Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 5. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Thursday, April 11.
The House met, after the Recess, when Sir Robert Sawyer [on the recommendation of Mr Secretary Coventry] was chosen Speaker, in the room of Mr Seymour, who had retired into the Country (as was said) ill of the Rheumatism (fn. 1). [Adjourned to Monday]
Monday, April 15.
[The House, on a Message from the King, attended him in the House of Lords, where the Speaker elect was approved and allowed of by his Majesty. Being returned, the Speaker, having taken the Chair, acquainted the House, That it was his Majesty's pleasure that both Houses should adjourn themselves till Monday April 29th; and that the reason of such Adjournment was to this effect: "That the Dutch Ambassador had not at present full instructions; and that the affairs concerning the Alliances were not yet so ripe, or fit to be imparted to both Houses of Parliament, as it was expected they might have been upon the last Adjournment."]
Several Motions were made, after this signification of the King's pleasure of Adjournment, as it were to gain that point, controverted in the former Speaker's time, upon this new Speaker: As that of bringing in Sir William Killigrew's Bill: Another by Sir Edward Jennings relating to Durham Election, and that the Committee of Elections might be adjourned, by Order, to prevent Witnesses coming up, &c.
Col. Birch.] I have been at many choices of Speakers, and am heartily sorry for the loss of Mr Seymour. Though I have an honour for you, Mr Speaker, (Sawyer, I hope Seymour may be well enough to come again to the Chair. I must take notice that the Speaker ought to report the four things the King usually grants the Speaker, which he requests in behalf of the House, &c. I hoped not for a fortnight's Adjournment; I feared it; but seeing that 'tis the King's pleasure, I humbly submit to it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] This Adjournment for a fortnight is hard. When we desired it for three weeks, it was not granted. The last Recess, there were eighteen private Bills passed, and no public Bills; and this fortnight might have been for public Bills, and the Popery matter is upon the anvil, and adjourned to this afternoon by Order, and by Order we may sit, but we cannot go through with it to-day. Therefore I would send to the King, before the Lords rise, that he may be moved to let us sit. These are things which concern the Nation vitally, to be done, and I would have something done of the concern of the Nation.
Mr Sacheverell.] As I stand informed, our Message to the King was, "to adjourn to as long a time as his occasions would permit." And now his great occasion is not ready for you, I suppose this Adjournment to be an Answer to your Message. The King's occasion is not fit. But I doubt not, but if you signify to the King, that you have public business in your eye, which may come on till his great affairs are ready, he will give you leave to sit. And I move to desire the Lords to concur with you in still sitting, That of Popery is so necessary to be considered, that it looks as necessary as the Army itself. I fear there is Money in this Adjournment, and I move that the Lords Concurrence may be desired.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] We are to adjourn presently, upon signification of the King's pleasure, and I do not remember that, when the King has signified it, this was ever done before, unless in the Long Parliament— That cannot be a pressing Argument, though the Dutch have pressed that of Prohibition of French Commodities so much. What you have done by a Law, the Ambassador acknowleges he has no instruction to conclude upon, and you shut the gates to your selves, in trade, and open them to all the world.
Sir Thomas Lee.] (Upon some calling to adjourn) Gentlemen know me too well to sit down, because they call "Adjourn." In King Charles's time, what is moved was not so unusual a thing moved as Coventry says. It was done twice. Country Gentlemens affairs will call upon them. We shall better understand who counselled the King to this, about Midsummer, than now; and if there is nothing to be done, but giving Money, then 'tis very well argued for Adjournment now. But I am sure 'tis for the King's service, that things depending should be pursued. And because the Lords are not up, I would put the Question.
Mr Williams.] 'Tis said by Coventry, "There is no precedent of this but in the Long Parliament," In the Journal you will find that, 2 or 3 Cha. I an Address was made to the King to prolong the time of sitting of the House; and the King granted it in some part. Something, surely, we may proceed upon for the Public, as Popery, &c. without meddling at all with the affairs of the War. If what was represented at our last sitting, relating to Popery be true, for this very purpose I would address the King, that we may sit to examine this matter, it being so much for the safety of Religion.
