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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Tuesday, May 7.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] The King tells us, "He likes neither the matter nor manner of our Address;" and by sending to the Lords, I know not what issue that can have, when so many are Popish among them, and of those that contrived this Treaty. I would rather address the King, "That he would send a Messenger into Holland, that we may have truth told us in this Treaty, and that we may have a Committee of Lords and Commons to treat with the Dutch, in order to a League offensive and defensive against the French."
Sir Thomas Meres.] If you will adjourn in discontent, you will do something, but I like it not. But when reasoning has done no good, as in the case when violence has been offered to your Members, going on to do some little business is as good as nothing, and is not for your service. Let any man look back seven years; what have the Lords helped us in Advice? And what should we do now? What good had we in sending to them about the Declaration of War with France? It made us loiter five or six days. The Nation is discontented. Did they help us then? They made a Vote that they themselves did not understand, nor any man else. This matter must arise from hence, as that did. They are a legislative part, indeed, and for Money must be called to give consent, though for form-sake. The whole is this I would speak to, to make an Address to the King, and add something farther than in the last, and do it with all usual solemnity. For I liked not the manner of the former Address, I told you, when you did it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] You are upon a thing of great moment; and I desire we may do something. But I expect no great issue from the Lords. A Committee of Lords and Commons that formerly met upon the like occasion, (to treat with Ambassadors) gave much distaste, but never was there so much ground for such a thing before. We have addressed the King, &c. but one point is not clear in that Address. Supposing the States of Holland do not join with us; I move particularly to clear that point. To cure the jealousies of Holland, 'tis accepted against, &c. But this is not to meddle with Holland—Though the Dutch do not come in to enter into the present Alliances with the Emperor, &c. that we may do it, and this is the readiest way to bring the Dutch in, if they have any possibility of retreat from their agreement with France. If we enter into this War, we are in the place of the Dutch, and if we lie down under this Peace, the Dutch will lie under the French King, and this must be the consequence; if we go no farther, the French King may do what he will with us by Land and Sea. If he send to us not to go into the Indies, nor into the Streights; and those that are most subservient to him will have the best quarter. Now to let this great matter stand still,— I admire that any man should oppose it. If we go on, we have an opportunity to defend ourselves with the Emperor, and Spain, better than when alone by ourselves; for if so, the Emperor will no farther concern himself with us. As things are now, with this Treaty with the Emperor we may do much better than alone. It will be pretended that we must have an Army to support this Peace, and 'tis said, the Militia may do it; but that is as bad as a standing Army. Every man that commands it is a Bashaw in his Country, and if so, it will end with military force here, as in Scotland, &c. Therefore I move for a Committee to draw an Address to the King, for explaining ourselves, plainly and clearly. If we do not speak out, I say we are for embracing the Yoke, and I would address, &c.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] You have not spoke out. in your Address, what you will do in case Holland will not come up to us. If you mean to address the King singly, without the Lords, I object to the manner of it, as well as the matter, if you have not the Lords Concurrence. Now to the matter, to take off the jealousies of Holland; 'tis obvious to the King what those jealousies are, (though I have taken leave to open some of them.) But I am far from owning that those jealousies were fomented from England. 'Tis said, "they are jealous of us in Flanders too." But from all we know of the exposition, administration, and disposition of their affairs, we have never understood but that they have reckoned and built upon our forces. But "they are jealous of some things in the Prince of Orange's administration, since he came into the Stadtholdership." Let Gentlemen speak out plain, where the Malady is, whether this or no? That is for answer of the jealousies. (Not but that I wish all jealousies were laid aside.) As to the Dutch lessening their Quota, by reason of their Poverty, in Aids and Supplies, it is known well, that, as far as the King could, he has drawn their Ministers to answer, &c. And they told us "that, they had no Power, &c. till the return of their Messenger from the Hague." For the other part, if Holland start out, and we go into the Alliance, it is as great a point, and was not started on Saturday. But he that foresees does not cause. I know not how Holland has wrought, but that they, as abominable as their Peace is thought, yet pressed the King to accept it. But the King would not accept those conditions, nor meddle with prolongation of time. They did the same at Brussels, and the King has done the same as now. He took it ill from them, that, they being at the brink of ruin, such a thing should be offered. The States as strongly represent their reasons why they do it. The deductions of their reasons are very large and peremptory. This resolution they have taken, because the