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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Friday, February 21.
Debate on Motions (fn. 1) to desire an Answer from the King to the Message.
Col. Titus.] By your pressing an Answer, the thing may not be of so great importance as the King and you make it. The Petition of Right was not so pressed. In Lord Arundel's case, it was for imprisoning a Member.—Moves for the business of the day, the Supply.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Moves not in any heat, but in this calm way would explain himself. He did not say the word "Courtier," as is alleged, but had he meant Duncombe, would have said it barefaced. Does not explain himself out of pusillanimity. Did not now speak of sides, but six days since, it may be he did; but is not, by Orders of the House, to make excuse for it now, neither does he, nor excuses it when said then.
Sir William Coventry.] Thinks what is moved now moderate and reasonable; though against the first motion. Should it go in the negative it would be ill resented abroad. This is as modest as can be, but for the former Question, negative or affirmative would have been fatal. If it be but for the heat, a little unnatural to us, would have the Debate adjourned to Tuesday; something may possibly fall out in the mean time.
Saturday, February 22.
Sir John Hotham.] Moves for "a desire to his Majesty for a speedy Answer to the last Address of this House."
Mr. Palmes.] Seconds the motion, for some of the Lords of the Council of this House to move his Majesty in it.
Sir William Coventry.] It is but a few days since we made the Address; and his Majesty has taken time to consider of it.
Sir Robert Dillington.] Possibly his Majesty may have forgotten our Address; and desires he may be minded of it, in all humbleness, for a gracious Answer.
Sir John Hotham.] He thought "a speedy Answer" would be a "gracious" one, and meant no otherwise by the word "speedy," without any intention of unmannerliness.
Sir John Duncombe.] Will you precipitate an Answer from the King? He has not seen such a thing in the House the twelve years we have sat—Why so hasty? No man, in common conversation, is pressed at this rate—Is troubled he must speak against it. Do not let these things interrupt you—Lay these things by; and let the Speaker leave the Chair.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] We sit not again till Tuesday, and it is some time for an Answer, Whether Declaration can be a Law, or Parliament-Law, a Law? This is only to enable us to pay our money the more chearfully.
Col. Birch.] The House has declared their opinion of the Declaration—Thinks that this business to-day will not go well without the Message. Dissenters will think, by your Vote the other day, they shall have no benefit of this day. This day will prepare you the better for that motion to the King; therefore would not have it made till after to-day.
Sir Philip Musgrave.] Doubts not of an Answer from the King to our satisfaction—Thinks the Message too quick—Those of the Lords of the Council hearing your desires, will, he supposes, mind the King of an Answer—Is against the Question.
The Speaker.] Remembers no precedent of this nature, but towards the latter end of a Session.
Mr Hopkins.] In the case of Lord Arundel the Lords made a much quicker Message than this; and hopes we have the same privilege.
Sir Robert Howard.] The King sees our information; and hopes an Act of Parliament, now towards, will remedy all; which is the only proper means and remedy Consider what cause you have a-new to make another Address to the King—He may possibly hear something of this Debate; and possibly of that something may come, of its own nature, much more than your Address may produce—Moves to wave it: Possibly you may have a good success of your Bill to prevent all fears —Doubts not of a fair success without a Message.
Mr. Vaughan.] Stands up in order to the King's service. The slackness of the Money Bill, yesterday, possibly was from the delay of the King's Answer: We have either done too much, or too little, in this business—To contend with the King, during these distractions abroad, if our arguments are not warrantable, will be the destruction of us and the Crown itself—If this be the case, we shall be thought persons rather pragmatical than to have right on our sides—If we do not renew our Address, how can we discharge our trust? If properties be not safe, we shall not know what to give, nor to whom to give.
Sir John Trever.] Since this so much concerns our Allegiance, and the Property of the subject, is moved speak—Differs from Vaughan—The Question is not whether the Laws and our Liberties are safe; but whether we shall importune the King so unseasonably at this time. Would fain see any Gentleman (which he must say according to his profession) bring a precedent that any Answer has been so suddenly pressed—Has read Petitions and Answers, 2 and 6 Hen. IV.—The King is not obliged to answer but at his own time—Jealousies presently whispered abroad, and would not have such a motion chopped in but to the business of the day.
Sir John Mallet.] We have formerly addressed about the Papists, and disbanding the Army—The same day the King gave a gracious Answer; and hopes we shall have so of this.
Sir William Coventry.] Is against the Question, as think ing it too early; not above three days since you carrie the Address; and the Answer may possibly be the same again, if you send so soon—The Privy Counsellors of the House will be tender to acquaint the King of your Debates, without your order; but they may, as of themselves, inform the King how time slips away, and prevent the impatience of the House of Commons.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Our Laws and Liberties are concerned, and wonders at so great arguing against the thing—What was your Petition? That the Laws might have their free course—In order to a legislative Address, Money and Grievances ever went together—Would be glad of an effect of this Debate, in all the cool manner imaginable; but Money now begins sooner than ordinary; formerly, it was last debated, and last ended. The Motion not so "chopped in" as was said—It is most necessary, considering the fears of the People, their Laws being at stake—Moves to have it adjourned to Tuesday, if thought too sudden.
Mr Garroway.] It is not so much our fears, as the account we are to give the People—There is no ill-intention in the Motion; but with all candour moves to adjourn the Debate.
Sir Robert Carr.] It has always been the wisdom of this House to do things with all decency; and if this last Motion did do so, would not be against it—No man can find a precedent, and he would not have the Debate adjourned.
