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, May 2.
[Debate on the Treaties resumed.]
Mr Powle.] This matter will not bear a palliative cure. It is plain, that Holland is jealous of us on one side, and Spain on the other. We are told that we are to send 30,000 men into Flanders, and 90 ships to sea, for our concert, and this for a pretence to ask money; and this has infused great jealousy amongst them.—Such a paper in print—Who could think we could ever go into war— And we fall upon Scotland, and they are arguments as if they might do the same here. This is the result of secret dealing with France, and underhand in Holland. This is plain by the denial of a sight of Lord Feversham's papers. This is strange that our advice should be asked, and, yet they will show us no papers. This is to show us things by half lights, and it will create jealousies in us, and we can say nothing till we are thoroughly informed.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] What Lord Feversham has done in France, and Mr Churchill in Holland, we see not. So that the Question is now, not what advice we shall give, but whether we should advise, or no. This going underhand insuses great jealousies, (as if there was some designs to alter the Government in Holland,) raised unnecessarily betwixt the States of Holland and us, about the Prince of Orange—Like such a design of making the Prince of Orange absolute, and that of Guelderland, if he interpose, to ruin him. These matters are secret to us; there are prints of this; I have seen them. Holland cannot find 90 capital ships, and we were cozened by Bankert, who negotiated it, and he cozened the States—'Tis said, that these 30,000 men to be sent over, will breed a jealousy in Flanders; when we might easily have saved it by auxiliaries, from other places—This has created jealousies justly.
Col. Birch.] I agree fully that we have not so much matter before us, as we expected, and, therefore, I would more particularly say what I think we want. I take it for granted, that this is a business which cannot stay long. The King of France has given a day for the Dutch to accept of the Treaty, and the Dutch tell us, they have a great tendency to accept of what is offered. If they make this Peace, or any thing like it now, they must fall wholly into the hands of the French King; and I would be told what we shall do when that day comes. Their poverty and jealousy are two main things that they insist upon. Of their poverty we heard little till the raising the siege of Charleroy, and soon after was the Marriage of the Prince of Orange. To call it jealousy, I see no reason, but why called demonstration? About ten years since, the time Sir Wm Coventry was laid aside, from that time what public thing has been done, but demonstration? Draw it down from the Triple League; see if not more like demonstration than jealousy. I have heard, and seen it, that one part of the agreement was, one to assist the other against Rebels. Therefore, I would have a time to see those papers, for truth, and the bottom of those things. As for the conduct of our Ministers, that in due time may be thought of. I do agree to an Adjournment of this Debate till to-morrow, but yet something more may be done. I take it for granted, that till the jealousies be cured, 'tis to no purpose to do any thing to gain their assistance, and not so much for that as to prevent their conjunction with the French King. This being the case, a day is a great matter. Foreign Ministers stay here to observe us. If any of them are jealous of altering the Government, or we of one another, I would cure that. If any thing be said that interfered with the Prerogative, I would remove that. Part of the Chancellor's Speech is of the King's taking the advice of this House; the other not. I move that persons of both Houses meet to confer, to cure this jealousy, with the foreign Ministers. I say it only to be thought of, not insisted upon.
Mr Sec. Williamson.] As to the unfortunate thing of jealousy, I cannot agree to some things spoken to. As for foreign jealousies, I will say nothing to them, but to our own part of it, as that of instructions to set up the Prince of Orange absolute, they are unfortunate mistakes, he insisted only upon the Stadtholdership perpetual. The matter the States liked, but the motion from a foreign Prince was a scandal to their Government. This was all the King ever interposed in that affair, in the agreement in the first War; and in the last War, the King would leave that to the States. There were propositions, as to Rebellion, as well as Invasion, &c. and this shows you that this has not given jealousy, since the jealousies were already that gave them. In fact and practice, Treaties were always so as to Rebels in each others countries. In 1667, it was at Breda the same. I will never allege fact to lessen my credit. That Article was in regard to the Messina Rebels, &c. and is universally in all Treaties. The King offered not to come out of the War without the consent of the Allies—I desire to clear the matter of fact—But I would not adjourn the Debate upon a point, and leave it upon a thing that you may not be answered in.
Sir Tho. Meres.] Now the thing is owned, that the demand of the Stadtholdership perpetual for the Prince of Orange was a matter of jealousy, and calling each others Forces into one another's Country, was a matter of great jealousy. If Williamson must rise as often he thinks we mistake him, or he us, he must do it often. If Water and Oyl be applied to a Wound, I would pour in Water before Oyl, else we must never expect to have it clear for the Oyl. But what is it we were to advise, if the thing was nothing but a plain Negative, or Affirmative? We must have things clear. I will never give occasion to be told that we have gone beyond our power. I would be told first, and informed, that we may not be sent away with Papers pinned upon our Backs. It is plain we have shown it, that, in these things, we are in the dark, as to manner and matter. The Negotiation, Employ, Concert, that Col. Churchill brought from Holland, I wish we might see that, to know and approve what that is, together with Lord Feversham's Answer from France.
