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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Monday, February 19.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Wishes that this Bill, or something of this nature, may pass. The last Session there was read a clause in a paper against this excessive drinking at Elections, and the Committee of Elections approved of it. But we were prorogued, and nothing came of it. Would have it read again, to be formed by the Committee. The Lords expect their juries in a Bill for their Tryals, and fears not to pass this Bill with power to examine our witnesses upon oath. Till such a Bill do pass, we have extraordinary trouble at the Committee of Elections. Twenty Elections are now depending, and he fears there will be thirty more vacant; twenty will be disputable. This evidence of drinking fills most of his papers at that Committee, as he is reporter, since he was in that service. The thing looks not well abroad, and drinking men throw away a child's portion at an Election, in the charge; and labourers, and good handicrafts-men, ruin their wives and children by ill habits of drinking at those Elections. Would read the last Vote of the Committee of Elections.
Col. Birch.] This paper comes now most seasonably in thirty vacant Elections, and, he thinks, the nation would have great satisfaction by printing and publishing it. Else, if we stay for a Bill, all places will be filled up before the Bill can pass. You are still masters of Elections, and may judge them accordingly. Corporations are ruined by this debauchery, and so ill habits have been got, not else to be remedied. We must either do it now, or never. Therefore would print it.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] You are masters of your own Order. But 'tis hard that it should reach these Elections in being. But 'twill be binding for the future, because 'tis in your power to judge, by that Order.
Mr Sacheverell.] Would now fill the blanks of the sum which is not to be exceeded in entertainment before the Election, in this clause. Sometimes (he has observed) drinking has been passed over at the Committee, and sometimes not. Therefore would fill up the blanks with "five pounds."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The thing is done presently, therefore would not have the House spend a whole day in it. Moves therefore, that, at the Committee, all that come may have voices, which is, in effect, a Committee of the whole House.
"That service is against the interest of the Kingdom—The person remaining in that service after time shall not be capable of being an executor, nor have the benefit of any settlement of lands, and the next of kin shall enter—If he return not by a day, he shall be proceeded against as a felon, in the King's Bench, or in the County where he shall be apprehended, and shall be tried as a felon—The King shall have no power to pardon him, but by Act of Parliament, and, by name particularly inserted in that Act, with a saving of dower to his wife. And the Act to continue for one year."
Sir Thomas Meres.] There is nothing more useful for the nation, than that the person so offending should be a felon. He started at it at first, but there is the same clause in the last Bill the last Session. Now there is not time to speak to the particulars of the Bill—It was our interest once to apprehend the growing greatness of Spain, as 'tis now of France. Moves that the Bill may have a second reading on Wednesday next.
Col. Birch.] Presents a Petition, of Mr Bernard Howard and Mr Edward Howard, wherein they intreat the House to consider their condition. Thomas Duke of Norfolk [their brother] is detained at Padua —Remembers the person by this token; that we formerly had it in consideration, that he was carried from the North to the South to cure him of lunacy—Desires that the Petition may be read.
They were called in and owned the Petition, subscribed Bernard Howard, Edward Howard, and Alexander Mackdonnell (fn. 1), who married their sister.
The Petition was then read, setting forth "That the Duke of Norfolk is confined to Padua by the Earl of Norwich, (his next brother,) and the trustees for the Duke. In 1653, he was found a lunatic with lucid intervals. The Earl of Norwich, Earl Marshal, is his next heir, who is barred by law from his guardianship. He has had the custody of his person and estate, and the Duke is detained in a hot country, in Italy—Waste is made of his woods, and conveyances of his estate have been made by him, and fines levied—The Earl wishes the Duke's death—A great prejudice to the family !—The Earl is tenant in tail, and he may settle the lands of the Earldom upon such issue as he pleases, to the detriment of his lawful issue by the Lady Anne, sister to the Marquess of Worcester. Their sister, Lady Elizabeth Mackdonnell's estate determines upon the Duke's death. The rest of the Petitioners are not concerned, but only to prevent waste and destruction of the estate. From such guardians they hope not for any redress, but by the desire of the House to the King for remedy. They pray that the House will be a means to prevail with his Majesty, that the custody of the person of the Duke may be put into such hands of the family, as may give security for his safety and estate, and that the person of the Duke may be brought over."
