Debates in 1673: March (3rd-10th)

Pages 78-96

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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In this section

Monday, March 3.

Mr Powle reports, from the Committee, the following Address, for preventing the Growth of Popery, to be presented to his Majesty:

"We your Majesty's most loyal subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, being very sensible of the great dangers and mischiefs that may arise within this your Majesty's realm by the increase of Popish Recusants amongst us, and considering the great resort of Priests and Jesuits into this kingdom, who daily endeavour to seduce your Majesty's subjects from their Religion and Allegiance, and how much your loyal subjects are disheartened to see such Popish Recusants advanced into employments of great trust and profit, and especially into military commands over the forces, now in your Majesty's service; and having a tender regard to the preservation of your Majesty's person, and the peace and tranquillity of this kingdom, do, in all humility, desire, that your Majesty would be pleased to issue out your Royal Proclamation, to command all Priests and Jesuits, (other than such as, not being natural born subjects to your Majesty, are obliged to attend upon your Royal Consort the Queen) to depart within this days, out of this your Majesty's kingdom, and that if any Priest or Jesuit shall happen to be taken in England, after the expiration of the said time, that the laws be put in due execution against them; and that your Majesty would please, in the said Proclamation, to command all Judges, Justices of the Peace, Mayors, Bailiffs, and other Officers, to put the said laws in execution accordingly: That your Majesty would likewise be pleased, that the Lord Chancellor of England shall, on or before the 25th day of March instant, issue out commissions of Dedimus potestatem, to the Judge Advocate, and Commissaries of the musters, and such other persons as he shall think fit, (not being officers commanding soldiers) to tender the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, to all (fn. 1) officers and soldiers now in your Majesty's service and pay; and that such as refuse the said Oaths may be immediately disbanded, and not allowed or continued in any pay (fn. 2) or pension, and that the Chancellon shall require due returns to be made thereof, within some convenient time after the issuing out of the said commissions: That the Commissaries of the musters be commanded and enjoined by your Majesty's warrant, upon the penalty of losing their places, not to permit any officer to be mustered, in the service and pay of his Majesty, untill he shall have taken the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and received the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, according to the laws and usage of the Church of England; and that every soldier serving at land, shall take the said Oaths before his first muster, and receive the Sacrament in such manner before his second muster. And this we present, in all dutifulness, to your Majesty's princely wisdom and consideration, as the best means for the satisfying and composing the minds of your loyal subjects; humbly desiring your Majesty graciously to accept of this our Petition, as proceeding from hearts and affections entirely devoted to your Majesty's service, and to give it your Royal approbation."

Colonel Sandys.] The King has called several of these officers, whom you will make incapable by your Bill, from beyond sea; they lost their fortunes there for their allegiance in returning hither, upon the King's command to return.

Sir Robert Howard.] He believes that Sir John Herman will not receive the Sacrament—Would not have so considerable a man discouraged—We have few such.

Sir William Lowther.] Harman is a good Churchman —He sits by him every Sunday.

Sir William Coventry.] When he had the honour of employment under the Duke of York, he gave Harman the Oaths.

Sir John Bennet.] What will you do when men are pressed, and they refuse the Oaths and the Sacrament? Will you dismiss them?

Sir William Coventry.] Thinks that the Oaths and the Sacrament are not practicable for the seamen; not that your men are afraid of their flesh, but they will refuse them, Colliers and Merchants pay being better.

Mr Attorney Finch.] A Catholic that makes no conscience of your Oaths will make none of your Sacrament. The Oaths are the most cogent testimony. If you mean to impose the Sacrament, you will cut off so many hands from your service.

Sir John Duncombe.] Does not like to expose holy things in this manner; your ships are to be supplied by landmen; though they have taken it at land, they will refuse it at sea, to avoid the service. Many are not prepared, and will you force him to swallow it down to damn himself? If the Oath of Allegiance will not do, think of something else rather.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Soldiers are not surprized, as is said—In the rule of musters near forty days before they can be removed; then no great surprize in the case—Remembers in 1638, a great army then, three times enough to beat the Scots; but the late King durst not trust the common soldiers, their jealousies were such of their Popish officers.

Sir Robert Howard.] They will go to the Sacrament, as to eat and drink. Now when a Test comes, it will wound your Protestant subjects—Impossible to fill your land companies without Fanatics—Leave out the Test for your own safety—They are convertible terms, and convertible interests.

