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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Wednesday, April 4.
A Bill from the Lords was read, entitled, An Act for preserving of the Protestant Religion, and the more effectual conviction and prosecution of Popish Recusants.
Heads of the same:
"For better conviction of Recusants, because the way, as now it is, is difficult, this Bill makes it their interest to convict themselves. They shall register themselves at the Quarter-Sessions, and thereupon shall be Papists convict. But the penalty shall be one shilling a Sunday for absence from Church, to be levied out of their personal or real estates; but thereby they shallbe discharged from all other Laws against Popish Recusants. For registering the names, the Clerk of the Peace shall have but one shilling fee. Persons thus convicted shall be incapable of any office of trust, unless hereditary. They shall not present to livings, as Recusants convict cannot by a former Law, and shall be liable to penalties for so doing. They shall register them from sixteen years of age, and upwards, within six months. Sick persons, within four months. In prison, or beyond the sea, in six months. The Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Lord-Lieutenants, and Deputy-Lieutenants, two Justices of the Peace, and other persons, under the Great Seal, shall have power to tender the Oath in the late Act, and the Test, to any person, if suspected to be a Popish Recusant. Upon refusal, he shall stand convicted, and forfeit according to the former Laws. They shall be registered in the Exchequer. No Jesuit shall be registered, nor Priest, nor other person in any Romish orders. Such Priests, &c. as shall be condemned for High Treason, by the Statute of Queen Elizabeth, shall not be executed, but by Order from the King, under his Sign-Manual; and the King, instead of it, may change the punishment into perpetual imprisonment, under his Sign-Manual; and if he escapes, he is to suffer death as a felon. Any person convicted, or registered, as aforesaid, if he shall attempt to pervert others, shall lose the benefit of this Act. None above sixteen years of age, professing the Protestant Religion, and turning to the Romish, shall have the benefit of this Act. All trusts made to elude this Act shall be void. The King may recover mortgages of Recusants convict, &c. The party to any secret trust, to avoid this Act, shall forfeit 500l. and the King shall be entitled to a year's prosit, &c. The custody of children shall not be to the mother, if a Popish Recusant, but to the next of kin, a Protestant, &c. and the children shall be educated in the Protestant Religion, as the Court of Chancery shall direct, or the Justices of Assize, and an action may be had against such persons as take such children—As guardian in soccage may have, but if a Popish father shall dispose of his child to a Protestant guardian, it shall be good. Orphans, whose mothers or guardians are Recusants, shall be educated, and the custody of them shall go to the next of kin, who are Protestants. For Sheriff, Constable, &c. or other chargeable offices, if a Papist be nominated to them, and does not conform, another person shall supply that office, and the Recusant shall pay for executing it. The money that shall arise on conviction, &c. shall be to provide for poor Protestants, and decayed rectories. And the Auditors of the Exchequer shall keep a distinct account of this Act, &c. and Commissioners shall have power to purchase impropriations as they think fit, and shall give such augmentations as the Bishop shall think fit—The Commissioners shall make conveyances to the respective incumbents, notwithstanding the Statute of Mortmain. Any Papist convict may repair to the Court where his suit depends. On registering themselves at Quarter-Sessions, or Westminster, they shall be discharged of all penalties. A Peer may do it in the Exchequer, in term-time, and the same as at the Quarter-Sessions. Lastly, such as do register, &c. and have no land, are to pay fifty two shillings per ann.. out of their personal estates, and if they have land, one shilling a Sunday, &c. (fn. 1)
Mr Sacheverell.] This Bill from the Lords is a Toleration of Popery, and puts but 12d. a Sunday difference betwixt the best Protestant, and severest Papist. The Lords sent us a Bill lately, wherein they thought fit to transfer the King's Supremacy into other hands (fn. 2); to take it away, unless the King undergo a Test, &c. By this Bill, the Parliament may be chosen Papists, for the Sheriffs and Mayors may be so too—Though Catholics may not, and are under an incapacity, yet another person, their deputy, may, who may set aside all but Romanists. It sets aside all the Laws against Popery, but the Act for the Test; and any man may act three months without a Test; and your work may be done in that time—For fifty-two shillings a year, a very good subject; better than we; and exempted by one clause slyly—The Bill intends to put Protestant Recusants into a worse condition than the Popish—By express words in the Bill, he is subject to all the penalties the Popish are. The Laws have declared Priests and Jesuits dangerous to the Government, and yet they shall not suffer death, &c. He fears not the danger of this Bill, in this King's time, but, hereafter, one inclinable to Popery will not execute the Priests and Jesuits. This Bill is a bare Toleration of Popery, and he would throw it out (fn. 3).
