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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Saturday, October 23.
The King's ships spend seamen; they make few, and no trade increases seamen like the Coal trade. All the Coal trade is carried out by our own people—Eighty eight Chaldrons by strangers, at nine shillings the ton, custom—Nothing but want of vent makes coals neglected, and nothing makes coals dear, but want of vent—Then the pits break in, and the work cannot be carried on.
Sir George Downing.] Plantations, the Fishery, and Coal trade, are the three great nurseries of seamen. Vent for coal, without doubt, there is; for the wood of France is diminishing as fast as that of England. Eleven shillings per ton, that is eighteen shillings the chaldron. the duty, is as much worth as the commodity, and they in Holland would spend it, as well as in other parts. They are burning out their bowels there; the turf-Coal would vend there, were it not for the great imposition here.
Mr Powle.] Thinks the Papists not considerable here, unless they had encouragement at home, or dependence on some foreign Prince. Fears a great naval strength, and a great Prince aspiring to the Western Monarchy, and a great protector of the Popish interest. When he has over run Holland and Germany, he may recoil back, and over run us. Therefore 'tis seasonable to look back upon what supplies have been given to support the Triple Alliance. We made an Address to the King the last Session, and had a gracious answer, and a Proclamation, but not the effect answered. Many are gone since into the French service, and that unfortunate gentleman, that has occasioned you so much trouble—(Col. John Howard.) There went many, you'll find, into the French service, after the Proclamation. Therefore would pass a Vote, "That all who shall go after a Proclamation, shall be declared contemners of the Royal Authority, and oppugners of the interest of the Kingdom, and betrayers of the Liberties and Privileges thereof."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Letters from all parts beyond sea tell us that the King of France sends for levies into all the King's dominions, to have them against next spring, in a body. Nothing visibly can sooner destroy us. They have a printed prophecy that the King of France shall be King of England. He has seen it in the French and Holland Gazettes. "From England prospects of peace." It goes current, that England promotes these French counsels, though he hopes 'tis not so. But would have a Bill to prevent their going over.
Sir Winston Churchill.] He is that unfortunate man that had some sons (fn. 1) in the French service, but 'tis hard that such as go over to see such campaigns as never were before, 'tis hard that such young men should be proclaimed traytors for it. He 'll send for his son home, and engage he shall never go there again.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If there be such a Bill, a time will be allowed for their return. The scythe of death has cut them off, as fast as they came. We have lost 5000 of them this last summer, and now as many more are going over. Would keep them to defend us here. Such has been their resolution that they have taken Victory out of the hands of the Germans—They are brave fellows, and make the stand. But suppose there should be peace, as he fears, 'tis the interest of us to have these confederates oppose France. Shall we help France? The last time we met, a Bill might have been, as well as an Address. The second Address was not presented, by reason of the Prorogation.—Would have a Bill to reinforce the Proclamation with a penalty.
Mr Vaughan.] Thinks it a very charitable motion. For not only the foreign sword cuts them off, but our own wishes. The Proclamation is only on pain of the King's displeasure, and that they will adventure—Would have some special penalty.
Sir William Coventry.] Upon Mallet's delivery of a form of a Vote to the Speaker—Whoever delivers the Speaker any Paper in the House, he ought to open it, before he delivers it, and if the gentleman observes that your memory fails, you may be so helped, (which your memory seldom requires.) Hears it said, "'Tis hard to make young gentlemen criminal that cannot judge of the interest of the Nation." 'Tis therefore fit the Parliament should teach them and explain it. 'Tis the worst employment the King's Subjects can have, that next to rebellion against their own Prince, to be put to spend their lives in the French service. Thus far 'tis clear, that 'tis unfit those should be there that are there, and that others should go. You are told, "That the King's Proclamation singly can do no good." Shall we not then strengthen it with all in our power? In the Dutch war, we gave the King power to declare those Traytors that remained in the service after such a time. By this way we shall have more fruit of the Proclamation than we had before.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] If you call them at any time home, [let it be] now. If the French King is not seeking for peace, he thinks somebody is doing it for him. If he might, in the peace, give up all he has taken, it would be something; but he fears that will not be.
