Debates in 1677: March 5th-6th

Pages 180-204

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 4. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section

Monday, March 5.

Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] Moved that instructions might be given the Grand Committee for appropriating the Customs for building of Ships only. There may be irregularity in the Chair, as well as out of the Chair. As the Order is penned, no man has liberty, at the Committee, to speak of "appropriation of the money." He thinks it as regular to think of "keeping" his children, as of "getting" them; and would have this money appropriated, that hereafter we may not be charged with more upon this account. If we see no end of paying, it will be a great discouragement to the people to pay this. This being a land charge, to pay for ships, a thing unusual, he desires the freedom here to debate the point, as well for keeping and maintaining, as for building these ships.

Mr Pepys.] He thinks it will lessen the "pleasure" of getting children, to think of the "charge" of maintaining them. There is so much affinity between building and repairing ships, that at the same time we do the one, we must do the other—There is building new, and repairing old. Hands are doing, John, Thomas, and Ralph &c. But not an old and a new work on the same place. He would remove the thoughts therefore of doing both together; repairing old ones, and building new.

Sir Edward Baynton.] 'Tis regular to move a necessary addition of instructions to the Committee. 'Tis as regular to mentain as increase ships—And he would have that the instruction to the Committee.

The Speaker.] 'Tis regular to make an addition to the instructions, but not one contrary to Order.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He thinks the Motion not regular. If the Question were of an Order-making, then 'tis a regular Motion, but this Order is already made.

Mr Swynfin.] The Order is "for the Committee to consider heads for the Bill for raising Money, &c." The Committee were forced to come to you for instructions to consider the whole matter of money. To prevent that, this instruction is now desired. In this Session he has seen more difficulty in these things than in any other before. When the sense of the House is known, and divers gentlemen would come fairly to a Question—But of late we interrupt one another, that we seldom come plainly to a Question. The Question of the Excise might have been fairly determined the other day, without spending more time.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] He hears that the present fleet is in a very ill condition, and that makes him press the reparation of it. Though we be weak and poor, yet, to be defenceless too, would be sad; which we shall be, if our old ships are not repaired, by appropriating some of this money to that use.

Lord Cavendish.] This Motion is not heterogeneous to the Bill, as you are told. Would gentlemen have 600,000l. more given for that purpose the next year, and for shipping, the money to come out of our land? The last Session we ordered this very thing to be tacked to the Bill. He never knew but, when farther instructions to the Committee were moved for, they were put to the Question.

Mr Williams.] He pretends not to know the Orders of the House. He is but young here yet. We are now to consider every necessary ingredient to accomplish the end of the matter we are now upon. We are not upon niceties—Would speak like sober sedate men. 'Tis his sense that this instruction should be one head of the Debate.

Sir George Downing.] Securing part of the Customs for support of the Navy is natural, and so are instructions to the Committee; but they must be what is natural to the Order. He shall ever be against that conjuring word of tacking one Bill to another. He shall look upon this as a subverting of the fundamental government of King, Lords, and Commons, to tack Bills.

Sir Thomas Meres.] "Put the case, says the Speaker, that Popery and the Fanatics Bill should be racked together." If ever he was of opinion that England must have a fleet, 'tis now, and this Motion of the Customs is for it. He will never contradict the Speaker, in point of a Question, for he will have what Question he pleases. But he has liberty, with others, to argue his matter upon what Question soever the Speaker proposes.

Mr Sawyer.] Takes great exception at what Meres says. For a gentleman to say, "Those that are for the Speaker's keeping the Chair, are for a Navy, and they that are for his leaving the Chair, are not." This is unparliamentary, and a reflection upon the whole House.

Sir Thomas Meres.] He was going to say so indeed, but Sawyer would not let him, and he would have given reasons for it too, when he had said it.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Thinks what Meres said is a reflection upon the House, "He that would have no fleet would have no King." This is a new way of assurance, to distrust the Crown. Because 'tis his mind, it must be every man's. When a thing may be done directly, to do it obliquely is a new thing. The proper Question is, Whether the Speaker shall leave the Chair?

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Would you have the Question plainly, Whether the Committee shall proceed in the manner of appropriating the Customs?

Sir Edmund Jennings.] This Motion seems as if we repented of what we had given the King.

Mr Sacheverell.] Remembers that money was given for paying the King's debts: Would know, if so great a stress be laid upon that word "appropriate" now, why the debts were not paid then? He fears the money may go in the same way it formerly did, when 'twas not appropriated.

At length the Speaker acknowledged an omission of "appropriation" in the Order.

Sir William Coventry.] Would not have the Order mended, without a Question. For the Clerk may say, 'tis usually done in the House, and he may do it at his own house, which is a thing of dangerous consequence.

Sir Thomas Lee.] He believes the omission was in the Speaker's pronouncing the Orders, and not in the Clerk's miswriting it.