Mr Williams.] I rise up upon one Article, that of reducing each others Rebels, &c. The fear and jealousy of arbitrary Power, this gives occasion of jealousy, that such Persons will be esteemed rebellious whom the King's Council tells him are so: Perhaps they may say the House of Commons is rebellious, and that Army raised may go against them. I find jealousy of Counsels in plain connection in the Chancellor's Speech, that Counsels are amiss; that the King has been cheated—How can we be just to our Country, if these Persons that have thus misled the King and us, are not punished! Your Adjournment now is for a clear light, which I expect from the good Counsel, and I hope they will expose those that are otherwise, and for that purpose I would now adjourn.
Sir Wm Coventry.] I will only offer a word to Adjournment. When I heard it called for first, I thought it too early, but much has been said since, which possibly may be very useful. But he is not a good Surgeon that will heal up a wound the first day he lays it open. The plaister that must heal, must come from another hand, and much better without our asking than with; and I believe it will come much sooner; and, therefore, without any farther ado, I would adjourn.
After the Treaties were read, [viz. the League offensive and defensive, and the League of perpetual Defence, with their separate Articles, (for the particulars of which see the Journals.)]
Mr Secretary Williamson, said] As for the Treaty, or Proposals, for ascertaining the Proportions of Ships and Men to be provided by England and the States, with the Answers thereunto, his Majesty does not think fit to let Papers of that concern be exposed to public view.
The Lord Chancellor's Speech was then read.
The House sat silent for some time.
Sir Edward Dering.] By this silence, we sit as if we had nothing to do; as if all were safe, or all desperate. I will not offer my opinion in what is before you, but leave it to wiser men.
Sir Henry Capel.] I desire to know (as to Order) to what points we are to advise, to War, or to Peace? If to War, as to the Modus, I am not very much delighted with the sight of these Treaties, I must confess. But I should be glad if affairs were taken care of, to be upon a sure bottom for our interest abroad, and then there is no need of seeing the Papers here; that we might have nothing to do but to make wholesome Laws. But since these Treaties are before us, I would take all the care at home for the safety of the King and Kingdoms, that it may be seen we have a care of the Government, and a fondness for the King's Person. Let every man lay his hand upon his heart, as he must account to God for his actions; and, therefore, let us go on a clear bottom in our method.
Mr Sec. Williamson.] Now we are upon a Modus, and Capel desires to know what we are to advise upon. I answer, these Treaties you have had communicated, &c. I know not, for my part, the King's mind farther than what my Lord Chancellor has delivered in his Narrative; and it is this, "That notwithstanding the Alliances that are made, the States of Holland are going into a worse course of Peace." This is the state of the case, and the King desires to know from you what to do; whether he shall close with these things, or not. I concur with Gentlemen that think this is one of the weightiest affairs that ever came into this House, and I hope your advice will be for the safety of the King and Kingdom.
Sir Thomas Lee.] This looks as if your advice was asked upon the Leagues before you, or what this last return from Holland has brought you; and we had as good say nothing as go upon either of them.
Sir Wm Coventry.] According to the clearness and sincerity of my Lord Chancellor's Speech, we shall judge of the lights given us by it. But pardon me, if I say, when the King speaks to us, or sends us a Message, I look upon it as the advice of others written for him by some inferior penman. What the King says, or signs, is the work of other men. No man can imagine any thing so low, as that the King should be the penman of other men's Speeches. That part of the King's Messages, or Speeches, in which are gracious expressions of the care he has of his people, is the King's own, and I will govern myself by it. The gracious part is the King's only. The glosses, and varnish upon it, are of his penman's doing. The Lord Chancellor began at the 1st of March 1676, and from thence he dated Alliances; as if no care had been taken of Alliances before the Parliament met here; and then we were told, "That it was not our part to meddle with Alliances." 'Tis no harsh thing to say, that before March, the Ministers ought to have taken care of Alliances; and before that time, had the Ministers done their duty, things would not have been at this pass; and now they can tell you in private converse, that the thing is almost too late to be remedied. The Chancellor, in his Speech, has given us a reproach, for not speaking plainly our minds. "The 16th of March," he told us, "the King could not go out of his figure of mediatorship;" but if his Ministers look to the 29th of March, they will find our repeated desires of Alliances, and we promised aids. That promise, it seems, was only to pay for the parchment on which the Alliances were drawn, but I hope we shall speak loud enough now to awaken the Ministers out of their sleep. It seems, we spoke not loud enough then; in April, it seems, we were understood too well, and therefore were senthome; and then we were told, "That nothing could be done till the mind of the Prince of Orange was known." But I would fain know why his mind was not known sooner. There was no difficulty in that, but the reason, we are told, was, "That the Prince of Orange was in so great a hurry upon action, that he could not enter into Treaty." But I would ask the reason, (I do not speak of March, April, or May.) But suppose, an abrupt Question should have been put to the Prince of Orange, of this nature, "Sir, would it do your Highness any harm to have 10 or 12,000 good English foot to assist you?" That Question would not have been so unreasonable, but that, surely the Pr. of Orange would have invited the messenger to dinner; and, perhaps, he might have taken Charleroy, and prevented the defeat at St Omer's: 10 or 12,000 foot would have done him no hurt, surely. At last, Mr Hyde is employed to the Prince, either to write, send, or to come over into England himself (fn. 1). Many a man was capable of asking him this Question surely, there needed no such extraordinary sending—All this, we must suppose, was in order to Alliances. But vox populi spoke that the Prince had another errand into England. I will not say, that vox populi is vox Dei, because the Ministers think not so.