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, March 14.
[On the State of the Nation.]
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] The King has had unhappy Counsels. I will not exasperate matters, nor ravel into Counsels. I will only say, that if the advice of the Parliament had been taken, we had not been in this condition. The strength of the French King, both by Sea and Land, is far beyond his Neighbours. He has, at this time, no less than 100,000 fighting men under his banners. I am sorry we have neglected the Militia of the Nation so long as we have done. Now things are mainly at the stake, and they might preserve us. Our Cut-works are already taken, the Spanish Netherlands, and, I fear, the French Army is so great, that the Prince of Orange cannot make head against it, and the worst of all is, we have jealousies amongst ourselves. Unless there be balsam to heal us, we are in a sad condition. I hope the Wisdom of the House will resolve on such things as may give us cure; and I hope the Lords, who are part of the Government, will consider the State of the Nation as well as we. I will not sit down therefore without a Motion, viz. "That we may humbly move his Majesty to declare War against the French King." The consequence whereof will be the bringing in our Allies, and we will venture our hearts and lives, and our purses will be open like Englishmen; and I hope for good Success.
Lord Russel.] The Gentleman that spoke last, has made a good Motion. I hope in time we shall justify ourselves from the aspersion that we did not give Money sooner. I would set the saddle on the right horse, and I move that we may go into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the sad and deplorable Condition we are in, and the Apprehensions we are under of Popery, and a standing Army; and that we may consider of some way to save ourselves from ruin.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I have been always as jealous of the greatness of France, as any man. There are already forty eight Companies of Foot, sent over into Flanders—But what Advantage shall we have more by a sudden declaring of War against the French King, before we are prepared? We have more Merchant-ships out, at this time, than any other Nation. And this sudden Declaration will but give occasion to the King of France to fall upon us, before we are provided. What is it you can do by it? You are in Treaties now, and will you over-run your Allies? I would do as the Romans, who made Declarations of War jointly with their Allies. That one thing I would know; what Advantage we can have immediately to Declare War, before we are in a posture for it? War will be declared, when we are ready for it; but if you advise the King as is moved, consider well what you have to do.
Sir John Hotbam.] I will not talk now like a Sophister, but like an Englishman. If our Advice had been taken, which we gave honestly and worthily, things had not been at this pass. But I am not of the Opinion with Coventry, "that this Prohibition is a sufficient Declaration of War." I am not worthy to sit here, if I do not second that noble Lord's very worthy Motion of going into a Grand Committee to consider the deplorable Condition we are in. We are told, "this will stop our proceedings in the money, &c." That is strange; for we are forty times more in danger and hazard, if we do not as has been moved, &c. than if we should not give one farthing of money. I would therefore go into a Committee of the whole House, to see the reason, and who has brought you into this Condition to lose all, and hazard our Governors.
Sir William Hickman.] All agree that 'tis a strange Condition we are brought into. We have done our parts in this House; we have given our advice several years against the growing greatness of the French King. Still we are in the same darkness as to the War with France, as when we first met. Therefore I move that we may go into a Grand Committee to consider the present Condition we are in.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Coventry would know, why we are so hasty to enter into War, &c. If we really declare War, we animate the Confederates. If we go into a Grand Committee, I hope we shall find out the instruments of our long Prorogations, and French Counsels, as if they had been pensioners to the French King. Then the Confederates will see that we are in good earnest. Let us enquire if we have not the same Counsels and Counsellors that we had before, and clear ourselves, and set the Saddle on the right Horse.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If the Question be for the House to go into a Grand Committee I will sit down, for all agree to it. But if you will proceed in the Debate now about advising the King to proclaim War, as has been moved, I have then something to say now.
Sir Thomas Higgins.] To put the King upon a Declaration of War, what can that hurt the French? 'Tis not the King's fault that Treaties were not sooner perfected. The King of France has a great Fleet in the West Indies, and our Plantations there lie open. If you desire a Declaration of War, judge the condition of those places. For your Declaration of War will not help the Confederates, and Spain will stand upon higher terms with you; and these are the reasons why we should not be so hasty to declare War against France.
Sir Philip Monckton.] I did not complain of my Imprisonment in the Tower: I desired no man to complain of it. Neither shall I complain of my Lord Chancellor's putting me upon a Recognizance. I will not complain of the King to his People: I would not be thought a man of petulancy, or a malecontent. 'Tis said "it is not now time to declare War." Just at the beginning of these times, the late King was persuaded by his Council that all was quiet in Scotland, and he never knew the Scotch Army was marching, till they were upon the Borders. I concur therefore with the Motion for the House to go into a Grand Committee.
Sir Robert Carr.] I do not know, but that in this matter of Imprisonment complained of by Monckton, my name may be made use of. Till you have something of this matter—
Sir Gilbert Gerrard took Carr down to Order, and said.] He is falling into business quite contrary to the matter before us. I desire we may not be diverted from the Question by any thing.
Sir Robert Carr.] I did never design to divert the Question, nor to play any trick in it—
Mr Palmes took Carr to Order.] I think he is leading you off from the matter. 'Twas moved and seconded, to go into a Grand Committee, and now you are diverted about the Imprisonment of Monckton, which he may do at a Grand Committee, if he pleases.