The Report from the Grand Committee was, that a Question arose for addition to the Question of appropriating the Customs, and the House's direction was desired.

Sir George Downing.] He takes it for a fundamental in our Government, that the legislative authority is in King, Lords, and Commons. The King's negative voice to Bills presented to him by Parliament, is what you fought for, and by your blood and estates you have asserted this; shall it be now taken away by a side wine? Look to the ways of passing Acts, they are direct. Le Roi le veult, le Roi s'avisera, &c. Le Roi remercie les Communes, &c. To a Money Bill, the King has nothing in his mouth and heart but thanks. When this Clause of appropriation of the Customs is tacked to this Bill, the King cannot give a free answer to such a complicated Bill. The King is to have his free assent, and if so, where is the throne left free to give a free answer to this Bill? And so the King is put upon extremity, either to have no money, or else all Bills must pass. Where will this end? Private Bills, at this rate, will be hooked into Money Bills, or entails. He has read books written and printed, of the state of the difference between the King and the Parliament; he means the usurping Parliament 1641.—The honest money the King coined at Oxford was, Pro religione Anglicanâ et libertate Parliamenti. Whoever takes away libertate from the King, takes away libertate from the Parliament, and whether this tacking the Clause of appropriation does not so, he leaves it to you to judge. One thing in the world this House is always fond of, viz. frequent meetings, but he never found good by going by an ill way to obtain a good end. The Long Parliament was not to be dissolved without their own consent, which was obtained of the King by a thoufand canting words, and that power they obtained, tacked to a Money Bill. But what became of this? You were forced to make it treason to name the being of that Parliament. He appeals whether you have not repealed the Act for Triennial Parliaments, before 'twas ever executed, as contrary to the King's royal dignity, branded by you. The just Prerogative of the Crown is as necessary as the being of the House of Commons. He takes tacking to be of the most mischievous consequence imaginable, and prays no tacking may be to this Bill; but that of appropriating the Customs may be by another Bill.

Sir Thomas Lee.] If this Bill be (as 'tis said) "against the King's negative voice," he is against it as much as Downing is, or ever was. This of tacking, &c. has been frequently done. Can the King take money of you, and not with your condition annexed? The King may reject both the money and the Clause of Appropriation, and there's no losing his negative voice.

Mr Weld.] Saying something that his country that he came from, would thank him for his service,

Mr Richard Newport.] Desired to know what country he came from? (Weld beiug lately made Commissioner of the Treasury in Ireland, and some others.) He served here for all England.

Lord Cavendish.] More countries will thank Newport for his services than Weld, who said, "he served here for all England."

Mr Sawyer.] These reflections show 'tis time to leave off this Debate, and would have a particular day appointed to go on with it.

Mr Vaughan.] The King's negative voice is no more impeded by this Bill than it is in Magna Charta. In all R. II, H. VI, H. IV's time, scarce one Money-Bill passed but the Petitions of the Commons were tacked to it. It happened, that, in the Long Parliament, there was an attempt against the King's negative voice.

The Speaker.] In H. VI's time Bills passed all in one Chapter, and the King passed what parts of the Chapter he pleased. But now the King takes all the Act, or none.

Sir John Morton.] Now you speak of "tacking," he would have the Speaker "tack about," and put the Question.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Downing tells you, "he knows not how the King could pass Bills; if thus complicated, there may be entails in Money-Bills." But the House, when they passed the Bill for the Customs, did it in trust and confidence of the King, without any penalty upon those who diverted that money, granted for the guarding the seas, to any other use. We now would only explain that Act by this Bill.

Sir Richard Temple.] Formerly, the King might make what kind of answer in Parliament he pleased. But since, an Act was made that the King should make a direct answer to our Bills. All Revenues are Grants of the Commons, but the Customs and this 600,000l. are not the same Grant. No doubt but you may put what words you please into a Bill; but knows not how you can govern this by any addition. 'Tis not probable to be done in two lines, here being appropriation granted in another method, and therefore impossible to be done without another Bill.

Mr Powle.] He is fully persuaded, that, if all the money be spent for the use and intent it was given, the Navy cannot want, but will be in a flourishing condition. We find it unsupplied, and therefore the King has resort to his subjects for aid. We being so kind as to supply others miscarriages, we should not do right to them that sent us, if we prevent not the like for the future. This House was never put to build ships, since tonnage and poundage was given the King by Act of Parliament. As to precedents, he only will say, that if we go to precedents of former ages, they did not consider giving money till Grievances were redressed. The King's answer to Money-Bills and Subsidies is, Le Roi remercie ses bons sujets, le veult; which is a compliment and accepts it, and is a double answer from the King. Never was any age, that good Bills passed without the help of money. There is jealousy in mens minds, and in his own too, that you take tonnage and poundage, and yet cast the burden of building ships upon the people. If pensions, farms, and petty-farms of the Customs, be in private hands, the King may be able to avoid all these pensions no better way than by this Clause of Appropriation—And no otherwise done than in former times, unless you will for ever put the charge of building ships upon the House of Commons.

