Revenue to support the Government; in the next Parliament, it was not pretended that more was requisite, but that, the Revenue came not up to so much. I know not what the Revenue is now; but I have heard, that in Charles II's time, it was two Millions, and more in King James's time; therefore I would have you consider, and it is worth your while to consider: If you settle such a Revenue, as that the King should have no need of a Parliament, I think we do not our duty to them that sent us hither. Therefore I would know what the Revenue is.

Sir Edmund Jennings.] I remember the method in King James's Parliament, and why now we should take other Precedents, I know not. If you desire to preserve the Church and State, will you not settle such a Revenue as will do it, and why is not this King to be trusted as well as King James? Either we shall run back to Popery and Slavery on the one hand, or Anarchy on the other. What will neighbouring Princes say, if we do not do by this Prince, as we have done by the former? I doubt we shall find ill effects afterwards. I have no Court-employments to expect or lose, only I would save Religion and Property: Therefore settle the Revenue upon this King, as upon King James.

Sir Robert Cotton.] We cannot answer the King's ends, without doing as is moved. You must settle a Fund, and you must distinguish the Hereditary Revenue, and a Fund. I would express my Gratitude to the King, but there must be some certain number of Years to have a Fund.

Mr Hutchinson.] You have been moved "to settle a Revenue upon this King, as upon King James." I would know whether that had so good effect, as to settle it so now, and whether so extravagant a Grant can be good either for a good or a bad Prince? If you gave this Revenue to a bad Prince, you cannot now decently take it away; if you give it to a good. Prince, he may be thrifty, and may have a Bank, and may presume upon it to destroy our Liberties. If a Prince be prodigal, he is more safe than if thrifty; but it is an odd sort of safety, and to be given to Pensioners to betray their trust. I would have the Revenue known. As for the present Supply, I would know that now, and consider it.

Mr Pelham.] You are told "that the Revenue came to two Millions in King Charles's and King James's time;" but, as to what is said of the ill effects of it in King James's time, none of that mischief came by that Revenue, but upon what was given him:afterwards, which enabled him to raise his Army and bring in Popery.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] By complication of several parts, the Question becomes more difficult. The scope of the King's Speech being Supply, that is properly before you; but as to the other Language of it, of settling a Revenue for a Supply, you must think well upon it before you come to a Resolution. In matter of Supply, the Question is not strictly held to it by firsting, seconding, and thirding it, but it is to be opened, so as freely to give a judgment, whether we can make the one or the other. Till it can be showed, that settling the Revenue is the Supply, I cannot come up to the Question. A Supply is necessary; we cannot sit here else. A Revenue, for the King to live with honour and comfort upon, every body is for, so as to provide for the Monarchy, in whose hands soever it is, that Parliaments may be frequent. There are some alive, that know all, and have felt, that, when Princes have not needed Money, they have not needed us. I have seen Princes undone by those methods, that they have been made believe would establish them. I drive at this: Will Gentlemen show us what part of the Revenue is a Fund to supply the present necessity practicable and effectual? In this case, wherein all our safeties are at stake, that that should be given for Money which is none !—I have heard say, "There is a great Revenue, 1,200,000l. a year." I would ask, what can be taken up upon that uncertain Revenue? For that point so to give, that we may be still called to give—This way will be to anticipate the Revenue— For the pressing occasions, if there can be laid down a Fund for the present necessity to be anticipated, it will be a guard still for a Parliament. I would give such a Supply as to prosecute the War with speed and vigour; and I leave the consideration of it to other persons.

Mr Harbord.] "To supply the King" will be without contradiction; therefore I would put that Question.

Sir Christopher Masgrave.] You tell us, "That a Question for Supply will answer the first Article of the King's Speech." But I would have it answer the second Article, "upon the Revenue." I suppose it has been considered, that the Revenue must be a Fund; therefore I would have it; for with the Revenue [there must be] a security. I would have the way prescribed, before you can do the thing. The King is of opinion, that it may be a Fund; therefore I would have that Question.

Sir John Lowther.] 'Tis my private Opinion, that, for the present, the Revenue may supply the present occasion, by security; but God forbid you should confine yourselves, now you are in a War ! The King desires this testimony of your affections for all he has done for us. As for the Revenue, he cannot live without it; but for Supply for these Wars, I hope you will not confine yourselves. After you have voted a Supply, you may then take into consideration the Fund of Credit, and you may make this addition for both their Lives, and for so many years after as to be a Fund of Credit. I am no Lawyer, but believe it may be done.

