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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Tuesday, October 26.
Mr Howard, [according to Order, attended at the door of the House.]
Debate whether he should be asked if he signed the paper.
Mr Garroway.] If he says, 'tis not his paper, there's an end of the business. Any gentleman may have his name set to a paper.
Mr Williams.] Would have Howard answer whether he owned the thing, though he signed it not; for he gave no answer when you sent to him the other day. Would have him closely and strictly interrogated.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The paper says, "This he wrote to a gentleman to disperse copies of it." It may be not his hand, so that Question is none at all. But "whether he owns the contents of the paper," which may be his paper, though not his hand.
Col. Birch.] Has as ill an opinion of the paper as any man, but would not ask such a Question, out of zeal, now, as may be an ill precedent to ask any Commoner of England a Question against himself. But as closely as you please, not to entangle him—Ask him, whether he owns the paper, and leave him to his answer, and when answer is given, then judge whether 'tis satisfactory or not.
Mr Howard [being called in] was allowed a Chair, without the Bar, because of his lameness of the gout.
Then the Speaker delivered himself thus.] The occasion of your coming hither is a scandalous paper, which the House has more than a common presumption, was dispersed by your Order, and subscribed by you. The House would know, whether the paper was signed by you, or dispersed by your Order?
The Paper was brought to Mr Howard by the Clerk.
Then Mr Howard thus spoke:
"My respect always has been to this honourable House, and I hope you will excuse me from giving any answer to a thing of this nature, not knowing who charges me with the writing it. As to the resentment of my dead brother, I believe any man who had lost so dear a friend, as well as a brother, might be provoked to some passion. I will not excuse myself— I cannot equally bear such a loss. I am the more concerned, because I knew my brother so much an Englishman, as to go with the sense of the Votes of this House, so far as he understood them—I have met with a Paper very extraordinary, but, because it doth not immediately touch me, shall offer it to your better consideration, I shall always owe respect to this honourable House, as becomes me, and hope I have not done any thing to incur your displeasure; but if so unhappy as to rest under it, shall humbly submit to any punishment—I find the Paper so extraordinary a one, that I think fit to offer it to the House."
The Speaker.] Have you any thing farther to say concerning the Paper?
Mr Howard.] Let any man prove that it is my Hand. He withdrew.
Mr Stockdale.] He has so far owned the Paper, as to submit to your justice. They are words of high nature, and dangerous—Would have him sent to the Tower, but, being a worthy gentleman, not to come upon his knees.
Mr Williams.] Howard has been asked, if concerned in the Paper—He has had as fair procedings as may be. He was examined first by a Committee, and did not answer the thing at all. Has had a long time to consider of an answer. An express consession could not be expected, He has behaved himself modestly. He, in a manner, owned the provocation that might make a man so express himself. The other day, when the Paper that was posted up was debated, your Member, (Lord Cavendish) was present and sat mute; he denied not the thing— And now 'tis the same thing in this gentleman. He has, in a manner, stood mute—Would have him committed to the Tower.
Mr Streete.] Before you proceed to sentence, would read Mr Howara's Paper. Possibly it may guide your judgment in the Paper.
Mr Mallet.] He has as much as consessed the matter, and it concerns not only these persons, but the Protestants in general.
Sir John Knight.] 'Tis fit you should read the Paper.
Mr Vaughan.] Speaks to your proceedings upon the scandalous Paper. He owns provocation, and gives you no answer to justify himself.
Col. Birch.] Somewhat like "Did you do this, or not," was asked him. He answered. Knows not how to reconcile this Paper he offers, and that he is accused of—The Paper may be part of his defence.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Consider what the flames are, and what water you have thrown on them—He fears that the Paper may be yet worse. Had the Paper been his own, you might have read it; and now you ask him about the scandalous Paper, he tells you "he has met with a Paper of an extraordinary nature." Now the Question is, whether such a Paper shall be read, before he opens what it is.
Serjeant Maynard.] A man is not to accuse himself when a Justice of the Peace examines him; though not upon oath. Yet he may ask him, guilty, or not guilty? The Paper he offers you is not relating to his offence. Knows not what you may imagine in reading it, unless to hear news.
Mr Sawyer.] If the gentleman had opened the contents of the Paper, then the House might have judged whether concerned or not—We may have a ballad read else.
The Speaker.] The contents of the Paper you have already sentenced, (that which Lord Cavendish posted up) and given judgment against.
Mr Sawyer.] You must, upon sentence, pronounce guilty, or not. He was called in to know, whether he owned the Paper or not. At Common law he is a mute. If the person denies it, then go to proofs; if he does not deny it, 'tis fair to put the Question, whether he be the author of the scandalous Paper, and he must give his affirmative to it.
