Debates in 1691: November

Pages 162-191

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

Saturday, November 7.

On the Miscarriages in the Fleet (fn. 1).

Admiral Russel.] I told you the other day, "that the shorter day was the better," and I am now ready to give you all the satisfaction I can.

Mr Howe.] Russel has offered to answer any Miscarriage of the Fleet, and nobody offers any Objection; therefore I move, that you will vote there has been none at all.

Mr Montagu.] If there has been no Miscarriage of the Fleet, we are off from that concern. We cannot take too much care for the future. If there be no notorious Miscarriages, it is not for your honour, nor the interest of the Nation, to force Miscarriages. If nobody has any thing ready to offer, I would not put discouragement on Gentlemen, but pray leave the Chair.

Sir Robert Cotton.] There have been Miscarriages, without doubt, but if you do not think fit to lay any charge upon Russel, if nothing appear, leave the Chair.

In a Grand Committee.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I take this day to be appointed to consider the State of the Nation; which I do not think determined in Misdemeanors of the Fleet, but of others. Russel said, "He would give you an Account of the Fleet."—I would not be made a popular mark to be an Accuser; I come not to accuse Persons; I would avoid that: All that I drive at is, I would be sensible of the Miscarriages we are in, and obviate future, for the safety of the Fleet. Whether we have Confederates or not, we are an Island, and I thank God, we have enough to defend the Kingdom, and the Government, if rightly managed. Something, as a Commissioner of Accounts, I have to say. The Fleet cost 200,000l. to be ready by the middle of April; I think the 12th. If that be so, at that time there was no Admiral aboard; and it was put to a greater compliment than the thing would bear—The Fleet came not into the Downs till the 16th of May, and was at charge all that time. I said, the other day, "They had three days good Wind:" I ask your pardon; I say now, they had six; and I have the Journal, which is the notification of the Wind, when, and where, and the Fleet stayed all that time at the Buoy of the Nore; they were tiding from the 20th to the 22d, till they came to Torbay, and the 23d they made sail, and weighed anchor at E. N. E. At nine in the morning, the Admiral had notice that the French Fleet was a few Leagues from Ushant. The Admiral had an Express from Plymouth, that the French Fleet was got a few Leagues from Ushant. The Admiral of the Blue Squadron had notice, when the French were off Ushant, to prepare for fight—Tho' the Wind was fair, time was spent in drawing out into Lines of Battle, when the Enemy were 80 Leagues off. At eight in the evening, the Fleet bore away for Ireland by Scilly, instead of making to the Ocean to save the Smyrna Fleet (fn. 2). This I take to be a Misdemeanor. One Barnes of Dartmouth, coming from Portugal, gave an Account that most of the French great Ships were laid up at Brest. Then might the Ships have been convoyed out of Ireland, who lay at great Charges. You may send for one or two or more Officers, to enquire farther.

Admiral Russel.] I believe, what Clarges says, he believes to be true. First, as for my omission of being aboard, there were never more pains taken by any body, else the Fleet had not been near so ready. I think, from Christmas not a week passed, but I was at Chatham, or Portsmouth. I believe there were faults in fact, and some of those mentioned did happen. I gave Reasons for what I did by Letters, and shall give the House, or the Committee, Account of them.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would not do any thing, for all I am worth, to injure Russel: But I hope that, without offence, I may ask Russel, whether all the Fleet was not ready, and he not on board?

Admiral Russel.] I say positively not. I had Supernumeraries; and, out of those 700, I manned four Ships.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I say there were six days fair Wind, and the Fleet did not sail. Discourses are transient, and I desire I may bring in writing all these Miscarriages; and, if you please, at a Committee, these may be answered; and likewise that the Vice-Admiral of the Blue Squadron may be sent for, to hear the whole matter. My zeal for your service induced me to this. Put it into what method you please. Russel said, the other day, "He would give you a Scheme of all the Passages of the Fleet." If he will deliver that Scheme, pray let us have it.

Admiral Russel.] I am ready to answer any Questions that shall be asked.

Sir Samuel Barnardiston.] I desire that Scheme may be brought you in. We have the Journals, and they are not yet prepared; therefore, I desire you will put it to a farther day.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] It is the wisdom of the Parliament to see though things; we are not for a Compliment to cover things. Was it no Miscarriage, when the Harwich Frigate being at an anchor, one ran over that Ship? Has he that ran over her been tried? The loss of that Ship is near six times that loss. I am not here to ask Questions, but sixteen Ships had like to have been lost at Plymouth (fn. 3). Though Russel may be faultless, there is unskilful and deceitful ill managing; but they were both ill. I require from Russel a Scheme of that Summer's Action.

Admiral Russel proffered to read two Letters, on that subject, of not sailing.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would know whether the Wind was not fair those six days?

Admiral Russel.] The Wind was fair three days.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] If the Sea-Journals contradict what I say, let me be ridiculous to you. On the 17th, the Wind was at N. N. W.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The method of Question and Answer is a hardship on both parts. Let Questions be put in Writing, and the Answers, but it is against the use of the House to return again into a Committee, by way of Question and Answer; a method you never knew in this House.

Mr Hampden.] I am a little impatient to see the Debate go on in this manner. I never saw the like, nor ever were the like Questions to be asked. It was never known in this manner in a House of Commons, and it must be the Opinion of the House, whether the Questions should be asked. All this is but interlocutory discourse betwixt Members, and you stand still and hear it. It is improper to go into a Committee again, but let it be put to a private Committee, and whoever is concerned, let them put in their Papers.

