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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Thursday, March 1.
The Bill for exportation of Leather [was read a second time.]
Sir John Knight.] Exportation of Leather will better the land by increase of the price of Leather.
Sir Richard Everard.] Proffers a Petition from the leather-cutters against the Bill.
Col. Birch.] He likes the Bill, but would have any Petition heard concerning it.
The Petition imported "either to dismiss the Bill, or to be heard at the Bar." The Petition was referred to a Committee, where the shoe-makers [or leather-cutters] pretended, "that their trade would be spoiled by the Bill, by reason of the many persons they set on work for boots and shoes for the plantations." To which it was replied, by the leather-sellers, "that formerly, when exportation of Leather was not prohibited, the Custom Entry was near as much as since the prohibition. [The Bill was ordered to be committed (fn. 1).]
A Bill to encourage the planting and sowing of hemp and flax [was read the second time.]
Sir Thomas Mompesson.] The Bill is not practicable. Some lands cannot bear Hemp.
Mr Sacheverell.] Would have the Committee consider what countries the Bill will be proper for. 'Tis for ours, and would commit it.
Col. Birch.] He brought the Bill in—In a body natural, if all the blood be brought up into the head, there will follow a dissolution. All the money is brought to London, and little left in the country but clipt and worn money. If it be so in fact, what will England come to in a short time? The country is almost depopulated for want of employment, and the people will follow employment. Employment is either from husbandry or trade. Want of people has forced the farmer to thrash himself. He cannot keep servants, corn is so cheap; and when 'tis got, there is nobody to eat it, and yet when we reap it, there is eighteen pence or two shillings a day for workmen, so few are there to be got. He is far from thinking this Bill to be a present advantage to the nation this year—But where land is proper for it, in most towns some is sown. This is the end of this Bill; if it pass, not one poor person will be in England that will but work. This half acre (enjoined in the Bill) is as much as most of the poor of a parish can dress. A poor woman that can get three pence half-penny a day will work, but you have not work for them without such a Bill, not for one in ten. Twenty shillings-worth of linnen takes up more hands to make it, than ten pounds-worth of woollen. Though there is a Statute to set the poor to work, it rather increases the poor, than tends to a diminution. They allow them money weekly. If wool should fail, this would set the poor to work. You pay 150,000l. per ann. for foreign linnens—Possibly, you may clap some of the money to be raised upon it. Possibly, you may employ all the poor, and whether you will continue this expensive trade of linnen, and be pestered with poor for a year or two's inconvenience on gentlemen's lands, till this be settled, leaves it to you.
Mr Swynfin.] He thinks it a great confidence in Birch to teach all gentlemen and farmers in England how to husband their land. If there be any profit in planting hemp and flax, there needs no law to compell men to it, but that of necessity, all ways else failing. Flax and hemp are no strangers here. The sowing of it goes out, because people make no profit of it. If it were for their advantage, men would turn all their lands to it. Birch tells you, "he has sown none these seven years, though he has land fit for it." He believes he can make no profit of it. Is it imaginable this can take any effect? By experience, we find, flax is at so low a rate that they sow it no more, and persons will pay a penalty rather than do it, and so the Act may be an universal penalty. It may possibly breed some surveyors, and make officers break their oaths. How can he swear to so many acres? Can this then help the poor, or the farmers, who, by this law, must groan under the penalties? This Bill is, upon a supposition only, to put all husbandmen upon new experiments. Let us have no more trouble with this Bill, to hinder us from greater affairs.