Sir Edward Dering.] He takes the Question to be tacking this appropriating Clause to the Money-Bill. The addition must be proper. Where the subject-matter is not coherent, it will be an absurdity in law, and will be so in this Clause—Would, therefore, leave it out.

Lord Obrien.] Would know whether the King of France, when the tonnage and poundage was granted, had as many ships as he has now?

Mr Sacheverell.] He moved not this Clause, but a Clause to be in the Bill for that purpose. 'Tis said to be "a new thing," and "that it takes away the King's negative voice." Either gentlemen have never read it, or forgot it—'Twas asserted, that the King had not that right, and 'twas an abuse to use it, and 'twas left—Matters more foreign than this—'Tis a Petition of Right not granted from the King—But from the King making use of an authority he had not power to do, being the right of the Commons.

Sir Edward Baynton.] He takes this to be a fine crude way of arraigning the miscarriages formerly committed, by appropriating the Customs for the future. 'Tis said to be foreign to this Clause—Before the troubles, the Long Parliament passed a Bill for 400,000l. and many Acts that would detêrmine with the Session about 1656, untill otherwise ordered by the Parliament, determined.

Sir Joseph Tredenham.] 4 H. VI. given the King in lieu of a tax, which was supposed not legally given. He knows no precedent for tacking, and would make no new precedent this Parliament.

Sir Henry Capel.] If the Question be carried in the negative, whether then shall it not be the next Question, for a Bill, by itself, for appropriating the Customs to the use of the Navy?

This Motion, 'twas said, spoiled the Question.

The Question being put, That tonnage and poundage shall be appropriated to the use of the Navy, by a Clause in the Tax-Bill, it passed in the negative, 175 to 124 (fn. 1).

Tuesday, March 6.

Sir Charles Wheeler made a Motion that the House might receive the Sacrament together this Lent.

Sir Thomas Strickland sent a letter to the Speaker [in answer to the notice which the Speaker had sent him by Order of the House] See this Vol. p. 102. by way of excuse for his non attendance in Parliament, &c.

Col. Titus.] Before you vote Strickland a Popish Recusant, that you should swear him, is the Question proposed. Should any man, in this House, say of himself, he is a Popish Recusant, would you not vote him out of the House? This gentleman's letter must be entered into the Journal, and will you be afraid to vote him out, when he tells you he is a Popish Recusant?

Resolved, That whereas it doth appear to this House, that Sir Thomas Strickland, a Member of this House, is convicted upon Record of Popish Recusancy, that he be from henceforth disabled from being any longer a Member of this House. [And a new Writ was ordered for the County of Westmoreland.]

Sir John Morton.] Moved, that Sir Solomon Swale should have the same letter sent to him as Strickland had.

But the Motion was not seconded, he being not convicted on Record.

In a Grand Committee on Grievances, Mr Sawyer in the Chair.

Sir William Coventry.] As for "Grievances," he is not very forward to present any. But there is one, above all, that concerns us all to think of. Consider the posture we are in, in relation to France, the greatest Grievance that can be to the nation. In respect of France and Popery, all other things are but trifles. Popery may be here without France, but 'tis impossible that France should be here without Popery. Four or five years since, we had the notion of France's greatness, but we see the thing not better. We see how prevalent it is. Though the Bishops of Munster and Cologne were once for him, and are now fallen off, yet he alone can contend with all Europe. If he had the talent to move affections, he would not go about it, but will urge this by reasons. The end and purpose of France's conquests is not for trade. The whole bent of France (a stirring people) is to consider what next thing he'll undertake if he get rest again. Having almost swallowed Flanders, will he not begin again? He kept not Holland, because Germany could not endure it. Probably, he'll employ his conquest to provoke the islands, the continent not enduring him. If once France get peace, nothing is so feasible and practicable as England; and he can never master Holland without first mastering us. Would now consider, though there is a Bill for recalling the forces out of France, that that is no plaister for this sore. If Flanders be swallowed up, there is nothing betwixt us and France. Some gentlemen may flatter themselves that Holland will be their next concern, which was lost possibly because their army was no army. All hopes are that France may not get a peace. We are not making laws to bind the King of France, but he would make an humble Address to the King, "that, as we have a care of his concern, he would have care of ours."

