Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 2. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Tuesday, January 20.
Mr Sacheverell.] Complains of disorders in the Newark Election, and has a Petition from the Freemen there, and proper to be presented, when you come to the business of the Election—By pretence of general words in the Act, and by colour of some clauses, there is money raised on the subjects, and not warrantable; the Justices would not levy that money, and then to awe them, a printed order was sent them, with pretence of the Judges opinion: This done, they have gathered the money, to the great prejudice of the subject—Moves to have the Act explained, in the point of recognizances for Alehouses, by a Bill.
Sir John Duncombe.] Would willingly have the clause, for the recognizances for Licences of Alehouses, cleared. The Treasury has suspended several processes in Law; in this business, in most countries, no scruple is made of it—As for that of Smiths, they are as able to pay for their hearths, and they have as good a livelihood, as most persons in a town.
A Bill was ordered for them both (fn. 1).
Sir Francis Drake.] It is now the fifth day we have been upon this business, and these Gentlemen will run over all again, and make it the fifth hence; therefore would proceed "to address the King for his removal."
Colonel Strangeways.] "Impeachment" or "Address to the King" is before you. Is glad to see the House so tender of Religion (that includes property and all) and obliged to part with goods and life for it, but would rather have ten nocents escape, than one innocent man put out of the ways and means of justifying himself—The author of the Declaration, if known, deserves the highest censure imaginable; for a few number of persons to have extracted all the wisdom and power of the nation! We entered into a war, but where was the advantage? The French got towns, and prospered strangely, and what got we? Neither port nor town. Would not charge any man without probabilem causam litigandi. Arlington said, "he concurred, but not to the Article of Popery"—That Prince is unhappy that has Counsellors that do not oppose ill advice—Sir John Duncombe must be vindicated; he had the courage to oppose the Declaration—Whether read in Council, or his opinion called for—Arlington is said only to be a Minister, and that he executed orders of Council. In all this business, instead of others bearing the blame, the fault is fixed on the King, and the King not to blame. The King's Grants are many, and you ought to punish the persons that pass the Seals—In all acts of honour, you reflect upon the King and he has the praise; the faults are his Ministers, not his orders; but "the Commissioners of the Admiralty shall not grant stores for the French." Does the King understand all the navy-affairs? No one man can—He sat here when Lord Strafford was accused upon common fame, and believes there was nothing—The House had leave to examine Counsellors then, and all Strafford's friends; but at last had recourse to Impeachment, which, though long, is the surest way—Arlington's Articles may be taken pro confesso, but for the main Articles of Treason, no Witnesses ready—If you go upon Impeachment, and the persons that brought the Articles in have no evidence, the reflection is upon the persons that brought them in—Suppose we should desire his removal, and the Lords the contrary; and then is the proper time to show reasons. And now put what Question you please.
Lord Cornbury.] Proceedings would be unequal, if not as with the other Lords. Here it is said, Should not a man defend himself? Will any man tell him that Arlington does desire to be cleared that he was not in those Counsels? Lauderdale was charged with such words, and was the ground of your vote—Was any thing said that Buckingham was guilty of that advice? Arlington tells you, "he has met with a paper of Articles against him, and from thence induced to believe a charge against him," and appeals what any man means by doing his country right? It is certain men's minds are uneasy, and do expect redress in Parliament—Does believe it the intent of some men to alter the Government—Appeals to you, what effect the Declaration had—Did not that do it? Appeals to men's minds about Property; the very ploughmen debated these things. Your discontents are still as great, and will you leave us in the hands of those very men that have done these things? He is one of those that are of opinion that you cannot do any thing till these things are redressed—"Because Arlington consesses these things, therefore it is the less evidence against him," is very strange—Will not enlarge on his Religion, but he might have made distinction betwixt Protestants and Papists—He had so great a hand in all these things, that there seems much more against him, than either of the rest—Buckingham proposed the Alliance with France, but Arlington promoted it—Six thousand men were sent into France, and commanded by persons obnoxious—Had there been money to have carried on the war, Arlington would have done it without Parliament—Begs, that, if one be impeached, all may; and all things to stop till finished, and though there are great affairs before you, yet all to stand still till these things be redressed.
Mr Boscawen.] Shall not extenuate, nor aggravate, the charge against this Lord—Can any man show precedents of impeaching a man in the House of Commons, out of kindness? The regular way is for the Question "whether to proceed upon these Articles as a ground of Impeachment." The summary way is the quickest way, but whether more honourable? One, that vindicated the Civil Law, said, "it was much more summary than the Common Law. It would dispatch six causes in a morning." The Common Law was tedious, but the safer way; white powder kills and makes no report, and this is such a way—He would keep up the dignity of Parliament, as well as serve our present turn—Should the king ever take into his Counsels any of those persons you have desired should be removed, would not that make great discontent in the nation?
Sir Robert Southwell.] Is of opinion to wave this way of proceeding. Is for committing the Articles, in order to an Impeachment—Thinks this House persuaded of his Religion by his passing all the Tests; many conclude a suspicion upon what fell from him here—Arlington told you, "he was borne down in the Declaration by the authority of a great person, whose judgment he had a great value for, but, when otherwise convinced, was the earliest man that persuaded the recall of it." Has heard that thing imputed to Lord Clifford, who declared himself the Author of it, and the sole Author, and did declare he could maintain every word, syllable, and letter of it, to be Law; but was of a better mind, he hopes, before he died—It is hard that the living must answer for the dead!—The entertaining Father Patrick in his house was a demonstration of his disrespect and aversion to the Church of Rome. Had any man of learning been with him of that Church, it had been something; but Patrick was a man of levity, that followed him merely for his hospitality, and much wine, and, it may be, had not legs sometimes to go away—These are articles of faith, as things unseen, rather than evidence—Would have the Articles committed.