Mr Foley.] I cannot say any thing, till we know what the Revenue is, nor till we have an account of what has been spent of what we have already given. In three fourths of a year, the. Treasury has received 1,500,000l. besides what we gave; six Millions were received last year and this. Now, what account have we of all this? Therefore I would give no Supply till an account be first brought to us. I do not think that a good argument to give, because the King goes into Ireland; nor convenient for the King to have an Exchequer full, if the King goes into Ireland. I would give this King Money, but not by a Rule, because we have given other Kings. I stand upon it, to have more reason from the accounts before we give Supply.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] If Gentlemen come not prepared to support the Monarchy, and establish good understanding—But when the King says, "He has that confidence in this House," I see no difficulty but that every man is prepared in his thoughts. You are upon the Question of "settling the Revenue." 'Tis that the King sets his heart upon. You may know what the Revenue is, and then you may consider the Fund: Your second Question settles not that, unless by way of implication.

Sir Edward Seymour.] Your Motion for Supply is by Order; your Debates are on several things; of Supply, and the Revenue; and that is part of the Supply. When I consider we are come so lately from giving Money in one Parliament, I wonder how we come to leap into that now, unless you make one Parliament to vye with another ad infinitum; but if this continue, you will make the Ministers independent. We that have placed the King on the Throne, are those that will keep him in it. I have always seen it here, that hasty Resolutions in Parliament never produced good consequences for England. We are told of former Kings who had this Revenue, that from such easy concessions came our miseries; and seeing we are so well redeemed from them, let us prevent them for the future. The safest results are from hence, rather than from abroad. To settle the Revenue must be a work of time, and not to be in that inequality, useless in War, and not useful in time of Peace. Had you not time little enough last Parliament to consider it, and will you do it in less now? You will make things precarious. We shall make an ill bargain, to support the Church to destroy the State, and the Constitution of that must support us. Let us come to that point of the Revenue that is for Life, to enable the King to carry on the War. If for Security, I would consider how much is necessary to carry on the War, and then to have the power in your own hands; you that have the game in your hands, to put it into those hands that played for King James, that now play for King William ! As this the last Parliament, so another governs this. The White Horse rides one Stage, the Black another. Can the properties of England be safe, when you yourselves are made properties? As for the Revenue, I would leave it like wise men, not like a horse in the mire. Have your Allies left you, because you did only settle it for one year? Now you have done like wise men, I would leave the State-Trap of the Revenue behind you.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] Let us come to an end of our Stage. If you must have neither "Black Horse nor White for our Stage," must we ride upon an Ass? And if we do not supply the King, we shall ride an Ass. You settle it only for the Lives of your Deliverers.

Sir John Lowther.] I am sensible of the Miscarriages; and whilst there are Governments, there will be Miscarriages, whilst men are men. I would be glad to see men help, and not embroil. I would not willingly inflame this matter: I would with all content retire to my cottage, from my part of employment, rather than live always in such diffidence that I must be armed with head-piece and buff-coat. The Chimney-Money Act, and that of Navigation, were great concessions—With what pleasure can our Prince expose himself to an us healthful country, to subject his Ministers to reflections ! What can man do in this case? Since I am morally assured, there can be no preservation of the Protestant Religion, not one spot of ground, not one spot of land free from Popery, not only this Nation is the security of it, but this Prince; and when once this single person shall be removed, it is not all the World can secure it. If they hear some few mouths that reflect upon him and his Government, how can he support us? I hope there is no weight in it. Similies, without explaining, signify nothing without a meaning. I hope his Government will not be reflected on in this House.

Sir Edward Seymour.] I appeal if I reflected on the integrity of that Gentleman (Lowther), or the sufficiency of this (Goodrick)? I care neither for "the neighing of the Horse," nor "the braying of the Ass." The safety of England will be better supported here, than by any other hands. This will appear by the Change his Majesty has made of his Counsellors (fn. 3). If we may not here deliver our advice, certainly that is a very evil one.