The Speaker.] The subject-matter now before you is the House going into a Grand Committee. Carr at another time is at liberty to speak.
Sir Philip Monckton.] I do aver that Carr was not in my thoughts, but he may proceed in what he has to say when he pleases.
Sir Thomas Meres.] No single man's case can be big enough to divert you from this great point; though I would have them both heard at a proper time. Now the result of the Grand Committee is yet a Question, Whether you will address the King for Peace or War. The Question proposed is, That the Committee consider the State of the Nation. And if you consider not how we came into these misfortunes, you will never see how to come out of them.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] 'Tis moved, "That you enquire into the King's Counsels." I am old enough to remember that the enquiry into evil Counsellors began the late War, took off Lord Strafford's head, and was followed by such an effusion of Blood that I hope the like will never be again. I fear the consequence of this enquiry. I will not trouble you with old Stories—If any person has any thing to say against Counsellors, he may now; but to go into a Grand Committee to set up a si quis, and make a noise abroad—If any Gentleman will name persons, he may do it here.
Col. Birch.] If that Gentleman knows that open War with the French is dangerous at this time, and he only tells us so, we are in the same darkness we were six weeks ago. I must explain myself. The long Prorogation at this time—Plain things must be discoursed of. Sometime since I told you of "a Crab-tree Cudgel, &c." but better now than not at all. And I would have the Speaker leave the Chair.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I am never against enquiry into Counsels. But the latter Question is set aside, whilst you enquire into the first. I am not conscious to myself of giving ill Counsels; and if you will go upon any one person, you may. And if it be worth your pains and leisure, you may go upon Counsels too. But if in that danger you are in, you neglect that first Counsel of remedy, it cannot be thought your business. The State of the Nation is plain; an actual War is entered into. The Engagement is plain; into an actual War; and 'tis impossible, till the King be in a good measure supplied by you to enable him, and has laid that money out—Without it the King could not go into an actual War. To go therefore into a Grand Committee, will be to come out again. When you have done what is necessary on your parts, I shall be as forward as any man to enquire into ill Counsels, or Counsellors, because I have as little to fear as any man.
Mr Vaughan.] Converse with persons without doors and within, and you will find dangers proclaimed at home and abroad. So sad an effect cannot be without ill causes. According to Wheeler's argument, let the consequence be ever so ill, of evil Counsellors, you must not examine them, because it had once ill effect; and so the Nation will never have remedy. I think we must see how we came into these missortunes, before we get out of them.
Sir John Ernly.] If I thought we were in jest, as some do, in this great affair of War, I would say nothing. The King is in actual War with the King of France, and will go as far in it as you will enable him. He has at present no money, nor credit. I will say nothing to excuse any man. Let every tub stand upon its own bottom. I have a clear heart; our House is on fire, and will you not quench it, but enquire who set it on fire? This must make a great noise abroad, and I know not how far it may reach. I would therefore lay this matter aside. This will not strengthen the King's hands, but weaken them. Let us go on with the Bill, &c. to enable the King to prosecute the War. I see no fruit of this proceeding you are upon, but Confusion and Misery.
Lord Cavendish] I am not of the opinion, "that we are in jest." I think some have been in good earnest. I would go into a Grand Committee, that we may enquire whether we shall go into a War, or no; for we are in the dark. 'Tis said, "'tis not now a time to enquire into Counsels." But surely the longer we delay it, 'tis the worse. I will say nothing to the thing now, but it will be proper at the Grand Committee.
Sir John Talbot.] I will not hinder the Question for going into a Grand Committee, and I am well contented that the Committee enquire into the present State of the Nation. But that which calls me up, is some expressions to be taken notice of, being one of those who have the honour to be trusted with a Commission for a Regiment in this Service. We are unhappy to be under the thought of being the occasion of bringing in Popery, and setting up a standing Army. I have a Family, and an Estate that my Ancestors have subsisted on. But this is a great discouragement, if whilst we are making levies of our men, we shall have such Aspersions, Fears, and Jealousies upon us. I am under some astonishment at it. Whilst I have been in military Command, I have acted according to Law. Instead of getting men raised, under these apprehensions, at this rate, people will rather knock us on the head, when we shall beat up our drums, than we shall have any men. When the Motion was first made, I expected Gerrard would have proposed it of another kind, viz. to have addressed the King to issue out Orders to the Lord-Lieutenants to put the Militia in Arms, to be drawn into the maritime Counties. There is great Security to the Monarchy in them, and they give the Nation great Security of our Laws, and King. I hope we shall not be so unhappy as to be thought Instruments, either of Popery or a standing Army.
Mr Leveson Gower.] I would never have given my Vote with that Gentleman (Talbot) so often, if I thought he intended Popery, or a standing Army. I had no meaning nor reflection upon him in what I said.
Sir Philip Warwick.] I would rather that you took this matter moved into consideration to-morrow, than press it to day. I have feared this greatness of the French King these forty years; and in my last Master's time, they had great Correspondence in Court, and found Casements to look in at. If we apprehend our Army's terrors to ourselves (and I have seen War to the ruin of the Nation, and destruction of the Prince) I have not a word distracted enough to express it. I am as willing (like Balaam's Ass) to crush my Master's foot, when an Angel stands in the way, as any body; but I am not for this Question now.
