Debates in 1690: April 1st-14th

Pages 28-54

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

Tuesday, April 1.

[In a Grand Committee, on the Supply.]

Mr Hampden.] I hope this Day will end to the Satisfaction of every Gentleman. The great end of this Day, is the preservation of the Government, and keeping it from ruin. I having the honour to serve the King in his Revenue (fn. 1), it is from thence the Measures of the House are to be taken. If you do not supply the King, you will fall into the misfortune of Tradesmen, to shut up their shops, and to make what we have omitted amongst our Lamentations. There was a great Debate yesterday about Accounts, but this I will say, that it is the King's desire, and all I have the honour to serve with, that you should know them. I have an Abstract of the Account, which I hope will give satisfaction. I have sent for all the Auditors—I wish you would take the Account I have, and I say it is a true Account, and will be justified; three fourths of it are ready to be justified by all the Vouchers, to Christmas; but take the Account your own way, and direct your way. A Man of better understanding than I may not understand my trade, but it may be explained to him by the Officers, who shall attend upon any Gentlemen that please. Let it not run away, that the Money is mis-spent; 'tis not so embarrassed as Gentlemen have spoken of. Gentlemen say, "What should we give Money for, before we know how it shall be spent?" But the true intent is to satisfy; and, though you cannot take the Accounts now, do it at your leisure in recess of Parliament. Take them, and they shall be opened and explained to you. I blame nobody for making these objections; they do like good Stewards for their Country. If any Officer be to blame, let him be named. Whether Money has been well employed, or no, I cannot answer that; but let not that be an objection. Name any body to enquire into the ill usage; but, as for the great charge of military Affairs, I know nothing of that; but if you think persons undermine the Government, and waste the Treasury, you are to give the King Counsel as well as Money. This way of communication is the way to end all differences and jealousies, amongst friends. I have ever had a great reverence for the House of Commons; so I have lived, and so I shall die, a faithful Commoner of England. But, after all, will you support the Government? I know you will support it. You have sent the King your Vote, and carried it solemnly; but, on the other side, if these objections be any thing, your Government will fall of itself: If you say, you will support it, do support it. If any objection of Mismanagement remain, remove them that have been faulty. If you let it lie in suspence, none of these objections will save the Government from falling. I humbly move, and desire all Gentlemen to consider, that, seeing the calamities that will attend the loss of the Government, which every Gentleman may figure to himself—What will it avail to say, that you are cozened, and, if you give more, you shall be cozened? But are you the better for saving your Money, if Ireland be lost, perhaps England too? Popery, French, and Irish, to dwell among you, and govern you; and saving the Taxes will be but cold comfort at last, to say, "I have saved a hundred Pounds in Taxes, and perhaps my Estate will be sequestered, or worse; I must either renounce my Religion, or lose it." What I aim at is this, that Money must be given, and speedily given, and by no way but by a Fund; and not any of the consequences, but you may prevent afterwards; else you will be too late, and have another distemper upon you to cure. When you go into a Committee, do it speedily; and, whatever Credit, give it a sound Credit. You will be here suddenly again, and may enquire into the management.

Sir John Lowther.] I doubt not but Gentlemen take into consideration the condition of their bleeding Country. Under Heaven, there can be no assistance but from this House. I would to God, Gentlemen would believe that some men intend sincerely, and tell you truth ! As for the profits of my employment, they have not paid my House-rent, and I care not if they ever do more; and if my service be acceptable, I am more than over-rewarded. Gentlemen that have ventured their Lives and Estates, as I have done, upon a change, must suffer in the common calamity—There is no Money in the Treasury, except the appropriated Money—I know not of one Shilling in the Treasury. Upon stating your Expences as near as I can, I freely own the Establishment is greater than the Nation can bear. This unhappiness might have been prevented by the last House of Commons, if you had represented that the Nation could not bear the Establishment. I presume we did not think it so, and would have supplied it. I am of opinion, that it is too great an Expence; but I believe no Gentleman has retrenched one dish at his table, or one servant in his family. (Then he gave an account of the Charge of the Navy.) So formidable a Sum is needful, that I dare not mention it; but I hope Gentlemen will be so kind, in their Advice, as to direct us in the retrenching, that they may approve of it when you meet next. Deductions must be allowed for all things, as Deserters, false Musters, &c. and I will hope that Forfeitures may do a great deal in Ireland; and the Fleet is not paid till they come home; but, in the mean time, Stores must be supplied. I hope Gentlemen, therefore, will assist in the retrenchments. I believe, in any Country, they would first consider what must be necessary for their own preservation—In my poor opinion, I think it impossible to carry on the War without 1,500,000l. before Michaelmas.

Col. Granville.] I have ever thought that MoneyMotions came best from rich mouths. The dangers have been well stated, and if they had not, they would have spoken for themselves; and I hope this wise Assembly will get out of them, as well as enquire how they came into them. If there are any discontents, let us know what they are angry with, and with whom, and not complain in generals. I move, "That we may farther supply the King with Credit."

Sir John Thompson.] I look upon it, that, in the last year's proceedings, the Parliament did believe themselves ill used in the management. They were drawing an Address to the King; and when they had given their Money, they were sent away; and so may this. As to what is said by Lowther, "Why did we not complain the last Parliament ?" There was Complaint; and the Lists did not appear to be 50,000 Men; and for them was computed 1,400,000l. Now it comes in 1,500,000l. It is strange it should be so vast a Debt, when we have supplied all that was demanded ! That, with the Revenue, makes three Millions. All the Navy did not go out in a day; that, and the other things, will make a considerable Deduction. We shall never come to a right state of things, till we know what Forces we have; for still, the more you give, the more you are in debt: And I would ask those who tell you, "That half Ireland is lost, and England may be too," why was not Ireland secured first ?

