Debates in 1675: October 20th-22nd

Pages 311-333

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 3. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Wednesday, October 20.

In a Grand Committee of Religion. Sir Charles Harbord in the Chair.

Col. Birch complained of several books printed, containing prophaneness, &c.

Sir Philip Warwick.] Pulpits speak to grave men, but the playhouses to young men. Would have them considered, as likewise erecting churches in the new buildings.

It was moved by Sir Thomas Littleton, and seconded by Mr Powle, that a Bill be brought in for educating the children of the Royal Family in the Religion established by law, and that no Romish Priest may have access to them.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have no part of Religion changed, but by Act of Parliament—Something of yesterday's Debate makes him a little jealous—Religion being from the primitive times, but "confirmed by Law," the Brachium Seculare, would have it "established" by Law, that the thing of dispensing may never be again without Law.

Mr Sawyer.] The motion is but for a declaratory Law, as the Petition of Right, the thing being established by the Statute of Hen. VIII.

Mr Sacheverell.] Would not have it so done, as not to declare that 'tis your right now.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Not one Lawyer of the House could say, that the Declaration was Law, when debated here in the House; therefore would have this declaratory Law, to quiet our minds.

Mr Vaughan.] Would have it declaratory backwards, that no such Law was ever dispensible.

Sir Charles Harbord left the Chair; and information was given the House, that Lord Cavendish had caused a Paper to be posted up at Whitehall-Gate, and Westminster-hall, by his sootman, to this effect, "That Thomas Howard, who subscribed the Letter, was a coward."—'Twas said, that the occasion of this was from some reports that Lord Cavendish had heard, that Mr Howard should say, "That his Lordship knew of the Letter some time before the Parliament met, and did not call Mr Howard to an account for it."

Mr Sacheverell complained on Lord Cavendish's behalf, but the Compiler could not well hear him.

Mr Secretary Williamson gave this account—He was commanded by the King to cause the Earl Marshal to enquire into the business. Mr Frowde, son to Sir Philip Frowde, was said to have taken down the said posted-up Paper, who was not to be found. He came to him, and he asked him, whether he had any quarrel with Lord Cavendish? He confessed the taking down the Paper, but denied the words he should say of Lord Cavendish, &c.— Then Williamson told him, he was commanded by the King, not to farther engage Lord Cavendish. Frowde said, "he had no quarrel with Lord Cavendish, and what he did was out of respect to him."

Sir Thomas Lee.] If this gentleman had no quarrel with Lord Cavendish, perhaps that Lord may have with him. In this kind of paper-war, he fears family quarrels; therefore would have some gentlemen propose a way to extricate you out of the thing.

Mr Swynfin.] The honour of the House is to be preferred before any particular Member—When quarrels may arise from persons to families, knows no way to prevent it, but by laying hands on them both. In the mean time, would have an engagement of no farther proceeding in the matter from this noble Lord.

Mr Vaughan.] In this case, 'tis regular to send to the Lord Keeper, to take security of them both for quiet deportment.

Mr Garroway.] You have declared the Paper to be scandalous, and fears it a little too hasty to put the thing to another way of decision—He knows not what it may farther come to. Moves, therefore, that, though you have appointed a day for Mr Howard's appearance, it may be a shorter day—left it should reflect, in consequence, on every individual man in the House, and the whole House. If any gentleman can, let him find out a more tender way, as sending for them both to compound the business; and be both under your care, till it be done.

Mr Stockdale.] Moves to recommend it specially to the King, that he would please to quiet the matter.

Sir Charles Harbord.] Thinks that what Frowde did was a very safe thing, and he not to blame. Believes that no man dares attack a Member—Frowde has engaged, and Howard also, who will be here to-morrow. If you will have him come, he will, though he should die at the door.

The Speaker.] All will bear him witness how tender he is of the honour of the house. The best way to secure your Members is, not to suffer them to do injuries; and he must acquaint you with what he knows. He knows that Lord Cavendish posted Mr Howard for a coward.

Col. Birch.] By how much the more Lord Cavendish is esteemed here, you cannot do a better thing than showing justice. To come rightly to the bottom, the House must know what the Paper contains. Do right within doors, and you will stop wrong the better without doors.

Sir Philip Warwick.] Notwithstanding his great respect to Lord Cavendish, yet would not have you adjourn, till some Order be taken in it.

Mr Devereux. (fn. 1) ] Gave an account of the Paper.

Mr Cheney.] Would confine Lord Cavendish, in the mean time.

Mr Bertue.] Would send for Frowde, to see the Paper, and then would know whether Lord Cavendish owns it, before you proceed; as you did with Mr Howard.

