Debates in 1694: February

Pages 382-386

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

Thursday, February 1.

Debate on his Majesty's Answer.

Mr Paul Foley.] I am of opinion that the King's Answer to the Representation does not come up to what is aimed at; that we aimed at a settlement in the point, to have all our reasonable Bills of right to be passed; but since it can be no otherwise done, we must tack our Grievances to our Money-Bills; for we have just Fears and Grievances as long as we have a standing Army. The King tells us, "He has a great regard to our Constitution;" but it appears not that he understands our Constitution, which he may take to be to reject our Bills of ever so just Grievances. I move "That an humble Address may be made to the King for a farther Answer."

Sir Robert Cotton.] What is said in the King's Answer tends to full satisfaction (And so reads each Paragraph, and with sirained inserences descants thereon, like a Courtier.)

Mr Hutchinson.] The King says, "He is sensible of the good Affection we have expressed on many Occasions:" I am sorry it should not be expressed on all Occasions—The King may still reject our Bills as before, for any Assurance given us in his Answer. I think that, unless you keep the love of the People (whose Money you have freely disposed of) by securing to the People what the King promised at first, good correspondence with the King cannot be. (And so reflects on Officers.)

Sir Thomas Littleton.] It is hard to reflect on his Majesty's Words in such wise, by making such nice distinction betwixt "many Occasions," and "all Occasions." I think that his Majesty's Answer is very pat to the purpose. You make a Prayer at the end of the Representation, and his Majesty ties up his Answer to that Prayer, which desired nothing farther than is expressed in the Prayer. Would any man desire that the King should take occasion to say, "That he is sorry he did not pass the Bill, and that he will do so no more?" These expressions would not become his Majesty. I think it hard that such reflections should be upon those in Office, to be represented false to their Country: Pray let them be proved false, and punish them as severe as you will; but till such falsity is proved, pray let no man suffer for doing double duty to his King and Country both. We have many Enemies without doors, some at the very doors of the House, others at Cabals, who would be glad of our dissatisfaction with the King's Answer. But I, for my part, have a way how to guide my Vote always in the House, which is to vote contrary to what our Enemies without doors wish.

Sir John Thompson.] The Member that spoke last, hath a very uncertain rule to guide his voting, for our Enemies may alter their Opinion of Government, and all things, and daily do so, to make room for their better Fortunes. I do not take the Debate to be betwixt this House and the King, but betwixt this House and the Ministers, which if we remove not, they will remove us, and if your interest cannot do it, when the Government hath reed of you, what will become of you hereafter? I take the King's Answer to be responsum commune, which serves for any thing, and at any time, either at the beginning, in the middle, or at the ending of a Parliament. I would humbly address the King for a farther Answer, more satisfactory.

Mr Comptroller Wharton.] I am sorry that any exception is to the King's Answer. It would be a difficult thing to draw up so many lines as the King's Answer doth consist of, so exactly, that it should not be possible for men of fine understanding to take some exception thereto. I take the Answer to be a promise, that, for the future, his Majesty will pass our public Bills. I find that those that are most dissatisfied, will not come up, neither can, to say that the King has not a right to reject Bills: Yet I am of that mind, that the Ministers that advised, did ill in so advising.

Mr Bathurst spoke as usual

Sir Charles Sedley.] I know not how a crowned Head can descend to other Answer—But an offender at the Bar may be expected to say he will do so no more—(In what else he said he was not well heard.) I move, to rest satisfied.

Sir John Lowther.] The exceptions taken to the King's Speech, I think, are but few, and not strong. I think the exception by a worthy Member (Hutchinson) was rather a grammatical nicety—Next, I wonder much at an expression by some that have spoken, "that the King was altered himself." Upon the whole, I think it a gracious Answer.

Col. Granville.] I think there is but one objection to the King's Answer, and that is, that it is no Answer at all, and therefore, for the same reason, I think fit to make a Representation. I am dissatisfied with an insufficient Answer. I therefore declare, I am for farther application for a farther Answer.

Col. Mordaunt.] I question whether the Answer called "Gracious" yesterday be so to-day. I think it doth not answer the intention of the Gentlemen that drew the Representation, neither doth it answer the body, but I am of opinion that it answers the Prayer at the ending thereof. I would willingly have a better Answer, but not by jangling and farther representing, which will show we did not well at first. But I would have us stay and observe what the King will do, for the future, in passing Bills.

Mr Henry Herbert.] Your Prayer is "That, for the future, &c." And the King answers, and says, "He shall have regard to Parliaments;" which I take to be a promise for the future.