Sir George Downing.] He believes that for French linnen there goes alone 500,000l. per ann. besides other linnen. He is for the Bill, but utterly against the imposing the half acre in a hundred acres to be planted with hemp and flax under a penalty. He is not for a tax under a continued pretence; and this of planting, &c; and to the end of the world. He knows a hundred parishes that have not one acre fit for it. Would move for planting olives, oranges, or pomegranates, as practicable as this. Hemp and flax can only be planted on mellow ground. As for Hertsordshire husbandry, one changed his husbandry three miles off, and he spoiled his husbandry quite. You may as well plant Canary wine, under as specious pretences, as hemp and flax. By this Bill, we bring in a Law to wipe away all covenants and jointures, &c, nay, to plough up old pasture, and meadows, &c. perhaps in twenty years no grass will come up again. Every year this half acre to plant hemp, &c. and in time all this done to plant Canary grapes. In 43 Eliz. was there ever a more specious pretence than, in that Statute, to maintain the poor, and the matter not mended? For mankind (another Statute) hoot him out of the parish; but for foxes, hunt them, but spare them to make more sport. He has lived in countries where care is taken of the poor, but not this way. Consider what this charitable pretence of relieving the poor has been. But so much tax upon your lands. In St Martin's parish what vast taxes are raised for the poor? What becomes of it? All is paid and all spent. If you will encourage linnen manufactures, make it every man's interest to plant it; else you'll have your lands taxed, and nothing else will come of it. The flaxdressers were invited hither from abroad, and then starts up a little Statute of freedom, and they rot in jail. Though you could have flax for nothing, this will not turn to account, the French linnen coming it at one third part value that we can make it at.
Col. Birch.] Is glad that Downing speaks a language that he understands. Now apropos. He said, "this Bill would make some men popular." That's apropos. He has set men at work all near him—Downing might have as well charitably interpreted him. 'Tis said, this Bill is against the interest of all England. He brings on this to repeal the Statute of 43 Elizabeth, that you may have this to say, here's work for all England. To whip and slash beggars, and have no work for them, is that sense?—One Statute is to maintain idle persons without work. Swynfin said "he thought it a great confidence to teach all the farmers how to husband their land." But he can show him when this Bill passed the House twice, and was not rejected on this account, but only on the rate of half a crown for tythe composition. 'Twas was not the matter that was rejected. If the Bill pass, you may, in three months after, take away the Statute of 43 Eliz. For here's work to employ the poor. There's no intent by the Bill, but, being weary of the cry of the poor, to prevent people from going into France or the plantations. As the case stands now, 'tis true, we can buy linnen cheaper than plant it—He does aver, that, if the thing were equal in all parishes, no poor would be in England.
Sir William Coventry.] Doubts not but that we have need to employ the poor. If a man have a wife and children, and the man break, and is not able to maintain them, he goes to the plantations, or does any thing, for a livelihood. He desires that encouragement may be given to the planting hemp and flax. But the only material objection is, the compulsatory parts of the Bill. They are not usually well executed; mens hearts go not along with it. He would have the Committee think of an inducement and encouragement to do it, as well as compulsion. 'Tis said, "that this Bill is a Devil that haunts us." If so, one Devil went up to the Lords, and another came down from them. The Lords would have had five shillings upon the acre in lieu of tythe, and the Commons but two shillings and sixpence. 'Twas then the opinion of this House, that five shillings would load it too high, and we could not lower it, and that threw the Bill out. All the ill in it must come from the compulsatory part, and he would have a Committee to qualify it.
Mr Pepys.] 'Tis an ill consideration, that so essential a thing as setting out the fleet should depend upon this. Sails are all upon French cloths. We have but one sort of them not from France; those are Holland doubles— Would not depend on any of our best friends the Dutch, and our worst enemies the French, for sails. Thereforè would commit the Bill.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If this planting should be compulsory, the Debate would enervate the Bill—Nobody will do it. Let the Bill be rather temporary. He would not depend either on France or Holland for sending our fleet. He remembers an expedient for the compulsory part, viz. lessening the tythe, and would have that referred to the Committee.
Col. Birch.] Since the orthodox Clergy came home again, land has fallen one third part, by their keeping money dead in their hands, which they have received by fines. This Bill may revive lands again, and set the poor on work.