Mr Stockdale.] Perhaps neither Howard nor Cavendish owns the Papers.

Mr Swynfin.] 'Tis as plain as any thing can be; you need not put the Question to Lord Cavendish; but the matter is, what you should do for your own honour to prevent quarrels. When this was first started about Howard, heard it then said, "that whatever seemed to provoke quarrels must be set down." Your meaning was, that Lord Cavendish should no farther proceed—Knows not what provocation Lord Cavendish has had since—Knows not the laws of quarrels, as were told you yesterday (by Wheeler). You may take such an engagement from Lord Cavendish as may amount to a confinement.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Confesses that he believes Lord Cavendish has, in some measure, broken your Privileges, and would have the Serjeant take him into custody; neither will it be by that remedied, but by an Address to the King, after you have done your part, by confinement of your Member.

Col. Birch.] Is of opinion that Lord Cavendish has done a great fault, being enjoined by the House to do nothing of tendency to farther quarrel—Unless better reasons be given for this Paper than he hears already, would have Lord Cavendish committed.

Sir Edward Baynton.] Lord Cavendish has been here, and has heard the Debate. Would have the Speaker ask him, whether he has any thing to say to it, and then withdraw.

Mr Garroway.] Would preserve your Privilege to the loss of his hand. Would have it understood that this commitment is not in order to Lord Cavendish's coming to the Bar on his knees.

Mr Powle.] The commitment of your Member is not for his confinement, but security, therefore would have him confined till farther Order.

Mr Vaughan.] Commitment is not for his security, but punishment.

Mr Garroway.] His commitment then must be solely for breach of Privilege, and on no other account.

Mr Boscawen.] You may proceed without asking Lord Cavendish, whether he has any thing to say. He may possibly say something to his own prejudice.

Col. Titus.] Any man that knows his conversation, knows his obligations to Lord Cavendish's family. He believes if Lord Cavendish had any thing to say, he would have done it before now, being present at the Debate. Having said nothing in his own justification, and having proceeded in what he did after your Order, therefore would have him committed.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The foundations of the House you are not masters of, to dispense with, as reading of a Bill three times. You must ask Lord Cavendish, what he has to say for himself.

Mr Garroway.] He is not obliged to make any answer, if you ask him—But, in voting him to commitment, without asking him, you take away the greatest liberty you have.

Sir Robert Carr.] Since Lord Cavendish has been present at the Debate, you have broken your Order, as much as you can already; therefore would not ask him any Questions.

Mr Sawyer.] In all this Debate, you are upon matter of enquiry only, and then the Member may be present to give you information of fact, but when you give an opinion, he must withdraw. Some Members have told you of a Paper, but none that Lord Cavendish wrote it.

Sir John Ernly.] Your Member is at liberty to answer, or not. Possibly his answer may be as much as his life may be worth.

The Speaker then said to Lord Cavendish,] The House has been informed that you have broken the Privilege of the House, and would know what you have to say before you withdraw.

Lord Cavendish.] He shall ever have great respect to the Privilege of this House, and shall be satisfied with what the House shall determine concerning him. And withdrew.

Col. Birch.] If any man has any thing to say, why this Lord should not be secured, let him speak; and, in the next place, Where? He moves for the Tower.

Mr Garroway.] In Howard's case you sent to him, to know whether he owned the paper, or no; who returned you a dissatisfactory answer; in the mean time, you obliged this Lord not to proceed in the business. You are informed that he has set up a Paper; you have asked him what he has to say; he has given you no answer; therefore for that would send him to the Tower.

Mr Sawyer.] Sir John Fagg was sent to the Tower, for proceeding in the Lords House, after this House had possessed themselves of his business (fn. 2). And for Lord Cavendish to proceed, whilst the matter was depending in this House, is a breach of Privilege.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] Lord Cavendish has not broken promise, for that lasted not till Monday, but the matter being under the House's cognizance is the thing.

Sir Tho. Meres.] Breach of "Order" is of large sense in Privilege, but it is a less word than breach of "Privilege," and would have it run so in the Commitment.

Mr Sacheverell.] Would have the Commitment "for being charged with the Paper, and giving the House no satisfactory answer."

The Order was read, viz. That Lord Cavendish and Sir Thomas Meres be enjoined not to prosecute any quarrel against Mr Howard, or to send, or accept, any challenge in order thereto, without acquainting the House.

Col. Titus.] Lord Cavendish, in having said nothing for himself, satisfies him, that he put up the Paper, and in that he has broken the Order of the House, and for that would have him committed to the Tower.

