Debates in 1677: May 24th-26th

Pages 374-391

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

Friday, May 25.

Sir John Trevor reported the Address, [which was read, and is as follows:]

"May it please your most Excellent Majesty,

"Your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful subjects, the Commons, in Parliament assembled, having taken into their serious confideration your Majesty's most gracious Speech, do beseech your Majesty to believe it is a great Affliction to them, to find themselves obliged, at present, to decline the granting your Majesty the Supply that your Majesty is pleased to demand; conceiving it is not agreeable to the usage of Parliament, to grant Supplies for the maintenance of Wars and Alliances, before they are signified in Parliament; which the two Wars against the States of the United Provinces, since your Majesty's happy Restoration, and the League made with them in January 1668, for Preservation of the Spanish Netherlands, sufficiently prove, without troubling your Majesty with instances of greater antiquity. From which usage if we should depart, the Precedent might be of dangerous consequence in future times; though your Majesty's goodness gives us great security during your Majesty's reign; which we beseech God long to continue.

"This consideration prompted us, in our last Address to your Majesty before our late Recess, humbly to mention to your Majesty our hopes, that, before our meeting again, your Majesty's Alliances might be so fixed, as that your Majesty might be graciously pleased to impart them to us in Parliament; that so our earnest desires of supplying your Majesty for prosecuting those great ends we had humbly laid before your Majesty, might meet with no impediment or obstruction; being highly sensible of the necessity of supporting as well as making the Alliances humbly desired in our former Addresses; and which we still conceive so important to the safety of your Majesty and your Kingdoms, that we cannot, without unfaithfulness to your Majesty, and those we represent, omit, upon all occasions, [humbly] to beseech your Majesty, as we now do, to enter into a League, offensive and defensive, with the States General of the United Provinces, against the Growth and Power of the French King, and for the Preservation of the Spanish Netherlands; and to make such other Alliances with such other of the Confederates as your Majesty shall think fit and useful to that end. In doing which, that no time may be lost, we humbly offer to your Majesty these Reasons for the expediting it:

"1. That, if the entering into such Alliances should draw on a War with the French King, it would be least detrimental to your Majesty's subjects at this time of the year; they having, now, fewest effects within the dominions of the French King.

"2. That though we have great reason to believe the Power of the French King to be dangerous to your Majesty and your Kingdoms, when he shall be at more leisure to molest us; yet, we conceive, the many enemies he hath to deal with at present, together with the situation of your Majesty's Kingdoms, the unanimity of your people in this cause, the care your Majesty hath been pleased to take of your ordinary Guard for the Sea, together with the Credit provided by the late Act, entitled, "An Act for an additional Excise for three years," make the entering into and declaring Alliances very safe; untill we may, in a regular way, give your Majesty such farther Supplies, as may enable your Majesty to support your Alliances, and defend your Kingdoms.

3. Because of the great danger and charge which must of necessity fall upon your Majesty's Kingdoms, if through want of that timely encouragement and assistance (which your Majesty's joining with the States of the United Provinces, and other the Confederates, would give them) the said States, or any other considerable part of the Confederates, should this next winter, or sooner, make a Peace or Truce with the French King (the prevention whereof hitherto must be acknowleged to be a singular effect of God's goodness to us;) which if it should happen, your Majesty must afterwards be necessitated with fewer, perhaps with no Alliances or Assistances, to withstand the power of the French King, which hath so long and so successfully contended with so many and potent adversaries; and, whilst he continues his over-balancing greatness, must always be dangerous to his neighbours, since he would be able to oppress any one Confederate before the rest could get together and be in so good a posture of offending him as they now are, being jointly engaged in a War. And if he should be so successful as to make a Peace, or disunite the present Confederation against him, it is much to be feared whether it would [be possible ever to re-unite it; at least, it would] be a work of so much time and difficulty, as would leave your Majesty's Kingdoms exposed to much misery and danger.

