Debates in 1677: March 21st-26th

Pages 297-315

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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In this section

Wednesday, March 21.

The House proceeded to the hearing of the cause of Newark, touching the sending of Burgesses to serve in Parliament; and Counsel being called in, Mr Savile's Petition was read, and the Counsel heard.


Serjeant Crooke.] During Session of Parliament, and the Parliament sitting, 'tis most plain that Letters Patent, for creating Boroughs power to send Members to represent them in Parliament, have been granted; and most of the Members of the House serve for Boroughs, as much by Creation by Charter, as Prescription, and Letters Patent may restrain the manner of Election. If that be granted, that the interest is wholly in the King, he may create pro bono publico, by "ordinamus in the Charter, without "concedimus," and Burgesses are thought a benefit to the Nation—In the multitude of Counsellors there is safety. 'Tis objected "That in this Charter they have no voices in the Election of Burgesses, who, nevertheless, pay wages to them for their service in Parliament." In all Charters, where the Election is restrained to the Mayor and Common Council, yet all the body of that Corporation pay wages tho' they have no Votes in Election—Being better for Parliament-men, when to the whole body, if the case will bear it—The first Letters Patent were "to the generality"—Where the Charter and words of the Grant will possibly bear it. The King has power to do it to the Mayor and Council. He argues not the convenience or inconvenience of it, but must take it as it is. Before the case of Duncannon in Ireland, Lord Hobart was of opinion, that where the Grant was "et burgenses," it was restrained—A Charter is a flower of the Crown, and the King's undoubted right, and if restrained to the Mayor and Council, time out of mind, and by prescription, it supposes a Grant of such a power. The next objection is, "Granting this Charter during Session of Parliament." As for the inconvenience of that, he submits it, the House increased in number by new Boroughs, and revival of old— You have a great trust, and how many may be brought in by new Letters Patent? Law of Parliament is Paucis nota, multis ignota, ab omnibus quærenda. 'Tis Law by itself. If this of granting Charters has been done, who can dispute the King's right in doing it? He moves for a Committee to enquire into the King's right, &c. and the inconvenience of granting these Charters, sedente Parliamento.

Sir Thomas Meres.] The Question is, "Whether the King can make a Borough by Patent, to send Members, &c. the Parliament sitting;" and, if he can, "Whether this Patent will be made a good Patent" —They, it seems, have agreed particulars without doors, but here, in our judgment, all England is concerned. Formerly it was clear, but now it is not clear, as the Serjeant says. He would only go to that point, whether durante Parliamento, the King can grant such a Charter? Had it ever been done, you would have seen the use and practice of it. No man can show such a Patent overthrown, because it cannot be showed that there was ever such a Patent granted. He would, rather than debate the Charter, come to quiet the matter, as Chester and Liverpool, who had that Privilege by Act of Parliament.

