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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Saturday, June 1.
Mr Powle.] I always thought it a great offence in any man to make a division betwixt the King and his people, and those that do it to raise their fortunes from it; and more especially in this conjuncture, the greatest possibly we have known. We have had sharp Messages from the King, and have been enquiring into the persons that have given this advice. I wish the Lord Chancellor had taken the advice himself he gives us, of "State super vias antiquas (fn. 1)." The Speech spoken by the Lord Chancellor, in the Lords House, is not truly represented to us, in the printed paper. There are several things left out. 'Tis very notorious that he said, "What we had done looks like a defamation of the Government (fn. 2)." And he called it "a republican defamation of the King and House of Lords (fn. 3)." And a great many other passages he has mollified and softened in the print. I pass by the smaller exceptions that may be taken, and go to the greater; as that of laying an imputation upon us of the loss of Flanders (fn. 4). I wonder we are accused of that crime, for had our offers and advices been followed, the Peace had never been made; for which advice we had the sharp Speech from the King. But I apply myself rather to that part of the Speech where he lays reflections upon us. For any man whatsoever, except the King, to pass such judgments upon the House, is a high offence. Now whether that League, or the censure we are under, was the cause of the loss of Flanders, I leave to the world to judge. The Chancellor puts weight upon our giving no money, and our jealousies about religion [and then he reads that part of the Chancellor's Speech relating to it, which see in the Notes] and "that the Commons cannot think it suitable to their trust, &c. (fn. 5) I think it can never be suitable to our trust to give money and leave mens minds unquiet as to the growth of Popery. But observe the time. It was three months intermission of our Vote, &c. and in the interim they treated Peace with the French King. Most men were sensible that Popery was coming on, and 'twas reasonable to "quench our own fire first, &c. (fn. 6) " Reasons were delivered, at a Conference with the Lords, of our fears of Popery. The Lords might have given you better reasons, and you might have receded, and ours was no binding resolution against better reasons. The last thing, &c. is about the Address (fn. 7). I cannot imagine to what part of the Address he applied. Was it to our advice to the King? The King asked it, and we gave it. Was it to our advice, to remove those Counsellors that advised so ill? 'Tis the same thing, that this Parliament and all others have done, &c. The Chancellor lays an imputation upon this House, for busying themselves about religion, grievances, and properties (fn. 8). For merly the Chancellors, in their Speeches, gave intimation that we should be relieved in our grievances, and preserved in our privileges, before money was asked—But now 'tis quite otherwise. The first thing done is money. And when that is granted, we are sent home to be "a scandal to the Protestant religion (fn. 9);" to secure it is strange. I appeal to this House, that, if the Protestant religion is not in danger, we have made Votes very idly. I think no man can say that 'tis consonant to the use of Parliament for a Lord Chancellor to tell us, "there are no grievances, or cause of complaint (fn. 10)." And is not this to shut up all doors to complaints?—What then is the use of Parliaments, unless to give money? That part of the Speech is applied principally to the Commons. The Lords have their share also in the Speech. The Chancellor says "it takes away their negative voice, to have foreign matter tacked to a Bill, &c." This is a reflection upon the Lords, and the King and Council, who gave their consent to the Bill. This arraigns us all. That notion I have of the Peers consent is, that they have no "negative voice" in Bills, but a deliberative voice. They may untack it, alter it, and qualify it. In that part of his Speech, he is very unjust upon us. To the Chancellor's republican reflection of "power to the Commons altering the methods of Parliament, and by consequence the Government, by this way of tacking" —This is such an imputation upon the Commons, that if the Commons are guilty of it, they are not fit to sit here. I need not go farther than Magna Charta to prove this tacking of foreign matter to a Money Bill. 14 E. III. Numb. 16. "The Commons grant the ninth fleece, sheaf of corn, and lamb, to the King, in consideration of confirming Magna Charta." These conditions are in the last Chapter of all. 18 E. III. Numb. 10. The Commons granted an aid, &c. "on condition their petitions should be granted, &c." 22 E. III. "on condition the justices in Eyre's court, and the forest, &c. should be regulated, and that no tax should be granted but in Parliament." There are several other conditions, &c. The thing is not new; and in those days, none of these direful effects and consequences, that the Chancellor mentions, have followed—These things are fatalities in the Government, and not the nation's fault. The Chancellor admonishes us, "to mend the faults of the last Session, &c." That implies something of crimes, and we are not told what they are; we might else have mended them. I look upon these I have mentioned, as the principal things liable to exception, in the Chancellor's Speech. In the last Session but one, it was thought a crime to debate whether this Parliament was dissolved by the long Prorogation. But this is the way to dissolve all Parliaments—And that we are not fit to be trusted. I would have the House vindicate themselves, and vote ourselves not guilty of these things the Chancellor charges us with, and "that we are not the occasion of making the Peace with the French, nor the ill consequences of it."