Debates in 1678: May (28th-31st)

Pages 26-47

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 6. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Tuesday, May 28.

Mr Secretary Coventry delivered to the House the King's Answer to yesterday's Vote, as follows:


"His Majesty having perused the Vote of this House of the 27th of May, hath thought fit to return this Answer; That the Most Christian King hath made such offers for a Cessation, till the 27th of July, as his Majesty does not only believe will be accepted, but does also [verily] believe will end in a general Peace: Yet since that is not certain, his Majesty does by no means think it prudent to dismiss either Fleet or Army before that time; nor does he think [it] can add much to the charge; because the raising the money, and paying them off, would take as long a time as that, although the speediest disbanding that is possible were intended.

"That, in the mean time, his Majesty desires that some Supply may be provided for their subsistance; that as hitherto they have been the most orderly Army that ever were together, they may be encouraged to continue so.

"That there is another thing which presses his Majesty with very great inconvenience in his domestic affairs; which is the want of [the] 200,000l. you promised to repay him at your next meeting after; and which does affect that whole branch of his revenue, by having a fifth part taken out of every payment, which should be applied to the necessary uses of his Houshold: He does therefore desire you will immediately apply [yourselves] to the repayment of that money to him."

"Given at our Court at Whitehall, May 28, 1678."


Serjeant Streete.] The King tells you of a "Cessation, &c. and believes it will end in a Peace; and that it is not safe to dismiss the Army or Navy till that be done." I move, therefore, to have it considered how to prevent the French King doing what he pleases with the Confederates.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] It is impossible for the King to make any good determination yet. No body can advise disbanding the Army till this Cessation be over, that it may certainly be known whether it will be Peace, or War.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] One part of the King's Message relates to the Forces; the other to that which seemed not certain. Now the King has told you as much as he knows. The matter is so very pressing, that it cannot admit of delay. But there is an offer that Spain will go with Holland, and it looks like a general Peace. I speak to this point, that the thing is as prepared for you, as it can be, in a day or two's adjournment. Therefore lose as little time as you can, and come to some resolution; though with no thoughts of continuing the Army, but only to provide for their subsistance.

Mr Cheney.] It appears to you that there is a Cessation, &c. and probably a Peace will follow. You may, therefore, I think, proceed to the consideration of disbanding the Army.

Sir Robert Carr.] I see not but you may go upon the King's Message now in a Grand Committee, or appoint a day.

Sir Edward Dering.] How acceptable a thing it will be to the nation to disband the Army you have no use of, I need not tell you. As for raising money for their disbanding orderly, you are to go into a Grand Committee, and I would do it that day moved for, together with the consideration how that 200,000l. has been laid out.

Mr Sacheverell.] I think that the Speaker stated an irregular Question; for what was moved for was "Thursday to consider the King's Speech." And you state it "to consider the subsistance of the Army."

Sir Thomas Lee.] I think, Mr Speaker, your stating the Question to be rather a prevention of the House to speak, than your belief of it to be the Question.

The consideration of the King's Message was ordered for Thursday next.

Sir George Hungerford.] I move that the common highway of going into a Grand Committee, to consider of the King's Speech, may be thought of. I assure you, as a common high-way, 'tis so worn out by heavy carriages, that, 'tis not possible any thing should pass; and till it be mended, I would go some other way.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] If you disband these men without money, you may quickly have them spoil your high-ways.

Obj.] The same day a Motion is made for a Supply, the House, by Order, cannot go into a Grand Committee for consideration of it.

Sir William Coventry.] The beginning of this Message being extraordinary, every body sat in the dumps; and this Motion for Supply is as extraordinary, for subsistance of the Army. And that must be determined first, whether disbanding, or subsisting. If we can show a way how money may be raised sooner for disbanding, &c. that will satisfy, sure. Another reason, &c. is, 'tis moved for laying up the great ships, equally with the land forces. The King's Speech is equal to both. It is reasonable that we should have time to consider of it; and I would adjourn it to Thursday.

Which was done accordingly.

Thursday, May 30.

The King's Message was read; (which see p. 26.)

Mr Secretary Williamson.] This is asking money to save money. The Question is, when you will dismiss the Army, and pay off the supernumerary part of the Fleet? 'Tis not regular to go into a Grand Committee now, the same day the thing is moved for. Therefore I move "that you will supply the King." With limitation how much, or what uses, is another point, and I move to consider that now.