Sir William Coventry.] Has sat still these four days, and not without reason—Thinks the King and Nation concerned—Thinks it the greatest of the fears of the nation, not without reason—Is it intended to leave these miscarriages at the King's door? No; leave all things clear there—The Lord Keeper said, in his Speech, "that the greatest thing upon us, was to set the King right with his people;" and he thinks it of greater concern than haply Lord Arlington's being nocent or innocent—"Impeachment" is a perfect mistake, and no way with your Honour; no end should be without fruit: What will you impeach upon?—For having proposed the Alliance and the War, and that done before the Act of Grace?—It was never a good time when the subject has been for breaking and infringing Pardons, and therefore would not do it now—It is but a reasonable and just thing for men of business to be composed, in their minds, by general Pardons. It may be, witnesses, to clear such a one, are absent or dead—Put the case, that those things concerning the war, &c. are pardoned (which he would not have you infringe) consider that it is an Act of Grace, and not of Oblivion; and whether those men are like to produce better times, if still continued, leaves it to consideration—These are matters of charge, not Articles, till your House has made them so. Though in Scriveners shops called and writ so, they are no Articles—They are capital, and not capital; they are relating to "the embezzling the Treasury; revealing the King's secrets, &c. and subornation of perjury"—Distinguish between crimes pardoned and not pardoned; "subornation" is not pardoned—The Act of Grace says, "all treasons are pardoned, but such as are against the King's person;" but nothing is said in this matter—A Gentleman said "it was before the last Dutch war, and so pardoned;" but "subornation" is the only thing we can go to the Lords with, by way of impeachment: The consequence, if impeached, is, the Lords can proceed on nothing else; and then, Arlington being not found guilty of that, and no prosecution any other way, (the Act of Grace excluding all this,) you will lose the advantage of Arlington's own confession—Wonders to hear the advice of "impeachment;" the evidence seeming to shrink, is to bring dishonour to the House—Will it not be a great oversight for us to bring matters to the Lords that we cannot proceed upon? The Commons expect to be secured only for the future from such counsels—Will you proceed on the charge of "subornation of witnesses?" No; it is on things this Lord has confessed—Shall we punish nobody here, but such as have first invented treason and felonies? It may be answered, "in another world they may be punished"—Upon the whole matter, would have your Question put for "an Address to the King."
Mr Swynfin.] Will not speak to the Articles, nor merit of the case; but what Question will you put? Would not have a Question foreign to the Articles, but cl se to them. The Question offered is perfectly foreign; the Arguments, offered by Coventry, suppose a Bill; and you consider whether you will go to the Lords: But determine what you will do with the Articles; first clear your hands some way of them—"No fruit of impeachment, because the crimes are pardoned." He fully agrees in the conclusion on these premises; but to say, you would have persons impeached that have the benefit of pardons,—as men of great employments will have pardons, that their hearts may be at rest. If you bring "the war," &c. bring that as an allegation—Then it will be known what opinion you have of the war—They that manage the war, will help to make an end of it—As for the King, it is thought this summary way is best for him; the more public way of proceeding is best for the King; you go to the King with nothing but a bare desire; if the King removes him not, it tends not to your end; if he does, upon bare desire, without cause shown, it is hard; therefore would avoid all this—It would be a Question, upon what Article? There are a great many. The King then would see your reasons, and all people have satisfaction.
Mr Powle.] Whatever you do against Arlington, would have you just and regular—How to dispose of the Articles, or whether to lay them aside or no, is not free, till determined—It is to prejudge a man before tryal; to whip a man, and then try him for murder—Many Gentlemen conclude Arlington by his confession here; it is hard to turn the ingenuity of a man upon him. It consists not with the honour of the House; but if you will make use of his confession, his words ought to be taken and stated, to avoid wresting them to another sense—"That he deserved a statue." He said, "he thought he might deserve a statue for preserving of Flanders." [That of the statue mistaken] If you impeach, it is in his choice; he may wave the Act of Grace, if he pleases. If he pleads the Act, it will confirm you in your judgments to proceed for "Removal."
Sir Henry Capel.] Has known Arlington long, but could never find his way of living other than with prudence, decency, and sobriety; this got the belief he has of him. Those that know him, say, he does things freely, and like a Gentleman—He is no way obliged to him—If he has been at the head of these things, let him go, let him fall; "but if not at the first formation of these monsters, still the executive part was put upon Arlington"—Why? "The Ambassadors were at his house." But he has reason to know he was not at the head of these things. Arlington was the first comer into the Triple Alliance; he will not take one grain from Buckingham in it, but Arlington was instrumental; but yet, if you think fit to have this person punished, then consider to square his crimes with the Lords that went before him—Buckingham a Counsellor, Arlington a Ministerial Officer—Consider him, when concurring only with the Declaration—Consider his morals, and how he has behaved himself for his parts and courage, and here, in the House, in an undisturbed motion—Some say his own consession is his condemnation; but as a Gentleman should speak the whole truth, hopes we shall not make this use of it—The Judges have a rule to go by; we have none; we may mould and shape things according to reason; he will never judge this man for any word he has said here—Says it before God and you, proceed by Impeachment, and he will give his affirmative; but upon the other Question, his negative—If this be the way of your proceeding, consider the consequence.