Col. Birch.] When he received and presented this Petition, he thought it reasonable to take this Duke from a place rather able to make him mad, than recover him. The reason of England, and (he thinks) the law too, is, that the guardian who has the custody of the person, should not be the nearest relation expectant. 'Twas thought reasonable here, three years since, when this business was moved here before, and moves it now, that he may be in the hands of persons, whose interest it is to preserve him.
Mr Onslow.] If the Lord Marshal were heard, he would well acquit himself of this charge, as he has already done to the King, and Lords of the Council. The Marquess of Worcester and himself (Onslow) are guardians to the Duke, and 'tis held by good opinions, that 'tis to hazard his life to remove him from the place where he is. There are several brothers concerned before Bernard Howard, but Lady Elizabeth Mackdonnell being persuaded that great matters may be done for her, a suit has been in law, and her share of the estate is good for her life, so that her husband may not have it after her decease. And he will undertake, that, if she will give the Lord Marshal a good acquittance for the money she has already received, their annuities shall be paid. The Trustees are ready to give an account, when it shall be called for—The Duke lives in a palace at Padua, and he is well maintained, and in Protestant hands.
Sir William Coventry.] Is sorry for this difference in a noble family. The House, he believes, will not trouble themselves with law suits. He has heard that by inquisition he has been found a lunatic, but the Duke was abroad then, and he is now kept in a country not very proper for his distemper. He was placed, 'tis said, by his grandfather there, but that was in the time of the troubles, and all that was dear to that family they carried away beyond sea with them. The Petition informs you "that fines have been levied, since he was found a lunatic, and said to be against law." But he has sat here when fines have been questioned and made void, (Bodvill's case) and nothing less than a Parliament could undo it. If that appears to be so, it has not been well done—But now this Duke's being in the custody of those who have the Lord Marshal's directions, (the heir expectant) is the case. He apprehends no danger of that in a man of his honour; but when things of this nature come before you, he beseeches you to countenance the law of England, and, for the sake of others, see how far the particulars of the Petition can be made out. If the Duke be under a guardian, 'tis not against law, but for "levying of the fines" 'tis sit to enquire into, and whether Lady Elizabeth Mackdonnell's estate depends upon the Duke's life—And she implores your assistance, for fear of being out of the reach of the law. He never yet heard that the Duke had that imbecillity of body, as not to endure a voyage, but, if it appears to you impossible to bring him over without danger, then consider it. But put it in a way of examination and enquiry, and, when that shall be stated, then you are ripe for judgment.
Mr Powle.] Finds that the Duke has been a lunatic ever since the 30th of July 1653. Several sines since that were levied, as in Hilary term 1653, Trinity term 1654, Easter 1654. There is sure some great defect, if fines pass by infants, minors, and persons non sanæ mentis. There ought to be the greatest care of this imaginable. How are "wastes complained of" in the Petition? If this Lord Marshal's children fail, the next brothers are the heirs. He knows both the guardians, but believes them only titular, and nothing of their consent has been in these things. But since it is before you, would have the matter enquired into, and the true state of it represented to you.
Lord Cavendish.] It is against our Privilege to be debarred access to those Lords; and there is a gentleman (describing myself (fn. 2)) who has business of consequence with one of these Lords committed to the Tower.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Hears these Lords are in arctâ custodiâ. He has heard of a Peer in custody in the Tower, and his wife intra quatuor maria, and brought to bed after her husband had been a year in custody. Though the Lord was kept a close prisoner, the law judged the child legitimate, because no arcta custodia can exclude a wife from her husband.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have no Question upon our books, whether Mr Wharton shall have leave, or not, &c. to see his father. He believes that no body will make scruple of asking the King leave, or the Lords; but would have nothing of it upon our books.
The House having been informed of Sir Thomas Strickland's conviction of recusancy (fn. 3), and been moved for a writ to be issued out to chuse a Knight for Westmorland, in his stead, Ordered the record of his conviction to be brought in by the Clerk of the Crown: And
The Speaker informed the House.] That, by the record, it appears that he stood convicted of recusancy, according to the form of the Statute, but whether he be the same Sir Thomas Strickland, Member of the House; appears hot. He is named in the record "Sir Thomas Strickland, of Bradford, in the County of York, Knight."
Sir William Coventry.] He has known this gentleman many years before he sat here. For common respect, especially for one who has sat so long amongst us, would give him some time, though not by way of summons. It may else possibly be an inconvenience to his fortune; but if he come not, in some reasonable time, to give an account of himself, would send out a new writ, to chuse another Member in his stead; but would do it without summons so him.