Mr Garroway.] He is glad to see, that the zeal of the House will embrace nothing of this nature—We may, by it, see the influence of the Popish Lords in their House. He rises to second Sacheverell's Motion.
Mr Williams.] He desires that the Question, upon the Bill, may not be put suddenly; 'tis disorderly— He would see any Gentleman in this House, that will speak for the Bill (fn. 4).
Lord Obrien.] He desires that something of the Bill may be retained, which is the Title of the Bill only— Something, as a mark, that you throw not out barely " a Bill of Popery."
Sir Thomas Meres.] If you throw out this Bill, then read your own Bill of Popery—Would observe, two years, and above, to pass most things in this Bill. Your Bill is firm, and strong, and good. These in the Lords Bill are slight, and good for nothing—To destroy all your Laws against Popery, in one Bill! Whatever is good in this Bill, is in yours; and this is to choak all you did good in that. Posterity will be fully satisfied of it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Some things are tender in your own Bill, and some in this, as Meres says: He would not, by too quick a severity, lay aside this Bill. Two Bills of Popery are shot one against another; and neither will pass. To throw this Bill out, and immediately to send up your own to the Lords, is not the way to have it pass; the Popish Lords sitting in that House. He hopes that, in time, so great jealousies may pass over; but it is a great encouragement to the Catholics, for such a body to stand by them, and the King of France's provocation; therefore would not throw the Bill out.
Sir Thomas Lee.] He has reason to believe, that our sharp Bill against Popery will be rejected by the Lords, because we have rejected theirs of Toleration. Lord Clarendon's [Bill of] banishment passed in two or three days, and yet was laid by, as this is moved to be. He fears that this may have the same fate, and would throw it out.
Sir John Mallet.] He hopes gentlemen will not wonder, if his zeal against this Bill be not equal to others, in throwing it out. This Bill has a disarming the Recusants in it. He likes the Clause of educating their children; but, as for repealing the Statute of Mortmain, he likes not that. Would have a second reading of it, but no certain day appointed.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] On the Bill from the Lords for establishing of Protestant Ministers in England, lately sent us down, when he differed from the Lords judgment, he suspected his own. He believes gentlemen design mending this Bill, to attain the end; but when it comes back, it will prove an unfavoury thing, stuck with a primrose. He would lay it aside. We are told of "the danger that we may pass it in a thin House, as we did the Sale of the Fee-farm Rents." It is not possible to be imagined, that a Bill of this nature could come from the Lords, to repeal all the Laws against Popery. If our Laws were executed, there would not have been this growth of Popery; and he fears the danger will be greater. As for "breeding the children of Papists," we have Laws in force for that; they ought not to have the education of them; that is already provided for. He wishes a Law would be sent us from the Lords, that the good Laws we have already may be put in execution. Is this the way to prevent Popery? We may as soon make a good fan out of a Pig's tail, as a good Bill out of this.
Sir John Hanmer.] Our David against this Goliath; our Bill against the Lords Bill. Ours will go up to the Lords triumphant in throwing out this, and warm your party in the Lords House.
Sir William Coventry.] He will only say this one little thing, that the readiness of the House of Commons to throw a Bill out, without Debate, is not usual—This Bill being, seemingly, only to feel our pulse for a Toleration. He is not afraid of the success of our Bill with the Lords. When the Nation sees the zeal of this House against Popery, it will put courage into Magistrates, to put the Laws in execution. Would not give it the countenance of a Debate, but throw it out.
Mr Sacheverell.] Would have something on our books, not only of the Title of the Bill, but something that it meant a Toleration of Popery.
Sir William Coventry.] The Bill has so good a Title, that it would be a reflection upon us to cast it out, upon our books: But he would cause some entry to be made, "That finding, upon reading the Bill, that it repealed many Laws against Popery, we have thrown it out."
The Speaker.] Proposes this to be upon your books, viz. "That a Bill coming from the Lords, so entitled, was rejected at the first reading." That is the ordinary way of entry. But if you please to let it be thus, viz. "The House, upon reading and opening the Bill, sent from the Lords, entitled, &c. finding it much otherwise, have rejected it."
Mr Waller.] If we enter it so, this will teach the Lords to make Notes upon our Bills. If we do this, it will remain upon record. Would have you content yourselves with a Nemine contradicente in throwing out the Bill, and have it so entered.
Sir John Trevor.] When we send such a Bill up to the Lords, he would have the Lords do so by us.
