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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Monday, December 4.
An ingrossed Bill, touching free and impartial Proceedings in Parliament, was read the third time.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I would not, by any ways and means, disgrace that body of men from whom must arise our Security—The late Long Parliament did stand against Popery and the French Interest—To say those Laws were passed by corrupt men, that the House was filled with!— Next, in this Bill, no person to be chosen a Member is capable of an Office—The Question was formerly, "What will you do for the man that the King delights to honour?" And now, What disgrace will you put upon him? I think this a great reflection on the Country, and will you establish these reflections? There are other ways than Places to corrupt men, which may be turned into Pensions—And by this Bill you establish nothing but reflections on your Country.
Mr Harley.] I can hear no argument against the Bill—'Tis objected, "That this Bill will put a reflection on the worthy Members that have Offices;" but you have taken care of those that are to come hereafter, but not those in present. As for former Parliaments, it is best to pass them over in silence. And as for "the King's honouring men," no doubt but the King will honour them who best deserve it. If the People make choice of one in Office, they are not deceived, but if they accept of an Office, it voids their Place—People may be deceived in their choice. In the first of King James I, the Chancellor, studious of the good of the Kingdom, sent down to the House of Commons a list of the Members in Office, and they were turned out of the House, and new Writs were sent out, and new Members chosen, that might attend the business they were chosen for.
[The Bill passed.]
Tuesday, December 5.
[The Earl of Ranelagh, by his Majesty's Order, laid before the House the State of the War, in relation to the Land-Forces, for the Year 1694, amounting in the whole to 93,635 men, and 2,881,194 l. 16s. 3d. annual Charge.]
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Forces given in are 93,000, in the whole. It was never known that an Army of near 100,000 was raised. The King is a gracious Prince, but consider what a Precedent you make! This is a good King, but other Princes may say, "The like has been done," and so we may be slaves for ever. Parliaments have been always careful of making Precedents. I move, "That the Lords of the Council may sign this List," that we may know whether this be Dutch, or English Counsel—I would know who must answer this? But I will dare say, that no Treaty obliges us to one man. But if this must go, whither will this obligation go? The last Year, you called for Treaties, and you had but one offensive Treaty with the States produced, signed by Lord Nottingham, &c.—I would see those signed, and not prostitute the People of England. If we shall be slaves, it is no matter who we are slaves to. If you agree to this number, I cannot tell how to help it; but I move, "That the Lords of the Council may sign this List."
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] No wonder we are surprized at this number, when we have nothing before us, but just reading the Papers. Because we gave last time without seeing the Treaties, now they bring us [the like again.] If there be any such Treaties with the Allies, in God's name, let us see them. These are no more than if so much money was demanded of us. Let us make an humble Address to the King, to lay these Alliances before us, and then we shall be able to judge what proportions come to us. One would think that this was Dutch Counsel; else we should never be put to contribute at this rate, to ruin England to preserve Flanders. I know no consideration for this but our labour for our pains. I would address the King, &c.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I am much surprized at this Estimate, and to observe that the more we give, the less success we have. I have heard from Mr Vaughan, in this House, "that no sum of Money was to be asked here, but the cause was laid before us." What signify all our Laws, if we have no Estates? The Nation is not at its ease, so as to give such sums. We are told that still there is a vast debt behind; but there are vast Pensions and Gifts—Every man ought to know the reason of this. If this vast number will ruin England, we must not support Holland. I would have the Alliances produced, &c.
Sir John Thompson.] I would defend the Confederacy as far as we are able. When Holland was in danger, they made us pay 600,000 l. for that little assistance they sent us. I am apt to think that many of the misfortunes to us in Flanders are for having so many men there. Their Army lost not so many—The English were knocked on the head, and we had not so many men, we had not so many detachments, and so the French beat up our Camp. All we have hitherto given amounts to no more effect than to be beaten abroad, and beggared at home.
Dr Barbon.] I should be loth to see Trade regulated at Amsterdam, and War at the Hague. If this number of men be found reasonable, I shall agree to it. If not, I would call the Advisers to account.