Ordered, That Lord Cavendish be sent to the Tower, for his breach of the Privilege [of this House] in prosecuting a quarrel against Mr Howard, whilst the matter was depending before the House; and that the Speaker do issue out his Warrant to the Serjeant to convey Lord Cavendish to the Tower, and deliver him to the Lieutenant, there to remain till farther orders.

Thursday, October 21.

The Bill for appropriating the Customs [to the use of the Navy was read the second time.]

Sir John Duncombe.] One half of the Revenues is engaged; the Excise anticipated, and becomes useless to the Crown—It may so fall out that the new Duty may expire, and what will the Crown subsist upon, if you appropriate the Customs ? Though it be a good Act you are doing, hopes you will find out some way to put the Crown at more ease, before you pass this Bill.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] This appropriates 400,000l. per ann. 150,000l. of it is little anticipated, and free, for the King "to buy Bread" as is said, and whether that will not do any extraordinary occasion, he leaves any man to judge. The rest of the Revenue will be sufficient for guards and garrisons.

Sir Charles Wheeler.] Is as much as any man for appropriating tonnage and poundage to the use of the Navy, but whenever the King shall do it, 'tis a great grace and favour. When the King departs from any of his trust for our safety, 'tis a great consideration—We trust the King with Peace and War, and when he advises with us, he parts with his Prerogative. Therefore would consider what will support the Crown with the rest of the Revenue. As the King does this for our consideration, so would have us do for him what shall preserve him.

Sir Thomas Meres.] As for necessity, you know who creates it. A million, or two millions, the same argument, "for necessity." Though we may bear other necessities, without this appropriating the Customs to the use of the Navy, the necessity of the Navy cannot be borne.

Sir John Knight.] Instead of giving the King, you take away from him by this Bill, for the Navy requires sometimes a great sum, and sometimes a less, as War and Peace happen to be. And you do by this Bill appropriate in all times alike. One said "that the expences of the Government are greater than the Nation can bear"—Those great salaries, given to several Commissioners, are a great charge, and would have them stopped.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] The debt upon the Customs advanced but 350,000l. which will wear out.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Knight complains of "excessive salaries;" he knows nothing of it, and can say little of it, but since we see such malversations in the Customs, and all put upon the King, we ought not to endure that. We are told of 1,300,000l. Revenue in the Treasurer's account, and some say more—If that be so, there's 900,000l. to spare for the King's expences. We know that all the world arm at sea more than heretofore— When to morrow we come to enquire into the Fleet, hopes we shall find the government better provided, than in the anticipations of the Revenue. They have told us they can do it, and will do it, but 'tis not done. Moves that the Bill be committed.

Sir William Coventry.] Knows not why we should look into accounts. Is sorry the King has told you so much of "not so good Husbandry as might have been" —Therefore would not meddle with accounts.

Mr Powle.] The accounts were justly refused yesterday, because offered to divert the Debate. 'Tis objected "that the King wants bread"—Then appropriate another part of the Revenue to the Houshold, which expence, he believes, has not exceeded 150,000l. per ann. But it seems a prodigy to him, that having no war, and such a Revenue, there should be such debts. In H. VII. and H. VIII's time there were more Acts of appropriations made, than in any King's reign, and the prerogative then at the highest. But great part of the Revenue now runs beside the true channel, in pensions, and petty farms. If there be any other unnecessary expences, as of guards and garrisons, this House never countenanced them, and he hopes never will. They may be retrenched.

Sir John Duncombe.] Appeals whether, when anticipations were debated, he did not first offer his accounts. He would have brought the accounts to be fully and fairly examined.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The cause of refusal of Duncombe's papers was, not to unravel all to lose time—Ever thought that giving the King more than the nation could bear, would ruin the nation. Has often taken the King's revenue to be 1,200,000l. and to make over measure 100,000l. 'Tis said, in pensions, 150,000l. Every LandTax you give, at this rate, will be called a Revenue, and you must continue it. You had not been troubled with this Bill now, but for the King's asking you money, the last Session, for Ships, the kingdom being in danger, and a thing not to be deferred. This Bill is therefore necessary, that you be not always asked for money to defend yourselves, having given this money (the Customs) for this purpose. And sees no danger the King should "want bread" as is told you. We are told "that there's always spent yearly, upon the Navy, 400,000l." and yet here is no Navy. Therefore we would but appropriate what they may say is spent yearly upon the Navy already.

Sir John Ernly.] He is unfit to speak against appropriations to the Navy, being a Commissioner of the Navy. But fears that if the King be put to necessity— You take away what is not anticipated, and leave the King to live upon what is anticipated—The King may "want bread" as the Navy biscuit.