Resolved, 1. That 'tis the opinion of the Committee, that all the forces that are, or shall be, in the service of the French King, contrary to his Majesty's late Proclamation, shall be taken to be contamners of his Majesty's Royal Authority, and opposers of the interest of their Country.—[2. That the Lords concurrence be desired to this Vote]—3. That a Bill be brought in to enforce the Proclamation with penalties.
Monday, October 25.
Mr Russel.] Gives an account of his suspicion of some such thing, by Mr Francis Newport's (fn. 2) coming to Lord Cavendish's House, on Sunday morning last; which occasioned him to find out Lord Cavendish, and not to leave him till he had acquainted the Duke of Ormond with it, who told the King of it, and Mr Newport was secured.
Sir John Coventry.] It seems, there is great encouragement from great persons to affront this Lord. The quarrel is not against Lord Cavendish, but the whole House. Some course must be taken, or we shall be hectored by every life-guard-man, and be obliged to fight him. Is informed that a lawyer of the Temple should say, "'Tis a pretty story this of Lord Cavendish, and Mr Howard, the Lord had the Paper three weeks before the sitting of the Parliament, and complained only at the opening of the Parliament, to hinder the King's business." (And named him,) Mr Sawyer, of this House, who said it, in a Coffee house, to Sir Thomas Eastcourt, a Member, in the hearing of one Mr Bradbury, a lawyer, and Philips, a stationer near Temple Bar.
Mr Sawyer.] Finds that he is the person that, you are informed, should have said something of Lord Cavendish. He was asked by Lord Cavendish about it, and told him he said no such words.—But some accidental discourse, he said, was rumoured about town, that the Paper was abroad a month before the Parliament sat— But he never said the words alleged. But will tell you something—Since that, some persons have been abroad, to enquire and raise an accusation against him. (Would be glad to hear it said) As for that "of hindering the King's business," he never said it; nor could it be the consequence of any thing he said.
Sir Philip Harcourt (fn. 3).] Desires that Mr Bradbury may be summoned, to hear what he can say.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would not have you enquire into Coffee-house discourse. Your Member plainly denies it, and you can have no advantage by farther enquiry. But if any such thing as a challenge be, 'tis fit for your enquiry, and the person that did it should be made a severe example of. The King and you have made enquiry, and any body that dares to concern himself is worthy your farther enquiry. Yourselves are more concerned than Lord Cavendish, and would have severe enquiry into it.
Col. Birch.] Calling any thing in question that the House has done, is calling the Honour and Dignity of the House in question. When the House punished Lord Cavendish— And any man to question what you have done, is high presumption, and would consider it.
Col. Birch.] Though some body else is more fit for it than he, yet he shall move, "That whoever shall call in question what this House does, shall be punished as disturbers of the peace of the Nation, and Privilege of Parliament."
Mr Garroway.] The laws already are severe, and he would be upon even terms with such kind of men as life-guard-men, that if we defend ourselves against such as have no estates, we may not forfeit ours that have.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] As 'tis proposed, 'tis too general. Lord Cavendish having done something in breach of Privilege of this House, and been punished for it, we ought to do equally with the rest. We are trustees for the people of England; their honour and fortune are in our hands; and for persons to undertake to censure us, would have their punishment more particular.
Mr Waller.] They that will sight against King, Lords, and Commons, (against law) will sight with any of us. In France there are edicts against duels, but that will stand with arbitrary government only. Would have a Committee named to prevent this present mischief.
Mr Swynfin.] What the Speaker repeated was not to the Question proposed. 'Tis a vain thing to put a Question, that any man without doors shall not speak against what we do. 'Tis out of Question. No man doubts it. But what you are to do in the matter before you, betwixt Lord Cavendish and Mr Howard, to prevent farther quarrels, in this business, highly reflective upon the House. As yet you have had no answer from Mr Howard, and in the interval you hear every day of challenges. You are to do all you can to put a stop to these things. The House having the matter under consideration, would have you vote, "That whosoever shall prosecute any thing in this matter, shall be declared a violator of the Privileges of this House."
Mr Williams.] Stat. of H, IV. There being an assault made upon a Member, 'tis necessary that some provision should be made against promotion of such assaults. Sees no law more for Members than other men. In such provocations as these, would have one.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have a declaration, and resolution, "That not any pardon should be granted, &c. nor the persons offending should come into the King's presence." The honour of his presence would make men put their honour into the King's hand, to do them right.
