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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Monday, November 8.
Lord Morpeth (fn. 1) presented a Petition from Mr Howard, desiring his release out of the Tower.
The Speaker.] In complaint of any grievance, the party signs the Petition, but there is a Member who tells you that Howard avows every word of the contents of it. Now the Question is, whether you will credit you Member?
Mr Mallet.] He never saw a paper of a worse nature, within these walls, and neither by the answer to the Committee you sent to him, nor when he was here, to give you any satisfaction!—The Names given to your Members, as "insolent," &c. go to your whole body, and religion too.
Sir John Birkenhead.] The Question is now, whether you will give answer to this Petition, being not signed by his own numerical hand. Is sorry to hear Members of the Long Parliament urge this point of "not signing Petitions," when they know that Petitions in those times were delivered in the names of many thousands, and yet not signed. This is averred to be Howard's Petition. You know how often you have done the contrary. He would receive it.
Sir Edward Baynton.] Lord Cavendish's Petition was not delivered without signing it. The sense of the House being understood, he believes a Petition will be prepared accordingly, and the House will discharge him, he believes, nemine contradicente.
Col. Birch.] Because you have made a new precedent (how you came to strike up this, he knows not,) but would have it entered into your books, that he being not able to sign his Petition, you received it without signing.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would make an Order, that both Lord Cavendish and Howard should attend the Speaker, to end the business, and if you find it too big for you, then to report it to the House, to take some Order in it— And to be entered in your Books, "That the House being informed, by Lord Morpeth, that Howard being not able to sign his Petition, that you receive it without signing."
Mr Russel.] Coming through the Hall to day, he heard of a Priest, one St Germain, who forced one Mr Luzancy (in company with an English Jesuit, who spoke broken French,) a minister of the French Church (fn. 2), with a dagger in his hand, (threatning to stab him on refusal) to sign a Paper of recantation, containing many seditious things, and that the Nation would turn to Popery, &c (fn. 3).
Sir Henry Goodrick.] Has little to add, but matter of fact, the thing has been so well related by Russel. But thinks it his duty to take care that no discouragement be put upon persons that turn from Popery to our religion. This gentleman, Monsieur Luzancy, is as learned a man, as any that has turned to our religion. The Priest, St Germain, belongs to the Dutchess of York, and so gives an account of the matter. He had the account from Dr Brevall
Sir Thomas Lee.] He knows not how the House can acquiesce in this, when you have an account that one suspected to be a Jesuit had a hand in this. Some care should be taken to apprehend this Englishman, who has walked about the streets, and has done, and may do, he believes, mischief.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The fact is treason, and though one of these assassinants be a French Jesuit, 'tis high treason, and one of the greatest violations that was ever done in a Protestant country. They came to his chamber and threatened, if he made not a recantation, they would stab him. By 3 James, " 'Tis treason to draw or persuade any man to be reconciled to the Pope." This may be an undermining us all. 'Tis not six months since a secular priest was arraigned and condemned for perverting one from our religion—Prays that care may be taken, that this St Germain be apprehended presently, and that the Attorney General may prosecute him.
Sir Charles Harbord.] This goes beyond all precedents, to persuade, not only with arguments, but poignards ! He never heard the like way before. Moves that the Chief Justice may issue out a general Warrant to take him ubicumque fuerit in Angliâ, to be indicted for the King's honour, justice, and safety.
Sir John Birkenhead.] He values the thing the more, because Luzancy, by coming over to our Church, has done great hurt to the Church of Rome. He has written against it. But this St Germain is a Frenchman, and not within the statute of 3 James—Insinuando by poignards, and daggers, as the story goes, to renounce God, and then stab him, to be revenged both of body and soul! These strangers to come in this manner to the King's subjects !—He hears Luzancy, though he be not naturalized, yet is denizened, and made the King's subject. The King has taken cognizance of it, you are told, and believes you will have an effect of it suddenly. If not, do what you please.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The fact is a violence offered to this convert, Monsieur Luzancy. On Thursday the King sent for him, to the Lords House; the King had a paper in his hand, given him by Lord Holles, relating the violence offered this Luzancy, on the fourth of October last, (and so gives an account of the paper.) The King sent to have Luzancy examined, and the parties were warned to be at the Council at five of the clock. At seven Luzancy comes, and was examined upon oath; the next day he promised to bring his witnesses. When he was examined upon oath, the Bishop of Oxford went to hear the examination. The King was presented with the examiners in the afternoon, and, if it could be, he gave Order for a special Council, but it sat not, and this day there is a Council extraordinary for the thing.
