Debates in 1677: May 21st-23rd

Pages 355-374

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

Monday, May 21.

The Parliament met, according to his Majesty's Proclamation.

The King made no Speech, but ordered one of the Secretaries to acquaint the House of Commons, "That he would have them consider the substance of his last Message as soon as they could; for that he intended a Recess very suddenly (fn. 1)." Whereupon, the

Earl of Ancram.] Moved, that the King's last Message might be read.

Mr Sacheverell.] He has not heard the Message, for he was not here when the Address was made; but, if he understands it right, the Message seems to be, and he hopes it is, "for Alliances, &c." that when we came back, we might see our Money laid out—before we came hither again. Before we come to a Question, several things are to be taken into consideration; as, whether the Nation may be preserved by Peace, before we think of War; and how far either is for England's interest? And, if Gentlemen enter into Debate, what our Interest is, then 'tis time to speak, whether to give, or not; and how much. He would know, what Alliances we have made since we met last, and whether the Money be laid out according to your intention.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] As to the Question Sacheverell proposes, he knows not of what nature it is. If Alli ances are made, or not made, they are not to be talked of in public. The King has Alliances with Spain, Denmark, Sweden, and many others. He would know what Sacheverell means.

Mr Sacheverell.] If the case stands there, he would know what new Alliances have been made—He thinks the Nation may be preserved without expence of blood, or treasure. He proposes, fairly and calmly, that the thing may be opened, and that we may take the safest and securest way for the Nation, either by Peace or War. Unless such Alliances are made as we addressed for, 'tis in vain to make War, and run into hazard with potent neighbours, as we did before, when we wanted Alliances. He moves, that we may go into a Committee of the whole House, for the more free and full Debate of the thing; and that it may be scanned where our Interest lies. As to France's growing greatness, it being greater than is consistent with the Interest of England, he would know how he came by that power, that, as he has it, he may be reduced back again. As to his number of Shipping, his Purse is too big for us; and if an Alliance with Holland be not secured, we can never combat both their Fleets. 'Tis the Interest of Holland to be ready to join with us, and we with them; and, if joined, France can never come up to us, in number or force; and so we may preserve the Netherlands. He would have the House go into a Grand Committee, fairly and calmly to debate of Alliances; and if that way will not do, he will go what way you please.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He is not against the Motion, if the thing were not already done. We are off of that "of Alliances." It has been already debated, and addressed to the King, and a return of Answer upon it; and the matter is gone beyond debating. The last Return from the King to your Address, was, "He would do what you advised him; and without such a Sum of Money, or Credit for it, he could not speak nor act the request of your Addresses." This being a Continuation of Parliament, Sacheverell's Motion is over entirely. The Question is, plainly and nakedly, What will you do? In matter of Alliances, the King tells you, "He cannot act nor speak of it, without being farther in a condition of owning it abroad." And the thing can admit of no other Answer than is already given by the King.

Sir William Coventry.] He hopes no time has been lost, since we met last; and hopes that what we then desired is done, though not told us in what manner He finds himself to have the same inclinations he had before, and has ever since persisted in them, and hopes he shall never waver. The thing is rightly stated. To enquire what Alliances we have entered into, since we met last, is not our Question; or whether Peace be properly Alliances; but our present Purpose is, whether the Alliances, that require the Assistance of the House to maintain them, are proportionable to our ends in our Address; and if they appear to be so, he will then not be wanting to support them. It has been said, "The matter requires more time to finish, than this intermission of five weeks." But our first Address was a longer time before than since the Recess. He has heard, that the Triple Alliance was made in five days, when Holland had Peace, and no more need of our Alliance than France had. Can any man think that Holland requires your Alliance less now, than when they were in Peace? He cannot imagine it hard, in time of War, to admit of a Confederate, the Triple Alliance being done in five days—The King's Ministers know their time best; therefore we mentioned no time for our Recess; and, by the time we met, we expected Alliances to be made; and we needed not have met, if Alliances were not fit to be declared, nor ripe to be told us; being not fit to alarm our neighbours, but so that all may enter into the War together; for it is feared it should alarm France. If it were in his choice, he would rather have him alarmed in summer than in winter, when his Armies are in the field, and employed. In winter, the French King has no other employment—Is it a less alarm to give Money to support Alliances, than to declare War? We must have something for it, he knows; for why do we give it? If Alliances are not made, we are come too soon. Perhaps a Post or two may ripen Alliances fit for imparting; and moves to adjourn to Thursday.