Mr Powle.] If he rightly observes the case, it branches itself into many Questions— Whether it be a good Patent? He observes that the Counsel, whom you have heard at the Bar, came hither to pursue the interest of their Clients, not the interest of the Public, and it looks to him like a private bargain—And they omit the great points of the Charter, and insist on that of their Clients only. If the power be indefinite, in the Crown, what great inconveniences might follow! We may put the case, that the King has a mind to alter Religion, without altering the constitution of this House. Whether Boroughs sending fifty Papists, might not be predominant. Unless it be a clear Right, in point of inconvenience it is not to be admitted. Out of compassion to himself, he moves that the Long Robe would speak to it—There are several Precedents. 'Tis a rule of Law that the King cannot impose a Charge upon a Borough: Now whether this be in the nature of a Charge, or whether this be in the nature of a liberty or franchise, the King cannot grant it. That it is a Charge, in its own nature, is visible—The Corporation is charged in point of Wages—A great burden to bear themselves, whereas, otherwise, they should bear but a proportion with the Country. Another thing, but somewhat obsolete. 11 H. IV. Fitzherbert 15 No. 9—Handford, ChiefJustice—all Boroughs paid tenths—Those besides fifteenths. Now this is disused. But the people have Privileges; but of its own nature it is a Charge—Corruptions and abuses do not alter the nature of the Law. R. II. chap. 4, latter end—Power by Sheriffs Writs—All Boroughs, bound, of old time, to come to Parliament—Which shows that it is a service. Another Precedent of a pretty rare nature—Parliament Roll. 42 Ed. III. Membran. 8. Torrington in Devon. "That to send Burgesses, &c. onerari non debeant." There is an Onus, and a discharge 1 Char. I. Prynne's Register of Writs, fol. 1181. 1 March 1628. Weobly and Milbourn Port had discontinued, a long time, sending Burgesses to Parliament. It was Resolved, That it was a service, and so not lost by disuse; which a Franchife might—Now, Burgesses in this House— 18 K. James, the case of Pomfret, and 21 of King James, the case of Weobly—He will grant that many sit here by Charter, but would enquire whether by reviver, and not new creation since the 18th of K. James. Never any created but this—Determined—And no more Charters than granted—Whether for the interest of the Kingdom to have more granted, leaves that to consideration. 20 H. VI. Plymouth sent Burgesses first —And then after that sent none till 27 H. 8. chap. 25. Calais was a Borough, and sent anciently to Parliament. The practice has been never to alter the constitution of this House, but by Act of Parliament. 7 E. 6, the Charter was granted for Maidstone. It was then resolved to be referred to Serjeant Morgan, to see whether the King might grant a Charter for Burgesses of Parliament, and in the mean time, the Burgesses were to forbear to sit. In Queen Eliz. several Boroughs— But since the 18th of K. James, resolution of Parliament put a stop to them. But he thinks an incurable flaw in this Charter, its being without consent and knowledge— The Election is confined to a few of the town, and all to bear the charge of the Burgesses. Qui sentit commodum, sentire debet &c onus. This so far vitiates the Charter, that you may throw it out without any farther Question.

Mr Waller.] The Borough of Bewdley was erected in King James's time: Mr Selden grumbled at it. The Universities, in his time, sent Burgesses, by K. James's Grant, who was a Mæcenas to all learning. The townsmen had Burgesses before, the scholars afterwards by this Grant. To question this power of the King here, is to question all our sitting here; but he would not have the King put any imposition—A great many more Boroughs were put out when he was here—A great many Borough-towns, formerly of good credit, grew poor, and were dismissed their attendance here. Cornwall had more than Yorkshire, because of the House of Lancaster. 'Tis said, "There is not time to do it, the Parliament sitting." He never heard before that the Parliament sitting could hinder the Prerogative. The King has had this Parliament sixteen years. He knows not how the Prerogative has been suspended sixteen years. A multitude here is our help—Our desire is to proportion things equally—'Tis a great advantage to us that these things are done, when we are sitting, that the thing may be thoroughly enquired into. Abusus juris non tollit jus. Patents have been granted for the few Electors, and sometimes for the many, and we have judged it the same way. You have a Bill to regulate Elections, but as for this present Charter, 'tis de jure, and then speak right—There is an injustice, a canker, will eat out all. Therefore would have the power of granting justified.

Serjeant Maynard.] The Question is, Whether the King has power to grant a Patent for Burgesses, &c. If the King at any time may do it, he knows no difference in the time, the Parliament sitting or not sitting—The King has power—Never knew it confuted, but that the King may make Corporations, and grant them Privileges of sending Burgesses, &c. But that is not the point. He finds persons elected, and the incorporated complain of it. He will declare his duty to his King and Country—He will declare how the Law is. The case is stated by Powle, Whether this Grant be a franchise or a burden. It is the King's power to incorporate, and in the King's power likewise to limit the Privileges—And all this, under favour, with consent of the place. Anciently, Taxes were by hydes of land, afterwards by subsidies. The Boroughs paid Taxes by tenths, the Counties by fifteenths. The Boroughs a third part more than the Counties—What consequences, if not consent—Whether a burden, or no, they must pay a third more than the County, otherwise ought to pay. If then here be no Petition from the Borough, there is no Question of it, and against 100 years practice—Two inconveniences will follow, if they have a Charter, &c. imposed without consent: First, They will be put to greater charges than the Law will allow of; and, secondly, They will have no consent to what is done in Parliament. But now, if the Charter be for a Corporation, the King may grant it as large as he pleases, and the King is not bound to little or great numbers; he may grant it to eight, twelve, or twenty, if he pleases—They give no man implicit or explicit consent to it. This Question is not of Prerogative. It is out of the Question, whether the King may do it, or not— Chester, Calais, and Wales come not to this purpose—It is no consequence, because they were empowered by Act of Parliament to send Burgesses, that the King cannot do it without. But this case is of a Corporation drawn into another way of Government, without their own consent. When they accept it, they agree to it, but upon execution of it, they dislike it; and from thence is the Question, whether it be good, or no. Whether inconvenient or convenient, is not the Question, if the King have right. But we may petition that the number may not be increased.