Mr Finch.] You have one Question framed, "to bring in a Bill for the Revenue;" the other, "for a Fund of Supply, and the Revenue to be security for it." Before you put the Question, there is something absolutely necessary for you to declare, viz. As you go on to settle the Revenue, for the honour of the King, not to pass by one thing in relation to the hereditary Revenue. I remember the progress that Question had in this House last Parliament: It was a Question, What did subsist, and what not? They were silent in that; they went only upon that for Life. The next thing was a Bill to authorize the collection of it for a definite time. In that Bill there was a Clause, "That the Revenue be collected for one year, and no longer:" And it was taken notice of, that the word "no longer" would determine the Revenue; and, that the Crown had no subsistence, was a Question, whether it had any or no (fn. 4) ? Still that point remains undetermined; and will you leave that to be a Question still? You see that Question left undecided; it is still one, whether it was hereditary in King Charles's and King James's time, and if that Revenue be vested in King and Queen, in right of the Crown of the Realm, then it will be seen, that, though new persons are on the Throne, the ancient Monarchy is still on the Throne.

Mr Ettrick.] As for what is said of "the uncertainty of a Fund for Life," you may have a Clause for Credit, in case the King and Queen die before the debt is paid. I am sorry to hear it talked, as if we had not minded our condition since we changed our King. If we had a Popish King, I should be more careful than under the King I am. I cannot, in justice and gratitude, do less for him than for his predecessors. In King Charles I's time, the not settling the Revenue upon him for Life drew on us all the mischiefs that followed.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That a Supply be given to their Majesties, to enable his Majesty to prosecute the War against France, and for reducing of Ireland with speed and vigour. Which was agreed to by the House, Nem. con.]

Col. Austen.] I thought you had taken your first step, that you might walk forward. Does any Gentleman undertake the quantum, or that this should be a Supply? Pray let some Gentleman move a quantum.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The first part of your Question is not for leave to bring in a Bill for the Revenue: I only offer on the word "Supply;" that business of the Revenue comes in naturally, and you may offer what words you will, when the Question is stated.

Sir John Guise.] I am persuaded, that those who advised the King to go into Ireland, knew how to give him Money in fifty days time. If you will say more, than "towards carrying on the War," say so; but let us have to-morrow to consider of it, to answer it to our Country.

Col. Austen.] I shall never be afraid of a Post, to bring news of what is done here. I am not for tricks of any sort. Your Question is, at this time, not so. I may give Money for a Revenue; but I may, or may not, give my consent for two Lives in it. Therefore put the Question "for a Revenue."

Sir William Williams.] When a Question is unanimously carried, it is thought enough for one day. Some of the Revenue may be given for Lives, and some for Years; but none for such a time that the Parliament may not come again; therefore leave the Chair.

Friday, March 28.

In a Grand Committee, on the Supply.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I move, that you would take the Revenue by parts, and consider what is annexed to the Crown, and what for Lives. I speak frankly, what hereditary Revenue is to be settled upon the Crown, and then come to the other Parts of the Revenue—For instance, half the Excise is hereditary; declare that annexed to the Crown, and then come to the other parts of the Revenue; likewise the PostOffice, the First-Fruits and Tenths, something of the old Customs, with the Wine-Licences, &c.

Sir John Lowther.] No man is more of Musgrave's opinion than myself: The Motion I will make shall not preclude that. I renew the Motion, to take into consideration again what you have done yesterday. Yesterday's arguments are a fresh obligation to the King; if any thing relates to our Properties or Religion, all are relative to this. I know no arguments of distrust of the King; nothing can prevail against it— There were jealousies of the last Reign; but no instance can be given of a Prince who has done so much for his People, for so short a time as he has been here I move, that the Revenue may be settled for Life.

Mr Ettrick.] 'Tis very plain, that what is to be raised is for your service. The King's Revenue is 240,000l. less than his predecessors. As if only this Question is, whether you will show that countenance to the Government, as to support the King, or keep him as it were at Board-wages; as if only by this Question to fetter it with Forms to surprize Gentlemen.

He was taken down to Order by Sir William Strickland.

Mr Hampden.] "The House to be shackled with Forms" is a strange expression. I know that Forms must be kept.

Sir John Goodrick.] I know of no "Shackles," but what keeps us to order and decency.

Mr Ettrick.] What I said was not reflecting upon any thing to-day, but what happened formerly. The Question is very plain, Whether you will give as formerly, for Life, or for three Years?