Mr Secretary Williamson] I can easily pardon the resentment of Country Gentlemen for their disappointment by this Adjournment. But the King has not known this change of his mind four days. Saturday was the last day he despaired of keeping his mind in this matter. The King had it in his mind to alleviate and soften this disappointment, by speaking to you himself. We ought certainly to clear this matter of Popery, and time may be for that. Some complaints have been of this, and this afternoon something may be done. My reading is little, and my experience less, in the nature of this Motion of an Address to the King for sitting a longer time. In the 18th of King James, there was something of this kind, but the Lords did refuse to join with this House. I am extremely sorry that this happens in such a conjuncture, when there is need of all possible harmony. This is a disappointment that puts as much trouble upon the King, as upon any Gentleman here. But I hope, by the time you meet again, the King will be able to finish the matter, so as to lay it open to you. For the King cannot make them certain. For the present, they are as bad as bad can be. But I hope Gentlemen will excuse the disappointment, and adjourn, &c.
Mr Vaughan.] This is matter of that fatality that I fear it will take up all your time, and none will be left for the concerns of the King and Kingdom. It is an ill thing for us to go back into the Country, and they to tell us, " we must go again to make War, and give Money." There is a Precedent of addressing for farther time, in the 9th and 13th of King James, and I doubt not but you will have the same return from this King that you had from King James.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] (They called out, "He had spoke, spoke") No man can say I have spoke, when I stand up to explain myself. I have read that Precedent of King James: The Commons did represent to the King, "That the time was not sufficient between the Holidays, &c. to do the business before them, &c." But when the King has declared his pleasure for a speedy Adjournment, the House never proceeded any farther, &c.
Mr Powle.] I will only tell you what amazes me extremely. On the 28th of January, the King told you, "He had made Leagues with Holland, &c." And Williamson tells you, "Things are as bad as bad can be." I would know how that comes about?
Mr Secretary Williamson.] 'Tis better to have things upon certainty than uncertainty. There was a Treaty, and is a Treaty. Now we have made it with Holland, and come to the rest of the Allies, Holland flies off from us; and that made me say, "Things were as bad as bad can be."
Sir John Coventry.] These kind of Adjournments are very strange things, and this proceeds from your Counsels to raise men against Magna Charta, and set up Popery. No man can bear this. If the King thinks we are not fit to serve him, I desire he may be moved for a new Parliament, and new Counsellors.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The matter being so, that the Lords are up, 'tis in vain to address the King. I shall observe, that now there is an alteration from former times; for then all the study was to make Parliaments meet and rise with complacency; but now 'tis quite otherwise. That is all the observation I will now make, and let us adjourn.
Sir John Hotham.] Since 'tis concluded that the Lords are up, we lose time to debate farther; only before we adjourn, I would remind you that, about a fortnight ago, there was a Committee appointed to send the Lords Reasons for present declaring War against the French, &c. I desire this, that we may not enter into a War merely because there are Jealousies, &c. but that the Reasons may be obvious. I move that, seeing the House is of a mind for their Religion, a Committee may sit in this interval to prepare those Reasons, about Popery, &c. that the Nation may see that we come for something besides gratifying particular people.
Sir Tho. Littleton] I think, Hotham has made you a good Motion. It was said "that it was a Long Parliament Precedent to have a Committee sit in the interval of sitting, &c." We still have a recourse to that topic; but the Lords have sat upon several businesses, besides the Tryal of Lord Pembroke; and 'tis dangerous for one House to sit, and not the other. A Committee to sit, is not so dangerous, and we may have a Committee to sit, if the Lords sit.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] There are such a multitude of Papists, and Strangers, of all Nations, that I would have a Committee to sit, and draw up Reasons of our apprehensions of Popery, in this interval: And the House to be called over on Tuesday come fortnight.
Col. Birch.] I am sorry to hear, from Williamson, that this disappointment, &c. lies so heavy upon the King. I wonder at it, and am very sorry, that that League for lessening the power of the French King, which would have given such a handle to it, should be as we are told. Those that have the handling of it will bring us out of it, I hope. The only thing to lessen the power of France is forbidding trade thither. I hoped to have heard of smoother water in Scotland; but to think of a War with France, without the help of so great a limb of us as Scotland, is very dangerous. I hope and believe that nothing but this of the Dutch, &c. is the cause of our Adjournment. I have been lately in the Country; they find but one public Bill passed, and that for Money (fn. 2) : And they are in fear of Popery, and worse. I would have that Committee (moved for) for that very reason, for a Conference with the Lords about Popery, &c. and I like the calling over of the House, as has been moved. But first put the Question for the Committee.