Mr Sacheverell.] Whether this be a good Patent, and whether by this Charter the King may do it, is the Question—You cannot resolve till you know whether Gentlemen concerned in the Country Towns, Cotlington, Bladerton, and Winthorp, are not barely drawn into Wages for Burgesses, and but part of the Corporation have the benefit of the Charter, and all are subject to the Jurisdiction of the Corporation, and Copyholders summoned to the Corporation Court. He thinks it not a good Patent, because it creates new services, which cannot be granted. The Question is, Whether the King can grant such a Charter. As for markets and fairs, and tolls in all Law-Books, Nisi sit ad aliquod damnum, is a Clause in the Grant. Therefore he tenders the Petition of the three towns, Newark being gone off.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He will trouble you but with a few words. The King's power of granting Charters, with Clause of sending Burgesses to Parliament, upon the Debate wears off; for it would shake many Boroughs in England. All Boroughs by prescription had their first commencement from the Crown, by Letters Patent, or Charter. He hears it said, "This is not to be granted by Patent, because it is a charge upon the people for Wages." But though there be Wages, yet looking to the division of their Taxes, and the service in Parliament, is for their good, and will bear the name of a Franchise. As to the granting this Patent in Parliament time, 'tis said, there may be surprize. If the King have power, why, in Session of Parliament must it be suspended? What reasonable Law can be urged, why not in Session of Parliament, as well as in interval of Parliament? The King's Prerogative is the same, and he knows not, he confesses, the reason. The same objection may be made in the House of Lords, as to the calling the Boroughs by Writ. Bewdley was created a Borough, and had a Patent for sending Burgesses, the Parliament sitting. There is no Precedent against it in Common or Statute Law, for it is backed by Precedents. The Vills that are incorporated require some consideration, but if you meddle only with the Members that are to sit for the Corporation, their Right cannot be barred. He finds a complaint of this Corporation before these Vills mentioned—In Lord Dorset's case, an independent Clause in a Grant may be repealed, and the Patent yet stand good—Of a charitable use—The greater part of the Grantees may void it by Law, and not be bound—But all this while this destroys not the Corporation—Why should the House concern themselves in particular mens complaint? Serjeant Maynard agreed it to be the King's Prerogative, and agreed during Parliament; and if the Villages are not bound by what you do, why should they hinder the Election? That being not the Question before you, the Vills may defend their right at Law, and the Parliament-men stand good.

Sir Thomas Meres.] The majority of the inhabitants of Newark are as much as they can be in a form (fn. 1), and tell us the inhabitants of the town find themselves grieved, and this Charter gives them not at all the benefit of the King's favour. The Counsel have not mentioned this; it may be not for the particular interest of their Clients, but that is the fair ground of the Petition of the townsmen.

Sir Francis Winnington.] He thinks he speaks with great authority, when he cites that of this House. The Patent you have voted good—This is not construed (the Writ, &c.) immediate to him directed.

Sir John Trevor.] The Patent directs Burgum nostrum; Major &c. Aldermanni, &c. and they might have made a good return of that Writ, and as good as if directed to the Sheriff—But upon legal exposition—Good return Breve nostrum—His politic capacity—The Sheriffs mandate is Breve nostrum—Either if the Sheriff or Mayor return, in both cases it is good, and when it appears, it is the King's pleasure to chuse and return. The essential part is a Writ to the Sheriff, and a precept thereupon, is the Election, and the Return—A fair Return and Election—He would put the Question upon Mr Savile's Return.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] He is glad to hear the best strength of this Patent is our Vote, though against several Laws.

The Question being put, That, by virtue of the Charter granted to the town of Newark, the town of Newark hath a right to send Burgesses to serve in Parliament; it was resolved in the Affirmative, 125 to 73.

The Question being put, That Mr Savile and Sir Paul Neale are duly returned to serve in this present Parliament for the town of Newark; it passed in the Negative, 103 to 102. And a new Writ was ordered to be made out.

[March 22, 23, and 24, Omitted.]