Mr Attorney Montagu.] The King, as you are informed, has taken early notice of it, and as much as can be done. But it will be very ill if we do not something in it. Moves that two of our Members may go to the Lord Chief Justice for a warrant to apprehend them forthwith.
Mr Williams.] There is more than a violent presumption, that these persons are guilty of the fact. The statute gives directions in it, and he would have the Lord Chief Justice sent to for his warrant.
Sir William Coventry.] In town and country these Priests gain converts. 'Tis still a poison, and still a danger. This Priest has done you service, though, he thinks, he did not intend it. It seems he is not only threatened to be stabbed, but put into a convent, and how he would be used there, you may imagine—Would have us to think also of the protection of converts that come over to our Church, and would have the Committee to consider a way to protect and encourage converts.
Mr Sherrard (fn. 4).] proffered a paper to be read concerning Luzancy.
Col. Birch.] Is glad the House is so sensible of these things. It may be of great service to us. There is seldom any judgment upon a nation, but the great God gives us great warnings, and hopes we shall make use of them. If they begin with this sport of stabbing, he believes we shall have the better of it. This Monsieur, (he cannot remember French names) St Germain, Apsley has proposed something in defence of. If he be at liberty to write in his own defence, he wonders how Secretary Williamson could not meet with him.
Sir Francis Drake.] It would do well that care was taken of converts—We'll step farther—Has heard that a Priest was arraigned, condemned, and not executed, for perverting—Would have an Address to the King, that, for the future, none such should be pardoned.
Serjeant Seys.] 'Tis death, in France, to come off from the Romish to the Protestant religion. Would have Apsley asked the circumstances of time and place, and of the person, and if he has the paper, to produce it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] As it is an extraordinary difficulty to convict a Priest, so 'tis dangerous to them that do it, at this rate. The Priest mentioned being set at liberty, 'tis a fair way to have nothing done in it. Moves therefore that an Address be made to the King, that no Priest convicted may have his pardon, but execution be done; and to know who got the reprieve for the last Priest— But he willingly goes off from that motion of an Address, hoping that, in the state of the nation, to morrow to be considered, it will end in such an Address.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Moves to leave out the Test "upon the whole Parliament." It will never else pass the Lords House; besides it takes away the people's rights in Elections—He said privately to me, [Mr Gray, the Compiler] "That it was only to enter his claim against all manner of Tests."
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Bill is only, that Papists should not make laws, nor have influence at Court. There is no taking away privileges of Elections in it. It imposes not at all. But the people may be mistaken in their choice. The oath of Allegiance and Supremacy is now taken, at the door, before any Member sits here, and, if refused, he cannot sit. This is only that the fountain of executive and legislative justice may be purged. Would rather go a milder way, by prevention, than punishment; and would have the Bill.
Mr Sawyer.] Believes, no Protestant Lord will be against this Bill. In King James's time the Popish Lords did forbear to sit in Parliament. The giving the oath of Allegiance is perfectly a new thing; an innovation. In Queen Mary's time there was no purgation.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have this tax upon the Jews for paying off the Anticipations on the Customs. This is the first time that ever we had a tax here for the Navy; the Customs being granted for that purpose. He knows no way, mathematically equal, for raising this money. But the most equal way (the nation having the benefit of this, he hopes, for their safety) is the most general.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Since a certain sum is for the greatest use and safety, and to comply with the King's desires, a land tax is the most certain way of raising it, and if the ships are not built, he knows where you will lay the fault.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] Has heard much talk of the poverty of the nation, but now it seems we are grown rich on a sudden. Has heard that people should sell bread to buy bacon, but if this be upon land they must sell both. Drawing people hither decays rents in the country—Would have some other way found out, as by imposition on the French trade—Would consider also how we come to want ships—Has there not been the breach of the Triple League, the alliance with France, the Dutch war? If promoters of such counsels were known, why are not their estates made liable to forfeitures to pay these taxes? Before you proceed to Land Tax, receive some other proposals. How will you answer it to the country, when there is no occasion to raise money?