Sir John Ernly.] I did resent this of the Dutch before, but I could not have thought that so great a retrograde would have been; but de facto 'tis come to this: The Dutch Ambassador has no Instructions, &c. and if we let slip this French trade to them that lie at catch for it, you will have little effect of lessening the power of France. I never hoped to have heard of a Convent of seminary Priests in England, &c. I did, and do stand amazed at it, and that they should have 300 l. a year—'Tis very fit to be enquired into, and I would have the Committee sit this afternoon, to enquire into it. If it be true, 'tis the foulest thing in the World; but if it be not, this House is abused, &c.
Sir John Trevor.] I think you were informed that the Reasons were not prepared. The matter is of that consequence, and so much of it, that one afternoon cannot perfect it; 'tis so out of order, that the thing would be disorderly to report it. I suppose two days may end it, but under that time it cannot.
Ordered, That the Committee appointed to draw up Reasons for the Conference to be had with the Lords, concerning the danger the Nation is in by the growth of Popery, do sit during the interval of the sitting of the House, to perfect the matters referred to them, &c.
Sir Thomas Higgins.] I did not say "that the account of the Convent of seminary Priests was false:" But I know those that do affirm that it is false, and I am informed by people of very good credit that 'tis not so.
Col. Birch.] I hope the House will not cool, when there is a greater occasion than this. I was one of those that put Higgins into this Committee. What Higgins doubted was for better information. I hope that all this that we have heard is not true; but I would have it examined to the bottom. I hear that there is dirt thrown upon the Gentlemen that appeared at the Bar to prove it; but, I believe, they will prove it, and I am confident of it. There is my confidence against another man's confidence. I would have the Committee sit four or five days only.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Those Gentlemen, I believe, that were so warm as to call Higgins to the Bar, did understand the thing amiss; but I doubt his first words were very harsh, though he has explained them. No man doubts but that those Gentlemen of Herefordshire were turned out of Commission of the Peace, after they had done their duty about the Priests, &c. and another was made Sheriff, &c. But turning out one Justice in the face of his Country is a discouragement to two hundred. Whipping one dog makes them all run away; and this does in a great measure prove the thing. This appointing a Committee, &c. hath been often done, in an interval, of sitting, but I would not assign them only two days, to lay a restraint upon them. It looks like distrust of their modesty.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I know Mr Arnold, the Gentleman that was turned out of Commission, and I wonder Higgins should say he will be disproved. His father would never comply with paying taxes in any of the usurped Governments. Worthy Gentlemen, the Knights of the Shire, had the examination of the thing, and I have it in my pocket to evince all this; and I wonder Higgins should speak of men that can contradict it.
Monday, April 29.
Sir John Trevor reports, That the Committee have taken the information of Mr Arnold, and Mr Scudamore, and several other Justices of the Peace, and have disposed the matter under three heads: 1. Popish Priests, by whom kept, and where Masses are said. 2. Justices of the Peace, and others, that favour Popish Recusants. 3. The proceedings in the Exchequer against Recusants.
For the first, in the County of Monmouth, Mr Arnold's examination says, "That one Lewis, a Priest, has been in that County seven or eight years; he hath seen the Chapel wherein Lewis said Mass." One said, "that Lewis had been a Priest these sixteen years, and that he was the Superior of all the Jesuits in North and South Wales." "Captain Syliard is a Romish Priest, and hath endeavoured to pervert several to that religion."
2. The Committee was informed that Mr Fenwick was put into the Commission of the Peace, in Northumberland, whose Wise was a Papist, and his Children bred Papists. The Knights of the Shire desired that Mr Carnaby, a Protestant, might be put in, in his stead, and were refused by the Lord Chancellor.
3. The Commissioners for estreating two thirds of the Papists Estates in Monmouthshire, the 22d of July, 1675, of all the Lands there returned into the Exchequer 4 l. 13 s. 4 d. the forfeitures of Protestant Dissenters, and not Romish Recusants. In London and Middlesex 300 l. Of Romish, 3 s. 4 d (fn. 3).
