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, May 3.
Sir John Holland delivers Mr Taylor's petition, against Mr Coke; who was returned for Lynn in Norfolk, for the irregularity of the Election, and undueness of the return. [It was referred to the Committee of Privileges.]
[Consideration of the Articles against the Lord Treasurer resumed.]
On the third Article, "Moneys issued out for secret service, &c."
Lord Cavendish.] He rises very unwillingly to speak in this business, having no prejudice to the Lord Treasurer, but only to serve the Public. This Article amounts to 2,000,000l. You have been told "that 1,460,000l. has been spent on the navy; besides a great deal on secret service, without account for it." Moves to have the examination of it referred to a Committee, and there he shall give a more particular account of the sums.
Sir John Hanmer.] 'Tis irregular to refer this to a Committee, you having taken the matter already into the House.
Lord Cavendish.] Means not that it should be referred to a particular Committee, but to the Grand Committee of the State of the Revenue.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If you will fortify and strengthen the gentlemen that will serve you, they are ready to do it—That is all, as he understands, that is desired.
The Speaker.] You having no proof of this Article ready, you must go to another, if you are not ready for this.
Mr Stockdale.] Could have wished, that others, who had formerly managed the revenues, had been questioned; it might have been some caution to this Lord Treasurer. It has been his duty to have advised the King, that his navy should have been in repair, before he suffered any anticipations upon the customs—But would not have any thing charged that may not immediately fall upon him; and, for the future, would have that part of the customs assigned for the navy, to be irrevocably for that use, and no other.
Sir Edmund Wyndham, Knight Marshal.] If as much money has been repaid for the use of the fleet, as has been taken from it, then there is no prejudice done to the navy. This money was, it seems, taken upon some extraordinary occasion.
Col. Strangways.] It is a necessary consideration, when we come to the business of the navy, to take care that there may not be greater expences than the money assigned for that purpose will bear; but to make an accusation against a person, and then to seek for matter—Likes not that such proceedings should be, as in Lord Strafford's case, to collect matter, out of peoples discourses and privacies, of his discourse to the King.—Would have proof produced to this Article, or lay it aside.
Sir Charles Harbord.] Would you have Articles of crimes, and then set a Committee to examine proofs? The question before you is "whether this Article is ground of impeachment for the time passed." If you postpone it, it's all you can do, but not refer it to a Committee.
Sir John Coventry.] Differs from Harbord. He has here in his hand, if you will give authority for search in the Exchequer, an account of such sums of money, received by the Treasurer, and undisposed of, that the like was never heard of. Will you give power to witnesses, and he will undertake the proof.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] It is not for yours and the nation's benefit that maleversions should be examined of great officers? The not accounting for these sums is contrary to the Treasurer's oath. Is it not upon your books that gentlemen were ordered to inspect the Secretary's books? Why should you not give liberty to search the Exchequer? The averment of a Member, in matter of proof, is always of great authority. Read the case of Lord Neville, who was accused of Misdemeanor, and a witness at the Lords Bar prevaricated; the Commons committed him, for telling his evidence to two Members, and denying it again at the Lords Bar. You may remember, in the impeachment of Lord Clarendon, you agreed "that a Member's averment of an Article against one impeached, ought to be received." We are the Grand Jury of the Nation, as the Freeholders are of a County; if any one of them avers the indictment, they find the Bill. 'Tis reasonable that, as these gentlemen desire to inspect the records, you enable them to do it, as you have done in other cases.
The Speaker.] If Members cite such a record, or book, you send for the record, or book. Therefore if they will cite what particular book, or record, they would have, you may send for it.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Explains himself. The sending Members to search the Signet Office, or the Secretary's books, is rather for the decency's sake, that you would not send for them hither.
Sir Rd Temple.] Averment of a Member is always to be understood "of his own knowledge". A general averment is never taken for proof—Let the gentlemen bring the particulars wherein the Treasury has been wastefully spent, and, unless they do so, there is no ground for this motion.