—The Prince came hither to love, and, like a lover, did abandon his own interest, to facilitate his suit. He brought a project of a Peace, when the mark was set up—And that gave the first light to a separate Peace with France. By conversation with the Prince, the King heard, we were told, how low the States were; which might have been known by any man; and no wonder the Dutch were exhausted by the War in their great Taxes that they imposed upon their people. I have reason to fear that nothing of Alliances was then thought of. I lay this down, that nothing could be done with the States but by Parliament; and that convinces me that nothing was intended; and so the Message re-coiled from France, and then the Parliament was called. I observe, that from May (which was the time of our Address) there was no desire of Peace from the States, till September; and then they told us, "If you'll not enter into War, help us to a Peace." From May was our unlucky Address, for which we were so reprehended; and then the States sought after a Peace, and from May to December at one leap, [we were adjourned.] The Parliament promised aids from time to time to support Alliances; the Dutch find no hopes of Alliances, and they seek for Peace. Suppose we had met in April, we should have been in Debate upon things, and that summer would have been lost, and the Confederates might have been over-run by the French. I open these things with intent to show, that till the French had rejected the Propositions, we thought not of Alliances; and so the Parliament came to sit in January. Whatever the Chancellor's Speech may insinuate to you, there were no thoughts of Alliances till the Propositions sent to the French King were rejected. Now I will come to that part, whether you will advise the King to accept of the Peace modelled at Nimeguen, or to go into War? This is a strange Question. Has any man here light requisite to give advice upon? If we must declare War, without help of Alliances, we had as good save our money till we have a War, and rather have the War abroad than at home. Does any man know why the States of Holland draw out of the War? Not that they like the Peace, but from their inability to support so vast a charge with so little help; and, perhaps, they are jealous of the Prince of Orange's power amongst them. 'Tis now no time to lose the Nation on a compliment; 'tis no compliment to the King that he and the Nation be lost. I am sorry, that anything that looks like advantage to the Prince of Orange's greatness, should be to hinder our safety; and if that jealousy of Holland be of the Prince, some means must be thought off to remove that jealousy. If indeed the States cannot carry on the War, on account of their poverty and inability, I am sorry we must stretch our purses; but rather than leave them out, we must do it. But till we have farther light, I know not how to advise. I am of opinion that the French King has a weak side, and if the War be held on a while, that weak side would be seen. He has, we see, quitted Sicily; and there's some defect, surely, and he hastens his project of Peace at Nimeguen. By his œconomy of treasure for the War, and his magazines, he designs his army for winter exploits; so that one army, by this œconomy, is as good as two. But when this army comes to be divided, in Spain, in Flanders, and Germany, he will quickly show his blind side. If any Gentleman can show me any Leagues, or Alliances, with the Confederates, to keep them together that we may help them, then 'tis time to give advice upon them. 'Till then, I see not how we can advise, &c.
Sir Philip Warwick.] Being unacquainted with any thing of this till this morning, I am not able to say much to it. It falls short, I confess, of what I expected. As I have ever had Mr Coventry in great esteem, so now, most especially for his frankness in this matter. I believe that if ever the Nation was in danger, it is now. I could have wished that this clearness, he speaks of, might have been. If it were possible to redeem time, I would sacrifice myself, to have come up to this of Alliances, two years since. I speak with no relation, but to my Prince and Country equally in my eye. And I would address the King to resume the Treaty, and I believe all the Powers in Christendom will stand by us, if we enter into a War with the King of France.
Mr Sec. Williamson.] Upon entering into Debate of the matter, Capel opened it well, viz. "Whether upon what is before you, you will advise War, or no War;" and consider what Alliances we have, or may have, and next, what makes the Dutch start from this Alliance. We know, they have frankly offered to come into it, but 'tis at a stop, whether Holland will come in, or no; without whom the King cannot be safe in the Alliances. This is a master-point, and a great fundamental. Most of the Allies derive succours from Spain and Holland, and they are as impatient to know what Holland will do, as we are. But as to the reasons of Holland's impotence and jealousies; as for their disability, they are at the same expence they were before. That being so, succours are expected out of Germany; for Flanders depends upon the supply from Holland. They had told us farther, besides their impotence, to come in with the Emperor and Spain. How can you expect they should come up to them who have so ill performed? They have promised all things, and done nothing; they and the Emperor have not paid their quota to Germany. They have drawn so much that the Admiralty of Amsterdam is three millions of florins in arrear, for the Straits ships. These are things, we can see, they own. But there's another thing more fatal than all this; they are jealous of that, which this House and Nation thought so sovereign a good to us. Of all the ties that make them nearer to us, I may say that (except Trade) as to Religion and Power, &c. no other Alliance is natural and proper but that. Had this thing been proceeded in so happily—but that thing of the Prince of Orange, and the defensive Alliance then treated by the Prince, is plainly the matter of jealousy, that turns that cordial of the Marriage into poison. And the root is the old competition in Holland betwixt France and England, in competition which shall have interests in their Counsels. There is still, as in this man's grandfather's time, all the thing of remonstrators, &c. called Religion. And I am afraid that a jealousy is revived by France, that the liberty of their union is in danger by the aspiring of the House of Orange; otherwise there could not appear, in so few days, so absolute a change in affairs, and the defensive Alliance never met with such a rub as this. If Holland makes a Peace, at the instance of France, and they have not the molding of it—I pray God that jealousy has not been fomented elsewhere. That of Guelderland, &c. gave occasion also of jealousy. I have heard fatal glances and touches, that that matter was fomented from hence, tho' certainly it never was done in the least measure. The States say that the Propositions of France are in some measure tolerable; so that you may try whether your putting them upon a War may procure a better Peace. And you are told by this man (the Ambassador) "that that Alliance his Master ever had, and then did prefer to the continuation of the War." They have sent now, and stay in impatience of the King's Answer. France tells them they must sign the Peace by a day, or else the French will proceed to the War, &c. and now they are upon their march—A town is now taken, and Liege is one of the frontier towns; and what may not this work in Holland? The suddennest place in the world to take impressions, and that retains them longest? If you'll enter upon the point, it is great; but I believe this that I have told you, is the true cause of their inclination to Peace, and of their going back from Treaties, that they have made. This is a great thing, and only fit for this place.