Sir Thomas Mompesson.] Would rather give Birch half his land, by Act of Parliament, than have this compulsory Clause to make him put his land to what it is no way proper for, to his loss.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Birch does not spend so much of his time in that church, where those orthodox Churchmen are, as to know much of them. Before they came in, there was a standing army that helped to eat our provisions, and so rents were better paid.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have the Bill committed, but so that the compulsory Clause may be left out— Which will be ineffectual, unless 'tis for their interest to plant, &c. 'Tis said, "there was a standing army that helped to eat, but now we have a standing army to whom our money goes, and they do nothing for it.
Mr Mallet.] We are not merry nor angry. Would not rake up old fores (Col. Sandys) pardoned by the Act of Oblivion. He has but one objection to the Bill, viz. "that it spoils water and destroys fish, the hemp being laid in it."
The Bill was ordered to be committed.
A Note was sent into the House to Sir John Hotham, sealed viz. "Why should the forts and governments of the greatest importance in the nation remain in the custody of men that are either Atheists or Papists, and such as are wholly frenchified, and for arbitrary government? And yet none of you have hands nor hearts to complain; which to England seems strange— Look to it—" who gave it to the Speaker, and acquainted the House that he had a Note of a strange nature sent in to him sealed. It was not publickly read (fn. 2).
Sir Thomas Lee.] Finds no Order for the business of the day, for the House to go into a Grand Committee for Grievances; and, he believes, no Order will be entered for the future, but what shall be acceptable to the Clerk.
Mr Garroway.] Moves for a new Clerk, this Clerk having several times abused us; and would have him removed.
Sir William Hickman.] The Clerk has served you so very often, and at this time he puts gentlemen into Committees whom he knows to be in Lancashire.
Mr Sacheverell.] Thinks, if you let this pass, you may as well burn all your Journals. He has been one of the Committee for inspecting the Journals, and has had a Report ready in his hand these four Sessions. In the Session of 1672, the sense of the House was declared so, and entered otherwise. He moves for a new Clerk, and that the King may be desired it. The two first pages of that Session may much call in question the Privilege and Right of this House.
Col. Birch.] He is for a new Clerk. He has heard complaints of him these seven years, of these miscarriages. When Birkenhead says, "Rolls and Records," he tells you they are so of his knowledge, and not one print agrees with the Rolls in matter and form. He takes thus the law to be. If any printed Act agrees not with the Record, a person tried may appeal to the Record, whether the law be so or not. Judge then the danger of false entering things in our books.
The Order for the day not being entered into the Journal by the Clerk, the consideration of Grievances was adjourned to Saturday next.
A Committee was appointed to inspect the Journal of the year 1672, and to examine and report the matter of the entry.
Sir Edward Dering.] Several rates, in the printed book of the customs, are higher by much than in the Record. And by the Bill now depending, to make it Treason to levy money contrary to Law, men may be ensnared by it.
Friday, March 2.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Moves that a Committee may be appointed to search the Lords Journal, to state the matter of fact; the King having particularly recommended it to the Lords care, not to occasion any difference between them and the Commons.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Dr Cary is committed for bringing a libel to the press, which maintains "that you sit wrongfully, and have no right to sit as a Parliament." Whether this be not cognizable by the Lords, as well as you, is the Question. He has refused to give any satisfaction to the Lords from whom he had the libel, and so they have committed him for libelling them, as you would have had cognizance, if he had violated or struck any Lord or Member.
Sir Thomas Lee.] He fears that the Lords will encroach precedents upon you; possibly the thing moved for is too early. But crimes against the Government are not to be immediately punished in Parliament; for the Law is open.
Mr Sacheverell.] For the seasonableness of the Motion he will not speak, but the thing being come before you, the matter is, how to get off from it. 21 and 22 R. II. A Statute was made to rule that power, just as the Lords do now exercise it, to prevent taking off Commoners Heads at their pleasure. This was the ground of all your first difference with the Lords; they taking a cause originally before them. If the power of the Lords be to examine a Commoner against himself, and to condemn him for not answering, he knows not what condition we all are in. He would therefore have the matter looked into, and if it appear to be as 'tis represented, would proceed in it; and moves for some persons to be appointed to search the Lords Journal.
Lord Cavendish.] He brought this business into the House, not to hinder the business of the day, but for the information of the House only.