The Question proposed, "The House to go into a Grand Committee, to consider the State of the Nation, and to present you with remedies to prevent the dangers thereof."
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am not for Jennings's Motion, to go into a Grand Committee to-morrow, for his reasons, "because he knew not of the Motion, and is unprepared." I hope to be informed at the Committee.
In a Grand Committee. Sir John Trevor in the Chair.
Mr Powle.] I beg leave to offer my thoughts, now you are to consider the present Condition of the Nation. We have given something, and have voted a great deal more, for Land Soldiers, and a Fleet, and as yet but little appearance of a War with France. And if it be War, whether it be to lessen the King of France, or to do for him what he cannot do for himself, that is, to make Peace, if raising these man infuses a jealousy into the people of a standing Army, I would know what a condition we are in, as to Alliances, and what towards a War. Since Alliances have been so concealed from us, I have made it my business to inform myself from those that know better than myself, but I find very little of what was opened to us this Session. There are Copies and Prints abroad of the Treaties, and so the thing is no secret to us. If I am mistaken, I would be rectified by the honourable persons that can inform us better in them. First, I would know whether the Treaty is not on foot, on the project so long talked of, of the French delivering up some towns in Flanders to the Spaniards, and so to leave the French in possession of Burgundy and Franche Compté, and the rest of their Conquests, which are very considerable? Secondly, whether if France accept this Treaty, and Spain deny, we are not to enter into War with Spain, to constrain him to the acceptation of it? And, thirdly, whether there is not a condition in that Treaty to restore the Brandenburgh Conquests to the Swedes in Pomerania, and the French to hold Sicily, till these Articles are agreed to? And whether this is not in effect for the French to retain Sicily and Lorrain for ever? I leave you to consider if they must keep them as a caution, or pledge, for Brandenburgh to restore the Swedes the towns in Germany and Pomerania Upon this general Agreement, next to Flanders, Sicily touches us most, and now I would know whether all this Army is raised for this intent.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Gentleman seems to demand an account of the King's Treaties. If we that are sworn, &c. publish them, we publish his Counsels, contrary to our Oath. So that to that I can give no Account, unless the King give me leave. I can only say, that you are not rightly informed in the Treaty.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Gentlemen need not doubt satisfaction, especially when we owe it to one another. We did, as far as we had liberty, tell you the Treaties and Alliances, &c. If Powle has had information, as he tells you, of these things, I assure you they are not in the Treaty. If you will apply it so as to rest satisfied, &c. you cannot take it ill, if we, under Oaths, cannot, without leave from the King, say anything far ther. And you know as much of the nature of it, as is fit for you to know.
Mr Powle.] These Treaties are public to all the world, and I know not why they should be a secret to us.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I aver that these Treaties were not published by Authority, though they are said to be "known to all the World."
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think you are rightly informed by the honourable person, "that you know as much of the nature of the thing, as is fit for you to know." If we are in a State of War, you are no longer in a State of Mediation. When War is so much to the advantage of the Kingdom, Alliances will be known, and to fortify you, are now absolutely necessary—No danger by doing it. It is pretty strange, that against so potent a Prince as the King of France, there is all the publishing of War, by Act of Parliament, that can be, and no Act of Hostility. I wonder at that courtesy amongst Princes. To come therefore to a clear understanding, that the Army may be employed, and this money may not be given to our destruction, if it be not employed in Flanders, it may be here—When they are out of the Kingdom of England, that vigour may be given the Prince of Orange to enable him to look the French in the face—That will be honour to us to declare War, and that will be encouragement to us to proceed in the War.
Mr Mallet.] It has troubled me, that, all along this Session, we have had an ambiguous Debate about this War. You have countenanced an Army within doors—(meaning Members Officers) Why do they not go to their Charges? I would have an Address made to the King, not only to enter into War with France, but to secure your Laws at home; and that the 30,000 men now to be raised may be for the French War only; and that we may have no other military sorce, but the standing Militia, and they to be exercised, with a good Fleet, and we need neither fear the French abroad, nor French Counsellors at home.
Mr Vaughan.] If we have not a War with the French King, there is no man but will tell you what will come of this Army. I know no reason for this nicety, unless it be complimental to the French King, whether he or we declare War first. I move therefore, "that you will address the King, that War may be declared;" that all the world may know we are in earnest. Otherwise 'twill be very hard to give the King more money.