help has been so little from Spain, and England weighs so little, that the helps have been so frustrated by Money and Supply of Men so little (I speak this but as a Member, and will answer no farther,) "that it must be remembered," say they, "that in the same measure England comes into the League, they must go out." When the resolution came to the Ambassador from the States, and a prolongation of the time was desired, this was added, "That he should have direction to the six Allies to apply to, about those proposals of the French King." In order to make them concur, I was directed to be very warm with the Spanish Ministers, and to tell them, "We must disband thirty Regiments in the Spanish Towns; you may take them, if you will, but we must disband them"—Now, when the Hollanders see we will come in, yet in proportion of force they must go out. Facts must be laid together well, before you can come to a resolution, or opinion, in it. But I beg pardon, if I say that I know nothing that can hinder the King from raising what forces he pleases, if he pays for them himself. My argument is, you are the paymasters; if the occasion of the forces cease, how can any man think you will pay these men that are not employed to the interest you mean they should? When the inconveniences are immediate and certain, if the jealousy of that part of the Army prevail, all solid discourses are at an end. I mean this Address to the King on these three points. 'Tis a thing of too great weight to precipitate Advice upon, before you give your opinion of it. To your Vote of Advice to the King I have concurred as entirely as any man, and I would have you immediately fall into Alliances, and get Holland to come up to it, as highly as 'tis possible. Bring it to this, and I think that if Holland will not come up to what you desire, you will enter into Alliances without them—This may harden Holland, as if France's power must be lessened at another man's cost.
Sir John Hotham.] As I take it, Williamson said, "He thought it absolutely necessary that the King should keep up some forces, &c" and "he did not know but that the King might raise what forces he pleased, so he paid them;" which he afterwards acknowleged the King could not do without us. I would remind that honourable person that the Petition of Right is Law. And I remember this was urged about Black-Heath time, &c (fn. 1). That Petition states it thus: "There shall be no quartering of Soldiers, for continuing them here, any longer than in their passage to the place where they are to go; else 'tis a grievance to the people." In this I had once this whole Assembly on my side; and I hope I shall have it now. I think we then passed a Vote to this effect, "That any standing force, &c. except the Militia established by Law, is grievous to the People." I would have the Books searched, and you will see who is in the right.
Mr Vaughan.] When this Army was to be raised, every word was, going into War, and all was War; and now we are addressing the King to enter into a War. In my Lord Chancellor's Speech you are told, "That the States, by reason the Prince of Orange was in a hurry of business, could not make Answer so suddenly, &c. but that was their jealousy, that Peace and War were transacted by the Prince of Orange's Ministers, as from himself. There can be no justification to raise any power without War, &c. You cannot by Law so much as ride armed, in terrorem populi. What Army soever is raised, without any visible cause for it, is in terrorem populi.
Mr Mallet.] Jealousy is as uncertain as the Wind, but there is some reason for Holland's jealousy of us, for a Parliament was staved off, &c. I believe there is no want of Money, when they play so much at Whitehall.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In my observation, the Gentleman gave you not this trouble to interrupt your Debate, but declared it an opinion too current now. And now you see what it is to give more Money than is necessary. And you were told by Williamson, "That if an Army was raised, they would pay themselves, if you do not." But I would not have War abroad sor no other purpose than to employ these men. You might have assisted the Confederates, possibly, better by your Purse; and we might have had the benefit of the hands and mouths of these men that are sent away—But our Ministers now go clandestinely to other mens Houses with the French Ministers; and now they are gone, and not yet come back out of France. It was a happy time of day, when you passed those censures on the League that was communicated to you, &c. That sticks with me, that our King is in the condition that the French Ministers have brought the King of Sweden into—That being the condition, you acknowlege the manner of your Address not to be as it ought, &c. and you have made an excuse for it. But the matter is pursuant to your other Address—I am surprized, as if some body had some strange influence on the House to make you in love with those Leagues. You have given Money for a French War, and 'tis penal, if the intent be altered, &c. and now you have Leagues brought you quite contrary. It looks as if they had dependence on your approbation.
The Speaker.] You coming in, as you did, just to the showing us those Leagues, I think it must be our duty to lay before the King the miserable condition the Kingdom will be in, by those Leagues, and Treaty, and to show your disapprobation. You are told, "They must not leave their Confederates, &c. And England must bring in no more Assistance than the Dutch withdraw, and it must be imagined all that England can do." So that every thing seems to me all of a piece. The French frighted England before, and now Holland, and we shall all be ruined together, and England undone in the first place.