Mr Garroway.] I see that all our expectation is like to be terminated in Peace, and for the probability of it, 'tis moved that the Army may be dismissed, &c. to save charges. I am willing to go upon it, seeing there are no hopes of War, which I would willingly have gone on with. Therefore I move that we may agree in the point, whether to disband the Army, or no. And I would know what they are that are to be disbanded. I would put in "all the Forces raised since Michaelmas last."

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Do you mean all raised for Carlisle, Tangier, and the Plantations, &c.? Under that word "all," these will be comprehended.

Sir William Coventry.] I would have it, "all the Forces raised since the first of December, except those raised for Tangier and Jamaica."

Mr Mallet.] I am sorry we are come to this Question, almost by necessity. 'Tis sad news that all ends in Peace. I fear 'tis the Peace of Herod and Pontius Pilate. This late Army was raised, not by the authority, but connivance of this House. What others design, I know not, but it scared the Allies, &c. I would give no countenance to a standing Army, and I would have all the Forces disbanded, except the Militia; all the Forces raised since the Vote of this House, some time since, that voted them a Grievance and Terror to the nation.

Mr Powle.] I hope that this "still stand" of Arms abroad, will not be a "still stand" of an Army here. First resolve the thing, that the Army be disbanded, and then consider of the money to disband them. The intelligence is, that Maestricht is delivered up, and that there is a Peace. And I know of no end of keeping up the Army any longer, than to habituate us to its standing for ever. Therefore I move for the Question.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] It is not "that there is a Peace," but " 'tis said there is Peace." The States acknowlege no such thing to any body, and will you, by disbanding the Army, totally put yourselves into the mercy of the King of France? As he has done nothing, and will do nothing, till the first of July, so in the mean time should you draw all your Forces out of Ostend and Bruges, without any warning to the Spaniards, and the King of France take that opportunity, how can you help it? Now whether you have assurance enough of the French King, or there be a reason to disband the Army before there be a Peace made, pray consider. Therefore I would have you proceed as the King intimates in the Message.

Sir Thomas Lee.] It looks equally strange to me, as all things else have done since the fifteenth of January, that arguments should be for keeping up the Forces, as if we were in a War. We are told of "keeping up the Forces at Bruges and Ostend, &c." 'Tis still forgot the concert of ninety sail of ships with the Dutch, though afterwards we were told, it was a proposition only of ours. Though our Forces are there, yet we are not told of any Alliance with the Spaniards. And why should you be at any charge for the Spaniards, and have no manner of Alliance with them, and no prospect of War? And yet now we are told of the insecurity of England. Where is the safety then, by not disbanding these men? You may send them to harvest, and retrieve them from the consequences of ill courses, which disbanding towards winter will bring them into. And why should they be any longer upon your charge, being neither raised nor employed for your service? I see no reason for it.

Mr Williams.] The inconvenience of keeping up these men is obvious to every one, if it be no more than the countenancing them within these walls. He that is really for removing these jealousies and fears of the Army, is for disbanding them. I take the Army merely to be a handle to raise money, and therefore I would disband them forthwith.

Mr Booth.] I cannot tell who it is that takes this industrious care to create jealousy between the King and his people. The people cannot but believe it is from those who have been interested in France. I doubt not but we may yet grapple with France, if we are clearly dealt withall. I admire that our Forces should be called out of all services, but the French King's. I cannot imagine any hopes of War with France, as long as we have still that tye with France. I would therefore proceed to disbanding this Army. I cannot give my vote for money to pay this Army, for by it you vote it a standing Army for that time. And it may be called for again, to continue longer.

Mr Vaughan.] (To answer Colonel Stroude, who made a doubt whether the Army would disband, or no.) Put the Question forthwith to give money, and then Stroude will understand it presently.

Sir William Hickman.] If that be a Question, whether they will disband, or not, I would then the rather have the word "forthwith" put in.