Col. Birch.] This is but doing what the King most delights in, next "his bread," and what you do by this Bill, is but in plainer English than before, when you granted the Customs for the Navy, and guard of the seas. 'Tis but letting the pensions stay, which they ought to do, and may well be. He asserts that four pounds a head, per month, will do the business of the Navy, Ordnance and all, and that it has cost the King seven pounds a head.

The Speaker.] Asserting, that when he declares, it ought to be abided by,

Sir Tho. Lee.] Said there is no infallibility in your chair.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Has observed, in former Speakers time, that, upon errors, they have retracted and mended; has not known this Speaker do so.

Mr Garroway.] If you declare a thing positively, and it must be abided by, you may give a Question as you please; the Yea's and No's are at your disposal. The Orders, the House are judges of, and you put the Question only, Yea, or No.

Sir William Coventry.] Submits to any gentleman in the Orders of the House. Remembers it frequently, in the Lord Chief Baron Turner's time, (when Speaker) debated, who must go out, upon division of the House, the Yeas or the No's, and whether the Speaker is in the right, or not. 'Tis necessary that all doubts must be determined, but the Authority of deciding them is not lodged in any one man, but the House only, and no Authority is left in the Speaker. If a Debate arises, who must go out, and the Speaker sees the sense of the House against what he has declared, supposes such a modesty in him, and disposition as to pay deference to it. Has heard say, that going out is a disadvantage, but will not say the reason generally given for it. Some imagine five or six difference in the number; you decide it, and the Vote is registered, and we complain to you, and are not like to have redress. We may give Millions by it. Is very unwilling to see you, Mr Speaker, in the wrong, when we may pay so dear for it.

The Bill was ordered to be committed.

A Bill was read [the second time] to prevent the levying of any Tax, Tillage, or Subsidy, but by Parliament (fn. 3). It enacts, "that the Subject is not compelled to any such charge, but by Parliament, and in no other manner, nor for longer time. Goods imported or exported not declared, illegal,—void and of no effect—Lawful to refuse any such Duty—Not to be summoned by the Privy Council for so refusing. And if by any Order such money is levied, for any end whatsoever, and being thereof legally convicted, judged guilty of High Treason. If imprison er compel, guilty of High Treason. The Act to be publickly read at the Sessions and Assizes once a Year, and recorded in the King's Bench and Court of Exchequer."

Serjeant Maynard.] Likes not these great penalties of Treason. Many laws of that kind have not had so good execution when penalties are so high.—Would have some other penalty than that of Treason.

Sir John Duncombe.] "May refuse and withstand"— Whether may he defend himself, as if one came to rob him?—"May call the assistance of the Sheriff"—Consider whether 'tis not a great inconvenience to give such a power. Thinks the laws already strong enough— Would have the Committee consider of them.

Mr Vaughan.] Since the stop of the Exchequer, where a man has as much right to make use of his money, and call for it, 'tis no wonder, after so high a violation of property, that such a penalty is put into this Bill— Would commit it.

Mr Finch.] No point of our liberty is dearer to us than that of our money; with it we lose our liberty—Inconveniences in relation to the assessment of it—"The person guilty of Treason." The consequence is plain; you appoint Sessors for the money you give here; if they levy sixpence more then by Act, they are guilty of High Treason. Next, he knows not how usual it has been to call the Sheriff; which is, in effect, levying of War—Would alter the crime. 'Tis very grievous to make the penalty of High Treason extend not only to the persons offending, but to their innocent posterity. Lord Coke advises Parliaments, "That if they enact a new felony, it should not extend to corruption of blood." Has heard more instances of the King's mercy, than of any since the foundation of the Government. Estates have formerly made men criminal. If the fathers have eaten four grapes, let not the childrens teeth be set on edge. Clipping of money, and refusing the Oath of Supremacy—Excepts all manner of forfeitures, as well real as personal, by the party offending. Would have the penalty altered.

Sir Harbottle Grimstone, Master of the Rolls.] None are so little read that know not this of raising money, without law, to be our right already—Laws have produced an equal balance between Sovereignty and Oppression, but what has been done may be done again— Has heard some speak of free giving, but have not provided for well disposing of it. This that is to be our great security, (our Ships) was the most malicious Counsel ever given by man (he hopes by no Englishman; they might have sent to your house, or my house, as well as the bankers.) Such invitations and proclamations to bring money into the Exchequer. We are but the peoples Trustees—The Bill may be thought out of the road—But for the punishment, would have no man plead ignorance upon great breach of laws. Pray God you be never put to it!—They do the King best service, that resist and oppose these impositions. Sometimes penalties are not proportionable to crimes, but knows not a penalty proportionable to this offence. What is the difference betwixt breach of property, and slavery? Would have the Bill committed.