Col. Birch.] Would go on to the business of the day, and enquire into this to-morrow. He knows not what to say to the matter, but would have no difference with the Lords, nor would give up our rights, in silently putting up this their imprisonment of a Commoner, as an original cause.
Sir John Ernly.] He has a paper in his hand, which he is ashamed of, sent to the Lord Mayor.—He was interrupted by
Mr Secretary Coventry.] To Order. If this House, and the Lords House, can find no way to punish such seditious libeliers, you may be pulled out of your Chair; and as they brought the late King to the block, at this rate they may do this also. And moves to proceed no farther in this thing, and the Lords punishment of Dr Cary is just.
Mr Williams.] He hears this thing of the Lords commitment of Cary justified from the Bar, before we know what it is. Moves to have Ernly's paper read.
Sir William Coventry.] He sees you are yet raw in this business. But he would not meddle with the Lords 'till you are well informed what you may, and what you may not do. He was ever for a moderate course with the Lords. We are told how terrible the meddling with this matter might be, but he knows not the terror of it in the enquiry. Would have you proceed to the business of the day, and inform yourfelves better in this matter.
Mr Powle.] He has seen a copy of this Order from the Lords, for the commitment of Dr Cary. It seems a matter of that weight, that, at least, as 'tis put, it deserves mature consideration. If this be so, no Commoner of England but is at the Lords mercy—This came not criminally yet before the Lords; but they take it originally. Whether Dr Cary be criminal is not the Question; but the manner of his condemnation. What a man says against the government in particular is not cognizable, in the Lords House, any more than in another place. This is a crime no more particularly affixed to the Lords than to this House. The Lords examine him, and require him to accuse himself, or some body else. By this means, any thing in the King's Bench may be proceeded upon in the Lords House. In this he would show that we are only upon the defensive part, and that we seek no occasion of difference with the Lords. 'Tis our desire that the precedent of 21 R.II. may be prevented. This is so tender a point, that he would not let it go without a day to consider it farther; and would not have the world think the House so cold in so great a matter. He would appoint to-morrow to consider it farther.
Mr Sawyer.] Shall any Member here undertake to know what the Lords do? You have only the bare information of this matter before you of one Member of this House, and no more.—He's much afraid to give countenance to things of this nature. One book now abroad concerns us. It calls us "traytors and rebels for meeting as a Parliament," and either House may enquire into such incendiaries. You passed the same sentence upon Mr Howard, the last Session; he would not say he did or did not write the letter, and you took it pro confesso, and committed him to the Tower (fn. 5). He would have this matter regularly before you, before you proceed any farther, and would now go to the Order of the day.
Lord Cavendish.] If this be a crime against the government, as is alleged, he would know whether the Lords can judge it without a Jury.
Mr Sawyer.] Invading our Privileges is invading the government, and such matters may be tried in either House, and this matter more especially in the Lords House. Other Courts may be timorous. In point of Law you punish no man but as he offends against the government.
Sir William Coventry.] He will not contend matter of Law with Sawyer, but would enter his claim, that we do not take ourselves to be part of the government, for then the government is no monarchy. We are only a part of the legislature; and would enter his claim against any such doctrine to be delivered here.
Mr Sawyer.] Explains himself. He acknowledges judgment and legislature, &c.
Sir Wm Coventry.] He takes the government to be as much, and more, the ministerial part, as the legislature.
The Speaker.] No cognizance can be taken of the Lords proceedings, unless they come regularly before you. 'Tis the first instance of this kind. You judge them in their judicature of what is not before you. You may do it to any part of their judicature, as well as this. You may else raise what you cannot lay. But he is always for the Privilege of this House.
Sir Thomas Lee.] He remembers one man (Fitton) punished by the Lords for making application to this House (fn. 6). 'Tis a proper and regular way, and this matter may be brought before you by information of a Member, as well as by petition from the party grieved. The Question is not about the crime, but whether Dr Cary be regularly brought to punishment. Here a man is committed without impeachment; you are the Jury, and all men ought to be tried per pares. He thinks this properly represented to you, and would farther consider of it.