Resolved, That the Entry be made as the Speaker proposed, viz. Upon reading the said Bill, and opening the substance there of to the House, it appeared to be much different from the Title; and thereupon the House, Nem. con. rejected the same (fn. 5).
The House then read, the third time, their own Bill for suppressing the growth of Popery, the heads whereof are as follows:
"He shall be esteemed a Priest, or Jesuit, that is a native of this realm, and hath taken Orders from the Church of Rome. Here, or there, saying of Mass, he shall be esteemed a Jesuit, or Seminary Priest, &c.—The Treasurer, after such conviction, shall, in each county, receive of them (Papists) the penalty of former Laws—To the end they shall not conceal themselves, presentment shall be made by the Constables, &c. of persons suspected, in order to their prosecution—The Declaration shall be recorded. All penalties arising shall be vested in Commissioners, in the country, for purchasing impropriations, and for augmentation of poor vicarages. The Commissioners and Treasurer shall nominate four persons, to be presented to the Grand Jury, who shall give good security for the money arising by such penalties and forfeitures—They shall proceed by instructions, and be discharged by the said Commissioners. A copy of the account shall be given to the Grand Jury, and be made record; and if they do not their duty, they shall be proceeded against by the Commissioners. If they do their duty, they shall have so much per ann. They shall have a Clerk, or Clerks. The Commissioners shall be a Body-politic. The Justices of the Peace shall fine, for remissness, the Constables and Church-wardens. No Papist convict but shall have the benefit of first reconciling himself. All Conveyances, made by Papists, shall be published in six months, or shall be void. And such Covenants, with other persons, shall be esteemed maintenance; and Champetry Papists shall take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy at eighteen years of age. If they do not, the next of kin shall enter upon their estates, allowing them a competent maintenance. All discoverers of fraudulent Conveyances shall have a third part."
[The Bill was sent up to the Lords for their Concurrence.]
Thursday, April 5.
The Commons appointed this day for completing the Money Bill; but something of the Irish Cattle falling in the way, by a Motion from Col. Birch, for a limited Importation, taking the advantage of the thinness of the House, they sell upon that so eagerly, that there was no room for the other. Upon which the House divided, first, upon the Question, Whether the present Act prohibiting the importation of Irish Cattle, should be made perpetual, or no; which was carried in the Negative, 155 to 144. Then, after some hours, about five o'clock, a second Question was put, Whether the present two Laws [prohibiting the importing foreign Cattle] should be repealed, or no; which was carried in the Affirmative, 132 to 90.
The House sat till nine at night, and were divided six or seven times (fn. 6). Twice about the Questions; another time, about continuing or adjourning the Debate; which was carried, for continuing, 131 to 115. Another Division about Candles, carried in the Affirmative, 130 to 109. A fifth, for a limited Importation, allowing them to be brought in only from the 4th of February to a certain day in May; and that they may be all alive. And a sixth, about what Imposition should be laid upon their coming in: It was carried, That they should be quite free, without any Imposition. [And a Bill was ordered in accordingly.] The Compiler was absent at this Debate.
[April 6, 7, and 9, omitted.]
Tuesday, April 10.
On reading the Bill for continuing the additional Duty of Excise.
Col. Birch.] The last year, we exported into France to the value of 140,000l. and we imported from thence 1,300,000l. in linnen, and wines. He would read the nine-penny Bill of the additional Duty of Excise, and keep the great Tax-Bill as a pawn for our other Bills.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The little Bill of Excise is more purely a gift, than the Tax-Bill, that being for the defence of the Nation; and desires gentlemen would spare what they have to say, till the reading of that Bill; and would have the Tax-Bill read now.
[The Bill was read the second time, and ordered to be committed.]
A Clause was proposed to be added, for the Exportation of Corn.
Col. Birch.] For every four shillings Export of Corn, the Nation has thirty-five shillings advantage, besides the navigation—As you under-balance abroad, you over-balance at home—The carriers come to London with money, and none goes back. This benefit of exporting Corn, is such a distribution of the money, (though it be said that the midland has not the benefit of it) that it has influence all over England—Would have this Clause, that the Nation be not utterly ruined. Either this that we have for Corn must come all in in bullion, or in commodities that pay the King a considerable Custom. This Corn Clause is as natural in the Bill as any thing. You were moved for Exportation of Beer—The last year, 700 ton was exported; and it may be as good for the nation as the Corn Clause. if it were encouraged. He knows there are now contracts for Corn, if the Clause for Importation, &c. be continued, of 1000 and 3000 quarters. If not, there will be so much the less. It is natural to tack such a Clause to a Tax-Bill, to enable us the better to pay it— Gentlemen would have it exported, when it brings Corn to a true balance—When four shillings and four pence the Bushel, then not to be exported—'Tis worse for the poor, when Corn is twenty pence the bushel, than when it is ten groats. It has been said, "that when we are told what this Clause has cost the King, he would have satisfaction." Brandy is grown so customary, that a fellow will rather go without bread. Would have ten-pence, instead of eight-pence, upon Brandy, and that will be a compensation.