Mr Swynfin.] The Question is now, whether you will make any farther Application to the King, in the way you have gone. I see no encouragement to it, when I look back, and see what success we have had, in what we have already done; our success at home, as to the League offensive and defensive; and have not had one step of War, but all tending to Peace. You are clearly informed, that the King can make no other Alliance then what has been showed you, &c. We have success either abroad, or at home, and we know not that the Confederates of the King of Spain have any way put us on to the War. 'Tis strange we should go on in that way still; nay worse, it has had ill success. At home it has put us on raising an Army, and the Country was never in greater Apprehensions—We have an Army raised, and plainly see it goes not against France; and by Votes from this House the Alliances are in no way pursuant to our Addresses. I see no manner of use of this Alliance, but for raising more Money, and continuing the Soldiers. Certainly we ought to have much more before us than we have, before we come to advise farther. Our nearest neighbours, the Dutch, are most likely to help us, and they are going off. What probability of security is there for us in moving for farther proceeding in this matter? The Emperor is engaged with Spain, who is low, and has no Money. The Emperor's Army is scarce able to show face against the French; and what life has any man here to think that Spain can do any thing? I know not whether the Dutch can help or secure us at all; I know not whether they are able, or willing. The thing being so difficult, we are under vast danger. And is there any likelihood by Addresses to mend it? And by pulling a War upon your self, an immediate danger, to prevent a remote one? As to the recovery of Flanders, the Dutch have left you; but for our defence we are told, here is a League defensive with the Dutch that will defend us. My opinion is to make no farther Address, of this nature, but leave it to the King. The Lords are asked Advice of the King as well as you, and sure they have perused the Leagues, and will consider of them. Therefore see what they do, before you make any farther Addresses.
Lord Cavendish.] Our danger is of a standing Army, and French Money. The French King began the War for the glory of his Crown. He has taken some Towns, and for his glory will take all the rest in Flanders. We all know that a French Minister (young Rouvigny) is gone into France, and what he will bring back we know not, and what influence our Ministers may have I know not. The Bishops are inclinable to Peace, and the other Lords follow their leaders. I move that you will appoint a Committee to draw up Reasons for our Address.
Mr Garroway.] I find we are in a great Labyrinth. I hope you will take me right, that we are not so bound up till we have better information of things. You have been lest miserably in the dark. All your Addresses for preservation of Flanders have come to nothing, but a project of giving up all to the French, but a few Towns; but I will take things in the best sense, with all tenderness. We can go no farther till we are enlightened. Therefore I would address the King for a tarther Answer to our Address. Press the King speedily to answer, and adjourn the House in the mean time, and do no other business.
Mr Sacheverell.] You have long advised entering into Leagues for the preservation of Flanders, and all comes to nothing. The King is pleased to prefer the Counsels of others before these of this House. I consess, I liked not the Address on Saturday, but was over-ruled by better Judgments. The King has lived abroad, and we see a premier Ministre does all, after the fashion there; and a Parliament is of little value. The King calls for your Advice, and then 'tis despised. I would therefore give the King no farther trouble, till the King sees that his interest is to be advised here, and not out of a private Minister's Pocket. I am amazed that the danger is so great, and that the King will rather take the Advice of a private person, whose interest is inconsiderable. This is one great point that contributes to our ruin. Ministers may flatter the King with the greatness of standing upon his own legs, but that will bring him to ruin, whose happiness I shall ever pray for. If this will not do by our Address, I believe the King will never hearken to Parliaments again.
Mr Vaughan.] Whose these Ministers are that advise the King, I cannot tell, but rather I am in a dilemma: I would have you name them. And then, if we have no remedy, &c. we have something on our books. I would address the King, &c. and then adjourn till we have an answer.
Mr Powle.] I think it not convenient, now all the World is in action, for us to put our hands in our pockets, and stand still. We have had several Motions for an Address, &c. but I think it to no purpose to address, &c. Sometimes we have had Negatives to our Addresses, harsh and rough Answers, and those we have had answered have been pursued contrary to the Answers. Now I will only sum up the Ministers proceedings, &c. In January, they got Money from the Parliament, upon a pretence of a War with France, &c. and they raised an Army, &c. and now we lie under this unhappy Peace. I protest before Almighty God, and this Assembly, before whom I would not prevaricate, that there are some persons about the King, who prevent him in what he would do. Can any man sit down here with the King's Answer, the 29th of May last, viz. "I am confident it will appear in no age (when the sword was not drawn) that the Prerogative of making Peace and War hath been so dangerously invaded, &c?" Is not that to call the House of Commons Rebels and Traytors? For the Pyrenean TreatyAddress, are you not called the vilest of men? And now you are called to advise, you do it, and the King "likes neither the matter nor manner of your Advice." I would address the King to remove those persons from him, who gave him those Advices. If you had done so formerly, perhaps you would have had another Answer now. Till you have an Answer from the King to your Address, I would adjourn, and do nothing.