Mr Harwood.] The Long Robe may be mistaken (Sawyer). But he that speaks so often may be, and was, in matter of law, till Coventry set him right.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] In this matter we are under so great a restraint, that he knows not how we shall deliver ourselves. The eyes and prayers of the country are that we may have no difference with the Lords. But when he considers the cries of the people, and the King's advice to us, in his Speech, not to entertain differences with the Lords, and that 'tis not a time of day to do it, they that press this, he declares, are no friends to the good of the nation—Explains what he has said, and will make it good. But submits it to the judgment of the House, and farther, whoever proceeds so is no friend to the nation. He has thought of it, and hopes to make it good. If the House should have a Conference with the Lords about this matter, you would have it come regularly before you— He means a Conference upon the ground of the precedent Debate.
Lord Cavendish.] Is sorry to hear so great a reflection from Goodrick upon all gentlemen concerned in this Debate, and upon himself who brought the Debate in. No gentlemen that debated this but are as good "friends to the nation," and would not proceed, as little as Goodrick, to a difference with the Lords; and must say, That from Goodrick was an indiscreet expression.— He was taken down to Order.
Col. Birch.] By Order of the House, the words whereby Lord Cavendish was offended must be written down, and asserted. Thinks that Goodrick said, "they that press this business are no friends to the nation."
Sir George Downing.] Citing Birch for reflecting upon the whole Clergy of England, yesterday. ("Their having money dead in their bands, &c." see p. 164,) was taken down to Order by
Sir Thomas Lee.] Gentlemen that have been Long Parliament-men, and yet make digressions to what was said yesterday—
Sir Philip Harcourt (fn. 7).] The business is of a great nature, and he would have you, Mr Speaker, declare, by Order, whether the words are not to be asserted, and written down, before any explanation be admitted of them.
Mr Garroway.] Goodrick owned his words, and brought them to his own explanation. Your Order is, "those words that gave exception ought to be written down," and you debate whether those words were said, or not. But no gentleman can be hindered from the thing being debated to-morrow, or any other time. He believes Goodrick will so explain himself as to give you satisfaction.
Serjeant Maynard.] He apprehends the words were very bad, but let them be what they will, if you go to censure the person for the words, they must be written down. 'Twas his own case twice, long ago, but he had liberty first to explain himself—For a man may sometimes outgo himself, and it may be every man's case.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] He is ready to give satisfaction to the House, and every particular Member. He intended no reflection upon any gentleman. His words were: "He that promoted this difference betwixt the Lords and us was an enemy to the nation." That was his intention, whatever were his words.
Sir Thomas Meres.] He doubts that the words were otherwise, but would have them accepted as the gentleman says he intended them. He would have us all bear with one another. We have always borne with the interpretation of the man that spoke the words, and without doubt, "he is no friend to the nation, that promotes differences between the Lords and us." But to go on, he believes that Lord Cavendish brings the Order for Dr Cary's commitment, by the Lords, regularly before you; 'tis by the very same method as you went in Sir John Fagg's case. You were informed of it by a Member then, and no otherwise, and the farther consideration thereof was adjourned till Monday. To-morrow is the day appointed to consider of Grievances; and this is the greatest. He will not speak upon this Order 'till it is well searched into. No man here, he believes, values Dr Cary in prison, neither the man nor the punishment; but the manner of laying the punishment is what we have reason to except against. This is not the Privilege of a particular Lord.
Lord Cavendish.] Called Meres to Order, viz. That Goodrick meant particularly what he said to reflect upon himself, and not generally speaking.
Sir William Coventry.] What he heard Goodrick speak was, "That they are no friends to the nation that promote a difference between the Lords and us." We have great reason, in these cases, to give grains of allowance to one another. In ancient times but a few persons spoke in the House, and their speeches were ready penned. The powder and shot was ready made up in cartridges; ready cut and dried, and a man had then time to think; but now we speak on a sudden, and therefore would have some grains of allowance given.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] He should speak much against both his obligations and judgment, if he intended Lord Cavendish, in what he said, or any other gentleman, in particular.