Sir John Holland.] Must bear witness for Arlington in what he knows. August was twelvemonth he visited Arlington. Being come to his house in the country, about seven miles from him, he thought himself obliged, in good manners, to visit him; and did then crave leave to ask his Lordship a question; we being engaged in a war, he desired to know the reason of the prorogation of the Parliament. Arlington made answer, "That we were engaged in a Treaty of peace, and hoped then for an issue of it; should the Parliament meet in October, in case the House should have resused or hesitated in it, the hopes of the Treaty would have been lost. Betwixt that and February, doubted not but peace or war would be; he hoped, if peace, the House of Commons would be gratified; if war, money, he hoped, would be granted to support it." He then told Arlington, "He feared he took not a good measure of the House, and these arguments of war would fail, especially in his own county (Norfolk) that is so poor. The Duke of Buckingham and Lord Clifford looked guilty, as the Promoters of the war, and if ill consequences did arise, accounts might be called for." He (Arlington) replied, "I thank you for it, and do take it as an evidence of your kindness. I will promote peace all I can"—He heard from London, soon after, that the Cabal was divided, whether the Parliament should meet, be dissolved, or prorogued. The Chancellor's, Arlington's, and Ormond's counsels prevailed for sitting. He told Arlington, "He was glad to know that he was for continuation of the Parliament." Arlington replied, "He wondered how his advice in Council should be made public;" but said, "he ever was, and ever should be, of opinion, that we are never happy but when the King and Parliament agree." A person, that has these things planted in him, cannot be dangerous—He thought it his duty to acquaint the House with this.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Our country looks not after "suborning of Witnesses," but things of greater moment—In the Impeachment, he will be proved to have suborned two Witnesses against a Peer—Will you ever think such a man fit to be near the King? And so you may have the thing done by a Court of Justice. If the Lords tell you, "he is pardoned," there is an end—Upon the total, here are Articles, and they are named Articles, and the House is possessed of them; therefore would proceed by "Impeachment."
Colonel Birch.] He has abundance of kindness for this noble person; he sat yesterday striving betwixt his duty and his kindness—If we must answer for any thing (as some think we shall not) we must answer for a kingdom that we are entrusted with—Gerrard, who delivered the Articles, told you, "his memory was short and the evidence not ready," and removal is the Question, but other uses are made of it—Some are against this way of Address; and why? Three hundred years ago, in Henry VIth's time, there was removal, and we were never willing to part with this till now, and not excepted against—The effects of the Cabal these ten years are now manifest—If imagined a weak man, haply (Arlington) would have done these things harmlessly—He ever said, the Declaration would lull all the fanatics of England asleep, and Popery would wake with them—As for favour to the fanatics, he wonders as it; they outwent him—Had he thought Lord Clifford a Papist, or a favourer of them, would not have had a hand in saving him—For one thong he cut for the Presbyterians, he cut ten for the Papists, and long ones too—Is at a stand at one thing, we have had bad luck for some years; looks upon squanderers of money as the greatest enemies of the nation; and whoever makes government heavy to the people, is neither a friend to the King nor them—We have spent, in these seven years, more than two hundred years before—Twenty thousand pounds is now a minute thing, now in a few years. In those times money was in people's purses, and consequently in the King's—The course we are in has wearied the kingdom of all ordinary ways of raising money—We were in a tale of a Triple League (which we paid for dear) but in the middle of it was the French Alliance; and "be sure effectually to break the King's credit, and he shall be forced to do the thing designed"—The Exchequer credit must be broken, and now our Government is looked upon to signify little; whilst this was doing the Parliament must be prorogued—God delivered you, not the wisdom of this House—Had France seized Amsterdam, you had not been debating here now—He never heard a reason why the French King went not on then, unless the greatness of his neighbourhood might be apprehended, &c. The French then, at the Treaty with the Dutch, were against us, and yet not one word proved, some say; but he can say, that when the French were in Treaty, before our Ambassador came over, we must not take that advantage to treat by ourselves—The main design is broken, but, by means of the war and alliance, France has more tonnage and guns than we have, which before they had not, nor skill nor strength to use them—Queen Elizabeth was great by being head of the Protestants, but we must join with the King of France, after his breaking down churches; and above all, we must join in an Article of "Popish Religion in every conquered town"—All these things went through Lord Arlington's hands; and shall we continue the game in the same hands? Can any man think that you intend to go through with your first vote, if you "address not the King for his removal?"
Mr Garroway.] It is his duty to clear Clifford, his dead friend, of what has been said against him—True, something will remain upon your books—Gentlemen despond as to the Articles, and so no Impeachment; but is certain, when things come to be proved, the King will not keep such a person about him—Would have the first Question put, "Whether there be matter in the Articles to ground an Impeachment upon?"
Sir Charles Harbord.] Is of Garroway's mind, that it is unbecoming to speak ill of the dead—The paper brought in has on the top of it, "Articles of Impeachment;" he thinks it brought in as a charge. If such things are brought against a Peer, you must debate "Whether to retain the Articles, or no, as an Impeachment?"
Sir William Hickman.] Will you leave the thing, and not say from whom the advice came?—There has not only been a rumour, but vox populi, that this Lord was of the Cabal—Rather opposition than concurrence should have been in these Counsels—Is for seldom using this power of common fame, but is for using it now, and would have the same Question put as was for the other Lords.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Conceives that "removal" ought not to be the Question; the rule is, what is natural to the Debate to be the Question; but when foreign to the matter, out of doors—The Articles were read, head by head, and this Question is quite wide from the mark—The Question is proper, some way or other, how to dispose of these Articles, whether they contain matter of Impeachment.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Does acknowledge he found the Articles entered into your Book, and has heard, by a Question from you, that you would proceed, head by head. Now he understands the Articles are laid aside, acknowledges he spoke wrong before.