Sir Thomas Clarges.] He will wave the matter of the Judges (fn. 2), till this be off your hands. This "Grievance" of France is a matter of so great consequence, that if there be no tendency of redressing it this day, we are lost. He fears the King is betrayed—But still, as we go away in intermission of Parliament, there's some interposition betwixt his goodness and us. The last time we met, the next day after this Debate, we had a Prorogation. At the beginning of those times 'twas said, "that tumult frighted the late King away from Whitehall;" but 'twas Whitehall frighted him. The Secretary of State, and other great officers, after they had brought the misfortunes on him, left him— He was in France in the King's exile, where he observed, that though his Majesty was son of a daughter of France, he had but a poor pittance, and they sent him out of France. He asked the great men there, Why they used him so? They answered, "'Tis our interest induces us to it." Now when things are thus carried, 'tis dark; and he understands not why this friendship is with France. But 'tis said, "this ill usage of the King in France was in the minority of the French King." But at St John de Luz, at the treaty with the Spaniards, where our King was incognito, (the French King was then of age)—the great minister Mazarine would not have so much as a conference with him. He has heard that it broke the Ambassador's heart (Lockhart) at Paris, that now he could not do the King so much service as he formerly could do the Usurper Cromwell. The King of France's great fleet is not built to take Vienna. Books are written to whisper Popery in the people's ears, and we are weakened by giving money, and our locks are cut off, and the Philistines are upon us. Forces are sent over into the French service, (some lately taken in Cornwall) and lately a ship full of Scots taken by the Ostenders—He believes the King does not know it, else we could not be so intercepted in our addresses— He knows not what to move, but submits what he has said to consideration.

Mr Garroway.] Did not think to have met with this Debate to day. He thought of nothing so good—A few scattered forces now in France if recalled will do us mischief, their manners are so corrupted; and he desires none of their company here. Our main business is to keep France out of England. His modesty is such, he cannot rise to say any thing after Sir William Coventry; but he's equally concerned with him, and all gentlemen, in the danger of the French. Had France gone on to conquer Amsterdam, when she took Utrecht, 'twould have been too late to talk here; but God Almighty stopped him then. The decay of trade of our woollen manufactures is from France, who can impose his in many places. You have been told what he has got besides Burgundy and Lorrain. But he has conquered his laws, and conquered his subjects. He knows not what he has else to conquer but us. If he calls his armies into Flanders, we must be raising men and money to watch him, and have you any time to consider when he has made peace? He will not enter into the King's Prerogative about treaties and confederacies—If you think it worthy consideration to have a Committee to draw up an Address (though 'tis a tender point) whatsoever we do in the world, let us represent the fears of his people of the growing greatness of France.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] He thinks we are not yet ripe for an Address to the King, before you have more matter before you. It seems, by what Sir John Knight said, there was a kind of confederacy—That the King was abused, for as yet there was not so much as a treaty of commerce with the French, a marine treaty only. The French lay 80 per cent. on our woollen cloths, and we suffer it, as if we studied to greaten France and were a province to them. Here they lay 52 s. upon every ship for a Pass, else the ship is not under the King's protection. They that have that authority, may save us the labour of raising money here, and a bond they extort likewise, and they are to return within a year. These are fine ways to slide into money, and he hopes the merchants will inform you farther of it. Our Ambassador in France ought to have precedency of all, Princes of the Blood too, but now every tattered coach goes before him. First goes the King's coach, and then the Princes of the Blood, and lastly the Ambassador. We have had Ambassadors that would not let the King's coach go before them, unless the King was in it. The Germans and Princes of Italy will not receive a letter without all their titles. Take away the Lord Mayor's trappings, and farewell the government of the City. In omitting those ceremonies you take away Royal Majesty. The Prince of Ligne came hither, bravely attended, to visit our King, and now the French Ambassador has but a sedan, or a coach and two horses, when he comes to Court. The Chancellor's Speech tells us of "diffidence in the Nation." Surely 'tis from these things, that against the interest of the Nation these things should be. He desires gentlemen would think well of it, and with all our advice help this poor Nation.

Mr Garroway.] A man that rises up and proposes nothing for remedy, &c. induces a coldness in the thing. As to the "Passes," he agrees in toto that the money levied by these Passes is "a Grievance." When the Letters Patent were before you for light-houses for Dublin, and but one penny per ton was levied upon ships to maintain them, and for a specious pretence of safety, yet you moved the King in it. The King of France may give respect to the King's Passes, but suppose he should not. He would know who advised these Passes. Is not your flag gone, &c. and shot at in the English channel (fn. 3) ? What protection is there in a single Pass?—Consider how we have gone below ourselves in the honour of the English Nation.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] 'Tis not enough to tell a man that such a disease would kill him, and not tell him what would help him. As to that of "Ambassadors coaches," he never heard of exceptions against Ambassadors for living high, or living low. He would be a strange Ambassador to go with six horses, when our King goes in the streets but with two horses. But as to the "places and rank of our Ambassadors in France," Prince Rupert takes place of all Ambassadors here, and those of the King's alliance do so too. As to that of "Passes," complained of, the Algerines principally live upon piracy; every thing they meet with they take if they can; and upon the peace lately made with them, this of Passes was agreed, for safety of our ships. For "the Passes relating to France"—This on treaty is altered. They suspected Holland goods on board some of our ships, and they were at the Admiralty taken out, and the ships restored. You alone are friends to all the world, and, by virtue of that Pass, your ships go free, and you have the trade of all the world. Would be loth the Committee spent time to show the terror of our neighbours, and not propose any remedy for the safety of the Nation. Would be glad to have any thing proposed, and shall heartily concur in removing those fears.