Sir George Hungerford.] This Army has forced the Dutch to a Peace; and that Army that has done so much ill, I would have disbanded.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Stroude's words were, "what if they will not disband?" I suppose he means "not without money." Neither can they. But as for the word "forthwith," it cannot be otherwise meant, than "so soon as the money can be provided for them." Perhaps, money may be had sooner than some think. But for an Army to be raised, to go into Flanders against the French King, and yet to stay in England, I would not countenance such an Army for one day. Formerly we were told, "the Army will pay themselves if they are not paid," but that has been answered fully. As for the great Officers, they may shift for themselves; but the poor infantry, who came in willingly to serve against the French, must be encouraged, that you may have them again upon any other occasion.

Colonel Birch.] I would as unwillingly part with this Army, as any body. I had great hopes of some effects of our long desires of lessening the French King. But because we cannot employ them where we would, I would not employ them against ourselves. It was said by Sawyer, "That we may disband them, and have a War." I would therefore disband them to-morrow. What can therefore be put into one Question, I would not make two. I would disband and pay them off. Next I move that you would consider the day certainly for raising the money. I see nothing but that 'tis a reasonable and satisfactory Question "forthwith to disband the Army."

Mr Garroway.] I would not have it niggardly done, but let every man of them go back home with a mark of your favour. But the retarding your good intention by those who shall manage it, I would have taken care of, in this Question, which will lead you into paying them.

Mr Sacheverell.] I move to reconcile the House in the Question. We agree on all hands to disband the Army, and 'tis agreed they shall be paid. Put the Question therefore, "That the Army be forthwith disbanded," and then go into a Grand Committee to consider paying them.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] I observe one thing only from your method, &c. The King has laid it to your judgment. He has told you he expects your opinion. I would have this then, as an humble desire and Address to the King for disbanding and paying off the Army. And for the form, some such thing as "That 'tis by way of your opinion."

Mr Williams.] I would have the words transposed, to avoid jealousy of having them paid, and not disbanded. If paying be in the Question before disbanding, it may be dangerous. The House is in honour obliged, and there is no fear of paying them.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Your opinion is, that it ought to be done, and then some body will move for money to do it, and so you go orderly into a Grand Committee.

Sir William Coventry.] Confine the Question to "those Forces raised since the first of December." 'Tis not your meaning to disband all the Forces of England.

Sir John Talbot.] When you disband them, I hope you will consider their cloathing, and some charges which the officers stand engaged for. The officers had but levy-money only, which in my command did not any considerable part. I hope you will direct all the Colonels to bring you the accounts of what they have laid out.

Mr Garroway.] 'Tis not intended that any man should be stripped of his cloaths; but dismissed with marks of honour.

Mr Pepys.] You are disbanding the Army for the Army's sake, but consider the Ships and the men for your own sakes. I would have it only laid before you as a caution to remember.

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this House, that all the Forces that have been raised since the 29th of September last, except those which have been sent to the Plantations, be forthwith paid off and disbanded.

Colonel Birch.] I would breathe a little from unnecessary charges, for I fear the dregs of this War may come upon you. I hear of pressing of men every day, and this must be a charge. I desire that charge may be eased. I would know whether any stores are bought; and whether with Custom-house-money or Poll-money? I would know why there's any need of more ships than a summer's guard? for I hear great ships are falling down to the Buoy of the Nore. I take the case to be—if you shall be grappled withal, as I know not how soon we may be, I would have an hundred and fifty. Every one of them to have a warehouse to a yard of polling, and an inventory to lie upon it, viz. "There's for first, second, and third rates." And your Navy will be ready without staying four minutes. 'Tis all one whether you have an hundred or ninety, unless you take such a course. And "That the King be desired to put the nation to no more charge than for a summer-guard of ships."

Mr Pepys.] I am so far from excepting against my worthy friend Birch's motion, that I thank him for it. What he moved was, "not to put the King to more charges than for a summer's guard, &c." I have many honourable persons my witnesses, viz. the Lords of the Admiralty, that the King has ordered it already. But I could not tell it you without their leave. This was done before any Debate here of disbanding, &c. But there's a growing charge upon your hands, which is the wages of a great many thousands of men. On almost all the sea-coast, eastward, northward, and westward, are near eighteen thousand seamen, and no man ever could think of so many for a summer guard. As for the storehouses, if Birch would go but to the yards, he will find them as strictly kept as any account of his money in his pocket. This is so stale a thing, that it was done before he was born, or his father.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I would not clog the disbanding of the Army with any thing else; but it would be well if the embargo was taken off the merchant ships.