Sir John Thompson.] We have been told "of putting the King to Board-wages." I do not aggravate the thing; but certainly we should know what we do, when we give away our Money; but, that we may speak our minds freely, I think the Liberties of England are in that Question. You were told yesterday, "What you shall give on the Revenue cannot answer your end." Certainly nothing is more prejudicial to the King, when it is demonstrable it cannot answer the end for which you give it. When you give this Supply, it must be wiped off by you. The standing Revenue is so great, that it is your danger in time of Peace. Either you must keep a standing Army, or the frugality will ruin you. The Revenue will keep 30,000 Men. I should be loth to see so many foreigners in England in time of Peace.

Earl of Ranelagh.] The Order is, "To consider the Revenue." The Motion is, "To consider the Revenue granted to King Charles and King James, that it may be granted to King William and Queen Mary for their Lives." I find some Gentlemen would know what this Revenue is, and what part to be granted to the King and Queen. There is a Revenue for Lives and Years—The temporary Revenue is the imposition upon Wines and Brandy, &c. which determines in 1693. Sugars, &c. French and East India commodities determine at Midsummer. I would have it declared, "That the Revenue, vested in the two last Kings, is the Revenue of Inheritance;" and have leave given to bring in a Bill to settle it.

Sir John Lowther.] As near as I can, I will agree with the sense of every Gentleman. If you will proceed in the method proposed, I am very well contented. I move, "That the Revenue may be for the King and Queen's Lives, and the longest liver of them."

Mr Sacheverell.] I move, "That a Revenue may be settled on the Crown for time to come;" and I move, "That what is now vested in the Crown may not be alienated from the Crown." Whenever 'tis granted away, always the Subject must pay for it. Therefore, I desire Gentlemen to consider, if it once comes, whenever you grant away Impositions, granted by the Subject to the Crown, there is an end of your Government. It will make it like the great men of Spain, they get all, and the King nothing.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The Question is now, what the Revenue of the Crown is to be in time of War; 'tis otherwise in time of Peace. Now we must make use of all the Branches of the Revenue, now we are in War. I hope the King will not take it ill, if we settle the Revenue for Years; otherwise, if it is not for Years, as well as for Lives, it cannot be good security. If you settle it for Lives only, and not for Years, it cannot be a Fund; if for both, pray declare your sense. I know not if three Years, the number moved for, will be security or not; and if three Millions will be found without a prospect of some time. moneyed men may lend, who understand security. That you may not be for a time uncertain, I move you "to grant the Revenue for four Years."

Mr Ettrick.] 'Tis something of a harsh proposition, the Revenue for Lives and Years too—I look upon the hereditary Revenue to be so far a Fund as for a present Supply of Money. If we know what Money is wanting, we may the better form the Sum. I have heard of "a Million "wanting. You may make, in a Clause of Credit, that no contingency may be in their Lives to the lender of the Money. I think we ought to have as much respect for their present Majesties as the last Parliament had. They proceeded so far as to move the Revenue to be settled for their Lives.

Sir John Guise.] Upon a supposition of what was done last Session, I would have your Books searched before you go on. I find this King and Queen extremely beholden to some people that would settle the Revenue for Lives—In the King's Speech there is such a Proposition, that, if we can find no other way, the Revenue then is to be a Fund. I should think the Revenue a very ordinary present to the King, so incumbered, by advices from other persons, not from hence. I would take time to present the King with a free Gift, and worthy of him to receive—Then your business is to support the War—Do you intend this shall be out of the Revenue? If they intend no other Supply than the Revenue, for the present, or any other, let them speak. I have heard, that they who lend Money, love to have it in their power once in six months. I would not dispose of the Revenue farther than becomes a prudent man, who may answer it to his Country. 'Tis said, "Put no distrust on the King;" but I would not have all ill management laid on the King, which ought to be laid on the Ministers. Here have been particular grumblings against persons ill management; and since, now the Revenue is in your hands, you cannot know these persons, how will you know them that have done amiss, when the Revenue is out of your hands? I think it ought not to reflect on any particular Prince, when others have the keeping of his ears. I would have a Fund of Credit for four Years. and no longer.