Sir George Downing.] Wheat at 3s. 6d. from the place from whence it has grown; Barley 15 and 16d. —The Imposition twenty in the hundred—There is not a week's consumption of Corn gone into Holland. If Tolls be taken off from the rivers Rhine, and Maese, they need fetch no Corn out of England; they would take it all from the Princes of Germany. The War Holland has had with France, and the Swede, &c. has necessitated them to take Corn from England. In time of Peace they will take none.
Col. Birch.] He agrees that Downing can speak much to this, or any thing else. He will suppose Foreigners, French, Dutch, &c. We do not give them the Corn: Be they who they will, they must pay for the Corn here. The Nation has got 600,000l. by it, besides the navigation. Downing said, "in a dear year we shall pay for it." But buying and stocking up poor mens Corn, is not popular, but will remedy scarcity at any time. Storing of Corn might do good, but does not remedy for the present. If once there be such an Imposition, that Corn cannot be carried cheaper than Dantzick, the Clause is at an end.
The Clause was rejected, [116 to 87, and the Bill, with Amendments, was afterwards reported, and ordered to be ingrossed.]
Mr Powle reported, from the Committee, the Address concerning the Duke of Norfolk (fn. 7), which was read, and agreed to by the House, and is as follows:
"We, your Majesty's most loyal subjects, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, in this present Parliament assembled having, at the Petition of divers Commoners, greatly concerned in the preservation of the life and estate of the Duke of Norfolk, entered into consideration of the present condition of the said Duke; and, upon solemn hearing of Counsel on both sides, and examination of several Witnesses before the House, having found, that the said Duke is a Lunatic, and hath been so for many years past; and during all that time to have been kept in parts beyond the sea, at Padua, under the dominion of the State of Venice; notwithstanding his condition is such, as we conceive, that he may safely and conveniently, and to the great benefit of his person (considering his distemper) be removed thence into England; do most humbly beseech your Majesty, that you would graciously be pleased to take some effectual course, that the said Duke may be speedily brought over into this Kingdom; that thereby he may be more immediately under your Majesty's care: Which will be not only to the great comfort and relief of the said Petitioners, but the general satisfaction of your Majesty's subjects; who think themselves, and all others in whom they are concerned, most safe and secure under your Majesty's Royal Protection."]
Wednesday, April 11.
Mr Secretary Williamson delivered to the House the following Message from his Majesty:
"His Majesty, having considered your last Address, and finding some late Alteration in the Affairs abroad, thinks it necessary to put you in mind, that the only way to prevent the danger which may arise to these Kingdoms, must be, by putting his Majesty timely in condition to make such fitting Preparations, as may enable him to do what may be most for the security of them. And if, for this reason, you shall desire to sit any longer time, the King is content you adjourn now, before Easter, and meet again suddenly after, to ripen this matter, and to perfect some of the most necessary Bills now depending."
Mr Secretary Williamson.] He said, "Adjourn;" but the King means, by short Adjournments, to October, to have the Parliament within call, upon emergencies.
Lord Obrien.] He is glad our Address has had so good effect. We are told of " a sudden Adjournment;" and he desires some convenient time after Easter, to finish Bills depending.
Lord Cavendish.] The King, in his Message, does signify " an Alteration in Affairs;" but not what, nor what influence it has had, or change upon his Council. When he does, we shall do what the King can desire of us, upon this occasion. Till then, we are not ripe for the matter—And he would hear the Report from the Lords Conference.
Mr Stockdale.] "To fit after Easter to ripen things"— That is, in plain English, to grant Money. The Secretary delivered the King's meaning, "That we should not sit, but adjourn from time to time till October:" And he would have the Secretary's Message entered upon the Books.