The House then attended his Majesty in the House of Peers, where the Lord Chancellor, by the King's Command, made a Speech, in which he reminded them of "the King's offensive and defensive League with Holland; signified that his Majesty had endeavoured to improve that League by entering into farther and more general Alliances, for the Prosecution of the War; but that he had nevertheless thought fit, before he made his last step, to take the farther Advice of both his Houses of Parliament; and that he resolved to govern himself by it."
His Lordship then undertook to give a brief deduction of affairs, from March 16, 1676, to show, "1. That the Addresses of the Commons did not recommend immediate War, but Alliances; in particular with Holland, by way of a preparation for a War. 2. That the said particular Treaty could be no otherwise set on foot than with the Prince of Orange, who was in so great a hurry of business, and such a heat of action, that no time could be found to enter with him upon that Treaty. 3. That his Majesty, to lose no time, had laid out all the 200,000 l. which he was enabled to borrow, in military Preparations, and that if he had been furnished with the 600,000 l. he demanded, he should likewise have laid it out, by this time, in land or sea stores, and provisions, to universal satisfaction. 4. That when the Prince himself arrived here, it appearing that the States still continued violent for a Peace, which they had applied to him to procure for them, in January, May, and September last; and that, consequently, his Majesty's endeavours for that end would be grateful to them, he took that opportunity to engage the said States that, in case of refusal, they should co-operate with him to carry his point by force of Arms, his Majesty well perceiving that being then weary of the War, they would enter into no Alliance with him without a prospect of Peace. 5. That in the midst of their most pressing dangers, his Majesty had given his Niece to the Prince of Orange, as a pledge of his Attachment to their interest; which alone was enough to extinguish the fears of all at home, and raise the hopes of all that were abroad. 6. That to the end it might be known, whether the Most Christian King would consent to such conditions of Peace as would be grateful to the States, the Earl of Feversham was sent to Paris, but returned with an Answer very dissatisfactory. 7. That hereupon his Majesty hastened the Meeting of the Parliament, and concluded the League offensive and defensive with Holland; which he was graciously inclined to communicate to Parliament, if they should desire to see it. 8. That he had, moreover, concluded a perpetual defensive Alliance with the States. 9. That in pursuit of the first of these Leagues, he had called upon the States to adjust the several Quotas by sea and land, which the several parties were to furnish: That he had communicated his own: That he had sent some Forces into Flanders already, and would have sent more, if some difficulties had not been made on that side [relating to Ostend,] which, for friendship's sake, he does not think fit to communicate. 10 That the next thing absolutely necessary to be done was, to form one common Alliance, for all parties to enter into, for the making the necessary dispositions for carrying on the War, for establishing a general prohibition of Commerce, and providing against all possibility of a separate Peace. 11. That to this end his Majesty appointed Commissioners, on his part, to treat with the Ministers of the respective Powers; but when it came to the issue, it appeared that the Dutch had no Power to treat, ["Conclude" his Lordship should have said] 12. That when, upon his Majesty's own earnest instances, Powers did come, they were unaccompanied with Instructions. 13. That his Majesty now finds what he always feared, that the Dutch are making haste to get out of the War; and are so far from being disposed to enter into any new Alliance for the more vigorous prosecution of it, that, whether they will persevere in that which they have already made, depends on very many and very great uncertainties. 14. That, at this very time, they give ear to such a Treaty as (the Most Christian King hath thought fit to offer at Nimeguen,) as before mentioned,) though it be without his Majesty's consent or privity, and contrary to that League by which they stand obliged to him to prosecute the War till a much better Peace can be obtained. 15. That his Majesty hath sent to desire an Explanation of this manner of proceeding, and to dissuade them from it, by letting them see that this will be as ill a Peace for themselves, and the rest of Christendom, as their enemies could wish. 16. That as yet he has received no answer but complaints of their great poverty, and utter inability to carry on the War; and that he is told by their Ambassador, that they intend to send over an Envoy Extraordinary, to beg his Majesty to accept of the Propositions, and to excuse themselves on the general impatience for a Peace. 17. That this is the state of the case between us and Holland; so that there is little reason to hope that the States will so far enter into the common Alliance, as to make it quadrupartite: And 18. Upon the whole matter, his Lordship ended as he began with "his Majesty's demand of their Advice, as to what would be fitting for him to do, in this difficult conjuncture (fn. 4)."