Sir Robert Cotton.] No Gentleman here but is sensible of the Treasure given, and the little effects of it. 'Tis reason to consider, not what we might have been, but what we are. The only Question before you is, to consider how this Supply may be raised, and what Fund; therefore, first consider the State of the Revenue, and what may be laid upon it for a Fund.

Col. Austen.] I think two things are under consideration; Supply, and, which is as necessary, that it go to right purposes. If under management of those who have led you out of the way, what probable reason can be given ? If there be necessity, there is as great necessity to see it well employed. I would not ask account of actions last Year, but I wish we might have a prospect how they will be managed better.

Mr Comptroller Wharton.] Every body here, I believe, has the same zeal to serve the King, and the Government. I move, that you will hold us to one Question, "What is necessary to carry on the War." I could not know what to move, but from a Gentleman (Lowther) whose calculation I believe to be true. I consess, it is a great Sum proposed, and, since it must be raised, 1,500,000l. has been named, it has not been seconded, but I do. It is a great Sum I must confess, but I know not how it can be less.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You state that right which was named; but I will put you in mind, that there was a Sum named under the Gallery, 700,000l. and, by Order, the least Sum is to be put first. I would gladly know, when you have voted it, how it must be raised ? I know no other way but by the Revenue, or Land-Tax. Land is already charged till Christmas. If you charge it with a Million more, how long will that be, and we expect at Michaelmas another Debt, and you will be put to new Methods of raising, viz. by Home Excise. You are told, and I find it is taken for granted, "That the Expence of the War is greater than the Nation can bear." I know it is not seasonable now to take notice of Mismanagement, by an Address; but, if you take no notice at all, you confirm what was omitted the last Parliament. Do you intend that Artificers shall have Assignments for their Debts, and pay seven per cent. Interest ? And then consider how Interest eats out; and, besides, by great Rates for Wares; and in this Method, who knows how to support the Government ? Therefore, before you grant the Money, consider the Ways of raising it.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] The Gentleman under the Gallery, speaking of the Revenue, seemed to say, "That the Revenue might bear it;" but made no direct Motion. 1,400,000l, after so much Money given, is a great Sum; but, whatever the Sum, it is to make all the rest good, our Religion and Properties, &c. Far be it from us to think that Sum will undo us. He that you have to do with, will be brought to reason sooner by this House, than by all the Money you can raise. This is a great Sum, and 'tis hard to lay it, yet it is not impossible. If that of the Revenue had been a little better opened, you might have gone on more easily: I must give all my help to that Question moved. Perhaps I should not refuse to give my consent to this; but it has been scarce seen that so much Expence has brought so little Honour and Advantage to the Nation. I look back with astonishment ! I have served near the Throne, where there have been cross byasses in Affairs; but when we have a Prince who will think it for his service to enquire into Managements, I hope they will be put in such a way that we shall not do it again. Put the Enquiry into some way, and when you come back, go through it. As to my way of absolving myself in my own duty, I shall give my Affirmative to the Question of 700,000l.

Mr Ettrick.] I would give what will do the work: If not done this year, it will not be the next. I propose 1,200,000l.

Sir John Guise.] We see the word "towards" is come to something more. You are now come to a Sum of Money proposed—I speak plainly—If there be any Gentleman who has denied to-day, that things have been driven to a necessity, I'll tell you from whence this Grievance does proceed; that people do not own the Counsels they have given; the visible part of the Privy Council. Is any about the King that had a hand in the Charters ?—If by that way our misfortunes have come, it ought to be rectified. In Queen Elizabeth's time, no man was ashamed to own his own Counsels; she had the Privy Council's advice and consent in all things; and if we give to supply what Mismanagements have cost us, we do our duty to our Country.

Sir William Leveson Gower.] I hope we shall not only empty their Pockets that have cheated us, but squeeze their Veins of their Blood, for the ill things they have done. I move for the greatest Sum, 1,400,000l, which, I think, is the greatest security.

Sir John Thompson.] A Million is as much as you can raise, give what you will; therefore I move for it.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I agree with the Gentleman that moved for a Million; but I would be satified how it can answer the occasion; that is all the difficulty with me. Land is already taxed largely. Don't give less, that you may live upon Credit. I would not have the whole security of England be at the pleasure of a few men, whom you borrow from. The Army is to be paid monthly, and that will take up all the first Money: The poor Seamen will be unpaid. Parliaments do not desire to come much before Michaelmas.

The Committee divided, and "the Million" passed in the Negative.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that a Sum, not exceeding 1,200,000l, be the Supply to be given to their Majesties, for the public Occasions, between this and Michaelmas, in prosecuting the War against France, and reducing of Ireland with speed and vigour: Which was agreed to by the House.]

Wednesday, April 2.

[On the Supply.]

Sir William Strickland.] Moves for Instructions to the Committes, "That the Supply be not raised upon Land-Tax.