Sir John Monson.] No man is questioned for these things, if pardoned; he would not give example to break the pardon—This is the easiest way of redress—Arlington monopolizes all; this man is of the King's Council—This Standing Army begot all our Grievances—This, not a single act but a habit; it makes a man remarkable; the Triple League, &c. and England but accessary, not principal—Believes Arlington not a Papist, because a Papist would not do so weak a thing as to go by himself in their business—Moves for "Address."
Mr Sacheverell.] The main Article ready for proof will be only "subornation of perjury," and, by 5 of Elizabeth, it is but forty shillings fine, half to the informer; and may not the Lords say, "what have you to do to proceed upon differences betwixt our Members?" Moves for "an Address for removal," there being no matter of weight yet for "an Impeachment."
The Question being put, That an Address be presented to his Majesty to remove the Earl of Arlington from all his Employments that are held during his Majesty's pleasure, and from his Majesty's Presence and Councils for ever; it passed in the negative, 166 to 127.
Wednesday, January 21.
Sir Thomas Lee.] This Bill is of damages; its purport is, that when the damage is but forty shillings, Counsel and Attorney it may be get twenty shillings; now it is provided, that poor men shall not be vexatious, neither would he have poor men undone and put upon the parish by new charges—This of Certiorari is for tryal of causes; Habeas Corpus for commitments.
Sir William Coventry: Upon a Motion for a Bill for the more speedy conviction of Papists, and a farther Test for officers, &c.] Some parts of this Bill will stick with the Lords, in matters of privilege betwixt them and you—Would have a general Test, in one Bill by itself, betwixt Papist and Protestant—In many places, the Justices of Peace dispute how often they are to take it on renewing their commissions, and doubts of the Members and Commissioners for the tax—When once you have made the Test, then in another Bill you may declare who are obliged to take it, and the penalties.
Lord Cavendish delivers a Petition from several masters of ships, who were pressed and their seamen, contrary to Law, to the great hindrance of their voyages. The Petition was read as follows: "That the Petitioners have been ready to serve the King, but Officers and Gunners have been pressed from their respective charges as well as common men; and lately the persons of your Petitioners have been pressed as common men, and some taken from their ships and charges—Praying a remedy."
Mr Pepys, a Commissioner of the Navy.] If it is proved that one Master, one Boatswain, one Gunner, &c. that made it appear he was a man chargeable with stores, or accounts, [has been pressed,] he will be answerable for it himself.
Sir William Thompson.] This is of great concernment to Liberty and Commerce—But in such a violent manner to take men from their occasions, murders and tumults do follow, and it reflects on the King, that no persons will serve him without being pulled and hauled by compulsion—Merchant ships are ready for their voyage, and their men are pressed from them, and they lie two months for want of men!—In foreign parts, though they press none, yet they want no men, because they are well paid and well used, with some advance money.
Mr Attorney North (fn. 2).] The abuse is fit to be examined; he will only speak to the glance given at the Law. It was never doubtful but that the King, upon an actual Invasion, might press, but there is a discretion in all things. Though the King may compell people, yet when they take Press-money, they are within a capital law for running away.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Attorney tells you, "that it is for the "defence" of the kingdom, not for "offence" to our neighbours." As for the abuse, it ought to be enquired into; but for Pepys's telling you, "that they were discharged, if appeared to be charged with stores, or accounts, and not willing to serve," that is not all: They have been pressed by land, and hopes that the Laws concerning pressing may be stated, and then you may declare your opinion; but is sorry that the King's name is always used in these things.
Mr Child.] Is glad to hear that so few have been oppressed. He has conversed all his time with seafaring men; knows of hundreds of masters of ships, &c. that have been pressed, and desired to come up to adjust matters with their Owners, and were not permitted by Sir Thomas Allen, but under a hundred pound bond, to return. They said, "being made Press-masters, they wore swords to defend themselves from the Rabble"—Agrees for referring it to a Committee.
Mr Pepys.] Whatever the consequence be, will ever bear about him speaking of Truth—Says it still, and will be accountable, if any master of a ship, &c. ever made complaint to the Navy-Board or Admiralty-Board, wherever complaint has been made of pressing, that man has been discharged—Press-masters and Captains themselves have been cashiered for irregularities in pressing—It cost the King twenty thousand pounds in mere advance-money, before the men went to sea—The Victualmasters have been constrained to press to carry victuals to the Buoy of the Nore, though a harmless and blowless employment.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] Merchants trust Masters of ships with sometimes forty thousand pounds value, and they are pressed, and not suffered to come upto complain, but clapped aboard, and carried away, and so they must hire strangers ships to carry their goods, to the value of two hundred and sixty thousand pounds in freight, and your ships lie by the walls—Desires remedy in this.
Sir Richard Temple.] Ships stay sometimes several months for want of men, being pressed after their voyage is finished, and sometimes are scarce able to bring their ships into port, and all is laid upon the King's back.
