Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 5. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Thursday, February 14.
Sir Thomas Lee, reports, from the Committee appointed to consider the Estimates, &c. That the monthly charge of setting forth and maintaining 90 Ships of War (as above p. 107) together with fireships and tenders, manned with 25,562 men, will amount to 108,840 l. 10s. inclusive of the Office of Ordnance and of necessaries for sick men on board; and that the total expence for one month of 26 Regiments of Foot, 4 of Horse, and 2 of Dragoons [in all 29,880] amounts to 49,130 l. 13 s. 4 d. Total per mensem 157,971l. 3 s. 4 d.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If we are so defenceless, as not to be able to arm 30 or 40,000 men, we are in a very ill condition, and very deplorable. For so many Regiments as are voted, I would have enquiry made what Arms are in the stores.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I would have it enquired whether the things in Chichley's paper are necessary, or whether those necessaries are over-valued. Will a man say, that, because his sheet-anchor is the best anchor, he shall cast that out first, and not save it for emergency?
Sir Charles Wheeler.] 'Twas said once, when we gave 600,000 l. for the Navy, "we would give so many millions for a War." I have as great sadness to think what the War will cost, as any man, but with as great sadness, not to provide necessaries.
Mr Secretary Coventry] The Committee has considered of the charge of the forces, and reported it back to the House, and all the forms are gone through, and nothing could be more regularly enquired into; and I can see no reason, why you should not put it to the Question to agree with the Committee, unless a reason be given that it should be re-committed.
Sir Thomas Meres.] These forms gone through have greatened your sums, considering that 90 ships are demanded, and there is need but of 50. Let Gentlemen think that here is 150,000 l. per mensem for this, a tax in being, and four more such as these, with the late King's burial; five concurrent taxes together, and now 'tis two of the clock. Let the thing come fairly before us in a full House. I have told you there is a rock, there is a difficulty; I have told you of it, run upon it, if you please.
Mr Swynfin.] You are not informed certainly as to the necessity of Land forces, for supporting of the Alliances and Treaties, and therefore these are of far different considerations, and there is an obligation upon us as to that of the Navy.
Mr Swynfin goes on.] The Vote is in respect of an actual War with France; if put to the Question. If not an actual War, this Army is not necessary, and there is nothing in that Question, to tie you to an actual War, when 'twas put for the Navy charge. But as to the Land army, 'tis out of this consideration. The Supply for the Navy may be out of the Customs; you have no help for this out of any revenue, and the country must bear it. You must have some other considerations. When you provide an establishment for the Navy, you are to provide for so many mouths, six months, or some estimate; but who can make an estimate of a limited time for an Army? When an establishment is made for an Army, there is no limitation that can be observed. Ships return into port at an unusual time, and may be paid off. I rather offer this to you because I cannot find it in the History of England. (Other Gentlemen may.) The King of Spain was once as powerful and dreadful to England as the French King is now, by the advantage of the Pope's countenancing him, and the rebellion in Ireland, which favoured him. But I know not that the Queen and the Commons ever raised an Army; they only set out a good Navy. I am not for an Army, for the King and Kingdom's sake. I reflect not upon Commander nor Soldier, but I know that it is incident to mankind to adorn his own province. When once 'tis raised, no man knows when 'twill be laid aside. 'Twill be a strange thing, when we tell the Country of a Land army; 'tis a reflection on the whole Kingdom. Before we certainly know what use it must be applied unto, you never yet raised a Land army. I do it out of a sincere and honest mind. I would have you seriously consider what we do, before War be declared—Many will run into this Army, but whether for your service, for the good of the Crown, or the laws, is a dear Question to us; and I would have it seriously considered before we enter into it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Question is, whether we should establish a fund to maintain this War, before War be declared. 'Tis the general approbation that 14,000 Soldiers are requisite to be sent into Flanders, and will you have nothing to maintain them in Flanders, when they are there? There is the greatest consternation imaginable, by reason of the approach of the French King, &c. and will you begin a War before you have a Soldier to meet him? You have been told, "That Queen Elizabeth raised no Army, in the Spanish invasion." I hope in God we shall not be so unfortunate as the Queen was, to be surprized by the Duke of Parma and the Armada, and know nothing of it till seen off Plymouth, and they were ordered not to attack till they came near the Isle of Wight. Queen Elizabeth had the trained bands raised, but had officers of her own chusing. She attacked Britanny with them, in succour of the Protestants, and I know no difference between them and a new-raised Army. All these things have been debated for securing the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. Combats at sea are casual and accidental, and will you have no Supply of men for that; and leave all your Coasts unprovided; and will you provide only for the sea?
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Question is now betwixt a "moving" Army, and a "standing" Army. 'Tis agreed for a "moving" Army, and now we are debating a "standing" Army, and, for Swynfin's reasons, it ought to be considered. I will reflect backwards to 1664, when the War begun with Holland. Then we gave two millions, &c. and I believe all our difficulties since were the result of that great sum. Then there were only raised two regiments: And the Horse Guards were made up and so continued to 1665 and 1666, and we had both France and Holland upon our hands at a time, and then the French had had a long Peace, and were very rich, though not so rich as now. I believe they are upon their last strength. In 1666, we gave a great deal of money for a sleet, and 12 regiments of foot—This was a small establishment to what you have now; 12,000 House and Foot, and no body to cope with but France—And what this great Army must be for, I see no reason. I desire to be very thoughtful in this matter. 1000, in every regiment, makes 90 foot in every company; you will not say officers are not soldiers. When regiments were raised formerly, I never knew above 90 in a company. Weigh this matter well; you have a great force already. I will not mistrust, or suspect, the Government, but that all the Isles, and Plantations, are provided for. I have heard it said, "That these are Treaties of Leagues, but not of Ratification, which is very different." I move not to agree with the Committee in the Question.