Sir John Ernly.] If I was now to declare this matter, I would be well prepared. The first hour you do this, all the Merchants effects will be seized in France. To show you that my zeal is as great in this as any man's, I would enable the King to send these men into Flanders, and until you estimate the Poll-Bill, no man will lend any money upon it. The King is as impatient as any man here to go into the War: And there need be no distrust of the King. He can raise what men he pleases, and make Peace, or War, if he pleases. An Army, if raised and not paid, will pay itself. Enable the King therefore to send them away, with more money, or credit, and you may send these men away when you please.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] As I apprehend from what I hear, the danger is greater from Scotland, than Flanders, by the Duke of Lauderdale's proceedings there, in quartering Soldiers upon such as will not give security both for themselves, and their tenants, not to go to Conventicles. I would not needlessly exasperate any men whatsoever. We are told, "that 'tis in the King's pleasure to show or not to show us the Treaty." And "that Privy Counsellors are upon their Oath not to reveal his Majesty's Counsels." I am sure 'tis also their Oath to give the King faithful Counsel. If there was not a bluster and a noise made with Prerogative, the King would easily make us participate of his Counsels. These times are like the melancholy ones, some ages ago, after the Duke of Burgundy's death. The French King had thoughts to make himself master of all; and his best way to keep off England, was to bribe the chief Counsellors, and they did receive Pensions, and gave acquittances for the money, which were registered in the Parliament of Paris. Then came a Parliament, and wondered whence came the Court to give so different Counsels from them; whence, if any message was sent into France, Jewels were presented the messengers? Is it not so now? If but sent to see what o'clock it is, they are presented, and, I speak it in the presence of God, I believe we have some great Ministers, as much bribed now, as then. Since our Addresses made to lessen the power of France, all our motions have been to heighten France. In August last, when there was a battle, and the French in some danger, our great men did run into France to their assistance. These are sad thoughts—This Army looks like a standing Army—Therefore I would have no Officer, of what quality soever, be admitted into it, that takes not the Tests, &c. When I hear of the Queen's and the Duke's Regiments, &c. they will be hereafter arguments of respect—"Will you disband the Duke's, the Queen's, and the Dutchess's Regiments?" If Reports be true, what is all this War, but to drive the King of Spain yet farther into this unprofitable War? I have seen great effects of 6000 English abroad. They may turn the scale; and if we pour 6000 men into Flanders, we may make such amazements that the King of France may leave the towns he has conquered. I wonder any man should oppose this Address to the King to enter into a War with the French King. When we were told of War here first with France, no body believed it, when a trade for French goods is held at Whitehall, and the French Ambassador is seen in every room—We put them not in our bosoms that we are at War with. I move therefore, "That we address the King to declare War with France, and that he call back his Ambassador from France, and remand the French Ambassador."
Mr Secretary Williamson.] 'Tis moved, "That an Address be made to the King to enter into a War with the French King." I will not deny, but that your Authority is equal to ours of the Privy Council, to advise the King; but Gentlemen must allow me to think that this must absolve you from doing your part. I wish the thing so well, that [I would not have] you make a wry step in it. But what fruits are there of your advice, that must enable the King to do what you desire he should do? When you have done that, I know no reason at all but it may become you to advise the King to enter into a War; but you are in the imperfect steps; the quantum is not calculated, and no view how this will defray the charge the King is at, in your eye—6000 men more will speedily be sent into Flanders, if the winds hinder not. There are 5000 there already, 28 Companies, and 18 more are preparing for the purpose you intend. In the whole, there is more money laid out upon this, than is in the prospect of this money before you. You should think how to carry on the rest of the Supply, to enable the King to go through with the Provision every wise Prince should make. And whilst he does that, you may easily foresee what kind of answer you will have from the King. I hope we shall get that advantage, that when we come to charge persons, Gentlemen will be tied to particular proofs, and not asperse the whole body of the Government. I am as much concerned, as any man in this House, at what is moved, and consider if what I have said is not in some measure reasonable. I think the Question is not yet ripe—But I would not have the Question fall; take it up to-morrow morning, if you please. One remedy to obtain your desires is to consider of the next part of the Supply for the War before you, that when that is ready; you may be able to say to the King with the Address, "That you are enabling him to enter into the War." I am of the same mind with any man in this House, of the absolute necessity for this Address, the King of France, as it were for his pleasure, walking from town to town, and taking them as if they had a correspondence with him. But if you send over hundreds of men, and talk of the Pyrenean Treaty, you will never effect any thing. The King of France will never begin War with you; his interest is not that, but to go on, and conquer. Therefore, as fast as possible, I move, "That you would enable the King to enter into the War:" And at the same time you present him with this Address, present him likewise with the remaining part of the Supply.
Mr Vaughan.] Let that honourable person show a precedent whenever Money was given for a War before it was declared. If the King pleases to declare War against the French King, if the House will not give Money towards it, I believe the Kingdom will do it itself.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] You are not upon a right way of declaring the War; it will do the Confederates no good, but it will do the King of France good. These Clauses in the Bill do import War; you have the Appropriation of the Money to a War with France. This will make the King of France look about him; if War was declared by sound of trumpet, with a Herald, this Act is as full. The point is, when you are ready for War, then you will declare War. I would willingly have Merchants speak it: For my own part, I had rather be a foolish Counsellor than knavish. If there are French Counsellors, I could wish I knew them, and that the Gentleman that suspects them, was near the King to give him better Counsel. Vast possessions were in the King, in former days, by tenures, &c. But our Master is not in that condition. 'Tis this House must enable him to make War. From my heart I believe it to be a War, and I wish it War. 48 Companies are in Flanders, besides what are sent to Tangier, and Jamaica. As for "the Duke's and Dutchess's Regiments," objected against, I would have Gentlemen show me, if it be not so every where, in Germany, and France; and no man can be a Colonel here, but he must run through all the things your Law enjoins. Do not give that King abroad such advantages, as to give such discouragements here to those employed in this War. You are told of "a Project, &c. and a Treaty about delivering up some towns, or Holland will not engage in it, for three or four towns." It is my opinion now, and was always, to suppress the growing greatness of France; but if you end barely thus in words, the misfortune will be ours.