Sir John Ernly.] The Fleet and the Army come to forty thousand pounds a day. The charge of the land and naval Forces have eaten out all your Poll-bill, of which you may have a particular account when you please.

The Speaker.] The payments of the Army will give you an account of what's already paid, and what remains due.

Mr Papillon.] In reference to the Navy, if there be an order for taking off the embargo, I am satisfied. But trade has been at a stand by it, because men are stopped. There's a difference betwixt landmen and seamen. The landmen know not whither to go for employment. But seamen will increase wages upon you. Seamen will be glad to have tickets, that they may serve in the merchants service.

Mr Pepys.] I will only make a repetition of what I thought I said plainly. The taking off the embargo will be confirmed at the Council-table, for there it must be, and I would remind you only how much work this matter of tickets cost you formerly. I would, for saving your reputation, have them paid off without tickets.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] If the embargo be taken off, the seamen will come out of their lurking-holes, and merchants ships will not want them.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I do not remember to have known two motions for money in one day. I would adjourn the House.

The Speaker.] "Forces" comprehend both sea and land, and 'tis within your vote.

Sir William Coventry.] Plainly by the Debate only "land forces" are meant. I desire not to be left without any Navy at all. If you pay off all that are separate from the Streights fleet, you'll have so slender a summer-guard, that the French King may easily make an attempt upon you. But I confess, I know not the meaning of a "summer-guard." If a great one, you may have it put in precedent upon you for the future. If a small one, 'twill be of no use. But our fears are the Army. And though the charge of the Navy is greater than the Army, yet as the fears of the Army will vanish when the Army is disbanded, I would go about that, and have another day for consideration of the Navy.

Mr Pepys.] With a little explanation, Barnardiston's motion may be a good motion—They are taken up for six months—Is he willing to have them suddenly disbanded?

Barnardiston said, he was willing. Pepys replied, He was beholden to him for the motion, and it would be accepted.

Colonel Birch.] I cannot think but that those merchant ships, fallen down, are fully fitted out. And I would have every yard of bowling laid up as if they were to go away that day seven-night, all laid up so; and an inventory upon it. This will keep them safe, if any thing will, and you may set out an hundred sail at a short warning. Therefore I move "That a Committee be appointed, to consider of the best ways and means to lessen the charge of the Navy, and to take an account of the present charge."

For which Monday was appointed.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] Now this is over, I have a Petition concerning Aldborough (fn. 1), [in the county of York.] There is annexed to it an Affidavit, which is rather a work of supererogation, but what will not vitiate the Petition.

Sir Richard Temple.] We are not to receive Affidavits here. I would have it struck out.

The Speaker.] If the Affidavit be fixed to the Petition, if you receive the Affidavit you receive the Petition.

Sir John Talbot.] If a member can aver, that he knows the hands that have subscribed the Petition, or if any without doors will aver it, you may receive the Petition. But you cannot receive an Affidavit of the subscription of the Petition.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] I know the hands very well.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Sir William Wentworth undertakes that Mr Wentworth will prosecute the Petition, and I would have the Petition read, but not the Affidavit.

Sir William Coventry.] The matter of the Petition becomes already very burthensome to the Corporation. T'other day a Petition was delivered, and 'twas a question whether 'twas not signed all by one man's hand; now here is an Affidavit of the subscriptions sent with the Petition, by the mistaken zeal of the Gentleman. If we are not impowered to receive Affidavits here, 'tis no Affidavit, and you may receive it. If they lapse any more time in their Petition, they may be nonsuited again, as they have been twice already, and so their business is done for this Parliament. I would therefore have the Clerk read the Petition, and connive at the Affidavit.

The Speaker.] If you'll put the sitting Member (Sir John Reresby) to these unnecessary disturbances, and admit every irregularity, &c.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I would publish rules, that all persons must come from all parts of England to avow Petitions, and so weary men out, that the Mayors and Bai liffs will chuse you all the Parliament-men. The case of Sir James Langham, for Northampton. He was first chosen by the Commonalty, and secondly by the Mayor and Aldermen, and thirdly by both, and yet he missed it at last. There was something of a Communion-table in the case.