Mr Vaughan.] In all Statutes that have been made, in King James's time, after the Powder Plot, the Sacrament is made part of the Test—The kingdom, in one thing, is very unfortunate, that the other day we could have none but Popish officers, and to day none but Fanatic soldiers—We are, in the mean time, like to be safe, especially in alliance and conjunction with the French King's fleet, who are Papists—Would not have them by sea, any more than by land; would have as good security by sea, as by land; would have neither Popish soldiers nor officers.

Colonel Titus.] The Sacrament is an unuseful Test—They that hold your Church, no Church, hold your Sacrament, no Sacrament—The Sacrament is not a thing to be ordered to take, and no matter whether they understand it or no.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] If you make Papists incapable of dangerous places, you will increase them—If Papists may be Merchants, and not Soldiers, they will increase more—It is not prudent to make your plaister wider than your sore.

Sir Thomas Meres.] If Laws were put in execution, Papists would not be so great as they are—It is said, "What power will catch them, because of Dispensations, and (our being) discouraged to give them any Test?" as in many passages in the mystery of Jesuitism—Let us do like good and religious men; and if they can abide any Test, all mankind will laugh at them, and they themselves and their Religion will grow ridiculous upon it.

Colonel Birch.] Wonders at so great a change betwixt now and a few years ago—As for damning, the same Church says, they must prepare themselves—If they serve at sea, they have two months time.

Sir Thomas Meres.] An English Priest, an apostate from your religion, is not granted in the articles of marriage [between the King and the Infanta Qu. Catherine]—Dr Gauden was an English Priest—Names him to be rid of him.

Lord Cornbury.] The man is the Queen's Priest, and has been so ever since the Queen came into England.

Colonel Strangways.] No Ambassador can bring an English Catholic Priest into England; it is against the Law of nations. If he brings in a Priest, that Priest is a raytor by Law. Having the English tongue, they have more opportunities than ordinary.

Mr Vaughan.] Articles of marriage cannot be against Law. It is præmunire to harbour them.

Mr Garroway.] Would not have the man named in this Address: It will make delay—The Address must be re-committed, if you name him—Would have the man left out—If they be not gone already, by this Address you may be rid of them all.

[The Address being agreed to; Resolved, That the Lords concurrence be desired.]

Tuesday, March 4.

In a Grand Committee on the Supply. Debate on prolonging the day appointed for it.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Here is a fear of the King, a fear of the Lords, and a fear of ourselves. We are in a most miserable condition. This may have great influence abroad.

Mr Vaughan.] We have been as yet but Petitioners, and have had no effectual answer to our Message—The Bill of Supply may have quick dispatch enough—The people expect an account from us of this great affair of religion, and we cannot answer the delay of it to them.

Mr Garroway.] Every body is for carrying on this Bill, and yet it cannot find the way to go—Be pleased to remember how quickly the money was given—You are desired to stay but a little while for an answer from the King; that we may not have an ill construction abroad, and have the thing pass quietly; and you gain nothing by pressing it.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The people would have so hard thoughts of us, as may prove prejudicial to the government. If we make such haste, and if we had found things as we left them last Session, this Money-Bill might have passed sooner.

Sir Robert Howard.] Does believe that those accommodations of things we desire, will come in good time—We shall either have satisfaction, or not; and every man knows the condition of things; war, delay, and other things—Doubts not but every man thinks it sinking or swimming, and if not supplied in time, the nation must be put upon strange leagues and new intentions. But let it have the course that may come easily, and put it for Saturday.

Colonel Birch.] If we intend that all must go together, it is visible we cannot have an answer before Saturday—We have a quick way to dispatch the money, and we know it—Would have things go upon equal terms.

Sir Thomas Osborne.] Thinks that giving of money would be a stop to the growth of Popery—A necessary ingredient, to defend yourselves from it, is by a fleet—If the fleet fall short, it will be at our doors.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Sees no answer to our fears of Popery and Property opposed to the Dutch fleet—Would fain know where that Amsterdam money is, so talked of—We only humbly petition that the Law may have its course. It is a very easy Petition—He has no jealousy either of the King or of the Lords, but is jealous of himself—No man knows his own heart—We are not always present to ourselves, nor present here—At last, it is but passing it, after reporting it, and there is an end of your business—We must not lose kindness in other matters.

[To proceed on Saturday.]

Wednesday, March 5.