Mr Williams.] A description of a person amounts to as much as naming him. You have had him described. I find this in the Courts of Westminster below: "He that makes a faint prosecution makes none." I would not proceed, &c. till we have an Answer to our Address, as has been moved.
Sir Tho. Clarges.] I am of opinion with those Gentlemen that spoke last, that 'tis to no purpose to advise the King any farther, till we have assurance that the fruits of our former Addresses are executed. This is strange to me, after the King lays the whole matter before us, and calls for our Advice, and tells us he would follow it; and I thought he would have done it, because he had distrusted the Advices of those who had plunged him into these inconveniences. But what labours were then used, in my Lord Chancellor's Speech, that France was our friend? And a Report must be made to divert, &c. and then a Holiday that Rouvigny may come back out of France, with resolutions, &c. The public print does not say, as Williamson told you, that the Dutch Ambassador said of the Articles, "that they were aucunement tolerable," but "that the King of England does positively undertake that the King of Sweden shall be restored to what Brandenbourg has taken from him." And this is a figure of Mediation indeed. We are told that Don Emanuel de Lyra had agreed, &c. with the Ambassador of Holland; and the Duke of Villa Hermosa has agreed too. This Williamson has told us; he has forgotten it; and now he tells us they reject the proposal of carrying on the War, &c. In this Treaty they have openly Maestricht given them—But how should it be now that they reproach them for this Treaty, when Spain had so helped them, &c. in their greatest extremity, and now they reject him? I did understand by the Act, &c. that the Militia is in the King, but I never understood that a standing force in the Nation is a legal Militia. An Army in Peace has nothing else to do but eat and drink. But this is now more grievous than at other times, because we see an Army in Scotland devouring all before it, and a book that tells us it is legal; and this truly alarms us, that this Army should be kept up, upon pretences of Guarantee for the Peace, &c. Unless we are cleared as to the Ministers, &c. we can give no Advice at all. The effects of all our Addresses have been to heighten what we so addressed against. So, except we go to the root, and remove those Counsellors who intercept the King's grace and favour to his people, and remove those who advised the King's Speech in May last from his Majesty's Presence and Councils, we do nothing.
Lord Cavendish.] We have been so near being ruined by those men, that we ought to do all we can to find them out. Whoever licensed the printed Answer in the Gazette to our Address in May last, and puts wrong impressions on our Government, whoever is guilty of raising the forces in Scotland, &c. he is criminal. Next, let us consider of the Ministers lately meeting the French Ministers, at Lord St Albans's House. If this great Minister was named, I would not stick to advise to have him removed from the King's Council, as contributing to the French King's greatness, and I will not scruple to have them in the Address to be removed.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] You were told, that a War was concerted; that it was a War with France, and that all the stations were adjusted. And what a pass are we brought to to have these things put upon the Great Council! I have heard of great discouragements put upon the Militia, which is the great strength and safety of the Monarchy, &c. If this Confederacy be broken, will not the French favour the Dutch in trade before us? And it will tend perfectly to a War at last. We were told, "That we were in actual War, and that what we did was Declaration of War against the French;" and would any man have given his consent to the Poll-Bill, and have seen these Alliances now produced? I shall conclude with this, "That the King may be desired to take the advice of his Great Council," for we always have had this jealousy in our eye of this Army, and the Peace; and I would examine this, whether the Army was not put upon you, upon the bare pretence of a War with France.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] It is moved to address the King, "to remove from his Council those who counselled the Answer to the Address, &c." Whenever that comes to be the Question, I am concerned to speak to it as a Member of the King's Council. I fear no legal Charge against me, or them that serve with me. Nothing can make me fond of these Treaties, &c. When I see that those who represent the Nation are against them, that makes me decline them, and not the fear of my actions. The greatest part of my felicity is in doing, or endeavouring, as I ought to do. I bewail the state of affairs as much as any man, but in all Governments, in seven years retrospection, things have been done, that could not have been wished done; but as for what is moved, &c. whether the time be seasonable for it or no, consider. The King tells you, "He has had the Advice but of one part of his Parliament, but when he has the whole, he will follow it." Still the Parliament is his two Houses, the Great Council, and you have no account of your Address from the King, because 'tis the Advice but of one of his Houses. As to particular crimes of Ministers, to that of the King's printed Speech in the Gazette, it was done by the King's command. As to guilts I am under, I never said any thing here, but what I thought, and 'twas my opinion for War, in fact so true that the Dutch Ambassador came here to treat the Quotas. And I never told you what the fatal effect of your not giving Money would be. I have as great a sense of the condition of foreign affairs as any man, and will go as far as any man to search into Miscarriages; but consider the timing of it. For should the main of our Union break here, how will this affect those who have eyes upon you! Judge what such a resolution would operate. For my own part, I stand upon my innocence in the thing; and I take my self to be safe in my own innocence and your justice, and they that serve with me.