Mr Harwood.] Has not heard of this in our forefathers time; but, it seems, we are come here to learn manners—It does not look well—It is confessed, but a few days since, we attended the King; therefore would respite the Debate till Tuesday, without a farther Question.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Speaks to Tuesday—Hopes Gentlemen are convinced how necessary that Vote was—Whatever we ask here of the King, is the right we were born to; no new thing—If this be a new Address, the Declaration is as new; and one new thing begets another. No man can show such a Declaration by any Counsel learned. The Judges soon going out of town to their circuits; now is the time to advise with them, or they will be gone. It is a great while since our Vote; and it is known about the town. It will be two days till we shall sit; and we, poor country-fellows, may be rude and unmannerly; but we have as good hearts as the finest of them all; we mean as well as the best of them. If we have too much heat (he means zeal for our Laws) if we contend for nothing else, shall we fall flat without a Question? It may be we shall never have an Answer, because a few plain Country Gentlemen move for it—It will look like a desertion of the thing, not to have a Question for it—If this Declaration be still in force, what signifies your Debate? Your hearts are dead like a rotten oak—How can you make any Law that you have no assurance of the execution of? Should not the Debate be adjourned, the most unhappy thing in the world.
Sir John Duncombe.] If the word "Unmannerliness" has offended, the word "bold Expression" was as much from Meres—How can the Gentlemen know, but that some of the Judges are absent, that the King would ask the Question of, or some of his Council that he would trust? In common conversation, would you refuse a man two or three days time consideration? Much less the King—This Adjournment signifies something of indecency—He says it again, if the King has a reason for his delay, doubtless he hears of your impatience. It is not becoming this House—Would have the things that Gentlemen desire, but moderate courses in it—If by Tuesday you have not an Answer, consider it then.
Lord St. John.] Would pass this Money Bill as soon as may be, the time of the year coming on—Would, in the mean time, satisfy the minds of men, and is for Tuesday.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Meres has used the terms of "side and side" of the House; it is not parliamentary —Both Country Gentlemen and Courtiers have been loyal; both very good and very bad—Desires the Gentleman would leave these reflections—He is as loyal as he or any man; and many have made applications at Court (fn. 2) that have missed their ends; and he that will say, "No Courtier," may as well say, "No King."
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is sorry to hear a distinction made from Coventry—No man, that he knows, ever made the distinction before him.
Mr Garroway.] The word Courtier was not made use of, only "fine man"—Would not have the House hectored by any man.
Sir Thomas Lee.] There was nothing said of "Gentlemen living about Town"—Country Gentlemen may live about Town—Desires no reflection may be made; and that Coventry may explain.
Sir Robert Carr.] The words were "fine Gentlemen about the Town"—Never heard more sharpness here than by Meres—But let us leave off reflections, and go about the business.
Col. Samuel Sandys.] Is not ashamed that he has received the King's bounty—He never begged any thing—He shall serve his Country as chearfully as any man—Moves that these things may be laid aside.
Col. Titus.] Whatever becomes of the Debate of the Address, would have this Debate adjourned—Believes that many Courtiers would be Country Gentlemen, and many Country Gentlemen would be Courtiers—Knows that we would not only not be guilty, but not be liable to the suspicion of ill manners—If this was towards the end of a Session, the more reason.
Col. Strangways.] Is troubled at the clashings of the House — Would have every man have freedom of speech—Those that have fought for the King may be pardoned in their expressions; though not bred at Inns of Court and Universities, to furnish their expressions with elegances—Hopes the Message is honest; the Judges are sworn to do things indifferently to King, Court, and relative to the Subject—Would ask any Gentleman, Whether he would have the Act of Indemnity voided? which may be, if the King has power of suspending the Laws by his Declaration—The King can do no hurt; those that advise him may do hurt both to King and People—Happiness of both King and Country depends upon one another—Those that crucified our Saviour, and lay in wait for St. Paul, were zealous men; but zeal must be in a good matter, and hopes our zeal is so for this—Moves for Tuesday.
Mr Waller.] Consider the occasion of all this Debate, and your Address, and consider what reputation your brave Vote for Supply gave his Majesty, and that a Debate should put this day by—Put all in the balance—The Declaration is a year old, and pretended to have done much good—Deferring this Debate, is pulling down your walls, the ships. See what is at stake. The State is no stronger than they are that defend it—The King is at an end of his credit, and money, without your aid. Let nothing jostle out this Bill—Avoid this Debate for Tuesday.
Mr Powle.] All your Supplies will go on heavily without this; and if Laws may be suspended, we have nothing we can call our own—Let any man examine, whether this Declaration has not caused more discontent than has been since the King's happy Restoration—Neither Judge, nor any Counsel of Westminster Hall, but is of our minds—Lord Arundel's case puts him in mind of Sir Dudley Diggs's case of imprisonment. If the King pleases to send us a satisfactory Answer, we may go on chearfully.
Ordered, That this Debate be adjourned to Tuesday next.]
Monday, February 24.
The King's Answer to the preceding Petition and Address was delivered to the House by Mr Secretary Coventry, and is as follows:
"His Majesty hath received an Address from you, and he hath seriously considered of it, and returneth you this Answer: That he is very much troubled that that Declaration, which he put out for ends so necessary to the quiet of his Kingdom, and especially in that conjuncture, should prove the cause of disquiet in his House of Commons, and give occasion to the questioning of his power in Ecclesiasticks; which he finds not done in the reigns of any of his ancestors. He is sure he never had thoughts of using it otherwise than as it hath been intrusted in him, to the peace and establishment of the Church of England, and the ease of all his subjects in general. Neither doth he pretend to the right of suspending any Laws, wherein the Properties, Rights, or Liberties of any of his subjects are concerned; nor to alter any thing in the established Doctrine or Discipline of the Church of England: But his only design in this was, to take off the penalties the Statutes inflicted upon the Dissenters; and which, he believes, when well considered of, you yourselves would not wish executed, according to the rigour and letter of the Law. Neither hath he done this with any thought of avoiding, or precluding, the advice of his Parliament; and if any Bill shall be offered him, which shall appear more proper to attain the aforesaid ends, and secure the peace of the Church and Kingdom, when tendered in due manner to him, he will show how readily he will concur in all ways that shall appear good for the Kingdom (fn. 3)
Given at the Court at Whitehall, February 24, 1672-3."