Sir John Ernly.] He hears it said, "If we are entered into War, we know what to give"—The King tells you, "He cannot stir one step farther without 600,000l." He wishes that Alliances might be made without Blood; but he understands them not. With Spain you cannot make one step farther than is upon you already, but what must produce Blood. That step is a War. He comes not here to ask Money, but we cannot be insensible of our own weakness. We want Ships and Stores, and the King has used all his Credit, but cannot get any [thing] from the City, but doubtful Answers from the Lord Mayor—There are fortytwo Ships ready, and there are thirty more preparing; and if all you have given had been in ready Money, there could not have been taken a better course—All thirty ready in twelve weeks; and Stores, as far as Crediz will go, are taken care for; and if, in this case you are in, you will go farther, you must assist the King.

Sir Thomas Lee.] It has been said, "It will be useful to adjourn a day or two; possibly Alliances may be perfected in that time."—You are told of "fortytwo Ships ready, and thirty more going on." So you are told you have matter of defence, and are in safety enough to befriend your Alliances, which may possibly be finished in two or three days; and you may adjourn to Wednesday.

Sir John Ernly.] Whereas Gentlemen say, "You are, as to Ships, in as good a posture as you were a year ago," he knows that Ships are forced to beg PressWarrants, by reason of many seamen being gone out, having no other employment than in Merchant-Ships. The Dutch and French have got them from us: Therefore he would never advise to run into a War, till all things are fitted for it.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] He thinks of our Address, and the King's Answer, as, when Mortgages are made, 'tis not enough for one party to consent; both must. The King says, "Without a Fund of 600,000l. he cannot act nor speak, &c." And we cannot farther urge the thing, unless we give the King a reason for what we advise. 'Tis the happiness of the Kingdom, that the King either by reason brings us to his opinion, or we bring him to ours in this thing.

Mr Mallet.] We were bare-faced then, when we made the Address, and wonders we should not be so now. All we do is insignificant, if we know not what Alliances are made. The King may "act and speak" out, if he pleases; and we may have assurance mutual, that it is to support the Protestant Cause. 'Till then, he begs leave to sit down again.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Upon your Journal, 'tis eight weeks since you debated first this matter. A week before Easter, we were as forward as now; only more Ships are gone out, and so the King is better "able to speak;" but, it seems, the matter is not yet ready. We desire security from the fears of the growth of France. He agrees with the Motion for a Committee of the whole House, to consider what other way will stop the growth of the power of France, if this will not do. The Triple League was made in five or six days, and this has been six weeks depending, and the matter [yet] in agitation. Those Alliances look like War, and we do it like War. He agrees with the Motion for Adjournment, and by Thursday, possibly, we may have an Answer, for a fuller account. The King then, "not being able to speak or act, &c." that which is left to you is, to consider whether the King is in a sufficient posture to propound and accept Alliances. If we had had other Ministers, Alliances would have been propounded, or accepted, in all this time, &c. You must either be the French King's Province, or Creatures, or fortify yourselves against his power. A Post or two may give you farther satisfaction; and he would adjourn for a few days. In answer to Secretary Coventry, there is never good of it, when the King of France is so well acquainted with our Counsels.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] He has a farther reason for adjourning for a few days. He speaks only to what is vulgarly reported. He considers the Disorders that the foreign Ambassadors are in here, The Baron of Bergereck is in a doubtful condition here, as not being owned by the Ministers of Spain at Brussels. If any Overture be from abroad, by reason of this, it will be later; therefore he would take a competent time of Adjournment, till Friday. He remembers, Grotius says, in his book De Jure Belli et Pacis, on the causes of making War, "If a Prince makes extraordinary Preparations, or any thing tending to it, 'tis not only a just cause for his neighbouring Prince to arm, for jealousy of his safety, but, unless he desists that Preparation, to make War upon him." The use he makes of it is this; that the King of France has a vigilant Council, and a watchful eye upon the King, and our Messages to him, and his Answers, and on the King's demand of 600,000l. When this was on foot, 'tis not to be imagined but that this expostulation being made, either the French Ministers are told, that this is not against France, or are left doubtful where it is intended. Why then is this darkness to the King's subjects, when the matter is clear to the King of France one way or the other? He would divide the Question; one, to adjourn "the Debate," and the other "the House."