Mr Stanhope.] It is not possible that any reasonable time can dispatch the Bills depending before us; and the King may suffer, by the Commissioners not putting the Act for the Tax in execution, by their stay here, and five hundred of us being reduced to a hundred and forty. 'Tis not parliamentary, nor safe, to sit with so few; and he would move the King for a Recess for some longer time.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] He knows not whether he did express himself clear enough. He said, "The King intended a Recess by Adjournment;" and though the King means not so as to fit till October, yet, by short Adjournments, to meet as occasion should require.
Mr Powle.] He cannot concur with the Motion, to meet again after Easter. The Session already has been a great labour to us, and our occasions require our presence; and he desires to have no other meeting, for few will attend it, being gone into the country. On the other side, this Message from the King respects our Address, concerning the French King's Greatness. If the King has entered into Alliances, and if he declared them, he would assist the King to support them. As for the other Bills, they may keep till October, by Adjournment. He would not have the House make an Address to the King, as if we affect sitting. But he believes, if there be occasion for us to meet, men will be ready to come up, upon reasonable Summons.
Sir Thomas Lee.] What with the Writing, and the verbal Message delivered by Secretary Williamson, it puts him to a stand. If there be a necessity for taking Arms immediately, then there may be a Proclamation to call up your Members. He would have the Message farther explained.
Col. Birch.] He cannot make the Messages agree with one another. He remembers our Address; and, to be clear, would have this Message, by word of mouth by the Secretary, entered, with that on Paper, into our Books, as an Explanation of it. Adjournment must be with a House; and the Message says, we are to do no Business. If it be cleared, that no Business is to be done, then we may sit more quietly at home.
Sir John Ernly.] There was not an apprehension of the loss of Flanders, till this repulse of the Prince of Orange (fn. 8). Reparation now will not be seasonably asked. The King has neither Stores, nor Money, nor Ships. Twenty or thirty Privateers may easily burn all our Ships, and master the Channel. That you will make such reasonable Preparations, as may help your Friends, or an Adjournment—Both are left to you by the King.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] He has not had the honour to see the King these three days, by reason of indisposition, and so is not acquainted particularly with the Message. But it does not speak to press you to any thing; but it lays before you his condition, and that he will take his measures according to the proportion that you will help him. Your Address is, "That you will stand by him in such Alliances as he shall make, &c." But what if the King make Alliances with one hand, and offend with the other, and be not provided with defence!—A man would have his servant go a journey, but will not have him engage in it, till he be provided with boots and horses, &c. Make what use of it you please.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] We have had many Bills before, but have been so unfortunate as not to come at them—He would have it declared the sense of the House—And request from the King an Adjournment, for some short time, to perfect the Bills depending; that the world may not say, we have passed the Money-Bills, and no more. He would have something entered on the Journal, that there may be nothing reflecting upon us, as passing Money Bills, and no more.
Mr Hopkins.] Are we assured that that Servant whom Coventry spoke of would go that journey, when he has boots and horse provided him?
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would it be wisdom in the King to tell you what journey he would go, or that he would go a journey, without being provided for it?
Mr Boscawen.] Would not have us address the King to meet soon again, upon account of the Bills—It seems, it is not a fit time, or place, to tell you if any thing be done, as to your Address, here. If the King intends to give an Answer to the Address, then we may meet, but not as to the Bills; and he would address the King accordingly.
Sir Philip Warwick.] 'Tis the King's great wisdom, that he gives you no more light, in his Answer to your Address. It looks like a Night-piece, under that shade which is fitting for it. If we will give no Supplies, till the King make such Engagements, &c. we put him upon hardships; and if we vote farther Engagements to supply him, he knows not how the Country will take it. Whenever our Servant is booted, he will go on that errand, &c. He would have us return Answer to the King, "That, whenever he will make such Engagements, according to our Address we will supply him."
Sir Henry Capel.] When the King sends us word, "that there is an Alteration of Affairs," he would take some notice of it in our Books, with some Resolution upon it. He would have this Address, pursuant to the former Address—Would not vary from that method, and would pass a Vote, "That, because the King is convinced, by the defeat of the Prince of Orange, that he should make Alliances, &c." And therefore this Vote is pursuant to our former Addresses.
Sir Henry Ford.] He knows not what farther security we can give the King, in this case, than we have done. He would address, "That we humbly accept of the King's Intimation of a short Adjournment." For our preservation, if our House was on fire, we would give some, to save all.
Sir John Hotham.] He knows it his duty never to suspect the King; but has reason to suspect elsewhere. The Address before was, "That we hold ourselves obliged in prosecuting such Alliances, &c. to assist the King." If gentlemen would speak clear out, neither his estate nor person should be spared, whilst he has a drop of blood, or a penny in his purse, to support them.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Some gentlemen press to sit after Easter, for perfecting the Bills before us. He would have the King know, " If these Alterations, spoken of in the Message, require our farther attendance, we are ready to sit; if not, to go into the country."