Col. Birch said,] Since the King will lay all the matter before you, I should be glad to see that which is called the "defensive League" only. The King is pleased to say "you shall see it all" now, which might have been done before. But the hand of God is in it; we must see it now. I would have the whole matter laid open now; and not have it put off to another day.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I desire speedily to go about it, eo instante, now. My observation upon it is, that all our Addresses to the King have been made for a War; and, in the Chancellor's Speech, we hear of nothing but Peace. We gave Reasons for it in our Address, and I wonder no proceedings were in it, before the States had communication with the Prince of Orange, who is their servant, and that made the Dutch jealous of him before. I would willingly see these Alliances, that we may go on.
Sir Thomas Lee.] You would do well, I think, to consider what is the advantage of this; your discourse is for War, and your Address to the King accordingly; and so what relates to Peace is out of your sense and intention; therefore I desire not to see the Treaties.
Mr Garroway.] I differ from Lee. I would see the Treaties, that the World may see how we are abused. We were told of War in the beginning of this Session, and one said "he would rather be guilty of forty Murders, than it should not be War, and you must not then procrastinate a day." And will you not see the truth of it? You have given away the Nation's Money to no purpose, and have raised men for an actual War, and that is turned into a Peace; which was never your intention. 'Tis fit the World should see the reason of this.
Sir John Hanmer.] The sense of the Chancellor's Speech is, that the King has proceeded to War as much as he could, and the Dutch say they have been so wasted with the War, that, without a preliminary from the French King, they would go into a Peace with him. France would not give any, and then they would treat with the King. The King has all along intended War with the French, and has endeavoured to do it, and the Alliances are not come up to it. The Treaties may be seen and had; and I believe the King will do whatever shall be for the good of the Nation.
Sir John Ernly.] I doubt we all shoot at random, without the sight of these Treaties. The King, I assure you, will have no reserve. The King did think the Dutch would do as they have done; and I would have all things plainly before you, prepared for this matter. Perhaps 'tis no jesting matter; perhaps the Nation was never in a thing of so much weight before.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Those of my opinion never thought this "a jesting matter;" we told you all along we went blindfold, and should stumble in the dark. And you were told so some time since, when "things were as bad as bad can be." And there is a stumble in the dark for you. When they would not let us see this Treaty, it seems, our advice was not worth taking. The thing was only for Money, and now we are an old Almanack; out of date. We see it; now we see it plainly, that these Alliances are a sort of riddle and ænigma; the mother begets the daughter, and Peace begets War. Let us see, pray, these Alliances, to compare them with what copies we have had before. I desire that those Gentlemen that moved it may go to the King for them.
Mr Powle.] In the Chancellor's Speech there was mention made of two Leagues, "offensive and defensive," and "of perpetual defence." I desire we may have them, that we may be better guided by what we have in writing than what is said.
Col. Birch.] I would have but one work of it. I would not therefore desire only that League offensive, and the other defensive, but desire the King to communicate such Leagues or Treaties sent to the Prince of Orange, or that the King has from him, as relate to that of Peace.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would desire the King that he would communicate such Leagues as may clear you in this matter. Perhaps, if the King thinks fit to go on with the War, he will show you what Leagues are with France, likewise, and those I would very willingly see.
Mr Garroway.] I would not have these words in the Message to the King for the Leagues, viz. "That the House may ground their Advice upon:" They are too obliging, and Perhaps we shall have other matter to ground Advice upon.
Ordered, That the Members of this House that are of the Privy Council do desire his Majesty, that he will be pleased to communicate to this House all such Leagues and Treaties as are mentioned in the Chancellor's Speech, or relating thereunto.
[The House then resumed the consideration of the state of the Kingdom, with regard to Popery, and received and approved certain Reasons (fn. 5), to be offered at a Conference with the Lords, to induce them to co-operate in seeking a remedy against this growing evil, which ended with these remarkable words.
