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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Wednesday, May 8. [In the Afternoon.]
Mr Dalmaboy.] I rise not to speak for the Duke of Lauderdale, nor his Counsels. But since it does not appear to me, that the Duke has acted contrary to the Law of Scotland, I doubt not but the King will take it into his consideration, and will redress what may be amiss—
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Committee have not changed your Vote, but syllabically have pursued it. I did not rise to interrupt the Gentleman, but what he says is against Order. The Vote must not be spoken against.
Sir John Talbot goes on.] You are told, "That the Address is farther than you intended." This may concern many persons in Scotland. I will apply myself, as near as I can, to the words, &c. It looks, as if you will give too much approbation, and countenance, to the disorders in Scotland, by not specifying particulars against the Duke. This I say, out of duty to the House, that we may not have a misconstruction without doors. That your meaning may be fully expressed, and that you give not, in the least measure, countenance to these people in the disorders of Scotland, too apt to take encouragement.
Sir John Birkenhead.] In this Address against the Duke, you go not to the King with so much as a formed Accusation. A new fashioned thing of doing men no harm by taking away all they have from them in the World! Let the Roll of Parliament show you one Precedent, that ever such a thing was done from fear of evil Counsel, to banish a man be he ever so innocent. This Address may ruin any man—(If you will not hear me to one point, let me go on to another) To damn a man thus unheard, neither let him speak for himself, nor any body else for him!
Sir John Ernly.] The House ordered this Address on a double Account—On the first Account, 'tis said, "Will you damn a man after an Act of Oblivion is passed?" On the latter, if he has done any thing since the Act, 'tis involved within your latter Address of the 26th of May.
Sir John Ernly.] This Address must be upon the first, or the latter, of the Duke's Actions. If you call in Question what is before the King, you positively take him off from that which he should stand and fall for before the King. I do not hear the thing distinguished, but complex. I would see where the matter is fixed. Here is no proof of any thing against the Duke, to lead any man's judgment, but only general Allegations, to take away a man from the King's Presence and Councils. I would have particular matter assigned before I give my judgment.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Under favour, he speaks against what you have voted. He may change every word of the Address but your Vote. All he says was answered, in every part, yesterday. And should I answer him now, I should be as irregular as he.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] I speak against the general words, of "pernicious and unwarrantable actions, &c." For what was done in Scotland was legal. The words point to Scotland, where Conventicles were in as good Order, and Array, as any Troops you have in England. If we are diverted there, all we can do here will be to no purpose. The King may raise an Army, if he sees armed men against him; and if they come with armed horse and foot, the King may raise an Army against them. The Lords heard nothing against the Earl of Clarendon, and without our assigning a cause would not imprison him. They told us, "Bring but one Article, and we will commit him, if the matter be special." These against the Duke are in general terms; every one of the King's Council are under your Displeasure, by this Address, and that is no small matter.
The Address was read, Paragraph by Paragraph (fn. 1) "Pernicious Actions, and Counsels, &c.
Sir Richard Temple.] In the former Addresses, you alleged matter of fact; and, in this, pray put in no generals. What Answer can you expect from the King? In these cases, you always assign particular causes, or not such generals, that the King cannot know our meaning.
Sir Thomas Meres.] You went up with general words before. In the second Address you had particulars. All these particular matters were in the Debate, last night. A Lord, who spoke in this behalf, said, "There was Impeachment to the Lords, and Impeachment to the King." You give thus far a judgment, that is fit to bring this Lord to a Tryal. You have three or four good Authorities for it, in this King's time, and several in the former. You thought it reasonable, two or three years ago, upon matter proved at the Bar; and three Members proofs are enough for you, as a Grand Jury, to accuse on. "But these matters," it is said, "are pardoned by the Act of Oblivion." The Answer was then; "You do no more than say, favour shall not be shown this man. You desire no punishment, and you do but say, you are of the same mind you were formerly." But 'tis said, "we must address particulars against him." I say Common same is sufficient to impeach a great man to the King, or the Lords. You did impeach Lord Clarendon upon Common same, but no Treason was proved here. They would not name the Author of the information, the Baron Insola. "No, but you would not go so far; only you had inducement to it." But say the Lords, "you must specify particular matter." And you would not, and Clarendon ran away. The man to give Evidence was not produced here then. Thus you have done in Lauderdale's case formerly, and the Duke of Buckingham's before, and you may do so still.
The Speaker.] Common fame no particular man undertakes to prove, but he had inducement, &c. to believe it. And you desired that Lord Clarendon should be sequestered from his place in Parliament, and be committed to custody. That was the exception the Lord's took against the charge. Then Lord Vaughan brought into the House special matter, &c (fn. 2). But as to the Address against the Duke of Lauderdale, in the former Session, you are in Law, by the Prorogation, another Parliament, and not bound up by that.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Lord Vaughan went up to the Clerk's Table, and wrote the Article of special matter against the Earl of Clarendon, and did undertake the proof of it, and mended his paper at the Clerk's Table. If we may speak to add words to the Paragraph, if you say "an Army was raised by Duke Lauderdale, in contempt of the Law, to suppress the fanatics," will you not have that a cause of taking up Arms? Pray express it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Discourse of Lord Clarendon is foreign to this matter. In the case of the Duke of Buckingham, you addressed the King as to manners and ill life, and general dislike in the People, to have him removed. Those that like the Duke of Lauderdale's Actions, will be for the Question; those that do not, will be against him; therefore pray put the Question.