Sir Philip Warwick.] Is very glad that the King's Answer is come in so soon—It answers all your ends; and he would have it recorded, and the King thanked.
Colonel Birch.] The thing, if well looked into, is as much as we can desire, and he would have the King thanked for it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have the Answer considered, it consisting of many branches—Though in one part he would be very ample in our Thanks, yet, in such a general Answer, we contradict our vote of the King's power in ecclesiastical matters—It seems to him that our vote will be of great consequence and weight—Would be loth to make hard inferences from the thing; therefore would have a due Answer, and no sudden vote.
Sir Robert Howard.] We have now a probable cause of our happiness, but no probabilem causam litigandi. We have that plainly which we have long hoped for—Appeals to any man whether he had not a diffidence of mind, from the time of your Message till now—The Answer, in its own nature, is perfectly kind, as the nature of the Prince it comes from—That power you desire is called for by your Prince—Would have your Thanks ordered without a Question.
Sir Thomas Meres.] To speak on a sudden to this thing is an unreasonable hardship—It seems here is a distinction made in the King's power, in "ecclesiastical" and "temporal" matters. Those of the Long Robe did declare they knew no such difference.—Our Address only mentioned ecclesiastical matters, because it referred to the Declaration—Knows that in the King's Message this is implied; he will not do it in "temporal," but that he may do it; and we say it is not to be done—Would have some time to consider it; and they are the words of the King: If we answer it in haste, it will look rash; if we give general Thanks, being contradictory to our vote, it will look like levity.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] Thinks this Debate a mistaken one; thinks the jealousy vain; for if the King will dispense with what belongs to himself, we cannot be against it.
Sir William Coventry.] The objection lies in two points; the King says, "He is sorry you should question what never was questioned in the reigns of any of his ancestors."—The King may complain, and it is a misfortune to him that he is sensible, and we ought to be so too—Appeals, if our business be not at an end to-day—If you will have the penal Statutes put in execution, the King tells you what he is willing to do in signing a Bill, and moves you to give the King Thanks.
[The Message was read three times.]
Sir Thomas Meres.] Is satisfied if any man will make out "suspending" in point of Law. In the King's Message he says, "an Act of Parliament may do it more properly;" which implies it may be done by the Declaration.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King only says, "He takes the penal Laws off, because he thinks you would do it yourselves."
Col. Strangways.] The Message consists of several parts, and they are of great moment—Many things involved in it, and it being a point of great tenderness, moves to have it considered to-morrow morning, and would have the thing weighed as it deserves to be weighed.
Sir Richard Temple.] It seems to him fraught with so much condescension as never yet came from a King, and sees no reason to retard the Thanks, especially at such a time as this—The King tells you, "He designed nothing but taking off penalties, not dispensing with Laws, and that if you will pass an Act, he is willing to it;" and therefore now the King has given no occasion to delay your Thanks, an hesitation in this thing will look like an endeavour to take an exception—Moves for Thanks to the King.
Sir William Coventry.] Moves not for giving Thanks; that is indecent; it implies that either you must give reasons, and present them, or humbly ask his Majesty's pardon for what we have done—Sees no difficulty on our parts to thank the King for preserving our Properties, and no more.
Mr Powle.] The Message does seem to charge us with undutifulness in "questioning the King's power, never done before." It is true, too, the occasion was never given before— Moves to thank the King for preserving our Properties and assurance of them, and "that we will take the matter of his Message into consideration."
Mr Harwood.] No man, in decency and good manners, can deny giving Thanks; but the suddenness of the thing would be thought indecent—When he considers the trust reposed in him, cannot agree to a sudden Answer—Agrees with Coventry.
Mr Garroway.] Is glad we have this gracious Answer, therefore moves for a Committee to pen it, that we may not commit yet a greater error (if it be one) than our vote.
Sir John Duncombe.] Could the King say a more kind thing than his Message?—Thinks he desires nothing but Peace—The thing troubles the King, and troubles the whole nation—How could the King keep all things quiet but by suspending these Laws?—Is sorry that any thing should look like a doubt of giving him Thanks.
Mr Attorney Finch.] Supposes that no new addition shall substract what was proposed in the former Question —Would have your address with all gratitude imaginable. It is a mistake that an Answer of Thanks excludes farther grace—Why should we refuse Thanks for this degree his Majesty has given us of Answer, when he might have refused us this gracious Answer, or any farther Answer?
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have the House understand, that the fear is, whether a power is not asserted in our Answer, whether by Priests preaching in English, and Mass being said in several places, the Laws are not so suspended as taken off by the Declaration—Agrees for giving the King Thanks, but would be secured that penal Laws cannot be suspended but by Act of Parliament—If he makes too harsh an inference, begs the pardon of the House—It is the greatest Question that ever was in Parliament, and may shut the door to all Addresses for the future—In our Thanks let us not lose our rights and liberties, lest we say, "We thank your Majesty for suspending the Laws." If this be the consequence, let every man lay his hand on his heart, and say, How shall any penal Laws be made? Or else your vote signifies nothing.
Sir Lionel Jenkins.] The King says, "He was under a necessity of dispensing;" and having the power of Peace and War by his Prerogative, he has power of doing things in order thereunto; but "when a Bill shall be preferred," his Majesty says, "he will pass it;" he therefore conceives Thanks to his Majesty requisite and proper.
Mr Vaughan.] Wonders at Jenkins's inference, "that power of Peace and War, is power of repealing Laws;" as much as to say, if power of War, power to determine whether Law or no Law—Would have such Thanks, as we may have no occasion of giving more upon this account—As the Question is proposed, we thank him for the particulars afterwards—If we thank our King so, we condemn ourselves—Would have such an Answer as we may thank him for Preservation of us and himself—Moves for a Committee to consider the Answer and Reasons.
Mr Garroway.] Dares put the issue on my Lords the Judges opinions, whether our Address is not according to Law—Desires it may be committed.