Mr Vaughan.] It is said, to be "a great grace, and favour in the King to communicate these Treaties to us;" but all records will tell you it has been usually done. The King, by bad Counsels, has been brought into difficulties, and he calls for advice of the Parliament; and now we desire light to advise him by, and the papers are denied us—Then our advice is desired in a more narrow manner—I think that this advice amounts to this, for the King of France against the King of Spain—When youths have leave to play, they have done their business first; but these have played truant, and brought in their business ill done. When we are dealt plainly with, without deluding us, we are ready, &c. but for this time I would adjourn, till we are in better condition to give advice.
Mr Sacheverell.] By what I see before us to day, the Gentlemen that cry "Adjourn, Adjourn," have great reason for it. It seems, the Ministers are not prepared to give us full information, &c. yet they would go forward though they have that which would prevent it—And, perhaps, we [shall be] called Knaves and Fanatics for our pains; and now when 'twas all our opinion to show the King the state of the Nation, then "'twas like 1641." But now we must not be frightened with "bugbears, Prerogative, and 1641." I am ever for supporting the Government as it is, but the Ministers have stretched Prerogative so far as to lose it. All their Counsels have tended to what we ever would have avoided. Can these Gentlemen say, but that we have continually been for having the forces recalled out of France? But they stop their eyes; we cannot, but must think they have been for France. The plain truth is, if the Question singly be, Whether this Peace, or Alliance, we must rest upon, I am one of those that scorn it; for it will ruin both England and Holland. I think, the Ministers are not converted by what we said, and that they are past any conversion. Now they come to ask us which of the two ill things we would take. Did not you give Money for the defence of the Nation, and lessening the growth of France, when he had but a few towns, that he held wrongfully? And now we ought to consider to take care of the King, since the prevalent number of the Ministers of State have taken none. I have seen several shifting of Ministers, one and another, and yet all carry on this principle, that fate, that as soon as they come in they must be so, or nothing; they have brought it to this pass; they have confessed that we are near ruin; they have hazarded all; and if you can make up this bad business for them, you must. They tell us of the poverty; and jealousy of Holland? I appeal, whether they have not done it to Holland. They fell into a War against Holland with the French, and those forces were continued in France. And now the Chancellor, in his Speech, tells you, "nothing shall be secret, &c." The King tells you in a late Speech, "He will take care of the Prince of Orange particularly;" and can the States be any thing reasonably but jealous? All I put it to is this: I desire to know how far we are to advise; whether we are barely limited to this League, or the Treaty of Nimeguen; and I would have that point opened, and I would willingly forget what is past, if we may be plainly dealt with in this.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I am far from being provided to tell you what the King has not given me order to do. I have told you all I have order for.
Lord Obrien mis-recited Sacheverell, and was dexterously taken down by Musgrave, to prevent his running into heat.
Mr Garroway.] I am one of those that are as sorry to see this day as any man. Seven years together, I told you things would come to this, unless Holland would do as we did; that is to weigh nothing. But when you were told things manifestly untrue, I think we have no reason to believe those Gentlemen again by word of mouth. Therefore I would have the matter in writing. I dread making the Proposition here, but I would pray those Gentlemen, the Ministers, to tell us what they would be at, and whether they will stand to the Propositions in writing; but I would look no more upon their words, and I would leave them to farther time of consideration. I would put oyl and water into the thing, and for the present adjourn.
The House adjourned without adjourning the Debate.
Friday, May 3.
Debate on the Treaties resumed.
Mr Sacheverell.] Yesterday we had a great Debate, and I hear nothing of it to-day; it seems as if all things were well, and to our satisfaction. I hear nothing from the Privy Counsellors. I would know what they have farther to inform us.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I wish we could find a way for Holland to come up to us. This afternoon the King has appointed a Conference with those from Holland, with some of the Lords of the Council, and I suppose the thing will be summed up, and some resolution taken.
Mr Sacheverell.] I desire to know whether that Conference be in reference to the Treaty before us? If so, we need not stay for that: I think we are all satisfied what that is.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] That matter will be treated of, and every thing relating to the occasion of the King's calling for your Advice.
Mr Powle.] Yesterday we desired a farther Answer of Lord Feversham's Negotiation in France. I was in hopes of that to-day; but it not being produced, I would know whether those honourable persons have any satisfaction to give us in that point.