Sir Tho. Littleton] You are told, "That Levies go slowly on, by reason of your not dispatching the Money, &c." But there is so universal a distrust in the War, that the common Soldiers come not in. As for the Treaties, we know not what they are, but what we can get without doors. We are told, "we are materially mistaken in what we hear of them, but when they are opened we shall find them otherwise." But I admire that we are not permitted to be told of one good Article in them; that all the good of them should be an absolute secret. If ever we enter into a War, it must be by other persons, and other Treaties, far different from these: For this Guaranty Spain will never endure. Though the King of France be beaten to Paris; yet if he keeps the rest of Flanders by resigning a few towns, the same danger will still remain. I am of opinion, and reputation is the last thing in the world,) that if the Confederates have no reputation abroad, and none at home, they are lost. We are told of "having realities in the Tax." The Poll-Bill is a reality: But if such doubts, as have been spoken of, are not removed, 'tis impossible there should be reality in any thing, but still doubts.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] If the Articles in the Treaty be such as Holland will not come into, all the Alliances in the world will not save us, and they will come into a Trade, and a War with us too. If we will enable the King, he will come into the Alliance. As reputation is a great thing, and declaring of War, if the French King seize your Merchant-ment, that will not be for your reputation.
The Chairman formed the Address, and read it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I would have it, "That from time to time, we will supply the King for prosecuting this War, according to our former Addresses."
Sir Thomas Lee.] I speak to the words "from time to time." I fear they will have no good consequence—These words had ill luck; for after, in May Address, we had put those words in, we had the same Counsels still.
Mr Powle.] Was there ever a precedent for the Parliament to assist a War, we know not where, or how? When the King asks Supplies for a War, he always tells the House how that War is directed. I move therefore, "That after quieting the minds of the Subjects, we may assist the Confederates."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] What Confederates does the Gentleman mean? Are not all the world Confederates? God knows where you are to state what are the convenient ones, before you push, or press the King into them. Will you declare the King to be confederate with these Princes, before having one Article with them?
Col. Birch.] If there was not something to be said on the other side, we must be of his mind. Our case stands thus, to my understanding. We have a hard game to play; if none of these Confederates be ours, how shall we stand against the French alone? I have heard a story of a man, that supposed his wife not to be very good, and his child told him, "If one body said so, it might be a lye; but if every body says so, then you are a cuckold, father." We hear from abroad, that the little Princes of Italy send out Privateers. They would be nibbling, but they say the King of England is not in earnest. 'Tis a wonderful thing that Spain will not let the Prince of Orange save them with his help. I appeal to Gentlemen that have been raising forces in the Country, as they are coming up to town, if the people cried not, "God bless you, you are going to fight against the French!" And now we can get no men. What is the reason of this? They believe it not. After we had given Money in May last, we were sent away with a rod at our tail, into the Country, and I expect no better of this, if the same men still advise the King. The Merchants had rather believe Monsieur Colbert, that the English may come into Morlaix safe, than our Ministers. The Merchants believed Colbert, but not one word you said, and they put Ships out to sea, notwithstanding your votes. The 20th day limited for no more importation of French goods, &c. draws on apace, and the Merchants sit quietly on that ground, and thinking people are employed about it in France. In short, I see no time when your Merchants have been less concerned than now. Is the Fleet ready?—If the Customs and other Money will not set out the Fleet, I stand amazed. Trump, in our late times, when Holland was at War with those that governed, put a Beesom on his Top-mast, and said, "he would sweep the Channel." Immediately the people that then sat here, (the Rump) in a few days set out a Fleet to sea, that met with the Beesom, and burnt it soundly. I hear nothing of our Fleet to-day, and therefore I believe 'tis ready. If I would advise for my life, if you ever do any thing on yonder side, you must have a good scouring body of men to join with the Lunenbourg forces, who are Protestants. They have had ill luck, and must have so still, else. But neither trained bands nor auxiliaries will do any good, unless they are assured whom they must fight against. A Vote of assisting the King against the Dutch cost us 2,500,000 l. But in this we are all concerned, and why should we not tell the King so? But if other words will do than are in already, pray put them down.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I hope the Confederates are so, though we know it not. But "Princes and States confederated against the King of France" may be easily known by that name, and I would have that in the Address.
Mr Pepys.] I will appeal to my memory, if Birch will appeal to his, and [let] both of us appeal to the books, if the Rump had not three times the time Birch speaks of, to set out the Navy; and then they were full of money too, and had what they would. In reference to my province (Secretary of the Admiralty) the King can show you in earnest, (because I hear the Customs for the Navy touched upon, as if the King had not furnished out any) more ships swimming on the sea, (not in port) than what you have given can defray. I am far from offering any matter of belief that 90 ships are ready; your Vote is towards it. All is done, and all the moral steps are made that can be; as many hammers and hands are at work, and all courses taken to invite men in—To the very use of Merchants Docks, the King has not one Dock empty; and I appeal to any man if ever they were so busy as now? What greater proof can the King give, than that he has already involved himself so far, as not to [be able to] go forward without your help? What greater proofs of indication of War can the King give? I doubt not, but your Million of Money will be raised, but others doubt it. Says Birch, "We cannot trust, &c." Money comes not in; they must know you are in earnest, as well as the King, and when they see you as forward to help the King, as you are to bind the King, War will be entered into with as much earnestness as you desire it.