Mr Garroway.] Was it ever known that you may not defend your own houses, and castles, from violation? In all the world this is the fashion, and hopes that we shall not innovate here. If you may not hinder a few men from coming to levy money, they will gather more, and be too hard for the county magistrate, called to your assistance. If yet there be any scruple, the Bill may go to a Committee to be mended. There is no snare laid for any man in the Bill; 'tis a protection to all we have. The penalty, being to meet with great persons, cannot be too big.

Sir Job Charlton.] Is glad to hear that no man opposes the Bill. You cannot provide too great penalties for men who maliciously do raise money. But as the Bill is penned, you will not get a sessor to raise the money you give. The Bill is for what is passed—For fire-hearths, there is a doubt amongst learned men, and would well consider it.

Mr Sawyer.] Takes the Bill to be but declaratory of the Common Law, and only for fencing and bounding that Law.—Would commit it.

Mr Sacheverell,] 'Tis not a bigger penalty than what is given in several laws of Queen Elizabeth. Agree that it is your right, and it cannot be bounded too hard. The forfeitures arising limited to the use of the King's Ships, and maintaining his forces. 'Tis fit that "the penalty, to an assessor, levying money, knowingly against law," should be in; but it will not touch him, because he has directions from the Commissioners.

The Bill was ordered to be committed.

Friday, October 22.

In a grand Committee on the building more ships. Sir Charles Harbord in the Chair.

Sir John Cotton.] Princes may be mistaken, Councils may err, but the King cannot do ill. Three things hinder supply. 1st, "The fear that what they give may be be spent in luxury." The character now of a brave man is, that he eats well, which formerly was his courage and learning—From whence these misfortunes invade us. Anciently in Rome, it was reckoned how many cooks there were, and so it may be here! 2dly, Hindrance of supply "The fear that Popery should be brought in"—We see Papists placed in military employments. 3dly, "The fear of being governed, in an arbitrary way, by a standing army." But now he comes to the great point—Is really of opinion, that, at this time, we should give the King supply for the fleet. Virgil calls us in scorn divisos orbe Britannos. Our ships are our walls, to which the King has a natural affection, and more employs his mind on, than any of his predecessors.—Would have us give him something now. Moves for 500,000l.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Wonders that, hand over head, before the matter be reasoned, you chop upon a sum— All the gentleman said, bating some few words at the last, was as worthily as can be. But we are always to give our Votes out of the result of reason—Will go as far as any man for what is fit. 'Tis said, forty ships are requisite—Offers then that we may see what this Navy wants—For "to the ships and navy" is the Order from the House, which you are bound strictly up to, and how to look any neighbour in the face. Courage is the gift of God, and his work, for the men— Would see what hulls of ships are wanting.

Mr Garroway.] The Debate, by Order, ought to be singly and solely upon account of building ships. Those we were so tender of before, our friends the French, are now become the object of our fears—Those now are for general peace, to make these fears the greater. What mischief the French can give us they will—But will not desert the King's Honour, nor the defence of his Country—Debate the reasons and proportions. When the money for ships shall so be declared, and so be applied, and no other way—Let's not say we get Votes upon one another—And hopes this naming of sums may be given over, but only after the Debate—This naming a sum will not fright us out of our wits; we may give or not give, for all that—He has been employed in the accounts of the Navy, where he found the Rupert given in, as full victualled and manned, two months before she was off the stocks. Hopes that things are now better managed, then heretofore. Would have the Commissioners of the Navy make a proposition, what the Navy wants, and what may supply it, and then debate it.

Sir Henry Puckering.] Moves that we may supply the King with thirty sail of ships of the several rates.

Mr Vaughan.] Ships are called for, before we are told for what use—You are put rather upon the money than the ships. Is willing to go freely to what shall be done, but to talk of the ships number, before we know what is wanting, is extravagant. Would first fairly see what ships are wanting, and then proceed.

Mr Pepys.] Is sorry that, at the beginning of the Debate, we should give suspicion of one another. He has none, and will give none. With all honesty and understanding, will give you what light he has in the Navy, and submit it to you. In April last, he told you, there were one hundred and fifty one ships, great and small; eight of the first rate, nine of the second rate, twenty one of the third rate, and thirty six of the fourth rate. The rest are attendants on the fleet. The last account he gave was, by way of comparison with our neighbours the Dutch; they had then forty four more ships than we, built by France.