Mr Garroway.] I confess, I am much troubled what to do in this case. If these arguments were pressed upon then, much more now. But to go clearly on, I would not have any mistake, for want of understanding our meaning, to put us backward. Yesterday you rose abruptly; clear yourselves now. I think it necessary to declare something upon what was done yesterday, viz. "That those Leagues, showed you yesterday, are not answerable to your Addresses for lessening the Growth of the Power of the French King."
Mr Vaughan.] 'Tis said, "we are not to meddle with Peace and War, but as the King communicates it to us." Now we are to give our advice, whether those Leagues communicated to us are for the benefit of the Nation in general. If we have no Answer of Lord Feversham's Negotiation, then we are to go only upon what is before us.
Sir Robert Carr.] To that of Lord Feversham you have had a full Answer. It was but for Aye, or No, from the King of France.
Sir John Knight.] I differ from what is moved for the Question. 'Tis not for us now to fall upon such a Question. When Hannibal is at the gates, we should consider what at present is to be done. Here have been Forces raised by Act of Parliament, in order to an actual War with France. The Confederates did depend upon it. Do you intend to have them lost, and Flanders totally lost, this summer? If you go not on, what will you do with this Army you have raised? This Treaty is not indeed pursuant to your advice, but it is seasonable at this time to advise the King, and he now will stand by your advice. It is every man's safety that is now the case. If you intend good to the Church, State, King, and Kingdom, speedily help yourselves. Therefore I humbly pray you to resolve somewhat on this business.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] Those Leagues are for Peace, and that Peace, so and so grounded, is not satisfactory to the House. What has caused this jealousy of the Prince of Orange with Holland, and Holland on our Ministers, but those Leagues? All our fears are of our Ministers trucking with France. Our business is to remove those jealousies from foreigners, and to remove our own Ministers, and to desire the King to suffer a Committee of Lords and Commons to settle this matter.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Something fell from Williamson about "meeting Commissioners about treating, &c." And he well observed, "that when you did not speak out, you were not understood." If that be the matter of this Treaty, as you have heard, now is your time to speak out. I observe in what a ruinous condition Flanders was, in January and February last, by your miscarriages. It has made you declare War by Act of Parliament, and put you in condition of enmity with France, and you call for all to join with you. It looks as if you must bear the blame, odium, and shame on you; and you to bear the burden of the whole War—You to show that 'tis a War for no man's interest but France! That provokes me to say, I would have you, by some way or other, show the King, that War, or Peace, grounded upon what is before you, is destructive to the interest of the Nation.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] How far this is an Alliance to please the House, or if it be a War, I leave it to the House, when it comes to be debated. The meeting this evening with the Ambassadors is to know, solemnly and finally, from Holland, what they will do as to War, &c. who speak, and talk, and act contrary to it—Another part of it, their retracting. If any thing in the world will justify the Ministers of Holland in what they have done, it will be such a Vote as is proposed. They will say, "This is your Alliance in that Treaty," and you will in a Vote plainly tell the King that you will not stand by him in it. Then what will be the consequence of the progress of the French King? Holland will not run into the French Peace in any other hands than ours. This is not vain in me, nor an ill-intended meaning. As to the Peace, but two words; that we were not for a Peace, and yet not for suffering France to go on: I say in fact it was not so, but Holland would not come up to you—but there would be a Peace in the belly of the Treaty. They tell you, "that parties in War come not out, but hand in hand, and they will come up to no more, but promise that, if they go out of the War, they will tell you, and will make no cessation of Arms without you; and if they will make Peace, it shall be on reasonable conditions:" And who shall be judge of reasonable Peace?—Reasonable Peace is reasonable Peace; and do you think that 'tis the Interest of England to close with them on these conditions? The King thought these were not conditions to enter upon; and the impatience of their Country is such, together with the French Forces coming upon them, that they will not stay their accepting the Peace for above another Post; and what has brought them to it, was the driving on of this House, which has put these people towards Peace. With what face can they start aside from what they have done already? It seemed to me yesterday to be a tacit resolution, if any possible means and ways could be found, to keep Holland up to us. To remove one jealousy this morning, I take leave to say this; if any one thing in the world has done the Prince of Orange prejudice in the minds of the people of Holland, it has been his over-haste to the War. It is our interest to preserve the interest of the Prince of Orange in Holland, and if any one thing in the world hinders his interest, it is their apprehension that the Prince of Orange would keep up the War to a continuance; and that thing will inevitably throw Holland from you, if you persist in it.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Who knows what one summer may do? I say we are too hasty to pass that Vote, moved, to preclude the Dutch by these Treaties; and I would not put any dissatisfaction upon these Treaties.