Sir John Dorrell] I am amazed at this Estimate as much as any man. The objection, want of success— But when the fathers have eaten sour grapes, the Children's teeth are set on edge—The last reigns made the French so great, that we cannot now pull them down. Cromwell neglected Europe to save himself. And the two last reigns went in the steps of Oliver. Either we must be at the charge to pull down this vigorous Monarch, or not. If we will lie down to be trodden on, we may. But let the sum we give be laid impartially, as in other places—This charge is borne by the fortieth part of England. If every shoulder bore part of the proportion, the sum of two Millions would be easily borne—I join with the Motion for an Address.
Sir Charles Sedley.] This Army is not so dangerous as is said. It is to defend us from France and Popery. If Holland be destroyed, it is our turn next. The King tells us of the want of Numbers, and certainly Numbers must be continued, if not increased. There is a great and terrible sum to be raised—But we are not yet under Excises. This sum will be great, but the Nation cannot be saved without it—We cannot be safe without an Army; neither safe at home, nor considerable abroad—
Mr Harley.] I do not doubt but this House will consider the necessity to preserve the Nation and the Confederacy, so much as belongs to us; but that is not the Question before us; but the Treaties and Alliances. I hope, when we raise the Money, that we shall satisfy them that sent us—When these are before us, then it will be time for us to judge—That which surprizes me is what is talked of "general Excises," on both sides the House. [Let us be careful] that what we give this year we may be able to give the next, without filling the Nation with Publicans, and the House with Excisemen.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] You had the Alliances last year before you, and I think none were broken. The King tells us, "That our Allies declared they would augment in the midst of their distress;" and they did very wisely, and seasonably, to keep up the hearts of their People. Nobody doubts but that the King tells you true of the want of Men—Thompson tells you, "If you had less men, you would have less killed;" and I say, if you had had none, you would have had none killed. If the French King be wearier of the War than we, less Money will carry it on. The manner of collecting the Tax, &c. has been a Grievance, but nothing has been said of an Excise—If the French King can, you can easily carry on your Taxes; he will be the sooner weary. But why should we be surprized that this is a greater Estimate of our Forces?—Clarges is an able Member, and always speaks to instruction. He tells you of Precedents, &c. But was a Kingdom ever in such a condition, the Enemy stronger than you? I am sensible that, in the late Reign, People without doors were ready to give, who now value themselves upon saving your Money, when you are upon the utmost extremity—I believe the Country would rather part with their Money, than dwindle away from year to year—Suppose it should fall out, that the Confederates should leave us; but if we leave them, the French King will be quickly full of Money, and over-run us all—
Sir Thomas Clarges.] All Treaties last time were defensive, not offensive, &c. and that with Denmark should not extend to an offensive War with France—
Sir John Trenchard (fn. 1).] The last year you sent such an Address to the King, and the Treaties were laid before you—The Treaty of Charles II with the States— I propose that this lie upon the Table, and the House consider whether the whole or part.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Treaties before you the last time were partly defensive—I remember, the Treaties of Charles II were brought to us—All defensive Treaties— "They shall be maintained at the charge of the party sending;" but is it for us to be at all the charges? If aid be called for from us, we must judge of the Treaties.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I was one of the first that made the Motion for these Treaties, and see no reason why we should relinquish it. But you have been told, by Trenchard, of new concerts; therefore I would know what before, and what augmentation must be made now. I would have before us what should induce us to consent, and not do it, without knowlege; and if there be any Treaty, pray let us have it. I am more concerned than before, "since a general Excise" has been talked of, for then adieu to our Liberties at a blow! I would know what our Allies were before, and what they are now.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Treaties are not verbal, but in writing. Since the House waves the Privy-Counsellors signing the Paper of the Forces, pray let us see the Treaties.
Col. Cornwall.] When we must come in to the Confederates totis viribus, I would know why they have not their Numbers complete? I would know what is become of these men? We shall pay above double, and they not above half. Perhaps you may make the French King bring some of his men out of Germany, and be the weaker. Your increase of Forces will be of no use— I believe they have not Officers in Holland that have judgment to manage so great an Army.