Monday, March 26, 1677:

On the Motion for a farther Address to the King to enter into a speedy and strict Alliance with the Confederates.

Sir William Hickman.] It is the danger of our very being, if Flanders should be lost; which was the first inducement of our Address. We need make no scruple of a War, in that case, if occasion be; and he would have a Committee appointed to draw up a farther Address.

Sir Robert Thomas.] The way you are upon is to prevent more men going out of Ireland, to the French King's service. And the way you are upon is to prevent a general Peace, and a Committee to draw up an Address to the King to prevent it, is the way to do it, and moves it.

Sir John Trevor.] You have already addressed the King to strengthen his Alliances, and the King answers, "He will take all possible care for the preservation of Flanders, that can consist with the Peace and Safety of the Nation." We put out "the Netherlands," and put in "Flanders" to our Address to the King. He thinks the preservation of "the Netherlands" is of as great consequence as "Flanders." 'Tis the King's Prerogative to make Peace or War. 'Tis he that makes it, and he that breaks it. The Disciples came to our Saviour, in the ship, and said, "Lord save us, or we perish;" and we can say no more to the King. The King of France is as great a Monarch as any in the world, and he entered into strict Alliance with the Dutch, and made it good, and we repaid it with our Alliance with him against them.—For Preservation of ourselves, would move "to preserve the Netherlands," and would have a Committee to draw up an Address, to give the King assurance of farther Aids and Supplies (in case a War should be the consequence) for the Preservation of Flanders.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] It seems to him, as if we were about to save the Netherlands by nothing but talking. Flanders was in danger before the Triple Alliance was made, and that caused the King of France to go back with his Army. But now our fears are of such insinuation from those near the King, that by their insinuations the King's good Intentions are intercepted. In Scotland, men were levied by the King's Messengers, and put into the King's Prisons. The King's name was abused in it. All the public Ministers of foreign Princes avow that there is nothing between France and Holland for a separate Peace, but the giving back Maestricht, and a Treaty of Commerce, and how near that may be, both being tired out by so long a Wa, you may imagine the consequence. And if the Dutch have strict Alliances with France, they will be masters at Sea totally. Flanders is assaulted by the King of France, because he succeeded not in Germany. St Omers and Cambray are taken, and when there is such a terror amongst men, no man can tell the consequence. 17,000 men went to relieve Valenciennes, and yet it was over-run (fn. 2). He seconds the Motion for a Committee.

Sir John Reresby.] He would not trouble the King with a second Address; but moves that we may vote to stand by the King and assist him in such a War as may happen by the Address you have made him, and that the Privy Counsellors of the House may acquaint the King with it.

Col. Birch.] He is almost afraid to speak in this matter. He looks on it as almost your all. Whatever the King's thoughts were on the first Address we made, he sees not how his thoughts can alter on a second. It is equal to him whether "Flanders," or "the Netherlands," be in the Address. The Mischief is, if France should make a Peace, 'twill ruin our Nation, and if so, whether is it time now to prevent it? We made an Address to the King, some few days since, but the noise of Axes and Hammers in building Ships, giving and no more, men running out of Ireland and Scotland—That is the case. Till the King and People understand one another, all we do is to no purpose— And there is nothing so like to unite us, as this of securing the Netherlands. But he would not pay for any thing, nor offer for it, till it were done—But would give any assurance to attain our end—He would see this Alliance made; it cannot be hid in a corner—And then, upon signification thereof to the Parliament, we may address to assist and aid the King in it to the utmost—The Question is, whether this was sufficiently couched in the former Address. In that Answer you were told "That the King would do for the preservation of Flanders what should consist with the Peace of the Kingdom." The word is good; and if we say so, we may have an Answer with effect— We are by this second Address still doubting that we are not at quiet; and this is plain dealing. Perhaps we have provoked the Allies by suffering men to go over to the French, and who can we expect help from, if the French make Peace, and fall upon us? Now is the time, and never but now, to stir in this matter, and he would have a Committee to draw up an Address to the King, &c.