Sir Edward Dering.] Thinks this Bill of Religion under an ill planet—One day, appointed for it, lost in the King's Answer, and another in our desires for that Answer —Would not have such a Question determined with incogitancy—No Man does think that such a thing, not intended in the Question, ought to be crowded in obliquely—Moves for the Question.
Mr Waller.] Whether the word "gracious" shall be applied to the whole Answer, or to part of it, is the Question—The danger to the whole is contradicting our Address—Says the King, "it was never in the time of my ancestors questioned," which is not an assertion of the King's—Is not this a gracious thing? And the word "gracious" may be applied to the whole Answer, for the King not asserting it, is a gracious Answer.
Sir Thomas Meres.] In the King's Answer, the Power in Ecclesiastical Matters is plainly asserted—The Message says, "he only designs to take off that Penalty of the Statutes;" if any will say, that so taking off Penalties be not to suspend Laws, what you have voted is not right—If you will thank him for suspending, it is a levity he hopes this House will never be guilty of.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] He avers there is no assertion in the Message, nor distinction; it joins both our Liberties and ecclesiastical matters—In the words of the Message, the King "never had thoughts of using it otherwise, than for the good of his Subjects;" not to Properties, nor to alter any thing established by Law in Church or State.
Mr Powle.] Jenkins said, "there was a necessity of the Declaration"—The violation of our Laws has been necessity—The States of Normandy desired the King of France not to raise any more taxes but by their consent; his answer was, "he would not do it but upon necessity;" and that necessity has been ever since, and he has raised money without them—Shall we rest in a doubtful and ambiguous Answer, where our Rights and Liberties are concerned? Would have the Answer of Thanks and Complaint go together, and how you can do it without a Committee, a wiser man than he must tell you.
[Resolved, That the Thanks of this House be presented to his Majesty, for his gracious Assurances and Promises in his Answer.]
Tuesday, February 25.
Farther Consideration of the King's Message.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Moves that the Bill, for giving case to his Majesty's Protestant dissenting subjects, may be left sine die.
[It was adjourned to next day.]
Sir William Coventry.] Would have it left still sine die, and neither to have preference; and now he is up, speaks to the business of the day—It concerns us to proceed with all duty to his Majesty, for preservation of our Laws and Liberties—Finds, many times, great advantage in having a night betwixt business—Finds no way more expedient for this business, than going into a Grand Committee—Hopes it may be done substantially, and answer all the ends of the House, and heats avoided—We have always referred reasons for things to be prepared by a Committee, and the House to approve of them; and he thinks it now most expedient to your purpose.
Mr Powle.] Before you refer it to a Committee, would open the exceptions we have to his Majesty's Answer—It is apparent, that those persons that advised his Majesty to this Declaration, still inform him that it is his right—"Not questioned in the reigns of any of his ancestors," will seem to imply, an unquestionable Right without Parliament—3 James, Petition of Grievances; some wholly relating to ecclesiastical matters—The jurisdiction of the High Commission Court abused, in pursuance of their citations and excommunications; all ecclesiastical matters—In the next Session, complaint of the Canons of 1 James, without consent of Parliament, which were then protested against, and complained of—In the next Session, complaint that the ecclesiastical laws were not put in execution against Non-residents and Recusants—The King then, it seems, has been strangely misinformed of his power in ecclesiastical matters—The Law gives penalties, not by way of profit or revenue, but for punishment of offenders—If the King can remit penalties, always complained of in Parliament, and redressed there, it tends to the overthrow of all things; and hopes this assertion will be waved—Taking the coherence all together, that the King may, for peace, suspend Laws, the pretence of necessity may never be wanting—The saying "a Bill may be more proper," implies suspension to be proper—These things have extremely weighed with him; and doubts not but, upon our informing the King, he will be graciously pleased to satisfy us; else the consequence will be an endless dispute betwixt the King and this House.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Hopes that care will be taken, for the future, that there shall be no occasion of this nature—Thinks this business too great for a Committee.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have the Committee so far impowered, as plainly to show that the power is not in the King—If not so instructed, time will be lost, and new Debates again.
[Resolved, That it be referred to a Committee, to consider what Answer to return to his Majesty's last Message, and to make report thereof.]
Wednesday, February 26.
Mr Powle reports the following Answer agreed by the Committee.
"Most Gracious Sovereign,
"We your Majesty's most humble and loyal Subjects, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, in this present Parliament assembled, do render to your sacred Majesty our most dutiful Thanks, for that, to our unspeakable comfort, your Majesty hath been pleased so often to reiterate unto us those gracious promises and assurances of maintaining the Religion now established, and the Liberties and Properties of your People: And we do not in the least measure doubt, but that your Majesty had the same gracious intentions in giving satisfaction to your Subjects, by your Answer to our late Petition and Address; yet, upon a serious consideration thereof, we find, that the said Answer is not sufficient to clear the apprehensions that may justly remain in the minds of your People, by your Majesty's having claimed a power to suspend penal Statutes, in Matters Ecclesiastical, and which your Majesty does still seem to assert, in the said Answer, to be "intrusted in the Crown, and never questioned in the reigns of any "of your ancestors;" wherein, we humbly conceive, your Majesty hath been very much misinformed; since no such power was ever claimed, or exercised, by any of your Majesty's Predecessors; and, if it should be admitted, might tend to the interrupting of the free course of the Laws, and altering the Legislative Power, which hath always been acknowledged to reside in your Majesty, and your two Houses of Parliament. We do, therefore, with an unanimous consent, become again most humble Suitors unto your sacred Majesty, that you would be pleased to give us a full and satisfactory Answer to our said Petition and Address; and that your Majesty would take such effectual order, that the proceedings in this matter may not, for the future, be drawn into consequence or example (fn. 4)."