Mr Vaughan.] We are told of "conquering Flanders with French hands." Pray God it be not us with English hands! He would not have the King intrench upon any league he has made, but would have France know, that the King of England understands when he is safe and when he is not safe. Whilst we are building ships, possibly such a Message may be sent us as Queen Elizabeth sent to him when he built but a galley, "that if he persisted she would burn it." Would therefore move the King in two Addresses, that the French may not draw too near us, and that he would not mediate at Nimeguen, unless the French would secure Flanders to the King of Spain.

Sir William Coventry.] He proposed the thing so raw, that he had not digested it. But from what gentlemen have said he will propose something. If the Address to the King be of less moment, and if more things of less consideration with your safety be put in, it will not have that weight upon it as if it were single and unmixed. He would not have us engage in a War, yet not suffer ourselves to be devoured for fear of being devoured. We are in the best posture now for it that we can be in, but knows not how long we shall continue so. The King's own goodness, and those about him, will suggest from his thoughts what is not fit for ours. He would therefore only represent to his Majesty the evil consequences to England of this loss of Flanders, the French King being so great in his neighbourhood; and that we cannot but apprehend danger, and would humbly propose to him to think of the danger, and enter into such alliances as may secure us from it.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] As to this particular of the preservation of Flanders, he is far from advising the King to engage in a War. But would not leave the King in the lurch, and he believes the Nation and the House are of that mind. He would have the House moved to nominate a Committee to draw up an Address to represent to the King the growing greatness of the French King, and not to promote any treaty but what may tend to the restitution of the Spanish Netherlands. This meddles not with Lorrain or Burgundy, but only with what presently concerns us; and there are precedents innumerable for it, of such Addresses. He moves for this, or some such thing.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Spanish agent presented a Memorial to the King, by his hand, representing the condition of the Spanish Netherlands, and "that his Master would join with the King in any thing fair or foul." The King answered, "he had endeavoured to prevent it by former treaties. If France be so powerful (as you are told) he would have Spain make a peace in time." To this the Envoy answered, "the last condition he could propose was the Pyrenean treaty, wherein was the restitution of the Netherlands." To which the King answered, "that next to his own interest, nothing was so considerable as the loss of Flanders." England's mediation in reputation goes a great way. But the King and the House meeting and parting of two minds, 'tis but compliments in great letters, and no more. Should the King demand restitution by the Pyrenean Treaty, which comprehends Lorrain, Burgundy, Flanders—The Nimeguen Treaty— Whilst you are arguing, a Treaty may be made somewhere else. The King must be first considerable here. He that has neither forces nor ships, cannot avoid being inconsiderable. But when you go upon so great a thing as this, and when you provoke such an enemy as this, a bare Address will not do it. Every man is not fit to be a constable that can bid a man "stand, in the King's name." Put the King into a condition to make him so considerable as to do this work, and then 'tis time to make this Address.

Mr Mallet.] Knows not why we should have so much tenderness for France. He knows not the benefit we have from them, but that they fetch away our horses and our men, and we have nothing from them but wine and women.

Col. Birch.] Can any man think but that while France is on the other side the water, and can land with 80,000 men, we, though in no War, yet must prepare? When a Nation has a fashion and a language as we have, no man that loves either his religion or country, but must think of this. Secretary Coventry has told you of "our unfortunate meetings here"; but how long has that been? Since we have taught France to be so great; and when those that did it should have been punished, the Act of Oblivion pardoned them. But he would make the best of what's before us. 'Till there is a confidence between the King and his people, we are a pitiful people. And can any thing be more proper for us that represent, as well as those represented? A hundred out of ninety nine of the Nation, are of a mind in this matter. But should France make a sudden Peace, what will become of us? But will not such an Address make the poor Confederates take heart when they shall see the King and Parliament both of a mind? He speaks the sense of England, and were it for his life would take this way to make us all of a piece (unless something lie hid) and to preserve religion too—He would not speak more than he can do. Therefore, he'll say nothing of France leaving Flanders, but only to move the King to enter into such alliances, either the Pyrenean Treaty, or some other; and he hears we may have what we will. But if we dare not speak now we have time, what will become of us if, by the Treaty at Nimeguen, they should make Peace?—This will let France see that the King and Parliament are all of a piece, and that if he fall upon the King the Commons will stand by him. He is for the safety of the Nation, and not for a War, and moves that the Committee may move the House, that an Address be made to the King to enter into such alliances as may be for the honour and safety of the Kingdom.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] This is a tender point at all times, but in this conjuncture of affairs most of all. As to that of "Treaties" spoken of, the King has declared already more concern for Flanders than any of the Mediators have done besides. There are but two ways of preserving Flanders, either to preserve what is left of it by a Peace, or to get again what is lost by War, and this third way you are going will rob you of one of them two. If you put the King out of the character of Moderator at Nimeguen, 'tis a tender step to put the King upon—War, or Peace, by alliances—Which made the movers first stop upon it. If the King should make alliances with all the Confederates, 'tis with he knows not whom, nor against whom, nor for what—Such is the Art of those you treat with, that nothing is more spoken of on this side the water, than carrying on the War, and on the other side, nothing less. If you go farther in this matter than representing your fears, you go the most dangerous step in the world.