Mr Secretary Coventry.] If Littleton would have spoken to him about the Baron of Bergereck, he would have satisfied him. Don Salines is not owned by the King of Spain, as Ambassador; he is only sent by the Duke of Villa Hermosa—Never any public Minister. stayed so long here without Credentials from his Master. He is owned only as Envoy from the Duke of Villa Hermosa, and not as Ambassador from the King of Spain.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] He believes what Coventry says to be so, but there is dissatisfaction from Brussels, about the Baron of Bergereck, by reason of the great distance from Spain thither, and the slowness there practised; and he has seen letters that say they are dissatisfied about him at Brussels.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Duke of Villa Hermosa does not disavow him.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Moves for reviving Committees.

Ordered, That the Committee be revived for the Bill to recall his Majesty's subjects out of the French King's service, [Adjourned to Wednesday.]

Wednesday, May 23.

His Majesty sent for the House to Whitehall, and made the following Speech, which was afterwards reported and read by the Speaker:


"I have sent for you hither, that I might prevent those mistakes and distrusts, which I find some are ready to make, as if I had called you together only to get Money from you for other uses than you would have it employed.

"I do assure you, upon the word of a King, that you shall not repent any Trust you repose in me, for the safety of my Kingdoms; and I desire you to believe, I would not break my Credit with you.

"But as I have already told you, "that it will not be possible for me to speak or act those things, which should answer the ends of your several Addresses, without exposing my Kingdoms to much greater dangers;" so I declare to you again, that I will neither hazard my own safety, nor yours, untill I be in a better condition than I am able to put myself, both to defend my subjects, and offend my enemies.

"I do farther assure you, that I have not lost one day since your last Meeting, in doing all I can for our desence; and I tell you plainly, it shall be your Fault, and not mine, if our Security be not sufficiently provided for (fn. 2) ".


Mr Secretary Williamson.] One is for going into a Grand Committee, upon a Motion of Explanation of our Address, which seems not well understood by the King; and another, to know our own minds, what are these Alliances—But, as he takes it, all this matter has passed already over, in our own minds—We have sufficiently known the growth of France, and the hazard of the Netherlands; and these can be but one sort, and in one place. The King answers, to that of Flanders, " He is of our mind entirely;" and upon these returns, the best way to do them is, by giving him Money for Preparations. A short Recess was made, and no doubt but the King complied with the House; and we may be assured, that, if we give Money, we shall have our ends. The King has resolved to proceed to these Alliances, and there where you desire him; and he dares assure it. Therefore, why should we debate all this over again?

Sir Edward Bainton.] Here are two things before you, Money and Alliances. He is so much dissatisfied that we did precipitately enter into "Money," that, he believes, if it had not been done, you would have had "Alliances" before now. He is for Alliances, but not upon implicit faith. No one man is certain of every thing. The French Ambassadors were civilly treated; and, they say, had a good desert at parting, when they were lately here—There is a Truce proposed at Nimeguen; and we have a potent neighbour upon us. He would have us go into a Grand Committee; not because one, two, or three may speak twice, but not precipitately to jump into Money. He would be informed by freedom of Debate, which, by Order of Parliament, is not to be restrained in a Committee to speak but once. For Alliances, in the first place; and what Alliances are to be entered into, that the whole Kingdom, as one man, may be against him that shall advise the contrary. He means "this House."

Exception was taken at his words, "rise as one man, &c."

Sir Thomas Meres.] Bainton said not a word of War, in what he said. " If any single man dare advise Alliances, contrary to this House, the whole body of the Nation, "as one man," may be against him." As they are against you, you must be against them; and if we may not say so, farewell all! But he will give words to the Question: He would have it be, "to go into a Grand Committee, to consider of an Answer to the King's Speech."

Sir Philip Warwick.] Let us make Alliances among ourselves, When we are debating them abroad, let us not quarrel with ourselves. He would rather quench the flame, than increase it. Bainton's words were, "Rise, as one man, against him that should advise the contrary." The words are founding a Trumpet of War; words not fit to be said here. What will the World think of us, to fall so particularly into a diffident Answer to the King's Speech? Though we are his Great Council, we are not his Directors. He has been at his Master's elbow (the late King) when the hatchet was almost at his head—He would leave off these heats, and would have that caution, that the Committee may proceed with confidence in the King.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] He observes some exception taken at what fell from Bainton. He would therefore go into a Grand Committee, for more freedom of Debate. But since Warwick called it " a Trumpet of Sedition in Bainton's mouth," which words can have no other explanation than "Rebellion," (which words Bainton did not say) he desires an explanation from Warwick—He would therefore, for more freedom of Debate, go into a Grand Committee.