Sir John Thompson.] This day has given you a manifest experience of part of the misfortunes of the Nation, when we Country Gentlemen must be Examiners and Accusers; whereas those near Affairs can give you a better Account, if they please, and, for fear of loss of Offices, will not inform you. If there be any Miscarriage, I will not attribute it to the Admiral, but to the Orders he was cramped by; and, at this rate, in a few days you must be to seek for an Admiral. One is already laid aside (fn. 4), and this damped. If you change your hands a thousand times, and have still the same Councils, are you mended? The fault is nearer, and Gentlemen will not see it. If it is really your intent, and you will go to the Bottom, you will see something very extraordinary. Here is a Miscarriage of the Navy, and a Warrant is produced, "and this Warrant is my Authority to do an illegal thing, because stamped with Majesty." I believe Admiral Russel would not take a false Guinea, because it has the King's Picture upon it. But persons do not discharge their places, and illegal Warrants are not to be obeyed, and it ought to have been laid before the King, and the Privy-Council. Verbal Orders, either to the Admiral or Admiralty, are not to be obeyed. Convoys were sent where never Merchants came; and it is your business to come at such persons as gave these Orders. I believe Russel has done all by a superior Order. We still quarrel with the Agent, but look not after the Instrument. I move for a day for consideration of this. On Monday you give away your Money, and on Tuesday you will see what is become of it.

Mr Waller.] I second the Motion, only I will make one Observation: I apprehend the Admiralty is in Commission, and Russel has his Commission from them. I wonder I hear nothing from them. I hope they will be here on Friday.

Mr Comptroller Wharton.] I differ a little in the method. I have a tenderness for the Commissioners. It is hard upon Clarges, and them, to bring in any particular Accusation; to do it effectually, which I would have done—Every body takes notice of this day's Debate, and will prepare themselves, and that will be without putting any one on particular hardships.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Look upon the whole disposition of the Navy, and you will find, in all, Miscarriages from top to bottom. Russel said, "He would give you the State and Disposition of the Fleet." I would put no day for this particular occasion, but go into the Committee of the State of the Nation, that other things, besides the Navy, may be considered of.

[Tuesday was appointed for considering the State of the Nation.]

[Monday, November 9.

The Earl of Ranelagh, by his Majesty's Order, delivered in a List of what Forces the King thought necessary for the next Year's service, amounting in the whole, Horse, Dragoons, and Foot, to 64,924 men, and 2,255,671l. 15s. 2d. annual pay; and acquainted the House, "That how these Forces should be distributed, his Majesty had not yet resolved; but that, howsoever, the King had commanded him to tell this House, That he will keep no more of them in his own Dominions than what he shall judge absolutely necessary for their security, and the rest he will transport beyond seas, in order to annoy the common Enemy, where it may be most sensible to them."

And Sir Richard Onslow presented to the House an Estimate of the Charge of the Navy, for the Year 1692, amounting in the whole to 30,000 men, and 1,855,054l. charge (See the Journal) both which Estimates were referred to the Committee of Supply.

In a Grand Committee. On the Supply.

Mr Foley.] The Government, for three years past, eleven Millions! Never so much was paid to the Navy and Army; and I know not why a third part of eleven Millions may not carry on the War for one Year. A great deal has been anticipated of what we have given already.

Col. Austen.] I believe all are unanimous, that a Fleet is necessary. 'Tis a great Charge, and necessary it should be so. You found the effects of the Fleet short last Year. These 30,000 men laid at a medium, I should be willing to hear any thing to lessen the Charge.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] None in this House but think a good Fleet necessary. You had a good Fleet last Year, and if they had had courage, you might have had a better account from them, having more Men, Tonnage, and Guns, than heretofore; and they had not gone before the Enemy last Year. We are trusted by the People, and are not to make Profusion of their Treasure. When we had War with France and Holland, we had not 30, nor 25,000 men: Must all the Fleet be Seamen? You will not put your Landmen, I hope, only to mount the Guards. 'Tis fit they should go upon the Fleet. I move, That the Committee may examine these Particulars. We have been used to these things, and must not lump these things, but examine them. We have Flag-Ships more than the Establishment—When we know more of these things, we may do all that is needful, but nothing that is unnecessary.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You have a great matter before you, and it deserves great consideration; and yet it is endeavoured to have little time for so great a work. You are desired to read over the Particulars, Head by Head, and grant it. Has the Estimate the several Rates (fn. 5) of Ships? Without that, we can make no Computation of men. Every body is for having a Fleet, but is it sufficient that the Admiralty do give you in 30,000 men, for you to give Money upon it? —I find intelligence better at the latter end of the Year than the middle: I would know how the French Ships came out of Dunkirk (fn. 6) ? In the Estimate of 4l. 5s. a head [per Month] that will require great time how to be made out. When that is given in, I suppose the Ships will be in the condition they were in, except in Powder and Shot; and of that, I suppose, not much spent; and that must make that out still of the 4l. 5s. per head. It was told us, "The Vote of 30 Ships would give great Credit;" but is the Naval Force to be kept all the Year round? We were told they were to be laid up, and now we must pay them as if abroad— And it ought not to be said, "That, if we do not give speedily, we obstruct the King's Business."

Sir John Lowther.] I do not remember that I said those things I am charged with, of "obstructing the King's Business, &c." I am far from imposing. I desire to have your Justice in this.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] Lowther said, "If we delay, and if the Supply be not immediately considered, the Barriers of Flanders may be lost." But if Consideration will produce such fatal effects, then you may vote it immediately.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I think it is for the King's Service, and not delay, to examine things. All the Equipage for Ireland, Men, and what belongs to the Army, may be done for 450,000l. At first sight, it seems to me 3l. a man will do. We were not out last Year till the 20th of June, and if not sooner out next Year, we are miserable.—In April, we were told they were all ready—I hope we may advise, whether they are too many, or too few. I know not any thing of "Barriers;" but pray let us be strong at Sea; but not hand over head to do things.

Col. Austen.] As for the French Ships going out of Dunkirk, a man that has not heard of it, lives very privately. Upon enquiry, you will find they came out on the Dutch (fn. 7) side, and not on ours.

Sir Charles Sedley.] If one Member sits in the House in his Buff-Coat, and another in his Shirt, one will be sweltered, whilst the other's teeth chatter in his head.

[A Committee was appointed to inspect the Estimate of the Navy for the Year 1692, and to report their Opinion.]

Tuesday, November 10.

[Admiral Russel presented to the House his Instructions, a List of his Fleet, several Letters and Orders, and an Account of the said Fleet's Proceedings: All which were read.]