Mr Attorney Finch.] Rises not up to interrupt the end of the Address, but some expressions in it do a little shock him—The words, "Majesty very much misinformed;" there must be a qualification—If as an universal proposition, it will go to some consequences that no man would have it tend to, in the gross and universally —But to Thomas and Richard, in individuals, mistaken, for that will exclude Pardon from the King—The King may pardon an Heretic; would you not have it extend to pardoning particular persons? You intend not, he supposes, "legislative," as in the two Houses, and the King—Therefore offers a correction—Not to be doubted no Laws can be otherwise, nor bind the People—But the King makes the Law when all is done, Rex solus, non si solus—When the supreme Power of Rome was in the People, the Magistracy was in the People—Till 3 Hen. IV, not one such expression to be found in our Laws, as "Be it enacted, by consent of Lords and Commons;" because Henry IV. was King by Authority of Parliament, and came in by the Lancastrian Line, and made so by Act—Therefore not to oppose the Question, whether "legislative" the King and Parliament, the exercise whereof the King has, to Laws presented to him by the two Houses.
Mr Vaughan.] Knows no difference between "suspending Laws" and "repealing them"—In Brooke and Fitzherbert, power of dispensing goes with Licence; suspension is abrogating Law for time being—As to Mr Attorney's objection against the form, if no man denies the power, why should not we say so? Anciently an answer to a Petition made it a Law, but now we are to assert a Law, which we fear shall be destroyed.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Is loth to make any more Addresses, and therefore would have this full.
Sir John Duncombe.] The Law is nice in distinction, and a hard matter not to do injury to one side or another—When you say, "the Kings of England have no power to suspend Laws," no Government can be without such a power as this; it cannot else subsist—The inconvenience may be such as may be sooner than we expect; that when it is necessary for your preservation, it cannot be used—Has heard it said above, "that, when enemies are at the gates, money may be raised for our preservation"—This must be allowed, that such a power must be; but now, whether well made use of or no, is the Question—Whether such a power, or not, would not have it resolved by a Question.
Mr Harwood.] We are upon a nice point—Knows not the difference when Thomas and William shall have a Law suspended to him—If a person condemned to death, the King has power to forgive, and the Law is satisfied—All our business is to make it plain; and, if not plain enough, would make it plainer—Thinks no person will advise the King to the contrary—It must be great necessity to bring the King to Dispensation—'Twas judged the King might raise Ship-money, in great necessity; but who must be judge of that necessity, but the Parliament? —Forty days, to call a Parliament, is no such considerable long time to be lost in the interim.
Mr Garroway.] Sees something starting of greater consequence than any thing yet—The Attorney's Rex solus, if not something more meant by it—If not without the King, we fear it not; if Roy s' avisera, we are content—Fears something else lies hidden, by what was said, by Duncombe, of power—Knows not how, nor when —Militia we scrupled not, one, two, three, or fourteen days, but when claimed here as a Law and a Power, fears the Address short of what we pretend to, and hopes justly—Let persons then speak plain, and homely, and bare-faced.
Sir John Duncombe.] Says it only as an argument a majori, as if done in the Spanish invasion, in this, as a Gentleman said it before him.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Is called up because his words are repeated—He put it thus, where an impossibility, not foreseen; but a legislative power in the King not, therefore, consequential.
Mr Vaughan.] The King has power of War and Peace, but no otherwise than by Law—If to raise money, you may go out of your Chair, and we home—The Action of every Parliament is your judgment—No necessity whatever can raise money but by Act of Parliament. (He reads the Act of Ship-money in Mr Hampden's Case.) It is not advice as in other Statutes. The extrajudicial opinions of the Judges are against Law, Rights, and Properties—The Petition of Right the same.
Mr Waller.] The Ship-money was condemned, because no necessity of raising it, and the Judges no judges of it—The Convention was without the King's Writ, and no Oath given; we excused them, and did jurare in verba—Here is something of Prerogative in this; if the King had suspended these Laws, we did excuse it—There was a great army of Dissenters—The Declaration of Breda (we did excuse it) dissolved the army—Whether good or bad, the fruit was great—An army of Dissenters, who were for liberty of conscience, yet laid down their arms—If you grant that the King has no Power, you take away what he has, and may do good withall.
Sir William Coventry.] Rises not to promote or propagate the Debate, which may be of ill consequence—No need, thank God, of debating this necessity now—A word let slip, and explained by Lee, no cause for the argument—The Statute that Vaughan read may quiet this point, or what sudden word may drop from a man—All the remedy the notion can produce is an Act of Parliament that is already full; no man sustains or maintains the point—Let it have no cherishing in this House, and be buried.
Sir John Trevor.] There is a distinction between particular dispensation to a person, and a general one (of the King) —The Judges did all agree, that the King might, &c. in the Ship-money case—Is not of opinion of a general dispensation by the King, but would have it considered, the King saying, "it was never in dispute in the reigns of his ancestors."—Thinks that Vaughan knows not the difference betwixt Thomas and William, and universal dispensation, &c.
Mr Garroway.] We were the other day arraigned for "unmannerliness," and now for "ignorance."—Would have Trevor's words written down and asserted.
Mr Vaughan.] Here are reflections sometimes of "unmannerliness," and now "ignorance"—(Trevor was called by many to the Bar.)
Sir Thomas Lee.] To Order!—Seconds Vaughan—The Clerk is to write the words.
Mr Attorney Finch.] You are rightly informed as to Order—The Gentleman must be heard in his place to explain, and likewise any Member to speak as to the words —In Debates of great consequence, men must not take hold of words, but of matter. (Called to Order by Lee, "he must not argue till the words be asserted.")
The words were these, asserted, and agreed to: "The Gentleman might take William or Thomas, or Thomas or William, which he pleased."
Sir John Trevor.] Explains—Is sorry that his discourse should cause the House to be so extremely troubled; he shall not take it ill, if any man shall say so to him. He intended no reflection, and humbly begs pardon if he gave offence to the worthy Gentleman. (The thing thus went off.)