The House then resolved into a Grand Committee, on the King's Speech. Sir John Trevor took the Chair.

Sir Eliab Harvey.] Moves, " That we may enter into an Alliance, offensive and defensive, with the States of Holland."

Sir Robert Howard.] War is not a necessary consequence of Alliances. Trusting the King, or not trusting the King, is a word of a strange nature—Will not be put to it, Trust or not trust. No man can bring it up so strictly. He speaks this upon grounds that are deep, and not strange. Some, he hears, say, "Alliances may produce a War;" and some say, "must produce a War." To put the King upon Alliances with the Dutch—Is that all? One is slow-paced Necessity, and another a quick Suspicion. Consideration is best for every body; and he would adjourn to Friday.

Sir John Hothem.] He ever thought it fit for us to abate the pride, asswage the malice, and confound the devices of the King of France. Plainly, he desires, as Harvey has moved, "That we may make an Address to the King, to make a League, offensive and defensive, with the States of Holland, against the King of France."

Mr Secretary Coventry.] He hears a Proposition made, that he never heard of before, "To enter into a League, offensive and defensives," without any Treaty ever made; and another Gentleman moves "for a League to be made with the Confederates." You will never see a Precedent of any such Vote.

Mr Secretary Williemson.] Some are jealous, as if the King does call for Money for other ends than you desire. The King tells you, "That, in the interim of your parting, he has not lost one day in doing what you have desired."—He takes notice of one Motion "for a League with Holland, offensive and defensive," and another "with the Confederates, &c." He knows not how this can be made any part of the King's Speech. 'Tis a great goodness, that the King has so graciously answered us; and let us not go farther than becomes this loyal House of Commons; that we may expect to be gratified in a thing we strain not too much. Under 600,000l. the King can do nothing; and that is the naked thing before you, and proper for your Consideration.

Mr Sacheverell.] The Honour of the House is always to be preserved, and the good opinion of the King and People; and it will be so, to go by the same steps as when you were here last—To tell the King what Alliances you mean. In delay there will be danger, and the season of the year will be spent. When the King imparts those Alliances to us, then we may assist him in the support of them.

Sir Christopher Musgrave.] Can the King make you any other Answer than what he has done already? There is no proper Question before you, but, how to enable the King to enter into Alliances.

Sir Thomas Meres.] He is not for a Negative. The House has already declared how Money may be had; "by declaring Alliances." But it has been answered twice, "No; Alliances cannot be declared till we give Money." He would know what we are called together for now, by Proclamation. He conceives we are now here to give an Answer to the King's Speech when we were here last.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] When you rose last, you were not a sufficient number to answer for the whole Kingdom; therefore you then were adjourned. So that you are at a stand, till you enable the King "to act and speak," as he tells you.

Sir Thomas Meres.] He believes, the King will be convinced by our Reasons. We were, when we met last, willing to give the King Credit, till 200,000l. was expended, in maintaining the Alliances we desired. And by this time we expected Alliances should be told us. But he finds not one step of Alliances made. One said, "He was confident the King understood what Alliances we meant;" and another "not."

Mr Sacheverell.] You have Reasons given you, why Alliances should be entered into. Treves, for want of them, was devoured by the King of France; and shall we be so too? What condition are we in, to buy a Peace with Holland, as Coventry says?—And because now we are afraid of France—He would gladly have shown him how they can employ 600,000l. in making such Alliances. Whilst this Alliance is making, do they think to be ready by Winter, and fight in the Spring, and let Flanders be lost, and then be put to get it again? Is this the meaning? Give 600,000l. to be in the hands of that Council, which broke the Triple League, and greatened France! What instance can be given, that those Gentlemen have changed their Principles? Men are still sent out of Ireland and Scotland, and Arms out of the Stores in England; and they persuade the King, that nothing can be done without 600,000l. Let them not dally with us, and put us off thus with fair Promises, as they have done. When Peace was made with Holland, we desired it exclusive to France. 'Twas said then, "Trust the King;" and you were deceived then: Will you be deceived twice? Let them own Alliances, and we are for them. If not, he would not give them a penny.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] He would have Sacheverell tell him what he said then. He remembers not.