Sir Robert Howard.] Should this Message from the King receive no good account from us, our former Addresses would fall the flatter. The House seems to stick upon the Address. On the other side, the King thinks it hard to perform, and make Preparations— Distrust of some Assistance, and no effect come of it. Some are for the King's Declaration of Alliances. It is a thing impracticable to have effect of any Answer from the House, betwixt this and Easter. Did you expect, in all these things, to adjourn to October, and let things do and act themselves? He moves, "That the King may be returned Thanks for his Message; and to let him know, we desire to adjourn till after Easter, to meet to receive a farther account then from the King."
Sir Henry Goodrick.] He moves to return the King Thanks, on two heads: "For putting it into your power to adjourn yourselves, for a short, or long time; and to assure him, that, not only now, but at any time, we will meet, to supply him with our best and utmost endeavours."
Lord Cavendish.] He is against meeting after Easter, in relation to perfecting the Bills depending. If there be any good Bills, they may as well be in October. He questions whether they be good Bills. "Good Bills" and "good Titles" differ much. As the Lords Bill to prevent the Growth of Popery (fn. 9); and the Habeas Corpus Bill, as 'tis come down from the Lords, has a "good Title," but doubts whether 'tis a "good Bill." If it be, it may as well be in October, as now—He would "thank the King for expressing his gracious Intimation, &c." and would assist him, &c. "with our Lives and Fortunes;" though it has been an unlucky expression. It was said by Secretary Coventry, "You have given great security to the King"—But, whenever the King enters into Alliances, it will be known all over the World, and then here. He distrusts not the King, but his Ministers.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King doubts not the constancy of this House. The King of Spain has good Alliances. The Hollander is firm to him, and he has great Engagements. Valenciennes and St Omers [are] taken, and [were] not provided for, and yet no failing in the Alliances. You'll come too late, "with Lives and Fortunes," if you engage the King in a War, before he be provided for it. Lord Willoughby, Governor of Barbadoes and the English Plantations, sent an Order (but did not prepare Forces) to the French Governor in St Christopher's, who was in the middle of us there, to be gone in three days. Why should he send such a Message? We lived together in great friendship; but it was so ordered, that they fell upon us, and got the Island. The thing is, let us consider, whether we be safe at home, before we go abroad—That we be provided with Stores and Necessaries.
Sir William Coventry.] The matter is, the King seems to think that Affairs are so altered abroad, that it is necessary we should be stricter in the matter we desired of him. He seems to intimate, that he is not in a condition to do what we desire of him, and expects something from us, according to our Promise, in the Addresses, "to aid and assist him." Now the Question is, How far we should go forwarder? If we were not at the end of a Session, he would never stick at it. But moving for a Tax, now gentlemen are gone down, and [after] an Intimation from the King, "that we should rise suddenly," there is so much consequence in such a surprize, that he will never move you to it. We hear abroad, with both ears, of the Prince of Orange's ill success; but he hopes your Address has heartened the Confederates; and, the King complying, he would be loth the thing should fall flat in our hands. He would be loth the French Counsellors should say to the King, "They that advised you, shrink, and slacken their hands." He would not therefore strengthen those French Counsellors—Would not be thought so pusillanimous a Nation, that, when, three weeks ago, we addressed the King, on this success of the French [we should] shrink from it. The more the danger is, 'tis ten times more necessary that you should do something; and 'tis never too late, till all be gone. He is raw and imperfect in what to move; but wishes, from his soul, this Message had been sent three days ago. You have given the King Money for thirty Ships, and that cannot be laid out for that purpose under three years. He hears [it] talked of, "that October may be soon enough to meet again." But the day before to-morrow is not soon enough. You are in danger of being lost before October. If it concur with the Rules of the House, he would make no scruple to move, "That the King may have power to make use of some part of that Money, with our promise to reimburse it again, upon this occasion." The King seems to be willing we should sit after Easter, that we may be witnesses, in a short time, how far he has gone in our Addresses; and hopes he meant to ripen that matter, that you may be witnesses he has done his utmost. He desires we may adjourn before Easter, with this reservation, "That, if the King see cause sooner than October, he may call us by Proclamation, at twenty days notice, to give him farther aid." A little of that already given may help him and the Confederates. A little Money may go a great way—But he will not go farther than 200,000l.