Colonel Birch.] Now we are to go on with this, paragraph by paragraph, necessarily, being still asserted, and would so go over it.
Sir Robert Howard.] You intend not to huddle up all your rights, and cut off the King's—Since such Debates arise, would not circumscribe a Power so due to the King, and would have the thing argued, paragraph by paragraph.
N. B. Some time before the Attorney spoke, new directions were sent the Courtiers from the Lords House.
Mr. Milward.] In the case of Simony, the King may pardon by a non obstante, but not dispense with it—The case of Irish Cattle before the last Act—The King may do any thing legislatively, and would have the thing re-committed, to speak parliamentary language.
Mr Sollicitor North (fn. 5).] To the word "unanimous," conceives that the whole House is bound up with the majority out of the House—As to suspension, supposes the King cannot lay the Law dead; but suspension never was a Question before, as to particular persons — It tends to alter the legislative Power in King, Lords, and Commons—Would have the words altered so.
Sir Thomas Meres.] It is to be re-committed when the matter of fact is not clear; when you have many exceptions, you go paragraph by paragraph; but when but one or two, what is first excepted against is always first argued—Remember your vote of the penal Laws—Says Serjeant Maynard, "dispensing with you cannot put in general, and is positively against your vote," and gave reasons to the contrary against your vote—Would not stagger again in that vote, having sent it to the King—Would not have one Address with one sense, and another with another.
Mr Swynfin.] The legislative power is a tender point—Thinks it as well expressed as possibly can be, and any variation may be of great consequence, one way or other—All forms say, the united authority is from the three States; legislative power by the advice of the Lords and Commons is dangerous advice; it imports legislative advice—To say "the soul is in the head by consent of the heart," would be strange, when it is in the whole and every part—The Law receives authority from the whole authority, because the Question is, where it resides? To say "it is in the King, but not exercised, but by both Houses!"—Exercitial authority very dangerous—After the King's Restoration, the first vote sent from the Lords was, "that the legislative power resides in King, Lords, and Commons"—To put a stop to all former pretensions, would not crumble it into other expressions, but leave it as it is, entire.
Sir Richard Temple.] Proffered several times to speak, and at last called to the Orders for liberty to be heard; to which the Speaker said, It is not in my power to prevail with the House to hear you.
Sir Thomas Osborne.] Is not of Temple's mind, that the word "suspension" is useless, because mentioned in the Declaration—Thinks it a good word, and may very well be retained—And the learned Gentleman said so, till Temple thought it signified nothing—To the word "unanimous," though in Parliament language it may be so, yet understands it not, that every man was of that opinion. If not, the King may say, "I shall delay my Answer"—He may justly say so—Let us not make a dark thing of it.
Mr Vaughan.] If once you bring the thing into question, you destroy the very being of Parliament. The King cannot ask what has been done here, as Osborne alleged, and no man can answer him.
Lord St. John.] Has heard Howard often say, "that the vote of the House was his opinion." In 3 Charles, when the Remonstrance was against the Duke of Buckingham, it was then called "unanimous consent"—Always so, and would have it so now.
Sir William Coventry.] Knight has put in a good exception, that such a thing should not come upon your books; for in parliamentary acceptation it is a good word, but not in general construction, therefore would have "full" instead of "unanimous."
Mr Attorney Finch.] Hereafter the word may be expected in Addresses—It may be very ill to tell the King what is "unanimous" and what is not—This may be expected to be measured in your Addresses for the future, and have an Answer accordingly for the future.
Mr Vaughan.] When the Question is now before us, and this thrown out, what will the world say? Possibly be might not have been for putting it in; but is not for putting the word "unanimous" out, now it is in.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Never saw so "unanimous" an Address as yesterday to the King; not twenty dissenters.
[The word "unanimous," in the last paragraph, was retained, 180 to 77.
Resolved, That the whole Address be agreed to, as it was brought in by the Committee; and that it be presented to his Majesty.]
Thursday, February 27.
[In a Grand Committee on the Bill of Ease to his Majesty's Protestant dissenting subjects.]
Mr Powle.] It was the advice of St. Paul, to bear with those that were weak in faith—Those that are of the same belief with us desire "Ease," which must relate to burdens. By the Law of Queen Elizabeth, no man was punished that did not teach heretical or erroneous opinions. Now before the last Law of Conventicles, no Law reached them. Here we have a sort of people that teach nothing but the truth, and knows not why we should deny these people liberty, that have it in all places but where the Inquisition is.
Mr Garroway.] Would confirm to the Dissenters such houses as are already granted them.
Sir Adam Browne.] Every sectary will say he is a Protestant and no Papist—You must take care for the other parties as well as the Presbyterians.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Agrees not to the places already appointed—Would have great caution as well to places as to the religion established—Would have it penned "for such places as shall be appointed by Act of Parliament."
Sir William Hickman.] Thinks it not reasonable they should have their Meeting-houses out of town—The Act being temporary, they will not build houses.
Mr Swynfin.] You have great expectations upon you, and you have partly intended them the thing under consideration. If then something must be done, consider, that some think it far greater than it is—The Test for subscription of qualifying persons is as much as was in Queen Elizabeth's time—Compare the Church then and now; there were many professed enemies then, all the opposition the Church of Rome could make, and other Dissenters—Hopes that this may bring a small number of the Church to be a greater—"Meeting" must import some place, but how to describe the place? Either "left to their own choice," and that possibly may have too great a latitude, and then you cannot find them to have the Test—If "by certificate to the Sessions," then such places as are already allowed by licence; but thinks that gives too much countenance to the Declaration—If the King do it by a Law, 'tis most suitable and strong to the vote.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If at this day they meet at any house without Bible, or religious worship, they are not within your Act—These sort of people having a design to do mischief, may meet together, and you cannot punish them—If you find them tumultuous, you need not continue the Bill, but would have the liberty with the largest.