"Having thus discharged our duty, in laying before your Majesty the dangers threatening your Majesty, and your Kingdoms, and the only remedy we can think of for preventing it, and securing and quieting the minds of your Majesty's people, with some few of those Reasons which have moved us to this, and our former Addresses, on this subject; we most humbly beseech your Majesty to take this matter into your most serious consideration; and to take such resolutions, as may not leave it in the power of any neighbouring Prince to rob your people of that happiness which they enjoy under your Majesty's gracious Government; beseeching your Majesty to rest confident and assured, that, when your Majesty shall be pleased to declare such Alliances in Parliament, we shall hold ourselves obliged, not only by our promises and assurances given, and now with great unanimity renewed in a full House, but by the zeal and desires of those whom we represent, and by the interest of all our safeties, most chearfully to give your Majesty from time to time such speedy supplies and assistances, as may fully and plentifully answer the occasions; and, by God's blessing, preserve your Majesty's honour, and the safety of your people.

"All which is most humbly submitted to your Majesty's great wisdom."

[Debate thereon.]

Mr Secretary Coventry.] This Address is to the King, to stop the great and over-balancing power of the French King, &c. He hopes it will not be interpreted ill will to this Address, when the means desired may attain your end. The King has returned you an Answer, declaring consent to the substance of the thing you desire, "but cannot speak nor act a step farther till you enable him." This is the main Question upon which the whole depends. Unless you come to the King, or the King to you, the danger that you apprehend may remain, and the people lose their remedy against their fears and apprehensions of the power of the King of France. Enquire what the reason is, why we should persuade the King to desert—He finds but one—It is, you will grant no Money till Alliances be declared. He asks then, whether you have not given 200,000l. upon the Excise, towards this Alliance? And he thinks this a Precedent—And that is the only argument; which does destroy itself. The King is furnished with another argument, if by way of Precedent—"To tell the King the manner of his Alliances, offensive and defensive, &c." The King may tell you, "there was never such a Precedent, as to tell the King terms of Leagues, offensive and defensive."—Very little is wanting, but sending the King a Treaty ready-made; the King made the Triple Alliance, not from any motion of this House; it was his own. This is another thing, you tell the King, "Whether he be in a condition or not, you will have him do it." He knows it may be answered from the nature of the Writ of Summons of Parliament; but that is ad consulendum et deliberandum de quibusdam arduis Regni negotiis, not "omnibus, &c." The Nation is concerned in this; but when formerly the House of Commons desired Q. Eliz. to marry, you know what she said; "If you name the person whom I am to marry, it is unsufferable." But, in your case, to nominate terms to the King, he thinks not proper for you. Does any man think that the King will go about to make Alliances against the growth and over-balancing power of France, and leave out Holland? It cannot be imagined. Consider another thing in this Address, in point of decorum; he has all the apprehensions of the greatness of France that you have, to the utmost, but you come and declare the House of Austria averse to a Peace; but they never yet published it at Nimeguen. What kind of figure will you have of your Sovereign, who sends to mediate, and has the secret depositums of all Princes, and you put him upon this overt declaration, "For preservation of Flanders from the King of France, &c?" The King, and all the World, cannot but understand your meaning, and it is needless to particularize either. He would have you therefore comply with the King, or give him stronger Reasons why you will not.

Sir John Birkenhead.] Here are Precedents in this. Address, that he never saw before; he would have the points of it read, one by one.

Several called out, "Agree, agree."

Sir Charles Wheeler.] We are called upon, he hears, "to agree," but would be sorry, without some farther consideration, to agree. The paper reported, has three parts, 1st, The Address, &c. 2dly, The Reasons why we cannot comply with the King, &c. 3dly, Assurances of Supply, if the King will make Alliances, &c. The Reasons which are short, he expected longer, for they are no more than what we gave before; they ought to arise from the Debate of Wednesday. Few were given in the last Debate, and he expected some more at the private Committee—Of that kind, there is one short one—" A Precedent of the Palatinate War."—Those of late time; not troubled with ancient. "That of the Dutch War formerly." He would have it derived from History, ancient and prephare, how the people can be entitled to the consideration of War and Peace: It never belonged to the Commons of England. When the being engages us in a War, he knows how we are to pray and petition, but this Address seems to extend farther than our Province extends to. By this Address, the War is declared. Perhaps you may come into a War, and then he shall declare himself farther; but he is not for an Alliance with the Dutchmen—We are the greatest people at arms in the world, and we must trust all to the conduct of a Dutch Army! He looks for popular arguments—We have soundly paid for a Dutch War. As to the last point of "Assurances of Supply, &c." he takes that to be the short of what we have said already. We say, "We will do it liberally and largely." But what is that? Some Gentlemen say, "Some Privateers and a Squadron of Ships for the present;" and some are of another opinion. But this Address, as it is penned, is not large enough, or else we take the conduct of the War upon us, from the beginning to the end.