Sir John Thompson.] Hamilton, who betrayed you in Ireland (fn. 8), I hear, is at liberty; and Shales (fn. 9), whom you charged, is now gagged with an Office, and cannot speak. What need you go farther for instances, you have so many before you? We see all our Miscarriages; we know where they are; but the greatest of all is multiplying of Offices, sliced out into fifteen or sixteen, when usually the Admiralty, and Treasury, were in three or four Noblemen: 'Tis fit the wisest and bravest should be employed; but I see great art to manage a Miscarriage, when one man has so many Offices hanging at his girdle, to dispose of himself. The Impeachment of the Duke of Buckingham, by Sir John Elliot, was, "That, by Art and Practice, he had got into his whole Government a Party in the Army, and another in the Council; and so controuled every thing." Once, first or last, England will set itself loose. I have seen something lately, and you have more reason now to examine the State of the Nation, and [order] the Admiralty to bring in their Papers.

[The Commissioners of the Admiralty were ordered to lay before the House Admiral Russel's Orders, and a List of the Ships lost or damaged since the year 1688: Which were delivered in on the 14th.

November 11, 12, 13, 14, (fn. 10) Omitted.

Monday, November 16.

The House being acquainted, That Mr Bridges, a Member of the House, could give an account of an Information given him by a Captain of their Majesties Fleet, "That Sir Ralph Delaval (Vice-Admiral of the Red) had lately taken a French Boat going for Ireland, with Papers of dangerous consequence to the Government, Mr Bridges was ordered to name the Person who gave him such Information; whereupon he named the Earl of Danby (fn. 11), a Member of the House of Peers. And the House being acquainted, That Lord Danby could give Information of the said Papers, the Question for appointing a Committee to repair to him, &c. passed in the Negative, 186 to 66; and a Conference was desired with the Lords, on an Information made to this House of matters relating to the Safety of the Kingdom.

Sir Ralph Delaval was ordered to attend the next day, and to bring all the Papers with him; but the Serjeant, who had enquired after him, acquainted the House, "That he was not not yet come to Town." (Journal of the Day.)

November 17, Omitted.]

Wednesday, November 18.

An ingrossed Bill for regulating of Tryals, in Cases of Treason, was read the third time.

Sir Charles Sedley.] Good Kings, good Lawyers, and good Judges, are perishable commodities. If the Duke of Somerset, at his Tryal, had had Counsel, he had not omitted demanding the Benefit of Clergy. An impotent, lame, or aged Man, by Law, had his Cham pion. Goodenough was one that Cornish hated; and it was not probable he would commit a secret to him. Cornish had Evidence for him, but not to be believed, because not upon Oath; but I find Sheriffs and Juries are not provided for in the Bill.

Mr Finch.] If any thing in this Bill be for weakening the Government, I am against it; but if not, I am for it. What is there in this, that makes it easier to commit Treason, or less tryable, than before? All that is desired, is a just and lawful Defence at a Man's Tryal. But will you say, the Government is weakened, because a Man has an easier way of Defence?— What are the Parts of the Bill that are new? A Copy of the Indictment, and Witnesses for the Prisoner upon Oath, and Counsel, that's new, and no overt Act to be given in Evidence, but what is laid in the Indictment—Now, in all this, where is the mischief to the Government? Shall it be said, that a Man may commit Treason safely, with a Copy of his Indictment, and Witnesses sworn to tell Truth? There must be Proofs of the overt Act, and one is sufficient, and he prepares accordingly—As, a Consultation to destroy the King in such a Place, and a Man proves himself in another Place, and must recollect himself where he was, and have Witnesses to prove it: This has been so practised—This provides (that the Prisoner may be enabled to make his just Defence) that he shall know all the Facts charged against him. Suppose but one overt Act, that must be laid; and it does not discover the King's Evidence; where is then the Objection, that two overt Acts be laid? This is far from giving Protection for Treason; but gives opportunity to the Prisoner to make a fair Defence. If a Man be Witness to the Treason, he is so still, though Witness to the Confession. I would have no man start that Objection, "That less than two Witnesses is sufficient."—But there was a time when one Witness was allowed, by no less a man than Judge Popham, in Sir Walter Raleigh's case. You take not away his Confession: The words of the Bill are, "Unless he confesses in open Court, &c." All you do provide, is, that there shall be two Witnesses; but if he confess in open Court, and the Court record the same, that alters the Question—Standing mute is a Confession of the Fact, though the Prisoner forfeits not his Lands, nor attaints his Blood. But to throw this Bill out, Gentlemen must say, there is not one good thing in it. There is nothing made new in the Bill, that makes an impunity for Treason. That the Copy of the Indictment is to be delivered to the Prisoner, in ten days, if he requires it; it is good in Middlesex, if he requires it, but not in Country Assizes, which cannot stay so long. If a man be to be tried for Treason, and the Safety of the Government be concerned, there may be a special Commission of Oyer and Terminer; but it is said, "That is to bring a farther Charge upon the Government;" but is there any comparison, that a Man must lose his Life for a few days stay? But a Commission of Oyer and Terminer solves all Objections of the Safety of the Government. The limitation of the time, for three years, cannot enervate the Government; 'tis hardly possible to imagine, but that, in three years, the Crime may be detected and prosecuted, or the person repent and be pardoned. Where then is the Safety of the Government concerned? 'Tis impossible he should not be detected in that time, or the thing repented of, and no ill effect of it. This may take away the venom that some persons may fall under after twenty years, and rake up a Charge against a person.