Mr Garroway.] We are from the Bar advised "tenderness in this matter, and to leave it to his Majesty's eare." But Peace is the thing we fear, ever since we gave 2,500,000l. and the Vote of "lives and fortunes," and we had nothing done for it. That's what I fear— Peace we fear, and War not. May not we pray the King for a league, without saying with whom? 'Tis said, "our ships are not yet built, and we have given but 600,000l. and what condition are we in to declare ourselves?" No more are the King of France's built, and when they shall be built they cannot man them. To leave this off, we are in the condition Harbord told you "of the French at Whitehall." We have now opportunity to get such alliances as are fit for us, and I would not have you let it slip.

Mr Waller.] No man can love England that seeks not after the balance of our neighbours, and we ought to express it in this Address to the King. Our great interest (and no man but is concerned in it) is to be governed by our laws—We see, France can build ships in War, and we can scarce do it in Peace. He can do what he pleases, and impose what he will, but I like not that here. By our public law the King has his power of making War and Peace, and we of the purse, and we advise treaties that we have no light in at all.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Does not doubt but that in this we shall have the concurrence of the Lords, and that the King can do this without us better; yet the Commons have frequently done this, and the King was never greater abroad than when he trusted his Parliament.

Sir Henry Capel.] We all agree to the Address, but we cannot determine the manner. France governs by power, and by that will break all treaties. Mention what particulars you will for this Address, we must still trust the King. Therefore I would have the Address to be general.

Mr Finch.] Our father is the King, and our brethren the whole country; and he takes it for granted that such an Address as you will present will not intrench upon his Prerogative, but be acceptable to him. The States of Holland do not debate so great matters as this in so numerous an assembly; nor Venice, though they cannot converse with strangers at the peril of their heads. 'Tis a most plausible advice to the King to enter into Treaties and Alliances, and he thinks it convenient for the King to do it, but not for you to advise him. If you do it, 'tis a kind of obligation upon the King to make these Alliances, it imposes a kind of necessity on the King to make this Peace. He moves therefore to represent the state we are in, to the King, but still to leave the expedients to the King. Not that the King knows it not already, but this will be the effect: The King may see the unanimity of all his people, and it will be an encouragement for the King to act vigorously and strenuously. No man can represent the state of all the world here, and, with deference, you are not competent judges. Leave it to the King, whose wisdom and right it is to preserve himself and you; and he would have a general Address to the King only.

Sir Edward Dering.] The King of France's fleet is terrible in the Indian and Mediterranean seas, and what cost the Roman Eagle twenty years to fly over, he makes but one year's work of. Some gentlemen mentioned "Alliances." If they meant general, we have them already, all the world over, and secrecy in them is the best thing we can do; they will else be hindered. He speaks this to the motion made of France's restitution of the Netherlands. Hainault and Artois are his, and so were confirmed at the treaty of Aix la Chapelle. As the case is, suppose Alsace and Burgundy should be restored —He thinks we are not fully apprized how things stand abroad, and therefore he would leave Treaties to the King.

Mr Harbord.] 'Tis a great argument of Dering's "that some part of Flanders is confirmed to the King of France by Treaty;" but that may be remedied by reducing it to the Pyrenean Treaty. The King of France's Surintendant des finances raised commodities (by imposition upon them) from twenty stivers to thirty livers, in the places we have cambricks from. He is so transported with the French thus using us, that it breaks his sleep to see this House made a property to serve turns. He has known some persons press us to carry on War, as much as now they are tender in it, when it is apropos to serve a turn, or not. 'Tis said "the King is not in a condition to go through with this great matter." But he hopes we shall be very cautious in giving money for this present War. Henry VII. received an aid from the Parliament for the War in Britany, &c. which he received and made no War, but kept it for other purposes. He will not say country gentlemen are able to judge of Peace and War, but fundamentals can never vary, and one man may judge of them as well as another. The true balance of France and the House of Austria is our interest. Some secret matter sure is in it, to alter that maxim. He lays all our misfortunes on the Declaration which the King said he would stick by, but as soon as the King had the matter represented to him, he hearkened to the advice of his people—We are for his honour and safety, and nothing else, and unless we represent something particular to the King, he cannot understand our meanings so well; and therefore moves that we should do so in this Address.