Lord Colchester.] If you do not increase your Forces, the honour of England will be lost. Though I have the best opinion of the English of any men, yet if they be so often baffled by numbers, they may become like other men—If we can come up with numbers equal to the French, we shall beat them. What induces me to this is my love to my Country, and my Religion. I love my ease as well as other men—I doubt not but, if we keep up our number, the King of France will come to ask a Peace at the House of Commons door.
Col. Cornwall.] I have not so much experience as Lord Colchester, but in one year I have seen more done, than in four years since. I do say, our Forces were so equal before they drew out the Detachment, that I ask, if the French durst have attacked us, if the Duke of Wirtemberg had not gone out?
Mr Harley.] I speak to the wording of the Question. You say, the Forces shall be augmented. The proper Question is, "Whether the Land-Forces?" This Question may be multiplied, and run into an endless Debate.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You have not approved the List, nor any part of it. The Question is, "Whether the number for England, &c. shall be the number for this Year?"
Mr Howe.] I think you have performed your promise to the King, since he came to the Crown, and I hope he will perform another, to see his promises kept to us. Our Ancestors proposed good Laws, in exchange of the Money we gave them. I would know, whether you wish to be supported? Unless you better your condition, you are not fit to be supported—The King says, "What seems good to you I will do."—Since it is not the Question, whether you will send Men into Flanders, you must either be strongest there, or make your Peace with them that are so.
[Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, by the Privy-Counsellors of the House, That his Majesty will be pleased to command, that such offensive Treaties and Alliances, as his Majesty is now under with the Confederates, and the proportions of Forces that the Confederates are obliged to make, for the carrying on of this War, may be laid before this House.]
Wednesday, December 6.
Debate on the Miscarriages of the Fleet resumed.
Sir George Rooke attending, according to Order, was called in, and gave the following Account of the Convoy of the Turkey Fleet:
1. I desire, as far as may be, to be excused from giving any Opinion of the Gentlemen that were entrusted with the conduct of the Fleet; but what the House pleases to command me I must obey. I cannot tell what Opportunities the Admirals had, after I left them. I know not what Opportunities they had, when they came back, to know whether the French were come out, or not.
2. I know not of any intelligence they had, but I asked them, and they told me they had none.
3. There were several reports when we lay at Spithead. Sometimes, "That a French Squadron was out." The report at other times was, "That their great ships were disarmed, and that small Squadrons only were to come out." We had no intelligence after, but what I have said, which had no weight with me at all, and I did not acquaint the Admirals with it.
4. I did not call the Captains of the Merchant-men to a Council of War, till I came to the Madeiras. It was the 18th of June before I came to the Madeiras—And then I went to Ireland.
5. After the Signal was put out on board the Admirals, I had reason to think myself separate from the Fleet, and had not gone on board, if the weather had not proved fair, to receive Instructions for my Proceedings.
6. A Portuguese came on board me, but his intelligence was so contradictory, that it gained no credit with any body,
7. I did not send to the Coast of Portugal to know whether the intelligence was true, because I gave no credit to it—If it had been the French Fleet, it was happy I had not gone into the Ocean, and so made the loss greater than it was.
8. The result of the Council of War I know nothing of, but that it was unanimous.
9. There were general Debates and Arguments, and the Custom of the Council of War, as of all Councils, is, that they sign to the Majority.
10. I believe the result of the Council of War was unanimous.
11. I believe the gaining intelligence, informer Years, was by sending into Brest-Water, and taking Prisoners from the Shore.
12. I did understand, by their Resolution, what Measures to take.
13. I have the Minutes, which I took at the Council of War, about me.
14. As to the Admirals intelligence, it was said, "They had no Ships proper for that Service, to send in for intelligence"— I thought it unreasonable, and impracticable, to give Orders in steering our Course to Cadiz. All the Flag-Officers were of that Opinion.
15. We expected we should have intelligence, but thought it impracticable to go into Ushant.
16. The Council of War was on the 16th of September. I believe I did draw up the result, but there was something in it I could not sign, and, I believe, that was the Reason why I did draw it up.
17. There was something proposed, at the opening the Council of War, which I could not sign, viz. "That the Orders the Flag-Officers had received, were executed according to the Resolution of the Council of War." I could not sign this, having been absent a great part of the Summer.
18. I humbly presume it is very well known to several of the Members, that it was never my Opinion, that the Fleet should proceed in the Circumstances they were designed.