Mr Attorney Treby.] Whatsoever is useful to the Subject, and does not bring Insecurity to the Government, I am for. The Lives of Men are precious, but the Lives of the King and Queen are as precious, in which all our Lives are bound up; and it deserves the highest consideration. This Bill was ushered in by reason of the hardship in the late times, in Tryals for Treason; but I see little in the Bill to obviate those Miscarriages. The fault was not in the Law, but in the Men. When Judges determine the Law, in one case, one way, and in another case, another way, the Judges convict themselves. In Fitzharris's Case, they were of Opinion, "That he ought to be tried by Freeholders." In Col. Sidney's Case, all the Judges of England resolved, "That the Law was not so." If so, the greatest preservation of the People is to preserve us out of the hands of such Judges, which I hope the Bill of Rights does sufficiently provide for. The best way is to preserve their present Majesties, who, I hope, will never permit such Men to come into Places of Judicature. In the Preamble of the Bill, it is, "That the Prosecution of Treason may be justly tried;" it seems to me improper. In Treason, the Blood of the Heir is not corrupted; but he cannot derive from that Ancestor--This Bill extends to Clipping and Coining, and all the lesser parts of Treason. The Copy of the Indictment can be of no other use than to inform the Prisoner of the matter. 'Tis to enable him himself, but not to help the person by the slip of a Word, or a Letter, to evade Tryal. As for being allowed Counsel, in every Treason, it would make Tryals long; and all Mens Cases are alike, when dressed up by Art of Counsel. To the Objection of Evidence, two Witnesses, or Confession of the Party, &c. perhaps he may have confessed the Treason before a hundred people. If this be the Evidence, you take from the Crown; he may brag of the Treason before a thousand People, and go unpunished. Here in London, when the Term comes at Essoign Day, the Sessions cease, and the Prisoner cannot be tried, unless by a new Commission; and Counsel must attend the Tryal of the meanest Clipper or Coiner. All criminal Justice is best done flagrante crimine. If a Man clip or coin, what will his Repentance signify, in three years, when all the Money is spoiled? This Bill does so much weaken the hands of the Government, that it ought not to pass. If you resolve that the Bill shall be rejected, no part of it can be brought in again this Session. I would preserve any part of the Bill that is useful, but not pass it as it is.

[The Bill passed.

1,575,890l. was granted for the Charge of the Navy, (including the Ordnance) for the Year 1692.]

Thursday, November 19.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer reported the result of the Conference with the Lords, upon the Letters taken at Sea by Sir Ralph Delaval, viz. "That Lord Danby, having been examined by the Lords, said, "That there was a Letter," but that Sir Ralph Delaval says, "He sent all the Letters:" That is the difference betwixt them. Lord Danby says, in his Examination, "There was no such thing as Copies of Instructions, but two Letters only, viz. one from General Ginckell, and the other from the Earl of Nottingham to Sir Ralph Delaval."

Sir Ralph Delaval says, "He did not apprehend the Letters to be of any moment, nor any thing in them for a ground to make a Report of them."


Sir Robert Rich.] Lord Danby, upon Oath, says, "Here is a Letter;" and Delaval says, "Not." He tells Danby, "They are Papers of Consequence;" and he tells Lord Nottingham, "They are not of Moment, and therefore he sent them not to Lord Nottingham."

Mr Montagu.] The Letter from Ginckell is an attested Copy, which was sent. Delaval says, in his Letter to Lord Nottingham, "He understands not French, and therefore is no judge whether it be of Consequence;" therefore I hope you will examine this matter farther.

The Papers, &c. were referred to a Committee.

[The Earl of Ranelagh, by his Majesty's Order, laid before the House a distribution of the Land-Forces, mentioned in the Estimate, viz. 10,916 men in England, 12,960 in Ireland, 2,038 in Scotland, and 960 in the West Indies. Total 26,874. Remain to be transported beyond seas 38,050.]

In a Grand Committee. On the Supply.

Mr Foley.] Consider what our State is, besides LandTax, and Excise, &c. If you find yourself at a loss for Money, and must anticipate, you must double your Land-Tax, and at last pay half your Revenue. I see not why we should raise so many Men, and maintain them. You are told, "That it is to make an end of the War at once."—But suppose the French beat us; and what hopes have we, if the Fleet be in no better hands?—I am of Opinion, that a lesser number of Men may serve for a Diversion. I fear things are not rightly represented to the King. Suppose we land, and take a French Port, and then you engage for ever after to keep footing in France. In the Rolls we find, that, when Money was asked by Edward III, to maintain what he had conquered in France, the Parliament answered, "They were concerned only to keep England, and not what was conquered in France."

Sir John Guise:] Foley said, "He could not consent to the number of Men proposed;" but he tells you not why. I suppose we are to defend ourselves by Sea. You have two thirds of the Fleet, and the Dutch one third. If the Mouths of their Rivers be taken away, their strength is taken away; and how can they supply you? If you did so distress the French last year, much more now, as you can draw your Men out of Ireland. Have you brought France to this pitch, and will you leave it? When I voted a War against France, I was in earnest, and I have not abated since this War. I see not that any body wears less, spends less, or does less, than before. 'Tis not only honourable, but safe, for you to continue your number of Men.

Sir John Thompson.] I know not for others, what they have done; but I have found decay in my little Income; and we have every where Complaints. If we consider what Merchants have lost, and Money carried abroad, and that foreign Merchants carry out your freight, I think 'tis a sign we are poor. I would have this so carried on, as to have something to give when we come again. I may make a Conclusion, though not able to make Premises, in the War. If we cannot force France to a Battle, you will do as little next year, as you have done in this. In the several Heads given you in, there are 12,000 men for Ireland, and yet you have been told, "That it would support itself," and 10,000 men for England, and we had not near so many when the French invaded us. Really I am afraid of a standing Army. We have the Skeleton, though not the Body, of the Forces. I look upon this War with France to be merely a Colour. Pray put the thing Head by Head.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You have several Heads before you, and proper, as has been moved. It is an irregular Motion, "To put it Head by Head." If you vote, "That 65,000 men are to be the number," then you bring Scotland and Ireland on your head. Pray therefore put the first general Question "for England."

Sir Thomas Clarges.] You have been told of the Confederacy, "That you might lay hold of this opportunity to keep them:" I was, and am, of opinion, that our coming into the Alliance is a greater strength to the Confederates, than any force by Land, and far more able to distress France, and that the most natural way is to continue the War, where he grows so great, by Sea; if we would make ourselves masters of America, and recover what we have lost there—As we are an Island, we are to consider, that, if the French have all the seventeen Provinces, and we are superior at Sea, we may still be safe, and for what belongs to us. But in the aid required of us, though Ireland is reduced, yet there is but an abatement of 4000 men. To prosecute the War totis viribus must be understood. When in Parliament, former Taxes were the sparable part of our Estates, if we are unsuccessful in this War, what will become of us? I desire that we may manage this War with as much frugality as we can. I am sure that 16,000 men did recover Ireland formerly.