Mr Crouch.] The Question is, what place they shall have? Cambridge, the place he serves for, desires that they may not be there.
Sir William Coventry.] Hoped Crouch did move that they might have been in Cambridge. —Would have them in the Universities, that they may convert them.
Mr Crouch.] They will be disturbed by the youths there with disputing—Would not have them there.
Colonel Strangways.] Public places are, in our Religion, for divine worship, that people may find them; and that no disturbance be made, and no ill doctrine preached—Indulgences that were to itinerant Preachers "per totam Angliam," those disturbed most. Voted, "In such places only as by this Act shall be appointed."
Mr Hale.] Moves to have it " in such places as shall, from time to time, be appointed by the King."
Sir Charles Harbord.] Would have Licences from the Bishop of the Diocese, and the places free and open.
Mr Powle.] Is against Licences. It may be turned into an office—Would have them in such places as may not be prejudicial to the Peace; and would have them certified to the Quarter-Sessions, that you may know where to find them.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The places are Conventicles still, and in the power of any Justice of the Peace to go to any of these Meetings, to prevent disorder, and to know that they are Protestants, and to require the Subscription—Peoples minds may alter, and would have them subscribe so often as put upon it by the Justices.
Sir William Coventry.] Is against the Justices hunting out these people for the Test—Would have those that have the benefit, take the pains to qualify themselves for this Meeting—The Bishops are not easily found, and it is troublesome to them and the Justices of the Peace; but if the Justices of the Peace find persons that have not their Passport that they have the Test, they may be punished —If you intend favour, suppose a Teacher die, and no Sessions in three months, that place will [then] be without; so would have the two next Justices licence till the next Sessions.—We are not approving these people, but for the safety of the peace; such as agree with us in Doctrine, and the taking the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, ecure you, that the Justice has his Test.
Mr Crouch.] If he cannot come time enough to the Quarter-Sessions, the two next Justices of the Peace may do it, relating to the Teachers only.
The Question passed in the Affirmative.
It was proposed "that the Bill continue but for one year, and from thence to the end of the next Session of Parliament."
Sir John Duncombe.] Would have it stop at one year; you will in that time find inconvenience sufficient both to Church and State.
Sir Charles Harbord.] Will you put them into a snare for a year? Better let it alone totally. Let them fully in, and they will be concerned for their good behaviour, and you may do good with them.
Sir William Coventry.] Would not have them bear offices, nor have the benefit by not bearing offices; but would have them contribute to the charge.
Mr Crouch.] Would not have them Church-wardens that care not for the Church, and would let it fall—Would have them not capable, but fine for it.
Sir William Coventry.] If he does not execute his office as he should, he will fall into the Bishop's hands; and his Courts will handle him sufficiently. It is said "that the Bishops cannot handle them;" but you do not take the penalties off any more than in not coming to the Church, and he will have a Writ de excom. capiendo, which is not by this Act voided.
Mr Crouch.] This Writ will cost three pounds to the person that takes it out; and no sooner in the jail but let loose; and no remedy but what is worse than the disease.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Ecclesiastical Courts in some things have too much power, and in others too little, and the Bishops usually the least—This Bill has no relation to offices; and if you debate this, you must also the regulating the Ecclesiastical power.
Sir John Duncombe.] If you let them in to be Churchwardens, or Overseers of the poor, you will be sure to have all of their opinion well fed, and the rest starved.
Sir Thomas Lee.] One Church-warden is named by the Parson, and the other by the Parish, so you are sure that one will be a Churchman; and as for the Overseers of the poor, chosen by the Parish, and allowed of at the Justices monthly meeting, [there is] seldom any distinction in distributing the money; and if there is, the Justices may remedy it.
Sir Thomas Meres reports the Heads of a Bill for the Ease of Diffenters.
Heads of the Bill, [abridged from the Journal.]
"To subscribe to the Articles of the Doctrine of the Church of England: To take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy: "Assent and Consent" taken away: Pains for meeting taken away: Teachers to subscribe and take the Oaths at Quarter-Sessions: Before two Justices of the Peace, out of Sessions, to teach till next Sessions, doors open: To continue for a year, and from thence to the end of the next Session of Parliament."
Sir Philip Musgrave.] Would have the Articles specified.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Articles were those of the Convocation in Queen Elizabeth's time, 1562.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Would have those Articles, that are already mentioned in the Law.
Agreed to by the Committee.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Quakers and Papists may fine for not bearing offices.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Thinks this regular—Would ease the Protestant subjects—Would have the Protestant subjects eased, and would lay it upon others.
Mr Attorney Finch.] Oblige all Incumbents in any Livings to catechise once a week—It has been thought, in ill times, set up in opposition to preaching, which then kept many off, for giving distaste—At the same time, there may be a paraphrastical discourse of catechising—The King taking notice of the confirming youth not well informed—And, in time, you will be put to seek out your Assentors—It will be the greatest ornament you can give your Bill.
Sir John Duncombe.] Would have order taken, at the same time, about the schools, that children should be taught well, and well principled, under a penalty.
Mr Garroway.] By the people you now indulge, you will never have catechising taught by them—But would have this clause to quicken those of the Church of England.
[Ordered, That a Bill be brought in, to oblige every Incumbent to cathechise and instruct the youth of his parish, every Sunday afternoon.]
Friday, February 28.
A Petition of Henry Robinson was offered, for saving houses from fire, at a rate.
Colonel Birch.] Would have it read; for, as unlikely a project as it is, gunpowder and printing were as improbable things—Always learned something, though from the ignorance of the person.
Mr Crouch.] If we had believed such things as the Indies, we might have been masters of them (for the Discoverer (fn. 6) first offered himself to us) as well as the Spaniards—Would have it committed with the Bill [touching the blowing up, or pulling down houses, to prevent the increase of fire] which was done.
The Speaker hastily quitted the Chair, as was urged by divers, without a Question, and Mr. Attorney took the Chair, for the Committee of the whole House on the Bill of Supply.