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Thinks that Jennings would do very good service to the nation, if he could find out the promoters of these Counsels. He has his estate in London, and Essex, where the rates are exceeding high in taxes. But knows no other way you can raise this Money.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The taxes lie hard upon them in Surry. He could wish for a Chamber of Justice, that persons may be called to account, how, in so short a time, they have raised such great estates. So long as land is free, we shall have Land Tax asked us, whatever we give else. Therefore he is now for it.
Sir William Wentworth (fn. 5).] New buildings and a land tax the last prorogation) when all other things fail.
Mr Boscawen.] When the Ship-rates were, there was no such thing as land tax; the Council had then values delivered in by the rates of the trained bands. Cornwall was as much as the thirteen counties of Wales, by reason they were seven regiments of trained bands. Norfolk, &c. over-rated, not by reason of being the associated counties, but for the same reason. Next after the Ship-rates was 400,000l. before the war. Devonshire, in the Ship-rates, was low, and Cornwall high. Sir Walter Raleigh came down, in Queen Elizabeth's time, a Commissioner for both counties. The North was easy on the Ship-rates—And that relieved them again. There is no kind of proportion between counties, and some parts in them, some parts being extravagantly high, and some low. The subsidy man was supposed to be a man of substance. Land tax is on all men—And they pay the greatest part of chimney money, and excise, and 'tis reason; the most ordinary people being the most mutinous, should not have a burden laid on them now. 'Tis an easier matter to pick out a man of 1000l. per ann. than ten per ann.—He is much against land tax, and had rather pay 100,000l. more by way of subsidy. The French match, and the English subsidy, did conquer all France, and therefore he is for subsidy now.
Mr Waller] The ship money maintained the sea by the dry land. The Venetians beat the Grand Seignor by sea, not by land, tax. The judges, in the ship money, were not judges of the necessity of raising it, but the law by which it might be raised, though we are judges of that necessity. Tonnage and poundage was granted for defence of the sea. And it troubles him that a land tax must supply the sea. We have trade, but an ill balanced trade, and if we come to land to maintain the sea, the nation is undone. Wishes a tax that way that is most natural, for this purpose, viz. upon merchandize, to discourage the extravagant consumption of foreign commodities; but rather than not have these ships built, is for land tax.
Col. Birch.] If he thought this would lead to any more objections, of more or less money raised—He never saw the closeness in a petty business ever did good. If once you come to defend the sea, by your land, your land will be worth nothing. We have some bills that he hopes are worth twice the money, and if he thought those bills would not pass, would give his negative to this. Put it for eighteen months tax, and he hopes there will be no negative.
Resolved, That the said supply be raised by 18 months assessment, according to the proportion of 17,204l. 17s. 3d. per month, to be paid by quarterly payments—Which comes to as much more of the 300,000l. as will defray the charge of collecting it.
Mr Sacheverell.] "That 'tis the sense of the Committee, no more be raised." Is one of those that loves to be quiet, therefore would have no other charge laid on the subject this Session of Parliament.
Sir Tho. Meres.] Certainly 'tis only proper to raise money at a Grand Committee, but we need but speak once to deny it, and therefore that may be done in the House—There is no hurt done to the people in not giving. Therefore, though the Speaker says otherwise, 'tis Order. At this time of the night, 'tis hard to sit, but yet 'tis brave.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The reason is granted, therefore he speaks only to Order. This is a matter relative to the other two Questions, and will induce consent to the other part of the Question. This is an addition no way different from the former Question; 'tis relative to, and agreeing with it—But not to be without the Question, either put the main Question, or previous Question, which you please.
Col. Birch.] To the Orders of the House. It has been a received opinion since he knew the House, whenever gentlemen desire words to be part of the Question, 'tis never denied that those words should be put to the Question, whether they shall be part or not. When you are told, without the addition, we can agree, or not agree; then the words are added to the Question.