Sir Robert Howard.] First we are told, "We are not able." If so, then there is an end; but as to that, I hope we are able. Next we are told of "an Army to enslave us;" but no danger of that under a King that has courage. In the former reign, there were great preparations against France, and nothing done. I hope to see an English Army act by itself, and the King at the head of it—If your Navy be strong, and in conjunction with the Dutch, you will provoke the French to come out with their Fleet, and you may land where you please. The King is clear in all points with you; there is no mistrust in him; and therefore I would leave it to the King's Judgment, for the number for beyond sea; and you may, I hope, from hence send all the Provisions.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] That the King is a valiant and wise Prince, all agree; but he acts by Advice; and so it is sent to us; but if we do not come up to the desires of such men, then we are told, "We are against the King, and hinder his business." I hope we shall hear no more of that; we are all here to advise what is to be done; but this great sum demanded for those men is half the current Cash of the Nation, and if we maintain an Army of 40,000 men abroad, I fear we shall have none left for common defence another year. It is given us by the King's Ministers under several Heads, and pray go so upon them.

Mr Hampden.] I have heard reflections formerly, but if a Gentleman speaks in commendation of his Prince, 'tis no reproach upon a man, who, in his Speech, says nothing of it; but I do think a standing Army is dangerous—But when 'tis said, "The Matter of the War with France is but a Colour (fn. 12) "—Do you think France will use you well that you may put yourselves into his hands? I know, that in my Country the middle fort are willing to carry on the War; but if I hear or see nothing against this number of men, if you have hopes that the Lion is not so fierce as he is painted, I hope you will agree to the number.

Sir John Thompson.] As for the Descent upon France, I have heard of orders for 16,000 Horse and Foot to march through the heart of England—" A Colour" is the appearance of an Argument, with really no force in it; a figure: No man is to be offended at the commendation of the King, but when an Argument has not force in itself to force its way, that calls me up.

Mr Attorney Treby.] This Discourse is of so great a nature that all Gentlemen engage in it. It propounds to dissect the Articles, and take them Head by Head. I am against it. When you had the List of the Fleet, you did it by the Lump, and I think there is the same reason now. I take all to be one Army—38,000 beyond sea, and so the less need here—No part of your freedom ought to be taken away. Freedom of Debate here is as tender as the Apple of the Eye, and as general all over England. You come here with "local Wisdom," as Lord Bacon calls it. I speak a positive truth, when I say, the King is a great Captain. But to clear some Objections to the King's Speech—If the Confederacy break, the Germans disband, and the Dutch make Peace, and truckle under France, then you cannot possibly be desended with a standing Army, and standing Fleet too. The naval force, all the world over, is in the French hands, and yours, and how far may the Dutch, in conjunction with the French, (and we alone,) undermine us? The War was your Advice for Trade, and you resolve to go through with the War, to secure your Trade, that it may be no longer in his power to disturb England; and that is the end you would be at. The Question is then, Whether you can do this without such a force as this? I would answer one Objection, viz. "Not to give such a Supply as to conquer France." I know not how we shall conquer Paris, but I would not have France conquer us. If we cannot carry this on, we have nothing left but Prayers and Tears; but I hope we shall not come to that. Can we think that France will use us better than his Protestant Subjects? Consider what we have promised the King: I hope we shall make it good. We have not, for a long time, had such a warlike Prince as this. All this points to us what the King has said, "If this opportunity be lost, we shall never have the same again." I would not go through it by halves, but have such a force as the King may conside in. By doing it at one stroke, I hope we shall be secured from all this. 'Twas said by a Gentleman, "That the French King knows what we do." I believe it; I wish he did not know what we say. I do not doubt of what force the King has proposed.

Sir Christ. Musgrave.] The proper Question is, Whether to proceed Head by Head? Then consider, when you bave voted 65,000 men, you engage to make that number good. If so, we must have the charge of all Ireland, and all Scotland. If so, to what purpose will you vote them, if you are not interested to maintain them? You are told, "That if you vote them not, the Allies will go off;" but last year they went in with their Quota. 'Twas never advised to keep our Quota, and go into France, with a separate Army. Possibly we may agree one Head, and not come up to the other. A general Question takes away all liberty of Debate. The Fleet to make a Descent into France, is quite a different Head from the Army.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] By the Motion of a general Question, our liberty to advise is taken away. You are told (by Capel) "That Queen Elizabeth was not limited;" there was not a number of men named, but the Parliament gave two subsidies, and four fifteenths, and left it to her Judgment, and when no extraordinary use was made of it, it returned to the subject again— They that give a Negative, are not against an Army, but what numbers they shall be limited to: Proposing men differs little from money—'Twill look like a Parliament of Paris; the King to propose, and they to verify it—Nothing of Scotland and Ireland is proposed—Let us not have sums and money, but Heads, proposed to us.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That an Army of 64,924 men is necessary for the service of the year 1692, in order to the securing the Peace of the Kingdom, and the carrying on a vigorous War against France: Which, being reported, was agreed to by the House.

[Nov. 20 and 21, Omitted.]

Monday, November 23.

Sir Ralph Delaval attended according to Order, and was called in.

The Speaker.] The House has been informed, that some Papers of Consequence were taken at Sea; they would know what those Papers were, and how they were disposed of?

Sir Ralph Delaval.] The Papers that were found, which I sent to Lord Nottingham, were sent to me in a Parchment-Case. They seemed to import little more than the Treaty at Limerick between the English and French Generals. The Parchment was not sealed. I received them from Captain Gillam, when the weather was bad; he told me they were taken in the French PacketBoat. I was at Prayers with the Ship's Company, when I received those Papers. A day after I called all the Captains, and acquainted Lord Danby with them, who came on board, and showed him the Letters, he understanding French, which I did not. Lord Nottingham's name was never in those Letters. When I came to Spithead, I gave the Lords of the Admiralty some hints of the Papers; had I thought them of Importance, I would have sent them. I sent Captain Ward for the Papers in Parchment, and put his Seal on them. The Papers were loose in the Parchment, without cover: I kept them loose in the Parchment as they came to me. I never sealed them till I sent them to Lord Nottingham. I sent all the Papers I received from the Captain to Lord Nottingham, all together in that Parchment sealed. There were two Seals upon upon the Parchment-Cover, my own Seal with my Crest, and the Captain's.