Col. Austen, on Mr Hampden's setting forth the Necessity of Supply.] You have now two Necessities, Money and Land; and give me leave to offer a third, the People's living. He that does not faithfully advise the King, is not a good Subject.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] I am of Opinion, and do not doubt, but what has been said is true. All new Experiments are uncertain. This only I desire, before we enter into a hasty Resolution, to propose some Ways to raise this Money. The Gentleman that moved it, I believe, can tell you Ways; therefore I beseech you, at least, to weigh this, and not, by a Vote, to expose the Nation to Ruin. Before you put such a Question, pray let us debate it.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I take it, the Debate is upon "Instructions to the Committee, that no part of the Supply shall be upon Land." I think it irregular in the House; but, if moved at the Committee, it will be as strong as in the House. In the House you are confined to Debate, not as in a Committee. I remember, in the Long Parliament, a great Sum was to be raised, and Home-Excise was proposed; those against Land-Tax would have had a Negative—You have so much Money to raise; you have said you will do it. I know no way considerable but Home-Excise. I assure you, I am not for Land-Tax, which is absolutely destructive to you. You must keep yourselves in a condition to raise it upon Land hereafter. I am neither for a Land-Tax, nor a twelve penny Subsidy. I speak plainly; if you bring this course of a Negative into Parliament, the practice will be extremely inconvenient.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] I have declared myself all along; I will deal fairly: I think the Revenue ought to bear a great share of this; but to lay a Negative upon Land, Customs, or Excise, there is an equal Latitude upon all these to put a Negative. You were told of "Three Necessities." from the Bar; perhaps the same Necessity may be on other Things; and, at last, Necessity upon Nothing. If this pass once in the Negative, you lay such a baffle upon the Committee, that they cannot get through it.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am sorry we are fallen into Methods of not raising the Money; when we come to the Committee, I believe the most practicable and most likely way will be found. I am, in my judgment, against Land-Tax, and yet against this Question. I would have the easiest way to the People, the most eligible way to us, and the most satisfactory to the King. Suppose another man proposes another thing, not a general Excise, and so no end of Negatives.

Mr Sollicitor Somers.] The business of Parliament is best done, by preserving Methods of Parliament. Departing from what is always considered of, at a Committee, may be very prejudicial; the variety of Opinions you have heard, requires Debate. That being the Case, and Method of Parliament, pray leave the Chair.

Sir John Guise.] Suppose you should lay this Tax upon Land, you know not the success of the War, and would you have no resort to make new recruit of Money ? Can you answer this to your Country ? It looks to me as an extremity, the utmost shock, and the way to bring in King James, if you go first to the dernier resort.

Sir Robert Cotton.] Nothing but great Necessity yesterday brought us to vote so great a Sum of Money, but have a care lest we put ourselves on greater Necessity. We have an Army in England, as well as in Ireland, and I know not whether we are safe without such a Guard, and Home-Excise to maintain that Army. These things, so natural, we may expect may follow. I doubt not but the Kingdom of England may raise Money without burdening Land. I hope Gentlemen are so disposed, as not to be willing to bring the Nation into necessity of such fatal consequences. Pray put the Question. Let us keep England, whatever becomes of Ireland.

Sir Robert Rich.] I was yesterday for the least Sum. Whatever my Opinion was yesterday, I will tell it you to-day, and I fear none to-morrow. You have been upon a long Debate, upon a Negative upon LandTax. I would willingly go into a Committee freely, but I own I am against all Home-Excises.

Mr Foley.] If a Land-Tax commence not till after Christmas, how must the King have any security to take up Money for the present Occasion ? It is no such strange thing to put Negatives.—

Mr Swynfin.] As to the Arguments against LandTax, I have been here the best part of twenty Years, and all the Projects would never do. The way of our Ancestors has always been upon Land, and they abhorred Excise, and all other Projects. I wish we prove wiser than they. We had a War with the Dutch, as now we have with the French, and it was carried on no other way but by Land-Tax. I am not for saving our Lands to enslave our Persons by ExciseYou have pitched upon a Fund, and must have a security to raise it. If there should be a Miscarriage in Ireland, it will be laid upon the House by the Managers of that War. Let them have no pretence to lay the blame upon this House. I would fain see the Tax laid upon something less vexatious, and that will not, in the end, come upon Land. If you find other proposals less grievous to the People, you will deal best with yourselves, and the business is to leave it to the Committee.

Mr Harcourt (fn. 2).] If you give the Tax on Land. now, I fear you will lose as many Men as you give Pounds. The goodness of the Prince, and his greatness too, is shown by the easiness of the Government.

[Resolved, That it be an Instruction to the Committee, That the Supply to be given to their Majesties be not laid upon Land, without leave from the House.]

In a Grand Committee.

Sir Edward Seymour.] (In Answer to Mr Harbord) I cannot but take notice, that we are come into an extraordinary method of Argument. The only Answer to it is, "If those without doors had done their parts as well as they within, these Miscarriages had never been." I was one of those for the lesser Sum, as it might have been raised out of the Revenue. The King's Resolution for going into Ireland was taken before any thought of enabling him, in Parliament, in all respects that would enable him to do it. Some Gentlemen tell us, "The Revenue will not prove sufficient security, because those without doors dare not lend upon it." But pray tell me, if I ask those without doors, will they not tell me, the Land is charged already ? The affections of the People are not to be hazarded. People, I see, already mention "the goodness of their Princes, and their greatness too, by the easiness of their Government (fn. 3)." We are to secure ourselves from the whole, Popery, Ireland, and the French King. I could have been glad that your Sums might come up to the whole Revenue, but, with that cantion, if it does not secure it, to make it good when you come again. All I drive, at, is, to go on with such a consideration, in what we give, as not to lose what we have already given by Land-Tax. Those persons that serve you in Commodities, will think themselves better secured by the Revenue in the Exchequer, that every one in his Order is duly paid. I think it not intended to put this Money for Ireland in the King's pocket; so give the best Funds and Security known by experience. I would not take care, whether the Officers can bear it in the Civil List; they ought to pay their part: Though Lowther tells you, "He has not got to pay his House-Rent." If People pay as much as they are worth, they will think themselves as easy under any Government as this—And when you return at Michaelmas, then do it with what you think fit; and now charge the Revenue.