Mr Sacheverell.] 'Tis unfortunate that such Gentlemen as Coventry had not the Guidance of Affairs. He fears the Popish Interest have, and he believes him not to be so inclined—'Twas said then, "Trust the King:" And what is become of that Trust, you all know.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] As to Coventry's Story (of the Spaniard who was so poor when he died, that he desired to be buried in his cloaths) if we trust them again, that have made us thus naked, and advised the assisting France, we cannot trust them. If the King will make Alliances against France, he will give as much as ever; and we have given enough, he is sure of it.

Mr Williams.] What has been said to us in Speech, Discourse, or Message, is not to be looked upon as the King's—He gives them their true weight; they are the product of Councils. Therefore he would begain where we ought, from whence it comes. We agree, in the main, for the Safety of the Kingdom—In some measure, the King is of our opinion. The thing we are to do, is to stop the power of France, which intimidates every man—We have addressed, but, it seems, too generally about Alliances—But let us be against the Growth and Power of France, this day, or never— And he will give all he has to defend us, expressly in opposition to the French Greatness; either for an Alliance with Holland, or the Confederates. Till then, he will not give a penny.

Mr Mallet.] King James was said to be "the Solomon of his age." Our King is heir to his virtues— There is something more recorded of Solomon; he fell to strange Counsels by strange Women. And we cannot repose any confidence in the King, if he puts his Counsel into "strange Women." If they be left, God will bless his Connsels.

Sir Thomas Meres.] There are but two ways, either to defend ourselves from France, or comply with him. When we are afraid of a man, we either get his good-will, or take away his power. There are but these two ways—He would fain let his good-will alone a year or two longer.

Sir John Ernly.] He hopes the King understands the meaning of these Alliances. He shall reply only to Sacheverell, whom, he believes, his zeal has caused to say what he did. And he (Ernly) has zeal too, to concur with all these Alliances; but, by haste, he would not defeat our intentions. The King says, "He has lost no time." 'Tis known, that a separate Peace is very closely treated of, between the French and Dutch; and he hopes no public thing will be done here to hasten that Agreement. He has heard it said here, "There is no danger possible to us from the French Army being employed in Summer, &c." He hopes it may be so before Michaelmas-day. But we are an open shore, and the King of France has Privateers of great burden to annoy us—Masters of Ships say, "they saw thirty Ships, with 8000 men, bound for Sicily, and they met another squadron of Dutch Ships, so weak, that they were likely to be lost, if they engaged them." He says this, to have it weighed, that such an Address may be made, that you may arrive at the end of your desire.

Sir Edward Bainton.] Suppose you should make a Vote for Money—What you have given raises you no Credit. What is the reason, that, when we gave less sums formerly, there was greater Credit upon them? It is, because now they know not what to do with it— The Alliances are not known; and the King says, "He cannot make you any Answer, &c." which is prudent. For if we come not to Particulars, if there be a Miscarriage in making the Alliances, none of it will be laid at our doors—If we mention Alliances, we encourage them to be made. 'Tis well known, there have been ill Counsels; and what know we how those Gentlemen's words will be represented in their meaning?

Lord Cavendish.] He hears it called "The King's Speech," though he thinks it rather the product of ill Counsel: 600,000l. is demanded, to enter into and declare Alliances, because the King, by chance, may be engaged into a War—'Tis an ill precedent to charge the People, because the King may have a War; they may be so charged for the future. If the consequence of such Alliances must be a War, 'tis better now the French hands are full, and no danger of invasion, if the King makes those Alliances that we would now make. He hears "great difficulty in making these Alliances;" and "not to be done without a great Sum of Money." The Parliament said, "They will support Alliances"— And since we met, nothing has been done in pursuance of our Address, for stopping the growing Greatness of France. There is a great deal of Money asked; and how it may influence our Counsels, he examines not; but he expected Alliances against we met. He moves now, "That we may make Alliances with Holland and Spain."

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He is glad to see us come towards some end. We have had many pauses. If the King's hands are not to be trusted with the Money, clear that. But that Question carried, that is moved for, viz. " An Address to the King," is but calling for another Question, and is not to the point in question before you. If you distrust putting the Money into the hands of those who have so little satisfied you already, then 'tis proper to remove those who have had it in management, before you can go into any Alliance. It has been said, " That there are some who would be as glad of a Refusal, as of our giving Money:" He would have no such Reflections here. He knows no such persons. But hitherto this Motion is an untrodden path; and he would not come by precipitation to that first, but have it well thought of first.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Can it be imagined but that the Question of Money will have a Negative ? Therefore press it not.