The Bill to prevent the Growth of Popery was read the first time.


Mr Attorney Finch.] No consideration is had in this, of offices for lives or inheritances, which are not to be forfeited by the heir, unless he be convicted—In Annuities or Pensions not reasonable—This was the first severity in Parliament to take away Pensions, whereby people must eat—This command to the Attorney General not to enter a noli prosequi will put a man to the charge of a noble in a non pros. to that of twenty pounds for a pardon from the King—Hopes you will make a temperament to these things at the commitment.

Mr Milward.] Can name some Catholics that have Pensions for life: The three Pendrils, brothers, who were so happily instrumental in preserving the King after Worcester Fight.

Sir Courtney Poole.] Would have all persons exempted, named in the Bill.

Lord Cornbury.] Speaks for some of the Queen's servants.

Mr. Secretary Coventry.] "Pensions" are unnatural things to put into the Bill; forbid all Pensions, and you had as good knock people on the head; as good starve them. You make the King less capable than any other man to be charitable. He that saved Dublin castle was a Papist —A Turk, or a Moor, that does service, you would reward. These Pensions are not under the Great Seal; but to say those who have saved the King's life shall not be rewarded, is most unreasonable — The Lord Chamberlain above-stairs has given all the oaths to the servants; he is a person no way suspected.

Mr Vaughan.] The end of your Bill is to take offices of trust, which will imply power: The giving of Pensions from the Crown is out of its revenue; you give the money, and the Crown cannot support it—Would have the Pensions of mere charity, no way relative to trust.

Sir Robert Carr.] For want of a Member to speak for a Pensioner here, by name, to lose his Pension is unreasonable.

Mr Powle.] It takes not away the power of persons from executing their offices of inheritance by Deputy—Would always have a perpetual mark of honour upon persons truly deserving, and would have them named in the Bill for their honour. It was not the intention, in the former Session, that persons then cashiered for Papists, should have Pensions. Statute of Henry VIII. mentions persons not worthy of Pensions who own not the government—Many deserving persons, Protestants, are ready to starve. It is reasonable that the Queen's Portugal servants should be considered. (This consideration was likewise committed to be considered.)

Col. Sandys.] Moves that every man may name his friend—Thinks the number will not be considerable.

Sir Robert Howard.] Hopes you will not think the King no proper judge of a little reward; your business here is trust and security of the nation—Hopes the Bill will come easy to the King, to pass the better, with no unnecessary strictness in it.

Sir Thomas Meres.] The word "Pension" is not in the Bill—Thinks these are mistakes made to throw dirt on the Bill. With all submission to those that drew the Bill, says, the House always improves and mends it—Thinks there are but few that will pass muster here—People now turn for preferment.

The Speaker.] If you will give Meres privilege to be disorderly, he has done—He must leave reflections.

Sir Thomas Meres, goes on and says.] It is dirt thrown upon the Bill when words are said to be in the Bill that are not ("Pensions.")

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Intends to throw no dirt on the Bill, nor would have dirt thrown upon him—"Salary" and "Pension" are both payments, and the same thing. Will you have no debts paid to Catholics?—Thinks "Payment" is more than "Pension"—Would have the order kept, that Gentlemen may speak without reprimand or reflection.

Mr Garroway.] Thinks that strange, for soldiers "Pay" is no "Pension;" it is their due, and that is a "Payment"—Would not trifle away time upon such things.

Sir Gilbert Talbot.] Dirt is thrown somewhere else than on the Bill. It is said, "a great many did turn upon design of preferment"—Abruptlywent not on.

[The Bill was ordered to be read a second time.]

Thursday, March 6.

[A present Conference having been desired by the Lords, and agreed to by the House, on the matter of the Address sent from this House on the 4th instant, to prevent the growth of Popery,]

Mr Attorney General reports the Conference.

[Debate on the Lords amendments. On that of inserting "land" before "officers."]

Mr Garroway.] If it be thought more safe to have them at sea than at land, does not else see what the word "at sea" means. If they will only abjure the doctrine of Transubstantiation, let it be the test at sea and land.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] If they may command our ships, they may command us also—Would have that Test spoken of, of the Sacrament, waved, and have only the doctrine of Transubstantiation the Test.

Mr Attorney Finch.] Would not lose the fruits of so hopeful an Address with amendments—Little suspicion of Catholic officers, but great danger of losing good officers not Catholics—Believes that this amendment of your Address offered by the Lords is with no intention to favour the Catholics at sea, therefore would not insist upon it, but agree.