Sir George Downing.] I will give my Negative to this Treaty. I like it not at all. No Treaty of War was ever made, but that it might end in Peace. No man is a man-eater, to make War for War's sake. Peace is still propounded in all Treaties of War. As for this Treaty, I think it is very destructive both to Holland and England. Shall all this Alliance be dissolved to get eight pitiful towns (fn. 2) ? This never was, and is not, for the Interest of the Kingdom, and shall never have a penny of my Money to support it. I have been a long time foreseeing the growth of France—But if nothing be done, you must expect they will land upon us, and the War will be in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The King of France, upon pretence of an Edict, has found out a necessity to conquer his own people and laws, and no other but necessity of War is his law. He tells you, that things will not please his people, and yet he oppresses them by carrying on his Arms. I will go farther; by this Treaty eight Towns are to be delivered to the Spaniards, pitiful, inland Towns! And what is left? St Omers, Ghent, Ypres, and Cambray; these are near us; and we shall never be quiet till Dunkirk be out of his hands, in the very mouth of the Thames, a new Algiers set up in Christendom; the midway betwixt your great rendesvous, Northward and Westward, of all your Navigation! Shall we make Peace for eight pitiful Towns, and we not have Dunkirk? He be hanged upon a tree first! Here is another Article: If France accept this Treaty, and the Spaniard shall withdraw, Holland must not help Spain, &c. and we must compell Spain to accept (fn. 3). This Treaty will be the basest Ingratitude in the world to the Spaniards from the Hollanders. When I heard this, I thought it very extraordinary. I have told you what I would not do, and more than this I will not do. If they be worse propositions than this, I will spit upon them; and rather fight against Holland, if they will not do it, than with them. If the Dutch will be perfidious, Denmark, England, Spain, and the Empire, are able to tell them, that they shall have no Trade out with France. Their poverty is but a story. I have examined the thing, and I find not one individual wealthy man that has removed his habitation. What condition were they in, when three entire Provinces were in the French hands, and part of Holland, and part of Friezland? They want no Money, only Will; and their Army is maintained in another Prince's Country—Vast Fleets, if we join with them, are needless. Moderate sea-forces will do it; such as England and Holland can bear. If the management were prudent, and 'tis not too late to do it—And rather in the Spaniards Country than in our own. Therefore I am for not approving of this Treaty. But I am not for voting against it this day. 'Tis not now pressed upon us to approve it. If it was so, I would vote against it to-day. Let it lie upon the Table, and not give occasion of despair in popular apprehensions. Let this Treaty pass to-day, and let them know that Spain, Sweden, and Denmark are ready to come in upon good terms, and pass no Vote upon it to-day.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I concur, that the Treaty is not to be accepted, and 'tis no hard matter to bring the French King to reason, if the Confederates will come in; and I concur at the present to put no Vote nor brand upon it. The thing before us is not in our justice to judge it right or wrong; you may have recourse to your condemnation when you please: Our discourses seem no way to approve of it, and this will be an argument to screw the Dutch up to a better Treaty, as in Law the latter abrogates the former; and I would hold them to what is the good of Europe. But all are satisfied, that if it were not a very difficult case, it had never been sent to us. Let us not be rash, and resolve precipitately to pull the French King down, and not know how to do it. The case is, we are asked advice by the King; and if you put any Question upon it, let it go in hopes of information to be clear upon our doubts. Now put the Question, Whether the House is possessed with light enough to go upon the matter, and I will give my Negative.
Mr Vaughan.] Gentlemen that know affairs, may stand justified to themselves, but not we that know not. Our Addresses have been for lessening the Growth of the Power of the French King, and for making Alliances, but these Treaties we have seen are all for Peace: Those abroad will not come up to these Treaties, and I would set a brand upon them.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I wonder Downing should arraign this Treaty, and yet pass no censure upon it. If we forbear to pass a censure upon it, the Dutch Ambassador and our Ministers will never come up higher. They will say, "the House of Commons kept it in their fingers, and so will we too." If this Treaty ends in Peace, we are left with Peace, and an Army, and then what figure are we in? I would vote therefore, "that this Treaty is not satisfactory to the House, nor pursuant to our Addresses, &c."
Sir John Ernly.] I say, this League, as bad as it is, is better than none; and the Confederates may thank God for it. For till now a better could not be had. But this may be made better. If this League be not made, the Dutch will fall in to the French, and be free from us. Somewhere they will be, and best for them with the French; and where are we then? If we would improve this Treaty, you put the King upon this, and Holland will say, "your people will not come up to you, and we must do all as well as we can." I would therefore improve the Alliance, but not throw it away.
Mr Swynfin.] The Question offered to you is, "That this League, offensive and defensive, &c. and the Treaty upon it, are not according to your Addresses, &c." By all I have heard yesterday and to-day, the thing may be fixed amongst ourselves. It is apparent that this League is the all in consideration here or any where, That of Lord Feversham you have here, with that of the Dutch, which, you are told, the Dutch will not come up to. I would distinguish, &c. because 'tis said, "better this than none." But I am considering whether this is that War you gave your Money for, and raised your Army for; otherwise, if you say nothing now of this Treaty, the Army [may be] kept up as a warranty to keep up that Peace; something of this was discoursed then. In order to giving Money you were told, "what was in print of the Dutch Treaty with France, was not a Treaty." But wherein does it differ? I hope this Army must not be a warranty for this Treaty. Another Question is proposed, viz. "That the matter before you is not satisfactory." I am not against this Question—But will you let that fall without putting in some qualification, that the Army is not raised for the purpose of the Peace? It is said, "that the Dutch have so much encouragement from the King of England, that 'tis a question whether they make their own Peace, or we for them." But when they plainly understand that this is not the War we intended in the Addresses, and gave Aid for, when the Dutch see that, it seems to me they should not so soon fall in to France with a Peace. When we say that this War is not according to our end intended, I hope we shall be united, and that is my end in the Question.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The main drift of the Chancellor is to expose those Treaties to you, &c. The Confederate Ministers tell the King, that they desist from these Treaties, and detest them, and exclaim against them; for when three of the Dutch Provinces were lost, and Spain came to their help, they agreed with the King of Spain and the Emperor never to make a Treaty with France without them. Our Addresses to the King, and his Answers to them, must appear before we can conclude our Advice, and in all things that must lead us into it In Henry V's time, when he moved the Parliament for Advice, he sent all his Treaties from the King of the Romans to them, and I would have Acts not to treat of such things, without Parliament. If we are sincerely dealt with in this matter, we may advise. But one thing is represented to us at one time, another at another time: I would therefore have our memories refreshed, by reading our Addresses in this matter, and the King's Answers to them.