Sir Richard Temple.] Has much respect to this gentleman, but seeing he cannot excuse himself, neither will he do so. There's a suspicion that he was the promoter of the Paper, but since he has neither denied nor confessed it, but in a manner excuses it, neither can he excuse him—Would have him sent to the Tower.
Col. Birch.] Agrees with Sawyer, that, if Howard deny it, we are put upon proving it; if not, 'tis taken pro confesso, a constant Order— 'Tis contrary to Order for the Speaker to discourse with any person. If the House thinks him worthy to be heard, so must the Speaker. Could not the Speaker require him to open the Paper, for then you had opportunity to let him know the justice of the House in condemning the Paper? The least that can be done for the honour of the kingdom is to send him to the Tower.
Mr Sawyer.] The House is to judge of their own evidence. 'Tis of dangerous consequence for people without doors to be judges. Therefore he believes Howard to be the promoter, and disperser of the Paper.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] What opinion he is of he can tell, but what appears is another thing. Would give judgment in this as if all the world heard your evidence. Now whether Howard be the author, is the matter of fact. But to say " The thing appears, because a man denies it not," is not for your honour.
Mr Vaughan.] The reason for giving money, must, at the same rate of Coventry's argument, begin without doors.
Mr Boscawen.] If Howard is not the author of the Paper, there is less reason to think him the promoter. If he be not the author of this, he cannot say he is guilty of any thing else.
Sir Edward Dering.] Would do the same justice to him, as you have done to Lord Cavendish.
Sir Philip Harcourt.] That is unequal. Howard's offence reflects upon the whole House, and Lord Cavendish's is a personal thing only.
Resolved, [That it is the Judgment of this House,] That Mr Howard is the author, promoter, [and disperser] of the scandalous Paper.
Ordered, That he be committed to the Tower.
Mr Boscawen.] Your Vote does not say "what Paper," nor "what time," nor "what Paper was voted scandalous."
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have the Paper entered into the Journal, that it may be seen what 'tis you pass Judgment upon.
The Speaker.] You have formerly read, and condemned, a Patent, and that Patent not entered in the Journal—Petitions are frequently read and not entered.
Sir Charles Harbord.] Though those were not entered, yet breach of Privilege is entered always—Would have the Paper read, and entered.
Sir Richard Temple] Libels you have censured, but not entered into the Journals.
The date and time of the Paper was ordered to be entered into the Journal only.
On a motion [being] made for burning the Paper.
Sir William Coventry.] Supposes no Paper more fit for your censure than this. If one sort of persons think deeper, and a harsher impression be made upon them than others, he knows not the fate of it, when we are up, and would prevent it.
Lord Cavendish.] He was sent to the Tower for breach of Privilege, but what that breach was, he never knew yet. It seems comparisons are made between the Papers, one of which you have voted "scandalous, and seditious."
Sir Charles Harbord.] The families of Howard and Cavendish are one. Howard is Cavendish's maternal family—Put neither one Question, nor the other.
Sir William Coventry.] He never heard nor saw the Paper said to be posted up by Lord Cavendish, and would not be understood to reflect upon that noble Lord.
The Question for burning Howard's Paper being put, whether it should be put or no, it was carried in the negative (fn. 1).
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Moves that the money to be raised for building the ships you have voted, be put into the Chamber of London, and not be issued out thence without an Order from the Lord Mayor, and Common Council, to be the more certainly applied to the use of the fleet.
Mr Sacheverell.] Is the rather for the Motion, because the money formerly was not put to the use of the Fleet, which it was given for.
Sir Thomas Meres.] There was a method of appropriating the money that was given for disbanding the Army in 1661—Will say one word for all. We cannot trust the Exchequer, and therefore would have the money put into the Chamber of London.
Mr Garroway.] This is not the first time of his jealousy, because not the first time obligations have not been made good. If this money is to go for ships, is as free as any man to appropriate it—Agree of the method afterwards.
Mr Sacheverell.] Then leave the Chair—We all see what we have to trust to, and shall do accordingly.