Mr Booth.] If this House surprized the King in the Address, we may be excused, that we had not all the lights requisite given us. This Answer, &c. is no result of the King's own judgment, and 'tis not the King that endeavours to ruin the Nation, but some ill people about him. If Counsellors advise the King ill, they may be called to account for it. I cannot but wonder at any man's impudence to dare to advise the King against the sense of this House. Our affairs have gone on prosperously, when persons of estates and birth have managed them, but now they are managed by indigent people, who must build on the ruin of their Country. We went a great way on Saturday; and our Answer from the King, &c. Do you think these things will do the work of the French King? Whilst these persons are near the King, I never expect better. Therefore I desire we may address the King that they may be removed.
Lord Russel.] I am not surprized at the condition we are in. Every man foresaw it, but they that should have prevented it. When the Confederates were weary of the War, then we must come up to it, but not before. As long as these men, that thus advise the King, are near him, we must never expect better. Therefore I move as before.
Serjeant Gregory.] I have heard, when you was accepted Speaker, that the Debates of this House were commended, for the prudence and gravity of the House were so great, that it was no difficulty to you to take the Chair. But I am amazed now, that we should have two sorts of Counsels, &c. I second the Motion for an Address, &c.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] I am as ready to close with any Motion that is for the honour and safety of the Nation, as any man here. But of general accusations I never saw good success. As for particulars, if proved, I am as ready to condemn as any man. But this way has been practised; and 'tis common fame; and it grew stale when Lord Clarendon was impeached, and then you came to a particular charge. Will you lay the faults of others upon those in present power? Our misfortunes bear date from the shutting up the Exchequer, and the Declaration, and breaking the Triple League. There are many near the King, though behind the curtain, that act more than they that are in the affairs. I would have Gentlemen pitch upon persons, and name them that are faulty. These proceedings look too much like 1641; and may be drawn into that consequence; and now we are come to 1642. This was in the first of the nineteen Propositions, and I must come at last to 1648. What is this less than "making no more Addresses to the King?" I desire we may all consider what is most for the honour of the King, this House, and the safety of the Nation.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] The highest crime imaginable is to be guilty of the actions of 1648. To endeavour to have a certainty in our Religion, is that 1641? When Popery begins to show face, to suppress it, is that 1641? To assert your properties, is that 1641? I fear there are some about the King that possess him that it is 1641. It looks as if they would bring us to that.
Lord Cavendish.] In the proceedings now there is something parallel to 1648. The Ministers would cast all the ill things upon the King, and I think that is the nearest resemblance to the actions of the Ministers.
Col. Birch.] I would always have things find out persons. I have seen anguish in several faces this day, and in several ways; Addresses, and Answers, "That there were never such unless when swords were drawn." There are now twins in the womb struggling which shall come out first. I cannot but remind you of the King's Speech, and the Lord Chancellor's, that, though our Addresses have been for War, the whole has been for Peace with the French King; and that, it seems, has been our point we have driven at with the States General. The Answer to our Address is both to blast the King and the People: And those that advised the King to that Answer to our Address, I hope will be his advisers no more, nor sit in his Councils.