Sir John Ernly.] He concurs with all that think Flanders too considerable to be in the French hands. You are told, "that timing an action is the life of it, and now is the consideration of it, &c." We have an Alliance defensive with the Dutch, but if we enter into stricter Alliances with them, he would know what Gentlemen would have unless a Declaration of War with France, and that is positive—He will let you see the condition you are in for War. You must double the expence of the Navy—The King allows the Navy 400,000l. a year, and that cannot do it; keeping Ships wind and weather tight is the most that can be done with that sum. If we have time and money, the Ships are in good conditition. The Question is, whether you will give France 300,000 l. to go to War with him, for your Straits trade will amount to as much. He has 40 Ships of War in the Mediterranean, and if we enter into a present Alliance with the Dutch, and an immediate War ensue thereupon, pray God the Dutch give us not the slip, and leave us—And when you are in an actual War, and they slip the Collar, and get the Trade from you, he would have you consider of it. As for seeing your Alliances first, (as has been said) before we pay or offer any thing to support them, that very day you enter into a War, a Vote of this House will not set out a Fleet. When you are better informed, you will do as wise men. But till then, would not be too forward or hasty to go into this matter.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Here have been several Motions made. The first was for "a second Address to be made to the King," and then for "farther encouragement, by assisting him in case a War should be the consequence of our Address—" To that he will apply himself. We sent our last Address up to the Lords for their concurrence, and they raised a query, and had reason to do so. Those Addresses to King James concerning the Palctinate were much of the same nature. But this was so short a one for so great a matter, that it put the Lords to a stand. The King answers, "He will take such care as will consist with the Peace of the Kingdom," That is, by way of Peace he will do what he can, but not by War. But if we make this Address more ample, as 'tis now proposed, the King has the whole matter before him, and may give you occasion to declare yourselves accordingly. If this be not so home as formerly we have done, we put the King on many difficulties—Because he has not assurance of Money, he cannot treat like other Princes; but with the assurance of this House, that difficulty is taken away, and he is as good as another Prince. In case there be a general Peace, how miserable should we be ! But what Fleet have the Dutch? The French are not omnipotent. They have their hands full by Land and Sea. Has the French King Money to do all things in the World? Have the Dutch a Fleet in the Mediterranean? The King of France can do no more than he can, though he can do a great deal more than we could wish. In the Straits the Dutch are forced to have convoys. But the French Ships cannot go a privateering. They are determined to carry Ships into Sicily, and are guards, and cannot run out at Merchant-men a privateering. Wethen are not in suchimminent danger, as is apprehended. We are afraid of the danger that if Holland should close with France—But there is nothing, in his apprehension, but a tergiversation of this Parliament that will do it. He fears it not this summer, but before next winter, we may find it to our cost—He is apprehensive of his extraordinary zeal against France; and would not be cool now— Here is no intention to entrap Gentlemen into Money by this Address, but this will give reputation; a jewel that cannot be bought too dear. He would do as others have done—No less occasion is offered us, and hopes we shall do it on this great occasion. He hears that great men, in the Lords House, are for it, and he likes them the better for it—We may give them now this handle, and leave it with them, and he will not be short in his Assistance, if the King will please to do it, &c.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He agrees entirely in the end of the Address you propose, to save Flanders from falling into the hands of the French, as a thing necessary to the safety of England. He will tie himself only to the necessity of reinforcing this by way of Address to the King—He understands your meaning fully. By the preservation of "the Spanish Netherlands" and "Flanders," the King means the same thing, and the King answers your desire of Alliances "as much as possibly may consist with the Peace of the Kingdom." Some think that the word "Peace" needs an explanation. He thinks it not at all necessary. The King thinks you will submit to all hazards and costs that you shall put him to by this Address, and that he may enter into such an Alliance as may not break the Peace of the Nation. It cannot be the meaning of any Gentleman for the King to break into a War tomorrow. Not that 'tis an unadvisable counsel, or impossible to be put into execution. For the French, in the first place, will then be Masters of our Plantations, having Ships there, and we none. That Alliance you advise, cannot be thought out of the King's care, but your applying so earnestly about it may keep him from better conditions in the making it. How many several parts, arms, legs, and fingers, have the Alliances! And will you suffer yourselves to be Guarantees for all these Alliances now entered into, and you no way concerned? Will men, to prevent a future evil, put themselves out of a present good? You mean not, he is sure, such an Alliance as all the help to support it must come from you, and nothing from them. Would you come in Pro quotâ et pro ratâ of support with the interest and alliances of persons of cross byasses in interest? But suppose you lay aside interest, will you depend upon their quota's? Your Lucrum cessans? No Nation can enter into this War now, that will be three years old. If you will not enter into their quota, then you enter upon your own power barely. What then is your strength to be alone? Thirty Ships more. Then what is meant by "stricter Alliances," that you would enter into, he knows not. He thinks the King's Answer to your Address as full as may be; and should you go again to him, he could give you no farther Answer.