Sir William Coventry.] Would have satisfaction how this money shall be used; which may make gentlemen more satisfied in giving. The new imposition upon wines were given only to pay the King's debts, and here we had not only general assurance, but the particular undertaking of Lord Clifford, and yet that money was turned to a revenue, and no debt paid. Notwithstanding all the engagements to the contrary, yet the Exchequer was stopped, and there is a more easy pretence of stopping the money there by the King's ministers, which cannot be in the Chamber of London. And therefore would obviate one objection, that the stop of the Exchequer was only for the King's revenue. Has heard it said, that, at the time Sir John Bank's money was lent to the Exchequer, upon the Act of Parliament, 'twas refused him, when he called for it, by Sir Robert Long Banks desired his friends he brought with him to witness that, his money was demanded and stopped, against law. Long persisted in not paying him, but, upon consideration, found it not fit to break the Act, upon so small a sum. This shows you that money lent, upon the security of the Act of Parliament, has been near stopping in the Exchequer. Therefore would have the Committee consider this with liberty, if they have it not already.
Sir Robert Howard.] Gives an account that payments upon the security of the Act of Parliament, were never stopped in the Exchequer. Whenever a payment was found due by Act of Parliament, the money was never denied. Meynel had his money, though he took it with one hand, and paid it with another.
Col. Titus.] Suppose he gives his servant money to buy him locks and bolts for his house, but finds the money spent, and none bought. Shall the master of the house therefore never buy any more? No; but he'll turn away that servant, and employ him no more.
Sir William Hickman.] Three hundred thousand pounds were given the fleet, to support the Triple Alliance. Few ships were sent out, but a slight guard. Would have it recommended to the Committee, to consider of some way, the better to appropriate this money that we shall give to the use of the Navy.
Mr Sacheverell.] Exclude but the course of the Exchequer, and go what other way you will, for he sees the business of the Navy will never be done.
Sir John Duncombe.] What can there be of jealousy that ships should not be built? 'Tis impossible for any man to think it. The money must build ships.
Col. Birch.] The reason of the thing considered first, 'tis a vanity to think we intended to build ships without money. Ill use may be made hereafter of what you have already done. Would have the people believe that this money is lodged securely. Few tons of timber are yet ready, and what you do must be speedy. Is sorry the proverb, "sure as Exchequer" is gone. Hopes it may come again. If a man employed in building these ships ask for his money, and 'tis in the Exchequer, who will meddle? The King has told you, "He'll be a better husband." 'Tis for us to chalk him out the way. There was no reflection upon the Chamber of London, when money was lodged there once for difbanding the army, and lodged there by the consent of every man, for the better husbandry of it—Would put the Question.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Moves to enter into the matter, without umbrage. The thing we are doing is to bring a Question, whether we shall do it, or not. Enter not here into particulars, but you may give general instructions to the Committee.
Mr Vaughan.] Though not jealous of his wife's honour, yet should you, or any one, come out of her chamber in drawers, he must be jealous. The Exchequer has done no good in this; by experience we have found it. Would have this money therefore put into the Chamber of London.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Would have it referred to the Committee, to consider the best way of appropriating this money to the Navy.
Lord Cavendish.] Let those that think not this a good way, propose another that's better.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Will any man place his money where he has been so often deceived? The law was prefaced for it, and trusted the Exchequer with it. Some say, "punish the officers;" but we have not hearts to punish, we are too good natured. He foresees they will not be punished by the House, and knows of no where else, where they will be punished. Since the thing has been started and debated, the Question is, whether you will lodge this money in the Chamber of London, or, whether the Question shall be now put, or no.
Sir Richard Ford.] Ernly told you a piece of news that he never heard before, that "the Chamber of London had failed"—Would have him assign a time when it failed.
Sir John Ernly.] Widows and Orphans are without their money.
Sir Richard Ford.] 'Tis so far from that, that the Chamber refuses 20 or 30,000l. every week, though they may have it without interest—Would have persons named, who, 'tis said, cannot get their money.
Sir Francis Lawley.] He himself had the City Seal, for money in the Chamber of London, and could not get it.
Obser. To clear a matter of fact, a man may, by Order, speak again.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Foreigners will say of this, that when a little sum is to be given, no sort of men are fit to be trusted with it. Therefore would go first to the Committee, that the money be appropriated to this use. The Debate is, where shall be the purse? He never knew money found that wanted a purse.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] Would ask only one Question— How Lawley came by that debt in the Chamber of London, and how it was contracted? And then the House will be satisfied.
Sir Francis Lawley.] 'Tis said it was lent in ill times, but he has the City's Seal for it.
Mr Love.] The Seal was extorted from particular persons, in the troublesome times, and the Chamber pays it not, because it was forced from them. If you expect this money to be well employed, you must put it into the City's, or some secure hands, or you are never like to have it rightly employed. Merchants ships are built cheaper than the King's ships, because they may get their money how they can. 'Tis well known that it may be done for seven or eight pound per ton, if the carpenters be assured of their money.—The Merchants pay is not the third penny of what the King gives now, and there is no reason but the King's money should go as far as another man's money, if the workmen were paid as they ought to be.