Col. Birch.] I suppose he that spoke last does not know the Treaties, but I hope we shall, before we part with the money. If any gentlemen offer you how to be safe and save your Money, you have your ends. I know not how, by Order of the House, you can put the Question. In contemplation of a War, I would willingly consent to fourteen or fifteen thousand men to be sent over into Flanders, in good order, to maintain the League; but till I know 'tis ratified, I cannot say it is. As for these soldiers that are to go abroad, I can give my consent that they should be raised, but as for those that are to stay at home, I know not what to say to it. Nothing can be worse than to put distrust among the people. The power of the King of France is not so bad. You will never have success, unless you obtain confidence in the people, that these forces shall be employed against the French—Draw the Militia then in a body; let 2000 of them be in Dorsetshire, and Devonshire; that will show the French you are in earnest. You have 12,000 already, and to add more will show that your trained bands are useless, and laid aside. But for taking this Army down, when 'tis raised, I need not say any thing. I have disbanded as great a one. I take it for granted that 2000 Dragoons are to be here, but if I show you how they shall not cost you a penny, I think it good management. The use of Dragoons is for a pass, or a hedge-fight, and for that they are useful. I never had any Dragoons under pay, and yet I never wanted them. You have 110 men in a company, and commonly ten Horses to the officers, and six fellows to look after them, and that is 100 Horses in a regiment, and clap choice fellows on their backs, (and you have choice fighting fellows that will not run away with your Horses) and there is no danger that the officers will run away, though I durst not trust myself to be out of the reach of my Horses. Possibly every Gentleman knows his own mind, and I would give my consent for the men to be sent abroad, but not for a standing Army at home.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If there be no such thing appearing as ratifying the Alliance, I would know that Secretary Coventry said, "That he believed it was ratified, and the King told him he gave orders for it." I would agree with the Committee as to the forces to be landed in Flanders.
Friday, February 15.
An ingrossed Bill from the Lords was read, for explanation of the Act for preventing dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants, viz. "The Test dispensible in case of sickness, &c. In case an action be brought against a man for default of taking it, if he take it after the action is brought, he shall be exempt from the penalty of the Act, &c."
Mr Sacheverell.] If Gentlemen think the other Act for the Test was fit, and now have altered their opinion, then this Act may go on. Let us see in what circumstances the case stands. By the former Act, the person, in any office of profit, or trust, &c. was to take it three months after, if disabled by sickness—But in this Bill he stands good, &c. till the action be brought. I would gladly know how the party shall be able to prove his sickness six months, and will then, &c.
Sir Charles Harbord.] I have always been for the Church of England, and I will die in it. If I have taken the Tests forty times, must I take them over again? A man must be perpetually under the trouble, if the Law be not explained.
Sir Edward Dering.] This Bill intends only to explain that part of the other, of the frequency of the change of the Commissions of the Justices of the Peace; but if a man have other offices, he is to take it as often as he has a new office.
Mr Mallet.] This Bill for the Test that you formerly passed, was intended for a streight, and has done you good service. 'Tis a good weapon to dethrone the Pope. This Bill from the Lords is a relaxation of the old Bill of the Test, and now we are to have a War, and who must be officers? The King issues out the Commissions, and appoints the officers that must go abroad, and they would be certain and know their Colours. I would have it so as to justify my principles against Idolatry, and I would rather put strict clauses into the Commissions against it; for I hear that persons popishly affected will have Commissions; therefore I am against the Bill.
Mr Powle.] I am glad to see the inclination of the House to strengthen the Protestant religion, and I hope it will continue. I move therefore to send up to the Lords, to put them in mind of our Bill of Popery, that we may give the Country some account of the delay of it.
The Speaker.] I would know what you would confer about. You can take notice of nothing that the Lords have done in their House; and your former Messages have not been taken well. If it be done, the Lords may do the same upon us, and it may be very inconvenient.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Great men of the Romish Religion desire to be buried in the habit of some Order that they devote themselves to, some the Franciscan, some the Dominican, but all in Woollen. I fear this Bill may taste of Popery.
Debate on ratifying the Alliances (fn. 1).
Mr Secretary Williamson.] My indisposition detained me from my attendance here, yesterday; and I had not been here to day, but for something that the House, (as I hear,) had a desire to know, and seems, unsatisfied that the Alliances are not ratified. I am to tell you that the time of ratification is given, and that time is scarce half out. But the King has sent them into Holland to be ratified there.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The stress of the Question is not there. The main query is not, whether Holland will ratify, but whether Spain be a party to it, whose main concern it is with us to support the Spanish Netherlands.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] That Question formerly was asked. Whereas then it was doubted whether any provision was made for a standing Alliance with Holland; now whether a distinct Treaty with the States General apart from Spain. Whether the States have ratified the Treaty I know not; only I know from the King that 'tis gone to them.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] When the King gives full power to his Ministers, they may ratify Treaties. But when they ratify, and have not full power, exemplary punishments are never denied. No one man can show a precedent that, when Ministers have signed here, it was ever not ratified by Holland. There a longer time is required for a ratification than here; for the Treaty must be sent to all the particular States of the Provinces. It must take a greater turn there to have it complete, which here the Great Seal does only. If Spain be a party to the Treaty, he is to furnish money to the King, or the States. I have it from the Dutch Ambassador, that a Vice Admiral is to be sent hither to proportion how many ships are to be sent into the Mediterranean, and how many into the North, and they have taken the business so much to heart, as to have ninety sail out in the whole, as well as we.