Mr Godolphin (fn. 4).] It seems to be the general disposition of the House, that the Revenue be a Fund. The Question is the Quantum, how much the Revenue is a Fund for. You voted, the last Parliament, two Millions, with the Revenue, for carrying on the War; which came short. Therefore I hope 1,400,000l. besides the Revenue—Fill up the Temporary Excise not exceeding 300,000l.

Sir Joseph Williamson.] If your meaning be to lay it upon the hereditary Part of the Revenue, in this extremity, if there be an ease from the Court, they will do their part—If there be Assignments already, you must explain that; what can be raised for this half Year not yet charged; whatever remains free and not assigned. But Men must not be put out of the power of their Money for a Year.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that, towards the Supply to be given to their Majesties for prosecuting the War against France, and for reducing of Ireland, with speed and vigour, his Majesty be enabled, by a Clause in the Bill, or Bills, for settling the Revenue, to raise a Credit for the Sum of One Million, upon the Revenue: Which was agreed to by the House, with the Amendment of "Ten hundred thousand Pounds," instead of "One Million."]

Thursday, April 3.

In a Grand Committee, [On the Supply.]

Col. Birch.] I cannot easily swallow how we are brought into this necessity of Money. I shall touch it very tenderly. Here is another Year lost; but let us do what we can. Last Year, by God's blessing, with Hay and Oats, you might have done your Work. But it is more reasonable to provide the Money, than talk of things now; and nothing was so unseasonable as the Prorogation of the last Parliament; that undid your business, and not only lost opportunity, but set you a Year backward. I am not only for the Money, but to have it ready Money. You might have done it in a seasonable time, and now you might do it in an unseasonable; you will find it on your Books the last Session proposed, "Every Ale-House to pay 10 s. and Brandy-Cellar 20 s." Let it be read; it is in lieu of a Licence from the Justice, and I appeal, if the poorest will leave off the Trade for it ? Not five in England will. It is now the time of Year for Licensing; this will signify little to the People; and pray entertain no more Motions till this be off your hands.

Sir Charles Sedley (fn. 5).] We stand as if we had one Foot in one Boat, and another in another. Let us serve them in Ireland as they have served us, and worse, if you will. I would not put the present service upon dispute, or contingency; but, however, seize their Lands here, that they may no longer go into Ireland to support the War.

Mr Harbord.] Oliver took other steps to reduce Ireland than we; he followed the advice given him, in the confiscation of Estates, of the Estates of all against him; which saved him a great Sum. It will not only case this Nation, but people Ireland with English. In the two last Kings reigns, there were as much pains taken to destroy the Protestant Interest, as in Oliver's time to support it. You will not only have the advantage to the payment of the Officers, but raise considerable Sums. They have wholly divorced themselves from the Kingdom of England, and taken away the Act of Settlement relating to Ireland, both Settlement and Dependence, and I would have them attainted.

[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, that, for the raising of the Sum of 200,000l. being the residue of the 1,200,000l. to be given to their Majesties, the House be moved for leave to bring in a Bill for a Poll: Which, being reported to the House, was agreed to, and Bill was ordered to be brought in accordingly (fn. 6).]

[April 4, 5, and 7, Omitted.]

Tuesday, April 8.

On reversing the Judgment in a Quo Warrento against the City of London (fn. 7).

Sir Edward Seymour.] You have been moved by the Members for London to reverse what is not, and to restore what they have. I apprehend, you ought to remove a doubt first, what are their Privileges, and not leave it to the Judgment of this or that learned Serjeant: Trace it to its original. I have heard no man say, that the Crown has not a Right to a Quo Warranto—If so, there may be Judgments, and not to be reversed but by a superior Power. What signifies any man's telling you it is no Judgment; and therefore there is no room to scruple whether reverse, or no ?—If you reverse it, then leave them in the same Right they had before. They have acted by another Power, by a Commission; I will not say, whether legal or no; but you are told by an honourable person (Hampden) "That something has been done by the City of London, which he does not approve." If both old and new were put out, and better put in, it would be more for their advantage.

Mr Hampden.] I did say, "That some things had been done in the City of London, which I could wish had not been done." I do not like every thing that has been done in the City of London; but I would be repeated when things are fresh in memory.

Mr Sollicitor Somers.] A void Judgment may be given, as well as an erroneous Judgment. I will never give my consent to countenance such illegal and cursed Judgments, to bring in Popery and Arbitrary Power.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I am for the first part of the Question, because I would have it sufficiently damned. I would have the Judgment revered and voided from the beginning, and so understood and expressed too; else it will be from the first day of the Parliament only. I shall never give countenance to any, to thrust themselves into Offices to pack Juries—They may crowd in the Water-Bailiffs, and Markets, if you divide not the Question.