Sir William Coventry.] In the ill times, money was extorted from the Chamber of London, to carry on the war; and so the Chamber was sued for it to an outlawry. It was not thought fit in justice, &c. and no Insolvency in the City.
Sir Charles Harbord.] 1 James; Accounts were given to the House, and they did not satisfy. The Exchequer has failed, and there is nothing worse for the Government than the failure of it. The morning after the stop of the Exchequer was made, Sir Robert Long told him of it. He believed it not. He told Long, was it his case, he would rather lose his life, or office, than suffer it; for an action of the case might be brought against him for the money. 'Tis moved, "That because the Exchequer has failed; the Chamber of London, &c." 'Tis in your power to give directions to the Committee, who are not to give law to the House—He has had occasion for these sixty years to know the Chamber of London—But, upon the Question of the payment in 1640. The Council of York was in distress for money, to stop the proceeding of the Scotch army: They sent to the Chamber of London, to lend the king 50,000l. The Lords Pembroke and Northumberland went for it, and 'twas lent, but they never had it again—Thinks the Chamber of London the best security. You must have public, or private, security. The Chamber has great helps to make good what they do, and you are safe in their hands, and the Act will bind them beyond all seals they can make.
Sir William Bucknall.] 'Tis not what I know, but what the people think. If the people believe not the money will be paid, the people will not trust where they think they shall not be paid. The Chamber of London is good credit. Our case now is as Titus said— If this money be ill spent, yet would give again—Hears a great disagreement where it shall be placed. Who shall call the Exchequer to account? He could not see but that the Chamber of London may be called to account—Should we be against the interest of the King, if so placed? You give workmen so much, if in the Exchequer; if in the Chamber, not so much. Sees no advantage to the King's service, for it to be in the Exchequer. If this be the only Question, where the money must lie, let's lay it in the securest place. If the people that are to have the money, think the Exchequer the cheapest and safest place for it, he is for saving money. There is not only delay and trouble to get money out of the Exchequer, but if he has his money, the charges are so great; five pound per cent. When he sat in the Chamber of London, there was never any denial of payment, neither in the plague, nor fire, but money of his own they have refused. Certainly the appropriation of this money is, according to the opinion of the people abroad, the best way to attain your end. If this money be misapplied, we must give more and more. Hopes every man is as ready for this Vote to build Ships, as he, when well assured of it.
Sir Winston Churchill.] He is not for the Chamber of London, but not for the reason he has heard yet. We do not consider, that perhaps the greatest grievance we have is, that the City draws all our Money thither. He serves for a port that may build ships—Would secure the money, so that the several ports may have their share in building them, who are capable and convenient for it—Thus you will circulate the money.
Mr Boscawen.] They have no such convenience in the western ports. The Question is, whether you will give the King Money or Ships; so much Money or so many Ships. The best service is which way to build cheapest. The Chamber of London can borrow at five pound per cent. The Exchequer would borrow at twelve pound, and cannot get it. People that lend enquire after their security. A nobleman, or parliament-man, cannot take up money possibly like another man, of less estate. People will lend where the security is best. Therefore is for the Chamber of London.
Sir George Downing.] You are the restorers of the Government, but this about the Chamber of London, is setting up a new Government. What was done to stop the Exchequer, was by order of Council, and by the Great Seal, not orders of the Exchequer. That place that gives accounts most sure and constantly, is the best place. Money was paid into London at the beginning of the rebellion, and dreads every thing that may have its likeness. Would devise from Hell to say, "destroy the Exchequer, and take this way," which is one of the best securities—With it you destroy property. The Exchequer is one of the fundamental pillars of monarchy, the easiest and the cheapest. In the year 1660, money was paid into the Chamber of London, not yet accounted for, for disbanding the army, and no man can ever find out how it can be accounted for, nor ever will. Had it been in the Exchequer, it might. Shall it be said, we put it into such hands, nay vote it into such hands? Some are hot enough that the Exchequer is not to be trusted; when that trust is gone, the government is gone. Has any thing been misplaced in the Exchequer? Mend it. Resolve that the money be appropriated, and refer it to the Committee to make it effectual.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] He is concerned because he made the Motion. Would have it known that he is no gainer by the wars. He is the poorer, and some others within these walls the richer, but sees we are now all Cavaliers. (Reflective.)
Sir Tho. Meres.] One Reflection begets another. The Speaker should have taken Downing down for reflection. If he (the Speaker) will not give us leave to answer reflections, we'll take it.