Mr Garroway.] There is no great difficulty, I believe, in this of Holland, that we are told of But in all my reading, I cannot find that a person is not taken into that Treaty, for whose sake it is done, or that he is no party to it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Crowns of Sweden and Denmark were in a War. France, England, and Holland, perceiving that would be a prejudicial War to them, forced Peace upon them. In that Treaty made with Holland, now gone to be ratified, I aver, upon my honour, that the Duke of Villa Hermosa is entirely satisfied with it, and the Prince of Orange; but if you stay till all the Allies are satisfied with it, you may stay a long time.
Saturday, February 16.
Mr Waller.] Heretofore it was made felony to export Wool; and Herrings were not to be transported, for fear of want of them ourselves at home. Bullion is now transported; it is now a Commodity. We are to go in Woollen into our Graves, but I would have the living wear it. I would have Jersey Stockings worn. An hundred years ago, a King of France had a pair of silk Stockings on at his Wedding, and it was wondered at. You will have more Wool for parting with it. Sheep will increase.
Mr Love.] I would rivet this matter so as to accomplish your end by it; that the Woollen Manufacture may be recovered. I would have those that are not for carrying your Wool out of England, show how it may be wrought in England; and encourage the making and wearing it. If they from beyond Sea have the Wool from hence, and work it up cheaper than we, that will destroy the Manufacture here. There is a vast mischief in taking Cloth away by violence, by the Patent for Aulnage, and the Allum Patent, which there is a Petition in the Lobby about. In all the time I lived in Turkey, which was many years, I never saw any Dutch Cloth there. I would have a Committee appointed to consider of a way of taking off the great clogs on the Woollen Manufacture, by Patents to several persons, whereby they seize Cloth; the Patents upon Aulnage, Allum, and other dying stuffs.
Sir Edward Dering.] Wherever materials go, hands will go after them. If we vent our Wool beyond Sea, we cannot vent our Cloth. I would have the Committee impowered to find a way to secure the wearing it at home. Sumptuary laws here have lately had no effect. The people have been in jollity and gayety since the Restoration of the King, and 'tis no wonder that they are wanton in their plenty. I would commit the Bill.
Mr Papillon.] Heretofore six or seven hundred thousand pounds worth of Woollen Manufacture was vented in France, but since they have had our Wool they take little. If you would not let them have your Wool, you might work it yourselves. There is another thing; the Irish Cattle are prohibited coming hither. They in Ireland formerly employed three parts of their land in Cattle, and now they employ it in Sheep. They send their Wool into France and Holland, and send you over great quantities hither. This is the reason of your sur-charge of Wool.
Col. Birch.] This is a day well spent to debate this matter. I will offer my opinion. 'Tis the last thing I would do to give leave to export Wool; for I would try every way first. If ever you discourage the importation of French Commodities, you must destroy them where you can find them, as they say the French have done by our Woollens. One Commodity more ruins us, and that is Callico, which destroys more the use of Wool than all things besides. You encourage trade thereby with Heathens, who work for a penny a day, and destroy Christians; and the French, who scarce eat flesh four times a year, and wear linnen breeches, and wooden shoes, destroy your trade by underworking you. That of Ireland (spoken of) is but a minute thing in comparison of the rest. You pay 100,000 l. a year upon account of very kitchen-maids who will wear hoods and scarves, and they must be of glossy silk too, made from beyond sea; and you hinder above 100,000 l. a year, that may be spent by such persons in hats, as they formerly did wear. I would have the Committee consider of these things.
Sir George Downing.] I would have it as instructions to the Committee to consider the taking off the 25 l. per Ton upon Allum here, and the 14 l. per Ton in France, and they send it you cheaper, &c. We are a dying nation. (quibble) I would likewise have it considered how to constrain the French to export our goods, at the value they import hither, upon security given, and sufficient proof to be made at the Custom House, that he has carried into France as good value in goods as he has imported.
Sir John Ernly.] There is a Gentleman in the House who will tell you of Embargoes the French have laid upon our Merchant-ships in France. 'Tis in God's power, and your adversary's power to do you all the hurt they please. Therefore I move for Monday to consider of the matter of Supply. ('Tis my duty to put you in mind that we apprehend danger.)
Monday, February 18.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] You have declared it necessary to support the Alliances, which the King has entered into, for stopping the growth and power of France. The French have a Fleet at sea, and an Army by land, and you have neither one nor the other in any posture of defence. If you give not the King encouragement to provide for himself, you will neither have a Fleet at sea in June or July. If not provided, you declare yourselves incapable to do it. If you have voted it necessary and that you are not able to do it, you declare to all the world, that the nation is not able to perform their engagement.
Mr Pepys.] I told you in January, that, all of us doing our part, the Fleet might be ready in May; and how long that is since, you know, and our neighbours have gone on since. Be pleased to remember the Report made by the Committee for Supply, necessary for supporting the Alliances, and I would have the remainding part disposed into that paper presented you, and consider it.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] I hear it much pressed for a War, and we are like to pay dear for it, and will you not call it so till a battle be fought? Especially when you are secured that you shall have the word "War" appropriated to every part of the Money you give towards it. I take us to be in an actual War—So many Ships, &c. and the Aid we give is towards a War, and is a War; such a one as we cannot get out of. If you will have War, and Land-men, I hope you will have all things necessary to it; as a Train of Artillery, and an establishment for General Officers.