Col. Birch.] When Pepys has made this declaration of Victuals, and Hammers, &c. perhaps there is but 200,000 l. laid out, when 400,000 l. ought to be. Upon the whole, you have an account from Pepys of all the Hammers at work, and I give vast credit to Pepys, as to all this. (Yet those ill men did what I say.) This confirms me that we are in a good condition to begin the War. I am now satisfied we are so at sea, and am so that we are at land. And therefore pray put the Question for the Address.
Mr Vaughan.] Some say the King is not in earnest for this War; others, that the House of Commons is not. I hope both are, and pray put the Question.
Lord Cavendish.] I would have it added, "to recall our Ambassador from Nimeguen."
Sir John Holman.] And "to recall our Ambassador from France."
Mr Harbord.] I think this was well moved. I never hope we shall have a War, whilst we have a French Ambassador in England. There is a necessity to recall our Ambassador, and send the French Ambassador home. In such a case as we are in, I value no man in competition with the safety of my Prince, and Family. 'Tis the practice of the state of Venice not to suffer a foreign Ambassador to converse with any of the Senate. Cornaro was hanged up for conversing with a foreign Minister. This man was executed for holding correspondence with foreign Ministers. I know not what crime it is here, but in all Noblemens Houses we hear the French Ambassador has been, and he has been admitted too into secret places (of the Court.) What he does there, the Lord knows. Reason is not only now, but hereafter. I would not have men in place aspersed, without special matter assigned. Papers come out that asperse; and I believe such swinging ones will come out, when we declare War, that we may know the whole bottom of all the mischief.
Sir Henry Capel.] There was a thing let fall, at the beginning of the Debate, that I desire may be part of the Address. This is a great Army now raising, and to be employed against the French King. In the late War against Holland, there were Chaplains to say prayers in every Regiment, according to the [form of the] Church of England. I hear that one person, a great man, because he would not admit Common Prayer, was laid aside. I would have the same care taken, that, according to Law, the Soldiers take the Oath, of Allegiance and Supremacy. We are under great jealousies, and have great reason for it. I would have them removed. They cannot else look on the faces of any man that has sobriety about him. They apprehend me. I wish they will take care of us, and I could have wished they had done it sooner. The Muster-master is to obey the Law; and no man is to be listed, without having taken the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and the Tests against Popery.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I am much alarmed that those forces are gone into Flanders, and no Muster-master gone over with them. I know not to what end that is.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] These were sent over in haste, and are not a distinct body of men. There are Chaplains assigned for the rest, and 'tis in the care of the Bishop of London. As for the Test, Lord Douglas is recalled out of France, who has not taken it. There is but that single instance; all the rest have taken it.
Col. Birch.] If it be so that you intend the safety of the Nation, and fight for the Protestant Religion, every common soldier (as Lord Obrien has told you his has done) need not take the Test, but every Commission-Officer ought, and a Serjeant is one.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If you make this a War of Religion, you will never have done. I would not fright any body from taking our parts, lest we be left as Sweden was, at last to side with France for her Protection.
Lord Russel.] I would have the King moved to discountenance such as gave him advice to tell us in his Speech of May last, "That we had invaded his Prerogative, and the like had not appeared in any age, &c. (where swords were not drawn, &c."
Sir John Coventry.] I desire such Counsellors may be removed, that persuade the King to have an ill opinion of his people.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I speak it for the glory of the House, that, in our Address to the King, we have proceeded with all modesty. If the Answer to our May Address be true, we ought to be ashamed. I would have it part of the Address, that we may clear ourselves, that we did nothing undutifully. The little Parliament, before 1641, is said to be as loyal as any—But ill men made what they did matter of sedition, which was loyal and obedient; and that ill men that came here after them made use of in this place.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] 'Tis the undoubted Privilege of this House to make complaint of ill men to the King, and if a Member knows any man, he may complain. Bills of Parliament are brought in to the Council-table, and they are there read, and considered for the King's consent. Now you would know his Counsel, &c. and turn them away. If the King was displeased with your Address, and would know who were the promoters of it here, would you not say this was a violation of your Privileges? Will you put the King upon what you would not be put yourselves?
Lord Cavendish.] Now we are advising the King to enter into a War, &c. I would not, for all the world, say, there are French Pensioners in the King's Councils, knowing it not to betrue. Such Councils are usually in the dark, and not easily found out—But shall this War be managed by those that have put by all our Addresses, and our last of May, with such an Answer, and by a false advice suggested to make difference betwixt the King and the Parliament? I look upon the King's Answer to our last Address as coming from the same hands. I would not enquire after the authors of the advice, but address the King to remove them, whoever they are.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] As long as we generally complain against ill Counsellors, and name them not, we asperse the Government. If we would go to the root, we must go so far back as the advisers of the Declaration, and the shutting up the Exchequer, but of late we have had no reason to complain, but of good management; now taken by some to be a crime. Let us reflect on the late times, 1641; then there was a cry against evil Counsellors, and they would have the Militia in their hands—I would not be drawn on to follow their ill examples. If there be any persons who have given the King ill Counsel, name them.