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] 'Tis objected "that the Lord Chancellor, in his Speech, should charge us with being the authors of the Peace, &c." But the States concluded that the King and the Parliament being at difference, would not prosecute the War, and they went into a Peace. He says, "their Ministers said it." Now whether that be a crime for a Minister of the King's to tell you what they say, I leave it to you. And as for the fault being laid upon the Parliament, we are not the whole Parliament; it is upon the Lords as well as us. The Chancellor says, "Mend the faults of the last Session." Why should not we say "the fault was in the Lords delay of the Bill of Popery," &c. In E. III's time there was no matter of tacking then, as is alleged, &c. for the King might, by custom of Parliament then, take what he pleased of a Bill, and reject the rest. That the King is to take all, or none of every Bill, &c. was not till H. IV's time. But what will you make of all this? Where will you complain, or of what? If there be a difference between the King and the people, the fault is somewhere. For a Minister to speak by the King's command, it may be he's mistaken—The Lords may be in the wrong, and the Commons in the right; [but that] makes them not criminal. I see not how you can arraign the Lord Chancellor of any fault.
Sir George Hungerford.] The King, in a Speech, gave great encomiums to the Lords; the meaning was directed to us. The Chancellor mentions "coffee-house discourse, &c (fn. 11). I suppose the Lord Chancellor goes not to coffeehouses. The same day we made a Vote about Religion here, the King of France sent to the States for a Peace. The fault is not at our doors, but the Lord Chancellor's.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I am afraid that the Vote proposed, viz. "that you were not the cause of making the Peace," will not answer any man's intentions, if he had his own ends. I am afraid it will not answer his own ends that proposed it. The Lord Chancellor speaks the King's words, and by his command, which he cannot alter, any more than I, as a Secretary, who write the Message, and bring it to you. It is far from reproaches upon you, but it appears to me to be tenderness. We are under misfortunes; and I am far from saying that the Dutch did us right, when they construed things that passed here with that extremity; but they had, without doubt, great influence upon affairs. Hungerford has told you right, that "the King of France sent to the States for Peace, &c." The King had that tye upon them that they declared in the negative, and they were so aware of that, that they made protestation that they would not depart from their Treaties with us. As to this House, the construction they put upon what you did, was the cause of the Peace; but I say not how justly. If I saw a necessity of justification of this House, I should do it. If things are not passed by, there is no end of it, but paper conferences betwixt the King and us. I think there is no great cause of this, and the Question is much to the hazard of the Government, when the parts agree not with the head. These parts of the Chancellor's Speech are but for direction and recommendation of things. Where will that end, when the Lord Chancellor's Speech is the King's, and you arraign it? I humbly beg that you will not enter into the disquisition of that Article that was moved by Powle.
Mr Vaughan.] If any things be ill in the Speech, and not warrantable by law, they are not the King's words, but his that speaks them. I do not doubt but there will come a day to show that these divisions betwixt the King and us are not our crime, but our fate. A censure upon the Commons of England is too big for any subject to lay. I had the honour to be as deep as any man here for a War with the French King. It was for the great safety of the King and kingdom, and there was perfect justice in it, and great duty and loyalty, &c. We have ever held it the policy of England to keep Flanders in such hands as may assist us. Now when we addressed for a War against the French King, it was, because he, contrary to Treaties, and Oath at the Altar, has done all things for his own glory. And the stopping this torrent was just. If we do make ourselves great against those people we have so often fetched victory from, those who did advise War, I think, gave good advice—They that made those divisions betwixt the King and us, are as bad as they that fomented them. As for tacking, &c. when we are going to War, was it not prudent to lessen his power, and keep money in the nation, and hinder it from going into his? The Chancellor tells us of "State super vias antiquas." There is a precedent of 14 E. III. 19 E. III. If the War ceases, the Grant ceases also. But it seems, tacking must not be, because it is disgustful to some particular persons, though for the public good. I have many more precedents, but I only desire you to clear the imputation from the House, in the Chancellor's Speech.