Col. Birch.] He thinks the thing well opened, and with the least number—Thinks, the House will strain hard for defence of the King and Kingdom, when a necessity for it. Is glad that the House was offered the sum so low, that they could not hear it. (Cotton speaking softly) Time was when our neighbours the French were sent to, to build no more ships, or we would burn them—Hopes we may see that day again, but we shall sweat for it first. But 'tis not his errand to tell you what ships are most useful; he was never at those pushes at sea but once, and he thought it a mad one—But the nation can never be beaten at sea by the Dutch, but may be by the French. The Dutch must draw less water, by their building for their shallows, though they make it up in breadth—The French can, and so run better by the wind. The coasts of France are as deep as ours, and they build as well and as strong as we— But for money he has displeased many before, and fears he shall now—Would build as many ships in a year's time as can be, and now to mention no more than can be built in that time, not knowing where the clouds may break—And would have occasion to meet the King here once a year, till things be better settled— Would know how many ships may be built in a year— He cannot find that, in one year, above twenty or twenty one ships can be built, if our all lay at stake. Desires that, if twenty ships shall be resolved, whether ten thousand pounds a piece would build these ships, one with another—Would know that first.

Mr Wood.] What first and second rate ships may cost a ton? Many second rates may be called first rates, stout and brave ships. The London, a brave ship, is 1200 and odd ton, which answers a second and third rate ship. He computes first and second rates at 14 l. per ton; third rates at 12 l. per ton—The sending twenty or thirty men of war for winter convoys does unprovide the summer service. When the ship is built, cables and fails cost as much more as the ship.

Sir Tho. Meres.] His calculation goes by number of guns, for rates may be uncertainly called. A ship of eighty guns and upwards, bears the great weight of the battle. Of these we have more than the Dutch; of forty guns and upwards, to go into that line, there they have more than we, about thirty in number—But what we have lately built, may difference the matter a little, two, or three. But though our men are better than theirs, yet forty of ours cannot fight eighty of theirs. Next, how many of this thirty spoken of, we shall provide for—We cannot, we are told, build above twenty in one year. Let us go to the twenty, and once a year, meet again, and then build more—Wood says, twenty are not to be done, but to be in two years, and as many provisions to be added as may be. For the purpose, if you will say 'tis the opinion of the Committee to provide money for twenty ships, first, second, and third rates, he is ready to give his Affirmative.

Sir Thomas Clarges.]—Stroud moved for forty ships, but he thinks thirty too many. Eighty five capital ships will make the best fleet in Europe. All the seamen in France are not 14,000. Strength of sea is to be reckoned by seamen. Has heard that we have 26,000 seamen, and some of them must be for traffic of the nation; and if you have eighty five capital ships, you have the greatest fleet in Europe. The charge of the Navy is 80,000 l. per. ann. if you set out but a cock boat. But if you build more ships, the charge is vast, at 20 l. per ton, all things belonging to them. The London cost 17,000 l. Would have the Question for twenty five ships, and you will be at least three years in building them.

Sir Richard Temple.] Would be informed what necessity of the number, and then consider what you will do. He has heard that twenty two ships may be built in one year.

Mr Garroway.] You are upon the number. He takes that measure given us of the King of France, and Holland, to be extravagant, and no rule to go by. Is not for the reason, that because they have them, therefore we must. If they have a thousand more ships than we, what will they do with them when they cannot be manned? Let them keep them to lie by the walls. The inconvenience is when we come in from fight, disabled, and have no recruits. Is sure we cannot want seamen, if trade be supported. The French are setting up fishing, and the East India trade, and they suffer you to bring no beaver skins. In time your plantations will be over run, and that trade will over run you in seamen. We have had unlucky success by giving too much for the fleet at a time; and we may give more, when we see the success of this. This will be an act of generosity and duty to the King. Has been informed that the timber is yet unselled for these ships. Shipwrights have wanted timber, and the prices will be enhanced, and if you will enhance all prices, the first undertaker of these ships will be undone. To day they tell you of 12 and 14l. per ton; you must give such allowance that men may not break upon it. Therefore would have three years time for these ships—And so come to a Vote.