Sir William Coventry.] If this came from the King, believes it will not fail of its success. What he rises for, was to prevent what he hopes is prevented, and if so, the King to have thanks from you for his care of our Member, and to implore his farther protection.
Sir Richard Temple.] The great occasion of duels is, that the law gives not remedy proportionable to injuries received. In France a strict course is taken to repair men in their honour, wherein the law is defective; as 'tis in some things men highly esteem, as affrontive words.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have you consider the impiety and corruption of manners, and the protestant religion established by law. Next, rents falling. This is not new matter, but records extant; 'tis a parliamentary way. The poverty of the Nation, and how to increase its riches, is always one head, in considering the state of the Nation—Prevent a consumption and general fears of the Nation—Wounds are not to be cured without being searched—If they are skinned over only, and not searched, they break out into blotches and boils. God give a blessing to what you are about!
Sir Harbottle Grimstone] Knows not how he shall please other men, but would have one ingredient—An application to the King to set a period to this Parliament, and to allow us some time to pass Bills now on the anvil, for the good of the Nation. But would not bound the King. He has had experience of this mischief— There is as great mischief in the length of this Parliament, as if there were no Parliament. A standing Parliament is as inconvenient as a standing Army. We are not afraid of the latter—Would address the King, &c.
Sir John Birkenbead.] God Almighty has put a period to half of the first men of this Parliament, by removes and death. Hopes he shall never see a Rump again. But when he sees sons and brothers of those, who were undone by the Rebellion, and paid so dear for loyalty, put and thrust out to have a new set, he declares he is afraid of a dissolution, because, God is his witness; he's afraid the next will be worse. (laughed at) Would have gentlemen consider the new and the old. The Kingdom so weak, is it time to make it weaker by dissolution of this Parliament? Cannot but think that the end of this Parliament will be the beginning of confusion.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Cannot think the matter moved proper at this time. Is one of those that think this Parliament may have good effect. Perhaps he is one of those that hope better of this Parliament than, it may be, of the rest that come after. Would have one gentleman from our side of the house that can say, rents are improved, that has no other way of support. Sees no other cause that wool sells not, though after the not, unless that money is crept into a few hands, and then you must expect rents to fall every day. And money is a commodity, as well as other things, and the engrossment of it into one hand governs trade. Would make some representation of your poverty, and why you comply not now, and likewise the sums we have given the King this Parliament—Tells the story of Lord Treasurer Salisbury's showing King James a great heap of money he had given away, &c. By his skill a great deal of money was saved. If you show the King what you have given (he fears the remembrance of it is out of mind) as a reason why money runs not round, hopes that will give full satisfaction in our non-compliance with his desires. Hopes the effect may be, that trade may be bettered, and money circulate, that we may be better able to give for the future. Is afraid, by the sums that are asked, that the King sees not how poor we are in the country, but how rich in other places. Would have him advised by the poor as well as the rich.
Mr Williams.] Looks into titles of Acts under that of "aid." Finds the preambles and arguments still to be "necessity." The same things though in other phrases. But what's become of all this money? Possibly accounts may have been kept, but he has seen none. Were it possible to give as much as has been given, may we not be told still "that the King is not at ease, and there is a necessity, and if the King be not supplied, extremities must be used?" This frightens him. So he would be gladly told, when there will be an end of anticipations; when, of giving. What account can be given to the country? 'Tis said that rivers run into the sea, but that ebbs and flows, but this of giving money flows and never ebbs. In his country, they are selling bread to buy bacon, but fears that, at this rate, we shall be reduced to water. As we have given without measure, so we have without method. In the rolls of H. IV. grievances precede aid, but at the opening a session now, money is the thing asked, and we have done it without computation. 1 James, there was a solemn protestation in Parliament, "that they could not give supply, till a commutation for grievances, and to go home and consult their Electors whether they deserved supply;" but now we give without that. 'Tis said, "Prepare your grievances"—But 'tis not a commutation; by that protestation the King is obliged by his coronation oath. We are not obliged to give money for it. Observes it was said the other day, "We are not to give money of courtesy; 'tis matter of right." At this rate, the Commons will be in the condition of Deans and Chapters; a congè d' elire their Bishop, for form's sake only, sent for and asked. Finds not, in all this Parliament, money denied when asked, and now, in fourteen years time, it may be a precedent upon us for futurity and posterity; therefore let us deny it now, for precedent's sake—Speaks what lies in his way. The King is willing to enter into a strict correspondence with us, and will relieve our necessities; as he tells us his wants, so we are to tell him the necessity of the country. Our duty to the King is to remove the country's fears and jealousies. Let us leave some records behind us, that we are true representatives of the people.