Serjeant Streete.] No man ought to lie under general Accusations. Here are no particulars. I cannot tell whose case it may be next. I would have the Accusation certain, and let your Justice fall where it will, 'tis all one to me.
Sir John Knight.] When the Kingdom is in as great Danger, as since the Conquest, 'tis high time to advise the King to preserve the Kingdom, by removing such Counsellors. You do not deprive Lauderdale of honour or estate; you only desire to remove this man, when the safety of the Kingdom is at stake.
Col. Titus.] I think I am sooner to believe the Paper and the Address, than a representation by any Member. Here is an Accusation against this Lord of several unwarrantable Actions. It there be no such thing as in the Paper, then all this is to no purpose. It is said, by some Gentlemen, "that as to Scotland matters, there is no such thing in the Paper," and must I believe the Paper, or those Gentlemen? Put the Question.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The Duke of Buckingham desired leave to be heard here, and you gave it him. That was a material Circumstance. I would be more particular against Lauderdale, to be able to give Judgment upon him. I would prevent coming to particulars a second time, if the King should call for them. To prevent the King trouble, I desire that particular causes may be assigned.
Sir Philip Warwick.] I am no advocate for Lauderdale, but form of Accusation must be preserved in every State. I have no other aim in what I say, but that you understanding him to be of the King's Council, &c. Shall the King join with you in punishment of a man, when you tell him not what his Accusation is?
Sir Thomas Meres.] I speak for the honour of the House, not to vote a thing one day, and unvote it the next. But as the Clerk has read the Address, so have I your Vote. Your Vote cannot be unvoted. This part, as it remains, is incoherent. When a thing is brought to this, you must re-commit it. So as it stands now, you cannot pass it. And you will not stay to recommit it; therefore I would adjourn.
The Speaker.] You have had a Report from the Committee, and passed a Vote. The Committee have drawn the Address. One Paragraph thereof you have disagreed to. If you agree to the other, you order the Committee to draw up the Address accordingly.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I take this to be the Order of the House. (I like not Puckering's expression of "cock-sure.") When Bills come from the Committee, and when the first Amendment upon that Bill, and first Alteration, is made, where it makes the Bill inconsistent, or nonsense, you cannot mend it at the Table. The constant Order of the House is, before it be gone through, to re-commit it, if inconsistent.
Friday, May 10.
"We your Majesty's most humble and loyal Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, do, in all duty and thankfulness, acknowlege your Majesty's great Grace and Favour, in demanding our Advice upon the State of your Majesty's Affairs in this present juncture, wherein your Majesty's honour and the safety of the Kingdom is so nearly concerned: According to which command of your Majesty, we did immediately enter into consideration of what was imparted to us by your Majesty's Order; and after serious examination and weighing of the matter, we did resolve upon an Advice, which, because of the urgency of affairs, and the expedition they required, we did present in that form that was not usual in a matter of so great importance, and which we then directed our Committee (fn. 3) to excuse to your Majesty, upon that consideration."
"And because we apprehended that the dangers were so imminent, that the delay of the least time might be of great prejudice to your Majesty's service, and the safety of the Kingdom, after so much time already lost, we thought it necessary to apply immediately to your Majesty by ourselves; which, in matters of this nature, is wholly in the choice of this House, and hath been frequently practised by us. And because these occasions are so pressing upon your Majesty, and the whole Kingdom [so] deeply sensible thereof, we most humbly beseech your Majesty to communicate to us the resolutions your Majesty has taken upon our said Advice, that thereby these imminent dangers may be timely prevented.
"And whereas the Commons conceive, [that] the present inconveniences and dangers, under which the Kingdom now lies, might have been either totally, or in a great measure, prevented, if your Majesty had accepted of that Advice, which, in all humility and faithfulness, we presented to your Majesty on the 26th of May last, [and] which we re-iterated to your Majesty on the 31st of January ensuing; the refusing of which Advice, and dismissing of the Parliament in May last, was the occasion of those ill consequences, which have since succeeded both at home and abroad; all which hath arisen from those misrepresentations of our proceedings, which have been suggested to your Majesty, by some particular persons, in a clandestine way, without the Participation and Advice (as we conceive) of the Council-board; as though we had invaded your Majesty's Prerogative of making Peace and War; whereas we did only offer our humble Advice in matters wherein the safety of the Kingdom was concerned; which is a right was never yet questioned in the times of your royal predecessors, and without which your Majesty can never be safe. Upon which grounds your Majesty was induced to give us such Answers to those two Addresses, rejecting our Advice, as thereby your Majesty's good Subjects have been infinitely discouraged, and the state of your Majesty's affairs reduced to a most deplorable condition: We do therefore most humbly desire, that, for the good and safety of this Kingdom, and the satisfaction of your Subjects, your Majesty would be graciously pleased to remove those Counsellors, who advised the Answers to our Addresses of the 26th of May, and the 31st of January [last,] or either of them.