Sir Edward Seymour.] I presume, no man doubts but that Hampden can form a Question (reflecting) to the advantage of the thing he proposes; we have every day's experience of it. I did not expect to have had this Question so laboured; truly, I did not. I love not artifices without doors; but I hear of a Bill already framed by Members of the City, (not your Members to be trusted with it,) to make the City a Commonwealth; and, Ordered by the Common-Council, "That in case their own Members shall not move the Parliament, then the Mayor and Aldermen to deliver it to others; and the Bill prepared by their Committee shall be presented; and if not, some other Members of Parliament are to do it." Thus you see what work is cut out for you, that even in the work they have cut out they dare not trust their own Members. The Bill makes the City independent from Monarchy. I have not seen the Bill; but those that have, inform me of this; and 'tis shrewdly to be suspected, when they dare not trust their own Members.

Sir John Lowther.] I hope this House will not be prevailed upon to have an ill Opinion of the City of London, upon common hearsays. If ever such a Bill be brought in, I believe it will be thrown out with indignation. I hope never to see a Common-wealth established here. 'You have already passed a Vote, that "Rewards" shall stand in the Question.

Mr Powle, Master of the Rolls.] You are engaged in a dispute on the Words of the Question. I take it to be a ground, that this Judgment against the CityCharter be declared void. If a Court give a Judgment illegal and erroneous, 'tis good till it be reversed; but when the Court has no Jurisdiction, 'tis void in itself: I take it with that distinction. I take this to be a void Judgment, and that the Court had no Jurisdiction, because it intrenches upon the Jurisdiction of this House. The Judgment was a dissolving and annihilating the Corporation of London. Those bodies dissolved, of what shall this House consist ?—Dissolve old ones, and send new ones, as you please—If it be admitted, that this Judgment was ever good, it shall bind as long as it is not reversed. This strikes at the root and foundation of the Government; therefore we can do no better than declare, that the Court had no Jurisdiction. The words, "To restore the Rights and Privileges, &c." carry as much force as "reversed;" which pre-supposes, that the Judgment had some validity, as being from a legal Court.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I am against those words, because it is for Instructions to draw the Bill. If you make this one entire Question of Rights and Privileges, and reversing the Judgment, you may give them more than you intended they should have before the Quo Warranto.

Mr Powle explains upon Temple.] No man can deny but that the King's-Bench have Privilege to judge a Quo Warranto; but I put a difference, whether a Quo Warranto lies against a Corporation to dissolve it.

Resolved, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to reverse the Judgment in a Quo Warranto against the City of London, as arbitrary and illegal; and thereby to restore the City of London to its ancient Privileges: And a Committee was appointed to prepare and bring it in.

Wednesday, April 9.

An ingrossed Bill, from the Lords, for recognizing King William and Queen Mary, and for avoiding all Questions touching the Acts made in the Parliament assembled at Westminster the 13th of February, 1688, was read the second time.

Lord Falkland.] I am as much for the interest of this Bill as any body, but not for so hasty proceeding as is moved, "to read it a third time now." There have been great Debates in the Lords House about this Bill: Statutes and Laws are mentioned in it. I would have them read. When that is done, I would go into a Committee of the whole House.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would observe the same words you did in the Abdication, when you did present the Address to the King and Queen, to take the Crown and Dignity upon them; and I do concur and consent, that they "are" so by the Laws of the Land, consonant to all Laws practised in this Nation; but that they "were," and "are"—"Were" they before they "were in being ?" I think it worth the consideration of this House—The nearest to this was the Convention, 12 Charles II. An Act was for confirming those Acts, with this Clause, "That, nevertheless, the King might prorogue that Parliament; for, if the People may assemble a Parliament, the King cannot dissolve it;" therefore that Clause was put in, that the King might prorogue it, &c. We sit not here from the last Convention, but by Oaths framed from the original Contract, by which the King and Queen took the Government upon them. Here are Acts for Money; I care not how soon they are confirmed, nor that of Ease to Dissenters. I would give them all the Authority that may be; but I cannot declare, "That they are and were King and Queen, &c." Therefore I move, that you will go into a Committee.

Sir Henry Goodrick.] 'Till an Objection be made against the Bill, you are not to go into a Committee; but when we come to a point to consider that Objection, that of the Recognition is the first part. 'Tis agreed by all, that we are bound in conscience to recognize the King and Queen. The next, why those Laws made, are not Laws ? That they "were" and "are," must be taken from February 25. If that be matter of Dispute, it will involve us in great hardships. What are the Laws that men cannot come up to ? The Act for Money, or the Act for Ease to tender Consciences ? Is it for those Bishops that will not come up to the Government, and take the Oaths ? If you vary that, or make that a Scruple, whither will you launch ? If you make a Doubt of what you have done, if they were good Laws, and not good Laws, where will that Distinction end ? If any thing in the Bill struck at the Fundamentals of the Government, you might debate it. We ought all to lay hands to the Government: 'Tis not the noise in the Lords House that should weigh with us, but we should think of the preservation of the Government, and our own safeties; which cannot be without this Bill.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I desire to explain myself: I did not except against the particulars of the Bill: I can come up to confirming all the Laws; but, I think, to say, they "were" and "are," not proper for a Bill.

Mr Palmes.] Gentlemen that have made Objections, I think, have not begun at the right end. You recognize, that the King and Queen "were" and "are," &c. Will you have it in those general words ? I would have it qualified from the time, some time limitted.