Sir John Ernly.] Knows not what is meant by Alliances; with whom, or for what is not spoken of. He hopes there are ways to prevent a separate Peace, that you have heard of, and wishes the King were made as sensible of it as you are, if he be so not already. But he believes he is, and the King has said more to him, of his sense than he can reveal. He would, in general, have the thing moved to the King from you by the Secretaries.

Mr Sacheverell.] Whenever Alliances are made, to strengthen that people, and against whom they are ashamed to own, knows not the benefit of such Alliances, unless to carry on an interest contrary to their country's, to serve their own turn. 'Tis told us "the King sees all this we apprehend, and we must not acquaint him with it." But we are necessitated to it now, because no care has been taken of this matter already. When the King sent to ask our advice, whether he should make Peace with Holland, or no, Gentlemen then would know whether his Majesty intended a separate peace, or no. We were then told "leave it to the King." But he has observed that ever since, France has got up—This niceness seems to him as if men were afraid to lay their finger on the saw; because the Counsellors contributed to this matter—But he would now set a brand upon these Counsellors; else 'tis in vain to address the King. The King is gracious, but these seven years scarce any Addresses have ever been kept. His good intentions have been interrupted by those that help this Alliance up, and he must still take advice of his Council. In this Address Gentlemen are against his great Council, the Parliament, because they are for his small Council, that never did him good. He would not give a penny to enable these Counsellors to make a Peace. He would have the Address to his Majesty, "to enter into such Alliances as may be for the safety and honour of himself and people;" and he thinks we are not yet safe. He is not for those Gentlemen, the Counsellors, that they should make this Treaty, who have been so long for the French interest—But when all is done, if you secure not yourselves from these Counsellors, this will be all to no purpose.

Lord Cavendish.] He has heard it formerly said "that there were Pensioners to the King of France in the King's Council." He is sure Parliaments have been prorogued, without doing any thing, and money has been refused for our better strength at sea, and now we have had a long prorogation, and officers notoriously known to raise men, for the French service, and much countenanced here, at Court. When he considers these things, he still thinks we have creatures and Pensioners of France in our Councils. The mischief they have brought upon us must be by some more effectual means than removal of Counsellors; there is one so partial to the interest of France. (Lauderdale) And moves for an Address, as before.

Mr Sec. Williamson.] The words that fell from Lord Cavendish are such as not to be let pass, without that honourable Lord's explanation of himself. He tells you of "Pensioners in the King's Councils from France."

Mr Sec. Coventry.] He hopes that Lord, as he has told you "the House is falling on your head," will show you where the rotten timber is, and he hopes he will tell you either of the money or men.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Lord Cavendish tells you "he believes there are Pensioners in the King's Councils." By the consequences, he pointed at the person you desired to be removed, the Duke of Lauderdale.

Mr Garroway.] Men go out of Ireland and Scotland into the French King's service. Some do this, and is any man so zealous for the French service for nothing? In Philip de Comines's history, he tells you, that Ld Hastings in E. IV.'s time, took a pension from the King of France, but he put it in his sleeve, and would not take it in his hand. Cardinal Richlieu had embroiled all the world, and people will not do these things for nothing. People have been strangely rewarded by the French King, for bare messages into France. He knows not what these messages were, but we have felt the effect of them ever since.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Before his King and Country shall be destroyed, he will speak. Lord Cavendish instances one person, and gave you his grounds for it, &c. You have propounded Alliances, in this Address, and it is the natural remedy to have the Council purged of these persons partial to France. If you think you are a Council, and can give no advice, all we do think we are, and are bound in honour to do it.

Mr Sec. Coventry.] Some gentlemen are of opinion, that the King should not mediate Peace. The consequence is this, he must make War. The most honourable way, and most convenient, is good Alliances. If you would not have him mediate a Peace, the consequence must be no Peace at all, though without doubt he is in the best Mediator's posture of any Prince— Should that be upon your Journal, barely such a vote of France parting with Flanders, &c. or Alliances, and barely a vote, without any farther encouragement to stand by the King, it would be of little consequence. The Pope sent a Nuntio into Ireland in the rebellion there, who pretended he had brought 100,000l. but he brought so many indulgences, as the Pope valued at that rate—He would know which way you'll go—What colour, or look, in the world, will this vote have, when nothing is visibly annexed to provide in reality to support it? He would not have the King recall his mediation, and go on in mediation—Whether Peace or War, whether Flanders is to be secured for the present, or Alliances are to be entered into hereafter;—the King cannot know what to say till you declare yourselves.