Sir Thomas Osborne.] There are but two Captains Roman Catholics in the whole fleet, and they young Gentlemen and no notice taken of them. When you say "officers," would distinguish—Masters, Boatswains, and Gunners, are of great use, and the humour of being fanatic most upon them; therefore would distinguish and confine it only to Captains, only to such as command the ship and become dangerous.

Mr Vaughan.] You join with a Catholic Prince, and, without the Oath, you may betray the whole kingdom.

Mr Hopkins.] Transubstantiation is a Test that no Papist will endure, but any Protestant will; therefore would have that the Test.

Mr Cheney.] Would have you particularly name such persons as you would except in this Address.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Hopes that you will not put a brand upon people—Would have no mention of the Sacrament in this Address—Would leave that out.

Mr Powle.] Fears that all the remedy we shall have by this amendment is, that "land soldiers" may be "sea captains"—Would have that trust at sea left in doubtful and suspicious terms.

Mr Attorney Finch.] In the universality of the extent, it will comprehend the sea-soldier in point of the Sacrament for a Test; the Lords, he is of opinion, would have left out the Sacrament, but that the reverend Prelates could not stand by and agree—You had better rely upon your Bill, than press the Sacrament in this Address.

— [The amendment was rejected.]

[On the amendment of leaving out the word "Pension."]

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Wonders how this word "Pension" was dark in the Bill, and clear in the Address.

Colonel Birch.] By "Pension" they have money for doing nothing—The same reason for saving as giving money—There will be, by Pensions, an army ready of reformado-officers—If they be so good officers as has been said, they cannot want employment abroad.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] What commands they left, supposes, were in Holland—They may be commanded by the King's friends beyond sea, and not starve—Agrees not with the amendment of the Lords.

Sir John Duncombe.] Is ever for a good-natured motion in this House—Let them live easily by you, to prevent conspiring—He is sure that you will not suffer these men to starve.

Mr Sollicitor North.] It is enough to take their arms and pay from them; therefore would agree to the word "Pension."

Sir Thomas Meres.] It is asked "how they shall live?" Where they lived before, and hopes the thing may be accommodated with some words.

Sir Robert Howard.] It is said "that much of the King's revenue may be saved by these "Pensions"—Hopes no man will think the King too lavish in his rewards—There is no Question of the King's doing what is good for him and the nation.

Mr Garroway.] Would be one that should give money to them towards commands abroad, rather than they should want employment, being gallant men—Most of the Gentlemen being strangers (Irishmen) may give occasion for other Debates—Would not have "Pensions" given them, and they stay here—Not worthy for them to do so, nor safe for us.

Mr Attorney Finch.] If you do not agree with the Lords, you must dispute upon a theme against "Pensions," hard to maintain!—It may be, the King may give the Pension in trust to some Protestant friend for him—Would have no cruel thing urged at the Conference.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The King has been more bountiful than any of his ancestors, therefore no wonder he wants money—These are persons not to come near the Court by Law—Two thirds of their estates forfeited—If this be the case, how consonant will this be to your Laws? It would never grieve him to allow a "Pension" in trust, if the Parliament give it not.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Every man that has had an employment abroad is not sure of it again, when a man has laid out all his little fortune—Would not have all officers have "Pensions;" but you, by not agreeing, bind the King's hands, that, when persons grow aged, they should be forbid "Pensions," and the King disabled to give them.

Colonel Birch.] If he could express himself at once as well as Coventry, would not stand up twice—The Question is now, "Whether such a "Pension" as may create jealousy"—It is such a thing as does, and would have none.

Colonel Strangways.] Is not backward to reward such persons as have served the King; but jealousy is the case you speak of, in your Address—Divers of these persons have been entertained, when Protestant officers were in want—Old Cavaliers, no "Pensions" for them—Would know upon what account these men were invited hither, and by whom, we having sufficient at hand? We know, where Princes disband officers, they keep them at half pay, to use them upon occasion, and so may these—Therefore moves that we should not agree with the Lords.

[The amendment was rejected, 141 to 102.]

Friday, March 7.

[The Bill for giving Ease to Dissenters was read the second Time.]


Sir Philip Warwick.] Would not have ecclesia in ecclesiâ, imperium in imperio—Moves, that there may be a Test upon persons to sit in this House, that the Church may not be destroyed.