Mr Sawyer.] Will say nothing to the "necessity" of pressing men; the "legality is only within his sphere; unless in peine forte et dure, knows no other sense in which the law uses the word "pressed;" but all statutes call it Prestmoney, and "Imprest" is an Exchequer term: Imprest account of money delivered out to any particular use; a soldier or Captain that took such money is said to be pressed, and soldiers either for sea or land, the law distinguishes not—"Tenure" extends only to land services, as the marches of Wales, or the borders of Scotland—Whenever the King made war, he agreed with certain Captains, by Indenture, for so many men; in the Exchequer there are multitudes of them, betwixt the King and the Captains, the Captains and particular men. In the Exchequer Register Book, Register 91—"Certificate, being contracted in commitiva with the Admiral." It appears, the sea affairs were under the same contract with the land—18 Henry VI. cap. 18 Penalty there, after contract, if the soldier shall leave the Captain, or the soldier be not paid by the Captain, severely punished—Then in Henry VII's time, where they contracted with the King's Commissioners, not the Captain, there is the penalty if they shall depart; but now that the Captain should pay them is a mistake; they are not obliged to pay them, unless in case of invasion, as in 1588—The necessity of the time may justify it—In a war, "without advice of Parliament," it is a voluntary thing, and that voluntary way of going to war the law prescribes—They extend the Statute of Henry VI. to the marches of Wales, and borders of Scotland—If the party will refuse his "pressed money," he is not liable to any of those Statutes—The power of the Militia alters not the manner of doing it; that is no consequence to press and carry men beyond the seas. If an action be brought against a man about pressing, the necessity excuses it in point of law; but who must be judge of that necessity? Thinks some course necessary to be taken in it, for the good of the nation.
Thursday, January 22.
Upon the first reading the Bill for uniting several Parishes in Exeter, that Bill importing an imposition upon the subject, and in effect repealing a Law in being, and leave having not been asked to bring it in, it was withdrawn; and leave asked and obtained to bring in another Bill.
Mr Garroway.] It is dangerous for a man to be thrown out for his hospitality in the country—These charges arise commonly from Competitors that live in another country—They must be undone by out-doing him that comes from another country, with indirect intentions.
Mr Swynfin.] Some carry Elections by awe and force, and some by ability to expend. Unless you do it to some effect, it takes up your time, and the thing will never be practicable—By the effect he observes of sumptuary Laws, he believes you will have the same effect of this,—none at all, but for an Informer to get by it, and no man else. The examples of the King and Court would have more effect than any Law you can make, and when you find Elections carried thus, and quash them here, that may remedy something. You having as good a Law now, which does no good, therefore would forbear a helpless Law as this is.
Serjeant Seys.] The penalty of a Sheriff, for a false Return, is but one hundred pound; and in the spending one thousand five hundred pound, the Sheriff may be well gratified, by the party returned, for his fine.
Mr Boscawen.] The person elected ought to be resident in the borough or county for which he is chosen, by the statute, but that is antiquated and out of practice; but if you restrain it to persons resident in the country, to be chosen in boroughs, or that have estates in that country, you may do well; though the old statute is really a law, but out of practice—And this may cure all the evils.
Mr Waller.] Let us mend our proceedings here, and we shall mend Elections—Times are much changed now. Formerly the neighbourhood desired him to serve; there was a dinner, and so an end; but now it is a kind of an empire. Some hundred years ago some boroughs sent not; they could get none to serve; but, now it is in fashion and a fine thing, they are revived. Some Bishops and Lords for their poverty have been excused—It comes by custom; there is no appeal from us, and we judge Elections with impunity, and what we should take most care of we take least.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Now the business of regulating Elections is over, methinks it is like a man very sick that makes new cloaths, or furbishes old ones; therefore, in the next place, would have you consider the present state of the nation, &c.
Mr Powle.] Amongst the rest, would consider the business of the foreign war, that hangs over our heads, like a comet, threatening destruction; therefore would have the present state of the kingdom, relating to the war, stated.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is not afraid to talk of the "war," for that is the bottom of all our "Grievances;" all these thoughts and talks of Popery are from it, and would have the "Grievances" considered that we lie under by reason of the "war."
Colonel Birch.] The danger is not of jumping into "money" so soon—Is not afraid of that, because we were prorogued, and no need, he thinks, of "money." To the end we may have field-room enough, consider the "state of the nation by reason of the war," that we may not be told of it, and bear the blame, if we should be assaulted by the Dutch.
Friday, January 23.
Sir Adam Brown.] The neighbouring counties of Hertford and Surry would not have it extend to such coals as shall be spent in those counties who are to subsist by that coal, those counties being serviceable to the city in bringing them provisions.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The ornaments of the city are unnecessary; he would not have either painting of the faces or painting of the city, but would have the tradesmen enjoined to return again into the city who are planted in this part of the town.
Sir Nicholas Ford.] Assures you, he was present in Common Council when the Sheriffs were ordered to attend the Speaker. In answer to Carew's objection, that act of Common Council is the act of the city only.
[A Committee was ordered to bring in a Bill, for paving and maintaining the streets of the city of London, and enabling the city to perfect and go through with the rebuilding of the Churches, and other public works.]
Sir William Coventry.] Likes not a tax nine years hence. Moves, that hearing that trade comes hither, and that houses stand empty in the city (believes them empty, and will be more) that there may be a restraint of buildings here; it will better the houses in the city, and those here—Would have a Committee appointed to consider what is fit to be done in this business.
Serjeant Maynard.] This building is the ruin of the Gentry, and ruin of Religion, having so many thousand people without Churches to go to—This enlarging of London makes it filled with lacqueys and pages; therefore in the Bill would prevent the design of enlarging either the city or places adjacent, which else will ruin the nation.