19. The Captain of a French Fire-ship gave intelligence— And I have said it in my Paper. I know neither the French nor the Portuguese Language, and so must submit to an Interpreter, and what was said is in my Paper.
20. I sent to some Captains, and examined them apart, which I delivered in, in my Paper.
21. I never saw, nor heard of a Fruit-Ship, nor ever saw any Ship, but one Dutch Ship, from the Terceras, going to Amsterdam, till I met the French Fleet.
22. I remember not the Lords of the Admiralty, but I remember, that all the Flag-Officers went ashore with the Admirals, with the result of the Council of War.
23. I believe they delivered it to the Lords of the Council at Portsmouth, because they went on shore for that purpose; but of its being transmitted to the Lords of the Admiralty I know not.
24. As the Weather had proved, I believe we might have gone into Brest-Water.
25. I know not what Orders the Admirals had; they were private Orders, and I know not whether they went according to their Orders.
26. I believe I was about two Leagues off, when the Signal of parting was given.
27. I know not whether I saw the Orders of carrying the Fleet to Lagos-Bay. I heard them read, but dare not offer my Opinion in so weighty a matter.
28. I was present at the Council of War, on board the Britannia, the 22d of May.
29. The Signal of parting was proposed in case of bad Weather.
30. I approved the Station of 30 Leagues W.S.W. of Ushant.
31. I understood, that, when I came there, I should take farther Measures what advice I should take, from the intelligence I should receive.
32. I have the Minutes of the Council of War of May 22 about me—(which he read, and Captain Parsons's Letter be read, viz. "I wish you may find out the Men that were the occasion of your not proceeding in March.")
33. I think some other Flag-Officers made Objections to the Proposal; to the best of my remembrance, Lord Berkeley, and Admiral Aylmer.
34. The Proposal was not drawn up, but offered and proposed. I had been absent a great part of the Summer, and from the Council of War too.
35. We had not proper Ships for the service of sending to Brest (as before) June 4, and the men might suppose they were sent to be sacrificed—If I had committed Errors, I might commit more.
36. Early in the morning the Signal was put out. The Weather proved fair; and I suppose that was the Reason why the Admirals gave the Signal for the Council of War.
Mr Chadwick.] If you have any thing to ask the Admirals, they are at the Door.
Lord Falkland.] I would ask the Admirals some Questions. You cannot else make a judgment upon the whole.
[Resolved, That the Admirals be called in severally.]
Admiral Killegrew, at the Bar.] I, being but one in the Commission, humbly crave, that those in the Commission may come in. I know not else what inconvenience it may be to us. Between the 30th and the 6th, we sent out our Scouts for what intelligence we could get. If we had sent into Brest, we must have lost our opportunity of sailing. A Vessel that was sent out, took a Fisherman, but he knew nothing—The Admiralty sent us word, that they had not cruising Ships—Had I sent a Ship in, which way could it escape? If I had thought it feasible, I would have done it. We did nothing of any kind, nor made one step, without a Council of War, where we three are but one man, and one voice; neither durst we have done otherwise, We endeavoured to get intelligence, but could not come at it. If Orders were sent to us, that we could not put in execution, I hope the House will not blame us. We gave Rooke no Orders, nor Instructions, at parting. [He withdrew.]
[Sir Ralph Delaval, and Sir Cloudesly Shovel, were then, separately, called in, and asked several Questions, to which they gave answer; and then withdrew. And a Motion being made, and the Question being put, That the Admirals that commanded the Fleet the last Summer, by not gaining such Intelligence as they might have done, of the Brest Fleet, and not sending into Brest for Intelligence, before they left the Streights Squadron, are guilty of a high Breach of the Trust that was put in them, to the great loss and dishonour of the Nation; it passed in the Negative, 185 to 175.]
Thursday, December 7.