Sir John Duncombe.] 'Tis said these words of "not exceeding," are relative to the rest of the Vote. They are as giving money, and giving no money. Therefore we ought not to add the words. 'Tis such a jealousy, and distrusting the King, as if we were jealous of ourselves. Can you bind yourselves by a Vote? No Vote can bind you to the losing your liberty. 'Tis against our very call hither. If more money be given, it must have all its circulations at a Committee. 'Tis not possible to carry money from this House. He knows not what use other men may make of it, in future Parliaments, though he believes gentlemen mean here honestly.
Sir Henry Ford.] You may limit yourselves, but 'tis not prudence to do it. You have voted twenty ships, and your neighbours exceed you forty. You must be affronted if you keep to your Vote. Many, he fears have watched for this occasion. You know not emergencies.
It passed, 145 to 103 (fn. 6).
Tuesday, November 9.
Sir Richard Temple.] Has considered the most effectual way to prevent exportation of Wool, and thinks that the best way to prevent it, is to let your yarn be exported. When you withheld your white cloths from Holland, you set up that manufacture there. The Dyers could not live, and so they sat up that manufacture. Could they have your yarns they would not be so greedy of your wool; and so destroy that manufacture abroad. He offers it to be recommended to the Committe, to let yarn go out as the first manufacture. But what's above all, we encourage not the manufacture of cloth by our wear. We usually had suits and cloaths of the same cloth, which was a great consumption of the wool, and now we wear stuff and silks. If you therefore destroy not the wear of French manufacture, you spoil all trade at home.
Col. Birch.] There are no hopes that our yarn shall ever be received abroad, when they can spin it at the same rate we do; but the cry of the cheapness of wool comes from this cause. We have more than England can spend, as we have more corn than we can eat. Since the Bill for forbidding Irish Cattle, this evil is come upon you. They have above a third part more wool, by that Act, in Ireland, than they had before, having turned their ground from breeding Cattle to breeding Sheep. But this is not all the evil. He appeals to any man, if he knew not the Exchange of money into Ireland to be above five, six, or seven per cent, and now it comes even into the exchange. In a few years, at this rate, England will be made Ireland, and Ireland England. The fall of the Exchange comes thus. We sent 400,000l. per ann. the Exchange at seven per cent. and instead of this we send not now 60,000l. per ann. Will you have wool rise, when you stop the passage of it where it should go? There are gone out of the West of England one hundred woollen manufacturers into Ireland. Then either let wool go out of England, or use it. Export it wrought, or unwrought, free, with a certificate, at the Custom house, of six pence, to see only how we balance trade with the world. Next, he would have that Bill of prohibiting Irish Cattle repealed—Scotland has done the same thing—There was a Commission to settle trade between them and us, but it is broke up—Would refer it to a Committee to consider of a free trade, and, particularly, he offers to your consideration the repeal of the Irish Bill, which will do your work.
Mr Swynsin.] Wool is a drug, because we have more product than England can spend; that seems to be the cause. But if we consider, whether more sheep are not bred than ordinary, consider, in fact, the late great rot of sheep, which consumed six of ten parts of the wool, which was little useful for cloth. But how can this be the cause of this falling of wool upon the rot? It cannot be then from the multitude of the sheep. But would have it shown how Ireland is the cause, as is said, by breeding so many more sheep, because their cattle are forbidden here. Land here, by that consequence, will be turned into breeding cattle, as Ireland is said to be for sheep. In Ireland there was a great rot of sheep likewise; there was one with him, who, within six months, had been in Ireland, and assured him sheep sold dearer there than in England. Those lands, on which they breed cattle in Ireland, are not sit for breeding sheep, as you have been told. It will rot them if they breed them off ground of two shillings an acre, and cheaper; and they will breed better than we can do on ten shillings an acre, besides the largeness of the acre; and that they can do it with fewer people than we can; and our land, by repealing the Irish Act, may be reduced to the rate of Ireland. Would not therefore assign a cause for the fall of wool, where there is none. Upon the Irish Act, our lands did manifestly rise, and the repeal of it would fall all the land of England, at that rate, in time.