Mr Powle.] Hears an accusation of great misemployment of the revenue, and he fears he shall feel it. You are told of "two millions spent, besides the standing revenue," which is 1,500,000l. per ann. How shall this charge be made good, but by the Exchequer's half yearly accounts? They are testimonium rei. It must be spent somewhere— The great revenue of the customs [has been] wholly mispent, and other moneys spent, God knows how; and still the King's debts [are] not paid. These Exchequer books, desired to be inspected, are in officers hands, and not to be reached without the authority of this House—And 'tis a reasonable motion, to have your help to inspect them.
Mr Vaughan.] It was a bold averment to undertake this matter of the charge without seeing first the Exchequer books. If the gentlemen have seen them, let them tell you what books they have seen. If you will inspect all the books relating to the revenue, you must stay till the next session in doing it, it may be.
Sir John Mallet.] You are not now upon tryal of the Treasurer; if so, records are to be sent for, which prove things themselves better than witnesses can do. Wasting all the revenue (as he is charged) is proper for consideration, when you come to inspect all the revenue; and to make this charge out, the whole state of the revenue must be inspected.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] If these gentlemen that accuse the Treasurer of this Article would go singly to the Lords Bar, to do it on their own account, they may if they please. These gentlemen have either seen the books of the Exchequer, or not. If they desire you to give leave, that they may see the books of disbursements of the revenue, &c. But those of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's office are to be seen—Commissions for Papist officers you found none, upon former search, and they were undertaken to be made out. If gentlemen would thus specify things, it would be an inducement to you to charge. If they have inspected, let them tell you the particulars.
Lord Cavendish.] If you please, send for the half year's books mentioned, or refer the inspection of it to a Committee.
Sir John Knight.] This inspection must ravel into the receipts and payments of all the revenue, and then how long time will that take up!—Sees not how in two or three months the thing can be done—Would not entertain the motion.
Sir Robert Howard.] If all the books of the Exchequer should be brought you, you may then be said truly to stop the Exchequer. In 3 Charles there was an accusation of this nature from the House, and then there was no commission to Members to inspect all the books, but only such and such—If gentlemen will specify what great, or little, sums have been misemployed, let them tell you.
Sir George Downing.] He will never disguise any thing here, but inform you the truth. To look over the Exchequer books to find fault, is to make the House hunt the matter of accusation. In Lord Clarendon's articles, the several Members undertook to make them good. What will signify the viewing the half year's account? It is ravelling into the whole year's revenue, an endless work! When you have that, [you are] still in the dark, all moneys not coming into the Exchequer; and so you have no end in doing it. 'Tis said "that two millions have been spent over and above the revenue received"—There is a great difference between so much received by this Lord Treasurer, and in his time, and by his predecessor. Above half, or two thirds of it, was disposed of by Lord Clifford. Let the Gentlemen explain themselves, whether they say this Lord Treasurer has disposed of it. If the payment of it was ordered before his time, and he pay it, 'tis no crime in him, and no ground for impeachment.
Sir Charles Harbord.] There are two averments of a Member. Either he avers the thing of his own knowledge, and will take it upon himself to prove it, or he will produce witnesses that will prove it—Beyond these two he cannot go. The thing in question before you is, "Whether you will refer the examination of these books. to a Committee." When the thing is in the House, and they possessed of it, it was never heard of to be referred to a Committee. But to inspect the books cannot be denied leave, but they ought to have done it before now. Let the Gentlemen deliver a note what thing they would see in the books; but would have you go no farther.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Never was any thing yet referred to a Committee, but you were first possessed of it in the House, and when you find yourselves involved in an intricacy, then you refer it to a Committee. You have as much averment of the proofs of this Article, as in any thing of Lord Clarendon's impeachment.
The Speaker.] The House never refers any thing to a Committee when possessed of the whole matter, by order.