Sir John Birkenhead.] It is not always requisite in War, that there should be denunciatio belli. If the King of France goes back from his word, there needs none of that, by Law of Arms; as in the Peloponnesian War— When 4 or 500 men declare War, and the King gives his consent to it, the King of France will ask you no more, nor give you more time to think of it. 'Tis now an actual declared War.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] I shall not much dispute the War; but I am persuaded that it is War, and fully intended by the King; and if this House assists not to it, the fault will be ours, and let not that lie at our doors. You have computed the Men, Ships, and Charges; 160,000 l. per Month. I would agree to how much, and agree how to be raised, and in what time, and have the Speaker leave the Chair.
Mr Mallet.] I think you took those Calculations, that were brought you for the Charge, of the Army de bene esse, for hypothetical Calculations. In relation to Alliances, if those Alliances were good for you, and how to mix your other advice; but if on good Debate, you see no War, then you have other Calculations to make. The King has been at some charge already about Alliances, and marrying his Niece, and Lord Ossory's going over (fn. 2), &c. to defray Charges—All this may be considered at a Committee of the whole House.
Col. Birch.] I would not, by default of the House, be taken unprovided. You are told by Pepys of January, and "that now 'tis the 18th of February and no step is made towards our defence, and we have enemies upon us, as we had then, and they have increased their strength." For my part, I told you then, that, in case we had a War with France, ninety Ships were few enough—And I know not how 'tis applicable to raise Money by the Month to maintain them. Pepys has told you, "Now 'tis the 18th of February, and not one step made." I understand it not; for the very same hand told you, "All things for the Navy were ready;" and wear and tear is not accounted for, till the Ships come in, in September. (And as for the Victualler, that is not great.) You ought not to be told this, for there is nothing you have not done that hinders this. As the safety of the nation, the fleet, is not to be hindered, though we have nothing yet of revelation of this Treaty. I am far from thinking this House will not aid the King to a farthing, but you may be put upon raising such sums of Money, as may hinder you from raising more, if there be War indeed. Now, whether we are satisfied to raise Money without such a revelation of Treaties, is the Question. Birkenhead spoke it in Latin, "that War was declared, &c." which I do not understand; but I should be loth to fight with the great man on the other side of the water, without telling him why. But, it seems, the French Ambassador is still at Court, and every where, as if no War was intended. Therefore clearly, when a War comes, it will be as essential to provide for our defence, as our all; every thing we have. I am ready to provide for such a sum as will be honourable for such an employment. I would read every paper that shall be offered us. Children that are born must be kept, and if it be a War these things must be; the work must be done with Estates, and Lives too; but must this be without Declaration of War? I am for giving so much Money as will enable the King to that work effectually, if War, and I would hope, before we begin, to carry it to the bottom. Without the consent of Spain, and the German Confederates, I believe we shall do no good in this Treaty. But these things will be seen betwixt this and September. But to send men over, we know not whether under a Spanish Governor or an English, and whether they shall not be starved, and they shall be with the Prince of Orange, unless such a number as may take the field,—you do but starve them to send them. You are told, "that the King had ratified the Treaty with Holland, under the Great Seal," but you are not told yet one word to day of Holland—But till I know that Enemy, I would know him before I part with Money; but having said this, I would not say no Money, but not by a monthly charge, but such a sum as may carry on the War till Michaelmas. But before you go into a Grand Committee, you must resolve such a sum in the Chair as may preparatorily do the work till September.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If you go by the general words of the Order, "to consider of Supply, &c." that must be the work of the day; else we lose our time very shamefully. I would (as is desired) see all the papers, and have no after-reckoning. It was an oversight and a fault in not bringing this paper sooner, which was presented you to day, but nothing is lost nor got by it. But the matter of this day at the Committee is, what sum you will give the King to support his Alliances.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Will a man have thrashing and no flail? The King of Spain did declare War against the French, but he had an Army first. The King makes a Declaration of War, and has no Army, and the French King will let him have none. I believe it will be War, but I said it is in your power to have War, or no War. I say, Alliances are made, and that is it we must preserve. This Morning, the Holland Ambassador was consulted how Ships should be placed, and what station they should be in. You have few Convoys, and the French King has a Fleet in the Mediterranean, and India; and the King of England goes on and declares War; and, as now we have Commerce with all the world, the French fall upon our Merchantmen, and ruin our trade, and you provoke and declare him an enemy before you prepare against him. 'Tis requisite that the trained-bands (spoken of,) must be exercised some months to make them serviceable. You have all the security of the appropriation of the Money you gave towards the War, that you can have in your particular Estates. If presently you have not a Fleet nor Army, you cannot declare War. You have gone thus far in Estimates for the Fleet and Army, and judged them reasonable. Therefore to go into a Committee of the whole House, "for farther consideration of the King's Supply," and "for consideration of the King's farther Supply" is very different. If it be the former, you go round again, &c.
Sir George Downing.] You have voted "that the House will give the King a Supply, to support his Alliances." Now the Question is, what is to be given to carry on 90 sail of Ships, and 30,000 Landmen. This being so, charge so much, (that that lies before you is not a mere speculation,) for what time you will make provision for this charge. As to the setting the Ships out Birch has told you, and to paying them off, when they come home, and that we be not run out when they come back. I wish our end may be obtained by a Peace, but I would as little get into a bad Peace; as any man here. If now we go away, and provide not for the whole charge, and come back again for the remainder, will that be done like provident men? I would provide for the whole charge of the thing. Christmas seems a more rational time to calculate to, for then the measures of Princes are changed for the following year, and 'tis not prudent to run into arrear till then.