Col. Birch.] If I am not mistaken, Jennings said, "some here may think good management a crime."
Lord Cavendish.] I would know what "good management" there is. I know of none.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] If any persons are guilty, &c. I mean them.
Col. Birch, in answer to Secretary Coventry.] I wonder at what is said. I would ask any Gentleman. I was one that helped to draw that Address; and let the House judge whether it had not been better made sooner. I am not one of those who desire to know who advised the King's Answer to it. (Who does what is done here, all men know; 'tis the whole House.) But I would address, that the King would not take such advice for the future. But there is a Wheel within a Wheel. This will be more than all we have done. These several years we have been about this, and I would have it part of the Address.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If this be the way to have confidence in the King, I submit. This matter has not been debated—But that a Motion should be before any Debate of the thing, and at the end of an Address no way relating to it, is strange. 'Tis equally as natural to any Debate, as this—And nothing more contrary to the first part of your Address than this. To lay such a blemish upon the King's Counsellors—judge with what heart your Prince can enter into this business. I offer it to you, whether 'tis agreeable to the wisdom of this House.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I take this to be the most seasonable time for what has been moved. Ever since the 28th of January we have voted Supply in so much haste, that we have broken all order. The first day, you were told by a Gentleman (Secretary Coventry) "He had rather commit forty murders, than retard the declaring the War by not giving the King supply." And yet the War is not yet declared. You are not ready now, because you had not time left you in May last—If ever there was cause to complain, 'tis against that Counsel that advised the King to send you away then. If you will be upon expostulation of the King's Answer, or the persons that advised him to it, I am not against it, in the Address. But if you intend War, how great soever these persons are, that advised the King, &c. 'tis not safe for you to have them there. If this be the best way to prosecute the War, pray put the Question.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] "Lives and fortunes" in a Vote have had ill luck, and so has this Debate formerly, and I would now lay it aside.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Propound words as gentle, and the softest way that the thing will bear. There could be no greater service to the French King than sending you home in May last, and with the angry Speech. I would represent to the King the Adjournment in May, as the best service that could be done the French King; and I would do it, to avoid such Counsels for the future.
Sir Tho. Littleton.] If any man exceeds his liberty of speech here, you will not suffer it. If any Counsellor goes beyond his bounds, the King may be advised to beware of him for the future. I would have that moved, part of this Address, &c. to vindicate the House in that Address of May last—And not to hearken to such Counsels for the future.
Sir Thomas Meres.] This is the point. England is lost, upon this House's not having courage to come up to remove persons that have ill advised the King. This rock we split upon. Every man sees ill management. The Parliament is big enough to speak to the King, and they only can keep great men in awe. If we cannot come up to this now, I give England for ruined. No body dares trust himself, when all things go and come thus for France. I would go back to the Tripple League, and other things, and how you were sent away in May last, and not suffered to speak in the House, and put into the Gazettee with run-away servants, and lost dogs (fn. 1), and there was the Parliament proscribed. There was never a more wise, nor seasonable Address than that of May, and I never expect better things, whilst those men that gave those assistances are to govern our Armies against the French. You have in the parts of your Address, " Arms and Money," and I will never give my consent that such men shall still manage that, and I would have it in the Address.
Mr Mallet.] I would have it part of the Address, "That the King will be pleased to chuse us a new Speaker, and to remove such Counsellors as advised the Answer to our Address in May last."
Col. Birch.] I have a farther reason why this moved should be added to the Address. When that Address of May last was made, with as much earnestness as could be, Gentlemen, foreseeing the miseries that might follow, made a kind of promise that if any had been instrumental in breaking the Triple League, if they return from those Counsels, and join with us in promoting our desires to the King in that Address, all the ill they had done should be forgotten for the future by their good deportment. It has been formerly said, "That the displeasure of this House is an ill breath;" it so blasts that no leaf grows again; but now 'tis otherwise; those thrive and grow fat. If after this Question, Gentlemen come not up to this, I have done with any opposition to the French, and I will say no more.
Sir George Downing.] In King James's time, there was a Comedy at Antwerp of the German Wars, and King James [was] represented, instead of sending an Army of Soldiers to the Assistance of the Palatinate, sending an Army of Ambassadors. The World will say, "we have made a mighty noise to suppress the French King, with a huge Army of many Addresses." This is a time of the year for force to be opposed with force, and not with words. I move that this of enquiry into the advisers of the Answer to the Address in May last, may not be part of this Address, but kept within itself, and by itself. Whether is it not better to look forward, I submit it? You move the King "to remove those who gave him that advice, &c." Does it appear that such advice was ever given the King? The King's own Answer was, "no man advised him to make it." (Which Words gave offence.) What I have said was with a good meaning.
Sir Henry Ford.] I think what Downing has said, is ill and unadvised. Who knows that the King is Author of that Answer, without advice from others? I think it not fit to be said.
Sir George Downing.] I did bleed in my own soul, when the Act of Money was passed, and that done in May last. But he that is the accuser, must be the prover, that persons gave the King that advice, and I would have that done.