Mr Attorney Montagu.] If the gentlemen insist upon the book of the receipt of the whole revenue, it will take up at least three months time to inspect it; but, if you come to inspect the whole revenue, it will then be a seasonable motion.
The Speaker.] If the Gentlemen will assert any particular book that tells you where the thing is wastefully spent, you may send for it.
Lord Cavendish.] There has been 2,600,000l. spent, and little of it gone to the use of the navy; by consequence therefore it was wastefully spent.
Sir Richard Temple.] There has been 600,000l. spent for disbanding the fleet, besides 160,000l. for the ordnance —We may believe that money well spent. But till averment is made that this hath not been done, must be of opinion that this Article is no charge.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] You have been told of an order to inspect the Signet books, for Lord Arlington's commissions to Papist officers, and a foreign General. You are moved for a Committee to inspect what money has been received for secret service, and spent without account. Whether you will do it now or not, decide it by a question. The inspection desired will not require above two or three days. 'Tis not intended to inspect all the books.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] This inspection of the books is not a work so short as is proposed. You must not only look upon the foot of the account, but upon the several particulars of the sums. To ask for matter to make proof, is not for the honour of the House, and, if there be no more than he sees yet, you may throw out this article.
Sir Henry Ford.] Nothing can qualify Lord Cavendish for such an undertaking of these proofs, but the sight of these books. Would have him asked, "Whether he has inspected these books?" If he avers it, then the House must inspect them also. If such sums have been spent for secret service, how does that Lord know they have been mispent?
Sir Thomas Meres.] If the book must be sent for, would then see the book before he says any thing to the Article.
Mr Sacheverell.] Would have the question put, Whether you shall send for the books, or no?
Sir George Downing.] Speaks to the question of "inspecting the books." If you send for the books, this must precede; the Gentlemen must tell you what sums of money have been mispent. It is said, "two millions above the revenue." If this be stood to, send for the books. He doubts here is a great mistake in this. This Lord has been Treasurer two years. Of the eighteen months tax, about half of it was disposed of by Lord Clifford. If these books must be sent for, would know to what points. As to the "wasteful expence," would have Gentlemen give you particulars of it. You may sit here upon enquiry else these twelve months. The articles do not charge the "wastefully expending the ordinary revenue," but "those moneys over and above the ordinary revenue." He has enquired into it, but believes your Chair can give an account of these extraordinary expences.
Mr Papillon.] Moved to send for the books; if you deny them, it will seem as if the blame [lay] on the Treasurer. Give them leave to inspect these books (the half year's books) or 48 hours time to make out the Article.
[Resolved, That there is no ground of impeachment in this Article.]
On the fourth Article, "Stopping the Exchequer."
Sir Charles Harbord.] All these stops in the Exchequer were made before this Lord Treasurer's time; and no man is obliged to an impossibility.
Mr Vaughan.] When Parliaments have done things, they are legitimated. You run yourselves upon the greatest and most dangerous dilemma in the world, in not examining this article—Consider well what you do. The Treasurer found the Exchequer out of order, for the old debt—He is an unfortunate man, at such a time to enter upon the employment—But, if you examine not this Article, you countenance the stopping the Exchequer.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Whilst we go about to acquit the Treasurer of this Article, would not have you give any countenance to the shutting of the Exchequer. At Christmas last this stopping of the Exchequer was made by Proclamation for a time—And then a second proclamation was made, by order of the Council, and then a third, sine die, parallel to the second. They only differ that the second stop was done upon the Treasurer's own head, though, possibly, he might have some pocket-order for it. The difficulty is very great; but offers some salvo; that we do not wound the pretence of the creditors to this money; though they cannot have their money, yet their right is undeniable—Pretended that this stopping the Exchequer was a more eligible way; but what authority was there for it? The stopping the Exchequer might be the reason of our prorogation—But would now have some vote, that we may not wound the property of the subject, by acquitting the Treasurer of this Article.