Mr Waller.] I look upon Union betwixt the King and his People to be of as much consequence, as the sum to be given; therefore, for God's sake, let us lay aside all distrust of the King. Mallet said, "some words fell from the King when he quoted us in his Speech, that he desired 600,000 l. to prepare him, &c. when you advised him to enter into Alliances first." In the last War with Holland, we were so far from advising him to it, that we did not approve of it; but yet we gave a good round sum of Money towards it, in respect of the Honour of the Nation; 1,200,000 l. Our Peace with Holland afterwards made the King of France decline his conquests, and there he stopped, and may do so again, if we aid the Spaniard. Will you give the King a reputation, that so the War may be begun? The rule of the Government is for us to assist, and the King to make Peace and War—Let us rely upon him, and I hope for good success. I hope that Tomb we have voted to be erected for the late King will bury all the jealousies betwixt the King and us.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Whilst we sit still and say nothing, you must do something in the Chair, or we shall do nothing; you must either come to a Question, as the Estimates are given in, or go upon a sum in gross. I have said something to day, and on other occasions, for the King's Supply to maintain his Alliances, and the King would not have it, at present, nor will more be taken than in reason shall be seen necessary to keep this great force on foot, but till you may meet again But a less sum (to the ensnaring the hand that takes it) than the King can comfortably proceed, and go on with in this great thing, I hope you will not think of. If there be such a lethargy upon men, they must be waked. The Sun shines, sets, and rises, and things go on, as if we were careless, and understand it not If this War must cost us so much per mensem, the first day's journey is always the longest, and if you consider so much for the months forward, let some Gentleman come to a sum by the months, or a gross sum upon the months, as you shall see cause for it hereafter. Will you have an Alliance upon your hands by Vote? You may multiply Questions of Alliances— Though that jealousy is removed, and they are sent to be ratified into Holland, and they allow their Commissioners to sign the Alliance here, this being now upon you, and Supply voted to maintain these Alliances, and particulars of the force given in and agreed, this having been done, yet we sit three hours together silent, and do nothing. I see not but a man may propose many ways to find such a Supply to set this work on foot, and for one, two, or three months to have ground to stand upon till about September, and no less than this, upon the best foresight I can have, seems necessary, and more than that the King would not have, and I leave it at Gentlemens doors who will propose it.
Mr Powle.] I wonder not at the silence of the Committee, if every man is in the dark as well as I. I am so much in the dark, that I see not whether we shall have War or Peace. The complection of affairs seems rather inclining to Peace; and I see not the end of the War, by what fell from the honourable persons the other day, only in making this War to impose Peace upon the World. If that be so, the Question is, who is our Enemy? If the Confederates refuse to join with us in it, for ought I know, we shall have War against them. If that matter be not clear, I know not what to give. The honourable persons know what is spent, and is likely to be spent. If they will charge themselves on their reputations, that it will be such a War as will please us, then I would give to maintain it. But I think there seems some flagging in what was formerly told us. When that is cleared, I shall be as ready as any man to give Supply, &c.
Sir Tho. Meres.] I hear it complained, "That nothing is said in this matter of Supply, &c." You were told of 500,000 l. as a Motion. If the Nation be in War, and at stake, no doubt but those here will go through stitch with it, and I doubt not but that sum will do it. But to show frankness, and discharge my conscience, if it shall be a War to purpose, (but, as it is said, in case of refusal of the French to give towns, it may be a Peace for Holland) because I will not spend your time idly, if we give 500,000 l. in case there be War, we give to purpose.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I think it will be War, if the French King refuse Peace, as he has done. But it will be such a Peace as Spain desires. But how will you come by this Peace? Will you have Flanders destroyed in the mean time? If the French find you in power, you may prevent the loss of Flanders, and if not, the King of France will over-run Flanders, and you too, if he can. The King has made an Alliance for the preservation of Flanders, and you have voted that you will support him in it; and the Dutch are come to know of you where to place those ships; in the Sound, and the Baltic sea, for your trade there; and for your Colliers, on the back side unto Scotland; the Channel, and the Mediterranean; and in the Indies to secure your trade there—In these respective places. Can you spare your Coast and Channel trade, your Colliers, and the Baltic trade, and can you be without the Straits trade? My Lord Chief Justice Vaughan said once here, "'Twas requisite to set out a fleet for the honour of the Nation only," and you did it; but now this is to be done for your safety against one whom you have provoked sufficiently. What can the inconvenience be of providing, &c. and that Money to be made accountable to you? For you have all the word and honour it shall be employed as you intend it; nay, you have the Law against the King, if it be not so disposed of. And what security you can have higher, I know not.
Mr Garroway.] I hear it said, "That there is no proposition made, &c." but we have sat so long, and if the danger be so great as is told us now, Gentlemen should have told us of it sooner, and we would have named a sum. We have made the French King an idol, and we must worship him, and he must scourge us. If 250,000 l. be too little if we have War, if it be Peace it is every penny too much. We were told, "If we had given Money in January, the Fleet might have been ready in May, and if in February, not till June;" and so before we can be ready, if the Gazette informs us right, the French may have all Flanders, if they please, by that time. If you are sure that the French King is your enemy, I would not compliment him all this while. I would preserve the Nation till that day—'Twill be too soon whenever it is. I will agree to prepare towards men, or ships, or men for the relief of Flanders. But 'tis said, "This is to make good our Alliances." But must these ships be in perpetuum? The King may adjourn us for a month, to make preparations; and I would give so much as to put him in a present posture, which 500,000 l. will do.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I aver to you that we are not a hair's breadth towards a Peace with France, and the King has not consented to a cessation of Arms, nor any thing. But to what is said "of the French, Ambassador, &c." Would any man send an Ambassador away, without assigning a Crime? Will this sum set out your ships, with an engagement to see the seamen paid when they come home?