Sir Thomas Lee.] That is a great mistake, "that all that is said in the Chancellor's Speech, is by the King's command." [He reads the beginning of the Speech.] This he has by the King's command. "That we have done, &c. to the defamation of the Protestant religion," is no part of the King's command. I only observe that the things objected are far from the King's command. The style of the King's Speech and the Chancellor's differs. In the King's there is no reflection upon us. Only he tells you of "tacking." As for what you are told of "Edw. III. rejecting and taking what parts of Bills he pleased," now the King takes all or leaves all; yet the condition being with money, I would ask any man, whether then the King could take the money, and leave all the rest of the Bill? I am unwilling to look back to the Palatinate War, in King James's time. I think at that time there were fears of Popery, but all that time the Fleet was not to be repaired—That was to give dissatisfaction to Gundomar. The same thing we were told, "That the Leagues were the King's Leagues, and we could not alter them."But now you give the King advice, you must bear all the blame! But 'tis not the League, &c. I wish that, in three or four years, it appears not how much we are in the right, and they in the wrong; and that this Peace be not the consequence that Flanders be quite over-run, and so you pay all the reckoning at last. 'Tis not a Prorogation that makes an end of Grievances. The King has them before him, and let him make an end of them, if he pleases. They arriving there, they have their utmost stop. In your absence by this Prorogation, the affairs of Christendom have been altered. You were scattered and sent home, and that made the Ministers then shift for themselves. I would therefore leave it to posterity, that this House is not the author of the Peace, that has had so ill an influence upon the kingdom.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I'll go so far, "That the House is not the occasion of making the Peace, &c." But I would have the Vote to explain itself; therefore add, so as to leave no room to seek what Peace you mean, "the Peace mentioned in the Chancellor's Speech."
Mr Garroway.] You are no way tender in this matter, but to vindicate your own honour. Therefore I move that the words of the Question may be, "That this House was not the occasion of making the Peace mentioned in the Chancellor's Speech."
Sir George Downing.] I do not find it charged upon you, in the Chancellor's Speech, that you were the occasion of the Peace. If the States and Spain will go upon grounds that you have not done, there's no reflection upon you. This they affirm in matter of fact; but if they said not so in matter of fact, and they have misled themselves in it, to make a Peace, that must rest upon proof. In my opinion 'tis not a time to aggravate things; and to look back will do you no good. Time will judge for you, and vindicate you, and make you honourable and great, as that of Britany, &c. And a Vote is not worth a button. Your Books will show it sufficiently without a Vote. And I would stand and fall by the judgment of your actions.
Sir William Coventry.] I hope it is not your intention to press this thing personally upon the Chancellor, but to take a rise only from his Speech to vindicate yourselves upon this great matter of the Peace. I doubt not but your advices would have remained to posterity, as to the matter of the War, &c. had not something in this Speech been thrown upon you, to lay an imputation upon you, by a foreign Ambassador. I take it, that the King's honour, and our's, has been aspersed, and not vindicated. I am sorry it has not been better managed in another place, that the whole scandal should be thrown upon the Parliament and nation. I wonder that's let slip. 'Tis admitted, "that that very day we voted the Address against Popery, &c. the States admitted the French King's terms of Peace." Then sure that Address was not the occasion of the Peace. The Vote for entering into Leagues was subsequent, four, five, or six days, and could not be the cause; that was yet later than the other. To hear that the Parliament was angry with those that obstructed the Alliances, &c. I see that cannot be the colour of it. When the King, Parliament, and all his people were so clear in it, I wonder that a thing so natural to be vindicated, was not. I am far from reflection on the Chancellor, but what I say, is to vindicate ourselves. The words offered for the Question seem to come from calm and temperate reasoning, and I would have them put to the Vote.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Coventry's reason is plain; the Dutch have taken occasion, &c. but none has been given, and the King and the House have not been done right by. I told the States Ambassadors, "if they made that inference from us, they made a wrong conclusion upon us. Do but assist with men and ships, and we will have War to-morrow." We told them, "Do this, and you cure all our misunderstandings, and the fault is at your doors." This was my duty—And the same was ordered to the King's Ministers, on the other side the water. I shall say it strongly, that the Saturday's Address against the Ministers was another occasion of the thing. The matter of the Treaty is the King's, and this likewise they raised as an argument too for the Peace. This occasion of vindicating the King and you was not overlooked, and in repelling, and refuting it, to the Ambassadors. And I desire no Question of that kind moved may be put.