Mr Harley.] I could have wished his Majesty's Answer so clear, that all might have been satisfied: I could wish it had been more categorical and particular, and not an Answer by Inference only; for one man will make one Inference, and another infer quite the contrary. The King hath formerly said, in public Speeches and Declarations, "That he will be ready to pass all Bills for the satisfaction of his People;" and I could have wished this had been passed. I move to address for a farther Answer.

Mr Norris.] I think, the next time a public Bill is rejected, we shall have the best occasion to address for a farther Answer.

Mr Hungerford.] The King says, "He will have regard to the Advice of Parliaments," yet he may have greater to the Cabinet-Council, to the Privy Council, or any single Person.

Lord Digby.] If no Representation had been, I could better have let this matter have rested; but since you have appointed this day solemnly to take into consideration the King's Answer, I think fit to expect farther Answer; for this is so general, that the Answer will serve any thing, and for the future will be the same to all Addresses, as one agreed to by the Commons. This would not have been an Answer in former reigns; in this I expected a much better.

Admiral Russel.] I do not agree at all with the Lord that spoke last before me. I do not fear the King will make this Answer to every thing; for to me it seems plain that he promises for the future—I think, very great reflection hath been made upon those that have places. I acknowlege I have one, but I am as honest therein as any man that hath none. I move, That the House should be satisfied with this Answer.

Sir John Knight] (Rumbled nothing to the purpose.)

Sir John Morton] Takes down Sir John Knight, (who had asked leave to go into the Country) to order, and says, You have given that worthy Member leave to go into the Country, and I desire no farther Disturbance may be given to the House by him.

Brigadier Leveson.] I observe an Objection, "That the King's Answer may serve to any thing." Then why not to the Representation? At such a rate of receiving the King's Answer, I think it the best way, that those that penned the Representation, should have gone to have penned his Majesty's Answer.

Mr Boscawen.] Before the Question be put, "Whether you will address the King, whether a farther Answer should be required, or not," I would have the condition of our affairs considered, and the posture. Hannibal ad portas is our condition. I do not justify the Answer as very exact and categorical. In some times, and some seasons, some things are to be passed by, and at this time I would have us rest satisfied.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You have a great matter before you, "Whether you have an Answer given to your Representation, or not," of which so much has been said, that I have little lest to say. I do not find the King hath considered the grief of the Commons, nor of the passing our Bills. The prospect is melancholy: For, suppose that we should have Peace, why truly what can we expect by such an Answer, which I think neither an Answer to the Body, nor to the Prayer, of the Representation? He only says, "He will have a regard to Parliaments." For my part, I desire a good Correspondence, but can any one think less could be said? And plainly nothing is said, "That our Bills shall be passed for the future." But the King's Declarations have been such, that blame cannot be laid to the King, but it must be some ill private Counsel; since I hear from those of the Council, and those of the Cabinet, that they know nothing of this Answer. I move for a farther Representation.

Sir Walter Yonge.] I cannot agree, "That no Consideration hath been." For the King told you "He would consider, and give Answer," and so, no doubt, he hath considered. I take the King's Answer to be plainly, and in effect, that he owns your Constitution, and will pass your Bills without taking Advice of any to the contrary.

Mr Smith.] Was I not afraid that the negative Voice should be made a farther use of, I would have let this Question have rested, most contentedly. The Question, "Whether we should address farther, or not," is a dangerous Question: Therefore I think it best to wait, and see what will be done at the next tender of our Bills. If Peace comes, I am in no such Fears as some have suggested, for there will be so great a Debt upon the Crown, that it cannot set up for itself.

Mr Goodwin, Wharton, and two or three more,spoke, but to the same purpose with others before them.

[The Question being put, That an humble Application be made to his Majesty, for a farther Answer to the humble Representation of this House; it passed in the Negative, 229 to 88 (fn. 1).

Friday, February 16.

Mr Rainsford's Examination, and Lord Falkland's Information, before the Commissioners of Accounts, being read, and Lord Falkland having been heard, and withdrawn;

A Motion being made, and the Question being put, That Lord Falkland, being a Member of this House, by begging and receiving 2000l. from his Majesty, contrary to the ordinary Method of issuing and bestowing the King's Money, is guilty of a high Misdemeanor and Breach of Trust; it passed in the Affirmative, 143 to 126.

Resolved, That Lord Falkland be committed to the Tower of London, during the Pleasure of this House; and that Mr Speaker do issue his Warrant accordingly (fn. 2).


  • 1. This Bill was brought in again, and received the Royal Assent, in the following Session.
  • 2. [..] his Petition, on the 19th.