Col. Birch.] I told you some time since, "If 90 fail were not enough for this War, I would have more"— Unless France let us some, we can have no more. In six months you cannot spend 500,000 l. allowing 100,000 l. for stores. I admire to hear you told of victualling the Navy, by Gentlemen that know the Navy is victualled already, and that there is Money to contract farther. If it be denied, I would go to former books, and see. Allowing for all Contingencies, 150,000 l. will serve for stores, &c. more than they can spend. I would never have the House give a small sum, which may occasion making a base Peace with France. But if ever we make a Peace with France, and leave him 150,000 men and 140 fail of ships, he will be your master. Above all things therefore, leave no room to say, that the making Peace is your fault. But it looks like Peace as one hand looks like the other. But if no Gentleman can show, how you can spend more than 150,000 l. for stores, if you pay them 40,000 l. a month till the last of September, and admit 150,000 l. for stores—admit it to be September before we meet again, and then give Money, and the ships return before the Money comes in, which will take up your 500,000 l. the King makes the rest out of the Customs, viz. 200,000 l. Then, unless some Gentleman will make it as sure that we shall have a War, as I am of my hat in my hand, I would not give one twopence more. I see as little, or less, than any man—But I would have it that the House give as much as can be spent till we meet again. If there be War, we may have Adjournments from two months to two months, and the King will be glad to see your faces, and you his, in winter. But if no necessity, &c. for more, I move that you will raise 500,000 l. &c.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I would know the reason why 200,000 l. may not be spared out of the Customs towards the Navy, when we need it so much. When the Bill was passed for the Customs, all was appropriated to guarding the seas. If 700,000 l. out of the Customs ought to go towards the War, 200,000 l. at least may now be spared.
Sir Tho. Lee.] The Question now is not for what the Customs were given, but for the present defence of the Nation, be it War or Peace. If you come to be armed once, the consequence may be Peace. If it be as it is said from the Bar, if we are weak, and do not arm ourselves, it will be War. But the difficulty is, come War, come Peace, you are as strong as if it was War, the Nation is sufficiently provided for. As 'tis delivered in the paper, the Admiralty will not come to above 400,000 l. wear and tear; and the King pays not all ready Money. He has credit for victuals, eight or ten months, to provide, &c. Still ready Money is not necessary. So that the sum proposed is more than necessary. 'Tis said, as an objection, "Will a man go to sea and have no hopes of pay?" To which I answer, Will they not take the Parliament's word? You may be called again, or sit on, till the War be declared. If it be an actual War, you are moved for more than can be paid or spent before September; if you give such a sum as must weaken you against emergencies which may happen—I would give therefore so much as will put the Fleet to sea, and that will clear all difficulties, and remove all jealousies.
Mr Pepys.] Birch seems to rivet all he has said in this: "Let any man show him how you can spend more than 300,000 l. in this War, till Michaelmas." But I can show you a War in his management, and your management, wherein greater sums in that time have been spent. I will begin with your War, the first Dutch War. At the close of it, the House thought it a fit and good Calculation of the Expence past. The Committee sat several weeks. The War lasted twenty seven months within four days. And you agreed in so little interval of actions, that you did think fit to abate but one month, and the rest of the account was allowed. There were 27,000 men in pay. Birch refers much to former times; and in that husbandly year of 1653, from April to July twelvemonth after, the very stores came to 600,000 l. The whole of the charge to 3,707,000 l. I should be glad if any Gentleman would comment upon this. England, at that time, was an infant Commonwealth, and do you think the quarrel was worth it? Only which should be the greater Common-wealth, only to take the wall of them, and this War is against so great a man as the King of France, and so little is demanded to maintain it; and three millions were spent in that Dutch War of 1653, and more for providing stores for summer service—The action lasted but a year To show you for that year—They had had the year before for stores—And in one summer they required 600,000 l. merely for stores. If that Money could then be raised, I am sure it may now be laid out. I hear it said, "if this be a War to purpose, &c." But it will be an unfortunate War, if you go not early to market for stores. As for victuals, they are referred to a plain decision; they are under monthly payment, and that may be rightly stated. If you go upon that measure, what may be laid out between this and Michaelmas, above 800,000l. may be. Those abroad must know that you are in a condition to keep your men abroad, as well as to take time to pay them at home. Else it will be a contemplation of joy to your enemies abroad I appeal to the Merchants of the House, whether ships that go out to sea do not know their paymasters, and they will not go to sea, without assurance of their pay, and the Merchants engaged in their lading look to it. I leave what I have said to you.
Col. Birch.] You may have opportunity to know me and Pepys too. There was a Motion in 1648, when that horrible act was done, to adjourn the House for six months. I had a note sent to me, "that I should be pulled out of the House"—And I was twenty times in prison, and no design was against Oliver, but I was the first in prison. When the Parliament was sent up in 16 4, I think I saw the papers how the War was carried on, and a Peace was basely made by him then at the helm. I thought Pepys would have said, that he believed more than 400,000l. would be absolutely necessary to be laid out, if an actual War against this great man. But we have more towards it than that; we have the Customs, if occasion be. You are told "Carriages are out of order;" the Customs are for that too. The thing I expected was this, that with a Non obstante of the Customs, you can set out a Fleet with that sum proposed. If this will not do it, then come to a single point If Gentlemen say there is more wanted than 250,000l. for stores, yet I allow 300,000l. Now to the Foot; if they be paid six months, it will be under 300,000l. according to the proposal, if the War be at the hottest—Put this then together, what need we do more? This puts us in condition to carry on the War; and if it be in earnest, we may be sent for in two or three months. We are told, "that Merchants will not let their ships nor seamen go out, unless they have assurance who shall be their paymaster." But if the King and Parliament cannot be trusted till the King think fit to call us again, 'tis strange; the King having our 500,000l. and the Customs 200,000l. There is a vast difference between our accounts, to answer the country by what we see, and by what they should know, pretend to tell us. I would put the Question for 500,000l.