Sir John Lowther.] Perhaps I am one of those that wish this Bill had never been brought in. I am satisfied with what the last Parliament did: I acquiesce in their Authority, as the whole Nation has done. I hope none will call the Right of the King and Queen in question. As here, so elsewhere, Disputes ought to be avoided. I never knew, but distinctions occasioned disputes. I think "were" and "are," must relate to the time the King and Queen received their Royal Sanction, and were King and Queen from the time they accepted the Crown. The last Parliament had power to alter the old Laws, and substituted new Oaths instead of the old. This being so, I cannot imagine that this should be a dispute. We have the consent of the People to remove all disputes and difficulties. In the 1st of Henry IV, there were Laws enacted, and in force to this day, though they had not all the formalities of Laws. I move that you will not go to particular distinctions. The Words are plain, and all would submit to the true intent of the Bill, and I move for a third reading to-morrow.

Sir Robert Sawyer.] For the Reason given, I am for committing the Bill. I did recognize the King and Queen, and for ever shall do so. But as for such general Laws as this—The Council of Trent made Canons that every one might make his construction of— It ought to have some Words of reference—The Law of Conquest is the Law of all Nations. First, these are the Words of the Crown's Settlement, and then of Recognition, though those are the same Words. "Interest vested in the King and Queen" are Legal Words, and therefore I would have it in such Words as are limited by that Act. The Judges must judge according to the Laws of the Land. If you make no Limitation of the Crown, it is in the King for ever; it is therefore proper and fit; and, I believe, no man, that has taken the Oaths, but acknowleges the Government, and I would have it in the Words of the late Act of Rights.

Mr Harcourt.] I have some doubt that these Words may destroy those in the Bill of Rights. I have ever thought the Monarchy hereditary; and by this, what becomes of your Entail ? I am not satisfied that those of 1660 were Acts of Parliament; they needed confirmation. These are my doubts, that at present I am under. I second the Motion for Commitment of the Bill.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am for reading the Bill tomorrow, notwithstanding what I have heard to the contrary, plainly, that we may be satisfied, that the last Parliament was a Legal one; and I stand by it, and declare it so. I am not for confirmation of it, for that strongly implies that it was not so before. If you express it no farther than the Act mentioned, you raise a doubt whether that was an Act or no. I would not raise more scruples than necessary. Pray read it tomorrow morning.

Sir Joseph Tredenham.] Without taking the Tests in the Act, no man can sit here. The word excepted against is, "were"—I say again, that nothing ever was, but what had a beginning. I speak of sublunary things. I should be loth to give occasion in the next age, to be still in doubt by an ambiguous word. I am for confirming most Acts of the last Parliament, but the Grammar of the expression I understand not; to enact a thing that "was."

Mr Hampden.] You have had several Motions to go into a Committee, grounded regularly upon Exceptions, or pretended Exceptions. The first Question is, Whether the Bill shall be committed, or not ? The next Question is, Whether it shall be read a third time ? I see, all Gentlemen intend the Bill should take effect, except one, that questions, whether those were Acts, or no, in the last Parliament. I cannot comprehend how this is against Grammar, "Were and are King and Queen of England;" where is the hurt, when they were before the last Parliament ? Will you say that those, before this Parliament met, were not Laws from the time that the Parliament met, unless they were excepted in another Act to the contrary ? I say, they were Laws, and if it pass, as moved, a great many distinctions must be in this Act. I see not what reason there is for committing it. It may occasion great Debates. All you agree is, that they "have been" so, as well as "are so." If you go into a Committee, time will be spent, and if the King resolves to go into Ireland, before this Bill pass, and leave it upon the Table, I should be very loth to leave things so.

Mr Comptroller Wharton.] If we sit to hear all the Objections that Lawyers will make, we may sit till King James comes in again. You do not stand by your Government, if you declare it not as in the Bill, and if your last Laws were none, you are no Parliament, and it is no Government.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] It is no Reason against the Commitment, "Because it may occasion Debate;" it is the natural Reason for Commitment, and for that Reason it ought to be. I would not only have it clear to my own understanding, but to those without doors. I see no reason why these words "were" and "are," should be in the Bill. I should be unwilling to leave it to Westminster-Hall to explain it. I know not what the Lords mean by "were" and "are." I am for explaining it. It is far from my thoughts not to have the Laws of the last Parliament confirmed. By the same reason, they may question how you came to be a Parliament. We ought to make it so clear, as without doors to make a reasonable Answer to a Question. Says a Gentleman, "I would not explain it, because it may occasion Debate at a Committee;" and for that Reason I would commit it.

Mr Sollicitor Somers.] I have observed the Objections as well as I can. If there be no weight in the Objections, there is no Reason that the Bill should be committed. It is said, "Enacting that they were Laws, seems not a proper expression." In Legislative capacity, "enacting" is declaring "it was." It is said, by a Person, "That he agreed to the first part, because agreeable to the Bill of Rights"—You are told by a Gentleman, "That he is willing to confirm all the last Parliament did." If the Laws of the last Parliament want confirmation, it is impossible for you to give it. The validity of what they did, depends upon the validity of this Parliament; and if so, it is impossible that should ever be a Parliament, and this none. Queen Elizabeth enacted "the Members taking the Oaths of Supremacy and Allegiance, otherwise their Election should be void;" then I am sure there is an end of this Parliament, for we have not taken the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, "and incapable of ever being a Member of either House;" so this puts an end to both Houses of Parliament. In the Convention of 1660, there was a King in being, and the next Parliament was legally called by Writs. This Parliament depends entirely on the foundation of the last, and if they want a confirmation, neither this, nor the last Parliament, can confirm it. It is said by Sawyer, "Conquest is a Law." It is the first time I ever heard it. I have heard that Conquest supersedes all Laws—It is said, "To the time of the landing of the Prince of Orange, according to the Laws and Statutes, they are King and Queen." Does not the Act of Settlement declare it ? And you may very well refer to that Law, when they had their Royal Sanction: I think there is nothing against the reason of the thing (fn. 8).

