Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 4. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Monday, February 26.
Sir Lewis Palmer.] Complained, the other day, of a bailiff who had arrested his servant, and having obtained an Order to bring the bailiff in custody to answer the breach of Privilege, he now desires the Order may be recalled, having discharged the person from his service, understanding he was not sit for him, being in many incumbrances and debts.
Mr Powle.] 'Tis more for the honour of the House to retract an Order, than to persist in doing injustice. You sent for the Warden of the Fleet to bring Sir John Prettyman to the Bar—Every man in bail, is in custody of the Law still. Every man that is a prisoner to this House, is under protection of the House. Would reverse your Order, and order the Keeper of the Compter to keep this prisoner still.
Mr Sawyer.] The Question is, "Whether you will extend your Privilege to release this man in prison," now you are fully apprized, that this person has deluded your Member. Privilege will destroy all mankind, if made use of to take a man out, and put him again into prison.
Sir Lewis Palmer said] He knew nothing of this person's being either under bail or imprisonment; the person pretending only some troubles, and craved his protection, and had it; but when he was better informed, he discharged him his service.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] No Member's retaining a person for his servant does discharge that person from prison; and no Privilege was ever allowed for a Member's retaining a servant in prison. Though he is but upon bail, yet he is in custodiâ legis, and there is no breach of Privilege in the first taking a man so bailed, or detaining him. He would have the man left where he was.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would not have a precedent for a thing complained of formerly—The Order is, " A complaint being made for detaining a servant of Palmer's, &c."—The Order was issued out to free him—But afterwards it appearing that the Member had discharged him his service, and that he was no more his servant, the House does discharge him.
Tuesday, February 27.
Mr Boscawen.] The Law has declared this to be no Simony. A bond is taken to resign. Possibly, one may be presented very unfit—Yet it has been judged no Simony to do it. He would prevent Simony really practised through the nation. If a man takes two livings, or be non-resident, it is lawful to take a bond for resigning. If you'll make a law against having two benefices, or pluralities, he would be for such a Bill, otherwise would throw this out.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] We are to consider the way to raise this Supply. He cannot think himself so happy as to find a medium to show you the way, but it will be most for your service to place it upon such happy mediums as may be real, and not imaginary. He can think of no other than a Land Tax. For this money is for the defence of our land. We sit here not in our own rights, but as trustees for the people, and for them nothing can be better than providing capital ships. He proposes that we give it by Land Tax, at the rate of 35000l. per month, for eighteen months, to answer all designs.
Sir John Hanmer.] The last time 300,000l. was proposed for building ships, &c. by a Land Tax, and no other possible way could be found out. Moves, that this sum may be raised so from three months to three months, in eighteen months.
Col. Birch. The Order was read, "to proceed in the farther consideration of his Majesty's Supply." The Order leads you not into Tredenham's Debate. He tells you of a way of raising it, which is a thing quite of another nature. Would you go the nearest way to your end? If you intend "to proceed farther," which are the words of the Order, then you must go through that, having the whole Supply before you; which if we have not, we must go another way. If any thing farther of Supply be offered, would hear it, and have a clear resolution, whether you will consider only the manner of raising this 600,000l. or go farther, "to consider the King's Speech in what relates to Supply."
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have the paragraph of the King's Speech relating to an additional Supply of his Revenue, and to make him more easy, read. There are in it three expressions for money. " 1st, for ships; 2dly, for an additional Revenue, (it seems, that of the Excise was given to pay debts, but whether paid, or no, he knows not) and 3dly, for his ease, &c." Never was Revenue in this House asked and given for payment of debts. The preamble of that Act for the additional Excise will show you that that was given for payment of debts; and 'twas then said, Trust the King. But the thing was not done—No debts were paid. Land Tax insensibly pulls down all rents. He knows not the reason, but he affirms they do fall. He assigns one great cause (though one little help was in the Corn clause, when we gave 1,250,000l. that helped a little) Wool gives nothing, sheep make no profit. When you say that that is the Question, whether you will give a tax upon this Excise for future years, he will then give you his thoughts upon it. Before you lay the pack on the horse, he would know what you'll put in it. Would lay every thing before you. Land Tax is a melancholy thought, and should be the last for our consideration. He then offered words, but 'twas late, and we were weary, and lest the weariness of mankind should throw away the Question, he pressed it not. If a gentleman do insist on the Excise, let us reason it for the good of England.