After several Motions, the Speaker resumed the Chair, which he had several checks for leaving. Then
Mr Sacheverell.] Moves for removing all Popish Recusants out of military office or command.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Complained of divers who were got into command lately.
Sir Robert Carr.] Neither Lee, nor any man else, knows that any considerable Papists are in arms—If one Papist be qualified with forty or fifty Protestants, there is no danger—If any more be, they are likely to go beyond sea, and not trouble you here.
Mr Vaughan.] Drums beat about the streets; [there are] many Irish Popish officers; and in the coffee-houses they say "some of us are to be hanged, when the Parliament rises"—When these men are once raised, we shall not know how to get them suppressed—Therefore moves for a vote for an Address to the King, for removing them.
Sir Thomas Osborne.] The King was pleased to have the Commissions searched, and there were not sixteen, before these new forces were raised—He considered not their religion, but that they were soldiers and good officers—The King knew them to be good officers, but not Catholics—You will not, he hopes, expect that those of the fleet (so considerable) should be excluded the service.
Earl of Ogle (fn. 7).] He must chuse some Roman Catholics, or he cannot raise the King a good regiment—He must do them this justice, that many of them have been killed, and lost their estates, for the King's service—He has but two officers Papists in his whole regiment, and one was put upon him—It does not become us to think of so great danger of Popery.
Sir Robert Howard.] What you are to do now, is to appoint some Members to draw a Bill, to exempt them from this trust—He is no great affecter of their religion, but would not have the swords of gallant men taken from them.
Mr Garroway.] Has no man in particular to charge. Yet common same makes them lavish, in saying, they are only able to serve the King—Is sorry to have it said here, that we have no persons capable of service, but Papists—The greater is the danger of them—We have many young Gentlemen, Protestants, who may learn, and in time be put in employment—The King, in his speech, has formerly thought them incapable; and therefore he does. As for facilitating the King's business, which gave this day's interruption, when the people shall see we have not forgot them in their fears of Popery, the money will be given with the better will, and their spirits quieted.
Earl of Ogle.] Says he is Lieutenant of Northumberland, which County is divided betwixt Papists and such as have fought against the King—He is the son of a father that has fought for him, and so are they also; therefore it cannot be thought amiss to employ them.
Colonel Strangways.] Is sorry that those of the Church of England are dead, and those alive that have not served the King—Many that have served the King cannot get employment—Would have Lord Ogle carry those abroad that have disserved the King—Let us do that which becomes prudent men—He has a kindness for their persons, but would not have power in their hands to do mischief—But will nothing satisfy them but to be in competition with you?—Would have none of that.
Mr Powle.] Would distinguish between old and new Converts—Putting them in employment looks like a reward of their apostacy—Lord Ogle said, "he had but two, and one put upon him"—He is sorry they have such interest—Another said, "there were not above fifteen or sixteen"—All agree, that amongst the new-raised men, there are many—It may be said, many have served the King—Desires not the rigour of execution of the Laws; but when such have arms in their hands, knows not but they may make use of them to establish their own power.
Mr Harbord.] Unless you do something more than a vote, you will be under the same power the Presbyterians were in the long Parliament, awed by the Independents, who had arms in their hands—Would have a Law for it—There was great rejoicing at Rome, by the Cardinal Protector of the English, for the King's murder: And to those they durst speak their minds to, they said, "they could not prevail upon him for his religion"—Now in this he takes the liberty rather to displease his King than undo him. (The words gave offence.) He explains himself upon the Declaration, that it would undo the King and the Subject.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The words gave no offence; every man ought to say so, if he be persuaded in his heart (for what is not of faith, is sin) that it will undo the King.
Sir John Duncombe.] Takes things of this nature with as much humanity, as he would have other men do of him—Harbord knows he has great respect for him—But though the King gives us freedom of speech, yet he never heard the like before here.
Sir Thomas Osborne.] Hopes the words were not as he apprehends them, but would have them asserted.
Colonel Strangways.] Thinks the words may be justified, and no hurt in them, take them in the true meaning.
Mr Attorney Finch.] The reason of Law why we have liberty of speech, is, that whatever ill is said of us without doors, we may be censured here only for it—Supposes the Gentleman does sufficiently correct himself for what he has said.
Mr Garroway.] Desires, for the sake of your Member, that the words may be asserted, that the things may not be reported without doors which were not said within.
Sir John Duncombe.] A man would be troubled for the very approaches of offending this House—It would grieve him to the soul to do it.
Mr Harbord.] Explains—Not at all satisfied with the Declaration; he intended no reflection on the King, and would submit to all the severity in the world rather than be thought such a one.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Could have wished the thing had been better worded, but the sense was good. So it passed over.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If the word "popish" be without "suspected," you have not one "convicted recusant" in England.
Colonel Birch.] Men will be more able to pay the tax, by the clause of corn, more willing, by recalling the Declaration, and out of fear for the future, by this vote of Popery. Ireland for fifty years, in Queen Elizabeth's time, had no rebellion in it, and good trade; but when the Papists once got into office there cheek-by-jowl with the Protestants, then they rebelled.—If you put not a stop to this, all will be ineffectual—When he considers at the first Reformation in Henry VIII's time, how few we were, and what a swing it had when once got in fashion,—let men apply it—A great many that took the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy rebelled—What has been done may be done—Would have the King and you assured in the business, and that is all he aims at.
Sir John Duncombe.] The servant that had so much forgiven him, and took his fellow servant by the throat for a small debt, such people must be looked to. Let men carry humanity about them when they run so into religion. Men that have been locked up in their own walls (as the Romish Fryars) know not how to use their tongues in company, and some are indiscreet through zeal; for zeal and love never were discreet.
Resolved, That all persons who shall refuse to take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and to receive the Sacrament according to the Rites of the Church of England, shall be incapable of all public employments, military or civil.
[March 1, omitted.]