Sir Thomas Lee.] As for the Motion of "200,000l." 'tis not possible to be done; for you must have a Prorogation for altering the day in the Tax-Bill; as it may be of dangerous consequence for the Lords to do it. The King may destroy your Adjournment by Proclamation—He is informed there must be a special Act of Parliament for doing it, viz. for calling that Parliament in the interval of Adjournment.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] Is our Fleet, that we have given Money to set out, and the Excise, a secret to the King of France? And is not that making War? Can the Fleet go incognito? He would have nothing said of secrecy. If occasion be, we may meet particularly on that account, and none else.
Sir Thomas Lee.] 'Tis said, "We should meet after Easter, in relation to Public Bills;" but he is against it, unless, withal, the Money-Bills may lie on the Table. He speaks against the Offer of any Public Bills whatever—We are embarrassed in Foreign Business, and all for want of confidence, left the Money should be for some ill intent, and not have the direct fruit of it. If, on the other hand, we show coldness or tergiversation in the House, 'tis the ruin of us all. He is in suspense what to do, and how. He could have wished the Paper from the King had been sent sooner. He shall, for the present, move, "to consider the thing farther to-morrow morning." The Paper has been considered, and well weighed, by the King's Council; he would do so too here; and hopes we shall do like Englishmen.
The farther Debate was adjourned till to-morrow.
Sir Henry Capel.] Is against the Report of the Conference from the Lords, because it may disable us from doing any thing in that Bill of Money.
The Conference was reported, and is as follows: (fn. 10)
"The Lords thought fit to deliver you some Amendments to the Tax-Bill, at a Conference. The Lords chose to do it at a Conference, to avoid mistakes. The Lord Chancellor managed. The Auditor of the Exchequer is, by the Bill, sent up to account to (fn. 10) the House of Commons" only, in Parliament. The Lords would have "the Lords and Commons" joined. The Lords apprehended it necessary, that the Clause, being for Public Use, may have a Public Account, and ought to be, "To the Lords, with the Commons. 21 K. James, three Subsidies were granted, for the Palatinate, &c. Some Lords, and some Commoners, were Treasurers—Eight Citizens. This is not a Clause for Accomptants, Debtor and Creditor; but a Misdemeanor, and 'tis necessary the Account should be in Parliament—Money actually brought into the Exchequer. The Lords are part of the Government, and ought to have a share in the whole vigour of the Government, to punish Offenders and Transgressors against this Law. This is but a Declaration of the Law."
Thursday, April 12.
The Compiler went out of town this day, and left the House sitting; when, after having resumed the adjourned Debate on the King's Message,
Resolved, That a Clause be added to the Bill for continuing the additional Duty of Excise, to enable his Majesty to borrow 200,000l. at 7 per cent.
Resolved also, That the Thanks of this House be presented to his Majesty, for laying before them his Majesty's sense of the Posture of Affairs abroad; and to let his Majesty know, that, in order to his Majesty's Preparations, in pursuance of the Address of this House, for the Safety of the Kingdom, they have provided a security of 200,000l. And that whatsoever of that sum shall be expended accordingly, shall be by them reimbursed: And whensoever the Posture of his Majesty's Affairs shall require their Attendance in Parliament, they will be ready to aid and assist him, as the nature of his Majesty's Affairs shall require. And a Committee was appointed to draw up an Address, pursuant to the said Vote.
[The Amendments made by the Lords to the Bill for raising 584,978l. &c. being read, were disagreed to by the House; and Reasons were ordered to be drawn up to be offered at a Conference.
Friday, April 13.
Sir John Trevor reported the Address, which was read, and agreed to by the House,] and is as follows:
"May it please your Most Excellent Majesty,
"We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, do, with great satisfaction of mind, observe the regard your Majesty is pleased to express to our former Addresses, by intimating to us the late Alteration in Affairs abroad; and do return our most humble Thanks for your Majesty's gracious offer made to us thereupon, in your last Message. And having taken a serious deliberation of the same, and of the Preparations your Majesty hath therein intimated to us, were fitting to be made, in order to these public ends, we have, for the present, provided a security in a Bill for an additional Duty of Excise, upon which your Majesty may raise the sum of 200,000l. And if your Majesty shall think fit to call us together again, for this purpose, in some short time after Easter, by any public signification of your Majesty's pleasure commanding our attendance, we shall, at our next meeting, not only be ready to reimburse your Majesty what Sums of Money shall be expended upon such extraordinary Preparations, as shall be made in pursuance of our former Addresses; but shall likewise, with most chearful hearts, proceed both then, and at all other times, to furnish your Majesty with so large proportions of Assistances and Supplies, upon this occasion, as may give your Majesty, and the whole World, an ample Testimony of our Loyalty and Affection to your Majesty's Service; and may enable your Majesty, by the help of Almighty God, to maintain such stricter Alliances, as you shall have have entered into, against all Opposition whatsoever."