The Speaker.] By the Order read, the Motion was made for Supply for building ships, and by that Order the Motion was first made in the House, and then the Committee was to consider of it, as you formerly did. Till then, we were not warranted to proceed at the Committee. So that now here's nothing to consider, but having resolved the sum, and the ships to be built, you consider the method of raising it. If Meres has any other method than Land Tax to raise this sum, he would do good service in showing it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The sum was not made in the House, nor the manner of raising it, but at the Committee. The Motion was made formerly in the House, and nothing was before us but Supply in general. The Committee have showed you a disposition to supply, but "farther," is what the Committee may consider. 'Tis not in nature of the manner of burthening the people, till you will say how much you will lay upon them.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] You have proceeded by paragraphs, and have voted one 600,000l. but not how 'tis to be raised. Therefore would be off from that, before you go to another thing. The Question being naturally "how you'll raise it, and how your Vote shall be made effectual." As if a servant should be sent a journey by his master, and asks him money for his journey, and his master should answer him, "the Devil take me if I give you any money to buy cloaths!" If this money come short, the ships cannot be built. Chimney-money, by a great Member, was valued at 600,000l. per ann. and 'tis fallen to 140,000l. Would have this money so surely laid, as to be raised, and he knows no way to do it, but by Land Tax.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] Sees the intention of the Debates in the precedency of the Question, which is proper to take into consideration. 'Tis said, if this be all the Tax to be given, there's no great difficulty— But he would know all, because we are to dispose of all. That of Secretary Coventry's "man to go a journey" may be answered with a Question—One borrows money, not for cloaths, but asks money; says he, "if you promise me you'll borrow no more, I'll lend you some." Would know what is the need of more money? They do you the best service that show you all the ways for doing it, for the ease of the people, and would know whether this be all that is demanded.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The manner is always expressed in the Orders. But to-day the Order is " for farther consideration of the King's Supply." The last time, we were told, we had 150 ships then all ready; and 300,000l. was granted for building twenty more, and this sum will do for forty. Therefore would not lose time, but proceed to the farther consideration of the King's Speech.
Sir George Downing.] To Order only, a Question is offered, Whether you'll give more than 600,000l. If put, every man is free. If carried in the affirmative, What Order have you to give more? Has any such thing ever been propounded in the House? And 'tis a fine way, by a side wind, to engage the House, to give more money.
Mr Garroway.] Will you put us to it, that one sum of money shall be raised here, and another in the House? One sum for a Poll Bill, and another for Excise? Can we, at this rate, tell which way in the world to give?—Here is a way wanting in the Order to raise it. If your Orders are too short, let the Speaker take the Chair, and enlarge them.
Mr Swynsin.] "To proceed to the farther consideration of the King's Supply," is the Order, and would keep close to that—Would not enter into the merits, but only consider the Order.—The matter of Supply.— The Order is to govern the Committee in all things— But there is no such Order from the House as to consider the manner of raising it. This still restrains it to the matter of Supply, and we must follow the directions of the House.—We have considered so far as 600,000l or more, but not the manner of raising it. What is more natural than to consider first of the matter, and then a farther consideration of the manner? The only reason why the Speaker should take the Chair is, to shorten Debates concerning the Order.—Without any manner of Question, would have the Speaker take the Chair; else you will determine the thing by a Question here, before you come to the House.
Mr Garroway.] Is jealous there has been a design two or three ways, to pass this off our hands, to give more money—Would not be hobbled upon any account—Would at once see how much money we are to give.