Col. Birch.] He did not move this; but the Motion seems to be so uniting and parliamentary, that he seconded it. As for what is said about the rebellion, supposes Downing means what was done after 1647, for then he (Birch) was pulled out of the House of Commons by the ears. The word "1660" was looked up this way. Those moneys were paid into the Chamber of London, and at one penny per pound moneys are paid there. It was issued thence upon the Duke of Albemarle's disbanding the army, and Downing says, "not yet accounted for," which could not be gathered up so clearly. Esquires and Lords money in the Poll Act lies yet unpaid, and believes it in safe hands. All that money is received and declared so some years ago. As far as he knows, all manner of justice was done. When he had money put in there, he had five pound per cent. and thought it safe.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Will not decide which of the offices, the Exchequer or the Chamber, may be the most easily governed. As to the Chamber of London, the placing of the Money there imports a Treasurer. Hopes never to see that day, for the Parliament to have one Treasurer, and the King another. He knows what will follow. Weigh it well, whether you cannot have as good security from the Exchequer as from the Chamber of London. Would have the Money appropriated, and a Grand Committee to debate the way of it.
Mr Garroway.] What you do is by the consent of the King, and with his approbation, and so you divide not the King and the Parliament. All non obstantes cannot hinder the money being disposed of accordingly, when you vote it to the King to build ships only. Confidence begets credit, and that experience. Had that been so, you had not been put to give Money now for ships. As for what's past he'll say nothing of it— But those people we have nursed up here, are they that fright us—We are in good temper at home—Not you alone—The Lords will show you, if this be an intrenchment on the King's Prerogative. If the King sees such a thing, he'll bid you take your Bill again. 'Twill not be so horrible a sum that the City of London should be thought to run away with it. 'T will not be raised in a day, but by gradation; the country is exhausted, and must have time. Two years for building these ships. Materials are to be bought, and workmen agreed with. The City has 100,000l. per ann. for the security of this Money, and you will not trust them for above half this Money at once, and it may be safely lodged there.
Sir Henry Capel.] Has a favourable opinion of the City of London, but sees no need of so great caution in placing this Money. If the number of ships be fixed, as is said, the sums will not be very great, and thinks this is a blow to the best of Governments. It looks like some mistrust, for this one time to trust this one sum in the City's hands. The better London performs this trust, the more danger there will be for future sums to be lodged there. Fears it will come to this, Who will trust the City, and who will trust the King, here, whom we ought to trust? Would refer the Question to the Committee of the whole House.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Would put the proper Question, "for appropriating the money to be given, for building of ships only, and to be lodged in the Chamber of London," as the Debate went. Especially when no man is precluded from appropriating in general. You were informed, "that the Money to pay off the army was placed there, when there was no King in Israel," but it was, in 1661, which is a precedent in this King's time, besides many others. 'Tis said "this is an ill precedent, and may wound monarchy." Take this along with you, and the wound will be healed. This rivalship will be hereafter betwixt the Chamber and the Exchequer, that it may reduce the Exchequer to its former credit. Therefore is for the Question.
Sir John Duncombe.] When you have once got thus into London, when will you come back again to the Exchequer? And will not arguments be as good then as they are now? The methods of the Exchequer, above all things, are the least subject to error. Accounts are as strictly kept as any where. If there be any place to have it safe in, 'tis the Exchequer.
Sir William D'Oyly.] 'Tis said "That the Chamber of London was the Treasury, when the army was disbanded." But there's no such thing, for the Treasurers were named, and they obeyed Orders from himself, and other Commissioners. The danger is, suppose an end will be put to this Parliament on the death of the King, and the King should issue out Writs, and he happen to have such a Parliament as the Long Parliament, nothing can invite rebellion like such a sum of Money. It may happen so, because it has; therefore would not put such fetters on this Money.
Mr Vaughan.] He admits that the law of the Exchequer carries more sacred methods in it than any place. But it has been violated. The sanction of the Exchequer began before your Act, and a Man might demand his Money, and receive it—The Exchequer continues under that breach of faith, to this day, and when the credit will return, let others tell you that can. The City needs no Money, they would not else have it offered at 5l. per cent. The King once put Money, by Act of Parliament, into the Chamber, and he would have it so now.
Sir John Duncombe.] 'Tis in your power to regulate the fees of the Exchequer; the officers must live. They that serve at the altar must live by the altar. The Chamber must have fees; the fees were so small in Sir Robert Long's office, that they were worth nothing. He believes the Lord Treasurer would be very tender of a non obstanie.
Sir George Downing.] The whole charge of the Exchequer is, for every hundred pound, a mark; and this is not only the fee for making good the account, but to answer false money and all.