Mr Garroway.] I was the first mover of a Question, and I did think I had moved it with sincerity. You were told yesterday, "Enter not any Question upon your Books, and to-morrow you shall debate it;" and now, "Do it at your perils;" and thus we have been fooled with. This League, that we have had communicated, is most pernicious, and here is a standing Army to perpetuity for a caution of this League, and all the ill consequences that attend it. If the Dutch can do us no good, pray let them do us no hurt. They say they are poor, and that is a reason too why they can do us less hurt. I am not afraid of any thing of this, but I the ill acts that persons have done hinder you from your proceedings, &c. and this League is a justification of all the ill actions they have done these seven years, if you set not a brand upon this League. Therefore I move it.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If you think what I shall say is to shroud any man, or myself, I renounce my share of it. If any one of us, or I myself am guilty of any crime in this matter, I humbly present myself here to judgment. As I have thought it my happiness (as none is so high, but there is an established Government that he must be judged by) that those that have done their duty may be justified; so these general reflections are things that terrify any man from the King's service. I dare think as much, and say as much, for every man that serves with me, as for my self. I have still laid my claim to Patience and Merit, in bearing so long these things beyond all Patience. I must be plain in vindicating my own innocence, and this is the day. If that be so, go on, and if those crimes alleged be in generals, put them into particulars. I do in justice demand it for myself. Part of the Government of England is the Prerogative of the Crown, in making Treaties, &c. The King in this calls for your Advice, and you are not to go off from it. It is a mistake to think that the People are obliged to support that Treaty. If that be, all is at end, and your Question is at an end.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am far from reflecting on the Ministers, but if we approve of these things, we do of the Authors, and I would know whether Williamson will justify himself to be the adviser of the King's Answer to our Address?
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I am not bound to accuse myself.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Williamson said, "he could answer for himself, and those who acted with him."
Sir Thomas Meres.] I think Williamson has a hard task, to justify the Leagues, and the Contrivers of them. I am sorry he is alone, and has but one shoulder to support him. He tells you, "he has had great Patience to hear reflections upon Ministers, &c." and so has this House likewise, upon many occasions. I will find you out the Projectors of these Treaties. Whoever were the Contrivers of the King's Answers to our Addresses, so sharp, this House certainly had therein great Patience. Now the King sees they have led him along, shall not we brand those Counsels and Counsellors? (which you will give first) will you let that man give Counsel again? From May to May, we have been from year to year, and still there is the old Counsel, and we have Patience still. We are brought very near to ruin by it, I am sure. I move therefore, that seeing half England can never defend England, if a Question be carried by four or five Voices and when we had an unanimous Vote we had not an Answer of our Vote from the King,—Now I would have the Confederates see they have all the House for them, and we may go on, and by this time twelvemonth do as much good, as from this time twelvemonth we have done ill.
Mr Powle.] I have always found that when the House has had great matters in hand, there has been art used to adjourn the House, that things may flow from the King's Grace and Favour. But it has still been made use of to another end. Was it not so yesterday? The Debate was put off, that balsam might come from some other hand. And now the Debate comes round again, the Chancellor's Speech all palliating the matter—But if you rise without speaking plainly—This is the crisis of the afternoon, and it may be told us to-morrow morning "that the King knew nothing of our minds, that this project has ruined the Confederates." And I must say, with some zeal, that our masters have been carrying on the blackest design that ever was attempted; that they have raised an Army in England, and finely carried on Peace; but that does not hit yet, and if that project of Treaty be carried on to-day, we are bridled and saddled to perpetuity, and in Scotland, and I think, if they carry on this, that we are all undone.
Mr Goring.] I desire a Test from those Gentlemen, on that side of the House, that they have no design of creeping into the Ministers places, when they are out; and if they will give the House security that they will act better, I will then be on their side. Till then, I think the Ministers have done well.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would have that Gentleman explain himself. He speaks of "Gentlemen on this side of the House having a Test, &c." They desire not to come into another man's office. I desire that Goring, who seems to like and know these Counsels so well, will tell you who were against them.
Col. Birch.] I was in hopes that Goring would have said something to have allayed this matter. When Gentlemen, in this nick of time, and this vast business in hand, have such an affront cast upon that side of the House (though I was not on that side) it may be next on this side. Gentlemen must not say (as some did) "No, no," as if they were laughing in a play-house. I would have the House lay aside all Debates, till they have satisfaction in this point.
Sir Henry Capel.] I did yesterday take some sort of liberty to think of moderation for our safety. Possibly, no men are more prepared to speak their minds than we are now; but I would not let these words pass, but write them down, and then afterwards proceed upon them
The words were then asserted, as Goring spoke them before.