"And that this may be done with all expedition; because the Commons cannot think it suitable to their trust, to consent to lay any farther charge upon the people, how urgent so-ever the occasion be that require it, till their minds be satisfied, that all care and diligence is used to secure the Kingdom, and prevent the dangers that may arise from the prevalency and countenance that is given to that party, by some more effectual course than hath been already provided (fn. 6).]
Mr Goring.] Because some Gentlemen have not done their duty, must the Nation be lost for want of giving the King Money? The Committee has not done their duty in putting in the [above] Clause of not granting Money, &c. and they those defend it shall be called to the Bar.
Col. Birch.] I am not for carrying a thing by a Quesion, but by Reason. I little thought that your Committee would have been guilty of Treason, (as the Bill you intend imports.) Is there any Gentleman will stand up to say a word against the safety of Religion? No man can say that this Address hinders giving Money, if there be occasion, and enables it to give Money. If any man would not secure the Protestant Religion, let him rise up and say so.
Sir Robert Carr.] If the Committee have gone farther than your Order, we may say so. Till I have seen the Treaties, I cannot give my Negative to Money. [would have the latter part of the Address, relating to Money, put to the Question, by itself, and to the rest I am ready to give consent.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If you lose your Religion, you lose all your Liberties. You cannot save the Protestant Religion, but by this Paper—Farewell Parliaments, and all Laws, and Government, and the Protestant Religion, for they are all one! There is no haste to any thing else. In 1670, you did more than you now have done, and it came to nothing. You have nothing in the Address, but from the last Clauses. If they be left out, 'tis but brutum fulmen. If you intend nothing, and will fling up all Religion, fling up that Clause.
Col. Birch.] The Quakers here, at your Bar, did make a difference of themselves from Papists. They declared, "they were of the same faith and belief as we are, only that some matters that were invented by men, they could not join in;" and that was a good account of themselves. But when I heard Sir Solomon Swale here, and Sir Thomas Strickland there, (whom you have expelled the House for being Papists) cry up the Church of England, and run down the Protestant Dissenters, that alarmed me.
Sir John Ernly.] I doubt there will be great inconvenience in the last Clause of the Address. We have now raised Forces, &c. and they are going over, &c. and if we fear the growth of the power of the French King, and our men are going over, &c. there can be no greater discouragement to them, than that you will give no Money till all this be done. And since you have made this another part of the Address, not in your Order, I would lay it aside till another time for consideration.
Sir Philip Monckton.] Settle Religion, secure that, and no doubt but you will secure the Nation; else, all is lost. You have seen the Royal Family have one sad fall, and as you would preserve that, preserve Religion.
Sir Richard Temple.] If you do not provide for your safety, Popery will the more easily come in. Show your zeal, but according to knowledge. I would preserve your Safety and Religion. This is of dangerous consequence, for a Committee, in intervals of Parliament, to prescribe ways to the House in giving Money. Is this proper to tell the Lords? There was never such a thing done, to put this office out of our own hands. It will not be a reason maintainable there. I would have nothing done thus, by side-winds, and I would leave out this Clause.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Upon the Debate of the House, when the Committee was appointed, a stop to the raising of more Money, till our fears of Popery were remedied, was part of that Debate. It was a young Gentleman (Mr Goring) not used to speak, that would have had the Committee called to the Bar, for putting that Clause in without leave of the House; but I would have that forgotten. But I believe it will pass the Lords, and pray try whether it will do so, or not. Let all things be forgotten that are passed, and, for the future, I hope the Ministers will redeem what is passed, and I would agree with the Committee.
Sir John Ernly.] There have been more Convictions in the Exchequer since my time, than in any man's in that Office before me. And I shall do my utmost endeavours to suppress the growth of Popery. I said, "This will be some discouragement to your forces by Land and Sea." 'Twill be an encouragement to your enemies, and a great inconvenience to you. But if there be no other way to keep your Religion, but by this Clause, I would not be against it. But as for these words, "Justices of the Peace put in to countenance Popery," I am sorry they are brought in here. I wish you would leave them out.
Sir William Coventry.] I profess, I intended no reflection, in what I said, upon Ernly. I am sorry he had cause to apprehend it. That Gentleman sees and knows more than a Country Gentleman, of the obstructions that this Address would make to our preparations against the French. When I had any thing to do in the Exchequer, they were inconsiderable that were convicted of that number, &c. But I do not remember any obstruction in levying the penalties upon Recusants. There was never any Order by a general direction for levying of the two thirds of their Estates, and as to letting loose all those who had passed away their Estates in trust, and thereby giving an indemnity to all the Papists in England, who have no lands at all, I never remember any such thing.