Mr Powle.] We cannot be too careful, when we are about to expell a Member, especially when we remember that a minor part has once expelled a major in the Long Parliament. This gentleman may be con victed, and possibly know nothing of it. As for summoning of him, and that attested here at the Bar, there can be no inconvenience; for he may absent himself, and you may take it pro confesso; and go solemnly to summoning him, and, if he appear not, then send a new writ to elect a Member in his stead.
Mr Whorwood.] Is as tender as any man for this gentleman, but thinks such scruples strange. He is fortunate that he has escaped this enquiry so long, and sat here without expulsion—Would therefore have a summons plainly sent to him, and if thereupon he comes not, he wishes him gone.
Tuesday, February 20.
Mr Neale.] In such things as are grateful both to King and people, our fault will be great, if we neglect to do them. The King's Speech has several parts. The King tells us, "That we may be secure of Religion, and Property, and he will gratify us with good laws for better security." What more can be expected from a most gracious King? Since we have his royal word for it, we are bound in duty, before we exact any farther promise from him, to gratify his Majesty, in avoiding all differences with the Lords; and hopes we shall. The next is in building Ships, so absolutely necessary for the safety of the Kingdom, whilst our neighbours are stronger in shipping than we are, if we measure strength; and he would provide at least two or three years store. The last Session, the twenty ships you voted were valued at 300,000l. a competent sum, 'twas then believed, and we can do no otherwise now than give 100,000l. stores and cordage considered. He is altogether unwilling to give more than is necessary, but willing to do the work presently, and moves for 600,000l. for a present Supply to the King for building of Ships.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Speaks to Order. He will put you in mind of the course and method of Parliament. Neale has named a sum to grant the King, which is irregularly done. You, by Order, must appoint a day for the Committee of the whole House to consider the King's Speech, which regularly cannot be to day—If you can, defer your resolution, for the King and Kingdom's satisfaction, that we may go into the Country. He speaks to method only. He would not lose the method of Parliament.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] This motion is not so irregular as 'tis made to be. He differs from those who say "that no sum to be granted, &c. ought to be mentioned in the House, but in a Grand Committee." We have had reflections upon the power of France increased, and that of Spain decreased, and our alliances broken. Thinks all these things of power sufficient to persuade us, for our security, to assist the King in strengthening himself; and moves for 600,000l.
Mr Waller.] He has known money given in the House without going into a Grand Committee. The strengthening the fleet is mentioned in two places of the King's Speech, and in two places of the Lord Chancellor's. He would have a fleet; but would have the strength of it to be measured by comparison with our neighbours. They increase their ships, and we are at a stand. We have formerly sent to our neighbours, when we were uppermost, to build no more ships. They may do so by us. Now he would provide against dangers nearest us. The Chancellor, in his Speech, says, "we can have no peace without unity at home, and let us take heed of jealousies and fears." But the Chancellor finds us sick, and bids us be well. He tells us no causes of them, and no remedies for them. What reason the Chancellor has for it he knows not, but the greatest he knows is, that public money is not employed to public uses—Would make all the haste in giving the King Ships, without the ceremony of going into a Grand Committee. He moves that the Bill for the Customs, given for the maintenance of the Navy, may be employed for building Ships: Your honour is concerned in it, and the safety of the nation; and moves for that Bill brought in the last Session to be revived.
Mr Leveson Gowèr.] The first thing recommended to us in the King's Speech is Religion, but that without a Navy is not safe. He thinks the motion good below, but would have 200,000l. more; it is the least we can do, under the great difficulties we are in. The motion is reasonable, and no man is a good patriot, a good subject, or good Christian, that will be against it. He does in this as he would be done by.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Wonders where we are when we are against this ancient Order. He hopes no man will produce things done ten years ago—All was paid off, and all was clear, but 600,000l. debt a gentleman then told you of. Says another gentleman, "then give 1,200,000l." with his hat on, irregularly. This way of motion by those gentlemen is bidding at gleek. In those days when this Order was broken, money was plentiful, and the revenue was less, and much of that money was for the King to build his Houses, and other occasions, when he was but lately restored—But this is bidding at gleek. Mr Prynne was once in the Chair, for that purpose, and reported the forms and methods our ancestors went by anciently, and by precedents, constantly, "grievances" were considered before "giving of money." He sees it has been a rule, that no sooner "money" has been got, but "grievances" were set aside.