"And we do farther most humbly desire your Majesty favourably to accept this our humble Petition and Address, as proceeding from Hearts entirely devoted to your Majesty's Service; and that as we have never yet failed of giving testimonies of our Affection and Loyalty to your Majesty's Person, and Government, so your Majesty may rest confidently assured [that] we shall never be wanting to support your Majesty's greatness and interest, whilst your Majesty relies upon our Counsels; which can have no other end than what sincerely tends thereunto, notwithstanding any sinister or self-interested endeavours to make impressions on your Majesty to the contrary."
Sir John Hanmer.] A Committee may often go beyond their instructions. This was not committed, "that when the King desires the Advice of Parliament, he should have it of one." 'Tis of both Houses, and not one alone. I would not have the Committee, though men of great parts, think that the House will always agree with them. I would have the Address recommitted, they having no Authority to do what they have done.
Mr Powle.] As Committees may exceed the Authority given them by the House; so may Gentlemen find fault also without cause, and exceed that way. The thing was committed, with these instructions, upon the Debate, and the Committee have proceeded accordingly.
Sir John Ernly.] You have given Advice upon these very affairs already; and if you put the King upon this, I know not how the King can give an Answer entire. There may be many. There may be one for one part, and another for another, and the King may take what he thinks best. I hope you will put nothing upon the King to tell you what's this man's Advice, and what's that. If the King could and would remember who gave him Advice, and put them out, who must be put in? God must give the Success, when all is done, whoever advises. In this conjuncture, you are to consider the present State of the Nation. The King has showed you Alliances, and in them you are to consider whether Peace, or War. I hope Gentlemen will stay to see what Advice the King will go upon, on what is before him, from the proffers of several Ambassadors. But for us to enter upon such a tender point as this, I know not what the consequence may be.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Whether was this Counsel given the King, corruptly or ignorantly? Ernly speaks to the last part of the Paragraph first. The first relates only to your Advice; therefore I desire that Gentlemens fears, or zeal, may not so transport them, as to speak to the last part first.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] Ernly spoke not against the Paragraph, nor your Order, but that he time was not proper for it. Therefore to remove one great difficulty, 'tis orderly to move to fall upon matters of greater weight, and to lay this aside now.
Mr Garroway.] It is a hard thing to offer any thing upon the notions spoken of. I am ashamed to mention the Arguments spoken in January, "That we could not stay a moment; Alliances were ready for the French War." And now we must stay to postpone your request to the King to enter into Alliances, when the Money is given for a War. Would any Argument ever have induced us to give Money, but for a War with France? We gave that Money to prepare for that War, and now if there be no need of Money to carry it on, what do we here? For here is no face of War. If these Gentlemen have no fears, let them give you a word of comfort, and tell you, I had rather die of a Fever, than linger on in a Consumption. What mean you to do? Only to sit, and be at a gaze, now France is going on with the War? I would put the Question to agree with the Committee.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If this business be a proper means for the War, I am far from gainsaying it. Gentlemen have told you, "This is going out of the way, and that time is not to be lost before it be too late"— And pray God, it be not very late! I take it, the point now spoken to is not hastening the War, and Gentlemen do doubt how much this may hinder your business. Possibly the affairs of State may be better in other hands. But the Question is, whether this difference may not hasten Holland to a Peace. If they go out of the League, how far will you come on?—And that was offered to you; but 'tis your Order to have the Address, &c. As to the part now read, Gentlemen doubt how far your Advice single may be done. If the King calls his Parliament together to advise, it must be the Advice of both Houses, his Great Council. I know not how clear you are as to that, to my sense. Pray be clear in it.
Mr Vaughan.] I agree with Williamson, to go on with any matter to promote the War; and I would do so too, by removing those who have obstructed it all this while. As for what he speaks of "the Advice of both Houses;" 3 Edward III, the King demanded the Advice of Parliament, in a War against the French. The Bishops gave Advice by themselves; the Lords by themselves; and the Commons by themselves. And generally through all the course of Edward III's time, the Commons gave Advice alone.
Sir William Coventry.] I would not now speak, but that the honour and right of the House is highly concerned. I wonder Gentlemen will not have the House justified, or excused, in what they have done already. Suppose we have been reprehended, in the King's Answer to our Address, for going alone to him with our Advice, without the Lords, because the honourable Gentleman (Williamson) seems to argue that way. Now you have done it, you must either justify or excuse it. Suppose, in this matter, you shall be of one mind, and the Lords of another; they for Peace, and you for War, or the contrary; shall the King have no Advice at all? It may be said, "The King had better have no Advice than different." I answer, if there be any slip, 'tis supplied by your Reasons. This so much concerns the rights and liberties of this House, that I stand up to show my dissent to this new doctrine.