Col. Birch.] We have an Army now raised, and some of them are gone beyond sea. Of those there were neglects in giving the Oaths, &c. and of those here left behind few have taken the Test. Mr Baynes, the Muster-master, said here, three or four Companies had. Now they have so much Money for raising their men, and Subsistence-Money, and we look not upon them as Soldiers, till they are closed in the Muster-Roll; and that may be not till after Michaelmas. In Ireland there are Popish Officers, and suppose all the Popish Officers were to get into Flanders, in a heap, you would have work then to some purpose. This induced the Committee to put in the latter Clause. Pray put the Question, and I hope we shall not have a Negative.
Mr Powle.] I hear much about Forces beyond sea, and of rules given them. I hear one strange rule, "that our Forces must stand uncovered, at the Host's passing by, in their Processions." I would be secured from those Forces bringing in Popery.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] This will be a great discouragement to those Forces, that go over to hazard their lives to prevent the growth and power of the French King, to have such a character put upon them, as if they would bring in Popery. 'Tis told you over the way, "That the Soldiers have Subsistence-Money, and that the Muster Roll is not closed." But 'tis not the Officer has that Money, but the Soldier, and the Officer takes the Tests. This reason, at the latter end of the Address, invalidates all your other reasons, as if the former reasons had no strength without the latter. I would leave it out.
Sir Thomas Meres] I agree with Musgrave, that all you have said before has no reason in comparision of this, &c. The point, in short, is this; if you will carry on the safety of the Nation, you must carry on your Religion; if you carry not on your Religion, you are broken and disjointed, and farewell all! I would not have it thought, that, within this House, there should be any inclination to Popery. And in that I cannot be mistaken. I have always thought that this House is the bulwark of the Protestant Religion, and ever will be.
Sir Adam Brown.] I believe, if Popery ever comes in, it will by the French. We send out of England Church of England-men, and we leave Papists and Fanatics behind. What are they that stay at home? Papists and Fanatics are not free to fight. Nor will they undergo any Civil employment, or office, and have all the favour of ease, of charge, and trouble. I will venture my life and fortune, if you will go extraordinary ways, and I would very unwillingly give my Negative to it.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] Putting such a stop upon Money now in this manner cannot stop the growth of the power of France, of which there ought to be all the care and diligence that may be. If there has been neglect from the inferior Officers, who managed the Exchequer, reflection ought not to be upon the superior, who managed the Exchequer. There was not that care taken by the former Lord Treasurer, as now.
[Ordered, That the Members of this House, that are of the Privy Council, do humbly desire of his Majesty, that the original Proposals of Peace, Dispatch, and Instructions, sent over into France by Lord Feversham, and the Answer of the French King, may be communicated to the House.]
Tuesday, April 30.
Sir John Coventry.] Complains that his footman's head was broke by one of Sir Charles Wheeler's Captains. He added, I speak for the Privilege of all the Commons of England, and, for ought I know, these men are raised for an imaginary War. These red coats may fight against Magna Charta.
Mr Mallet.] This Gentleman was once assaulted in his person, (fn. 7) and now he is in his servant. I would have it enquired into.
Sir Robert Carr.] These Soldiers were raised by your Advice, and I hope you will give them leave to march upon their Duties, and come to Westminster-Hall, to take the Tests appointed by Act of Parliament.
Sir Tho. Clarges.] It is the ancient Law of Parliament, that armed Men should not be about, nor near the Parliament, in terrorem povult, to disturb your Members in their Attendance; and I move to have the matter enquired into, and that you would justify your Privileges.
Sir Philip Harcourt.] Your Member's affirmation is sufficient; 'tis conviction enough. Coventry said, "he was going to do his Duty in Parliament, and therefore the Captain broke his man's head." I wonder the Speaker is so slow in doing his Duty. I would have Coventry's man called in.
The Speaker.] When complaint is made of a Member's being assaulted, you immediately send for the person that did it, in custody. This is upon a Member's servant, in the Member's presence; and 'tis the same thing, and there is equal Privilege. But this is from an information to your Member. If you call the man in, you must instruct me with Questions to ask him.