Sir Lionel Jenkins.] To the representation spoken of, 1 James. It was after the ancient manner. Legal and illegal grievances. There were two rises for it. The one was wardship, the other purveyance, which were both grounded in law. A representation is to move and persuade, and why should the King be moved and persuaded to what he tells us he will do? Had bills been denied; and unfrequency of Parliaments—But when the King can say, the Parliament is continued, and no public Bills, to which the King has said le Roi savisera, knows not any need of such representation, when the King is before hand with us. Would have Williams show what decay of trade, or religion, has been represented to the King, and not redressed. The Parliament never did it, but when there was a clear obstruction—Therefore would wave representation.
Mr Sacheverell.] The Question is, whether you will make a representation of the present state of the nation to the King, or no. (He was called to Order by the Speaker. The Order from the House to the Committee was read. He goes on.) Would now know what you will debate this matter for, if not to represent it to the King. 'Tis said no such thing has been done before, but takes if plainly to lay before the King, the reason of impiety and atheism, and leave it with him, and how poor the nation is, and how we came into it, and leave it with him to mend it. Will tell you precedents that have been. 50E. III. Where the Commons tell the King; "They had given him so much, and, if well managed; he had been the richest King in the world." 25. E. I. "By reason of such impositions they were brought to that poverty, that they could give no more."—And conclude, "These have brought poverty on the King," and then left it to the King, as he would do now. If any gentleman thinks there's no such thing as prophaneness and impiety in the government, and if he thinks not so much money is drawn into France from us, let him give his negative, and he'll give his affirmative.
The Speaker.] Is of opinion that what is preferred deserves your consideration. When he considers the Bills provided for Religion and Trade, ready to be reported, he cannot but think them worth consideration. To Bills for Religion he concurs, but to make Religion by remonstrances is of most dangerous consequence—Could not believe that, after so long sitting in Parliament and no public Bills returned with le Roi savisera—Thinks there's no necessity of a remonstrance, which is in the nature of appeal to the people Whoever will tell the people they are not well governed, he fears that people will give them too favourable an audience—The reformed, meek, humble men were the disturbers of the nation, in the last age, and he fears are so now. How low, how humbly; how dutifully they represented! 'Twas they that acted all the villainies of the former age, and fears they are active for the disturbance of this. If the subject was violated of his right, and justice was but an empty name; then there was some countenance for such a thing—Could wish that the prudence of those gentlemen that had indemnity, would pardon the slips and failings of the government, and those occasioned by the necessity of the times. If all this while we had represented the undoing men for their loyalty, if we had so represented this— But since 'tis our misfortune to have omitted it, let us not now conclude that all was well done before the Act of Indemnity. That being slipt, let us not take this representation up at such a time, when 'twill be fatal; and tend to our destruction. There is a strict conjunction between the Fanatic and Papist, to dissolve this Parliament, and wonders at that motion from a person who has had so little a share in the attendance of the House (fn. 4). But when this Parliament shall be dissolved, he fears the shaking both of church and state—Thinks a representa tion destructive to us and the Government, and would have it laid aside.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Looks upon Grimstone's motion, as from an ancient man, with St Paul's cupio dissolve, and believes many abroad gape after it. The Question urged of a representation of the state of the Kingdom, he thinks to be the sense of the House—Bills are preparing, but to some points there cannot be any; but if Bills could be in every one, yet would rather have this representation. He slights all harsh expressions, in comparison of doing good. Five or six times Bills have been cut to pieces by Prorogations. We are tired with hearing them read. In this representation he is confident of the King's grace and favour. These frequent Prorogations destroy all we can do by Bill. This way of representation will remedy it. He has read that of 1 James, seven, eight, or nine material subjects that concern the state of the nation—As privilege was mixed with them, excellent lessons for Englishmen to learn! If that method had been taken and followed, 'twas impossible to have made a rebellion—But 'twas the breaking Parliaments—Would not lose the word—Calm we are now, and in good temper, but if let alone till some grow angry, it may be much worse. That of 1 James is a good precedent, and would follow it. This Parliament has an instance of it; on this very head of religion, five years ago, you discoursed the danger of Popery, the cause and remedies—Remedies are, where the cause is not, in the King—We are the eyes of the King, and present to him where the canker is, and he remedies it.