Mr Harley, from the Commissioners of Accounts, [acquainted the House, "That Mr Francis Rainsford, Receiver of the Rights and Perquisites of the Admiralty, having been examined before them upon Oath, as to his Accounts in general, did acknowlege, "That, about the 18th of March, the Lord Viscount Falkland sent for him, and desired to know "how much Money he could advance, as Receiver of the Rights of the Admiralty; and that it would be for his Majesty's service to pay as much as he could." He then said, "He would pay 4000l." That the 22d of the said March he received from Lord Falkland a Letter, expressing the Number and Value of the Bills required, and desiring him to take no notice of it to any one. That he had the Original of this Letter in his Custody till Monday last, when, being sent for by Lord Falkland, he showed the Original to his Lordship, and he kept it. That, in pursuance of the said Letter, he attended his Lordship the next morning; and then acquainted him, "That he could not bring his Lordship Notes that day for the whole 4000l." Whereupon, his Lordship ordered him to bring Notes for 2000l. and to bring the other within fourteen days. That afterwards, the same day, Mr Rainsford brought six Notes for the Money, two of 500l. each, and four for 250l. each. That, upon the delivery of the said six Notes, Lord Falkland delivered to him an Order signed by his Majesty, for paying the 4000l. and also a Certificate of his Majesty's signing; Copies of which he produced. The hand-writing of the Papers he believed to be Lord Falkland's. His Lordship, upon receiving the said Notes, gave him a Receipt for 2000l. And, after the fourteen Days allowed him for paying the other 2000l. were expired, Lord Falkland sent a Servant to the said Mr Rainsford; and thereupon, he attended his Lordship about the 10th of April, with a Note for 1000l. and about the 20th of April with such another Note. Upon which, his Lordship took up his first Acquittance for 2000l. and gave him a Receipt for his Majesty's use for 4000l. That Lord Falkland did acknowlege, upon his Oath, before the Commissioners, "That, the 23d of March 1692-3, he did receive from Mr Rainsford Notes upon Mr Fowles for 2000l. but could not remember to whom those Notes were payable." And his Lordship said, "The same day he did, by the King's Order, deliver those Notes to one who is no Member of either House of Parliament; and hath a Receipt for the same." And his Lordship farther owned the Receipt of the other 2000l. some time in April, which, he faith, is still in his hands; and that he hath attended his Majesty, since his return; who told him, "He had directions for him therein."]
Lord Falkland.] I acknowlege the Receipt of 4000l. I have disposed of 2000l. of it, but not to Parliamentmen. I applied to the King for his directions for the remaining 2000l. I can say no farther than I did to the Commissioners of Accounts. I received it by the King's Order, and paid it to no Members of Parliament; and the rest is in my hands.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I have not heard of such a way of proceeding. It seems, there was great haste for the Payment of this Money; but as great as the haste was, 2000l. is still in Lord Falkland's hands. But I must observe, that when a man is brought to your Bar, and ordered to attend, then for that Lord to send to him, and take that Letter from him, and say, "Be sure you tell nobody of it!"—How many public Purses must be in England? It looks as if this Money was given—Bills of Exchange in other mens names!—I find my Respect can carry me to no other Motion, but that, if Lord Falkland has any thing farther to say, he may; if not, that he withdraw.
Lord Falkland.] I had directions from the King to receive this Money, before he went into Flanders; the rest I should pay as he should direct. I hope this is no fault, to obey the King. The Money was received by no Member of Parliament, nor was for the use of any Member—The Account could not be made till all the Money was received—I have paid it as the King has ordered, and so I shall do the rest. I desired the Commissioner to send me a Precept.—
Sir Thomas Clarges.] According to Order, Lord Falkland ought to withdraw. I would know the sense of the House in it.
Lord Falkland.] I believe, this Money was for the King's immediate use, and when I brought the King the Notes, he ordered me to pay it to the Clerk of the Closet for his immediate use.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] This Mr Rainsford, I perceive, Lord Falkland preferred into the Admiralty. He was pleased to send that Letter, "That what Money he could pay should be kept secret." Lord Falkland is a Privy-Counsellor, and brought Blank Notes to be signed by the King. It is the ordinary method, to pay Money by the Great Seal, or Privy Seal. That was not done like a Privy-Counsellor, to advise to put the King in a figure of signing Bills. It is a Breach of Falkland's Trust, and he ought to be tender of the Honour of the King—He took up the Letter again, and expressed himself, "That it should be kept very secret;" but if the Money was for the King's use, it might surely be no secret, to be paid by the King's direction. I think this Lord has not used the King very kindly, to keep the Money till he knew how to dispose of it.