There was a great cry, "Agree, agree."

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He agrees as far in the end of the Address as any Gentleman does, but he fears that the success will show, that this way will not do it. He cannot but think this a new thing, and that it will be far from acknowleging the King's condescension; and that we encroach upon his Prerogative. Let men be ever so hasty, yet if this Papers-Address must go to the King, he yet thinks some parts of it must be mended: As the unprecedentness of the thing done in Parliament; which is but one Reason, and this is not for the maintenance of a War; that is not the point you are upon. The King tells you, "He must have preparatives;" and you must show Precedents why preparations have not been granted, before particular Alliances have been declared. Why must Alliances, offensive and defensive, be the matter of the Address? The people cannot consider it; that is proper only for the Royal breast. "Defensive" consideration is more proper for the people—He never knew an "offensive" League declared here before. You are told, "That the Parliament advised the Palatinate War."—There is nothing too great for this House, but he never knew any thing done of this nature, but the House was first called up to it. They were called to consult of the Pælatinate War, and of the late Dutch War. If there be no Precedent of it, and if but one, he begs of Gentlemen to consider what reception this Address will have, though from the best and kindest of Princes, from such a House of Commons. You desire freedom of Speech and Privilege of Parliament. The King has but few Prerogatives, as coining Money, and making Peace and War, and they are as land marks, and are known; they are but few, and a curse is upon him that removes them. You are told of the Alliances that saved Holland, &c. He will not compare those with the fears upon you at present; but in Queen Elizabeth's time, before she could be brought to a League offensive and defensive with them, we had two cautionary towns, and a fort, put into our hands. You, by this hasty Address, are cut off from all hopes of any such caution from them. He has acquitted himself, as his Allegiance and duty to this House obliges him, and he knows not what to advise you. But would have Reasons as strong in the thing as may be, before you go to the King with this Address.

Mr Neale.] He is for these Alliances, and therefore would not put the King upon hardships: He would know whether this is not an intrenchment upon the King's Prerogative, to advise him where to make Leagues offensive and defensive.

There was another great cry, "Agree, agree."

Sir Jonathan Trelawney.] To cry "Agree, agree," favours to him like Club-Law. You will never offer at Precedents that the worst of times did never attempt.

Sir Thomas Meres.] What has been said comes not home to this Address. When there is occasion, he shall answer those points alleged, "of the unprecedentness of it." But as for "naming the States of the United Provinces," in this Address, it was the Vote of the House, spoken to seventeen times, and but few Negatives to it, and he wonders that it should be called

"Club-Law." As for a League "defensive," the point was yielded in the Debate, and as little reason to contend "offensive" League, when it relates to Money. But why must this be thus pressed? Now see the Proclamation, which called us hither— What else did Mr Secretary Coventry open to us?— We have obeyed our call; we have humbly and dutifully done it; but so much for Order. He will deny no Motion that has been made.

Sir John Ernly.] He agrees to the end of the Address, but he cannot fully to the means. He must put you in mind, that it does so clash with the Prerogative of the Crown, that he cannot agree to it. If he thinks there is no more difference than the word "Holland," and saying only "such Alliances against France," he hopes the King will agree to it. If the people desired a Parliament, if they asked a day and place for its meeting, he believes it would not be granted. 'Tis his zeal to the work, or never would speak more if he would have it hindered. Only refers it to your consideration, if the thing be asked in a way not fit to be granted, whether it is not probable it will be denied. It is directing the Crown to make this League—And with the rest do what you please.