Mr Pepys.] Birch makes all his calculations from 1653, his year, and his War, and his time. I only say this, Seamen go out heartlessly, and Merchants with difficulty, without having an earlier prospect for their money than September. If it shall be fit to expose so many seamens lives, and provided for so long, and no longer, I agree that 500,000l. will set them to sea, and you fling away your 500,000l. and your Fleet too, and this I say conscientiously. (He was laughed at.)
Col. Birch.] If I had called it "My War," and "My War," I wonder how I went so long without the chastisement and remembrance of the Chair for it. This I said, and now I say it, that if Merchant-ships fought so hard that they wanted powder then, and if powder be made cheaper, 4l. a head would do it, and I supply for 5s more. But I never said any thing of "My War." I spoke only to the calculations of 1653.
Sir John Ernly.] 'Tis said, "This sum is too much for Peace, and too little for War." By what I have spoken with the officers of the Navy, and Gentlemen abroad, they say, "If provision be for not above nine months for the Navy, they will not think us in earnest to provide for your own safety." And if there be a sudden Peace, then the Money is as suddenly stopped, and 'tis in your own power to stop it. I hear it said, "We should give such a sum as the nation is able to pay." 'Tis more reputable abroad to be able to make head against the French King—They abroad cannot think we intend a War, and think so meanly of the King of France as that 500,000l. is a sum to enable us to make War with him. When that is told you, whether it be War or Peace, 'tis for the satisfaction of Spain, and that no scheme of Peace has been for his satisfaction—Now the King has told you he has made Alliances, and 'tis noised abroad what slender provision you make—I move therefore for nine months provision for the Navy, and, by that, cast up the sum; and the King will not press you for the Money for the monument so soon as you intended it in the Bill.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I am not so intimate with the King of France, as to know his intentions more than by his actions. The King of France will give more than you offer by this Question. You will sink the hearts of the Confederates more by this Question than you have raised them by the former Debate. I think the sum moved for by Mr Bertie, viz. one million, very reasonable.
Sir Thomas Lee.] That which Coventry says looks strange to me, "to have the War break all the Confederates hearts," and "that the King of France will give more than you, upon the methods you are like to take." What is said here is no secret. I would then be satisfied, whether it is not the Fleet and Men, as has been proportioned here, that you have consorted for, and whether the Confederates are not to contribute something towards our charge. The objection is upon three months, therefore 'tis not the same thing for a year. All the World must see this is not a jealousy against France. France can have little comfort to see you raise Men, which you have ever avoided, and that we are only slack to raise Money, for fear the Men should not be employed against him. I never knew, when more Money is called for than what is needful, that you ever had it again.
Sir Henry Capel.] A Question put without a Negative is worth ten millions. I would not give such a sum as may make a Peace, and pin the basket there. When I consider Addresses repeated, and that the King has made those Alliances, 'tis a misfortune not to see more of these Alliances. When I consider our Addresses, &c. this sum is to little. 150,000l. per mensem is a vast thing—I expected a greater sum when the Committee divided upon it. Suppose 600,000l. moved for, and a million insisted on. Till we have a War, let us give in some proportion to the noise abroad. I move therefore to cut the thing in the middle. 600,000l. may happen to be intended, when 500,000l. was moved for, and a million moved for. Therefore I move for 800,000l.
Sir Thomas Meres.] You have five, six, eight, and ten hundred thousand pounds moved for, to enable the King to enter into a War with the French King. No man doubts, if the words be so upon your books, but that the Act itself will pay the men when they come in. The House will not fail, nor ever did fail paying them. At no time have we failed. Nay, we gave 1,200,000l. when we liked not the War. 'Tis too much if there be no War. We conclude War, and the consequences of it, if we give 500,000l. and I move it.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I expect that, under six months provision for this War, the Allies will not go along with you in an action that cannot end in nine months. All the Mediterranean and West India Fleet must be provided for a whole year, and a Magazine must be in the Mediterranean, and the West Indies must be immediately taken care for; all the rest of the War may be so over in nine months that you may have time to deliberate. The thing, so fatally possessed with jealousy, will startle always; 'twill be worse than nothing, and bring those that have the Money into a snare; and I would not agree to the 500,000l. proposed.
Col. Birch.] I would have a word put into the Question, viz. "For maintaining a War against the French King." I believe the Money will be for a War, or kept for some other use. 'Tis too great a thing to be jested with, and you cannot be looked in the face, if it be not done according to the Bill. 'Tis a reputation in this great thing to have no Negative. The words that I offer are, "to enter into a War with the French King," though already more is offered than is requisite. I hope this will be without a Negative. I move for 800,000l. But this is to be understood, besides Money out of the Customs, which will make it 200,000l. more.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This is more than the Committee can do. The House has given their word for this Question, viz. "to support Alliances the King has entered into." But in case, upon your War voted against the French King, he should accept of the Pyrenean Treaty, and come up to it, nevertheless the King will be obliged to spend that Money in a War with the King of France.
Sir George Downing.] You cannot alter the words of the Order from the House. The Committee has always had reverence to the House on this occasion, several times before; and you have no power to alter the Question.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Suppose there be no such Alliances made to lessen the power of France, then you give nothing; but I would give positively, "to enter into a War." If you go to a greater sum than 500,000l. then 'tis to support, as well as enter into, Alliances. I speak this for unanimity—And only to enter into a War, I will go as far as 600,000l. And 'tis demonstrated plainly by it, that we may meet in September next. But if Gentlemen have not a mind to meet then, they may give more, &c.