Sir Edward Dering.] This is a matter of great importance. Whoever falls under the weight of the displeasure of this House must be under a great pressure. I know some States and Governments, as that at Venice, where the Gentlemen are not to go to foreign Ministers. But here they may converse with them. As to that spoken of the King's Speech, I cannot distinctly remember the points of it, but possibly some of his Council advised one part of it, and some another, and what part of it would you advise against? They are the same Ministers still, who adviced the King to cast himself upon the Advise of this House. And as for the King's last Answer, of "surprize, &c." a man may be surprized with good, as well as bad news. I move that you may now address the King, as you have done formerly, and has been moved, for a gracious Answer.
Mr Harwood.] Williamson believes, he says, "that he can vindicate and excuse himself." But 'tis too great a task for him to answer for all the Ministers. And were I in their condition that gave this Advice, they would remove themselves—They would have been out of the envy of the people, and had those great men lest the Court, when the envy of the People was upon them, they might have been saved from the scaffold. And in case we make this Address, the King may keep these men from the scaffold.
Mr William Harbord.] You have had several good things said to you to-day, and, though for the People's sake, I would have these men out of the Ministry, yet 'tis principally for the King's sake, that the King may eat bread; for the Revenue is in so lamentable a condition that the King can scarce eat bread; let the Officers here deny it if they can— So what the King has, he would have with the good will of the People. If I saw hands that must manage the Money that I durst trust, I would give the King Carte blanche, he might ask what he pleased; but when I see nothing on foot but projects to get Money, I will not trust those hands any more. These men that are enemies to your Votes, who say, they have no Authority, will you trust Ireland and Scotland with these very men, so obnoxious, in military trust? Papists have double Regiments and Officers, &c. and the best Protestant in the Army but one; and what is the meaning of this, God knows. I will tell you a story: When the King came in, as I was going to Canterbury, being distressed for Provision, I fell in company with seven or eight men, dressed like Soldiers: Says one of these blades, "You fool, we brought in the King, and we can put him out again to-night"— Shall we suffer an Army to make the King and us unsafe in Papists hands, Irish that have had their hands in English blood? "Why, said another, must they command Irish and Scots?" Such things were never heard of unless in a Mahometan Army. Would it be happy for the King to say, how can I live but by Supply from Parliament? In short, if these Officers be not removed, the King cannot have bread; if he removes not these men.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] I think it unseasonable to make interruption, now Treaties are on foot. We fear that the Dutch will leave us, and hope that the Spanish Ambassador will stick by us—And they come to know that all our Counsellors are to be removed, from the advising the shutting up the Exchequer to the breach of the Triple League; they would have the present Counsellors removed, &c. and others put in their stead. "And," say the foreign Ministers, "must we stay till the Parliament has put in a new Council, and limited these Counsels?" As for the twenty Companies in Lord Dumbarton's case, &c. he cannot get his regiment out of France. He shall have that of twenty Companies. Regularly you cannot put this Question "of removing Ministers, &c." For that "of addressing again" was first moved, which properly you must put.
Sir Francis Drake.] The Lords have adjourned the Debate of Alliances, &c. to Saturday next. And we may hope to know something from thence. We are in a declining age, and [have] one foot in the grave— Nothing can remove jealousies of things at home and abroad, but removing these Counsellors, &c.
Sir Tho. Meres.] I hear it said, "This may discourage the Army, &c." but I think not, supposing them to be Englishmen and worthy men, and that the Ministers think to enslave them. But this House can never back them with Money, unless they are employed for the good of the Nation, and 'tis for the interest of the Army to be supported by this House.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] All our Addresses are from ourselves, and not jointly with the Lords; so our Addresses are proper without them, and the Lord Chancellor's Speech says not the contrary; and there are numerous Precedents of Addresses from the House of Commons alone, without the Lords.
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] Our case is such, and I do think, by what I find from wise Gentlemen here and without doors, that we are loth to come under the power of France, or French Government. What I have to say is not out of design to save any man, but myself, and my posterity. Lord have mercy upon us! What shall we do to be saved, if Magna Charta be lost? And the King's Prerogative is lost, if the Government is in the least infringed. This Answer of the King's is a temporary Answer; "He expects it from the Lords and Commons." Now consider which of the two Questions is most probable for the safety of the Crown, and the safety of the People. The case is, if you put it upon the first, you have not lost the advantage of the second. 'Tis no doubt but the King will have information of the arguments used here of the removal of persons from his Councils, &c. and the King will have as much impression made upon him of their ill Advice, as if you made an actual Address to him. If his Answer to the Leagues, &c. should be according to your desires, you may go upon that of the Ministers afterwards; and may see, by the King's Answer about the Leagues, &c. whether still that Counsel is predominant. By that we may see how Holland stands, whether he be our Friend or Enemy, and you will rather have a good effect of that than busy yourselves about a particular man and his family. This is a dangerous Question you put, as to the Ministers. If it be carried in the Negative, you conclude that ill Counsel has been given the King, and the People will say, the Parliament will not remove those Counsellors; and that Solecism the House will be upon. In a day, or two, or three, you may have satisfaction that the King will not have them about him, that put a difference betwixt him and his People; and your Address for farther satisfaction will be as effectual as that of removing the Ministers. If you go upon the first Question, 'tis in order to the second, and I would have that first put.