Mr Williams.] You may send the King your Advice, and ought to do it alone, without the Lords, in this case. In 17 Edward III, in Cotton's Records, fol. 37, the Lords by themselves, and the Commons, by themselves, gave the King Advice. The Record runs thus: "The Chancellor, by the King's commandment, required the Lords and Commons to provide against the manifold Oppressions whereof he heard, so as justice might be executed to every Subject." The Commons made Answer thereunto, "That the best way was, that approved Justices should be chosen in this Parliament for every County, and that upon their oath, in the same, to execute all laws, and Commissions to be made accordingly." There is another Precedent of the Commons advising alone, wherein they were a little backward: The King had undertaken a War with France, by the consent of Lords and Commons, and would be advised how the Peace might be kept. On these two things the King willed the Commons to consult together, and that, within four days, they should give Answer to the King and his Council, what they think therein. The fourth day the Commons declare, "They are not able to counsel any thing touching the point of the War, whereof they desire, in that behalf, to be excused, and that the King will thereof advise with his Nobles, and Council, and what shall be so amongst them determined, they, the Commons, will assent unto, confirm, and establish." In Henry VII's time, (as 'tis in Lord Bacon's History,) the Commons alone were advised with about a War with France, and they alone advised him to enter into a War.
Sir Thomas Meres.] As well to do right to Sir Thomas Cotton, as to this House, it is authentic, when licensed by the Judges of the realm. In things as great as this, I conceive that the King has taken Advice of the Commons. I take upon myself to say that, in two Declarations, the Commons gave the King Advice severally. As to the first of them (about Relaxation) here was a long Debate (though for their commendation here was a very happy and laudable observation of Order.) They would not proceed upon it, because it seemed to encourage Presbytery, and advised it not either legislatively, or otherwise. As to the second (the Declaration) the House thought it gave too much countenance to Popery. Both these were separately by this House. In the last Address you were very hasty, and so omitted that solemnity that was requisite, and you asked the King's excuse. And now you are reducing that matter into form; but who knows but that this House may go by way of the Lords, when the form of the Address is agreed to? In this Address the first Paragraph is read, and why was the Report called for now? The Address expresses such duty and thanks to a Prince as becomes us, when we are called to consult of public Affairs. I would know the exceptions against it. The first Paragraph is over. You may do what you will with the rest. I am sure this is a very worthy Paragraph, and I would put it to the Question.
Serjeant Streete.] I doubt not but you may go to the King alone, with the Address. In the King's Speech, about Relaxation for Dissenters, you went to the King alone. Soon after you went again, in February; and you gave your Advice to the King not to give Relaxations. The Records mentioned have mistakes in them, I having compared them with the transcripts I have at home. I would have the Address lie upon the table a day or two; to-morrow the Lords consider of the King's Speech, and if they come to you for Advice, I know not else how you can extricate yourselves out of that difficulty. And the King, in the interim, will be active to your satisfaction. And I would suspend this matter till Monday.
Col. Birch.] I would go on with the Address, for if not now, never. This House has always been steady to one point, the Confederacy. Could you be brought to vote one thing one day, and another, another; that once said, there will be no more trust in you, by the people, than in other men that do so.
Mr Powle.] I think this the most proper time for this Address, because 'tis apprehended there is a general Peace working, and because that is cross to the intention of this House: Therefore I would go on with this.
Mr Waller.] I can find no fault with this Address; 'tis penned according to your Vote. The Objection made to it is, "That you go to the King without the Lords, he having asked both your Advices." And a Gentleman answered, "Possibly when you have passed the Address, that might be too." But that will not lie at our doors, having addressed to this matter already. Some say, "the Lords have the matter in consideration." There are Precedents that we have gone to the King without the Lords. But that comes not to the present Question. The Record does not say (I think) that the Commons did go to the King a second time. In Rome, there was a Lex Æraria—In the Palatinate War, the Lords and we went all together. We here draw two ways, but by reason of that we strive for Victory; and perhaps may carry it by a Voice or two. But in so great a thing as this—In Spain, sometimes it went as the Queen-Mother would have it, sometimes as Don John—In Holland, sometimes there is a Stadtholder, and sometimes none. We see the inconvenience of this contest abroad. Shall we not see it at home? Let us carry things therefore with a whole Vote. The way to union is, to prefer public Wisdom before private. Here is matter of War and Peace before you. But I do not know any man to be criminal that gives contrary Advice to ours. In one Parliament we gave one Advice, and the Council another. Whether we were culpable, or the Council, I know not. Like a Tortoise that will bear a Cart on its shell, so is the Government.