Mr Powle.] If there be no fault in the Lord Treasurer's stopping the Exchequer, the persons concerned are left without redress. The person first concerned in stopping the Exchequer, is gone to give an account of it in another place (Clifford.) In the beginning of it there was an Order of Council, and a Great Seal for it, and a war. But now comes a Treasurer upon his own authority, without the advice of the Council, and does it. The King renews his promise for payment of the creditors, on the first of May—And as to the stop, no collateral warrant for it. If the Treasurer had made a right representation of the thing to the King, the prorogation of the Parliament, probably, had not followed thereupon. This and the other were the ill consequences.
Sir Richard Temple.] This Lord Treasurer has paid the interest to the creditors, and, as much as in him lies, has endeavoured to rectify the errors of his predecessor. In this question of clearing the Treasurer of this Article, you do not, in the least measure, share the interest of the bankers.
Sir Charles Harbord.] The Lord Treasurer that is dead complained of the shutting up the Exchequer as a hard and unjust thing—Says he, "I'll keep them in hopes;" which occasioned the second Great Seal and Proclamation—But he forewarned him not to delude the people, as dangerous—He believes that this Lord intends to pay the King's debts, as he believes he intends to pay his own.
Col. Birch.] Fears that your silence has occasioned this business of the shutting the Exchequer. The Treasurer's fault is not "shutting the Exchequer," but "not opening it," and we sitting silent and taking no notice of it—And now to the impeachment of the Treasurer upon this Article—Would have the question "No matter of impeaching him, but that the shutting up the Exchequer is a grievance."
Sir Lancelot Lake.] This morning, in one of the Articles, the Exchequer was sick of a flux; and now, at this time of the day, it has an obstruction—Here we have need of the physic-book, given us at the door to day.
[Resolved, That there is no ground of Impeachment in this Article.]
On the fifth Article, "Assuming to his management the Irish Affairs."
Mr Wm Harbord (fn. 1).] Is much surprized at this Article, and much more that Sir John Coventry should name him to prove it, for he knows nothing of it.
Mr Sec. Coventry.] He has written and countersigned letters for the Irish affairs, ever since Lord Arlington was made Lord Chamberlain, as that Lord used to do.
Sir Edward Dering.] The supreme management of the Treasury of Ireland is under the Lord Treasurer's management, as well as appeals are from thence to the King's Bench, in England.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Desires that the Speaker would ask the Secretary one question, "Whether he countersigned as in Lord Arlington's time, but whether, in other respects, there was any great variation."
Mr Sec. Williamson.] No more than the ebbing and flowing of one office upon another, under one master. From King James's to King Charles's time, the Secretaries did more or less in the Irish affairs, as they had direction. The revenue of Ireland is the King's domestic af fair, and has its superior direction from the Lord Treasurer of England; this, and all other things, go promiscuously as in the hands of his predecessors.
Sir Tho. Littleton.] Would know, Whether [there is] not a more private and secret management of these affairs than before his time, by pretermission of the Signet Office?
[Resolved, That there is no ground of impeachment in this Article.]
[On the sixth Article. ["Procuring great gifts and grants from the Crown."]
Lord Obrien.] As he is obliged to assist his fellow subject, so he is obliged to detect the management of affairs which come to his knowledge. A year since this Lord Treasurer had 1200l. per ann. granted him to his particular use, part of the King's ancient revenue; and 12000l. from the King, placed upon the duty of Excise. The Lords of the Council of the House can give account of this, if they please; if not the Council books will make it appear, and offers it as a proof of this article.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] The Lord Treasurer paid Lindsey, the Goldsmith, 10,000l. for the payment of these see farm rents, and afterwards, a proposition being made to the Treasurer, about the marriage of Lord Latimer to the Lady he has now married, this money was laid out within 200l. of 10,000l. for these see farm rents, for a settlement upon that marriage—But it may be objected, that there is an interest of the Queen's in them, for her life, in case she outlive the King.