The Speaker.] The first Debate was of an Alliance with the Confederates, notwithstanding the withdrawing of the Dutch from it. The next was, Whether an Address shall be made to the King for entering into a War with the French King. The next was, for a farther Answer to our last Address, that the House may have some light to ground their Advice upon; and the last was an Address, &c. to remove those Counsellors, who advised the King the Answer to the Address of May 6, 1678.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] I will not say any thing in commendation of our Address. Should I do it, I should hurt it. It is rather a prophecy of what is since come to pass. But I would see, if any man will speak in commendation of the Answer to it.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] You will allow the King to be as tender in point of his Prerogative, as you are of your Liberties. And there is but one sharp point in the King's Speech of May 28. Till the King calls for the Counsel of this House, as to Treaties, and Alliances, &c. 'tis a jealous point to give it; now when you are beyond that, and when on so great a Crisis as this, every one may speak, as though it was his last. I am sorry that any point in the King's Speech should be sharp, but beyond that one expression mentioned, there is not any thing to give offence to the House; and there being but one sharp point, methinks it should not be so fastened upon, and 'tis but in the same degree you are jealous of the King's interposing between your franchises and liberties, that the Prince is of his Prerogative; and the Act is the King's.—
Williamson goes on.] I am unhappy that my expression comes not up to my meaning. If this one thing be an error in the Council, that one sharp thing in the King's Speech, I leave it on the justice of the House, and God direct every man's conscience!
Sir Thomas Meres.] I would come as calmly to this Vote as I would do to any thing I must answer for. The words in the King's Answer were, "I am confident it will appear in no age (when the Sword was not drawn,) that the Prerogative of making Peace and War hath been so dangerously invaded;" and "but the empty sound of a King." And this Speech of the King's was put into the Gazette, at the latter end, amongst run-away servants, and a lost shock-dog. But this Answer from the King is a Negative to what was our Advice for the good of the Nation. This House thought the Address fit, and there was not a Negative; and we are upon the same foot still. I take nothing of it to myself, but that 'tis a Negative to good Counsel. That Answer of the sixth of May has the same verb used, "surprized;" and I believe the same penman that drew the one did the other. So when we come to advise, then "to dislike the matter and manner" must surprize us. When we are unanimous in any thing, then the Court never agrees with us, and where is the good of England then? This was then granted, that this House did advise one thing, and the Ministers another. This House and these Ministers cannot stand together. One or the other, either this House or these Ministers, must dissolve. This House has many years advised the King to suppress the growing greatness of France, and the Ministers would not. The interest of the Nation is in this House, and the Ministers are of another interest. We can never live happily without the King's favour, nor he without our Advice; and I will die in this opinion. And I hope that every good man will see that the Ministers dissolve this Bond, and not this House. If ever we be are of these Ministers, this House will be a glorious House of Commons, and truly for the interest of the Nation. Then England will grow great, which now grows miserable.
Sir Henry Capel.] Something fell from the Ministers that calls me up. That League must be the ruin of the Kingdom that puts the King upon a misunderstanding of this House. Is it not this House of Commons that put the Sword into the King's Hand by the Militia-Act, and restored the Church? This House has given great sums of Money, and I have voted for a Supply for the King. But the Declaration, when it came out, made me stark-mad, and has disordered me ever since. I will pay the Ministers all respect without doors, at Tables, and Coffee-houses, &c. But within these Walls we may speak our thoughts. When Ministers come first in, we must wink at small things. In Queen Elizabeth's time, there were faults in the Ministers, but still the Government slourished. Let the Government be safe, and that is the case. I move that you will put the Question for the removal of the Ministers, and I will give my Affirmative. I am indifferent which Question you put first.