Sir Thomas Meres.] He is glad that an end is made of this matter, as to Lord Cavendish, who, he thinks, has satisfaction from Goodrick. But he would consider the manner of this judgment (upon Dr Cary) of the Lords, on a Commoner. We ought to have as great and as good a Privilege as the Lords, but would not go on this, without being extremely clear, and perhaps we may find out more Privilege than we know of al ready. Will press no Question, but that the matter stands fair for another consideration.
Serjeant Maynard.] If there be public breaches on the liberty of the people, it is not strange to enquire into them. He fears this commitment of Dr Cary has raised more dust than can be laid. He must come into a Court where he may be indicted, and no man must be accused but by writ "from some of the King's Courts." 'Twill be one Question, Whether Dr Cary has offended before the Parliament sat, or since; in or out of Parliament? If a man be brought here for words spoken against this House, will not you commit him? If a man contemns any Court, that Court may fine any man. If the matter will hold you may go on, else 'tis a very ill thing to contend in this matter. If he be committed for contempt of an Order, see what it is; and then consider whether you will go through or not.
Mr Garroway.] If Dr Cary be committed for contempt indefinite, and we desire to know the cause from the Lords, and they tell you 'tis for a breach of their Privilege, then there's an end of it. The King, in what he said of avoiding controversy with the Lords, never intended thereby to cut you off from your just Privileges. No man will think so irreverently of the King. And you, Mr Speaker, may go out of the Chair, without any Question, in this matter, and he will move it again when we are better informed.
The Speaker left the Chair, and Sir Richard Temple took it for the Grand Committee for raising the 600,000l. for which brandy, and French linnen were proposed. 'Twas privately murmured "that there was no necessity for raising this 600,000l. but because 199 voted it. Necessitas necessitatis, necessitas necessitata."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Asserts that nothing you have laid a tax upon, either Commodities, or Law, &c. ever answered two thirds of the value intended. He hears the unlimited demand in the King's Speech objected to. The King has commanded him to tell the Members of this House, "that he desires the continuation of the Excise but for three years; his charge for the interest of the bankers money, and that which the rebellion in Virginia has occasioned him, he desires may be left to the consideration of the House, whether they will proceed in it now, or at another time of the Session. He presses nothing but what is necessary for the present affairs, and he thinks this 600,000l. will have the most certainty in being raised by an eighteen months assessment."
Sir Thomas Meres.] He takes Coventry's Speech to be a Message from the King, but would know, whether he will press for no more, this Session, than the 600,000l.
Mr Sec. Coventry.] To continue only the additional duty upon the Excise for three years, and the 600,000l. for shipping.
Sir Thomas Meres.] He thinks our lands can bear but half this sum, but where shall the other 300,000l. be raised? God help England, if that sum cannot be any way raised but by Land Tax, which was never made for building ships! He foresees war, and knows not whether we may be the aggressors, or not; and would save land for that occasion. If you would have money where 'tis not, you'll pull mens skins off, and put them into jails, and more he dares scarce think of. Abroad they hear what we do in this House, and, land so loaden, what will they say? That our land is full charged; and they will take their measures accordingly. One hundred sail of ships are taken by the French, and we send Ambassador after Ambassador, and they give us promise after promise, and they keep our ships, and they lose their voyage, and half their wares is spoiled, and no remedy to be had. Land is our sheet-anchor, and the last thing to be taxed. He would not show the nakedness of his mother, England—But you must know our poverty at last; but he allows there's reason for 600,000l. because 'tis in order to provide stores, and furnishing thirty ships. But to this, in Land Tax, would give not above 300,000l. He cannot go along with you for any more.