Sir Robert Carr.] He would not have any intrench' ing on the King's Prerogative, in this Address. He would leave out "A League with Holland, offensive and defensive."—Those words may give offence; and he would not give his Vote to that which may retard the thing, and would have it so amended as to be acceptable to the King.

Mr Mallet.] He would willingly be for something, but since Carr moves for nothing, he hopes he will excuse him if he be not of his mind.

Sir Robert Howard.] The matter rests upon naming an Ally to the King. You agreed to put out the word "Spain" in the Address, and then we were of opinion that it looked strangely, as if affectedly to leave out our best interest, by which the Crown expects the most profitable interest, and best trade. Now you are moved to have "Holland" left out, and all senses and opinions may be comprehended in leaving out "Holland;" and he is extremely for it.

Sir Thomas Lee.] To the Orders of the House. He appeals whether ever, when any Committee was ordered expressly to bring in a thing, that thing, being voted to be part of the Address, shall again be put to the Question?

The Speaker.] You read a Bill thrice, and nothing is brought into the Committee, but must be debated again.

Sir William Coventry.] The good intention and necessity of this Address will carry so much weight with it, that he hopes it will have acceptance from the King. The Committee you appointed to draw it had not done their duty, if they had not gone according to the sense of the House. We have made many and many Addresses to the King, and there has been some reason for it: Because we have not been rightly understood. There seemed to be general moderation, moved by some Gentlemen in the Address, without naming particular Alliances; but that being not acceptable to the House, this is made more particular, to clear our meaning. A reason was given why we should supply the King, without naming Alliances, that we urge not usually in Parliament; our own Act was quoted against our affirmation, viz. "The credit we gave the King upon the Excise, at our last meeting, before Alliances were spoken of." But yet there is no Precedent spoken of, when Money has been given for a War or Alliances before they have been declared in Parliament. It has been the constant usage of the Crown to signify it in Parliament, which gave such confidence in the Commons, that it never doubted of the Commons supply. He then read a passage of the King's Speech formerly about the Triple Alliance, viz. "The Fleet had began something, but if not speedily supported by Alliances, he should want means to go on;" which shows that the constant method of Parliament is, that Alliances have always been declared in Parliament, and then Supply has been granted to support those Alliances.—There was more said then for the first Dutch War; the second was signified in Parliament, and owned by them so far, that they gave Money to maintain it. If methods of Parliament be an obstacle to this Address, he thinks that is cleared. He would be fortiter in re, et suaviter in modo, and he thinks the Address is so, and would agree to it.

Sir Richard Temple.] He will speak to the Precedent of 2,500,000l. the first Dutch War: That was given before ever Alliances were declared, or Treaty, and was the greatest aid ever given in Parliament; and the House of Commons have ever declined medling in things of this nature. You told the King, "You had provided him a fund for his preparations, and you hoped he would make Alliances, &c." but never asserted, "That untill Alliances were declared, you would not give Money," but left it to him to make the Alliances. He does not know that we are in condition so good as when we began the last Dutch War, which cost 700,000l.—He believes it not our condition now as then, our stores being much exhausted. This of pressing the King to declare Alliances, and advising them by Parliament, is no rule of Parliament, and a dangerous Precedent. He agrees to move the King "To make farther Alliances;" and then you will have attained your end. 'Tis not for the interest of the Nation, for the King to name Alliances, which will give them opportunity to ask higher terms.

Sir William Coventry.] Hostility was begun before the War was declared with Holland; what it there was no Declaration of War? The House is not used to give sums for War without Declaration of War, and he believes the House had reason for it.

Sir Nicholas Carew.] He is sorry that Gentlemen press for more Reasons, and so lay aside that modesty which becomes us. There are more Reasons to be given than are expressed in the Address, but it is not fit for us to express more. He thinks these sufficient.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] Since Carew says, "He has farther Reasons than in the Address," and Gentlemen seem dissatisfied with what are already given, he would have them produced.