Mr Foley.] I cannot but take notice, that all the Report carries a suspicion, that this Money is not to be owned. I cannot imagine, why these two Notes should be sent to the Goldsmith—I think, as has been observed, that it is a strange way of issuing Money. The Notes ought to be counter-signed. To whom these Notes were to be paid, must be kept private—Four Men were to have two Notes—It is plain these were Goldsmiths Notes, to lie by, and to be paid at leisure. This Lord gave a fortnight's liberty to pay these two Notes, without acquainting the King. My Lord thought not fit to tell the Commissioners to whom this Money was paid, but "not to Members of Parliament." This Randolph Keyn's (fn. 2) name has been much used in Money. I hope the House will have satisfaction from Keyn. By all the circumstances, it appears, that this Money was put to an ill use, and I would vote it so.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I attended the Report, and I observe several Gentlemen have showed great jealousy, but I know not of what. I think, Lord Falkland has fairly delivered himself of the 2000l. and the other 2000l. you may send for when you please. This may be the King's own Money; may he not dispose of it? But if you will enquire into the King's private Revenue, not disposed of by Parliament, do as you please.
Mr Harley.] I stand up only to justify the Commissioners of Accounts. We are not to enquire into the Privy Purse; but this being a Person who refused upon Oath, this a bye-corner of the Revenue, the Commissioners have done their Duty—And, I believe, you will find this John Thomas (fn. 3) a name much used. Do as you please.
SirThomas Littleton.] I had no intention to make any Reflection upon the Commissioners of Accounts. I am so far from thinking that they have not done their Duty, that I think they have done more than their Duty.
Mr Howe.] If this Lord had obeyed the King in any unlawful thing, I think it not warrantable; but to obey him in lawful Commands, I think is the Duty of every Servant. I believe the King may have private uses for his Money, and long may he have so; do what you please!
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Littleton tells you, "He made no Reflection on the Commissioners of Accounts," and excuses them with greater Reflection. We, (the Commissioners, &c.) are made common Enemies here. Littleton is of the Robe, and he knows that the Great Seal, or Privy Seal, must dispose of the King's Money.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think it a great fault before you, for a man to take upon him to draw Warrants, and it is a diminution of the King's hand to sign Warrants. But I think the crime of this Lord is this; that, when a Man was brought to the Bar, to inform you of this Payment, the same day he should take away the Letter, that directed the Payment. He deserves to go to the Tower, for no other thing. The Money is in this Lord's hand, and he keeps it in his hand, and there is nothing plainer, than that this Money was for Secret-Service. In a Privy-Counsellor, this is an offence. Has not the King a Privy Purse? If it was for the King's Secret Service, what need of such concealing it? You may reasonably say, this was for some Service that ought not to be. The taking away the Letter from Rainsford was an affront to the House, and I move, "That this Lord be sent to the Tower."
Sir Charles Sedley.] The King had this Money, as private Money, the Perquisites of the Lord Admiral, there being none at present in being, and may dispose of this Money as he pleases. I find this Lord has done nothing but as first Commissioner of the Admiralty, and paid it accordingly. He has told you, "It was not for the use of any Member."
Mr Montagu.] You are rightly informed of the Course of Payments of the King's Money, by the Great Seal, or Privy Seal. I cannot tell by what Rule, and know not how it is so.—What issues from the Admiralty is not under the Rules of Payment in the Exchequer—Proper into the Exchequer.
Mr Finch.] How this Money is to be directed, I know not the method; but I dare venture to say, it is not according to Law—If it he by direction of the Admiralty, it ought to be signed by the Admiralty. This Lord is a Commissioner, and he prepares a Warrant directed to himself. The 2000l. remains subject still to direction. However any Man is to be paid, it is for a Consideration, and he is by Law accountable to the King for the Money. He is accountable to the Law for this Sum, thus long in this Lord's hand. For any other Man, it is no excuse to let Money be in a Man's hands upon good behaviour. It was neither received according to Law, nor paid according to Law. If you establish this, you establish all Pensions. I hope, that, if this Lord be faulty, you will punish him accordingly.