Col. Birch.] He did never say that the imposition upon foreign linnen would raise this sum. This touches him, before all the Commons of England, that he intended not to raise this sum. Linnen, Callico, Brandy, and Wine was proposed. It has been thought the Wine would have tasted of the money, (the imposition upon it.) But still 'tis swallowed down; men must have it. If a man be habituated to drink a quart in a morning, he will sell his own estate twice over, and mine too, but he will have it, if he can. This money, the French have of us for Wine and Linnen, &c. that a million, would raise an Army. He has drank Port Wine, and would let that come in with little load upon it at the Custom-house. He pleads for your safety, and to weaken your enemy. Here is city against city. (London and Westminster.) A city without a city. London desires ease in their taxes. In London, houses that formerly let for fifty pounds a year are now fallen to fourteen pounds. They can sooner let forty houses in the new city than five in London, and the rent well paid too. And there is above fifteen times as much upon London in taxes, as upon this new city. Would know a reason why now a Land Tax? Unless we would lay the nation low by it. Why those new buildings should not pay 100,000l. then, he knows not. He does not believe the nation able to pay it. Tenants will either throw up your land, or you must take corn for rent, and this vote will sink land two years value. If you'll not put the whole Tax, put at least half of it upon some of the ways he has proposed, and spare land.
Mr Waller.] Hears building of ships spoken of, before our neighbours are at leisure to hinder us. And 'tis said "to be more for your honour not to lay this money now upon Land Tax, but to reserve that for the last." But our neighbours will think us in earnest if we go by Land Tax, and they observe us. Will you try an experiment on other things, now the nation is in danger? Queen Elizabeth cared not at what charge she ruined her neighbours; and now the King of France has burnt all the English cloth, &c. He has seen money denied here in former Parliaments, and the nation ruined by it.
Mr Garroway.] Some of Birch's arguments, as Callico, will require Debate, concerning the East India Company—And that thereby we may be charged in what we buy, and by consequence 'twill be a Tax upon our Lands. Still he is troubled for the additional duty of the Excise, given to pay debts, or other extraordinary occasions, and so 'tis brought into a Revenue, and continued to perpetuity, which he is troubled at. He will give his vote for Land Tax, to be the freer to give his negative to the Excise.
Mr Powle.] Suppose you lay Land Tax, and Excise, both at a time. Land will be charged full as much as it can bear. Fines that are imposed upon persons in Courts, are with a salvo contenemento. So should Taxes be. If you charge land so much before hand, what will you have to charge certainly upon an emergency? At Rome anciently, and now at Venice, the Treasury of St Mark is not to be touched but upon extraordinary occasions. He takes this to be so of Land Tax. And fifteenths, and tenths, were formerly in nature of Land Tax on every county and town, and by our ancestors very carefully granted. Suppose we should have an invasion, or foreign war, which way shall we turn to defend ourselves? He sees not how this can be easily answered. 'Tis possible to raise money, in time of peace, upon trade, and not possible in time of war. And 'tis to no purpose to think we have safety in building ships, unless you keep something untouched, and not to lie open these eighteen months, loaded with Land Tax and Excise. He would have satisfaction in this.
Mr William Harbord.] He remembers that the late Lord Sandwich (fn. 10), a man of great worth and honour, and true English principles, in discourse with him about the French growth, said "Will. If you will defend me against the French at Whitehall, I'll defend you against the King of France." Nothing can support the nation, but trust betwixt the King and his people. Therefore he would absolutely trust the King in this; and he is for a Land Tax.
Sir William Coventry.] He thinks not that the King of France will put a stop upon his linnen and wine, if we were at war with him. 'Twill put his people in a mutiny. 'Tis better for us to deal with him now, whilst he has other business upon his hands—Unless you make his cloth dearer to other men than yours, you'll never nurse up your own manufacture. Wool was formerly with us at forty shillings a todd; 'tis now not nine shillings. This will turn all land into tillage, and then spoil the land for wool again. The landlord must stay for his money, till the tenant can get better markets, but the Tax-gatherer must be paid at his time.
On a division of the Committee, whether this 600,000 l. &c. should be raised by Land Tax, &c. it was carried in the affirmative, 214 to 165. [And agreed to by the House.]