Col. Austen.] There has been so much said, that I have the less to say. I am against the Question, for the King and Queen's sake. I am against granting the Revenue for Lives, for what the King (that now is) has declared in his Declaration, when Prince. One of his businesses was, to secure us, that no Successor be able to bring us again into our misfortunes. The great mischief being the Revenue for Lives, you will never do good in an ill Prince's time—I am sure you will never tell him, that he is an ill one. A Parliament will secure you from other ill persons, as well as ill Kings; I mean, the Ministers. Granting it for Life will prevent any ill Ministers from being called in question, and you can never reach them. I hope the King will be as rich at the end of this time four Years, as if he had the Revenue for Life.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] It will certainly be for the King's service, that people may see themselves out of fear of not meeting the King frequently in Parliament.: In the close, I shall agree that the remaining part of the Excise be settled for Life. The necessary Expences of the Crown must be supported, or else we fall—You will not at all be alarmed with the defect of a Parliament—That is the thing; the King's necessity will bring the King to the People, and the People to the King—I will only add this, besides growing extraordinary unforeseen accidents, though I hope we shall be soon out of this costly War. You were told yesterday, "That the Revenue was clogged, and can bear nothing;"—and what you must now give will still necessitate Parliaments—As, on the one hand, I would not give all for Life, so I am for a reasonable security. —If half the Excise be for Life, there will remain still a Fund for Credit, and yet be secured from the common fear of wants of Parliament.

Mr Sacheverell.] Before this Question be put, of Lives, I desire a little satisfaction, whether you intend to have any Fund of Credit, if you take away all indubitable security? What Fund can you have in the Customs in time of War? They that had no regard to the last Parliament, will have as little regard to you, when you are gone. You have settled the hereditary Revenue; now, what Fund of Credit have you on contingency of the Customs? Plainly, will you have a Fund of Credit, or not? What can be borrowed on the Customs, suppose them 400,000l. to this year and the next; what sum can you propound upon this Credit? Can any man believe they will lend? 400,000l. is all you can borrow in a year, and scarce that; few will lend upon the utmost value. I know no way of certainty but to leave the King 600,000l. an entire Fund of Credit to borrow upon. But if you leave the thing indefinite, you will have, I believe, little or no use of a Parliament for the future.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that the hereditary Revenues, which the late King James II was, the 10th day of December 1688 entitled to, became and are vested in their present Majesties, King William and Queen Mary, in right of the Crown of England except the late Revenue arising by Fire-Hearths and Stovcs.

Resolved, That the House be moved for leave to bring in a Bill to declare, that the said Revenues are so vested; and that therein provision be made, that they shall not be aliened from the Crown, nor chargeable with any Gift or Grant to be made for the future.

Resolved, That the House be moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the settling that Moiety of the Excise, which was granted to the late King Charles II, and King James II, or either of them, for their Lives, upon their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary, for their Lives, and the Life of the longest liver of them; with a Clause to enable their Majesties to make the said Revenue a security for raising Money towards a Supply, not exceeding the Sum of ******.

Resolved, That the House be moved for leave to bring in a Bill to grant to their present Majesties King William and Queen Mary, for the term of four years, from Christmas next, the Customs which were granted to the late King Charles II, and King James II, for their Lives; with a Clause to enable their Majesties to make the said Revenue a security for raising Money towards a Supply, not exceeding the sum of **** : Which were all agreed to by the House.]

[March 29, Omitted.]

Monday, March 31.

In a Grand Committee, on the Supply.

Sir John Lowther.] Part of your great Work is over. You have voted the Revenue to King William and Queen Mary, &c. I doubt not but to the satisfaction of all men, at least, good men. The next thing is to provide for your own Security. This is a great Task, a great Work. No Government can be supported, but within these Walls. I am sorry to tell you, that the King is at an extraordinary Charge, never felt before. I have known Civil Wars, and Wars in Ireland, but never with so potent a Prince as the French King. You have but part of Ireland in your hands, (and then giving an Account of the Defects in the Customs, &c. towards the great Charge, concludes) There can be no Army, but upon free Quarter, nor Ships, but in Harbour, if Money be not taken up.