Colonel Strangways.] Moves, that no persons may be capable of sitting in this House that are not conformable to the Church of England, and will not take the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy, and receive the Sacrament.

Colonel Birch.] Knows not that, these seven years, he has been absent from the Confession in the Church—But the taking away the outworks of the Church does not so weaken, as is said, when they are too large to be maintained—You are resorting now to the ancient Test in Queen Elizabeth's time; signing the Articles then made men capable of preferment; so that you are doing nothing now, but what was then thought enough, and had good success then without these outworks. The main fort was then tenable against the Church of Rome, and other Dissenters; but now they must not be augmented; it is the way to ruin the Church—They are not, in many places, suffered to preach in an afternoon, tho' conformable; and yet they tell us, Churches are ruinated and going down—He knows not what we should do with the Churches, if they are not preached in—In parishes that he knows, [there are] twenty thousand parishioners, some above seven miles long, and no preaching in the Chapels—Would have them at liberty to preach in any decayed Church or Chapel, that the Church of England men and they may be acquainted with one another, in order to union.

Colonel Titus.] Was always of opinion, that some such thing as is before you was fit to be done—If they are not at ease, they will be dangerous—Would not have the Bill clogged with Provisoes—Much difference between dispensing with some laws to them, and making them law-makers—Would have no friends to laws be abrogaters of them—Is for no man's sitting here, who is not of the Church of England.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The thing looks improper—The Bill continuing but to the end of next Session of Parliament, it will make the Bill Felo de se.

Sir William Coventry.] Do we settle the Church of England for the present, and leave the reversion to other persons? When the Bill is let fall, then it is likely that the multipliers of Electors will chuse a stranger for them.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Thinks that, as the case stands, the Sacrament is the main Test to a Member elected.

Mr Attorney Finch.] Thinks it a proper motion—It is but establishing orders of Parliament by Act of Parliament—The Sacrament is very rarely connived at, but for the sake of some very worthy eminent person.

[The Bill was ordered to be committed, and the Debate adjourned to Monday next.]

Reasons reported by Mr Powle, to be presented at a Conference [with the Lords] upon their amendments to the Address to the King, to prevent the growth of Popery.

"The command of ships as great trust as that of land forces, and therefore great assurance from the persons requisite; they may else deliver up the ships, as well as the land trust. 3 James, Recusants were disabled for sea as well as land: Now we have far more reasons, our navy being more considerable; and they that will not take the Test by land may go to sea, where there is no Test, and do more mischief. "Pensions" are under the Great Seal; therefore would not have them for Papists on Record. It is now dangerous to continue them about the Court, where, by Law, they ought not to be. Great expence of treasure, by Pensions, now they cannot be employed; and discouragement to Protestant Soldiers."

[After a Conference, the Lords sent word, "That they agreed to the Address;" which was presented to his Majesty by both Houses, in the afternoon.]

The King's Answer to the Address. [Erased in the printed Journal.]

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I do heartily concur to the matter of the Address, and in putting the Laws against Popery in execution; but suppose your meaning is not, that they should extend to the foreign forces now in my service, but, to the rest, shall be done as you desire."

Saturday, March 8.

The King's Answer to the second Address concerning the Declaration, spoken by him in the House of Lords.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"Yesterday you presented me an Address, as the best means for [the] satisfying and composing the minds of my subjects; to which I freely and readily agreed, and shall take care to see it performed accordingly. I hope, on the other side, you Gentlemen of the House of Commons will do your part. For I must put you in mind, it is near five weeks since I demanded a Supply; and what you voted unanimously [upon it] did both give life to my affairs at home, and disheartened my enemies abroad. But the seeming delay it hath met with since, hath made them take new courage; and they are now preparing, for this next summer, a greater fleet (as they say) than ever they had yet: So that if the Supply be not speedily dispatched, it will be altogether ineffectual; and the safety, honour, and interest of England must of necessity be exposed. Pray lay this to heart, and let not the fears and jealousies of some draw an inevitable ruin upon us all.

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"If there be any scruple remain yet with you, concerning the suspension of penal Laws, I here faithfully promise you, that what hath been done in that particular, shall not for the future be drawn into consequence or example. And as I daily expect from you a Bill for my Supply, so I assure you, I shall as willingly receive, and pass, any other you shall offer me, that may tend to the giving you satisfaction in all your just grievances."