Saturday, March 3.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone, Master of the Rolls.] Moved that he might have leave to bring in a Bill for repeal of the Statute, &c. of wages for Knights and Burgesses of Parliament, and desired it might be in particular for Colchester, the place he serves for. For a Writ had gone down from Sir John Shaw, (his fellow Burgess) to receive his wages for service done in Parliament (fn. 11).
Mr Williams.] The Statute of Limitations will cut off all the Wages, but of the last six years. He is against removing old Land Marks—What's an evidence betwixt man and man, electors and elected, he would not remove. He is not for imposing any thing upon Corporations; he will trust his own Corporation, but not every little Borough. The Wages will not be due for a whole year, but for the days only that we sit here. He would trust the generosity of the Members, in this of their Wages, and not have a Bill for it. He has already released his Wages.
Mr Powle.] The Statute of Limitations cuts not off a debt, but from six years after 'tis due; and this is not due till the Parliament is ended, and therefore not cut off by that Statute. Williams says, "That Wages are not due but for the days you sit here." But for those that come from Cumberland, and such remote places, they have had sometimes fourteen days allowed them, and to all the Members, morando, redeundo, eundo. And if Wages be demanded accordingly, it will ruin many poor Boroughs. We are now estimated to have sat in this Parliament 3000 days, which will be 600 l. and the Question is, whether Wages are not due in Prorogations, as well as Adjournments. For the ill use that may be made of this, when this Parliament is at an end, he would have Wages cut off. For debts, when they are grown old, are very heavy when paid, and consider how we load them now by this Tax we have granted. But he would have this discharge of Wages for no more than what is already incurred, and not forward.
Mr Sawyer.] You have been offered the Statute of Limitations. That of Wages is not an Action, but in the nature of a judicial Writ, unto which the Statute of Limitation is not to be pleaded, being matter of Record. Some Wages have been already paid, and some persons are but lately come in. But he looks upon it for the honour of the House, that, where Wages have not been received, we may imitate the Statute of Limitations—Excepting the two last years.
Mr Boscawen.] He knows not why Sawyer, that has been here but two years, should give away his Wages that has been here sixteen years. 'Tis generally promised at Elections, in Boroughs, to serve freely, and why an Act should not be to confirm those promises, he knows not. He thinks it worthy your consideration to put the Boroughs out of fear. For hereafter they will chuse their own Burgesses, blue aprons, and gentlemen no more.
Mr Williams.] He offered only the Statute of Limitations. Sawyer said, "That the Writ for Wages is a judicial Writ, in nature of an execution;" but he is mistaken. 'Tis a distringas at Common Law. If a Member be absent the whole Session, he cannot bring his Writ of Wages; unless he be here upon Record, which supposes his presence here—'Tis not in the nature of an execution.
Lord Cavendish.] Interrupted him, and desired the Speaker to declare both Sawyer and Williams to be in the right, (jocularly).
Mr Sawyer.] No averment can be against a Record, and this is in the nature of a Record.
Mr Finch.] He is not for this Bill, though thus magnified to you. All Wages are limited to eundo, morando, redeundo, and expressly limited by the Writ to levy it. By 6 H. VIII. "No person that departs from Parliament without leave of the Speaker and House, entered first into the Journal, shall have his Wages." And Prynne's Register of Writs goes so far as to prove attendance here every day—But by this Bill you take away from every gentleman an opportunity of obliging his Corporation— Therefore he is against the Bill.
Mr Waller.] A tacit innovation this Bill is upon us. Originally the Boroughs were able to pay Wages to their Parliament-men, &c.
Sir William Thompson.] Intimated, that the City of London paid Wages formerly. He has received no Wages, though the City is able to pay them.
Mr Love.] He never received any Wages from the City, nor demanded any, because he thinks he never deserved any at their hands.
Mr Swynfin, upon Mr May's Motion for releases of Wages to the Boroughs under our Hands and Seals, said.] He knows not how it can be done to Counties, or Boroughs, nor how they are capable of receiving such releases. 'Twill best show the inclinations of such gentlemen to release them, by giving his consent to a Bill for taking them away.
A Bill was ordered to be brought in accordingly.