The Compiler did not perfectly hear him.

Mr Charles Montagu.] Now you have heard Delaval's story, there seem to me two contradictions to what Danby has said. He says, "The Captain understood French, and did interpret them." Delaval says, "He desired Danby to interpret them." He says, "Danby read three Letters from General Ginckell." This, I think, is contradictory to Danby.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I would know whether Delaval examined the Captain of the Packet-Boat, and where he received those Letters taken upon him?

Sir John Lowther.] Delaval says, "He understood not French:" I would know, whether Delaval marked the Letters one by one, so as to know none were missing?

The Speaker.] Did you, Sir Ralph, examine the French Captain about the Papers?

Sir Ralph Delaval.] I do not understand French, and so could not examine the Captain When the Captain came on board, there was Danby with me, and two Papers were laid upon the Table, and Danby read them; and he asked the Captain, or Master, of the Boat, "Whether he had any other Packet." He said, "He had no others?" He said, "He came from Brest, and was going to find out Monsieur De Chateau-renaut, whose station was W.S.W. and he apprehended us to be him." Captain Martin looked over the Letters, and told me, "That the meaning was a Treaty betwixt the Governor of Limerick, and General Ginckell, and that Transport-Ships should carry away the French, without Interruption from the English." I know not whether Captain Gillam opened them; they were loose; I did not ask him, whether he received the Papers loose, though a proper Question. I believe Danby read the greatest part of them. There was no such Paper as a Copy of Instructions from Lord Nottingham. I did not number the Papers, nor did observe that they were numbered, when they went from my hands. I took the Papers into my Closet, and nobody came into it, but my Servant, or myself. Danby did read the Papers to the other Officers, but not directly to me; he read the French, and then told us the import in English; which was, the Treaty between the French General, and General Ginckell, of transportation of the men. I neither heard, nor saw, any Letter of Lord Nottingham's; he told me no such thing. The Captain said, "The French were at Sea, twenty odd Sail of War, fifteen Leagues W. S. W. from Ścilly, with Store-Ships." The Instructions I received, were to sail S.W. sixteen Leagues, and to send to Kinsale, the first Wind, for those Ships to join me in my station, and then to proceed to England. I had no Instructions to follow the French Fleet, and sight them. I received no Letter, nor Instructions, from Lord Nottingham, since I went last to Sea. The Master of the Vessel said, "He came from Ireland, and was not suffered to stay there forty eight hours, but was commanded away again." There was not one Paper in English. I had no Intelligence, the Weather was so bad, but by this Packet-Boat. I had positive Orders to lie S. W. at Sea, to expect the Merchants I had Orders to send one Ship to Ireland, and no Orders to send any more. The French Master told me, "He did believe our Squadron was Chateau-renaut's Squadron?" He withdrew.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I observe, we are unfortunate in Sea-Managers. If we meet the French Ships, we must not sight them, and one Ship must serve to convoy the Merchants, while the French are out at Sea with twenty Ships. How can one Ship be proper to convoy a hundred Merchant-men? By this means, it is impossible to do good in a Naval War. I should be glad, if the Commissioners of the Admiralty would explain this to us, now we are going to give great sums of money, to have it well managed. I am so weak as to imagine, that all sailing Orders of this King are to pursue the Enemy, as there is occasion.

Lord Falkland (fn. 13).] Such Orders seldom are thought necessary, because general Instructions are given. Delaval thought those Papers of so indifferent a nature, that he sent the Originals to Lord Nottingham, and not the Copies.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] There is some contradiction in those Orders. The first to Admiral Russel was a discreet and well-directed Order, to bring home the Merchants; and the other from the Admiralty is to come home again.

Col. Granville.] There is a positive contradiction from the Admiralty and Russel's Orders. A Squadron ordered for the Merchants, and they order one Ship! I know not whether the Lords of the Admiralty take that for a Squadron, or no.

Mr Howe.] For ought I can see, all is well, therefore I move that we may adjourn (fn. 14).

[The Letter from Lord Nottingham, for sending up the Papers, was referred to the Committee.]

November 24, Omitted.

Wednesday, November 25.

[In a Grand Committee. On the Supply.] Estimate of the Charge of the Army.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I find all Establishments, since the Change, are a third part more than formerly. This Estimate of 65,000 men is sufficient for 200,000 men. This War, I am afraid, will not be done in a year; therefore I would do it so as our Estates may bear.

Mr Hampden.] This is most proper, when you come to particular parts of the Army. You may address the King to apply as much as may be of the Civil List to maintain the Army.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I know not the consequence of such an Address to the King in matter of money. I propose that the Question may be, "That Officers and Soldiers may be included in this List."

Sir John Lowther.] The General-Officers advised a greater number than the King has proposed, which are so many men, besides Officers.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] If 16,000 men in Ireland be commanded by Protestants, they will make 35,000. They are now warlike, and at the Battle of Aghrim they were not above 18,000 men. A Gentleman that knows well, a Commissioner of the Revenue in Ireland, said, "That 6,000 men were sufficient to be sent into Ireland." I would not have 36,000 men named, and not above 20,000 paid. I hope we shall have effective men, and no collusion nor deceit. Till the Militia were armed, there was no considerable service done in Ireland.

Sir John Lowther.] I hope the number of men will not always be necessary, only for the present, since the expence, I hope, will be but for one year. I hope this exception, by a side-wind, will not cut off your intention.

Sir John Thompson.] I wonder what Lowther means by "A side-wind;" if there be any, it is the supernumerary Forces. We voted but 65,000 men; if the Officers came to more, 'twas not in the Vote; and I appeal to the House, if they did not mean Officers? It could never be thought that you meant by your Vote an Army of men without Officers.