Coventry's footman was called in, and said, "The soldiers struck the coach-horses, and he did alight from behind the coach, and asked them, Who was the Captain of the company? Upon that, the Captain struck him over the head, but he did not tell him that his master was a Parliament-man."
The thing went off, without farther proceeding. (fn. 8)
Mr Harwood.] I wonder at the sending Lord Duras [Earl of Feversham] into France; the only man that should not have been sent with the Treaties to the French King. I would see what he brought back with him in writing.
Sir Robert Carr.] What Lord Duras carried over was verbatim, what he had orders for; and he had nothing to bring back, but Aye, or No; and it would have been ridiculous to have brought that back in writing.
Mr Vaughan said.] No man can take the Justice of this House upon himself, when the House must have the satisfaction of an offence done against their Privilege. Coventry, has declared, "That he intended no reflection upon Mr Arundel's family, in what he said of the Captain;" which I think is personal satisfaction, though the case is the House's, and not his.
The Speaker.] The House ought to make Judgment on the Words spoken here as to itself: Coventry, has said, "that he intended no reflection, &c." and they must both acquiesce in the Determination of the House. And if they please to come and dine with me, they shall both be very welcome.
Mr Sec. Williamson.] For you to go out of the War, without leave of the Allies, is a point the States will not come up to—Their Ambassadors had no Instructions; nor to the going over of our Forces; and this was the Reason of the Adjournment. The Gentleman that's come over gives a sad account of things. The people in Holland have an extreme aversion to the War, and how unsufferable soever the Terms of Peace from France are, yet considering the slowness of the Confederates, and the ill payment of Spain, his Masters concluded that these French conditions were aucunement tolerable. As to force, they say, "They are obliged to assist the Emperor, and Spain, with twelve or fourteen thousand men, if they can;" and upon our kind engagement of 90 ships, and 20,000 men to go into Flanders, the States will continue those Forces they have in Flanders already— For our Forces, the King did, by Mr Hyde, propose a concert of 90 ships, and the land forces, &c. and they to continue the same army out; at least, as many men as they had the three last years: All this they would not come up to; of all which you may have the particulars, if you please.
Mr Powle.] The Treaties, it seems, were made, but the principal things were left out. We suppose all the Transactions are extant, and, therefore, I would see those of Lord Duras brought to the Committee.
Sir Wm Coventry.] I would not put more hardships on the honourable persons than needs must. The House must authorize them, before they can bring any Treaties. God knows, too much time has been lost, and I would lose no more. As to the concert spoken of, I would willingly see something of that. I suppose that was a proposition of 90 ships, &c. If so, 'tis a very fair proposition, for us "to lead," as Williamson says, and 'tis a matter of great frankness in us to offer the most first. To get money, foreigners will go upon it—The concert begins with obliging himself about the beginning of January. But the Dutch running into a Peace is but of twelve or fourteen days, but of that concert something the Dutch surely did say of land forces. The burden must lie upon us, else, if it be a War; the States answer all with their extreme poverty, and they cannot come up to it. The Confederacy must go into their holes, ask pardon, and submit; and Holland must submit too; and, perhaps, the French Ambassador will be greater at the Hague than the Prince of Orange. The King of France, for the present, rests, and when he'll awake, God knows: I know not. I hope they that brought us in, will bring us out. I know not the way, I assure you. We want a little of their advice and skill, to help us out. We met in the middle of January, and now 'tis the latter end of April, and though we are but upon imperfect conclusions, yet I should be glad to see what the States have done, in writing, (though unpolished) with us all this while.
Sir Wm Coventry.] If the French King should come up to these Propositions, he could not answer them; they would not please his people; and I hope that will be in fashion here too, amongst other things. Else I could wish this Proposition had never been sent.
Mr Garroway.] The King of France has answered, "That the Proposition will not please his people;" and shall we pass these things off, without seeing papers? I cannot believe that the Ministers would not put these things in their papers.
Mr Sec. Williamson.] Lord Feversham's Answer was to be Aye, or No, from the French King, and he could not do it for fear of displeasing his people. Will you think it for your service to insist upon what's before you in the Treaty?