Sir William Coventry.] We are told by Williamson, "That vindication, &c. was not wanting."I give him thanks for it. I am glad it was refuted by him. But it seems it was not so taken notice of as for the Chancellor to know it. He would never else have declared it in the face of Parliament, but with a brand upon the Dutch for it. Williamson refuted it where he met it; but who has done it in the face of the kingdom, and the Parliament? The whole nation does take it so much to heart, that if those services are expected from this Parliament to be done, if it be intended to preserve our reputation, we must be vindicated from this, else we shall never be able to do the King that service we ought to do. I think the Question proposed is very modest; but not seeing any thing more modest proposed, I am for what is proposed.
Sir Robert Howard.] This Question proposed is as if your own Addresses would not justify you. And now you go and make a paper-defence, as if one should ask, "How does your neighbour?" and it should be answered, "He is not himself, he is mad."—And so as if this House of Commons should vote "that we are not mad." I desire closures in all things, and I think it not for your honours to make this Vote.
Mr Powle.] Ford seemed to say something of "an ill precedent of arraigning the Chancellor's Speech." I ingenuously confess, that, as I know no such precedent of arraigning the Chancellor's Speech, so I know no precedent of such a Speech.
Sir Edmund Jennings.] It is Spain and Holland that have made the reflection upon us, of making the Peace; therefore I would have the Question, "That Spain and Holland ought not to take occasion, from any thing from this House, to make a Peace with the French." This, for aught you know, may make Spain and Holland ashamed of what they have done.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I desire a word to the Question. Here you have a Speech of the Chancellor's, that I wish had not been made. We had a Prorogation, and I hoped good effects might have been upon it, to have begun upon a new force; but I find old things are ript up. I have no aversion to the Chancellor, but I would vindicate ourselves. Here is a Speech made, and printed, different from what the Chancellor has spoken; either the printed one was not the King's mind, or that which was spoken. I take it either way; whether the reflection is from the States, &c. or the Chancellor, we ought to vindicate ourselves. But because you are told by Downing "that (as in the case of Britany) time will sufficiently vindicate you," put the case that the Parliament had then left it so far upon them, and silence had admitted it; had the Parliament in those times sat still, the Question is, whether future time would have vindicated them, any more than it is now likely to vindicate us. It is therefore high time to vindicate ourselves. When Armies are disbanded, and all the Confederates Army, but the French Army remains, what a condition are we in? What will become of us? We are safe neither in War nor Peace. The Dutch will be wholly at the French disposal, and then unity amongst ourselves will not help us. I disclaim the Peace, and I hope every man will be of my mind, that we had no hand in it.
Sir Winston Churchill.] The Lord Chancellor is a great master of words, and he weighs them before he speaks them. His words are rather a relation of the matter, than an accusation of us. But supposing they were an accusation, and he speaks his own sense (if he might speak it there) shall the House of Commons say no more than the greatest criminal? "Not guilty," and no more? You must go farther; but in some sense, I think, we are guilty. For our continual pressures of the King of France in this House have brought him to this Peace. 'Tis a maxim in a book now recalled, "That the King of France might have all the world his enemies, if England were his friend." Then put the case, that we are as clear as may be imagined from being the occasion of this Peace, will you now invite dangers, by proclaiming them? It becomes wise counsellors to contemn them, rather than show them, by proclaiming them in Gath and Askalon. Let us fortify ourselves by some brave resolutions; but to hang the fault on I know not whom—I would lay aside this Question, and go upon something that the King and country may thank us for.
Sir George Hungerford.] You are told (by Williamson) "That the Dutch made some part of the Chancellor's Speech." I would know who made the rest. The Army was pretended to be raised against France, but all the world knows there was no such intention. I would have the Question put.
Mr Goring.] Yesterday there was a Grand Committee for disbanding the Army, but I see now there is need of keeping it up, if these things are said here. [These words gave such offence that several called "To the Bar."]
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If this be, it is to turn the Government into dissimulation. I confess that there is no War is a great disappointment, and Gentlemen may have some grains of allowance. But the words were very broad, and if admitted will render the Government a cheat to all abroad. But if the House be off from debating the words, I am so too.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Lord Chancellor says, "the King had gained a great point upon them for that Peace," but still it was a League offensive and defensive for a Peace. The intentions were for a Peace. Since Williamson is so fruitful of admonitions how we should demean ourselves, I would have him take some himself, and so behave himself like other honourable Ministers, who take things to themselves, and lay them not upon the King.
Colonel Birch.] Do what you will about reading the words, but keep the Order of the House. You are not to take notice of words till the Gentleman has done, because you know not what he will say to soften and meliorate what he has said. This, I understand, is a pretty kind of diversion. I affirm that Hungerford had not made an end of what he had to say.
