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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Friday, June 7.
Mr Secretary Coventry delivered to the House the following Message from his Majesty:
"His Majesty, in his Speech to both Houses, on the 23d of May last, told you, "That, if he were able, he would keep up his Army, and Navy at sea, for some time, till a Peace were concluded, if that must be: But, because that would depend upon your supplies, he left it to you to consider, whether to provide for their subsistance, or to disband them sooner." His Majesty hath often since had his thoughts employed upon the same subject, and is every day more and more confirmed in his first opinion, viz. That the saving a few days expence can no way countervail the prejudice that would arise from the parting with his Fleet and Army, if, after that, a Peace should not follow. And though it should, yet the hazarding so much, upon a bare presumption of the issue of a thing in itself altogether uncertain, and quite out of his own power, is hardly to be countenanced by any precedent. His Majesty again therefore recommendeth to the consideration of this House his advice of the 23d of May last, That they would see the effects of the Cessation in Flanders, before his Majesty be necessitated to disarm himself; but more especially, that you would consider of that part of the Army which is in Flanders; which if he should recall before the Peace, it would be liable to a very bad construction, viz. That having taken several of the King of Spain's towns into his protection, he had, without any reasonable warning in order to their regarrisoning, withdrawn his forces, and abandoned those towns to the discretion of the enemy."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Letters from several hands inform the King of the danger of Ostend, by the approach of the French, and whether is it for your honour, that the King should withdraw those forces out of Flanders, now the French Army runs up to the very gates of Brussels?
Sir William Coventry.] I rise not to say any thing to the Message. As I like not very well extemporary prayers, so I would not make extemporary answers to my Prince. I believe this Truce may end in a Peace, and possibly a few days may show you some extraordinary thing to enlighten you. And if a War should be after the Truce, then we may send the forces where we intended them. 'Tis said by Birkenhead, "that 50,000l. is no great sum for the continuance of the Army for some time longer," but because of the fears and jealousies of the Long Parliament of 1641 (which was the Long Parliament then) I do not remember, that after the Northern Army was disbanded, fears and jealousies were removed. There were jealousies then, that there was a design to bring up the Army to purge the House. If there be fears and jealousies, then take away the cause, viz. this Army and Popery. And when these are removed, those fears will vanish; and these are great occasions of fears and jealousies. And till the cause be removed, reprehending fears and jealousies will not take them away. You should take some resolution about the King's Speech before you can go through the Bill of disbanding. If you continue the Army, the Bill must be enlarged. Possess yourselves only of the Bill. One day, I see, teaches and enlightens another; and possibly the King may, in a few days, give you farther light for disbanding or keeping the Army up. He may give you more light, as he receives it.
Sir John Hanmer spoke of these jealousies, like to those of 1641, with some exceptions at Coventry.
Sir William Coventry.] I hope I said nothing that gave offence. What I meant was, that when the Army was removed, jealousies, &c. would be removed, and Popery too. It was far from my thoughts that any man could make such construction of what I said, as to bring it to 1641. The ground of our fears and jealousies plainly is, that the pretence of a truce, from time to time, would be still an occasion of keeping up the Army.
The King's Message was ordered to be considered on Tuesday.
[The Bill for paying and disbanding the Forces, &c. was read a second time.]
Saturday, June 8.
Sir Solomon Swale sent the Speaker a letter to excuse his attendance on the House, by reason of a quartan ague, that had reduced him to great weakness. He desired to be heard by his Counsel, at the Bar, by reason of his unwarrantable prosecution to conviction of Popery, at the Sessions at the Old Bailey.
Mr Williams.] Dismembering a Member is a very tender point. 'Tis suggested that Swale is a convicted Recusant. The Question before you is, not whether he be convicted, or not convicted, of Recusancy, but whether he be truly convicted or not in the Exchequer, or King's Bench; and till it be voided there, it is a legal conviction. That a Popish Recusant cannot be a Member, you have determined in Sir Thomas Strickland's case (fn. 1).
