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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[Thursday, October 2.
"Since I last met you, I have used my best endeavours to reduce Ireland into such a condition this year, as that it might be no longer a Charge to England; and it has pleased God to bless my endeavours with such success, that I doubt not but I should have been fully possessed of that Kingdom by this time, had I been enabled to have gone into the field as soon as I should have done; and, as is more especially necessary in Ireland, where the rains are so great, and begin so early.
"I think myself obliged to take notice, how well the Army there have behaved themselves on all occasions, and borne great hardships with little Pay, and with so much patience and willingness, as could not proceed but from an affectionate duty to my service, and a zeal for the Protestant Religion.
"I have already made it evident, how much I have preferred the satisfaction of my Subjects before the most solid advantages of the Crown, by parting with so considerable a branch of its Inheritance; and it is no less apparent, that I have asked no Revenue for myself, but what I have readily subjected to be charged to the uses of the War.
"I did, at my departure, give Order for all the public Accounts to be made ready for me against my return; and I have commanded them to be laid before the House of Commons: By which they will see, that the real want of what was necessary beyond the Funds given, and the not getting, in due time, that for which Funds were assigned, have been the principal causes why the Army is in so much Arrear of their Pay, and the Stores, both for the Navy and the Ordnance, not supplied as they ought to be.
"Now, as I have neither spared my Person, nor my pains, to do you all the good I could, so I doubt not, but if you will as chearfully do your parts, it is in your power to make both me and yourselves happy, and the Nation great: And, on the other hand, it is too plain, by what the French have let you see so lately, that, if the present War be not prosecuted with vigour, no Nation in the World is exposed to greater danger.
"I hope, therefore, there will need no more upon that subject, than to lay before you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, the State of what will be necessary for the support of the Fleet and Armies, (which cannot possibly admit of being lessened in the year ensuing) and to recommend to your care the clearing of my Revenue, so as to enable me to subsist, and to maintain the Charge of the Civil List; the Revenue being so engaged, that it must be wholly applied, after the 1st of November next, to pay off the Debts already charged upon it; and therefore a present consideration must be had of the Arrears of the Army, which shall likewise be laid before you, and for all which I must desire a sufficient and timely Supply.
"And here I must take notice, with great satisfaction, of the readiness which my Subjects, of all degrees, have shown, both in this City, and in their several Counties, by giving their assistance so chearfully as they did in my absence, while the French Fleet was upon our Coasts; and, besides this so convincing mark of the good inclinations of my People, I have found, through all the Countries where I have passed, both at my going into Ireland, and in my return from thence, such demonstrations of their affections, that I have not the least doubt but I shall find the same from their Representatives in Parliament.
"I cannot conclude, without taking notice also, how much the Honour of the Nation has been exposed by the ill conduct of my Fleet, in the last Summer's Engagement against the French; and I think myself so much concerned to see it vindicated, that I cannot rest satisfied till an example has been made of such as shall be sound faulty upon their Examination and Tryal; which was not practicable while the whole Fleet was abroad; but is now put into the proper way of being done as soon as may be.
"I look upon the future well-being of this Kingdom to depend upon the result of your Counsels and Determinations at this time; and the benefit will be double, by the speed of your Resolutions; insomuch that I hope you will agree with me in this conclusion, That whoever goes about to obstruct or divert your application to these matters, preserably to all others, can neither be my Friend, nor the Kingdom's."
The House then adjourned to October 6, when it was Resolved, Nem. con. That an humble Address of Thanks be presented to his Majesty, for his going into Ireland, and hazarding his Royal Person for the reducing thereof; and congratulating his Success, and happy Return: And a Committee was appointed to prepare it.
Resolved, Nem. con. That it be an Instruction to the said Committee, to assure his Majesty, in the said Address, that this House will assist and support his Majesty and his Government to the utmost of their Power.
Resolved, Nem. con. That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, acknowleging her gracious Government during the absence of his Majesty, and returning the humble Thanks of this House for the same: And the same Committee was ordered to prepare it.
Wednesday, October 8.
Accordingly, on October 9, the Earl of Ranelagh, Pay-master of the Army, acquainted the House, That he had, by his Majesty's order, prepared a List, or State of the Land Forces, for the next year ready; and that his Majesty had declared, "That no more thereof should be used within his own Dominions than were absolutely necessary;" and that, besides what the said State amounted unto, the Army was in arrear 800,000l. And he delivered in the said State, or List, amounting in the whole, Horse, Dragoons, and Foot, to 69,636 men, and 1,910,560l. 7s. charge.
Then Sir Thomas Lee, one of the Commissioners of the Admiralty, presented the House (in like manner) an Estimate of the Navy for the year ensuing, including the Ordnance, amounting in the whole to 29,026 men, 1,791,695l. 1s. 6d. charge; both which Estimates were referred to the Committee of Supply.
In the afternoon the House attended their Majesties with their Addresses, to which the King replied, "All Addresses from the House of Commons are agreeable to me, especially such as express such a respect and affection to my Person as this does: I shall always pursue the good and interest of the Nation."
The Earl of Torrington (fn. 1), having desired to be heard before the House, touching the matter for which he was in custody, he was brought thither by the Marshal of the Admiralty, and heard, November 12, and his Lordship's relation of the Engagement was delivered in by Mr Henry Herbert, November 17.