Mr William Harbord.] He is a Commissioner for the fee farm rents—Lindsey, the Goldsmith, had a great debt owing him from the King, and so had the city. Sir John Duncombe, and the Lord Treasurer, agreed with Lindsey, that if he would pay the city debt, he should have out of the Exchequer to pay his own debt and that too—Some fee farm rents were contiguous to the Lord Treasurer's estate, who treated for them, and gave eight years value, and afterwards paid for them, that he might have the present possession of them; upon which the Queen's jointure was released, and placed elsewhere.
Lord Obrien.] The Treasurer has not only 1200l. per Ann. of the Queen's, but here is 2000l. out of the Excise, for the Queen's life.
Mr Wm Harbord.] Appeals to any man, conversant in the Treasury, whether ever the King gave less to any Treasurer than this Lord Treasurer?
Lord Obrien.] He finds now that 12,000l. is a light matter to be given away. Your predecessors have taken notice of less matters than these. Lord Latimer's case, in 50 Edw. III. Judgment was given against him for divers grants, to the King's loss—He was judged to fine, ransom, and imprisonment, during the King's pleasure. 12 R. II. Michael de la Pole for moneys (of the King's) embezzled, against his oath, was judged to have all his lands seized into the King's hands, and he had nothing left him but 20l. per ann. and his Earldom.
Mr Powle.] The gains are great as Lord Treasurer, and yet he must take the King's revenue to himself— Said "A gift and not a purchase"—1200l. a year at least, bought under 10,000l.—The King must be deceived in his grant, and Lord Obrien has reason to accuse him of corruption—1200l. per ann. is one of the articles of the late Duke of Buckingham's charge, that he had obtained by a grant from the Crown, who brought up first the most expensive way of living.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Is sometimes at the Lord Treasurer's, and sees his chargeable way of living, and 'tis for the King's honour. We sometimes admire the great way of living of foreign great officers of state, and four or five thousand pound, in a bargain, is no great gift to him. Do you consider nothing but the bare gift? His father (fn. 2) was sequestered, and sold one thousand pound per ann. upon account of his loyalty; and this Lord Treasurer is 10,000l. the worse, and is this gift so great a matter? Is there no consideration of his Lady, whose Grandfather (fn. 3) lost his life for the late King's interest, and the late Lord Lindsey his son, who bestrid his father when he was hurt, and fought with a pike in his hand to get him quarter? And when an army has been paid off, and a navy that rebelled, and neither his father nor he have had one shilling recompence—reckon this sum which the Lord Treasurer has received with all this, and put the question, "Whether he is impeachable by this article."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] This change of the Queen's revenue was done against the consent of the Queen's Counsel, and she has these lands taken from her, and turned to a bare pension out of the Excise.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] 'Tis said—"This was given the Treasurer as a reward for his sufferings"—He will willingly give his consent to it, if he may have his 600l. per ann. that he has sold upon the account of his sequestration; and he stood sequestered at the King's coming in.
[Resolved, That there is no ground of impeachment in this Article.]
On the seventh Article, of "A new Proclamation better than an old Law;" and "Banishing the foreigner."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The gentleman (Salter) that will not appear, is to give evidence to this Article. One Otto, a Hamburgher, who, by the King's Proclamation, was not to trade to Hamburgh, unless of the Hamburgh Company, being a Hamburgher, thought he might do it; whereupon there was a warrant from the Admiralty to seize all his goods. The Treasurer, hearing the cause, made this reply, "That a new Proclamation was as good as an old Law." The foreigner subscribed that he heard him say the words.
Mr Powle.] In the Serjeant's room without the Lobby, they set their hands that they heard the Lord Treasurer say these words—And when Otto was banished, as soon as the sentence was passed upon him at the Council, the Treasurer said to Otto, over the table, "I told you what would come of it."