Mr Waller.] If he had his own natural inclination and desire, he would have taken this occasion to reform the Exchequer, which, for ought he sees, breaks loose from all Acts of Parliament, when the King, Lords, and Commons made Orders assignable, and they are worth nothing, which would make farthings current money. The Question now is like to be, whether this money shall be placed in the Chamber of London. Rather than have nothing, would put it there. Old Sir Edward Coke once would have had money in the Chamber, because the Exchequer was once robbed by Thieves, and the Chamber never. The Irish money was put into trustees hands, and he had the honour and trouble of it. In 1641, when the Council of war signed, the treasurers paid it; they paid one half, and the times got the other. The Chamber is not so atroce a thing as is imagined. One objects, "it will be a fine reputation for us abroad." To which he answers, we have given tonnage and poundage for the Navy; and no Navy, no reputation; and now we shall have money, reputation, and a Navy. 'Tis said to be "strange, that the King should have one Treasurer, and we another."—'Tis impossible; for the King makes the Law with our advice—The money raised upon Coals, for building the city-churches and halls, never comes into the Exchequer, and is no dishonour to Whitehall—That of the Act of Coinage likewise. Say some, "What if we should have a dislolution of this Parliament, we should have mad doings." The thing depends upon the King's pleasure, and he will say nothing to it. The Law commands us to trust the King with Peace and War, and there's no mistrust. The Law puts and commands a trust in us; and shall any body say, we give too much, or too little? The trust of chusing Parliament lies in the Commons, as much as in the King; and it is not imaginable that they should chuse ill, since they have chosen this Parliament, the best in the world.
Mr Sacheverell] 4 Hen. VI. Money was paid into the Exchequer, and in the Lords Roll, declared, "that the King might dispose of it, at his pleasure, though with ever such limitations and conditions upon it;" which makes him the rather desire that this money should be in the Chamber of London.
Mr Pepys.] Would have been silent, if what he intends to say in this business was not entirely new, or if so proper for any body to say as himself. Of all hands, he knows this money will be most properly in the King's single hand, and none else; but Bonds may be put upon the Lord Treasurer's hands, and other officers, and the King's hand is the safest on this occasion. A retrospection of the ill management you have found in the Navy, gives this jealousy now. Is the state of the fleet worse than when the King came in? No. In quality, rate, burthens, and force, men, and guns, 'tis in better state than when the King came in. Let any man offer a contradiction, that 'tis not the best fleet the kingdom ever knew. There are eighty-three fail, great and small, more than in all his royal predecessors; and he has built more ships in fourteen years, in burthen and value, of that fleet, notwithstanding the war—The most beautiful are the King's own growth and building. 'Tis said, "of late they have been neglected;" but there have been more ships built since 1670, than in any five years from any time backward. Another justice, next to the King, he must do the Lord Treasurer. More ships have been built in this Lord Treasurer's time, than in any ten of his predecessors. All this said, why will you not trust the King? He has the honour of a near attendance upon the King, by his office; none of his subjects have so many thoughts, or take more pains in the Navy, than this master of ours. He knows one thing that remains to be answered; "why then do we want ships?" 'Tis not for want of his royal care. The King has been in a conspiracy, if he may so say, with the officers of the Navy, how to get money for ships. The state of the Navy was this, when the King came in—He was in an actual war with Spain; he found 150 ships, great and small; and having been four years all abroad, and in such a pickle! 600,000l. debt on the Navy. The King has repaired the old fleet, and built the new, the best in Christendom; and no wonder France has so many ships, when they but lately have had considerable ships of war, and those all new—Thinks the King's hand the best, &c.
The Question being put, Whether the money to be raised for the ships should be lodged in the Chamber of London, it passed in the negative, 171 to 160.
Wednesday, October 27.
Exceptions being taken at some words which fell from Sir John Hotham, by Sir Philip Musgrave,
Sir Thomas Clarges said,] He would not have the authority of the Chair degraded. The words are to be set down and agreed.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] He has his liberty to take his exceptions at what was spoken by Hotham, as other gentlemen have theirs, viz. "That Members have been drawn from us, and the sums we have given have been employed to that purpose."
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Would have a Committee appointed to enquire into these things, and clear your Members from aspersions.
Sir John Hotham] Explained himself, "That the Revenue is collected by several of the Members, and by it they are withdrawn from their service here."
Sir John Knight.] Would know "what Members" are drawn away from us.
Mr Garroway.] Knows no body reflected upon, (Knight saying "we" and "us") unless he be of the number, and has employment.
Mr Stockdale.] 'Tis an excellent motion, to purge ourselves by a Test; and would have a Committee to consider of it.