After several had spoken to the Money given, and the mismanagement of it, and Motions had been made for enquiring into it,

Sir Edward Seymour.] If I thought your Enquiry would bring you to your end, I should be for it; but I would rather close with the other Motion, of what is most necessary to be provided for. The stress of the Question lies, to give the Revenue for a Fund, and when given, no Security. If you begin with Enquiries after Mismanagements, and pass them over slightly, you establish them, and will never have a true one—Let us prevent them for the future. But when the Fleet is employed in every man's business but ours, no wonder that Ireland miscarry. Let us know what Money remains of what was given the last Parliament, and give what comes short of that sum for present Supply.

Sir John Guise.] I must take it for granted, that, upon the Dissolution of the last Parliament, things were well weighed. What was wanting of the Sum before? When a way was found out to supply the King, to cut all that off at a stroke by a Prorogation ! Who dares be the man, that will avow it?

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I must believe, that what is requisite for carrying on the War has been weighed before we came hither. Was it not the intention, that granting the Revenue, and settling it, was a Supply? If nobody will give us an Account, either borrow what you can, or the House must order it, as in all your Bills you have borrowing Clauses—Will you leave it to the King at large to borrow, or limit such a Sum, not to exceed such a Sum? Suppose you give Credit "not to exceed 500,000l."

Sir John Lowther.] If the meaning be a power of borrowing 500,000l. only, and no other Supply, I would ask that Member, whether he will answer that to his Country ?—And, as it is uncertain whether it can be borrowed, how can he go into his Country, and the Army not paid, and the Fleet in Harbour? I dare not undertake it. I am in the King's service, but have a fortune to support my condition. I can obey commands, but am not in a Post to give Counsel, Let the matter be how it will, if Religion and Laws will be safe, under such a Motion; I am mistaken, unless other Men have other Prospects than I have; and do not say but you are warned of the consequence.

Col. Austen.] We are come into necessity and pressure of times for Money. Is it the fault of the Commons of England? Were they the cause of that necessity? It will be found, that you have done your parts. The Advice was very bold, and things were taken care for somewhere else, to send the Parliament down. None tell us what will serve the King, and those near him yet do not tell us what is required.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I dare not love the name of "Undertaker," so as to ruin my Nation. I know not what Lowther means by "a Prospect:" I have none but the support of Monarchy, and the Nation. We have settled the Revenue, and that was called "Supply !" I said, "it ought to be at the peril of any body, that undertakes what to borrow."—The necessity is not from us—We have no Sums told us, and when we name them, we are reproached for it.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The farther consideration of Credit is come to 500,000l. and no more. I did not advise that the Revenue be charged, nor to run upon borrowing, but that every Year might defray the Charge. If it will not answer your end by security, it is as good as nothing at all. Still the King tells you, if no other way be to be found, then to charge the Revenue. If you go on with the War, and the whole be anticipated, you will make your Enemies far from having inclination to Peace. If there be not towards 500,000l. to pay off Seamen at Michaelmas, when they come up, you may possibly have 200,000l. more to pay. I believe, at the end of September, when they come in, 500,000l. will not pay Seamens wages. What I say is only a short hint to consider how things are.

Sir Francis Blake.] They prorogued us, and then dissolved us; surely they knew where Money was to be had. It is so hot from the Mint, that it has dropped through our hats.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] It is unhappy, that we have looked so far into things, as to have lost ourselves in the Debate in reflections—The pressure is so great, that the Army and Ordnance, the Safety and Honour of the King's Person, every thing that is dear to us, I fear, must be laid aside. Things have been fairly and candidly managed—I am an Accomptant for great Sums, and those about the King are willing to inform you—No man doubts the preservation of the Public, but the way we dispute of—It is extremely pressed in the House, as if some slight of hand was in the last Debate. There is nothing in the King's Speech, but what he will make good, as to the Revenue; but the Question is, as to the Quantum; so much as will bear the Charge, goes towards it, but you are told "it will come short"—It is a great and terrible Sum at first to name; "two Millions;" but if this be exclusive of all other things, the very Ordnance comes to that Sum. I do not verily know, that you cannot put the Ordnance into its ancient Course without 300,000l.—Do not let this preclude all other Supply.

Sir John Guise.] After having heard some Reflections on Musgrave's Motion, I am concerned for the Honour of the House; necessities you are brought to, and these not your own fault, and then to be asked, "Whether we can answer this to our Country?" But the Question I would ask, is, "How came the French to be landed in Ireland, and your Militia not settled in England?" I cannot answer that—Whether you will fill up the Blanks, or put the Sum moved, is the Question?