Col. Titus.] The Question is, whether we shall proceed now, in this matter. I cannot but extremely commend the ingenuity of a person on this side the way (Downing) who said, "he was, and ever will be, against Privy Counsellors, who advise contrary to the Opinion of this House." He is a man of honour, and will keep his word—And now I am for this Address, because it is for the honour of this House. If things may eternally be revoked, and be never at an end, who can have reliance on your Counsels, when numbers prevail with you to change? There was a Debate in the Senate of Rome, about a Governor's ill management of a Province. An honest Senator opposed the injustice of the Governor; and the next day they would question the thing again. Says he, "Better a particular Province suffer, than the whole Senate of Rome suffer in honour." How should men rest satisfied in what we do, when we are not satisfied ourselves? If in giving of Money, one proposes raising it by LandTax, another by Excise, and another by a Poll, yet 'tis in order for raising the Money you have voted. Is not this disingenuity, to be for the thing, and not for the means? Therefore I would put the Question, Whether we shall proceed now in the Address.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I cannot agree in what it alleges, "that the King, in not taking your Advice, in the last Address, was the cause of the ill consequences that followed." I think that relates to the Alliances, as not such as you intended and meant, of which I shall say something, that you have not yet been troubled with. May Advice was for a League, offensive and defensive, with the States, &c. The King has so done, I take it; and to the preservation of Flanders, as is clear by the Treaty before you. As to some circumstances, perhaps it is not such, but 'tis of that sort of Treaty that you advised the King to enter into; though 'tis not to that degree you can wish, yet that it was not fully, was not the King's fault. 'Tis for Peace, and therefore not such as you advise. But the nature of it is not such a one as you would destroy, because it carries a Peace with it. When considered, 'tis as much, and as large conditions as the Allies would come into; and then 'tis as much as you advised. There have been several essencial non-performances, so that the King, on this side, could enter into no other Treaty. The Treaty of the Prince of Orange here was the debauching, separating, alienating Holland from us to France in a Peace—This was the mind of the States, before the Prince of Orange came into England to speak with the King—The States thought of it before ever that time was, and they excuse it from Casualties. And so Williamson talked on, much at the rate of his former Speeches on the like occasion, to trifle away time, that the House might be wearied out, and grow thin.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] All Williamson's discourse was seasonable, when the Treaties were discoursed of, and the same thing he said then that he has said now again. Your Vote is the foundation of what you have done. Would he have that recalled? He has told you, "This was the best Treaty that could be had, and no better." But how does any body know that was the act of the Prince of Orange here, to treat without the States knowledge? And their mind not known, Lord Feversham was sent into France, &c. How could the Dutch mind be known, when it was never asked?
Sir William Coventry.] I am called up by Williamson. He said, "The Dutch were released of the Pyrenean Treaty, and went into that of Aix la Chapelle." I would to God we had done so too, that we had gone into that Treaty; but since I am up, I will speak to this Paragraph: I think the greatest part of it is for justifying ourselves; for, four years together, there is not a Cobler in the streets, but could have told what would save England. Have the Parliament not done it? Let them have the shame of it; though I must say, it ought to have been done, though it had not been spoken of here. They are not absolved that should have done it. I will not say Treaties are safe—Suppose the King of France will not molest you, or that the Confederates will take up Arms, when laid down—We are justifying ourselves that the Parliament is not in fault. We, out of our care for the Nation, have put the King in mind of it; we say, "Our Addresses have not been hearkened unto." Says Williamson, "They have been hearkened unto." I am far from undertaking to enter the list with him about Treaties. I have not one script, nor print of them—But that would have taken away the scruple, if any thing had been done. But here is not one step made in them, till December last. What has made the Confederates thus worn out, but that you came not up to fortify the Alliance? In October they were tired out with ill success, as well as weary, after they had attempted Charleroy with shame and dishonour (fn. 4), the Duke of Lorrain retreated, Fribourg was taken (fn. 5): Ill success has wearied them—And your Advice was not followed, and nothing was done till December, when all was disheartened.
Mr Garroway.] Ernly tells you, "That all the World is a match for France," but does not tell you that all the World is a match for France and England. He does not tell you of suffering the forces of 10,000 men of ours to remain in France. After all our Addresses to enter into Alliances, I should be sorry to excuse men from doing things so wilfully, and that it was out of policy to keep France in War—Our forces are still there, and there are no Articles for the return of these men. Give the King your Counsel, and if once you remove these men from the King, you may go on boldly to it to save the Nation; and put the Question for the Paragraph.