Mr Swynsin.] Birch has strengthened his argument for the Irish Act's not being repealed—Will make it appear, that this Kingdom has lost a million before that Act, and Ireland hath made a Scotch and French Trade.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Since you have made Bills for prohibiting wool, and Irish cattle, the price of wool has fallen. For experiments, if one way will not do, we must try another. He is for limited exportation of wool—But you cannot hinder wool going out of England—Therefore would refer it to a Committee.
Mr Boscawen.] If you export wool, you will have most of the Clothiers about your ears—Would not encourage that experiment. You should take a course for exporting the manufacture. The Companies of Trade should take care to export more. The Irish Act is a very remote cause in this. 'Tis a vain thing to believe that all Ireland will breed sheep in their bogs. If their cattle should come in, there would be as great a cry against cattle as now against wool. All your cattle must fall. For one shilling, an acre may be had as soon as for twelve here—Vessels for transporting cattle here will be, in effect, a bringing Ireland hither. The merchants find the woollen trade dead, and therefore must we repeal the Irish Act? Whereas all trade is dead also.
Mr Love.] Suppose the Irish Act were repealed, what would you do with more than you could spend? As for that of yarn, it would be the last experiment you are like ever to make—Cockets would be produced, and customers hands and seals counterfeited. Other men can sell cheaper than we can do abroad, the duties are so great on dying commodities, and allum twice as much as formerly. If ever you will reduce the woollen manufacture, some extraordinary course must be taken.
Sir Charles Harbord.] This was projected first by Sir William Cockayne, who erected a new Corporation, which continued four or five years, and the proprietors got masses. But when the people saw that their bread was taken out of their mouths; when comes the severity, that men of great learning, if not entirely conformable, must not be preferred; they went abroad, and many clothiers with their looms went with them—Eight gilders in Holland is thirty shillings here—In Leyden were made 28000 cloths, and 8000 pieces of blanket. This was a monstrous thing—Your cloth, not taken off well, must lie upon your hands. This has undone the wool-grower; he has four or five years wool upon his hands. If you take no remedy in this, all the wealth of England will swim into France, and other parts.
Mr Papillon.] If we drive all the wool into France, they will out-do us, and Holland. Some say, 'tis the East-India company—But they send 40,000l. worth away yearly. To France, whither we used to carry 40 or 50,000l. worth yearly, we carry now not forty.
Sir William Coventry.] France is thinking of getting a trade we have not—Would be loth yet to come to the experiment of transporting wool. One pound of wool, manufactured here, is better for the nation than seventy that are not. Those advise you best, that tend to exportation of your manufacture, or spending it at home. In King James's and King Charles's time, we had almost the sole manufacture of wool—They find that gentlemen affect not the coarse, and the Dutch made fine thin cloths of Spanish wool, and out-vend us—Upon the comparison of cattle and wool, Irish cattle must be brought alive, and must eat, and cost dearer abroad than at home; together with the hazard, on ship-board, of bringing the same, and dying, and spoiled, together with the charge, &c. Great value may be brought over in wool, and little in cattle in a vessel—It is very good to use more woollen manufacture at home; but that is not all; we shall be poor if we export not our manufacture. If wool should be exported, the product of so many hands would be gone also—As to the argument, that the product of England is much increased, though the rise of land is not, by clover-grass, liming and watering; yet we have fewer people than ever we had, and more product, by the plantations, Ireland, (and speaks not of the plague and war) which continually drain from us. He likes the expedients of free exportation of the manufacture— But if land be not otherwise employed, we shall ever be decreasing. The most obvious way (to him) to remedy this, is the planting hemp and flax, the best, if not the only, remedy to help us; and, in spite of all remedies, when the merchant cannot vend, and the clothier cannot make cloth, the people will mutiny. Hunger will break stone walls. Hands may be numerously employed in the manufacturing of hemp; but, as it now is, we have money sent abroad for linnen—When a plenty of corn comes, we have as much cry for the cheapness of corn, as we have now of wool.
Mr Sacheverell.] He wonders to hear gentlemen offer at this of bringing in Irish cattle. None can deny but that their coming in must lessen the price of our breeding cattle. In the county of Derby, it has brought our cattle almost to nothing, and will do so again; and many breeding counties will be destroyed by it, for the sake of two or three. He can never agree to it