Sir Lionel Jenkins.] The warrant was out of the Admiralty—This Otto was a foreigner, and had shipped some goods from Hamburgh. The warrant was to arrest the goods, and they were arrested. His Counsel were heard, both of the Civil and Canon Law. By the Patent of the Hamburgh Company, it appears plainly, that he, being not of the Company, could not trade to Hamburgh, and his goods were thereupon decreed to be contraband goods. He remembers no statute urged by the Counsel against the Proclamation. The issue of the matter was that the goods were landed; and Otto arrested this officer in an action of five thousand pound; the Proclamation commanding the Admiralty to be assistant in such cases; but he remembers nothing of law urged by the Counsel against the Proclamation.
Mr Sawyer.] Remembers not one statute quoted at this cause; Mr Offley, Otto's Counsel, only said, "We suppose we have brought an action in a legal way for the goods, and hopes your Lordship will not stop it." "I find it matter of state," said the Treasurer, "and shall report it to the Council." Offley did insist that they could not stop matters of law; but the Lords gave a rule that he must depart the Kingdom in so many days, it being insisted upon as a breach of the league with Hamburgh, and there was no way but to remand the foreigner to be proceeded against in his own country.
Sir Edward Dering.] Circumstances may make us believe, or not believe, a thing. In the Treasury-Chamber, the Bermudas Company sued as the Hamburgh did now, for duty for goods brought that way. The Lord Treasurer's favour was implored for the King's prerogative. The Treasurer answered, "He would rather hazard the loss of one of the King's islands, than break one of his laws."
Sir Thomas Meres.] When the evidence that should prove an article, fly out of the way, you lose your inducement to find it.
[Resolved, That there is no ground of impeachment in this Article. (fn. 4) ]
Sir Joseph Tredenham made mention of Lord Shaftesbury's letter to Lord Carlisle about the dissolving this Parliament, but there were no farther proceedings in it.
Tuesday, May 4.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Finds it reported that one Salter was promised four thousand pound by him to set his hand to the information offered you, "That the Lord Treasurer should say "That a new Proclamation was better than an old Law"—Desires that such reports may not be spread of him, but that what persons have to say they would do it avowedly.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] Desires that Salter may be called to the Bar, and that your Member may have justice done him in this matter.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If nobody says that Salter did say words, you give yourselves an idle trouble in the matter.
The Speaker.] If Littleton will declare who heard Salter say the words, then you may send for him.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The Member at the Bar (Tredenham) speaks suspiciously, as if he heard of it seemingly from good hands.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] The thing has been talked of about the House, and what he offered was in vindication of your Member.
Salter not being to be found, and another Salter at the door, not the same person, he was not called in.
Debate on the navy business.
Mr Garroway.] Shall always be as ready and well satisfied to do any thing for the honour and safety of the nation as any man. There is a revenue already settled to keep up the Navy. If there be a war in prospect, let us know it. These are things to be considered before we go into the consideration of the Navy—Would know plainly how we stand with France, whether we are like to have an answer from the King about the withdrawing the English, &c. from thence. If we are safe and free, he will offer his thoughts one way; if not, another way —Would debate that first, before we can be ripe for a Debate of this matter.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] It appears dreadful to him that the French have more ships than we—Therefore moves that we may build some ships to be in a capacity to defend ourselves—He means not against Holland and France both together—But would have so much of the Customs set apart for so many years, (if the King shall live so long) for building so many ships as shall be a defence to us.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] It is not our part to look into treaties of war and peace—But we cannot be ripe for this motion till we have inspected the revenue, that in the interim we be not swallowed up in an abyss. He has seen, in the year 1638, an establishment of the revenue, where, by great circumspection, it has been calculated at 640,000l. per ann. which it exceeded not. 'Tis now 1,400,000l. per ann. some say—But the least 1,300,000l. If so, there may be very well some of it set apart for Crown-debts—At least some for the fleet—And moves for a Committee to consider of the state of the revenue.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] This motion interferes not with that above—Be the state of the revenue well or ill, let it be done, and seconds the motion of appropriating the Customs to the use of the Navy—He means not that part of the Customs arising by the new imposition upon wines. The other part of them is 450,000l. per ann. That of wines, for these remaining three years, that the imposition lasts, will make 750,000l. This, in all probability, will repair the ships, and fill the stores, it being known to be first given for this purpose—And would have a Committee for a Bill for the appropriation of the Customs to the use of the Navy.