Sir John Lowther.] If that Vote did include Officers, you are in the right. For ought I know, this cuts off several thousands of men;—and Officers not being included, your Vote stands.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] You have resolved upon 64,500 men. We went not Head by Head on the Estimate, but lumped it, and I thought not fit to ravel into that. Whatever was intended by any private person, who brought the Paper of the Numbers, &c. 'twas the Resolution of the House such an Army; and I am a little scandalized at this: I know not by what figure in Rhetoric, "Men" is without "Officers." You may raise the Mob for an Army, at that rate. The reason why I put in Officers now, is, because the House was deceived, for we find in the Accounts only for private men. By your Vote you may determine this matter.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] When King Charles II declared War against France, in 1677, there were 1000 men in each Regiment, not including Officers. You have Precedents for this Demand; if there be any Precedents of Officers included, I am the most mistaken in the World.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] He says, "That in the year 1677, Charles II's Officers were not included in the number;" but then we had plain dealing, and the House went Head by Head; there were a hundred in a Company, besides Officers; but now you come to lump—Then we had our Debate free: Now you come to vote what your Army consisted of, and what meant by the word "Army." You had 38 or 39,000 men paid in Ireland, and had not 20,000 at Aghrim Battle. My Question is a plain Question, "That the Numbers shall not be inclusive to Officers." If we shall have more men than Officers for them, I hope they will be reduced too.

Earl of Ranelagh.] I stand up to inform you, that in every Company of Foot there will be eleven Officers, not included in the number of men set down. They will come to 11,000, in all, not included.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] This Lord tells you of what Numbers are given in; perhaps you will say, the same Officers that now command fifty, may command a hundred. When you include Officers, then you will provide Numbers and Men, and till you determine Numbers of Money, you cannot determine Numbers of Officers. Must it be taken for granted, that the House has no Judgment in this matter? You did formerly resolve Numbers in Regiments, and till then you cannot tell Numbers of Officers. When you are come off from this of Ireland, the rest will follow.

Sir John Lowther.] If you cut off 11,000 from your Vote, for ought I know, the King may come with such an unequal force, that he may be either beaten, or come off with a dishonourable Peace.

Col. Titus.] I was much startled when I heard of an abatement of 11,000 men. I never knew but three Officers in a Company. Drummers and Pipers may be Officers as well as others. If Officers be no part of an Army, then some Gentlemen are in the right.

Sir John Lowther.] If 11,000 men will be deducted, I am not for that Question. If Officers, Drummers, and Serjeants, be deducted, I agree that three Officers may be deducted.

Sir Robert Rich.] I shall always stick to the true Interest of the Nation. To have a division for 2,000, I think not for the Interest of the King nor the Nation.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I believe it not the intention of any man to lessen your Vote of 64,000 men; and I hope no intention to increase it. But to talk of an Army and not Officers, I believe the notion never entered into any man's head as tied to that Vote of 64,000 men; for 'tis not to lessen them.

[Resolved, That [it is the Opinion of this Committee, that the] 12,960 men for Ireland do consist of Officers and Soldiers [making up that Number: Which was agreed to by the House.]

[November 26, Dr Jane, Dean of Gloucester, preached before the House.]

Friday, November 27.

On a Message from his Majesty, &c. (fn. 15)

Sir Edward Seymour.] I look upon it, that a Message brought us thus by the King's Authority, destroys the Freedom of Debate. I always thought you have already given too much or too little, but since the number is included by the House, I would have them effectual. If there be no Descent into France, a lesser number may serve turn; if they do make a Descent, then it is too little; therefore I would not make a reducement Officers.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You are well minded of the consequence of being told, "That this is the King's mind." I hope we shall hear no more of that. I cannot imagine how, not comprizing Officers for England, and Ireland, can have any effect on the Descent into France. I know not how we can reconcile the Vote. You meant it for England, Scotland, and Ireland; and I would know the reason why not for Scotland, as well as Ireland. Now you will say you voted it for one, and not for the rest. I hope it will not have that conseqnence.

Mr Hampden.] In my conscience I believe, that, when that Vote passed first, Gentlemen did believe Officers not included. If I hear People talk, I lay no weight upon that, but if I hear a Soldier, I must. I have known leave given to speak against a Vote. I think any Gentleman may alter his Opinion.

Sir John Thompson.] I declare I am against the Question, and for the reason made use of for it, viz. "The King's advice, and if not taken, you will frustrate the whole design." I believe never was Parliament more disposed to comply with a King—But, I fear, the poverty of the Nation cannot come up to the greatness and firmness of our King's Spirit; we are not able to come up to it. 'Tis said, "This will come to a small Sum;" but a hair will break a Horse's back when he has his full load— These excluded by your Question are 7,000 men, and 'tis an easy matter to take that out of the whole number. What have we to do with Scotland ? Let it defend itself. What need is there of so many for Ireland? It can de fend itself. Pray put the Question whilst it is day-light, that we may see one anothers faces.

[November 28, Omitted (fn. 16).]

Monday, November 30.

On the Lords Amendments to the Bill for abrogating the Oath of Supremacy in Ireland, and appointing other Oaths (fn. 17).

Mr Hampden.] This Act does not extend to Persons who have submitted to the King's Government, of any profession or calling. Any man that is a Barrister, if he takes the Oath of Fidelity, without the other Oaths— such as are actually Barristers (fn. 18) —I cannot see how this can be any security to the Government, who are made Statesmen as well as Barristers. Many would rather take the Oath of Supremacy, than Allegiance. What will you do then? The Oath of Allegiance they will not take, because of their Conscience and Religion. If we say, "No power can absolve us from the Oath," they will say, "We are not resolved till our spiritual Fathers say so, which I keep to myself." How will all the practising Lawyers come upon you in heaps! And think you not, upon forfeitures of Estates, 'tis no little matter to have all the practising Lawyers for them? Why should not the Lawyers of your own Religion be encouraged? 'Tis said, "We ought to have great obligations to public stipulations." If the public faith be regularly given, unless there may be something morally evil, you ought to press it. But we talk of what we know not; pray let me see these stipulations, and let the Lords tell you what grounds they go upon. I think it had been regular for the Lords to have delivered this at a Confe rence, and I hope you will deliver your Reasons not to agree with the Lords at a Conference.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] There is a great chain of mistakes in Hampden's discourse. This Bill is to procure a Parliament in Ireland, and he tells you of "the Oath of Allegiance," which was never in force in Ireland. The Barristers are not obliged to take the Oath of Allegiance in Ireland.