Sir William Coventry.] I rise to speak to the words that fell from Hanmer, viz. "That he did not see how any Gentleman that had taken the Oath of Allegiance, can sit here and suffer Hungerford's words." Thereby he censures all those who do not condemn Hungerford as criminal. That Gentleman, and Hungerford, and forty more may be sent to the Tower, upon that construction, at this rate. But I would lay aside both what Hanmer and Hungerford have said, and proceed to the Question.
Mr Swynfin.] The Gentleman, by Order, who takes exception at the words, is to tell you the words. Williamson has taken exception. But every time the words have been asserted several ways, and the words are not asserted but with very vast differences. And I have the whole House to be my witnesses.
The Speaker.] When the words are not agreed to, any Gentleman may better inform you what the words were. I take the words to be these, "There has been an Army raised, under pretence of a War against France; but we and all the world know, there was no intention of a War against the French."
Sir Robert Sawyer.] This is almost as great an affront to the House as any that has been yet, for any Gentleman to say "those were not the words," without showing you what were the words. I would know what the meaning of that is.
Sir George Hungerford.] I am sorry to be so unhappy as to be misunderstood. I have served the King faithfully. I only spoke this as the censures of those abroad, as the Chancellor has told you of "Coffee-house discourse." I beg the pardon of the House for what I said. I intended no reflection on the King, nor on any particular person.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] Exceptions were taken because the words reflected on the Government. But if the House be satisfied, I am, and would go on to other business; and if you are not satisfied, you may, according to Order, proceed to censure the Gentleman.
Sir William Coventry.] What will the censure be abroad, when the Question is to justify the House, that after so many hours Debate, we should not come to a Question! For our honour's sake let us come to a Question.
The Question passed, viz. "That the proceedings of this House have not occasioned a Peace (fn. 12)."
Occasionally, upon going into a Grand Committee, this was read out of the Journal. "March 18, 1667. Mr Prynne reports from the Committee about Orders, &c. "If any motion be made for a public charge upon the nation, the House doth not presently enter into Debate of the consideration of it, but is adjourned. And then it is referred to a Committee, for their opinion, before any resolution be thereupon."
Thursday, June 6.
Complaint was made of a foreign ship come into [the] port [of Portsmouth] laden with French goods, and seized by virtue of the Act [for prohibiting French commodities; a doubt having arisen, touching the meaning of the word "imported."]
Mr Vaughan] It is the mechanic practice of Westminster Hall to elude what good laws you make. (He reads the Clause of the Prohibition.) The case stands thus: If a vessel come into a port, it shall not be judged "importation," unless she have broken bulk, and stay in port two, three, or four weeks; and you are put to the cost of attendance, and yet she may have all her goods stolen away by land. This Law is for preventing the mischief of vanity and luxury, in spending French commodities, and for exporting your own commodities. The best expositors of Laws are the Legislators, who know their own intention in making Laws. And though, God forbid your opinion should influence, yet it may guide them, and very much, in the first impression of a Law. And it came from Provence, and so to London. If you pass an explanatory Vote, 'tis not in terrorem, but in cautelam; and I would have such a Vote.
Colonel Birch.] If your Law could be executed according to your intention—If there come no linnen from France, yet from Germany—I would have you refer this to a Committee to bring you a report speedily what's fit to be done in it. That's all I'll trouble you with.
Mr Sacheverell.] Whether the case is the same in the prohibition, &c. If they come into port only, without stress of weather, or other accident, it is "importation" in Law—See how the times are altered. In K. James and Q. Eliz. Juston and Studd's case; in Plowden's Commentaries, Magdalen College case. There ought to be no interpretation of a Law made, but to advance the public good, against any private case. I would have a declaratory Law, and in the mean time a Vote, &c. and this Law may do more good than the other.
Mr Papillon.] We have a trade in several countries; and shall a ship bound from one friend's country, and put into port by stress of weather, be forfeited; no bills of lading in the case for England, and no consigns? It will be a very hard case to judge this ship forfeited.
Mr Garroway.] I would refer this to a Committee to examine matter of fact, and to report to you the particular case. And I hope you may arrive at your end that way. A ship, under pretence of carrying a little salt to Hamburgh, may land French goods easily, whilst she is in port.
Colonel Titus.] There are more French goods in this ship, than can be sold at Hamburgh in forty years. And this would be an evading of your Law. But as the Law is, there is some difficulty on the informer's part, for his encouragement; and he will not make the fire that he warms not himself by (fn. 15).