Mr Swynfin.] 'Tis a constant Order, that when the gentleman (Sacheverell) desires an Order may be read, (which is a continuation of what he intends to speak, and apply himself to especially when in order to the matter in Debate) when 'tis read, any man may speak against it; but it must be read. A gentleman cannot be denied the reading an Order, when he desires it to be read, for the better making out his argument.
The Order was read, viz. "A charge upon the people being moved for in the House, 'twas adjourned to another day, for the Committee of the whole House to consider of it, and not presently to be entered upon, but a day was appointed for it, and referred to the Committee."
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] He stood up in justification of the movers of the sum, and so they and he are both at your mercy. It has been the practice formerly, not to go by these wary steps. This morning he looked into the Journal, and finds a subsidy voluntarily embraced in the House, 1 Elizabeth, and a subsidy unasked by the Queen, April, 1571. Rolle and Newdigate, enquirers after divers other motions of Ecclesiastical matters, and concerning officers embezzling money, were appointed Commissioners for drawing a Bill (which was granted) for the subsidy, and all the Privy Counsellors of the House were of the Committee.
Mr Williams.] Newdigate then represented several Grievances, and offered a Supply as an accommodation, and therefore 'twas by way of commutation, and both the Grievances; and the Subsidy were referred to Commissioners at the same time.
Sir Thomas Meres.] In order to this matter, you must search higher in the Journal. But in this, and all other matters, about Orders, there was a Report made, when Mr Prynne was in the Chair. No less than ten or twelve Journals were brought to the Committee, in the Speaker's Chamber, and you will not find any precedent, but for all the money the people gave there was a retribution—It looks as if we were sent here to make pacts. Aids and redress of Grievances ever went together. Be this what it will, let this Order be revived. Your Clerk has not entered into the Journal the grounds upon which your vote was made, upon that Report. But, he believes, there are six instances for one to the contrary.
Sir Thomas Lee.] That Session the Order was made in, it was not read—'Twas three years after it was read, and it was done upon precedents and view of the Journals. No man "presses," but to go on upon this business to-morrow—If building of Ships be of such necessity that we must break Order for it, he cannot think keeping that Order can hinder it. The last Session, we did not proceed so, and that method has been kept ever since you, Mr Speaker, came into the Chair.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] In Queen Elizabeth's time 'twas not taken to be irregular, and 'tis plain that this last Order that seems to propose a contrary method, has been set aside, as not necessary, (as the Speaker said.) The thing is entirely at the pleasure of the House, to keep that Order, or not. He moves that you may consider the whole motion, as Neale made it, for a Supply for his Majesty, and the quantum according to that motion.
The Speaker reads the Order. "A motion being made for a Supply for the King, and a motion, likewise for a Grand Committee to consider of it, according to Order, 1669. Resolved in the affirmative against that order."
Sir Thomas Meres.] 'Twas an extraordinary time, when this Order was not kept. But the next time 'twas exactly obeyed. Lord Chief Justice Vaughan then moved for a royal Navy, when the war was ended, and we gave money for it; but had no Navy about the year 1668.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Since this Order was made, money was given in another method. The party that moved for it then was a man of great honour, and much for the liberty of his country. Yesterday there was a Bill read, (he believes that the intention of it was good) for recalling the troops out of France—Long since 'twas thought the balance was unequal, and would have you have the honour of making it equal—Would not have two or three high words to do it; and 'tis but the recall of 1200 men, whereas the French have eighty battallions of foot, 800 in a battallion. They will have 40,000 men in a body, this campaign—Such a neighbour is considerable when so nigh us—But would not render the King contemptible, by a word, or a vote, to greaten the French King. After a vote of standing by your King, if you pass no vote to make him considerable, you put him into great streights by this Bill of recalling these men out of France, and yet give him no strength by a Bill of Supply.
Mr Vaughan.] When we contend for money, it puts him in mind of country fellows going to foot-ball play, or any such country sport. They get up early, though possibly all the sport may end in breaking their shins, and tearing their cloaths. One gentleman moves for one sum, another for another—But no man lays out his money, before he has contrived a model for his house. Therefore would resolve into a Grand Committee, and then 'tis proper to name a sum. These early motions are as if these movers were the only givers, and that others not so forward were the deniers. Therefore moves for a Grand Committee.
Sir Thomas Meres.] "November 3, 1669. Resolved, That the House go into a Grand Committee to consider of the motion for the King's supply," and no sum was then named. There is nothing in that Bill that can give offence to the French King. 'Tis only that we have people there whom we want here, and no provocation is given to any Prince by it.