Mr Powle.] Whilst we are gratifying a particular Gentleman, let us not lose an essential Privilege; that whenever a Member avers the Petition, you never refuse it. Sir William Wentworth tells you, he knows the hands, and undertakes they will prosecute the Petition. If any Member presents a Petition to abuse you, and the Petitioners will not avow the Petition, it is in your power to punish that Member, and send him to the Tower. A Member has sat here four years, and the Petitioners say he has sat wrongfully. Let us not begin new customs to hinder complaints of people coming to us. Let the Petition be read, but not the Affidavit.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] By this Petition, the town complains of one that sits, that is not a Representative of them, as a Grievance. It must be owned by somebody, and I would have it now.

Sir Edmund Jennings.] Since the Petition is insisted upon, I must say something, that I otherwise would not: I believe it to be fictitious. That letter could not come to Mr Wentworth till Sunday morning, and he lives twenty or thirty miles from Aldborough, and sending to and again that Affidavit, which was made at Wakefield on Monday, and this is twenty-six miles farther, how it is possible this Affidavit could be made in such a time, I leave you to consider.

Sir William Coventry.] 'Tis no compliment to your Member to be the hander of a fictitious Petition to you. I presume the Member has had caution. If it be fictitious, I wonder Gentlemen should call for adjourning, and not enquire into it: Every Scrivener may else put these slurs upon you, and by calling it fictitious, and not proving it, the Corporation may be slurred out of their right too. I would therefore refer the enquiry into it to the Committee of Privileges.

[The Question being put, That the Petition be read, it passed in the affirmative, 139 to 115, and the Clerk was ordered to blot out the Affidavit. The Petition was referred to the Committee of Privileges.]

Friday, May 31.

Mr Powle reports the musters of the Army; the numbers of regiments of horse, foot, and dragoons, &c. to what time paid, and what arrears.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] You can make no estimate till you have the Paymaster's accounts, in order to paying off and disbanding. Till you have more certain information, you cannot enter into that consideration.

Sir William Coventry.] As for cloaths, the soldiers are not come into the King's service by contract for cloaths, like apprentices. I believe, a worse Arithmetician than that Gentleman (Spry) can easily cast up the matter. If you think to go into a Grand Committee, it will not, as he says, take up much time.

Mr Garroway.] I speak for your information. Here is a discourse of several men, in several places, in Scotland, Ireland, and France, that are to be paid off. Remote places of another nature, and that of Guards, are things you have not concerned yourselves in. I would have you apply yourselves barely to the new-raised horse and foot, and go into a Grand Committee. Let us put our work before us, and we shall know the better how to go upon it. I would have the late-raised horse and foot only considered.

Mr Vaughan.] There's nothing under your consideration but the forces raised upon the account of a War against France. That is honorary only upon us. Else we may be put upon paying off those who have been in the French service, and filling up those regiments.

Mr Hampden.] If you put in any new matter against your vote, a man must not speak against it without leave of the House. The Guards and additions to them were upon this occasion. Let the Committee pursue your Vote.

The Speaker told Colonel Birch, "That it was indecent for him to brush his Beard without a Looking-glass." To which Birch replied, "You would not think it so if you had a Beard to brush.

Sir William Coventry.] Lee has set you right. Put the least discouragement you can upon what you have voted. I would go into a Grand Committee to-day; but though the Committee is not ready for a sum, yet you may make a general Vote, "That you will give a supply for disbanding the Army."

In a Grand Committee. Sir John Trevor in the Chair.

Sir William Coventry.] The Committee is to provide for paying off and disbanding the new-raised forces, from such a time. What are the motives to desire this disbanding? One is to prevent excessive charge; the other is, that forces may not remain in a body in the nation, to the terror of the people. Suppose it has been fit to make the former regiments four thousand men, shall we any ways lessen the charge, in having them in a few regiments? I would therefore go to "all those forces raised since the twenty-ninth of September last."

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Your design, I suppose, is, that the King shall not suffer by raising these men by your advice. I would have all those men considered, &c. that have been raised upon this occasion.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Be it as it will, here are Armies, and according to Law they are vexatious, because it is an Army in England; therefore I would be rid of it. I would have all the new-raised men since Michaelmas, disbanded and paid off. And if the Guards were paid off and disbanded, I would give my vote for it, that the King may live, as his father did, without Guards. How shall we be sure that, when those new-raised in the Guards are paid off and disbanded, they shall not swarm in again, and come back? Pray think of that.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Those raised that went over into Flanders, are more under your consideration than the rest. As for the Guards, Meres must give me leave to differ from him; for the House formerly thanked the King for raising them.