Sir Tho. Lee.] His jealousy is to continue such a revenue, to bring on such a war as the last, which was occasioned by such a sum. 'Tis proper to put the Question to this effect; Whether the Committee think it fit to grant any farther time, in the Excise of 9d. and 6d.? If so, to save your lands thereby, and raise 600,000l. that way.
Mr Powle.] The Debate first entered into the manner of the Supply. Now the Question is before us— The matter must be decided before the manner. The Question is now, whether the Committee intend to continue the Excise for a farther time, or not? It affected land more than direct Land Tax. If continued, and Land Tax loaden too, the nation cannot bear it.
Sir John Ernly.] Would have directions, but the Speaker to take the Chair. He thinks Powle's arguments very disproportionable; if it did affect, as he says, he would not have laid out so much money in a late purchase of lands he has made, as he has done.
Sir Adam Brown.] He believes the Excise does not affect Land Tax. With him, in Surry, malt gives a good price, because 'tis exported. He wonders how so many alehouses should be, if they are so vexed and grieved by the Excise, as is said. Men are grown poorer rather by ill husbandry, than any thing else.
Mr Sacheverell.] He thinks, by the arguments he has heard, that we shall enter into the Debate, Whether the Excise be a charge upon the people. He takes the Excise to be a Land Tax already. 13d. on every bushel is 6s. and 6d. on every hogshead of beer or ale. An acre of corn of three quarters of barley, is 20s. by the Excise, upon the acre. Would ask the officers of the Excise a question; Whether, when corn did rise, when so many thousands left brewing, if the charge laid was so much less, the consumption being less? If so, the Tax upon corn and land would be lessened perpetually.
The Speaker.] If any man proposes this sum to be raised by Excise, then 'tis a proper Question.—But 'twas never known that a Committee rose without a vote. When once you resolved to supply, no instance can be given, that the manner was not proceeded in —'Till you know by a Question—That should be all.
Sir Thomas Meres.] This is a new Question. 600,000l. is a great Supply in time of peace; what then must it be in war?—We are told how near we are to it.— Take that Motion then, and go to the House for farther Supply. But why shall we not keep our Chairman, Temple? (jeeringly) We like him very well—'Tis for no other end but to explain our Order, if we change our Chairman—He would above-board know whether this Excise be to be given, though he is not for it—Yet when known how we shall proceed, he will argue accordingly—He would fain be gone. He loves not sitting long here, for fear of giving yet more.
Mr Sacheverell.] Is not for Temple's leaving the Chair, but thinks the Committee has authority to put the Question, whether this of the Excise is a revenue or duty, (he thinks 'tis neither; he calls it rather an imposition) that shall be continued.
Col. Birch.] He did not believe this Debate would have held you so long. You are moved to raise this money by Land Tax. Says another gentleman, "No, if you continue the Excise, you charge the Land double." No Question can be put, but whether the Question shall be put, or no.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Every way was proposed and debated formerly, in the raising the 1,600,000l. The Question is not now upon Supply, but the manner of raising it. If you continue the Excise, 'tis another manner of raising the money.
Mr Boscawen.] Some talk of Land Tax, and some of Excise. Upon wool and corn is Land Tax, but Excise more.—A multitude of officers attend the Excise, but would rather chuse the Excise, than both Land Tax and Excise. If gentlemen will have but one of them, let them chuse.—He believes them both alike.
Mr Waller.] Here is a jealousy that the Excise should be the Question, which is not to be removed but in the House.—The same steps we were in the last Session—He is for appropriating the 600,000l. given. We were no more concluded by the former 300,000l. than we are by this 600,000l. We then calculated the number of ships, and the cost. Three subsidies, and three fifteenths, is worth 100,000l.—When we had war with Spain—Then for Ireland was the first leading case of 400,000l. raised by Land Tax. Then we were in earnest, and think ourselves now in as much earnest. It is now his opinion that this money be raised by Land Tax; that you vote it, and appropriate it. Do as you did last time, and as his votes went last time, they shall do this.