Sir John Coventry.] Possibly, though the nation be poor, yet there may be talk of guineas—Would have us purged of it. Members have had letters sent them from Officers of the Court, some time before this Session, to hasten their coming up—Would have that enquired into.
Sir John Hotham.] Would know who has received such letters.
Sir Cha. Wheeler.] 'Tis hard for us to recover surmises, and suspicions, without doors—Telling the Yea's and No's, who they are, may be of ill consequence abroad; and whenever you are pleased to appoint such a Test, shall be very willing.
Sir Thomas Meres.] "We" and "us" are very good English words. We all agreed, as to appropriation of this money. Why should we lose the first person plural! But where it is applied to parties, there we may have exception. Your Question is, for such a Test as is proposed. The thing is talked of without doors, and some such Test would be very seasonable. The last Session, there was some such thing, and was proceeded on, very forward. Now is ready to think, that Guineas are raised in their price.—Knows nothing, but believes these to be idle things; but would take off the report.
Mr Williams.] Has not seen these Letters spoken of. Perhaps they were sent by the King's command. They are illegal, and not justifiable—Would have these Letters produced, and you may then judge, whether they are justifiable, or no.
Sir John Coventry.] If Letters are not justified, they ought to be corrected; and would have the Letters produced.
Sir Winston Churchill.] There can be no greater infamy than this Test, in casting reflection, suspicion, and self-condemnation—Would rather pass a Vote, that such Reporters without doors, if taken, shall be severely punished.
Sir William Coventry.] 'Tis said, "there could be no greater reflection upon the House, than this Test." He knows one greater reflection; that is, refusing such a Test. The last time we met, enquiry was made into 5000 guineas, but no report of it was made from the Committee. 'Tis impossible to silence mens reports, or to keep secret what is said in this House; and all such reports are equally disadvantageous to us all. The thing being cut off by Prorogation, if not revived now, the people will think the majority of the House afraid of that Test. Grimstone's Motion (fn. 2) was not thought seasonable, but nothing can tend to a dissolution of this Parliament, like the people's ill opinion of us, and then to be no more useful to the Government, is an obloquy upon us, and we become abominable in the eyes of the people, though not Parliaments in general—An herb, John, in the pottage. But when this Test comes thus far into Debate, and is rejected, what may be the consequence of it? Therefore is for the Test.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Reports of Guineas come up and down so generally, that he cannot tell who here heard it reported, that he is one of those who has had them. If he had any, he has taken pains for them; he has attended the service very closely.
Sir Charles Harbord.] If any have had, they have ill deserved them.
Lord Cavendish.] If we lose the opinion of the people, we can neither serve the King, nor the Country—Would have one word added to the Question—"For the Committee to enquire both after Letters and Money"—And Letters have been received.
Sir John Coventry.] Seconds the Motion; for he believes that both "Letters and Money" have been received.
Sir John Hanmer.] Would have the Committee enquire as well who have had Manors, as Letters and Money.
Col. Birch.] We say in the country, that if a man intends to pay well, when he borrows money, he gives a Bill, or a Bond, or any thing else. Is mighty glad to find this Debate. Thinks we are not in a capacity to give money to build these ships, unless this Test be done. He finds no reason in the world against it, therefore would direct the Committee in it.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] Would have every man declare what he has by offices, or any other way, and refund. The King has had much money of his, and if he has any of the King's, shall willingly refund it,
Sir Henry Puckering.] What does that look like Impeaching. Perhaps you may find half the House concerned in the giving Motion. This neither becomes your prudence nor gratitude—These little things, to rip up into little offices! The King is a liberal Prince, who rewards services.
Sir Henry Capel.] Is sorry to differ from him, having served the Crown—But is there any thing so dear in the world as the honour of this Parliament? Wonders, when things are so spoken of abroad—Moves, of all things in the world, to put this Question.
Sir John Hotham.] Differs from Jennings. Yourself, Mr Speaker, have had good things from the King, and have deserved them. The labourer is worthy of his hire, and he would not have the Question of refunding.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] He that has betrayed his trust, and his honour, in taking money, will be so wise as to dony it, for his honour.
Sir William Coventry.] As you put the Question, Mr Speaker, 'tis taken for granted that the House has swallowed it. But he would have the Test, for Members to purge themselves from having received.
Col. Titus.] Supposes 'tis the intention of the Enquiry, "That if any man, &c." upon report that several Members were corrupted. The last Session you made an Order, and he would do the same thing now.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The last Session, there was particular complaint of a Lawyer.