Sir Thomas Meres.] As for thanking the King for raising the Guards, &c. I am sure none of my vote was to it; and I said nothing against the thing then; but now I would willingly be rid of them.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I speak not of the Guards, but of those raised for Scotland and Ireland. If we entered into a War with France, that they should go some charge of it, is reasonable. As for the Guards, those were raised without any Vote of yours. Drums were beating about the streets, to make you believe we should have War, to induce you to give money. I would distinguish those of Scotland and Ireland, &c.

Sir Henry Capel.] Those of Ireland and Scotland are part of your Vote. I would have them comprehended.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] We have had seamen from Scotland and Ireland, for the Dutch War, and the King has no way of paying those men there, being not raised for those places, but for this kingdom.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Because they were intended for that War, and they were sent into the service of the French King, must we pay them? By that consequence, they are paid for serving France. I believe no man thought of paying them out of the kingdom. It is hard that England must pay for other countries, who call no Parliaments to do it. And the King has no power there no more than he has in England.

Sir Henry Capel.] I do not understand that those should be paid off that have served the French King, but only those that have come over from him.

Colonel Birch.] I would not have it ever forgotten, that notwithstanding all the Alliances showed us, and no War, yet we go about to pay off these new-raised men for the French War. That, I hope, will prevent any hard things that may be said to us, for the future. The Muster-master told you, "he believed, a thousand men were raised in Scotland, and a thousand in Ireland." He finds their cloathing more than their pay—I would have us hold to this Question. The Vote tells you they shall be paid, but not by whom. Now whether are you to defend Ireland and Scotland, as well as England, by quota? But if there be no such quota, 'tis most unreasonable that those forces, raised for defence of Ireland and Scotland, should be paid by England. 'Tis most unreasonable that we should be at the whole charge of defending Ireland and Scotland. Therefore I would have it resolved, "That the defence of Ireland and Scotland, in the raising these men, shall be at the charge of Ireland and Scotland."

Mr Secretary Coventry.] I cannot tell whether Lord Douglas's regiment be brought over out of France, but I am sure there are orders for the transporting of it. But can Birch show me, that the seamen raised in Ireland and Scotland were not upon the charge of England when raised for the Dutch War?

Mr Powle.] It much concerns England not to have foreign forces raised to be brought into England, to be a terror to us; especially when in the most Popish part of Ireland, and they have Popish Officers. This may justly occasion fears and jealousies. It would have been a strange thing to have raised these forces in Germany; and, by the same reason, they may be raised in Germany, as well as there. I will not look back into the late King's time, when there was an intention of raising German horse to be brought into England. If Leagues had been showed us, much of this charge might have been prevented; but seeing it is so, I would have you concerned in no more than those raised in our own country, and give no countenance at all to foreign soldiers.

Sir William Coventry.] The charge of those two regiments is not worth your while to consider. But as to Ireland, Talbot has taken good care that they were Protestants. But I would not have Ireland drained of Protestants, and would have you discountenance this raising of men in Ireland and Scotland, where your law of Popery reaches not. I would not have it said, the next time you have need of an Army, (and that may be you know not how soon) that an English Parliament pays for a Popish Army. And whether these men are proper guardians for your laws, and religion, is a question. I would therefore have it, that employing Popish Officers, out of Scotland and Ireland, may have no countenance here.

Mr Vaughan.] I would not think there's any obligation upon us to disband any of the Forces, but what were raised pursuant to the Votes of this House. By the Law of England, no men can be raised, but for foreign service—If those Forces continue in the French service, though they were raised but for a compliment to the French King, of that service we have no obligation upon us. 'Twas a great insolence to raise men in Ireland against the sense of this House, by a Vote. I would have their Commissions inspected.

Sir John Talbot.] I except against what is said, "That no man shall dare to raise men in Scotland and Ireland against a Vote of this House." I would have Vaughan explain what he means by "without consent of this House."