Mr Goring thus explained himself.] I meant by what I said no particular person; and I am sorry if I gave the House offence.
There was some Debate whether his Explanation was satisfactory.
Sir Thomas Meres recriminating something that Goring bad said, the other day, of the Committee of Popery,
Sir John Talbot said.] If we call a Gentleman to account for things said the other day, why may not the King call Members hereafter to account for what they have said here? I will not justify what Goring has said, but I believe his excuse is satisfactory. I am for his withdrawing, but would have a Question for it. I could not bear the misfortune to be under the displeasure of the Nation. I think it is a misfortune. We must bear with one another, and not be extreme to mark what is done amiss.
Sir Thomas Meres.] When Talbot condemns me for recriminating, and tells you of another thing likewise of this nature that he misliked, it is not orderly. I urged it not at all to the Gentleman's prejudice, but to remind the Speaker and the House of the too great frequency of these things.
Sir Robert Howard.] I hear it said, "'Tis a punishment and disgrace to withdraw." If there be a disputable Election depending, the Gentlemen concerned must withdraw, and no man will say 'tis a punishment. I am on this side of the House, and I myself am in an office. This side is the major part of the House, and, for ought I know, here is a reflection on the whole House. The thing was ill done, and Goring tells you, "He has liked all that the Ministers have done," when the Commons of England have not liked it. For the indiscretion he has asked your pardon, and I heartily desire the House would give it him.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] These things are incident to any man, but should all things be taken notice of in great Debates, business would never go on.
Sir Thomas Lee.] There is more in this than in all the matter of the Debate; but it must be a Precedent for the future. Where the words are once written down, you cannot show me a Precedent in the Journal that a Question has been put for withdrawing; but 'tis done by direction of the Chair. I would not have it a Precedent for future Parliaments.
Sir George Downing.] So long as a Gentleman will speak to it, he is not to withdraw. The Gentleman is well descended, and but young in years and experience; and I desire the thing may go over.
The Speaker.] If it be insisted upon, whether the House be satisfied, &c. [he must withdraw.]
Sir Thomas Meres.] You state the Question well, and then you go off from it. If the House be satisfied, there is no need then of withdrawing. You cannot let him be here present when the Question is put. He may then vote to it, and it may come to a Question, and therefore he must withdraw.
Sir William Coventry.] I would spend no longer time about this, for we have spent a great deal of time unpleasantly in this matter. The words are stated and agreed, and the next thing is to consider the crime, and 'tis a most natural thing that the Gentleman should not be present at the Debate of this supposition of a crime. If the House be satisfied—few speak against him, and those few acquiesce in it. If twenty more desire to be heard before he withdraws, those that speak against him may give occasion of answering, and few are backward to defend a man present. In an Election, after the matter is tried by Counsel, the party ought to withdraw of himself: There is no fundamental Order in it, but it usually consists in the modesty of the Gentleman. If it be affirmed, in calculating Arithmetic in a Tax, that two and three do not make five, if any Gentleman will be so obstinate as to contend it, he must have a Question for it. The Question cannot be put whilst the Gentleman is here, but if a Question be put, the Gentleman must withdraw. In Nowark Election, Sir Paul Neale was returned Burgess into the Crown-Office, and he was sworn by the Commissioners. There was a nicety arose whether he was a Member or not; he would have spoken for himself in his place, but he was not suffered to do it in his place, because by it he was admitted as a Member; but he withdrew of himself (fn. 4).
Mr Goring then said.] I am sorry I have given the House occasion of this dispute, but since I find that my company is troublesome to the House, I will withdraw without a Question. And he withdrew.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Alderman Foote said some words in the passing the Militia, Act, which gave offence; he had acknowleged the words, and was called in to his place, and the House admitted his excuse, "that he was sorry he had given occasion of offence, &c."
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] As it was a great offence that Goring has committed, so he has given the House satisfaction by asking their pardon. I think it is satisfactory, and I would have you pardon him.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Alderman Foote was judged to have his reprimand on his knees at the Bar; but in this I would not go so far. This Gentleman (Goring) sat a great while in his place, smiling and laughing. (Some say, it is his custom.) One said, "his words were not so black as those he reflected on." It is an odd way this of excusing. The young Gentleman is forward and zealous, but I would have no more said to him, but an admonition in his place to forbear the like for the future.
Mr Powle.] The words that fell from the Gentleman were spoken immediately after what I had said; but I declare, that you may pass it over; and as Goring desires, "there may be a Test against Offices," so I desire there may be a Test against receiving Pensions.
Mr Howe.] I am glad to hear the word "Pensions." We are named to be the greatest rogues and villains, and 'tis said commonly, "we are the greatest in nature, and that we take Money to betray our Country." I would have some Committee to draw up a Test, about persons that receive Pensions.
It passed over
Mr Boscawen.] You are to ask Goring no more Questions, but to reprimand him in his place, and no more.
Mr Goring being come to his place, Sir Christopher Musgrave offered to speak. But
Sir Thomas Meres said,] If Musgrave speaks, Goring must withdraw.
The Speaker.] The House has considered your Words, Mr Goring, and, as they are displeased with your Words, so they are pleased with your Submission; and I admonish you to forbear the like for the future.
The Debate on the Treaties was adjourned to the next day.