Mr Garroway.] The King is not bound up by this Vote, but you are obliged, if it be War, to support him. Accordingly, be it as long as he will, I am obliged to it, while I have one penny. If not, I am against it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King cannot say he is entered into a War, if he is not in it; and no man has "entered" who has not been in it. When the sum is adjusted, the words may be added, with assurance, "That the House will not fail him." But I would have that when the sum is voted.
Col. Birch.] I know not but some may come after, &c. and say, Give Money for an Alliance I know not of. Perhaps this Alliance is to force the Spaniard to do what may cost many mens lives, and more Money, and dissolve the Confederates. We were told, "That our coolness and dulness in assisting the King would discourage the Allies; and now that we would have a Question to oppose the French King with this Money, that must not go." I would have the world see that we are in earnest, to enter into a War with France, and if this discourage the Allies, in the name of God, what Allies have we? If this be not sense, I would know what these Allies are. If it be to bring down the power of the French King, I am for 800,000l. with the addition to the Question that I have offered.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The purport of those words is no more than what is understood to be the sense of the words and intention of the Order you sit by. Though I take not the words to be of a different sense, and I am not against them, yet you must go to the House for leave for the addition of them to the Question. "To enter into a War with the French King," is no more than "to support the Alliances." If the words be insisted upon, we must go to the House for power to add them to the Question.
Sir Thomas Clarges] 'Tis not fit to have the words in the Question, "to support Alliances with the States General," because you are told that the Treaty is not yet confirmed, and 'tis strange to have it in an Act of Parliament.
The Speaker.] I think it will consist with your Order, though it be not in the words of your Order. If you will give me leave to take notice of the Order of your proceedings, the Debates have been upon two sums, &c. I could have wished you had proceeded in another method. In this there is but one way of raising this. When several sums are proposed, and those debated, the least sum is first put to the Question; and then the other sum likewise in competition with the greater sum. So then the competition in the Debate is between 600,000l. and a Million. The other sum of 800,000l. interloped. I am never for so great a sum as will fright the people, nor so little a sum as is not to be depended upon by our Allies. Shall the ships and men be raised in earnest? That will cost three Millions, and you give but 600,000l. The King has made those Alliances upon our actual engagement and assurances of assisting him only, and, after a computation of so much, you come on with 600,000l. There would be no difficulty in this, if the Question was betwixt the King and the people only; but others are to take measures too by it, and if you lessen it, they must seek it elsewhere. No man that hears me but will say, that it is an unnatural step to lower the King of France by distrust amongst ourselves. Distrust is a weed apt to grow here, and those not under the Duty we are will despise him— And therefore I never think it will proceed from this House. The greatest consent has been to a Million, and will the King part with this Duty and Loyalty for a Million? The King must never look you in the face again upon this cheat, that no particular man would go about to get money by. I will say nothing the willingness of the nation to lend money, so bit by public faith, but they would caution such a sum of money as to make your coming again necessary—I would have this his Act, not ours, not the result of his necessity but your duty, and not to perpetuate ourselves. We must trust the King, and you injure your Question by sticking on it so long, and therefore I would have you put it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I affirm it to be Order, that, if several sums be put to the Question, you must put the least sum first, and so on; but if Gentlemen would put 700,000l. afterwards, I do not say that Question must be put. If I may have leave, I will say a short word to matter of trust. We may be trusted by the seamen. Foreigners may trust us; they have no cause to distrust us—Betwixt the King and us 'tis the most valuable and worthy thing—I recommend it to the Ministers, that, when the King has said it, though in a little matter, I am glad 'tis thought of such a value, and I hope no man thinks much to hear me, but if this has not been so formerly, 'tis none of our fault. I shall never lay it to the King. I could instance in three points they are ill plants. I shall not mention them. I could rather wish there was no appropriation of this money for ships. I should be rather glad of it. Trust is the best and noblest jewel of the Crown.
Mr Mallet.] I agree not with the Speaker, that a sum, having been named, may be waved, and not put to the Question. As to all other parts of the Speaker's discourse, in florid language, he says, "Alliances are made;" but yet there is no discovery of them; but by woeful experience we have found vast deviations of money, and that makes me more cautious. I'll say no more.
Mr Sacheverell.] To neither of these sums we can be unanimous. I am one of those who are not for 600,000l. till I have certain assurance of Alliances. I know not that there will be a War with France, nor any Alliance finished. It seems a popular Argument, as if this gave a mistrust in the King. This seems strong upon you, but I never laid it there; but as for him that does trust, when he has been once, twice, and thrice deceived,— it does not become Members of the House, but weak men to trust. The Triple League was broken, I would have one instance given, when the people desired War, and War was made. When the people gave money for it, the Ministers got money from the enemy to make Peace. What must induce this change? If 'tis intended to enter into War, and Spain knows all this, and is not a party to the Treaty, nor the Confederates, I can think it has no other aim, than to crowd a Peace down the Spaniards throat without their consent. Declare War against France, and I will come up to it; but till that is done, I will not give one penny.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I would have a word added to the Question, viz. "For entering into an actual War with France." Though a man may be of opinion that 600,000l. is a competent sum for entering into it, and not a Million, without so much as entering into it. I mean not for a long time.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Questions in dispute are barely matter of the sum. It admits any variation, and all forts of reasoning, keeping still to the sum. I would have entire liberty to have it in the Question.