Sir Nicholas Carew.] Moves for the Lords and we to go in a body to the King to give him thanks; all scruples being now taken away by his full and gracious Answer.

Mr Powle.] Though it happened, that, in some late Answers, there has been some mixture and alloy, yet in this, it is as full as may be—Though last night he had some scruples as to "foreign forces," yet now all is so clear, that he moves for thanks to the King, in as full a manner as may be.

Mr Vaughan.] Pauper est numerare pecus—His joy is so great as not to be expressed—Moves for thanks to the King in as ample a manner as may be.

[Resolved, Nem. con. "That the humble and hearty thanks of this House be returned to his Majesty, for his gracious, full, and satisfactory Answer;" which being presented, by both Houses, in the afternoon, his Majesty was pleased to return this Answer:

"My Lords and Gentlemen,

"I hope there will never be any more difference amongst us. I assure you, there never shall be any occasion on my part."]

Monday, March 10.

[Debate, whether an instruction should be given to the Committee on the Bill for Ease of Dissenters, to provide therein, that Dissenters should be incapable of sitting in the House.]

Mr Garroway.] If the House of Commons must be only garbled, he is against the Test for elections, unless it extends to the Lords House. It is as much the birthright of the Commons to sit here, as the Lords in the Lords House.

Sir John Duncombe.] He is much afraid of this Bill—All our Properties are concerned in it, as well as our Religion—It is their birth-right, but they ought to be bound by your Laws—If you set up the Sectaries with Churches, you leave your own unsupported—As long as people preach to please their congregation, they must preach mercenarily and seditiously—Remember what the Constitution of the kingdom is—He fears its ruin—Gentlemen do know how they are threatened already, by these Dissenters—At the same time you give them Ease, do not deliver up your Church—Atheism will overcome all; your families will taste of this—Did never expect this day in this House—Keep out Dissenters from this House, and do it how you please.

Mr Swynfin.] The subject of Duncombe's discourse is, to make Dissenters incapable of sitting in Parliament—This Bill stands like no other Bill he remembers—You have committed your Bill, but say, your Committee shall not sit—'Tis clearly better to lay the Bill aside, than do it with dissatisfaction; though it should pass by a few voices, yet it may be of ill consequence abroad.

Sir John Duncombe.] "Whether a Test, or no Test, for a Member," was the thing he moved.

Sir Charles Harbord.] Never was Bill of so short a continuance as this; and a perpetual Test upon a temporary Bill, never knew it before.

Lord St. John.] The King had found good effect by the Declaration, and we hope we shall find good by this Bill—The Bill will cause people to pay their money chearfully, and he would not have it clogged with Provisos.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Whilst you are giving liberty to several religions, will you confound the Government? Will not you be exact in this House, the fountain, when you are clearing the streams? We are intrusted with the safety of the State, and we are to give no liberty to endanger it—Now you keep them out of the Church, never let them have power to make Laws—Though the Bill be temporary, yet provisos have been grafted upon such Bills; you may revoke it, if inconvenient, when you please.

Mr Powle.] The proper Question is, "Whether a Test in this Bill or no"—You intend this Bill as an Ease: Will you do them a favour, and at the same time a disgrace? Ill to be mixed together; usually two contrary things destroy the whole—You may annex it to the Popery-Bill—Is fully for the thing, but in this Bill it will destroy the whole.

Mr Hale.] It is doubtless very useful, but knows nor why in this Bill—Here we cannot better express our duty to the King, than in coming as near to the Declaration as we can, and no mention of this there—Almost half your time is spent in Elections—This will remedy much of that disorder.

Sir John Bramstone.] This Bill will prove a mark of distinction upon people, and bring few into the Church—Instead of bringing men into the Church, you will pull them out by it.

Colonel Titus.] You are debating a thing, before we know whether we are to do it or no.