The Paper of the Test the last Session was read, and referred to a Committee. The Committee was instructed to enquire what Members have had guineas, promises, rewards, or letters, to corrupt their Votes.
[The House was informed of certain letters sent to particular Members, to summon them to give their attendance upon the service of this House.]
Sir Hen. Goodrick.] Thinks that his family has served the King faithfully, and wonders that he has not received a letter, as well as his neighbours. He thinks himself slighted in not being thought so well worthy. Would have the Secretaries of State inform you, who they sent letters to, and by whose direction.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Secretaries may reveal or not reveal it, as they have Orders from their Master. If they are unlawful, ignorance has led them into a fault, for obeying the King's particular command. His ignorance, if so, has betrayed him and his brother Secretary. These letters are not guilty of the inconvenience, mentioned, of making faction. Goodrick would have the Committee to know, why not to one Man as well as to another? Shall any Man ask the King, why not to one Man as well as to another? If for any such ill intention, as is mentioned, the style would be accordingly. Is sure from his conscience there is no reason to imagine surprize by it. A Cambridge Scholar was asked, why he wore but one spur? He replied, "That if his horse went on one side, he would be hanged if the other side would be left behind." In case of surprizal, private Orders might have gone, not thus publickly sending to gentlemens houses.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Neither he nor his brother are ashamed, nor ought to be, of these letters. They came from no ill intention nor distinguishing end. There was a report that the House would not meet; several came to him to know. The King commanded him to assure all his friends and acquaintance, that they should meet, and so discountenance this report. There was no distinction in these letters amongst such as were of his conversation. Believes generally that these gentlemen might promiscuously acquaint their neighbours, that there might be a full House.
Sir Thomas Meres.] There being a report that these letters were sent, he cannot believe the King in the least concerned in this matter, nor the worthy Secretaries. He has heard of an Order of Council; but reminds you that the Council cannot meddle with meum and tuum: He heard they have done it, by reference, thereby terrifying causes fit for Westminster-hall—But much more they are not to meddle with matters of Parliament. If then they have so mistaken the Common Law of Parliaments, 'tis good law for the country. Not good to engage a fourth part, and leave the other three disengaged; and for the story, "the horse and one spur" spoken of, if the literate and illiterate had been upon one horse, they would have come together.
Col. Birch.] 'Tis absolutely necessary to sit here on an equal foot. Never knew any thing of this nature not gone to the bottom of, that had good effect. 'Till this matter appears bare and naked, there will be jealousies. Therefore moves "that the King may be moved to give leave that the Secretaries may produce these letters, to see wherein they differ," and believes this would give satisfaction.
Sir William Coventry.] Thinks there is a difference in the nature of the letters, by the authority of the King, and that of the Secretaries. There is a difference betwixt a private Man's letter to a Judge, and a Privy Seal or Great Seal sent him about a cause. Thinks these letters strange and unequal. The ancient way was to give such notifications by Proclamation. When Parliaments have been assembled, and not many Members come up, and not full, they have adjourned for some time. But if any man was declared governor of a town, or a captain, these employments were a dispensation to his attendance here. If other differences be made, 'tis a great reflection upon the House. These people principally refer to us for their Liberty and Money, and the King recommends Religion and Money to us in his speech, and he remembers not but when any Bill has been depending concerning Religion, against Popery, that he has been as forward and zealous as any man— possibly not so forward in money—He is at a stand, having had no letters as well as other men, but for the motion of "sending to the King to have leave to inspect the Secretaries books," he is against it—It may be in another thing as well as this; sees no use of that. But you may attain your end another way, by representing the inconveniences of such letters, from the inequality of it, for his Majesty's service, and to prevent it for the future.
Mr. Waller.] If to find a fault in this matter, a Committee is very good for it. But there is a fault somewhere, in not giving advice to the King about these letters. Privy Seals are forbidden to walk abroad for money, as they have done formerly—They should not meddle with the private purse, nor the public purse. Writs call us hither ad consulendum, but he perceives these letters are ad dandum.
Col Titus.] Perceives by this, and many other experiments, that many things are too fine and subtle for his gross apprehension. Just before this Session of Parliament, the King seemed to be wonderfully enamoured with a Parliament man; and would see them here with the first. There may be an inconvenience in sending these letters to country juries; they may be imposed upon and frighted; but persons here having too much integrity to be imposed upon, 'tis not to be imagined.
[Resolved, That his Majesty be humbly moved, that the Members of this House may be summoned to give their attendance on the service of the House by Proclamation only.]
Dr. Sancroft (fn. 3), Dean of St. Paul's, was appointed to preach the 5th of November. Adjourned to