Sir John Lowther.] I hope, that, in this, I am rather transported with zeal for my Country, than any particular Reflections on any body. If I did not misunderstand the Gentleman, he said, "he hoped we should not grant two Supplies in one Session"—I appeal, whether there is not a hazard of the security of the Nation by it? I know not that the Militia of the Kingdom is not settled, though I know not that it is settled; for Orders were sent down to have them in readiness. When I said, "Musgrave might have some other Prospect," I meant, that it is impossible but that this Nation should be ruined, if this be not a Supply—

Sir Thomas Clarges.] These Accounts of the Revenue are a little puzzling. It is a hard matter to be clear in it, in a Committee of the whole House (and so reckons up what has been given, &c. and what is in Arrear, &c.) Certainly there has been great Mismanagement, whether by unskilfulness of the Managers, or otherwise, which has some resemblance to a private family: I must live, and have meat, drink, and cloaths: I should follow that, and postpone all other occasions. The Fleet, Army, and Ordnance are Appendixes—They should have minded those things in which all our safety is concerned, and have applied to that. (Perhaps it is so, but here are great outcries) I think that 20,000 men, considering our Alliance with Holland, are as many as we need. As to the greatest reckonings we can make, we know it was said 36,000 men, and now they say, "Thank God, we have 16,000."—I have had the Honour to be in the Army, and have seen the establishment for 80,000l. per mensem, for 40,000 Foot, and 10,000 Horse—God forbid we should cut the pattern too narrow ! I would have all provided against. Enemies we have without, and Enemies within. I cannot tell what to advise, but I would have it proposed, what Sum will defend us till we meet again, and what they have towards it. Before we come to a Sum, let the Honourable Persons explain what condition we are in, and what is necessary now. It is the common talk of the Town, that the great occasion of these Diminutions is ill management—Men cannot know these things by inspiration—Land and Tide-Waiters brag what they can smuggle and cheat—Farmers were Managers, but after they had made up their own pack, they cared not what become of the rest. Formerly, great care was taken, that all the Offices of England were inspected—I am weary of finding fault—For the present, I move for what Sum shall be necessary, and what we can have towards this out of the Revenue.

Sir Richard Temple.] The Customs, in time of Peace, never rise to more than 600,000l. per annum. Michaelmas was greater than after; they heaped in great quantities of Goods by prospect of a War. I believe they are not now 400,000l. per ann.

Mr Paul Foley.] It concerns us to give the King a Supply, but it concerns us as much not to give more than is necessary. We have strange Accounts of the Revenue (and so reckons up the Account given in by Sir John Lowther) I hope our case is not so bad as is represented, and that we are not at a loss for so much Money as is spoken of. Let us have a fair Account. The lowest Account amounts to more than what the Navy and Army [want]; but if not laid out upon the Army and Fleet, surely there is more reason to have things before us. I move, "That the House may be moved, that an Account be brought in of the Money, &c. and how disbursed."

[To proceed the next day.]


  • 1. The Elections of Parliament went generally for men who would probably have declared for King James, if they could have known how to manage matters for him. The King made a change in the Ministry, to give them some satisfaction. The Earls of Monmouth and Warrington were both dismissed. Other lesser changes were made in inferior places; so that Whig and Tory were now pretty equally mixed; and both studied to court the King, by making advances upon the Money-Bills. Burnet.
  • 2. Sir John Trevor was a bold and dextrous man, and knew the most effectual ways of recommending himself to every Government. He had been in great favour in King James's time, and was made Master of the Rolls by him; and if Lord Jeffreys had stuck at any thing, he was looked on as the man likeliest to have had the Great Seal. He now got himself to be chosen Speaker, and was made First Commissioner of the Great Seal. Being a Tory in principle, he undertook to manage that party, provided he was furnished with such sums of money as might purchase some Votes; and by him began the practice of buying off men, in which hitherto the King had kept to stricter rules. Burnet. In March, 1694, he was expelled the House, for receiving a gratuity of 1000 guineas from the City of London, after passing the Orphans Bill; and Mr Foley succeeded him as Speaker.
  • 3. See p. 1. Note 1.
  • 4. See Vol. IX. p. 176.