Col. Birch.] He thinks the Paper is penned with as much modesty and duty as can be. If there be other Reasons to make the Alliances more particular, he would have them forborn. Our main business is, that the Religion and the interest of the Nation be supported. It was desired by some Gentlemen, "That Holland may be left out of the Address;" and the reason is because we shall not have so good Terms with them. Whoever is here for the States General, finds a great willingness in the people to make a League offensive and defensive with them—So they find unwillingness somewhere else. But if they should be so unkind as, when we compassionate, them to use us so as to stand upon exorbitant Terms we, must do the thing ourselves; but he would rather not do with one hand what may be fitter done with two. Mallet spoke shrewdly in his reply to Carr: In common course of speaking, when a thing is not granted the first time, you add something the second. Would now have the Question put.

Mr Sachoveroll.] The Question is now, Whether we shall again put these Alliances into the same hands, to keep you off from such Alliances as you address for; and whether the King shall be advised by his Privy Council, and not by Parliament. You give him advice, and submit it to him; and the Privy Council daily practise the contrary. It is said, "That this is a breach of the King's Prerogative." We move him to a League with Holland, &c. and it is no breach at all of his Prerogative, it seems, in the Council, to move him to a War. Our whole security depends upon a League with Holland against France, without whom we are never able to contend with him.—All Counsel tend to make Alliances.—And you are left wholly single to contend against that powerful Prince.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] He is not afraid of any Counsel he has ever given the King; as a Privy Counsellor he has taken his oath, and as a Parliament-man, he has his opinion; and he is of opinion, that the King is not obliged to follow either his Privy Council, or Parliament, if his opinion and reason be against it. Hen. IV. sent to his Parliament for their advice concerning Peace and War: They referred it to the King, and his Council, and declared, "They had nothing to do with it." He hopes you will not do a thing to prejudice the thing you intend to do. He may probably be let into this Prince's door when he scrapes (fn. 1), but not when he knocks. Perhaps he shall be kept out. To deal in the rougher way with our Prince is not the means to make him incline to your opinion. If any man is persuaded that he is wanting in his duty, if he name not "Holland" in the Address, then it cannot be left out. The general way is more regular and decent, and he moves to leave out "Holland."

Sir Thomas Lee.] If there be irregularity or indecency in this expression of "Holland," he is far from its being in the Address. But this is far from "a knock at the Prince's door," and cannot be gathered from the expressions in the Address. It is but advice and persuasion only. It is hard that the House shall not declare their opinion. The first occasion; perhaps, to get out of our misery, is to know how we came into it. The first step to it was our conjunction with France, against Holland; the first step we got out of it by was to make a separate Peace with Holland; but we find that the bare going out of it had not the effect we desired. What next? Is it not reasonable, that, if we still had kept that Alliance, we had suppressed Holland totally? Is it not the same thing now? Perhaps some greater advice is requisite. If it be a single Question, he knows not what the consequence may be, in leaving it out, now it is put in. It is but plainly and barely showing your opinion, that you are not safe without an universal agreement with the Confederates. Flanders could not be preserved by a defensive Alliance in the Triple League, and therefore it is dangerous to leave "Holland" out.

Lord Cavendish.] There is the greatest mischief that can be, for Holland to make a separate Peace with France. The danger is not great with Spain, therefore to prevent that, we specify an Alliance with Holland.

Mr Powle.] The sum of the Debate is leaving "Holland" out of the Address. Though he did not expect to meet with this opposition, yet, upon recollection, he can show Precedents wherein the King has been advised to particular Alliances. In the 18th of K. James, the Parliament advised him to break the Match with Spain, and to make a War, and they then advised stricter Alliances with the States of Holland. In E. III, R. II, H. V, the Parliament advised to make a League with the Emperor, and it was signed and ratified in Parliament. He will not wave these Precedents, but he speaks these a little timorously, having not lately perused them. As for the argument of "these Addresses being against the Prerogative," Kings have always laboured to invite this House to Peace and War, because their judgment did import Supply, and they could not excuse giving money to support it, where they had advised it. Our necessity of affairs brought us once to another course, but if there were new Precedents, new dangers must create new Precedents, and a new way. But let any man show him a Precedent, that we ever affisted a neighbour too potent for us already. Would have a Precedent shown him, where, after a representation in Parliament of the greatness of the French King, still sending men to his assistance has been continued, and they were not ill receivedat Court, when they returned home. He knows not what reason we have to leave "Holland" out of the Address, unless we have no intention to have Alliance with them at all. It is for the Crown's advantage, and this is far from intrenching upon the Prerogative. Carew told you, "There were more reasons for this Address than were expressed;" and they were, why should we not trust the King? It is not fit to give them; but if they be pressed too much, he must give them. Though he will not say, "We are not to trust the King," yet he will say, "We are not to trust Counsellors."