Col.Birch.] It has been said, "We have had several pauses." But he will set the cart on wheels, if he can, whilst he is here. But if "there have been pauses," 'tis because you find no Alliances made. Is any thing clearer, than that, if the King would but make the Alliances we desire, we would not only give that Sum, but more? He would have us adjourn from three days to three days, till it be done; and he will move it. Chuse whether you will take his counsel, or not. Your Safety depends upon this Question, What to be done, and when. Every Gentleman says, " he would have Alliances made against the King of France." He hears that, when the Bishop of Rheims was at Oxford, he saw a book, dedicated "To the King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland;" and he threw away the book. But should he meet him again in England, he would have affronted him. If ever, the time is now to declare. If Gentlemen can show him that we are in inevitable danger, and cannot resist the King of France, then they say something. But, in six weeks time, he'll find a way to raise a Million of Money, upon occasion of these Alliances. He thinks that nothing under Heaven can hinder raising the Money, if these Alliances were entered into; and what can hinder the Alliances? In short, there is no Money to be had without Alliances; and, till then, we have no security of our Lives or Religion. He is for ready Money, and this may easily be done. Your Extravagances will raise this Money. He mistrusts not the King's Ministers, and would have this great action wipe away their miscarriages. He hopes they will over-strive and over-do one another, as we shall do; and would appoint a Committee "to draw up Reasons for an Alliance with Holland and Spain."

Mr Sawyer.] As long as that door of France is open, our Wealth will creep out at it, and their Religion will come in. War and Peace are in the King's breast; but he never found it successful but when with the concurrence of the Parliament. The King has told you, "That, till something be done to enable him to enter into Alliances, he cannot move farther than he has done already." But he admits your Advice. In the Palatinate War, in King James's time, the Commons' Advice was not taken in time, and their hearts were dead, when afterwards their Advice was called for. But he sees not why there should be a Competition between the King and this House—Whilst we go on in preparing your Money, Alliances may be preparing and finished. But he hears it said, "This is a hardship put upon the King; the Hollenders and Spaniards will stand more upon Terms, by our forwardness:" But you may be ready to alter your opinion, upon occasion. He would have the thing to be doing, whilst you are sitting, and would have them go hand in hand.

Sir William Coventry.] Our Interest is to keep Holland fast to us, upon whom the danger is great, and our assistance from them may be great also. 'Tis our good fortune that the House is not all of one opinion, so that Truth may come better out by Argument. Ernly said, " Our declaring to desire Union will make Holland and France readier to agree." But if any thing make them agree, the being tired out, and not seeing those, who are equally concerned, give them help, he is afraid, will make them agree—It may cause a Despondency in them. If he was of the States of Holland, he could not find one word to say of Safety for them, to continue the Greatness of the King of France. "We have tried the People of England," they may justly say, "but they do nothing." But if they think themselves unable to help themselves, and persons concerned do it not, they must shift as well as they can. When the danger had not pressed them so near, and Flanders was a better Bulwark to them than now, the consideration of this made De Wit, who loved not England, join with us against the Greatness of France. Shall we think that the Prince of Orange, at the head of their affairs, will have less success than De Wit had? And can we expect but that, if we give them help, considering all circumstances, France's progress in his conquests may be stopped? If we continue to neglect this, what can secure Holland? Is it dangerous to provoke France, now Holland is his enemy? Will it not be much more when they are both friends? France gave Warrants for fishing to Holland, and that joined them. As for Preparations, there need not fix Millions to keep the French out, by Fortifications. He found Papers and Lists in Sir Robert Long's Office, of Fleets and Estimates, in the Scotch War, in the late King's time; it seemed to him, as if things were managed then on purpose to ruin that good King. He was advised to set out second-rate Ships against Scotland, and the King had got a good sum of Money by the Lord Treasurer Juxon's means; some of it was spent on the Army, but much on a great Fleet—Great Ships to catch small Scotch vessels; lobsters to catch hares. If therefore we go about to stop France's progress by a War, 600,000l. would not make necessary Preparations. In our mutual League with Holland, we wish them to bear the brunt. A provision of forty Ships of a side, he thinks, would keep France pretty well in order; and for these forty Ships being kept out a whole year, 600,000l. will do that whole year's business. There needs little charge in Embassies; a good-will will do that cheap. He would clear that suspicion out of the way, of falling upon Ministers; we know, there has been little effect of that. But he hopes, whether there be faults or errors (he knows none unless that to subvert our Religion) the King has passed a general Pardon, and he hopes every Gentleman will give them oblivion in his own heart, if they will redeem what is past, by their good deportment in this great business.