Sir Francis Winnington.] This affair is necessary to be enquired into. If once Pensions be connived at here, it will give countenance to the Judges, in their Courts, to do the same. The French King never grew so great, as since Pensions were in Parliament; though no man is so foolish as to own it. This way of receiving the King's Money is against Law. All the Revenue ought to be brought into the Exchequer. This Money of the Admiralty ought to be so. All Fines ought to be brought into the Exchequer, if not granted off by Privy Seals. This Lord is a Member of Parliament; he ought not to finger Money in the Treasury—"This Money he must speak of to nobody." These expressions bespeak something not fit to come to light. People receive the King's Money by Record—How came this Letter to be taken away? It is well, if the Money can lie half, or three quarters, of a Year without calling for—A Trunk of Money was delivered to a Gentleman cross Ludgate-Hill, that should not speak one word of it—Great implication in "that he should tell nobody," and these Bills were signed just at the rising of the Parliament. I take it, that the taking away this Letter is a contempt to the House. 2000l. of it was paid, and the other 2000l. he kept to himself—If once detected, I hope others will be punished that are found guilty.
Admiral Russel.] I would have Gentlemen consider what this Money is. It is said, "'Tis proper to be paid into the Exchequer, or by Privy Seal." Pray consider, this Money belongs to the Lord Admiral's Perquisites, to dispose of as the King shall direct. But if this Lord shall dispose of it by the King's direction, I hope you will not send him to the Tower for this.
Sir Robert Cotton.] This matter before you is of great consequence. When you enquire farther, this Lord is not so criminal.
Mr Boyle.] I think this matter not plain, but much plainer than was expected. You have all the suspicion and ground to suspect something in this matter. When it was first started, this Lord said something, and afterwards something more, and I hope that, if you send him to the Tower, he will tell you all. Rainsford refused to take his Oath before the Commissioners of Accounts; and, the highest thing of all, the Letter, is withdrawn, to stifle your Information. I have heard it said, "That England can never be ruined but by a House of Commons." I join in the Motion "for sending this Lord to the Tower."
Mr Sollicitor Trevor.] This Lord has denied paying any of this Money to Members of Parliament. He says, "He has not received nor paid this Money without Authority;" and some Money is still in his hands. If it be so, that the Money belongs to the Admiral, it belongs to his Office, in point of Law, to the Perquisites of the Admiralty, and that is its proper Channel— It appears not that it was disposed of to Members, but it came into his hands as an Officer of the Admiralty.
Mr Bromley (fn. 4).] You have, in some measure, owned you have Pensioners. If you admit this for a Defence, you must never expect Discoveries. You are moved, to send this Lord to the Tower. I am far from a harsh Motion, but if it had been to expell him the House, I should have joined.
Sir Herbert Crofts.] I am sorry to find endeavours to lessen the Crime of this Lord: I am sorry to find it in an English Parliament. Nothing will more corrupt and destroy us, than this of Pensions. 'Tis sufficiently made out, that this Money was paid as a Pension, or Gratuity. But I insist upon that offence, that, when you had a Man before you, after that to withdraw the Letter, or stifle your Proceeding, you cannot be too severe upon him; and I join in the Motion "for committing him to the Tower."
Mr Hungerford.] I am as forward as any to punish, when Corruption is digging the Grave of our English Liberties. But this Lord is not so culpable as represented. He is in the Commission of the Admiralty, and the Money is properly payable to that Office—We are in the dark, and I would have— (fn. 5) sent for, but not commit this Lord to the Tower.
Mr Palmes.] I do not rise for the Question of sending this Lord to the Tower; that is too hasty. It was a great Crime, the withdrawing the Letter,&c. I think the Commissioners of Accounts deserve the Thanks of the House. They have told you that other Persons names were used. I move, that you, would adjourn the Debate, that those other Persons, whose names were used, may be sent for, that were concerned.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I should not trouble you again, but for what fell from Boscawen, who asks, "For what Crime you will send this Lord to the Tower?" It is stifling the Evidence, that the Commissioners take to be the Crime. Remember your Order yesterday, "That no Member should speak with the Admirals (fn. 6);" but when you are taking the Examination of this Money, your Member to stifle the Evidence! What would have been the judgment of the House, in that Case, yesterday? I would fain know that. "Nobody," Falk land says, "must know of it (fn. 7)." He deserves to be sent to the Tower for stifling the Evidence.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I only observe, that the Evidence was not stifled.