Sir William Coventry.] "It is irregular to put a Question upon the matter," says Birkenhead; and offers an opinion the better to put a Clause in a temporary Bill—A Gardener would be of opinion to graft a stock like to last, than what may probably die in a year—As a spectator, he observed, in the late Usurpation, that, by narrowing their party, and garbling the Parliament with Oaths and Tests, they lessened themselves, and made many parties, friends—As the Church now stands, to strengthen it, get friends, and have few enemies—When a Test is proposed, he is for it, and will never presume it extravagant—Such a Test as will be for black-haired men or white, there is danger of. The danger may be of forty or fifty men here; but if thousands have right to be here, if elected, whom will you discontent? Such a stomach it may raise, by restraint of sitting here, as in the man confined to Paris, though never out of it in his life—They will say, "the Church of England hinders them," and will hate the Church for it—It is proper to come in the Bill for Dissenters purely Protestant—If Papists will take the oaths, and abandon their principles, making nothing of the Sacrament, and that nothing bar them from sitting here; shall not Protestants sit here on the same terms? Therefore, it is not reasonable to come within this Bill; but if you please, appoint a Committee what Test may be for the Parliament sitting, and let this Bill go to commitment.

Sir Robert Carr.] The Clause of Corn in the MoneyBill as unnatural, as this Clause in this Bill—But a year or a half grafted—All the reasons urged here are not heard without doors—Thinks it so far from clogging this Bill, that it will be for its advantage.

Colonel Birch.] Could hardly believe, till now, that this Bill was in earnest; the great argument in it was to enable people to follow their callings, and quiet their minds, and to be safe from Popery—Admit you shall agree, that no person can be capable, &c. unless conformable; but what will you make this conformity? He has never met with six that are so—Subscription once made a man conformable—You could never yet bring the Bill of Popery to pass, but hopes this Bill will—Moves to have the Question single, whether the Test shall be affixed to this Bill.

Mr Milward.] The Question is, "Dissenters from the Church of England"—What to be conformable is, several Statutes declare—He is for granting them Ease to enjoy their consciences—He repines not at it; but there is great difference betwixt Ease and Preferment; but to capacitate them to set aside the Church of England so burdensome to them, thinks it not safe.

Mr Vaughan.] Had not the King stuck more to this House than the Papists in the House of Lords, the Declaration had never been stopped. Was this an Ease, to brand all Dissenters in the forehead with a letter?—Thinks this does not tear the Church in pieces, as is said—Hopes this Bill will unite us, that we may be all friends—This Clause is proper for the Bill of Elections.

Mr Attorney Finch.] No man can speak to the matter, for no man knows how it will come from the Committee—Looks upon this Bill of Ease as a pious thing, to reconcile, and not to establish separation: We lose time all this while in the Question —Would not have the Dissenters part of the legislative power, till they be of one body with us in doctrine and discipline—Where is the difference of having them in one part of the roll or another chapter, as anciently Laws were? Will it stop any Bill? It is reason and justice that must pass it, and not this or that Bill—Put the Question, and let it take its fortune.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The word "Dissenter" is large; but appoint a Test and you will have one ready—It looks to him as if you thought the Church of England so mean that you should have none but Dissenters —Thinks the Bill is rather to show how small their numbers are—When they may preach without hazard, their labour will be less, and their pay accordingly, by this putting them out of hazard—Thinks you will not have a negative in a Bill of itself, and moves for it.

Mr Sollicitor North.] When people would destroy a thing, they begin first to divert it: The design of the Bill is to indulge Dissenters, and to enlarge the Church. It is wisdom to preserve our strength, that they may never hope to weaken us in Corporation-Elections, where that party is strongest.

Sir Edward Dering.] Uses to speak his mind freely, and therefore hopes to be heard favourably—He is not clear as to the Bill itself, but doubts not of the fitness of such a Clause. The most speedy way is to commit the Bill without this Clause, and make it a Bill by itself.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Is for the thing, but not for the Question with this Bill.

Sir Philip Warwick.] Protests, in the presence of God, that if you will make these people a Church of England that are but a part, he is against it—Hopes you will not abase the Church of England and its doctrine, that you have so lately thanked the King for maintaining.

Colonel Strangways.] The more he considers of it, he finds that those Gentlemen who were for the Declaration, are against this, and e contra—Therefore moves for a Bill.

Sir Thomas Osborne.] They, without this Clause, may be capable to give you indulgence, as you may now give them—Would have it look like a thing given by us, and not wrested from us.

[The Question being put, That such an instruction be given to the Committee, it passed in the Negative, 163 to 107.

Resolved, That a distinct Bill be brought in on the subjectmatter of this Debate.]

[March 11 omitted.]


  • 1. The Lords were for inserting [land] before officers, but it was rejected by the Commons.
  • 2. The Lords were for leaving out these words; the Commons retained them, 141 to 102.