Sir William Pulteney.] I hope we all agree that they are King and Queen; if we do not, we are forsworn. The only thing that sticks with me, is, I do not think that you intend that that Act about the Succession, should be left any way uncertain, that what we all mean should be clear. Why then should it not be declared, "That they are King and Queen, according to the Bill of Succession ?"

Sir Thomas Lee.] It is the natural Question, when exceptions are taken to a Bill, to have it committed, and of bad consequence if any other Question be put. I will trouble you now, only to offer an expedient how the matter may be solved, and the Bill not committed. There is nothing of worse consequence, than to explain what Right we sit here by, or upon what Government we stand, lest we should make farther limitation of the Crown than we have done. Possibly a Rider, to declare nothing in this Act against the Bill of Rights, &c. For that Reason I am against committing it.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I second the Motion for a Rider, and you may soon order it to be drawn to the effect moved by Lee.

Mr Hampden.] As for the expedient offered by my countryman, Lee, I gave no encouragement to it. I neither did oppose it, nor approve it. It tends to the great prejudice of the Crown. Such a Motion for a Rider is irregular. A Rider is proper to be added to an imgrossed Bill, but not against so great and substantial a Clause of the Bill as is opened.

Mr Godolphin.] It is dangerous to recognize the Government upon such Terms as to endanger the Government. Some may interpret, "From the King's landing, &c." some Conquest—I would have it in plain words, that every one may understand; and it might be mended in three words. "Be," and "be reputed," looks as if the case of the Kingdom was like the Gentleman that rode over Rochester-Bridge upon a single Plank, and was so struck with astonishment afterwards, that he fell down dead—We have gone over a Precipice, and we ought to walk warily.—He was called to Order, by

Sir Thomas Lee.] It is proper to debate now the time of reading of the Bill, but not the words of the Bill.

Mr Godolphin.] I desire leave to bring in that Rider mentioned by Lee.

The Speaker.] "Leave to bring in a Rider." I never heard of before. Every one is at liberty to do it without leave.

Sir John Lowther.] I own myself convinced, that the Bill ought to be read to-day; and as for the expedient, if you give time for a Rider, you will have all the ill consequences that can be, as if the King had another Title by Conquest.—This Clause is no more than what was done the last Parliament, and has destroyed all supposition by Conquest.

Sir Thomas Lee. As I told you before, I am always for preserving Order. Neither now, nor to-morrow, ought to be the Question, but whether you will read it, or not. (He mistook) I am sorry that any thing I said, by reason of arguing, should be taken for a Motion. I thought I spoke plainly to Orders and Methods. What I did say, was, "That it is in every Gentleman's power to offer you a Rider, if he pleases." Mine was only an Argument, what any Gentleman might offer you.

The Bill was read a third time, and passed (fn. 9), [the Question for committing it being carried in the Negative.]

The Lords Protest against the foregoing Bill.

"First, because we conceive to say, "It is enacted by the Authority of this present Parliament, that all and singular the Acts made in the last Parliament were Laws," is neither good English, nor good sense. If it were good sense to enact for the time past, it must be understood, on this subject, to be declaring Laws to be good which were passed in a Parliament not called by Writ in due form of Law; which is destructive to the legal Constitution of this Monarchy, and may be of evil and pernicious consequence to our present Government under this King and Queen."

The Lords who subscribed this Protest were, Halifax, Somerset, North, Nottingham (fn. 9), Weymouth, Abington, Scarsdale, Hunting don, Feversham, Jermyn, Dartmouth; Bishops, London, Winchester, Worcester, St David's, Landaff, and St Asaph.

[April 10, 11, and 12 Omitted.]

Monday, April 14.

On a Motion for the Forfeitures of Persons, who acted in Commission, without taking the Oaths and Test.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] I hear the Papists are bold in many places, and one reason of their boldness is, they go away unpunished. In the last Reign, many of the Judges, and Justices, sided with them to countenance that terrible power in the Crown, to dispense with our Laws. You are told, "The Subject cannot have the benefit of it by lapse of time;" and that the King may have the benefit of it, is the end of my Motion.

Sir Robert Sawyer.] I would have Instructions to the Committee for the Bill, that the Forfeitures may be for public use, to satisfy public Justice, and that private Men run not away with it. If you make not some provision of this kind, if those go away with impunity, what can you have for caution of public security for the future ?

Sir John Lowther.] I would not have this alarm too many people. I would have mean persons in small Corporations exempted, that those Penalties should not extend thither.

Mr Hampden.] I wonder to hear it said, "That this is not raising Money." You are laying a Penalty upon this sort of People; the time of the prosecution is lapsed, and you give the Penalty to the King ex post facto, and the Money to be applied to public Uses. Let not this be called "No raising of Money."