Mr Sec. Coventry.] 'Tis not usual for this House to inspect the King's Treasury. This motion of appropriating the Customs for such a time to the use of the Navy, is, as if, before you can spare it, you will spare it. If this revenue be so engaged, and that of the Customs assigned, your appropriating them to the use of the Navy stops all other payments. The payments are rather taken off from the Excise, and placed on the Customs. Before you come to that vote, pray consider it; and see what debts are upon the Customs before you appropriate them.
Mr Pepys.] Is not very conversant in matters of the revenue, but should be ashamed not to know what revenue relates to the Navy. It is valued at 450,400l. per ann. He shall show, when you require it, That the King has actually laid out 400,000l. per ann. upon the Navy—This very year, in three or four articles, the King must spend 450,000l.
Sir William Hickman.] Would know whether this was for the ordinary charge of the Navy, or in time of war— Therefore he closes with those who move for the assignment of proportions, for the future, out of the Customs for the Navy, and would farther know how the Customs have been already assigned.
Mr Pepys.] Assures that, one year with another, in the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury's time, 400,000l. per ann. has been assigned.
Mr Sacheverell.] Would know whether this was the annual charge over and above the repairs of the Navy, after the war, for money was given particularly for that purpose.
Mr Garroway.] Will say nothing of what is past. The office of the Ordnance is not reckoned into this— Before you can make any judgment in this matter, you must say, so many ships will stand you in so much in time of peace, and how many ships; and reckoning 4l. a head per month will maintain 6000 men for six months, would have it thought of before any judgment be given.
Mr Pepys.] 'Tis impossible to answer that, but 400,000l. per ann. he affirms has been spent upon the Navy—Does not believe any man thinks that he can carry the account of the Navy in his head. This he only says, the sum has been actually delivered to the Treasurer of the Navy for the account of the Navy. The standing permanent charge on the Navy, if no ship at sea, the constant charge, summer and winter guard, is 100,000l. per ann—But has the King done nothing else? He has built eighty-seven new ships, great and small, and, because he will lay no great weight upon the little word "small," the King has built more ships than all his ancestors before him.
Col. Birch.] Because he understands not this matter so well as he would, desires better information—Would know only when money is well and when ill spent— Could have wished the King would have taken so much pains as to have inspected the money as well as the ships—But would know how you have been dealt with. He has taken it for granted that 4l. per head is to be allowed the Navy, and out of this he shuts not the Ordnance nor any thing else—So many ships shall be victualled and delivered; shoot what you will in powder, except healths, (a thing not so much in use formerly as now.) And the ships delivered back again, the yards paid, and all charges from the Admiral to the swabber, for three pounds ten shillings a head per month: If the King must know his condition, he must begin from the time he came in. Ships might have been built of gold at these rates the Navy has cost—He admires to hear "that 400,000l. per ann. has been spent upon the Navy." Suppose 30,000 men in the fleet, every man may make up the account, at three pound ten shillings per head, as well as Pepys—Formerly, if the charge came to above three pound nineteen shillings and sixpence, the Officers were soundly chidden for their pains—Every officer, wear and tear, and the yards discharged for this sum, or else the King is ill used. When the sum of the charge is spoken of, then let us know how many thousand men, winter and summer guard, and how many ships, and every man with his pen may make up the account.