Sir William Coventry.] Would not have a beauty and uniformity in the city, and a deformity in the King's Court. He has no houses, nor intends to build any; (it is not his interest:) He finds that parenthesis sometimes very necessary in this House. The great houses of the Bishops and Nobility, and all are put into small tenements. That which is your aim is, to suppress the great number of small houses for private profit, there being scarce any new built for a Nobleman's or Ambassador's use. Such a thing may be by restraining the roofs to so many feet high, which will not turn to account for tradesmen to inhabit, and may be useful for the Nobility and Ambassadors.
Sir John Duncombe.] At this end of the town whole fields go into buildings, and are turned into alehouses filled with necessitous people; and should a sickness come, all the Gentry would go away and they would be left a burden to the parish—The Council sends forbiddances, and the man has laid his foundation, and where is the Law to restrain it? The Lords of the Council cannot remedy it. To stop this, confine them to build such an height, twelve feet high, and four rooms on a floor—Refer it to a Committee, and let them judge what places are fit to build in, and so proportioned, and that will stop the increase of buildings.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] They may build in ancient boroughs, by the Law.—27 Elizabeth it is prohibited "within ten miles of the city of London, and not converting great houses into tenements, and for building of great houses;" but that Act was to last but seven years—An Alderman showed him a Bill to this purpose, which would provide against these Grievances.
Mr Garroway.] It is worth the honour of the House to have these immense buildings suppressed. The country wants tenants, and here are four hundred soldiers that keep alehouses, and take them of the Brewers, and now they are come to be Prætorian guards—That Churches have not been proportionable to houses, has occasioned the growth of Popery and Atheism, and put true Religion out of the land—The city of London would not admit rare artists, as Painters and Carvers, into freedom; and it is their own fault that they have driven trade out of London into this end of the town, and filled the great houses with shops.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Would have men committed to legal prisons, and the Statute of 37 Edward III, "of suggestions," revived. The suggestion must be signed by the accuser, and left with the Secretary of State; and if the suggestion be not proved, to undergo the penalties that the person accused might, &c. that so a man may know his accuser—It has been often complained, of late, that Ministers of State impose upon his Majesty to sign Warrants of Commitment, and the subject can have no remedy, and the Ministers say, "it is his Majesty's Warrant;" a thing very indecent, and unfit to be done!
Saturday, January 24.
The King in a Speech informed the Houses, "That the States-General had sent him a letter by the Spanish Ambassador, offering him some terms of Peace, upon conditions formerly drawn up, and in a more decent style than before. Upon this he desired their speedy advice and assistance, and doubted not but they would take care of his honour, and the honour and safety of the nation."
Colonel Birch.] If not for the King's honour and safety, would advise; but to adjourn till Monday, upon we know not what—He cannot imagine any advice that we can give on Monday morning more than now, having nothing to advise upon; and would know what these proposals are, before we adjourn.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The case now is altered from the Treaty of the French camp; no cautionary towns, and as high a breach as ever we were—They tell you of "pressing the men from Surinam with good freight;" but who shall be judge of what is good freight? They tell you not. It would be worth your thoughts in it—"Money for Licences." When Lord Northumberland was Admiral, the Articles were as these now before you—They must be otherwise worded, or you cannot ground upon them.
Colonel Birch.] Would know something more before we adjourn till Monday—From Edward the IIId's time, "freedom of fishing by Law." Desires, that the "Licences for fishing" may be known, whether for the States General or for particular persons uses?
Mr Garroway.] Hopes Gentlemen will consider what they do. Here are copies of the Articles to advise upon, and we had no hand in advising the war; (we allow the power of Peace and War always in the King.) Desires, at present, that we may not enter into the Debate before we have transcripts of them, some of them relating to other Treaties, in the dark as much as any thing else, (Country Gentlemen knowing nothing of them.) Then we may come to the determination of this matter—Moves to adjourn till Monday—Is right in the King's power of Peace and War, and the King, by this communicating, does not resign that authority—Licences in 1 Charles, when Lord Northumberland was Admiral. We never did as the King of Denmark does in the Sound, when under a contribution to Holland—Amsterdam gave Licences; Holland could not give Licences to their subjects to fish here.
Sir George Carteret.] Has seen Trump in Dunkirk, who always struck his flag. Has been in the narrow seas alone, and met two States men of war, that struck—When he transported Lord Doncaster into Germany he had no flag, only on the main-top-sail: Trump struck then. Lord Northumberland made every buss pay so much, the States men of war present, several years, and believes the money was returned into the Exchequer (fn. 3).
Colonel Birch.] Some have kept correspondence with the Dutch, and having heard Secretary Coventry say he was wersed in the Dutch paper, as others have been, he went to good honest counsel, who informed him of what he knows of the fishing, and other things.
Sir William Coventry.] If we should not be for Peace, we should not please the persons we represent. Wishes nothing may come to us about it. It is proper for the Dutch to seek for it, and not we; and, for the fishing, would avoid any disquisitions about it—Touches this by the way to consider the nicety and importance of the thing, that we may consider of it till Monday.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Rare example of entering any letters into your Journal, but the King's! The Journals are as public to every comer as to your Members—Let it be on your table, for the present, and afterwards resolve what you will do with it.
Mr Powle.] 2 Henry V. the league betwixt us and the King of the Romans was entered on the Rolls; but though that was, every thing is not to be entered. Letters and Petitions are not entered—Would not do any thing to preclude our right to the fishing—Would leave the consideration of it till Monday.
Monday, January 26.
Mr Sacheverell presents a Petition from Mr Charles Muddiford (fn. 4). In May 1671 he was sent prisoner to the Tower, for crimes done by his father; on condition of fifty guineas promised he was delivered, and the next day set at liberty by Sir John Robinson, [Lieutenant of the Tower.]