Sir William Coventry.] Finds gentlemen entangled in the Debate, because we know not whether the Excise will be continued. (The Excise of 3d. upon the barrel is no revenue; 'twas granted towards the payment of the King's debt of 1,600,000l. given in by Sir Robert Long.) If that be made revenue, Land Tax may be so too, (would not have that swallowed.) Lands are still charged by the Excise, if we give no Tax—He thinks we are to resort to the House for direction, but so as to leave the House to one or the other opinion; therefore would have no involving any Question whatsoever, but would go only for farther directions to the House for our proceedings.
Mr Powle.] The Committee, it seems, doubts in their proceedings. He is of opinion, rather than Excise, to have your Land charged; because he would not have it double charged; which in consequence is more pernicious than Land Tax. Moves therefore, that the Excise expiring Midsummer next, may not be farther continued.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] An improper Question! None can, nor ought to be the Question, that is an intricate and involved Question. But it is said, it may be proposed that part of this sum, or all, may be on the Excise; but if it pass in the negative, yet we are not secure, for it may be to another use, though not to this —Would have therefore the previous Question.
Col. Birch.] He has been studying the reason of this nicety about the Question.—Now, he says, you cannot put the Question by Order. You now put the Question, Whether to proceed, at the Committee, to the manner of raising this money, or not. He cannot vote for Land Tax till it be clear whether the duty upon the Excise be not a concurrent Land Tax. If the previous Question be put, and carried, then all the Debates will be negative.
The Speaker.] He must always put affirmative Questions. You may as well put a Question upon the Law-Bill, or any thing else.—The affirmative concludes a negative; which is the reason of a previous Question.
Serjeant Seys.] Matter of Supply goes to all the three parts of the King's Speech. You are past the first part of it, and you are properly upon the next, which is the Excise; and so on to the third, which is the King's debts; and so you go orderly upon them in their course.
Sir William Coventry.] Any involving Question is purposely declined in the Committee, and therefore we are free to propose any thing. The Question is not for direction to the Committee to proceed on Land Tax; but, whether you will go upon the consideration of the manner of raising the money, or not. We are now free to propose the Excise, and manner of levying 600,000l.—The least that can be said—Here are two Questions striving for preference, and which must be foremost is the Question—He hears much urged of the necessity of the speed of levying this money; but will ships be ever the sooner built by it? Let gentlemen speak plainly, whether we shall have grievances redressed, or the Money Bill sent up before its fellows. You shall not have an Act the sooner for it, nor ships. To what use are these occasions of jealousies that money should so out-run grievances? Were it not a strange proposition to raise money before we see our work?—Would not have propositions to raise money, before we know how much we shall raise. 'Tis no contemptible thing to ease your land, by laying this tax upon Excise, or any way—That must be resolved; else it would be as preposterous a thing as to lay out all the money for timber for ships, and leave none for the rest of the materials. When you know what you are to raise, then is the proper time to say on what you will raise it; and the next Question is, Whether the Committee shall proceed on the next thing in the King's Speech, viz. the Excise?
Mr Secretary Williamson.] A great many things, if he knew the incidents of them, he might give a more judicious opinion of, and nearer; but that takes not totally away the liberty of judging, and in this matter, one way or other carried, he has that liberty.
Sir William Coventry.] The Speaker can as little collect from the Committee Supply, or Excise—Here are two Questions contending in the House for precedency, and what was first proposed, ought, by Order, to be first put.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] There is no great difficulty in this matter. Farther directions to the Committee, of two forts, are moved for. First, the manner of raising the Supply; and, secondly, for the Excise.
Resolved, That directions be given to the Committee, [That they do,] in the first place, proceed to consider the manner of raising [the Supply to his Majesty, not exceeding] 600,000l. for the building of ships. On a division, 183 to 163.