Mr Vaughan.] I did say "That when there was a Debate in the House, and Talbot knew the temper of the House, it was some oversight in Talbot to raise men in Ireland."

Sir Thomas Lee.] It seems, mistakes are apt to be to day—Interrupted by

Mr Secretary Coventry.] A law cannot be made without the House of Commons, but not by the House of Commons. But that the King may not raise forces in Scotland and Ireland, there's no law against it.

Mr Vaughan.] There can be no colour of raising these men, but in pursuance of the French War, and these men can in no way be onerary upon us.

Mr Williams.] That an Army should be brought out of Ireland to awe the subjects of England, was one of Lord Strafford's Articles. I take it, that this House can make no Vote to bind Ireland or Scotland, nor can this House raise any men there. They have Parliaments of their own, and our Vote goes no farther then the Forces raised here. I value not the men, nor the money to pay them off, but for the sake of the precedent. The last Session, 'twas argued against the Address for removing the Duke of Lauderdale, that you could not meddle with what was done in Scotland. If you cannot bind them by your Law, do not let them have your money. Be they actually in arms in England, then pay them off, but let Ireland alone.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I know nothing against it, but that as for foreign forces, the King may raise forces where he pleases; but then how far is this House obliged to pay them? Only for our own kingdom. Why should you be called upon to raise men in Scotland, &c. and give a support to disband them, when you are told the King governs those countries by Parliaments of their own? And we cannot complain that the King raises these forces in Scotland, for then, perhaps, we shall be told we invade the King's Prerogative in those countries in doing it.

Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] The King may raise, and the King may disband men, by his Prerogative. And I admit, the King may raise men in any foreign part.

Serjeant Gregory.] Your Vote is only generally "from such a time," and cannot be applied to any place but England. If they come out of France, or out of Ireland to this service, they are within your Vote. You have no power to disband in Scotland and Ireland, and possibly those raised by the Duke of Lauderdale may come within your Vote by the same reason.

Mr Garroway.] All you are to do is by Act of Parliament, and you cannot impose upon Scotland by Act of Parliament. The point that has perplexed us in our Debate, is, the mixture of those forces of Ireland and Scotland. I would therefore have the Question, "Whether those forces raised in Ireland and Scotland be within your vote?" But will you pay those forces in France, or give them any countenance, who would have fought against you, if the War with France had gone on? Therefore for them I would not give a penny.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] I am very loth to entail an Army upon the King of France, by not keeping these men off, &c. and disbanding them there. If they must not come over from thence (and possibly I am not without my fears of occasion for another Army) I would not have the fatality of having them entailed upon France. When they are disbanded, and taken notice of by Act of Parliament, they are no longer as a regiment, or a body, and for that reason I would take them into the rest of the forces.

Mr Sacheverell.] I am sorry that the Gentlemen in France should come to any loss, but it seems strange to me that the King's Proclamation should not bring them over; and that a letter from his Majesty should bring them over. Perhaps, had they come over, we might not have been as we are. I would therefore divide the Question.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King's Proclamation for recalling them was a bare one, without assurance of employment when they came back. The King's Letter assured them of employment, and that brought them over. When the King's Proclamation was put out, it did not signify to what end they were recalled, which was the cause why they did not come over; but when the Secretary wrote a Letter to signify that they were to be employed here, that immediately brought them over.

Mr Williams.] The King can no more raise men in England, than he can raise money. 1 E. III. 7 E. III. 4 E. IV. They must be raised according to Law; according to the Militia-Act—But unless in actual invasion or rebellion, he cannot raise any.

Sir William Coventry.] I would have this argument laid aside, because perhaps we are not so able to argue it, and perhaps not so able to judge, as the Gentlemen of the Long Robe.

Sir Robert Sawyer.] It is said, with great assurance, "That the King can no more raise men than money;" but 'tis the first time I ever heard so. Then the consequence must be, that the King has raised all these men against Law. You have said, over and over, that the men were not raised in pursuance of your Vote. And I would fain know if the King be in League with a foreign Prince, and the Law makes it felony for those soldiers to go away from their colours, can any man that ever read the least tittle of Law say, that in case of rebellion, and invasion, the King may force men to take up arms, yet not grant a commission to pay these men?—It was never asserted before. In H. VI. and H. VII.—Felony, and hanged for it. To undertake to assert the Law, in such a great place as this, "That the King cannot raise men, &c." when it has been constant according to the tenor of the Law—I wonder at it.