The Question being put for making the removal of those who had advised his Majesty to the Answer of the Address in May last, from his Councils, part of the Address, it passed in the Negative, 135 to 130 (fn. 2), and a Committee was ordered to draw up the Address.
Friday, March 15.
The Address was reported, [and is as follows:
"We your Majesty's most humble and loyal Subjects, the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, do, in all duty and faithfulness to your Majesty's service, humbly present your Majesty with this our Advice: That for the satisfying the minds of your good Subjects, who are much disquieted with the apprehensions of the dangers arising to this Kingdom from the growth and power of the French King; and for the encouragement of the Princes and States confederated against him; your Majesty would graciously be pleased immediately to declare, proclaim, and enter into an actual War against the said French King: For the prosecution whereof, as we have already passed a Bill of Supply, which only wants your royal Assent, so we desire your Majesty to rest constantly assured that we will from time to time proceed to stand by, and aid your Majesty with such plentiful Supplies and Assistances, as your Majesty's occasions for so royal an undertaking shall require. And because your Majesty's endeavours, by way of mediation, have not produced those good effects your Majesty intended, we do most humbly beseech your Majesty, that you would graciously be pleased to recall your Ambassadors from Nimeguen and France, and to cause the French Ambassador to depart from hence; that your Majesty being publickly disengaged from acting as a Me diator, or upon such terms and conditions as were then proposed, your Majesty may enter into the War to no other end than that the said French King may be reduced into such a Condition, as he may be no longer terrible to your Majesty's Subjects; and that Christendom may be restored to such a Peace, as may not be in the power of the said King to disturb."]
Mr Pepys.] I stand up not to oppose the Address. I only offer at one word misplaced. Your Vote was "constantly to stand by the King, &c." and the Address reported is "constantly assured that we will stand by him."
Mr Powle.] The words stand so transposed, as Pepys says, but I believe no body will be against placing the words as Pepys has moved.
Sir George Reeves.] That which calls me up is, that I know not what steps, or progress, is made in the Peace at Nimeguen. It has cost the King 50, or 60,000 l. to maintain his Ambassador there; and the King has been in a most honourable Station of mediation there; and as for proclaiming the War, 'tis in effect done already by our sending men into Flanders, to assist the Spaniards.
Col. Sandys.] I would have it mentioned in the Address, "The King of France terrible to Christendom," instead of "the King's Subjects." For he is not so to his Majesty's Subjects.
Col. Titus.] His Majesty's Subjects are part of Christendom, and so the King of France is terrible to us.
The Address was, upon the Question, agreed to by the House.
Mr Cheney.] Moves for the Lords Concurrence to the Address.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am a friend to this Address, and am fond of it, but I know no reason to ask the Lords Concurrence. I know not what the consequence may be, of letting the Lords into assistance with us in the Money-matter. I would have care taken—I know not the use of that.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] If we presented the King with so much Money, so much tax, it would be something, but "to supply the King" in general words, can do no hurt. The Lords consented to the MoneyBill, and there was no hurt in that.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Leave out the word "Aid," and then go to the Lords, if you please.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I move for an addition. I think we shall have no fruit of looking forwards, unless we look backwards. If those who divide the King and us still prevail, I expect no fruit of this Address, either with, or without the Lords Concurrence. I hope Gentlemen have farther considered it; and I would take all ways we can to be in his Majesty's good graces What I desire is for a right understanding betwixt the King and us, and I move to have the addition read.
Col. Birch.] When this was moved yesterday, and some would have put in "lives and fortunes," I would have had the Lords Concurrence. Read the Clause offered, and if the thing will bear it, I am not against it.
Sir George Downing.] Without doubt, "Aid" implies the Lords, as well as the Commons, and can do no hurt in this Address. The King made a reflection upon our last Address, "that 'twas without the Lords concurrence." For that reason I would go to the Lords.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I think "our fortunes" are our estates as well as "our lives" our persons. I feared this Address might be lost with the Lords, but I think now there is no hurt in going by the Lords.
Sir Henry Ford.] For the Lords Concurrence there is but one word scrupled at, and that is "Aid." Leave out that word, and there can be no prejudice in it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If any injury be to the Commons, 'tis in making the Lords joint givers with us of Money, till it be penned and phrased for the Commons, and the King thanks the Commons. Should you say, "the Commons" in the Address, &c. Though in a road-way, for Bills, yet 'tis no method, for an Address. I would not have it go to the Lords, for fear it should not come to the King at all.
Mr Vaughan.] I would not have the Address go to the Lords, though you were sure of their Concurrence. You will much entangle the thing by it. For when the Lords are joined with you, you put them in mind implicitly of giving more aids than we shall think fit.
Mr Powle.] The only reason of going with this Address to the Lords is, to know what Lords are forward in his business, and what Lords oppose it, and I move that it may be declared at a Conference.
[Resolved, That the Concurrence of the Lords be desired.]
A Bill for laying a charge upon New Buildings [was read the first time.]
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I think this the unjustest Bill that ever passed in a legal Parliament. The more pains you take in it, the worse you will like it. 'Tis better to put an end to it at first, than at last. I would throw it out.
[It was ordered to be read a second time.]