The Speaker interposed] No man in Ireland is exempted from taking the Oath of Allegiance in Ireland, but by a Letter from the King.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I know not what Letters may do, but those who are Barristers in Ireland, cannot be so in England.—This Act is for a Protestant Parliament in Ireland; and, I am afraid, if you allow not these Barristers, we shall lose the Bill. Those Lawyers penned those Articles of Limerick (fn. 19); there was not a Protestant that could do it. But here it is (I care not for looking into these Articles) but these persons being only to practise— I have a chance to find these persons out in the Court of Claims, and I believe no Protestant in Ireland will give them a Fee. I would agree, not to destroy the Bill, which is so much for the Protestant Interest.

Mr Boscawen.] We that have Estates in Ireland are apprehensive, that that Clause will spoil all the Bill. Juries will be most Irish, and you cannot believe, but that Irish Lawyers will be retained. Would you have these People live again to give a third Rebellion in Ireland?

The Speaker.] The Lawyers in Ireland have been, and will be, admitted to practise, by the King's Letter.

Sir William Leman, Sollicitor-General of Ireland.] This Bill is designed for a Protestant Parliament in Ireland; all the Popish Lords are outlawed, as their Fathers were. In the late King James's time they were not able to find Juries, which was the reason so many Lives were saved. By corrupt ways the Barristers got Letters to practice formerly, but I hope that will not be the practice for the future, and that you will not admit Barristers without taking the Oaths: And now that the Articles are mentioned, I say that the Clause from the Lords does exceed that Article, for they are expressly excluded by the Articles. I think the Clerks of the Crown, and Six Clerks, are Officers; not only Barristers, but four hundred Attorneys will be, by that Clause, exempted.

Mr Howe.] This Clause is to enable all those who will take the Oaths of Allegiance, to practise in Ireland, and to be capable of Offices. I know not what the Articles of Limerick are, but I would not break public Faith, nor confirm those Articles by Parliament. Would you bring in Persecution for Religion there, after you have given Liberty here to your own Subjects? If they will be faithful to the Government, I care not what Religion they are of; but I am not for taking from these Gentlemen the opportunity of getting their Bread. If you will punish with Fire, and Faggot, and Sword, because they are not of your Opinion, I am against it.

Mr Sollicitor Somers.] I am much for the Bill, and much against violating any Articles whatsoever. If there be an Article hard, it is by their contrivance and draught. If they thought not fit to carry the Article so far, I would not do it. 'Tis fit for your Judgment to see how far this Amendment extends, and I believe the Lords would not be so unreasonable, but they will quit the Amendment, if it outgoes the Articles. To say "This extends only to the present men!" This is the critical time, and not futurity. It is true, practising Lawyers were admitted without taking the Oath, but they brought Certificates that they were public Practisers here; and a Certificate that they had taken all their Degrees here requisite. I am consident, that, when this comes to be re-considered by the Lords, they will come up to your Reasons.

[A Committee was ordered to prepare Reasons to be offered at a Conference for disagreeing; which were reported and agreed to the next day. See them in the Journal.]

[December 1 and 2, Omitted.]


  • 1. This day was appointed to enquire into them, and who had been the occasion thereof, by an Order on the 2d.
  • 2. The Fleets being almost of equal strength on both sides, the French as cautiously avoided a general Engagement as they sought it the year before. Their design was to intercept the English Turkey Fleet, which was exceedingly rich; for which purpose they hovered a long time about the Irish coast, and had sailed from Kinsale but a few days, when the Smyrna Fleet came all safe into that harbour. The English Grand Fleet all this while kept another course, for want of intelligence; but as soon as Adm. Russel was informed that the Smyrna Fleet was got into Kinsale, he steered thither from Cape Clear, and afterwards took all possible care that they might be safely convoyed into their respective Ports, and then stood over to Ushant in quest of the Enemy, whom he understood to be returned that way to their own coasts. The French had orders to avoid an Engagement, and tho for the space of two months, Russel did all he could to come up with them, yet they still kept at a distance, and sailed off in the night. Bowyer, Burnet.
  • 3. The season being over for action, Russel came into Plymouth in a storm; which was much censured, for that Road is not safe; and two considerable Ships [the Coronation, a second Rate, and the Warwick, a third Rate] were lost upon the occasion. Great sactions were among the Flag-Officers, &c. Burnet.
  • 4. The Earl of Torrington. See p. 151. Note.
  • 5. Neither the Rates, nor Numbers, of the Ships, were mentioned in the Estimate.
  • 6. To this, Admiral Russel answered, "That the Dutch refused to go to the Blockade of Dunkirk, till their compliment came up."
  • 7. See the last Note,
  • 8. Lieut. General Hamilton, being sent over by the King to treat with the Earl of Tyrconnel, (soon after the Revolution) betrayed his trust, by going over to the Earl, and was thereby the chief occasion of the War in Ireland. See Vol. IX. p. 95, 6.
  • 9. See Vol. IX. p. 454, &c.
  • 10. 30,000 Seamen, at 4l. per month, were this day voted by the Committee, and agreed to by the House.
  • 11. The Earl of Danby (the Marquess of Carmarthen's son) had been called up, by Writ, to the House of Lords, March 19, 1689, by the title of Lord Kiveton.
  • 12. See p. 177.
  • 13. One of the Commissioners of the Admiralty.
  • 14. Upon a full examination of the whole Affairs it appeared that there was not a Copy of any Letter from the Earl of Nottingham to Sir Ralph Delaval in the Packet taken on board the French Boat, but only the Letter written by his Lordship to Sir Ralph to send up the Papers intercepted by him.
  • 15. There is no mention of this in the Journal.
  • 16. It was this day Resolved, That the Land Forces for England, Scotland, and the West Indies, and those to be transported beyond the Seas, do consist of private Soldiers, not including Officers, making up that number.
  • 17. When this Bill was sent up to the Lords, the Earl of Nottingham alleged, "That it was in some parts contrary to the Articles of Capitulation of Limerick" [agreed upon between General Ginckell and the Irish;] upon which they made Amendments, particularly, That the Lawyers of Limerick should not be comprehended in the Bill. Pulteuey's M S Letters to Colt, November 17, 1691.
  • 18. Sic Orig.
  • 19. See the preceding Note.