Mr Pepys.] The number of the workmen, and scarcity of places to build ships in, must be considered. In this he is much more desirous to learn than he finds persons capable to teach him. He offers no opinion, but measures only to go by. Will show, if to save, or not to save the Kingdom, what places you have to build in. They are either great docks, or slips, or launches, of which there are not so many for first and second rates, as thirds; in all, these are twenty seven. At Chatham, Deptford, Portsmouth, and Woolwich, in all six. At Portsmouth, for third rate ships, three docks. One at Blackwall, and Deptford Pitch-house, in all fourteen. These are places fit for building—Submits to any man's exceptions—For workmen, 305 shipwrights to build one of each rate in a year. This is to make you judge, and him not confident to propose any thing. There are three things requisite to building ships; places, hands, and materials. Places are manifest, and hands no less; but he's to seek, for materials, what to say—'Tis not to be imagined that for so unforeseen a work as this, timber could be felled. In 1665, no man could have imagined that such a stock of timber should be felled for building the London. At home and abroad there is a dearth of plank—But hears it said, "Provide for twenty ships this year." He will not dislike nor propound the number. The first year, timber will be green, and would you have it always green? Therefore would provide all the timber presently. For what is said of the London, he has the builder's account given to the Lord Mayor. The sum is 12 l. per ton, the total 14,000 l. Believes it was made good, to the utmost of the contract—Submits to be informed any way besides. The London is not so well built a ship. The King has paid dear for building by contract—It has cost the King 1000 l. on the London's hull, in three months being abroad. There's no inspecting by any eye, where 'tis for the interest of the builder to build ill. For the number, he supposes you'll stick to the first proposed. On this consideration what's enough? No better way to consider the force of the enemy you are to oppose. From forty guns and upwards, the King has seventy seven ships. France has ninety nine, which is twenty two difference. The Dutch have one hundred and eight, which is thirty seven difference (fn. 4). More light he will give you as occasion shall be, and you call for it.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] We have twenty seven docks, slips, and launches. Would know whether, if all these shall be employed, building merchant ships will not be stopped.

Mr Pepys.] Go to work as soon as you can, you may command every dock, before you can get materials. Then you may have hands. As to that of the merchants, they have not much work for ships of the first rate. Their craft is much of a lower work. The great trade is not carried on with that size. The number is upwards of what you have heard of, of workmen that may suffice to carry on the King's work—Would not have the Question proposed by Meres, to be exclusive to the materials.

Sir John Duncombe.] 'Tis the interest of the House to meet your neighbours with force of equal strength, as well as courage. The consequence of green timber will be money lost. As for things necessary, would have you enquire of them who can inform you.

Mr Wright, a Shipwright.] Should be as forward as any man for forty ships, but twenty are as many as can be built in three years time; and twenty well manned, will be as many as are necessary to fight with all the world.

Sir Thomas Lee.] 'Tis dangerous, in his opinion, to go so far. Would have consideration had of what was done, when we gave 2,500,000l. You were told it was but a Vote of credit, to secure us from a war, but it so alarmed, that you frightened your neighbours into a war. What made the war with Holland, Spain, and Germany? France armed so much that he frighted his neighbours. As for England, 'twill be wondered you have been asleep so long. You build now twenty ships, and France will upon it build forty, and so you must build more than you are able. In such a time of peace as this, 'tis not a Vote of noise, but it will undo you. Therefore vote cautiously and wisely, not to frighten the world.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Will not provide here such a number of ships, as not to come here again. Would be here in a year and three quarters again.

Sir Wm Coventry.] It may be expected, because he has had some experience in the Navy, that he should give you some light; but has nothing singular to offer you, but what already has been. As for being equal with our neighbours—But since no body has showed it possible, that more than twenty ships can be built, without stops to repairs of ships we have already, or the merchants affairs, which, if it does, your ships will be useless; therefore 'tis no advantage to talk of a greater number—See this part well performed—Believes that our neighbours will build more, and we must still give more money to overtake them. It not appearing that any more can be built, would have an unanimous Vote, rather than say thirty are requisite, and you say you are not able to build twenty ships.

Sir Edward Baynton.] Hears several things in Debate. Ships and their value. Twenty named—Consider affairs represented of Christendom. The French and Dutch are at war by sea and land; the Spaniards revolting in Italy. Your intention will be looked upon by the number of your ships. All our end now in peace is but for our own defence. As soon as they have a new coach, we must not put away our old one. Would put the Question for twenty sail of ships.

Mr Waller.] Does not remember, in the quantum, but that the Chairman collects what is unanimous. Rome was not built in a day. Nor the Navy. Twenty ships in a day is very fair. If we are well used on land, we cannot fail at sea. Babel had not ceased building, but for the several languages. We love the King, and the honour of the nation, and 'tis for both to have an unanimous Vote. Put the Question for twenty ships.