Mr Pepys.] The King has now a better fleet than ever Birch knew in England. He speaks of three pound fifteen shillings, as a medium. Let him show but one ship in the late times, or the late King's time, that cost no more, and he submits. If all, in the late times, was done at 3l. 15s. a head, how came there a debt upon the navy of 700,000l. when the King came in? How came the King to be forced to rebuild so many ships—? Suffer not yourselves to be led by any man's general assertions more than his; he hopes you will not. He does value himself upon industriously serving his master, and balks ho way of tryal, but will abide any examination of yours.
Col. Birch.] Here is something, it seems, offered by way of question. Every gentleman knows that, when the birth draws near, throws grow thick. When the King was coming in the government, things rotted and were in disorder in the Navy. Pepys seems to say, it cost the King no more than 4l. per head. He will not differ with him for 10s. or 5s. and by his account would see how 400,000l. has been annually spent.
Mr Pepys.] You are told that these debts were contracted by the unquietness of the government, soon before the King came in, from the quick-sightedness of the persons that managed affairs. It seems they were so four or five years before the King came in, and from that time can show the debt was contracted.
Sir Thomas Meres.] He sat in Richard's Parliament— 'Tis true that, in the varieties of the Government, there was a total neglect of affairs; and that it was not worse when the King came in, was a wonder. Whether the money yearly spent, be 2, 3, or 400,000l. it does but forward the question to appropriate the Customs to the use of the Navy, by Bill. Then 'tis a security to us that there is a fund for the Navy for three years. Then let the gentlemen that manage the Navy, apply this money as cheap as they can—Sees no man deny but that the Navy needs it—Let us have that foundation; therefore pray put the question.
Mr Sacbeverell] Would first see how the Customs will do without the people's help, and then would make an estimate, as is proposed.
Sir Robert Howard.] If now you intend to do what you say, 'tis impossible the King should live. The Speaker knows that 6000l. a week is now paid to the Navy— 'Tis told you by all, that the King has done what he can for this purpose out of the Customs. Examine what you will first, and then you may draw a conclusion from every one of the premisses. He rises not up to tell you otherwise than how things are—Examine necessaries, and you will not find such an exorbitant balance as you imagine, and the King, he believes, will be as willing to do it as you to vote it.
Mr Harwood.] If we are in necessity, he shall only repeat what he said a great while ago: "How came we into this necessity?" The service here is for the King and the people, and he will never separate them here— Should he be more for the one than the other, he did not his duty. But, as to this matter, he knows not possibly how to satisfy those that sent us hither, or the King, unless we see where the fault lies after most of the money was given by this House—Till then you will never know where to mend it—Moves as well to look into the money already spent, as to provide for the future.
Sir Robert Howard.] Is willing to have his actions searched in any thing, though Harwood himself was the inquisitor.
Sir John Ernly.] Believes Mr Harwood not here when the state of the Navy was stated—But you have not yet heard of any thing of money desired. If you think the Navy in a good condition, there is no more to be said— That you may have all the clearness before you, he should be an unworthy officer of the Navy if he desired not an appropriation of something for it; but if you do as is moved, about the Customs, postponing must be of necessary consequence again.
Sir William Coventry.] The method you have been informed of; but a great part of the House are strangers to it. The method requires that a Committee may be for their farther information—Believes that the managers of the Navy can inform you that, if an appropriation had been, much of the money spent might have been saved. Some tell you "that leave must be had from the King before you inspect the revenue." He supposes the House would not appropriate more than may well be spared— Would refer the thing to a Committee to propose and ripen the matter for you, and have the King's leave asked to inspect the revenue.
Resolved, That a Bill be brought in to appropriate that part of the Revenue which arises by the Act of tonnage and poundage, passed the 12th year of his Majesty's reign, to the use of the Navy, for 3 years, if the duties granted by that Act shall so long continue.