Mr Williams.] To load a Motion, is to baffle a Motion. That the goods in this ship are French goods, is plain; and that they were to be landed in England in boats. That is the Question, whether they be forfeited, or no. Some Lawyers will say, they are not forfeitable, and you cannot, by a Vote, make a prohibition to proceedings in Westminster-Hall. But it may be proper for you to make an explanation of a Law made in the same Parliament.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I beg leave to put you in mind of repaying the King 200,000l. you promised him. It carries with it a sum more, and makes that part of his Revenue, it was taken up upon, useless, which was taken up upon your desire, and at your Motion. Pray call for the account of it before you, for your satisfaction.
Sir John Ernly.] I hope you will take some care of this sum the King has disbursed, &c. for it is charged upon that part of the Revenue that he must eat bread by. After the Bill proffered you is read, pray take this into your consideration.
Sir William Coventry.] Mr Cheney seems to challenge it as a right, that a Motion must have precedency of an Order of the House for a Bill. A Motion is but a Motion, let it come from whom it will. But it has no right to be accepted because it is the first Motion. Where was this money moved for laid out, by land, or by sea? Surely, it was not in the clouds. When we see the accounts stated by the officers of the Navy and Ordnance, then you'll see how this money has been laid out.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I suppose you'll read the Bill for disbanding the Army, for the necessity of the expedition. As for the other Motion, it is in effect already done. It must either be for the Extraordinaries of the Navy, or Preparations for the Army. It must be one of those, or the ordinary expence; else, before you see the Extraordinaries of the Navy, you make an Order for what's already ordered, as if the thing should be twice paid.
Mr Secretary Coventry interrupted the House while the Bill was reading, in the middle of it, and excepted against the Bill, as not drawn according to the Order of the House, but by some private person.
Mr Sollicitor Winnington] I have not met with the same proceedings, as in this Bill. I was one of the Committee, but I had so much business, I could not attend. But I prepared a Bill, and got it ready, out of respect to the Committee, and the Order of the House. In the passing the Poll Bill, and the Ship-money Bill, the King's Sollicitor, or the Attorney General, had the drawing the Bill. I had one ready: and this morning, I understand, another Bill is brought in. I know not the meaning of it, and I thought sit to inform you of it.
The Speaker.] You have agreed upon several heads for a Bill, &c. and referred the drawing of it to a Committee, or any three of them. If that has been done, it comes regularly before you. If not, it is irregular.
Sir Robert Howard.] Some of the Committee asked me for certain books in my office. I came to the Committee, and found a Gentleman in the Chair. Most of this Bill was extracted out of the other Bill. I sent two messengers to find out Mr Sollicitor, and I found him out at the Committee.
Sir Thomas Lee.] When a Gentleman informs you that a Bill hath not been drawn by a Committee, and the thing is not so, and you have your reading of the Bill interrupted by it, the House ought to have reparation.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] It seems, Secretary Coventry tells you, "that the Committee did not draw the Bill." I affirm likewise, for I was casually there, that I heard all the Bill read over. (So the Clerk proceeded in reading the Bill, and the Complaint went off).
Mr Powle.] The King said "He could neither speak nor act without such a sum, &c." You desired him to go on, and you would pay him. Then we were prorogued; and when we met again, we found neither "speaking nor acting" at all. The King did "speak" then, what I am sorry to remember now; and as for "acting," our soldiers fought under the French banners all that summer. This is the "speaking and acting;" and nothing done towards Alliances from May to January, and our promise of the money was, to the end the King should have done it immediately. I believe we are not engaged to re-imburse the money, for there is nothing done that we desired. I believe we shall find many workmen and stores in arrear, and I am confident you are put upon the point for that. If you will, consider first whether you are obliged or no. If you will consider of Accounts offered you, you admit the thing. Therefore I would adjourn the House.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I can say, by virtue of that Act, men have lent money, and had security upon it—And that, by virtue of your promise, that security is not revocable. Appoint a day that the House may be certified, and see what the Accounts are.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am not afraid of this Debate, at its proper time. Saturday I would have our Address read, and our Reasons, and see how far we are obliged, and appoint that time also, to see what great sums have gone out of the Exchequer for secret service, by Privy Seals.
Sir William Coventry.] We have no other absolution from this charge, but that the thing was not in pursuance of our intention. But for avoiding the promise by the Prorogation, that part I disclaim wholly.