Mr Finch.] I differ not from the Vote, in the least circumstance. I profess here, and in a greater Assembly, before God Almighty, that what I shall say is in my sincerity, &c. Did I really believe that this you are about was to accomplish the end you intend, I would not be against it. If the Ministers mend for the time to come, I hope what is done will be forgotten. When you did proceed first in your Address, I believe that Advice was not taken, whilst those Ministers were there, whom you would have removed. All that was returned was, "That the matter and manner of your Address were not acceptable." The arraigning of the King's proceedings was the exception, not the matter or manner you advised. This is an accusation, and a condemnation, of the Ministers, without hearing them, almost, in an arbitrary manner, subverting Magna Charta, which we do all to support. It is yet of farther ill consequence, in point of Justice. From the Conquest to this Day, there is but one Precedent of this nature, and that was the late Duke of Buckingham (fn. 6): And that Assassination upon him was, because the House of Commons remonstrated against him. And 'tis the Duty of every man to avoid the like occasion—There are Precedents of removals of persons by Act of Parliament only. May not the King apprehend this an encroachment on his Prerogative? And, perhaps, some of the House of Peers may be concerned in it; and now the Crown is at stake, let us not make the King jealous that we will subvert his Prerogative in the least. The Jealousies in Holland have made them almost cast themselves into the Arms of the French. Do not farther that jealousy. It has no good ends. It may have many ill ones. Therefore lay aside the Question.
Mr Vaughan.] I never thought, that, when Counsel was good, it would make persons afraid of Assassination from the People; and if bad, that we could suffer those persons to be about the King. As to Finch's "legale judicium, by Magna Charia, per pars;" if you cannot do this, I know not what you can do; and you are told, the King has made a League, but has not come up to what you would have—But you have condemned that League. And shall any man here say the contrary? How can that League be pursuant to our Addresses, when the King tells us, "He will have nothing to say to our Addresses?"
Sir William Hickman.] It is said, "This Judgment might be by Peers, &c." If so, let him name the Advisers; and as to putting these Ministers out of their Freehold, by removing them, it is no more than putting a Justice of Peace out of Commission; and we have seen Justices of the Peace put out lately, for executing Laws against Popery.
Sir Thomas Meres.] This Debate is irregular. But I would have any man show me, that our Advice, in the Address, was not a good thing, and then he will say something to the point. They that urged Cotton's Record are irregular—They that contradicted it are as irregular.
Mr Powle.] "Now that we have so great a Person to deal with, as the French King, he would not go upon this work," is Dering's Argument. But this Address is for nothing but the removal of those who have been corrupted by France. This Address is said to be against Law, and Magna Charta. This is a good Plea, and a good Argument, why great officers should not be turned out but; they consider not turning out inferior Justices. In them, it seems, it is justice, but in those injustice. Whoever speaks against this Paragraph, speaks against your Vote, which, in my mind, is against Order.
Sir Nicholas Carew.] I do not think it hard that the same justice should be done to the Ministers, as they have lately done to some of our Members (Mr Saville, Sir William Lowther, and Sir Cyril Wyche) who are turned out of their places for voting with their consciences—That, it seems, is no injustice.
Col. Birch.] I hear, Lauderdale has a Pension out of the sacred Money, the Customs, granted for the defence of the Sea. By what has been proved against him at our Bar, he has so ill interpreted the Law of Scotland, that I would not have him come to interpret ours. That is, his putting the Soldiers there upon free quarter, and his taking of Bonds from Landlords, that their Tenants should not keep Conventicles.
Sir Thomas Meres.] We move you, (no Committee,) to form nothing but merely the Vote, "That your Majesty would be pleased, at the desire of the Commons, to remove the Duke of Lauderdale from your Presence and Councils."
The Speaker.] If the House pleases, they may form such an Address, but it was never done without a Committee. By way of Amendment it may be added to the Address, in the House, but never the entire Address.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think you orderly moved, that when a Committee mistakes the sense of the House, and it may be mended at the Table, you need not recommit it. I think the House may as well direct the Speaker to deliver the Vote to the King, with your own mouth, without making a Speech, as when you present Bills in the Lords House.
[Resolved, That the matter of the Address concerning the Duke of Lauderdale be added to the Address this day agreed, in these words following: "And we farther humbly beseech your Majesty, That the Duke of Lauderdale may be removed from your Councils and Presence (fn. 7).]
Saturday, May 11.
Early, when the House was thin, by surprize, Mr Secretary Williamson moved the House, to supply the King with Money, Ships, &c. on a verbal Message from his Majesty, "That the charge was so great, that he must be forced to lay up several of the great Ships, already provided, and to disband many of the Forces newly raised, if he were not speedily supplied."