Mr Powle.] Is of opinion that a farther Address should be made to the King for securing Flanders from the French conquest, &c." He conceives that the King's Answer is not so full as you can wish. He will not except at the distinction between "the Spanish Netherlands" and "Flanders," it being the common way of speech for either—Our meaning, by our Address, was the reduction of the French power to an equality with their neighbours, and to that you have no Answer. He thought it was the opinion of the House, that if it could not be done by Peace, or Treaty, then by a War. He knows not but this deficiency of the King's Answer may be from a desire of farther assurances from us to stand by him, in what we desire. If these three towns (fn. 3) be got from the Spaniards, Flanders cannot subsist without your arms, or some body's else. But it sticks with him that the King does not understand the desires of the Nation, and that we have contributed to the French greatness more than any other Nation; as by selling him Dunkirk, to let the French into our bowels, and our War with Holland gave him occasion to enter into the bowels of the Dutch. It has been said, "that France never broke that League," but he is sure we helped him to over-run the provinces—We have sent France supply of Scotch, Irish, and English Regiments, and when the officers come back to recruit, they are very well received here, and 'tis evident that this Alliance with France is much befriended by some near the King. 'Tis answered, " by this we enjoy Peace, and have the benefit of Trade, and the conveniences of that Kingdom." He likes not a state of neutrality which has always been fatal, and made such at last a prey to the Conqueror. France is too great to be defended from that power. 'Tis said " the Navy is not in a present state for War." If so, he is sorry for it. It was an unfortunate accident, our Prorogation for fifteen months, and in that time the Navy was put into no condition to enter into a War with France, if occasion was. He moves that we may therefore let the King know our desires, " that he would turn his thoughts that way, and that Counsels may be changed, and that Money would be given, if such Counsellors may not have the management of it." We have done it, and there is no harm to express it now plainly to the King.

Mr Vaughan.] Your Address is answered by the King, but whether your ends are answered, or not, it being too short, the King is no way obliged to surmise what your meaning is by it. He is sorry to hear to-day what lately was represented to us to the contrary, viz. "That we have not an ordinary guard of Ships abroad." If opposition be the case, you must assist the Alliances with pay for it, and it must be done by other men. All persons abroad do not understand the obligation between the King of England and his Subjects. Therefore he is for keeping the words of "stricter Alliances" in the Address.

Sir Henry Capel.] What have we made the first Address for? Supposes, to incline the Confederates to continue the War, and maintain it. When we have great Ships, and Stores, then is a time for us to talk of War. And our policy is to gain time, under the shelter of War, to build our Ships—And under the shelter of a War with Holland, France grew great upon us. It is said, "That in the Address there are words that import War." He agrees to it, and you must stand by it—Consider, have you strengthened the King for it, in your Address? He believes the King's Answer comes not up to our Address.—And if ever we spoke the sense of the Nation, 'tis in this matter, and those that are not come up to that opinion, he hopes, in time will. The sense of the Nation is of weight. Was there not a time when the Nation was governed by an Army? But when once the Nation was enlivened with a handful of loyal persons, it was never at ease, till it came hither, and expressed their sense, and brought the King home. An Army is nothing to the sense of the Nation, let who will espouse it. Let the King and People be right in this matter, and if his Ministers will promote it, they deserve a reward for it. Let us see the Treaties, and then this body can never go against their own interest—And moves for a Committee to draw up the Address.

Sir Henry Ford.] This may be necessary hereafter; but he knows not the necessity of putting the King upon a farther Answer hastily. He would consider the nature of the thing—'Tis not possible so suddenly—Are all Ambassadors here to give Answer? Are all Plenipotentiaries? He believes that the King is of your mind, but would wait a little—Rather vote "That if not, we will assist him with our utmost."

Sir Thomas Lee.] He thinks farther assurances no ground—But by this Address of "stricter Alliances," it may be with France, and [we may be] bound up by that—So he protests he cannot tell how to give his Vote.