Sir John Robinson.] Has been almost fourteen years Lieutenant of the Tower, and this is the first Petition against him—Muddiford has used malice as well as ingratitude towards him—Will give the House a true account of the business. Charles Muddiford pretended that he had a grandmother lay dying at Chiswick, and his going to her might be three hundred pounds in his way. Robinson told him he had not yet paid his fees, and would not give him a discharge—He went to Lord Arlington, who said he durst not go to the King about it; but the King said, "Let him go for three or four days." When he came home, he found him at an officer's of his, and said, he would not be without leave for five hundred pounds. Robinson told him he had no discharge, but he might stay till sent for again. The King told Robinson he should be discharged when a new Governor was sent to Jamaica—Robinson has seven witnesses to prove that Muddiford said, he would return whenever sent for by Robinson; but though he sent several letters to him to return, he answered none of them, and he could never see him; but Muddiford went to sollicit his own discharge. Arlington reproved Robinson for enlarging him. Robinson said, he was not discharged, and desired a warrant to take him again. Soon after, Muddiford came to the Tower, and some company being with Robinson in the hall, Muddiford sat some time and drank with them, but suddenly slipped out and went away. Another time he came into the Tower, and then Robinson apprehended him, and kept him till he got his warrant for discharge. 'Tis two years and two months since he was out, and, upon the whole, he did not expect such a Petition against him; and will make good all this he has said, and more.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Consider, before you leave the Chair, what you will proceed upon to make Debate of. There must come objections, as well as answers, and of great prejudice to the Crown. Whether, whatever right the King has to what he claims of the Dutch, the Articles are to be accepted at this time?
Mr Garroway.] The reason for going into a Grand Committee, is the darkness of the thing, for more free Debate. Coventry said, the last day, we must not go hastily into things. If this be not before us, knows not what is before us—If free and no restrictions, would know the bottom. If any new instructions in the thing to Coventry, would know only whether it be Coventry's private opinion or instructions.
Mr Sacheverell.] Since Coventry's Motion, is in more doubt than before—It is not clearly before the House to give advice whether to make Peace with the Dutch, or no; not clear, whether the King craves advice in a joint, or separate Peace, and so opinion not the same—If fairly to consider the King's Speech, and what offered by the Dutch, that states the case one way; the fishery not in them: But if by the Spanish Ambassador's Memorial, that states the case another way—Can say nothing till we know whether the King means a "joint," or "separate Peace." Cannot proceed, unless we know which.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] It is clear that the King intends a "separate Peace"—"Has received something more suitable to him than before." The King shews mutual confidence. He says not, he has sent to Cologn, but he will advise with the Parliament—It is clear to him, that there is nothing before us but treating at home with you, therefore would have no more sending to the King, but would proceed.
Sir Thomas Lee.] It is no hard thing, when the King asks your advice, that you know what you advise him. This treaty is but a project, and must be sent to Cologn to be confirmed there, and then it must be a joint Peace. As soon as it is concluded that the Parliament of England hath consented to them as terms, it may be some help to the Ministers that made the war, but none at all to you, nor the King, and would have the thing cleared.
Sir William Coventry.] Would not perplex the hopes of Peace for new objections. If so uncertain, it is proper to send to the Dutch—The King cannot satisfy you; it may be as large against the French King as any man, but what have you to lead you to believe so? These proposals are handed to you by the Spanish Ambassador, and can any man believe that the Spanish Ambassador would make a good and advantageous Peace for France? Enough to imply what the King's intention is of complying—The King's disadvantage will be yours—Would you have the King declare, that he has abandoned and actually resolved to break the French League, before he is certainly fixed in another? The consequence will be, the Dutch know your aversion to France, and if any advantage in a syllable can be taken by any Amendments, they have the King at a good lock, and France will be absolved from what they have done, and you show they have them more at mercy than we have them—The opinion of the French Alliance will seem for their sakes, not ours—If the King stick by way of Amendment, the French will run to them with all offers of Peace—The farther this is opened, the worse it is, and sees not the advantage—He thinks it can be no other than a "separate" Treaty, and would proceed to the rest of the King's Speech.
Mr Garroway.] If we have Peace, hopes it will be a sudden Peace—If we come to declare it here, we shall never have opportunity to mend it—In answer to that, if the Dutch could make Peace with France, you ought never to have taken notice of it—There will not want Agents for France in our Court—All the danger is from thence—No man loves Holland, but for interest, nor hates France, but as contrary to the English genius—If that shall endanger our liberties and laws, if France be at liberty, and not engaged, what good will the Peace do? France has armies and ships, and no place to vent their malice upon but England.
Sir Robert Howard.] The arguments we contend upon are suppositions, and not grounds—The King recommends to you not the negotiation in general, but the Articles for your advice; and we say, "What is your meaning, Sir, separate Peace, or no?" When there is not a word of the French in them, and handed to you by the Spanish Ambassador—The King farther tells you particulars, and "desires speedy advice, whether they be terms fit to be embraced, or deficient"—Was ever a plainer question? The Spanish Ambassador to be one of the Guarantees—The King believes nothing in them against his honour, nor the preservation of the nation—The King tells you, "he will embrace your advice." You are not confined to any thing but "speedy advice"—Therefore lay no obstacle, but go on.