Mr Boscawen.] I wonder that Money should be moved for before we have an Answer from the King to our Address. I would know of the honourable person that moved it, whether we are like to have Peace, or War; for hitherto we are dealt with like Children. By my consent, not a penny of Money till we are plainly dealt with.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Gentlemen ask, "whether we shall have War, or not?" If the thing must have its issue by the way and manner we have proposed, we can expect little. The Dutch Ministry were in great trouble at our proceedings yesterday. I pacified them as well as I could, but upon the whole they feared some things that passed here would have that effect. I say, they desire to go deeper with you, and go higher. I told you formerly how peremptory they were—Van Leuen, is another sort of man, than Van Bennegen. 'Tis so far from true, that they would be brought over to the French Alliance as the other was, that they would be brought to carry on the War—As for these two Towns, the Prince declared, he knew his Uncle's mind; comparing things together, he could make conjecture—But whether it be Peace, or War, Spain must be paid— And fear not to be outdone in the Supply—That nothing may be in the King's hand—And I would this day be upon it.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I wonder that Gentlemen will move you against a Vote of the House, "for securing Religion, &c. before you go upon any other matter." We now are in a ready way for Money; but Popery, a Bill of half a dozen Sheets, has lain with the Lords twelve months. Till we be rid of those Counsels, that have so misled us, we have nothing to give the King. I wonder at being told, when we raised this Army, "that we were to have a War." And Williamson told you, "that it was a War, and the King of France was taken by the beard." Else 500,000l. was too much to be given "towards" a War. We had an account of the Conference between the French and Dutch Ambassador. The French said, "He would break off all Treaty till the Prince came home." The plan of all that Treaty betwixt the French and Dutch was made here—And now we must give more Money to support these Ministers, in what they have done amiss. Common fame says, that some Gentlemen have been turned out of their places, for their voting, and just upon their voting against the Ministers. (Mr Saville, &c.) A man that comes out of a room where one is killed, with a knife bloody, the Jury will find guilty, when no other man appears to have done the fact.
Sir Thomas Meres.] 'Tis said, "That Members are turned out of their places for giving their Votes here, &c." I know not for what other reason they are turned out. I would have some other cause assigned, if they know it. Just upon such an occasion they are turned out; one may make a probable conjecture, though no demonstration, of it; and as the consequence, if the House be used to it, it will lose its liberty and freedom; and what makes people free but liberty to give their Votes here?
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I would have the words written down. Clarges gave a Comparison of "a Jury that would find it murder in the person that came out of a house, with a bloody knife, &c. and no other cause appear." I would have the words written down.
Mr Garroway.] These Gentlemen, that would have the words written down, would not be so forward, if they heard of what I shall tell you—What those Soldiers are, and what they have done. Then you will judge whether it is fit to give Money to support them in their carriage. I would, in this unlucky juncture, do any thing for your service. Let Gentlemen get on in the Report, and wave this Motion. If you will go on, let the words the Gentleman spoke be asserted in writing, and do what you please upon them.
The Speaker reports the substance of the King's Message by Williamson, viz. "That, by reason of the Expence and Charge his Majesty has been at, for equipping and furnishing his Navy, and raising Soldiers, &c. [he desires] that the House would [immediately] enter into consideration of a Supply for him; for his Majesty must either disband the men, or pay them, &c (fn. 8).
Mr Garroway.] Pray let us be plain and see; for, as things are, we can make no Judgment of them. Let us know our Answer from the King to our Address; and do like reasonable men. They have had great time to consider; we have had none. Pray let this Message alone till Monday. We know not why we should disband these forces, or keep them up, for we know nothing of War, or Peace. Whatever we do, will else be by chance; it may be very well, or very ill. I would therefore consider of it.
Mr Powle.] There is one word in the King's Message which I take notice of, the word "immediately." To enter into the Debate, I will always show as much respect to the King's Message, as any man: But I think that word "immediately" over-rules the Debate, and intrenches upon the Privileges of this House. I am sorry those about the King will impose these things upon his Majesty. It will be time to take up this Debate, when our Grievances are redressed, and our Ad dress answered. And then, giving Money ought to be the last thing considered. Why was the Army so hastily raised? Which was no good sign of good Intention to the Public. Let those about the King set things right and strait. Till then, 'tis too raw and fresh to go upon Money. And I would let fall the Debate now, and go upon other business.
Sir John Ernly.] You must disband these men that are raised, or pay them. If it be a War, these men are ready for you, and I am glad we are in so much readiness towards it. I am no more for a standing Army than any Gentlemen here—But I would give the King some resolution of his Message. If we consider it not now, that we would do it some other time. You cannot leave it thus, without great dissatisfaction to the Nation.
Col. Birch.] This was a work of darkness, from the beginning. We gave Money for what we see now not a word of it true: A bargain performed on the one side, and not on the other. We were told, "that we must trust the King with the Treaties, because the thing could not be well discovered to us." No doubt but the King knows the bottom of all this, and if he disband the men, and discharge the Ships, he knows why he does it But still we have no Answer to making of Leagues that we advised. If the King enter into this League, we shall see all the Quotas of the Consederates—But will any man give Money till he knows for what? But I find it is still designed for a Peace with the French King, and whenever you leave that King with 100 sail of Ships, and 100,000 men, you are in a worse condition than any War can make you. Upon the whole, this is like a Question, that a man cannot tell whether to give his Affirmative or Negative to. Therefore, I would not adjourn it, but let it fall.
Mr Sacheverell.] I wish I could see a bottom to go upon—That which I insist upon is, not to give Money in time of War, to wheedle us into a Peace; and next, I will not give Money upon false suggestions. I would not put any marks upon this Message, but let that fall. If we see they will go into a War, I will be as ready as any man to give Money; but seeing all this is for a Peace, Clarges's words might be admitted.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] The King cannot give an Answer to your Address, till he has an Answer to the Message he sent us to-day. Common fame says, we talk of War—Yet we can go little towards it without Supply. Can an Army be raised one day, and sent over into Flanders another? Unless the King be supplied, he cannot proceed.