Sir William Coventry.] Wonders at this Debate, and thinks it out of the way. 'Tis not yet the subject-matter of Debate. Thinks, that, as Grimstone is not seconded in his motion, so the thing will go off—Meres quoted St Paul for it, and so it may pass. He was not so very young, but can remember the calamities of the late times, and is not a little troubled at what fell from the Speaker, "That if this Parliament be dissolved, 'twill be the ruin of the nation." The King's government sure stands on better foundations, the laws and loyalty of his subjects—And the miseries of the late times, for a man's own sake, as well as his loyalty, he would prevent. 'Tis wholly unnatural now to make a representation, because 'tis not the matter before you. If you were upon grievances, and if the matters arise where there is no law, then it would be proper for a Bill. But where Bills are already, we send messages to quicken them, as those of Popery, and Trade, and another thing not by Bill, but we represent by Declaration. We represented to the King what the law was, and desired it should be so no more. If ships be in the government, would not do it merely to represent them, but to remedy them. If administration has not followed the law, we should represent it to the King. But would first consider the matter, before you think of a Representation.
Sir Tho. Lee.] Is one of those who would represent to the King the present condition of the Kingdom, but was none of those "meek and humble reformers;" though he is one of those that would not shut the doors to such a representation. Did never think that all advices from hence were appeals to the people. Knows not how else the ill management of his counsellors shall be represented to him. Though things have been made an ill use of, yet anciently they have been good—A fine way to shut up all the gates of the court, and the King never to know when he is ill advised! Would not have every little slip of the Government represented, but only when the King, cannot know the mismanagements of his Government by any other way, but representation—And therefore would have it now.
Sir John Duncombe.] Fears that the defect of supporting the Church is in ourselves; not in this House, but among themselves. Some of them, he will not say, have too much, but many have nothing at all. Many places are so unprovided, that the parson must work for his living, and, at this rate, the Church will fall of itself. III use is made even of the power of the Church; it does the Church no good. Not for the ends intended by the ecclesiastical courts; speaks not to oppose them, or to lessen the authority of the Church—Thinks it worthy your thoughts to open the doors to some men. These are his humble thoughts.
Mr Garroway.] Thinks that we run out of method. The Order of the House is "for the Committee to consider the state of the Nation;" desires that, in this case, we may go on clearly, and not kindle it up. If all can be remedied by Bill, let it go; what cannot, let us in all humble duty represent to the King. Let us hear what all these motions are, and then you may consider whether provided for already, and recommend it to the Committee to have Bills in hand.
Sir Richard Temple.] This motion will bring all into confusion. Under the general head of religion descend to particulars—Insist not upon what the law has already provided for, but what it has not. Scandalous livings will make scandalous ministers. Would consider Pluralities, and such Churchmen as are above their callings, and come only to collect their duties. The King of France has wounded the Protestants more by this way than any—And especially moves to consider the scandal of Pluralities.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If we are ashamed to represent it, let us say so, and try it by a Question. Thinks the thing is recommended to the Committee, by Order, to be the first head of the matter under consideration.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] How can we see such a profusion of treasure as we have had, and not tell the King of it? (called to Order) Is Representation such a terrible word not to be mentioned? Knows no way of acquainting the King, but by representation.
Mr Vaughan.] Some sort of men have had the confidence to represent the state of the nation to the King, and very wrongly. We complained, in the late times, of decimations, and have not we had the Bank violated, and persons against oaths brought up to the Council-table? Nothing has been wanting, except taking the King's head off. Not "the humble" but "the proud," reformed the Government, to usurp it. And thinks that these are causes of Representation, and can say more hereafter.