Mr Williams.] When the King and Council shall see the opinion of the House for an Alliance with Holland, he believes it will remove Counsellors, or stop the mouths of them.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] King James called for an opinion, in his Speech, from the House. He invited them to it, and the Lords, that opened that Parliament, said, "The Temple of Janus must be opened, which has been long shut." If that be the case, he has reason to doubt that the obstacle in the manner may hinder the matter of the Address. The King asked your advice in the separate Peace with Holland mentioned, but that is not the case. You are told, "We would have it, because general Alliances may do no good, and not produce change of Counsellors." But what effect, do you think, this will have, when such exceptions are taken at it, as are likely to frustrate the end? Do you mean to treat so as not to leave your Prince any latitude, but that he must grant, or not grant?

Mr Harbord.] He would ask a Question: Is there no danger of our Religion and Property, but from France? And then when France is in Peace, this startles him, that these Alliances may not be pursued. England is not safe, but by Alliance with Holland. Suppose there should be Peace, the Government of Flanders cannot support itself. To suppose the Spanish Netherlands, and Lorrain restored; Brisac destroyed; Alsace and Maestricht restored; would you then be safe? No more than now; because the French hands are full hands, and money makes power. The French have both. But suppose all these places lost by the French, yet they abstract one Million sterling from us yearly, in trade, and he will govern your Councils every where. There is nothing to keep him from hence, but making him poor, and who can help you to do it, but the Dutch? Make a law to prohibit French trade; you need no wine, and few of his commodities; and France will grow poor, and we shall grow rich, and if you send no forces into France, and support Holland, the first hour you do this, your money will increase; and then we can put the King at ease, and pay his debts; and never till then.

Mr Mallet.] When the King is here, he is in his imperial seat; but when in his other Council, he is in his ministerial.

On a division, 182 were for the Address, and 142 against it (fn. 2). About forty or fifty Members were in the Speaker's Chamber, and Court of Requests, &c. who gave no voices at all.

Ordered, That the Secretaries of State, and Privy Counsellors of the House, be desired to know his Majesty's pleasure, when he will be pleased to be attended with the Address.

Saturday, May 26.

His Majesty appointed the House to attend him with their Address, at three o'clock in the afternoon, and the House being acquainted with the King's commands, they only passed the Bill for recalling his Majesty's subjects out of the French King's service, and ordered it to be carried up to the Lords, with an express Order to their Messengers to put the Lords in mind of their Bill of Popery, which lay before their Lordships. And so adjourned presently after ten o'clock till two in the afternoon, and then met and attended the King in the Banqueting House with their Address. To which his Majesty, after hearing it read by the Speaker, said, "That the contents of it were long, and the matter of importance; and that he would take it into his consideration, and, with all convenient speed, return an Answer to it."

Monday, May 28.

The House being met, the Speaker acquainted them with what the King had said to them, upon their Address, on Saturday; and immediately Mr Secretary Coventry told the Speaker, "That the King commanded the House to attend him presently in the Banqueting House at Whitehall." Upon which the House went accordingly.

Some Members rising from their seats, and going to the door, before the Speaker had reported the King's command, viz. Mr John Grey, Member for Leicester, and Sir William Blacket, Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, the Speaker reprimanded them in this manner: "The Burgesses of Newcastle and Leicester are in great haste to be gone, before the King's Message is reported, as if they went to get places at a show, or a play."

The King spoke as follows.


"Could I have been silent, I would rather have chosen to be so, than to call to mind things so unfit for you to meddle with, as are contained in some part of your Address; wherein you have intrenched upon so undoubted a right of the Crown, that I am consident it will appear in no age (when the sword was not drawn) that the Prerogative of making Peace and War hath been so dangerously invaded. You do not content yourselves with desiring me to enter into such Leagues, as may be for the safety of the Kingdom, but you tell me what fort of Leagues they must be, and with whom: And, as your Address is worded, it is more liable to be understood to be by your leave, than your request, that I should make such other Alliances as I please with other of the Confederates.