Sir William Coventry.] I differ in opinion from those Gentlemen that thought it too hasty to raise the Army; for else it would have been undisciplined; and I am for Money to maintain the War. But why should we proceed now we have no light to go by? Will any man be satisfied to give Money for War, when we see nothing but a face of Peace? 100,000l. would disband this Army. And if we should give a small sum of Money, the Confederates will leave you. If you stay till all Flanders be gone, you will do as King James did in the Palatinate War, treat, and treat, till all was gone, and no body to treat with him. If people urge us upon Money now, it must be answered in the Negative; which I would not give the King. If the War really be, he must be a madman who will not give Money; and if it be a Peace, no Englishman will be for keeping up the Army. Till we have more light, we know not what to say, and I would decline a Negative upon the King which all our souls abhor.
Col. Titus.] There is a Vote already against this Question. And, in short, by this Question, either we give our Money we know not why, or else we put a Negative upon the King; neither of which I would do; and therefore I would not have the Question put.
Mr Pepys.] When I promised that the Ships should be ready, by the 30th of May, it was upon the supposition of Money for the 90 Ships proposed by the King, and voted by you, their sizes, and rates; and I doubt not by that time to have 90 Ships; and if they fall short, it will be only from the failing of the Streights Ships coming home, and those but two. I would have Clarges's harsh words explained, viz. "cheated of another sum of Money." There has not been one penny of it spent, but towards a War with the French King. If there has been "a cheat," 'tis on the King's side, who has debarred himself of all of it. Peace itself is War with France. Peaceful Counsels and warlike Preparations cannot subsist. Supplies are not in your hands, to have them when you please. This is the time of the year to send to the Baltic for stores, and this is the time for that Supply.
Sir Robert Howard.] Pepys here speaks rather like an Admiral than a Secretary, "I" and "we." I wish he knows half so much of the Navy as he pretends. Now the King of France is greater at Sea than we, with all the Preparations that are pretended. I hear the name of the King so often used, that I am sorry for it. We that are against their opinion, are as much for the King's service as they.
Mr Boscawen.] I know not the ground of asking Money, now we are halting between two opinions; Peace and War. If we were in a Grand Committee, to consider of giving Money upon Proposals, the Debate would be more proper. But I would adjourn the House, that the honourable person who brought the Message for Money, &c. may be free to tell you whether we are to be in Peace, or War.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think it well moved to adjourn the House now, because the House is put upon difficulties that the House was never upon before. You have had an Answer of "surprizing," only, and no more. I would have you severely punish those who misrepresent you to the King; 'tis absolutely necessary. When things come clearly before you, it will be hard to be excused, that an Army should be raised, and no War. I wonder Gentlemen will say, "you expect management of the War, &c." If, as some have put it, the Nation is at as much charge in Peace as War, I am therefore for War. If you become not fatal to them that endeavoured to ruin you, they may be fatal to undo you.
Sir Henry Capel.] If the Question pass in the Negative, then 'twill be a disrespect to the King, and, in effect, a Negative to Money; and the French King will make his advantage of it. If this be carried in the Affirmative, by two or three Voices, the consequence will be Money coming heavily on. If we disband the Army, there must be Money. I hope the King will take care of a good Peace, and if we have War, we shall stand by him in either.
Mr Garroway.] Perhaps they will disband a few men troublesome to them, and leave the rest to be troublesome to us. And that I fear of the Peace. In 9 Henry IV, you will find it in the Record, 'tis against your Privileges, and you will have it made out, "That none of your Debates are to be disclosed."—If the King be told the thing—It may be left indefinite, and I would adjourn.
Mr Vaughan.] If all the delusions of the last Session were forgotten, then this might have been moved; but now we have the same stories repeated, and more would rejoice against giving Money than for it; because they would heighten still the King's displeasure against you. These Proceedings are a brand upon the Ministers, and I would have them pay for it.
Col. Birch.] This Message must plainly be a late result. Whoever put the House upon this Question, could not expect a smooth Answer; they could not but expect a Negative on this of Money. Some of the King's Council are good, and I am apt to believe some are bad; and you have said so. There are twins in the womb. If you adjourn till Monday, there is the same snare still, if we have no more light, neither Peace nor War,
"This Address is so extravagant, that I am not willing speedily to give it the Answer it deserves (fn. 9)."
Monday, May 13.
"I have received an Address of such a nature from the House of Commons, as I cannot but resent very highly, from the ill consequences I have lived to see from such Addresses. I intend therefore to prorogue them for some short time, in hopes they will consider better what they ought to do at their return. I have chosen to tell this to you first, because I would have you know I am very well satisfied with the dutiful behaviour of this House, and you will by that time be more enabled to give me your Advice."