The Question then being put, That an Address be presented to his Majesty to remove from his Presence and Councils (fn. 2) those Counsellors who advised the Answers to the Addresses of this House of the 26th of May, or 31st of January last, or either of them it passed in the Affirmative, 154 to 139.
Col. Birch.] 'Tis commonly said that the Duke of Lauderdale has had good luck after our Addresses. He is made an Earl, and grows fat upon the displeasure of the House of Commons (I am sure he is not grown lean.) I would have him removed from the King's Council here, and in Scotland. And let the King do what else he will with him.
Mr Vaughan.] To see the case stated about the Duke of Lauderdale's actions, &c. and the Scotch Army, would require a great deal of time—Can you in Justice let slip the denial of your Address? And those persons who ad vised the breaking of the Triple League? The Council at White-hall that advised the breaking of that League? Of which Lauderdale was one. I would have him removed.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] In the 7th of Henry IV, complaint was made in Parliament of Lord Latimer—and Clifford besieged the King so that his good Subjects could not come at him. They desired the King to have them removed. Lauderdale promoted the beginning of the late troubles in Scotland, whereby above a thousand mens lives have been lost; but he will say now, that his judgment is better informed. He was then very regular; he heard four Sermons on a Sunday. But his countrymen say, his manners are altered. His excesses are now remarkable, and what assurance have we that his principles are not altered? The Lords of the loyal party, that supported the Monarchy, when it was shaken, and fought for the Crown, these are oppressed in Scotland, and cannot be heard here. These Counsellors prevent the King's good, sweet, mild, and moderate disposition. Lauderdale does all he can to put that Nation in Rebellion. There must be a lawful Prosecution—If a man will not answer a Bill in Chancery, a Commission of Rebellion goes out against him, but armed men must not be sent to quarter upon him. If they had been faulty in Scotland, he might have taken a legal course against them. I move therefore, "That a Committee be named to draw up an Address on the Heads you have voted, and that you add your desire of the removal of Lauderdale, &c."
Sir John Hotham.] Since I see Lauderdale pursues to act what he hath formerly advised, I am for removing him. I hear it said, "That Lauderdale is a true Churchman," and I know not what; and yet he is a man of no morality. I wonder the Church is not ashamed of such a Proselyte. Is any man desirous to have these Counsels here? In Scotland, if any man looks but discontented, then kill him, shoot him, eat him up! Will you have him do the same thing here? Are we weary of our Properties? And would you have him act all over again, here? I am against an Adjournment, till this Question be put off our hands for removing Lauderdale. But if the Question of Adjournment must be put, as is moved, I am not for losing the Question, because I am not for an Adjournment. I am a Yorkshireman, (neighbour to Scotland) and there they fear the very looks of Lauderdale, that he should bring his Army with him.
Sir John Morton.] Lauderdale has run the Compass round in Religion. His crimes exceed others as much as the bigness of his person; and if you make not this Vote, you catch the gnats, and let go the great fly.
Sir Edward Dering.] 'Tis a justice due to the worst of men to hear them. We are told of several barbarities in Scotland committed by him: I shall say no more, but that they have a Council, in Scotland, of their own, and complaints may be heard there. We never judge a man without hearing him. We never did it before; I never remember it. I will not bring my bad memory in competition with your good memory. For what is passed, the Act of Indemnity has pardoned some; and Lauderdale has been here now two years; and all this has passed in silence. If any man be ready with Articles against him, I am ready for Impeachment against him; and I would have him sent for to answer here, but not condemn him unheard.
Mr Powle.] I wish we had not forsaken this matter formerly. There are three printed Acts for settling the Militia for Scotland. The first was a general overture of the thing; the second modelled it in Scotland, with a power to be brought into England, &c. and the third, to give power to the King to send Orders to the Privy Council, which they must obey, &c. The Duke was present at making the two last Acts, and if these Acts concerned England then, much more now, when they have begun to act hostilities in their own Country. We had an Answer to our Address for removing this Person, formerly, by an unseasonable Prorogation, and so the thing was pursued. Every man that has a servant that is a fool, or false to him, turns him away without any legal tryal. We take notice of the ill consequence to France, our great neighbour, from a standing Army: Much more in Scotland, where they begin in rapine and spoil. The Militia is raised in Scotland, till they come at the pretended rebels, upon the Lands of Duke Hamilton, Lord Athol, and others, whose families fought for the King, which are wasted and spoiled; which has put Scotland into a flame not easily removed. I would therefore address the King as above, &c.