Mr Vaughan.] He did not assert it so generally as Sawyer alleges he did.

Sir John Talbot.] We have ears, as well as that Gentleman, and I would not have one Gentleman explain for another.

Lord Cavendish.] To Order. Talbot mistakes; for what Vaughan said was a reply to what Sawyer said.

Sir Jonathan Trelawney.] In a former Debate, Williams has given occasion of exception. He avers now, "That the King has no more power to raise men than he has to raise money."

The Speaker.] If Williams will say that 'tis a lapse, it will be let go as usual. But if he asserts it for Law, I would have the words written down.

Mr Williams.] I gave my words several restrictions. The King may raise men in case of rebellion or invasion in the Kingdom, as in 3 E. III. 4 H. IV. 3 H. VII. The Law of the Militia declares "making of Peace and War in the King."That is a Declaration, in matters relating to the Militia of England, and 'tis but a Declaration of the Common Law. I submit myself to correction, and make submission to the Committee.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] I am unwilling to speak of the power of the Prerogative, in this place to be handled with great reverence, and we are supported under it, and are a happy people. The words were said again and again, "That the King had no more power to raise men than money." I will not press any hardship upon the Gentleman that said them, but I would enter no farther upon it to define the whole thing. I would do as I would be done by. I may slip as well as other men. Should any thing of the Prerogative be entrenched upon now, it would be as fatal to you as entrenchments upon your Liberties.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] There was never any question of drums beating for the assistance of friends and Allies, in Kings and Queens times, for Sweden and other Princes. This Prerogative does not betray or offend the subject. If the King has not power to raise money, he has not the power to levy men, and that is the consequence of the words. I would have the words written down.

Sir Thomas Lee.] We have heard much of former times, which did arise from the jealousy of Prerogative and Liberty. The words must be written, and then you must argue them. I am afraid there may be inconvenience in stirring any of these Questions. 'Tis so unsafe to define Prerogative and Liberty, that I would leave them where they are.

The Speaker, out of the Chair.] I would give room to any Gentleman to explain himself. But Williams, by his explanation, has made the thing worse. Jealousies and fears have risen formerly from such damnable doctrines as these. I would have the words written down and read, and then judge of them as they deserve.

Mr Williams.] I would not willingly forfeit my modesty in this House. I am willing to satisfy the Committee. I am in your judgment, and I submit it to the Committee.

Sir George Hungerford.] Williamson said once, "If the King paid the Forces, he might raise as many as he would."

Mr Secretary Williamson.] He has named me for what I said in another Session of Parliament; but the House at that time did acquiesce in what I said, on my explanation.

Mr Williams.] I have had the misfortune to run into a mistake, and your time is of more value than any concern of mine. I acknowlege my error, and humbly ask your pardon for it.

And so the thing passed over.

Mr Garroway.] We have a very nice thing before us. The whole thing has run upon words, and not matter. It may be, I shall not be so lucky as to offer you words, but the thing I mean is to comprehend these men within a number, though without naming them.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Whether such words may include, or not include them, in the Vote, lies upon the sense of the House, and then you may debate it. Therefore make a general Vote, "That towards a Supply for disbanding this Army you have a Poll-bill, and that you will supply what shall be wanting in the Poll-bill for that purpose." And, if possible, let us be unanimous, and not break for niceties.

Sir John Ernly.] I am glad that, after so many hours Debate, we shall come to a Question. Therefore I would have it resolved, "That there shall be a Supply for disbanding the Army, &c."

Sir Thomas Lee.] I would know what this Question means. If it be general, the House has already voted it, viz. "That the Army should be paid off and disbanded." If you are ordered to consider that Motion, is it barely Aye, or No? It is to take as much, or as little, as you please. Now I would fain know, whether it is not a regular Question, to take it from such a proportion of men, and to reject it for the rest.

Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That a Supply be granted to the King towards the paying and disbanding [of all] the Forces raised since the 29th of September last. [Agreed to by the House.]


  • 1. This was a Petition of several of the Burghers, setting forth, "[That] Sir John Reresby had procured himself to be returned for that Borough, though he was not duly elected."