"I take this occasion, with great willingness, to assure you, that I am extremely sensible of the zeal and chearfulness of all your proceedings in this Session of Parliament, and of the readiness which you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, have shown in granting such large Supplies towards the pressing occasions of the Navy and Army."
"At the same time, I must observe to you, that the posture of affairs abroad does necessarily require my presence at the Hague before the end of this Year; and, by consequence, I must desire you to lose no time in the dispatching and perfecting such farther Supplies as are still necessary for the Navy and Army and not for them only, but it is high time also; to put you in mind of making some provision for the expence of the Civil Government; which has no Funds for its support, since the Excise, which was designed for that service, and also the other branches of the Revenue, have been applied to other public uses; and, therefore, I earnestly recommend it to your speedy consideration."
The substance of this Speech the King repeated (after passing several Bills) on December 20, urging them "to use all possible dispatch, as the posture of affairs abroad would not admit of deserring his journey much beyond that time."
December 24. A Sum not exceeding 570,000l. was voted to their Majesties, for the building of seventeen third Rate Ships of 80 Guns each, and ten fourth Rates of 60 Guns each (as desired by his Majesty in his last Speech.)
"Having lately told you, that it would be necessary for me to go into Holland much about this time, I am very glad to find that the success of your endeavours to bring this Session to a happy conclusion, has been such, that I am now at liberty to do it. And I return you my hearty thanks for the great dispatch you have made in finishing the Supplies you have designed for carrying on the War; which it shall be my care to see duly and punctually applied to that service for which you have given them. And I do likewise think it proper to assure you, that I shall not make any Grant of the forfeited Lands in England or Ireland, till there be another opportunity of settling that matter in Parliament, in such manner as shall be thought most expedient.
"As I have reason to be very well satisfied with the proofs you have given me of your good affection in this Session of Parliament, so I promise myself the continuance of the same at your return into your several Countries. And as every day produces still fresh instances of the restlessness of our Enemies, both at home and abroad, in designing against the prosperity of this Nation, and the Government established, so I do not doubt but that the Union and good Correspondence between me and my Parliament, and my earnest and constant endeavours for your preservation on the one hand, joined with the continuance of your zeal and affection to support me on the other, will, by the blessing of God, be at all times too strong for the utmost malice and contrivance of our common Enemies."
The Lord Chief Baron then declared his Majesty's pleasure, That both Houses should adjourn to March 31 next ensuing, which they did accordingly (fn. 2).
March 31, 1691. The House met, and by her Majesty's pleasure adjourned to April 28, from thence to May 26, when it was prorogued by Commission to June 30; from thence it was prorogued to August 3, from thence to October 5, and from thence to October 22.
Thursday, October 22 (fn. 3), 1691. The House met, when his Majesty, in the House of Lords, made the following Speech to both Houses, (reported by the Speaker:)
"I have appointed this meeting of Parliament as soon as ever the affairs abroad would admit of my return into England; that you might have the more time to consider of the best and most effectual ways and means for the carrying on of the War against France this next Year.
"I am willing to hope, that the good Success with which it hath pleased God to bless my Arms in Ireland this Summer, will not only be a great encouragement to you to proceed the more chearfully in this Work, but will be looked upon by you as an earnest of future Successes, which your timely assistance to me may, by God's blessing, procure us all. And, as I do not doubt but you will take care to pay the Arrears of that Army, which hath been so deserving, and so prosperous in the Reducement of Ireland to a peaceable condition, so, I do assure you, that there shall be no care wanting, on my part, to keep that Kingdom as far as it is possible from being burdensome to England for the future.
"I do not doubt but you are all sensible, that it will be necessary we should have as strong a Fleet next Year, and as early at Sea, as we had this Summer; and I must tell you, that the great power of France will as necessarily require, that we should maintain a very considerable Army, ready, upon all occasions, not only to defend ourselves from any insult, but also to annoy the common Enemy where it may be most sensible to them; and I do not see how it is possible to do this with less than 65,000 men.
"I shall only add, that by the vigour and dispatch of your Counsels, and assistance to me in this Session of Parliament, you have now an opportunity in your hands (which, if neglected, you can never reasonably hope to see again) not only to establish the future Quiet and Prosperity of these Kingdoms, but the Peace and Security of all Europe."
The House afterwards adjourned to the 27th, when it was Resolved, Nem. con. That a congratulatory Address be presented to his Majesty, for his safe and happy return, after the many hazards to which his Majesty has exposed his sacred Person; and for the success of his Majesty's Arms in the re ducing of Ireland; and to assure his Majesty, That this House will stand by, and assist him to the utmost of their power, in carrying on a vigorous War against France: And that an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, acknowleging her prudent Administration in the absence of the King. And a Committee being appointed to prepare them, they were reported, and agreed to the next day. (See them at large in the Journal.)
October 29. The House attended their Majesties with the Addresses, to which the King was pleased to answer, "Every thing that comes from the House of Commons is very agreeable to me, especially when attended with such affection as this Address is; which deserves my acknowlegement: I shall endeavour to bring France to an honourable Peace for us, and our Allies: I expect to be assisted with the means from you; and there shall be nothing wanting, on my part, to effect it."