"Should I suffer this fundamental power of making Peace and War to be so far invaded (though but once) as to have the manner and circumstances of Leagues prescribed to me by Parliament, it is plain, that no Prince, or State, would any longer believe, that the Sovereignty of England rests in the Crown; nor could I think myself to signify any more [to foreign Princes] than the empty found of a King. Wherefore you may rest assured, that no condition shall make me depart from, or lessen, so essential a part of the Monarchy: And I am willing to believe so well of this House of Commons, that I am confident these ill consequences are not intended by you.

"These are, in short, the reasons why I can by no means approve of your Address. And yet, though you have declined to grant me that Supply, which is so necessary to the ends of it, I do again declare to you, that, as I have done all that lay in my power, since your last meeting, so I will still apply myself, by all means I can, to let the World see my care both for the security and satisfaction of my people; although it may not be with those advantages to them, which, by your assistance, I might have procured.

"I would have your return to your House, and I require that you immediately adjourn to the 16th of July next; but I do not intend you shall sit till Winter; unless there should happen any urgent occasions, in which case you shall have notice by Proclamation (fn. 3)."

The Commons then returned to their own House; where the Speaker reported the King's Speech as above.

Mr Powle standing up to speak, the Speaker interrupted him, and said,] I must hear no man speak, now the King's pleasure of adjourning the House is signified.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The act of adjourning the House cannot be yours, Mr Speaker, but the Act of the House; and no Question can be put, when a Gentleman stands up to speak. Pray, let us keep methods, however.

The Speaker.] When there is a command from the Crown to adjourn, we are not to dispute about it, but to obey, and adjourn. After a command of this kind, there remains nothing for you to do but to execute it. Unless any man can show me a Precedent to the contrary, you will put a hardship upon me to do otherwise.

And so the Speaker adjourned the House to the 16th of July next, without naming place, or hour, and suddenly sprung out of the Chair.

Many called him again to the Chair, some cried "Stop the Mace upon the Table." Others would have put him again into the Chair, or some body else. But the Speaker was soon surrounded by several of his party, and the Mace secured, and he went away with it before him, but not without reproachful speeches; as bidding him "Remember Lord Finch's case, of the like nature." And "That he should be called to an account for it (fn. 4). Upon the instant of the Speaker's going out of the Chair, Lord Cavendish profferred to show some Precedents of Debates after the King's signification of Adjournment; as at that Meeting soon after Chatham business, when an Address was voted to the King for disbanding the new raised Forces.


  • 1. The custom of the Court.
  • 2. The Question was, for leaving out the words "offensive and defensive, with the States of the United Provinces."
  • 3. This last Paragraph is not in the Speech, as inserted in the Journal, but only "his Majesty's pleasure." for adjournment was afterwards signisied by the Speaker."
  • 4. The Members being returned to the House, several of them rose up probably to express their sense of this cavalier treament, but were o verborne by the Speaker, who took upon him to play the Dictator too, by insisting vehemently, that, after the King had required the House to adjourn, there was no more liberty of speech: This being, however, contested, and those who had stood up, demanding still to be heard, the Speaker had the confidence, without any Question put, and of his own motion, to pronounce the House adjourned; and there with all stepped down on the middle of the floor, leaving the Members asto nished at so flagrant a violation of their inherent Privileges. Marvell. They had also the additional mortification to see this chiding Speech of the King's made public in the Gazette* of the next day, being the first which had ever appeared in that paper, to point them out, both to their own, and all other Nations, as refractory, disobedient, subjects, who had lost all respect to Majestly: Care being at the same time taken to suppress even the written copies of the proceedings of the House, that nothing might appear in their justification. Ralph.
  • . Upon this occasion, Marvell adds: "Thus were they well rewarded for their itch of perpetual sitting and of acting; the Parliament being grown to that height of contempt, as to be gazetted among run-away servants, lap-dogs, strayed horses, and highway-robbers."