Mr Powle.] Thinks that, by the revenue, as it is now, by good husbandry and management, all these ships might have been set out, without an aid. If admitted thirty ships, then whether you will vote them all at this time; for if so, there can be no visible occasion for this Parliament to meet again, in seven years. The prospect of the coming of a Parliament keeps things in order. Your last Acts have much kept out Popery, and is glad now of the occasion of this supply to have some good effects of this Session, and hopes to have so of another. The longest time and shortest sum is usually put first. Twenty ships is your first Question, because least charge to the Kingdom.

Sir John Duncombe.] Would not have the House led into an error, which many men may be. He takes the additional duty, and all the rest of the revenue to be 1,360,000 l. per ann. Twenty ships are agreed on all sides. The rest lie upon the opinion of the House.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Rises, with some trouble, when he thinks that the revenue sinks, like our rents, which was agreed to be 1,100,000 l. and with the addition to be so small, 'tis strange! Like cloth put into a tub of water, that shrinks the cloth, and diminishes the water too.

Mr Finch.] The first thing moved was sums in general, and then thirty ships. That was not thought enough, and then forty moved for. The reasons why but twenty ships were rather negative then positive. If more than twenty be granted, then 'tis said no need of our meeting here again of a long time. Money is not the only reason of Parliaments assembling. Thinks 'tis fresh in memory that, in the last Session, not a penny was asked you, but only for settling Peace and the Kingdom, and for establishing a good understanding between the King and his people. But there's no danger that the Parliament should not meet soon; the King has great debts, and you voted him nothing—Heard affirmed upon veracity and the order, which assures him of the truth of it. The provocation of neighbours began on the other side. They built ships first. If every state be governed by their interest, hopes we shall be so. A strange reverse since Queen Elizabeth's time, when the French were sent to, to build no more ships, and now we speak only of a defensive war—But plainly less than thirty ships is not necessary for war. Suppose we could build but twenty ships, shall we not provide for more? What harm in stores for thirty? If thirty be necessary, at least, as all agree, provision for them, what haste of building them? Is it a time, now others grow gréat, to neglect our own Salvation ? We at most give but part for the whole; to protect all we have.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Wonders at the confusion of face spoken of a war. We have sixty ships of fifty five guns, and fifty of other rates, and, for necessity, the merchants. We have as good a fleet as ever, or any neighbours already; we have not need of thirty ships, twenty is a very great proportion; and the King's revenue 1,300,000 l. per ann. will well build all these ships, and support the Government.

Col. Birch.] As some are abler than others, so some step faster than others; a man steps because he would not jump into sums, and run into numbers, that the reason of the thing should be debated. 'Tis a strange thing what was said, "That we give never a penny of this to the King." Strange thing ! Though the King gets not by it, yet in such a habit of giving—Those gentlemen run to the highest—The thing he supposed was what rationally might be built, and the old ones might be repaired, and the merchants business served. The highest number we can build is not above twenty two, employ all the ships and docks you can; and unless we encourage seamen, all is to no purpose—Wonders at the man that moved this, and that as said, when premised in the Debate. The reason of the thing is very much against so many in two years—And nothing but for argument that the money may be longer paying.—And would not have the world believe but twenty two ships in two years—Therefore would have the Question, that they be forthwith built.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] Would be glad to compromise this point, and the word "forthwith," which will do no more.

Mr Garroway.] Moves for the word "convenient speed." "Forthwith" has another implication. It may call for all the Money at once.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of the Committee, that twenty ships of the first, second, and third, rate, shall be built with all convenient speed, [which was agreed to by the House. To proceed on Tuesday.]

[Lord Cavendish, having sent a petition to the House, acknowledging his breach of Privilege, and craving pardon, was ordered to be discharged from his imprisonment in the Tower.]


  • 1. Third son of Lord Viscount Hereford.
  • 2. See p. 225.
  • 3. Called in the Journal, "A Bill o prevent the illegal Exaction of Money from the subject."
  • 4. Lord Shastsbury, in one of his speeches made this year, and afterwards printed, has these expressions. "The French King is the most potent of us all at sea. He has built twenty four ships this last year, and has thirty more in number than we; besides the advantage that our ships are all out of order, and his so exquisitely provided for, that every thing has its particular storehouse. It is incredible the money he hath, and is bestowing of making of Harbours; he makes nature itself give way to the vastness of his expence; and after all this, shall a Prince so wise, so intent upon his Affairs, be thought, to make all these preparations to sail over land, and fall on the back of Hungary, and batter the walls of Kamnitz?" To set the contrast between those times, and the present, in a striking light, let it be remembered, that we have now in commission, from forty guns and upwards, above 130 ships, while so vigorous and successful have been our efforts that the French at this time (1761) have scarce thirty left, and such has been the supineness of the Dutch, that their once formidable fleets are now scarce heard of.