Sir William Coventry.] In this Committee all agree in our danger from the growing greatness of the French. We are told of the endeavours the King has used, and how sensible he is of his own interest, and we would have it known that the people of England rather incite than retard the King's motions in it. But he does not see the necessity of our entering into particulars in the Address. Now should you, at first dash, vote money, and stand by it, you vote a War, and the Confederates will stand upon terms upon it. 'Tis one thing if they propose particulars, and another if we do. Our best markets, probably, will be without particulars. This House has never deserted the King in things, though for a war entered into contrary to their interest; for 1,200,000l. was once so given, though contrary to our interest. It cannot be believed that the House will desert the King for their interest; and when this Address imports not support of trade, but support of wives, children, lands, and estates, the very rake-hells in the streets would contribute towards it, and we cannot go less in this for our interest, than in that contrary to our interest. He moves, therefore, that we may address ourselves to the King to take care of Alliances, to secure us from the danger the Kingdom is in, and the fears of the people; and moves that the Question may be "that the House may be moved to appoint a Committee to prepare an Address to the King, to prevent the growing power of France, by his interposition, by Alliances, or such other means, as may secure the fears of the people."

Mr Sacheverell.] Other means may engage us in a War—If not by Alliances, it must be by a War.

Mr Powle.] The best way for men to get into the right way when they have lost it, is to go back from whence they began. In 1669 the Triple Alliance was made, and in 1670 there was a Supply given to support that Alliance, and when that Parliament was up, there was a journey to Dover (fn. 4), and he fears we may date our misfortunes from thence; and he is sure that, after that journey, we made an Alliance with France, and broke all our other Alliances, and the French armies came into Holland, and a War ensued; then was a large Supply called for to make the King Arbitrator. Then we were called for, and the House advised Peace with Holland rather than War. For two years together our men preserved the King of France, and were the gainers of a battle for him in Alsace (fn. 5). This confirms men that we are in an Alliance with France that we know not of, which makes him desire to go back to the state of affairs in 1669. Denmark, Holland, and Spain were confederate. If Holland join with our fleet, there's no danger from France of transporting men either hither or into Ireland. But if France join with Holland, we may apprehend it. Our fears and jealousies bear their original date from these Alliances; the root and ground of all our discontents; and this House can never forsake the King in making such Alliances as they apprehend for the safety of the Nation. 'Twill look like distrust between the King and his people to make bargains, but, if such Alliances be made, he doubts not but this House will plentifully assist the King.

Sir Tho. Lee.] Some other means are moved to be added to the Address, which may imply a general Peace as well as a War, and therefore he is wholly against it.

Sir William Coventry.] He has so much zeal to this business, that he has hardly heard a Question that will not satisfy him. The word "Alliances," may be with France, as well as any where else. Therefore he would have the Address "for the security of Flanders, and quieting the minds of the people."

Sir George Downing.] Will you hazard War rather than lose Flanders, in the condition we are in? They may reproach us as they did King James, by picturing him in Holland with an army of Ambassadors for succouring the Palatinate.

Mr Garroway, said privately,] That our meaning was a real War, but not a cheat, a pick-pocket War.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Spanish Ambassador, Count de Fuentes, when the Triple Alliance was made, declared it for preservation of Flanders without a War, and he would have this of Alliances in the same method.

Sir William Coventry, upon a Motion for adjourning the Debate, said] If it be adjourned till Friday, as is moved, people will apprehend our danger so great that we dare not proceed.

Sir Henry Capel.] He has known, that, in matters of such weight, people durst not move to adjourn the Debate.

[Resolved, That a Committee be appointed, to prepare an Address to represent to his Majesty the danger of the power of France, and to desire his Majesty, by such Alliances as he shall think fit, to secure his Kingdom, and quiet the fears of his people, and for the preservation and securing of the Spanish Netherlands. Agreed to by the House.]


  • 1. The Votes of the Committee, which were agreed to by the House, differed only in the number of ships from those of the former Session, 1st, That of the thirty ships to be built, there should be one first rate, not under 1400 tons, nine second rates, each not under 1100 tons, and twenty third rates, each not under 900 tons, 2d, That the commencement of the Supply, not exceeding 600,000l. should be at Lady. Day next, and be payable quarterly. 3dly, That the thirty ships should be built in two years, to be accounted from Midsummer next. And. 4tbly, that this Supply should be made payable into the Exchequer, and be appropriated and applied for the building, guns, rigging, and furnishing of the thirty ships, and to no other use, &c.— And a Bill was ordered in pursuant to these Votes. Journal of the Day.
  • 2. The exorbitant power of the Chancery, (See p. 144.)
  • 3. See p. 205.
  • 4. The King went thither to meet his sister, the Princess Henrietta, Dutchess of Orleans, and 'tis supposed that the league between the two Crowns for the conquest of Holland was then formed.
  • 5. Near Phillipsburg, June 3, 1676, N. S. where the Imperialists falling on the rear of the French army were repulsed and overthrown by the English and Scotch auxiliaries, commanded by Sir George Hamilton, who lost his life in the action.