The Commons had a Conference with the Lords, and gave their Reasons for not agreeing to the Amendments their Lordships had made to the Money-Bill, They then passed the Bill for continuing the additional Duty of Excise, with a Clause to enable the King to raise 200,000l. at 7 per cent. and sent them both up, united, to the Lords. Sir John Trevor, who carried up the long Bill against Popery to the Lords, did, by Order, remind their Lordships of that Bill; intimating, "That the Commons wondered they had heard nothing of it (fn. 11)." Upon which, (as it was said,) the Earl of Bridgwater (fn. 12) suggested an Answer to it, which he conceived might be proper; which was, "That their Lordships had sent a second Bill to the Commons, for securing the Protestant Religion, before they received this from the Commons; and they had had no account yet from the Commons, which they might reasonably expect, before they thought themselves obliged to give them an account of theirs, which they had received since."
After this, the Commons attended the King at Whitehall with the Address that was voted on Thursday last.
Saturday, April 14.
The last Conference produced a free Conference, this day. Upon this Debate, there happened several reflections on the old differences between the two Houses. The matter was well performed on both sides [in the afternoon.] The Commons, after a long Debate, coming to a Question, Whether they should adhere to their former sense, or agree; it was carried for adhering, 156 to 27.
Monday, April 16.
The Lords agreed to leave out their Amendments, and passed the Money-Bill as it was sent up.
Mr Secretary Williamson delivered the following Message from his Majesty.
"His Majesty, having considered the Answer of this House to his last Message, about enabling him to make fitting Preparations for the security of these Kingdoms, finds by it, That they have only enabled him to borrow 200,000l. upon a Fund given him for other uses: His Majesty desires, therefore, the House should know, and hopes they will always believe of him, that not only that Fund, but any other within his power, shall be engaged to the utmost for preservation of his Kingdoms.
"But as his Majesty's condition is, (which, he doubts not, but is as well known to this House as to himself) he must tell them plainly, that, without a sum of 600,000l. or credit for such a sum upon new Funds, it will not be possible for him to speak or act those things which should answer the ends of their several Addresses, without exposing the Kingdoms to much greater dangers.
"His Majesty does farther acquaint them, that, having done his part, and laid the true state of things before them, he will not be wanting to use the best means for the safety of his people, which his present condition is capable of.
Given at the Court at Whitehall, the 16th day of April, 1677."
An Address, in Answer to this, [was ordered to be prepared, which was reported by Sir William Coventry, in the afternoon, when it was agreed to by the House,] and is as follows:
"May it please your Majesty,
"Your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, having considered your Majesty's last Message, and the gracious expressions therein contained, for employing your whole Revenue, at any time, to raise Money for the preservation of your Majesty's Kingdoms, do find great cause to return our most humble Thanks for the same; and to desire your Majesty to rest assured, that you shall find as much Duty and Affection in us, as can be expressed by a most loyal People to a most gracious Sovereign. And whereas your Majesty is pleased to signify to us, "That the sum of 200,000l. is not sufficient, without farther Supplies, to enable your Majesty to speak and act those things which are desired by your People," we humbly take leave to acquaint your Majesty, that, many of our Members being (upon an expectation of Adjournment before Easter) gone into their several countries, we cannot think it Parliamentary, in their absence, to take upon us the granting of Money; but do therefore desire your Majesty to be pleased, that this House may adjourn itself for such short time (before the sum of 200,000l. can be expended) as your Majesty shall think fit; and, by your Royal Proclamation, command the Attendance of all our Members at the day of meeting: By which time, we hope your Majesty may have so formed your Affairs, and fixed your Alliances, in pursuance of our former Addresses, that your Majesty may be graciously pleased to impart them to us in Parliament.
"And we no ways doubt, but, at our next assembling, your Majesty will not only meet with a compliance in the Supply your Majesty desires, but with all such Assistances, as the Posture of your Affairs shall require: In confidence whereof, we hope your Majesty will be encouraged in the mean time "to speak and act such things," as your Majesty shall judge necessary for attaining those great ends we have formerly represented to your Majesty."
N. B. Thus far the Compiler was absent.
[The House then adjourned, by his Majesty's pleasure, to May 21.]