Sir Christopher Musgrave] If a Copy had not been taken, I appeal to you if the Evidence had not been stifled?
Mr Foley.] I have something to say to the Question. You have had a Report from the Commissioners of Accounts, and now it is moved, to have it at the Bar, by Persons to be summoned. Put your Question right, viz. "That Rainsford being sent for, Lord Falkland withdrew his Evidence."
Sir Henry Goodrick.] I can find no manner of excuse, if any thing had been done industriously that this Lord is accused of. I desire he may be heard in his place.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The usual Custom is, that the Person accused may, if he desires it, be heard in his place; and I move it.
The Question being put, That Lord Falkland, for withdrawing a Letter, writ by his Lordship to Mr Rainsford (who was to be examined by the Commissioners for taking the public Accounts) be committed to the Tower; it passed in the Negative, [175 to 137.]
Resolved, That Lord Falkland be called in, and reprimanded in his place.
[He was called in accordingly,] and reprimanded by the Speaker, to this effect: That his withdrawing the Letter from Mr Rainsford, &c. was a great offence against the House, &c.
Lord Falkland.] I am sorry I should be the occasion of giving the House this trouble. I protest I did not withdraw the Letter with any design of withdrawing Evidence. I am sorry for it. And, upon my word, if it was an error, it was in my judgment, but with no design of stifling the Evidence. I hope the House will make a favourable construction of it.
Mr Smith.] 'Tis clear to you, that part of the Money, the 2000l. was not given to Members; but the other 2000l. is not clear.
The Speaker.] The House has considered your withdrawing the Letter, and have been merciful to your Lordship. You have said, "You did it not wilfully; it was an error of your judgment." I have done the part that belongs to me, and I hope you will do your part, in giving the House satisfaction.
Lord Falkland.] I am extremely obliged to the House, that they have been so merciful to me; and I give my humble Thanks to the House for their mercy.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I wonder Hungerford should be so zealous formerly for printing your Votes, and should be against printing your Resolutions in this Business. Let not private Considerations prevent your doing your Duty.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I could wish, that from hence you would take a Resolution to print your Votes no more; but to continue printing, and make exception of this last, is very extraordinary. You will pass a greater censure upon yourselves, by not printing them, than you have to pass upon this Lord. The Marquess of Winchester remembers more than I do; but if any Man should say, "That I made a Motion for your Votes, relating to Lord Danby, last Session, not to be in print," he is much mistaken.
[December 8, Omitted.]
Saturday, December 9.
Mr Harley reports, from the Commissioners of Accounts, an Account of Money issued and paid for Secret Service, and to Members of Parliament.
Sir Robert Howard.] I had 1500l. from Lord Ranelagh. I was not so saucy as to refuse the King's favour. But I surrendered the Grant.
The Speaker.] I had 5l. a day Salary, and 2000l. for my Equipage, when Speaker upon **** (fn. 8) Estate. (Given in upon Oath.)
Earl of Ranelagh.] I had verbal directions from the King, to pay 1500l. per annum, to Sir Robert Howard, and it was paid till December 1691; and then Howard delivered it up, and no more notice was taken of it.
Mr Papillon.] I did petition the King to be excused from taking upon me the Victualler's place. I was in Business, and had Trade to follow, and must neglect all till ten o'clock at night. I have received a year and a half, at 500l. per annum.
Mr Harley.] There was 500l. to Sir Samuel Barnardiston. His fine was brought into the Exchequer. He brought a Writ of Error, and he, in the Lords House, reversed the Judgment, &c. The interest of his fine came to more than 500l. and he ought to have all.
Sir John Guise.] I am charged with 400l. for Secret Service, [He reads his Privy Seal] "in consideration of my Service beyond sea, and the Charge of our Expedition, to the hazard of his Person, &c." I thank the Gentlemen for putting me down. This is not very much for the service I have done. As for "the Forest of Deane,&c." it is but part of what the King promised me.