Sir Henry Capel.] Here is Order produced in opposition to Order. If it be the opinion of every man that we are strong enough, and unanimous enough, it is of more consequence than all the money we can give; but would not rise without some vote, nor without doing something in this business.
Mr Powle.] He sees we are pressed with great haste to give a Supply. He wonders at the arguments used for it. He hears urged, "the greatness of France, and apprehensions of her making a peace with Holland." But would see who labours for that peace. We are told of "eighty battallions," and, for ought he knows, twenty of them may be English. We are told now of "the necessity of this Supply," and twelve months ago, we were told so. Would know how the King and the House are dealt with in it. You are told "that once the first thing named was Supply," but 'twas contrary to Order. One great reason is, that formerly Supply was named, at a Grand Committee, and therefore it ought to be so now. Formerly, giving of subsidy was the last thing done in Parliament, and, in time of Popery, the Bill was solemnly offered at the Altar, at high mass, at the end of the Session. There is great reason for keeping this Order. If the King has no supply till Grievances are redressed, 'tis a reason why we may hope for no Grievances in intermission of Parliament, and make the King willing to redress them, if there be no way to come to a Supply, till Grievances be redressed. If some fears be, whether a supply will tend to the greatening or lessening our great neighbour, it will make persons cautious how they give—Moves for a Grand Committee, as before.
Mr Pepys.] If that Supply be given in exchange of removal of Grievances, the consequence will be, that the King that gives the first Grievances, shall have no Supply. "Imminent dangers do grow daily," 'tis said. But who contributed to them? He can answer for himself. Dangers are particularly from the marine part— Therefore moves that you will not let this day pass without supplying the King, for removal of such dangers.
Sir Robert Carr.] Since the House seems to incline to go on to-morrow morning upon the Supply, understands not why we should spend more time in Debate. He therefore moves that to-morrow morning, at ten of the clock, the House may take into consideration the King's Supply.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] 'Tis dangerous to take away that liberty of Debate at a Grand Committee about Supply. To-morrow he shall agree to the consideration of his Majesty's Speech, not consinedly to any particular branch of it, but at large. There is great doubt concerning these precedents of giving "Supply" and "Grievances." He craves leave to speak to the one as well as to the other. He wishes he may have the skill and luck to hit the matter, and doubts both, and will try both. He is against giving either "Supply" or "Grievances" the preference. He is for going the old Parliamentary way, hand in hand. If Grievances lie dozing upon the table, after Supply is given, it may be we may stir and jog them, but to no effect. He knows his own thoughts, that exitus acta probat, and finis coronat opus—The result of this Parliament, will either put us into an ecstacy of joy, or put us into confusion; but he hopes all may be well at last. But people's purses will not be opened without redress of Grievances. He may say, that we have Grievances, and heart-aching ones too. We are lost in the thick mist of foreign counsels, and there is no ending in error. He thinks fit to be plain, but would have the Question to be this: "Whether we shall give money for ships, till our home-bred, in-bred grievances be redressed." Would have that to be the Question, to know other mens minds—We must strengthen peoples hearts, before we can lighten their purses, and if he knew a better way to propose, you should have it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] He is for giving money for Ships, and enough, but for Ships only, and for no other purposes—This of recall of the English forces out of France is no manner of breach with France— Men going over to the Dutch service is not on the same foot, for they go not in violation of any treaty against any confederation. But that Papist officers should be recommended from this place, put that into the Bill, if you please. But we put no shock upon France by having our forces in Holland, by any treaty we have made with France—In giving money now, he would put it into the power of those who have been the authors of this counsel (of assisting France) to save the nation, and pray God avert the dangers of those counsels!
Sir William Coventry.] Moves to keep close to the Order mentioned. He is sensible how France grows great, and would have had that greatness stopped a year ago. You are not now upon giving money, but only upon method—Would therefore put the Question for "to-morrow morning to consider the matter of the King's Speech relating to Supply."
Mr Garroway.] He is no friend to King or king, dom, that would stifle the motion about Grievances. Let Supply and them go hand in hand, every other day, and you will have reasons, by that, for and against more or less Supply.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Temple put "Grievances and Mon y"—As to "Money" he would not have too much given, for fear of too many "Grievances"—As you have been already told, he would have Thursday for redress of those Grievances, and not to talk of them only.