Mr Garroway.] May it not consist with other Leagues we are in for the King to lend Money to the Confederates? To do that with a little sum, which we cannot do with three times so much? If you can, drive things so as to save your own flesh, and make use of theirs—He knows not how this may be done without breach of Treaties. Queen Elizabeth did some such thing before she broke first with the Spaniards— But he has changed his opinion, and begins to be of the mind of those Gentlemen, to come roundly to the King to show him, if he be not satisfied with our Address, that if War be seriously entered into, he need not doubt but we will stand by him as long as the War lasts. But he is against a Vote of "Lives and Fortunes:" That cost us 2,500,000l. and put us upon all the fatal runs that were in the consequence of it. Whenever that War is entered into, he would engage only from six months to six months. We must be allowed to talk freely of this, and he wishes no Papist may have a hand in it; nor those who have counselled the raising men for the French service. If you will put the Question "for any assurance that the House will not forsake the King in it," he will give his Vote for it.

Sir John Ernly.] He sees Gentlemen not now for a new Address, but a declaration of the former.

The Question proposed was, That a farther Address be made to his Majesty, to give him an assurance, that if, in pursuance of the Address presented to his Majesty from both Houses, his Majesty shall find himself necessitated to enter into a War, this House will fully aid his Majesty from time to time, and assist him in that War.

Mr Sacheverell.] Is against this Question, from those arguments for it. He looks on this Address as taken for granted that we should run the way of our own ruin; therefore he will take the more liberty to speak to it. He takes this Question to be an approbation of the King's last Answer; but what sticks with him is another point. You were told "That the King was satisfied in general, that you would assist him; if War should be the consequence of this Address, he is not in a condition to enter into it—The Alliances would produce War—" He is of opinion that what Alliances you make, or may make, you rush into no War. He can never be satisfied that the Country is satisfied, whilst men are raised whilst you sit here. Common Fame says that Ammunition, and Artillery, and Horse are gone into France; the Arms marked with the Tower mark;— known here, and ought to be sacred. He thinks you safe, when the sum of Money is in your own hands, and not in those that tell you, you can neither make such Alliances, nor a War, and yet send Ammunition to the French.—Declare downright War, and he will go along with them.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He thinks Gentlemen are not resolved that this shall be a War. Not one word is answered—If the King enter into a War, we resolve to assist him. Has it yet been answered the quota of our proportion? Will you rely upon the success of what the Confederates do, to what you will do? Is it advisable that England should leave the success of their great interest on every little interest of Germany, to make it equal to the fate England runs in an endless War? And you have all interruption of Commerce, and hazard the Plantations, and they have nothing to recompense you but hopes of their helping you to get Flanders from the French again—And can you think that they who have truckled with these and have been for them all this time, will stick to you that came to their assistance at the latter end of the day? He speaks now but as a Commoner—The scheme was from another man, not his own—If you enter into a War, would not the next hour be a Peace? Therefore you, in doing one thing, would have that which will cost you nothing—Do another thing.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] We are told "that France will take our Plantations from us, should we enter into a War;" but will not that fear be always upon us? They do it already. Never was a better time than now to break with France; for in the end of summer France will make a Peace, and then we shall be much more unfit for War than now—He is for War.

Mr Powle.] Moves that a Committee may be appointed to form the Address upon the Debate of the House.

1st Question, Whether an Address shall be made to the King?

2d Question, If, in pursuance of this Address, &c. the King shall be constrained to enter into a War, that we will aid and assist him in the prosecution of that War.

Both passed in the Affirmative, and a Committee was appointed to draw up the Address.

The Speaker.] In this you cannot refer to the former Address, because the Lords joined in it. This relating to Money, the Commons make it only.

Col. Birch.] He something doubts the matter now— He would be sure to have it.


  • 1. Sic M S.
  • 2. The King of France was then making one of his early Campaigns in Flanders, and had taken Valenciennes by storm about ten days before this Debate, where he in person entered the breach to put a stop to the sury of the Soldiers, and by this exploit gave Sir William Temple occasion to say "That he had surmounted the very force of the seasons." Afterwards "dividing his Army in two, be with the one besieged Camhray, while the other, commanded by his brother, besieged St Omers. The Prince of Orange looking on St Omers as more important than Cambray, went thither, and ventured a battle too rashly [at Mont cassel.] On that defeat St Omers did immediately capitulate, as Cambray did some days after. These things happening during this Session of Parliament, made great impression on all people's minds." Burnet.
  • 3. Valenciennes, St. Omers, and Cambray. See the preceeding Note.