Mr Waller.] The business of the day is the King's Speech—Some Gentlemen have touched upon papers. "The separate Peace." He shall confine himself to that—Plenus rimarum—Our sense will come out from us, as well as the Lord Keeper's Speech—We spoke of France as our enemy, and Holland as one with us, and the same religion—We may easily have Peace of those men, and wonders the Articles are so well—The King has done what he never saw before; he has communicated Articles, asked your advice, and made you, in effect, judges of them—Amongst the Romans, Manlius Capitolinus's heart was too great for his brain, and he would be King above all the Senate—"Why do you make the people parties? Make them judges!" and they followed him—See what it is to make the people judges, and not parties—We shall remember our honour and interest. Their labours and their Alliances have made Holland and France rich and great—If thieves are robbing your house, and you call up your neighbours, and go to bed yourself, will they help you again? Never to stand to our Allies, nor think of them, is not for the honour of the nation.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The French did neither perform their part at sea nor land, and lastly an Article, "the French not to break with Spain;" they have broken that Article with us and Spain, so that altogether, Alliance is to be with the interest of the nation—They are offered to us here as terms of "separate" Peace; you debate and intend them as a "separate" Peace, he hopes.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Before the Speaker leaves the Chair, would have some previous considerations—Here is vast difference, when he considers—No aversion now to a Frenchman, more than formerly to a Spaniard, on account of their greatness—By this separate Peace you secure all those fears; and should all these armies of France be at leisure, we should be in more apprehensions than ever—Considering the French infractions of Treaties, there is no danger now of speaking out—Desires so far to clear himself, as not to go upon presumptions, but to know the whole matter.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] A strange message as ever was heard! The King desires your opinion, and instead of sending yours, you ask his—It becomes the King to hear your advice, and then to declare his own—Had the King taken any resolution, he had never sent to you for your's—The King leaves the whole affair "separate," or "not separate," to you, and desires only your opinion.
Col. Strangways.] Would be sorry to make a false step in so great a thing. You were angry, at first, that you were not advised with, and now that you are advised with—The French Alliance was of no advantage to us. They looked on at sea, when they had the wind fair to have engaged. An Ally, that banished the King his territories, by Cromwell's desire! He made you raise an army, and keep it here, to no purpose—It seems that the sense of the House is for a separate Peace, but cannot go upon conjectures. It was once said, "give your money before the Dutch post goes, and you have Peace." Desires no more of that again. Two millions five hundred thousand pounds were then given—He believes, the French have not lost all their good friends about the King. Let us proceed to give the King such advice as we never may be ashamed to own—Desires to proceed barefaced, let what nation soever be displeased at it—Would know upon what terms; not what we imagine and suspect, but certainly to know whether upon a "separate Peace," at a Committee.
Colonel Birch.] Cannot believe that any line in this paper tends to any thing but a "separate" Peace—We think that the King has been drawn into this League much to his disadvantage; but if this League has been so destructive to us, is it not better to answer it here, than to put the King to answer it? Would make it sure before we leave it—To give your advice that a "separate" Peace is your opinion.
Sir George Downing.] Would not make intricate what is plain—Nodum quærere in junco. As for the fishery, would have no Debate about that: Next, if the King had said, "here are terms," and nothing of the French Alliance—Therefore let us not start it: Many things are fit for the King to say, when the Peace is done, which he cannot say now.
Mr Swynfin.] Knows there is very great difficulty upon us; your advice is desired; before you give any, you must know what to give. He can tell you what he desires, but cannot tell you what he does not desire—Whether you advise for Peace, or no Peace, you engage the kingdom deeply; thinks you should know our Allies, and the Dutch Allies—It is necessary for you to know how the Mediation stands; believes the King and Council know, but you do not. If upon a partial knowledge, you may give a positive advice, so as to engage you, as those in a ship are engaged, in every point of the compass. All he knows is, that he does not know how we entered into the War, and that you know the sad effects of it; blood, and treasure, and loss of trade—Thinks, you know a Peace grateful, but to give advice upon propositions and circumstances we know not, would leave it to the King and Council, who correspond all the world over.
Mr Powle.] Thinks it dangerous to expose ourselves to the good-nature of our enemies, and breaking with our allies—By this advice, the King will know how the nation is affected, and when that is stated, those that manage the thing will inform you how things stand, at a Grand Committee.
Mr Harwood.] Wishes that the King's prerogative of making War and Peace had engaged him in a good Peace, as well as an ill War, without the advice of Parliament—Powle said, "Not part with this Alliance though ever so bad"—Differs from him in that, though he does not usually do so.
Lord Cornbury.] The Debate is, "Whether we should send to the King, or not." He is satisfied "not to send to the King." Thinks it a disadvantage to the King, for this reason, that such persons are near the King that wish well to the French alliance. Would not send to the King, as they may persuade him—Would only consider, whether these proposals before you are not a ground for Peace.
Sir John Monson.] Shall say nothing of the consequence of the War, or the Alliance, that we may give such advice as may be for the honour and safety of the nation—"A separate Peace!" Change of words does often change substance. We may be drawn into the War by them, and, by consequence, a vote of lives and fortunes to maintain it.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] If we like not the terms proposed, the King hopes we will get him better, and that is no other way but by war. It is the intention of the King to leave it absolutely to you, and would therefore have the Speaker leave the chair.
Sir William Bucknall.] Knows, that, as the case stands, the King is not satisfied with the War from the beginning, and the unprosperousness of it—We must know how all things stand with us as to our Alliances—By the Committee, what has not come out may come out.
[The Question being put, Whether this House, before they proceed in the farther consideration of his Majesty's Speech, will make an Address to his Majesty to be informed, whether the advice that is expected, is to relate to a separate or a joint Peace; the Question being put, that this Question be now put, it passed in the Negative.]