Mr Vaughan.] He has heard, that the Lords of the Council have sent to the body of the City to borrow Money?

Sir Nicholas Carew.] 'Tis said, that the Lord Mayor and the City would not lend the King any Money, because they could not do it upon a Security that was already another's: For the Excise was anticipated, and farmed out.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] As for Money borrowed of the City, the Aldermen say, that it is the usual and ordinary way to be done by the Common-Council, and not by twenty particular men, (the Aldermen;) but he believes there is no Anticipation upon the additional Duty of Excise; for no body would take Tallies of Anticipation upon a Security not yet begun.

Sir William Coventry.] When the King does any thing of this nature, he will have regard to our words. He fears that Spain may have many concerns we know not of, and great cloggs and difficulties. But if we take care that the States of Holland stand, as to Spain, it may soon stand by itself.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] As to the Motion of leaving out "Spain," your former Address was "for the Preservation of the Spanish Netherlands." Spain is in danger, so is Burgundy, and Sicily, and, perhaps, the East Indies, and if they see themselves abandoned by England, who will not think it good policy in them to give up the Netherlands and Burgundy to France, upon Terms? Leave them out of the Treaty, and their interest is is to give all up to France. Therefore he would have "Spain" named in the Address.

Col. Birch.] The Motion is "to leave "Spain" out of the Address." But on account of the remoteness of Spain, and their many concerns, he thinks it not fit to name the League with the Spaniards in the same Terms as that with Holland, offensive and defensive. If we stay for Spain and the Confederates, we lose our present opportunity. So that of "Spain" may be done at leisure, and yet not left out.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] He is as tender as any man, that this matter shall not be obstructed. If Spain bewithout Powers for a Treaty, and send to Madrid for them, a speedy Alliance cannot be made. This Vote is for "Holland," particularly; but the other Confederates may be comprehended in general terms.

Mr Sacheverell.] All the dispute about "Spain" is only about leaving it out of the first Question, and having it in the second. He would have the Question go singly, "offensive and defensive for Holland, and defensive as to the Netherlands only."

Mr Pepys.] Do not return an Answer to the King, that has no affinity to his Speech. The King may say, "These Gentlemen are very instant in this thing. Have I given them any cause to be so?" Whereas he plainly tells you, "He will be as forward as you to do it." The sum demanded to support Alliances is 600,000l. How many more occasions will there be for this sum, than barely for setting out the Fleet? He prays only an Answer to the King's Speech, in order to support him to grant your desires.

Col. Birch.] Should your Resolve go barely to the King, 'tis then as Pepys apprehends it. But the Address must go with Reasons for Satisfaction, together with Assurance of Money.

Sir Thomas Lee.] 'Tis necessary to say something to the King concerning Money; and he would show, in the Address, the necessity to speed these Alliances, lest it be too late to do it in the Winter.

Resolved, That an humble Address be made to the King, That his Majesty would be pleased to enter into a League, offensive and defensive, with the States General of the United Provinces; and to make such other Alliances with such other of the Confederates as his Majesty shall think fit, against the Growth and Power of the French King, and for the Preservation of the Spanish Netherlands. (To which there was not a Negative but Mr Secretary Williamson.)

Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to draw up the Address, with Reasons why this House cannot comply with his Majesty's Speech, until such Alliances be entered into; and farther showing the necessity of the speedy making of such Alliances; and, when such Alliances are made, giving his Majesty Assurances of speedy and chearful Supplies, from time to time, for the supporting and maintaining those Alliances.


  • 1. This is not mentioned in the Journal, though the subsequent Motion is.
  • 2. Had the word of a King never been forfeited, it is reasonable to suppose, that, upon this great occasion, it would have been taken: Or, if all appearances had not been utterly irreconcileable with these professions, those who contended so warmly for the end, must have granted the means. Buty, as the case was, opposition was not only countenanced but applauded; and the majority, both of the Parliament and People, acted as if there was more reason to dread the designs of their own Monarch, than even of his brother of France. Ralph.