Sir John Guise.] We shall not do Justice to the Nation to punish one Man, and not the top of all. This brings you into the business of the day (The PlantationCharter) The Charters have brought you into all these misfortunes. I would have both the considerations in one Bill.

Sir Edward Seymour.] There is no time limited in the Act for prosecution of the Penalty; it is a Debt, due at this time, both in matter and form.

Mr Hampden.] Taking these Fines from private, and putting them to public Uses, is raising Money upon the Subject.

Sir Edward Seymour.] This is but transferring it to better security.

[The Poll Bill passed, and a Bill for reversing the judgment in a Quo Warranto against the City of London, was read the first, and ordered to be read a second time.

April 15, Omitted: April 16, Fast-Day.—Dr Tillotson, Dean of St Paul's, preached before the House.]


  • 1. As Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • 2. Son of Sir Philip Harcourt, and afterwards distinguished by his eminence at the Bar. In the year 1702, he was appointed Sollicitor-General, and in 1707, Attorney-General to Queen Anne, which Office he quitted by a voluntary surrender a few months after, but was recalled to it in 1710; and was the saine year made Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, and created Lord Harcourt. In 1712, he was declared Lord Chancellor, and in 1721, he was created a Viscount. He diedsin 1727, and was grandfather to the present Earl.
  • 3. See Mr Harcourt's Speech above.
  • 4. Youngest brother to Lord Godolphin, and one of the Commissioners of the Customs. He died in 1720.
  • 5. One of the most remarkable Wits of King Charles II's Reign, and father to the Countess of Dorchester, who was Mistress to King James II, which occasioned him, after voting for the Prince of Orange's succeeding to the Crown, at the Revolution, merrily to say, "That, in return for King James's having made his Daughter a Countess, he had given his Vote to make his Daughter a Queen."
  • 6. The Heads of this Bill (which were agreed upon and reported the next day) were the same with that which passed in 1677, (which see Vol. V. p. 201.) with these additions: "All Annuities and Rentcharges were taxed; all sharers in the New River water, in respect of their shares; all Fee Farm Rents now paid, and not otherwise charged; all Members of the Hudson's Bay Company, for their share in the joint stock of that Company; and all the younger sons of Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts, and Barons."
  • 7. The violence and injustice with which the Election of Sheriffs (in 1682) was carried by the Court, showed that they were resolved, by fair or foul means, to have the Government of the City in their own hands. But, because they would not be at this trouble, nor run this hazard every year, it was resolved, that the Charter of the City must either be given up, or be adjudged to the King. The former was much the easier way; so great pains were taken to manage the next Election of the Common Council, so as that they might be tractable in this point—But after all the practices of the Court, in the returns of the Common Council of the City, they could not bring it near an equality for delivering up their Charter. The Court, finding that the City of London could not be wrought on to surrender their Charter, resolved to have it condemned, by a judgment in the King's Bench. Jones had died in May; so now Pollexsen and Treby were chiefly relied on by the City in this matter. Sawyer was the Attorney-General, a dull hot man, and he undertook, by the advice of Saunders, a learned but a very immoral man, to overthrow the Charter. The two points upon which they rested the Cause were, "That the Common Council had petitioned the King, upon a Prorogation of Parliament, that it might meet on the day to which it was prorogued, and had taxed the Prorogation as that which had occasioned a delay of Justice." This was construed to be the raising Sedition, and the possessing the People with an ill opinion of the King and his Government. The other point was, "That the City had imposed new Taxes on their Wharfs and Markets; which was an invasion of the Liberty of the Subject, and contrary to Law.—" After long Pleadings, on both sides, when the matter was brought near Judgment, Saunders, who had laid the whole thing, was made Chief Justice; Pemberton, who was not satisfied in the point, being removed to the Common Pleas, upon North's advancement. Dolben, a Judge of the King's-Bench, was found not to be clear; so he was turned out, and Wythens came in his room. When Sentence was to be given, Saunders was struck with an apoplexy; so he could not come into Court; but he sent his Judgment in writing, and died a few days after. The Sentence, which was given without the solemnity that was usual on great occations, was, "That a City might forfeit its Charter; that the Malversations of the Common Council were the Acts of the whole City; and that the two points set forth in the Pleadings were just grounds for the forseiting of a Charter." Upon which Premises, the proper conclusion seemed to be, "That therefore the City of London had forfeited their Charter:" But the consequences of that were so much apprehended, that they did not think fit to venture on it: So they judged, "That the King might seize the Liberties of the City."—Upon this, the King sent a new Message to the City of London, requiring the Common Council to deliver up their Charter, threatening them, that, otherwise, he would order the Judgment to be entered; and, upon their refusal, the Judgment was entered, and the King seized on their Liberties. Many of the Aldermen, and other Officers, were turned out, and others were put in their places. So they continued, for some time, a City without a Charter, or a Common Council; and the King named the Magistrates. Burnet.
  • 8. Somers, then Sollicitor General, spoke with much zeal, and such an ascendant of authority, that none was prepared to answer it. So the Bill passed without any more opposition. This was a great service done in a very critical time, and contributed not a little to raise Somers's character, Burnet.
  • 9. It was expected that great and long Debates would have been made in the House of Commons upon this Act, but to the wonder of all People, it passed in two days in the House, without any Debate or opposition. Burnet.
  • 10. Many Lords protested against it, at the head of whom was the Earl of Nottingham. Burnet.