Sir William Coventry.] 'Tis said to be done by matter of Record, which is always credited here. If a man come with the Record of his return, he sits here by that Record, and you can hear no Counsel in Swale's case. No man sits here upon a false return, till first the Record be mended—And because you have not the tryal of conviction of a Member before you, the Law has made this of Recusancy easy. For he may be taken off, by his conformity. The Test of the new Act is not required to take off conviction, for that is only for offices. If he takes the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and conforms to the Church, &c. that is easily taken off. But to have Counsel, in a thing that is not judgeable here; I would not have you meddle with it.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would have the officers of the Exchequer acquaint you how the thing stands, as to Swale's conviction. Suppose a Member, after he is chosen, &c. takes not the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and he petitions you to sit here, without taking them. I would have the officers of the Exchequer bring you the Record of the process.
The Clerk of the Crown brought in the Record of the Conviction at the Old Bailey, but this gave no satisfaction, and so the Exchequer officers were called for, but were not at the door.
The Speaker.] The method here of Swale may be the case of any Member. There needs nothing more to convict a Popish Recusant than not being at his Parish Church, &c. for the space of a month, without reasonable excuse, when perhaps he goes to another Church elsewhere. Therefore pray be very tender in this.
Sir John Trevor.] The matter has been depending these nine months, and how easily might Swale have reconciled himself in that time! Pray give not countenance to a Papist to sit in the House.
The Officers of the Exchequer were ordered to attend on Monday next, with the Record of Conviction.
The Order of the day was read, to consider of reimbursing the King the 200,000l. &c. charged upon the credit of the Act for additional Excise.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Some time might have been saved, if you had pleased to receive the Accounts of the King's disbursements when they were offered. If you please to accept of those Accounts now, they are ready, and let the thing have the justice, that you, in your honour, shall think fit.
Mr Mallet.] There has been little performance of the conditions the promise was made upon, and so there is no obligation upon you. After the Cessation, if we have a War, then it is fitter for a renovation. Therefore put the consideration of it off, till next meeting. (Infandum renovare dolorem.) As for the Alliance, look upon it one way, and it is an angel; look upon it another way, and it is a worse thing.
Colonel Birch.] I think it fit now to take this into consideration. You are moved by Mallet to let it rest till you meet again; but if you'll go on now, then read the Addresses, and the Act of Parliament relating thereunto, and you'll see how far the obligation goes.
The Addresses were read of March 9, and April 11; and the Clause in the Act was read, for the credit of the 200,000l.
Sir Thomas Meres.] These Leagues are to be made offensive and defensive, against the growth and power of the French King. Whatsoever is preparatory to this, the condition is performed. The Alliance with the States General was only pretended, but not with Denmark, nor the Emperor. Nor are you obliged to a condition not performed on the other part.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The condition of the Treaty was, that the King of France should go no farther in his conquests, and that things should be preserved as they are—"Treaty offensive and defensive," may be a War. You did not conclude in Alliances, but for an actual War. These Alliances were "with" and "if they made a War." The Address of May was—"Your Majesty may rest confident we shall stand by you, &c." By the same consequence, if there be not a War, neither the Army nor Navy shall be paid. They were raised to put the kingdom into a condition of safety. What part of the 200,000l. is not laid out to that purpose? If it be not so laid out, you are not obliged to pay it.
Sir George Hungerford.] The King approves not of our Addresses for those Alliances, and it is plain he approves not of our Money.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I desire to observe the time in this matter; that must lead all your Debate. It was then you made an excuse for 600,000l. when the King demanded it, but you gave him credit upon the Act. I would have it considered, whether this is such an obligatory promise, that you are bound by it. Now whether the League was half made, for three quarters made, all was one. You went into the country, and were prorogued, and you were to return a full House, in expectation that the Leagues were made. In nine months following nothing of the condition was performed, and you have declared "those Leagues were not according to your Addresses." A dangerous consequence may arise out of these proceedings, the most destructive! and England may be no longer England. If you now make Peace, it may be more chargeable to be defended, than an actual War. And the preparations will be so great, if a real War, that the nation will not be able to bear it. With the Poll Bill, and the other Bill, a million has been given already, and now this 200,000l. is no part of all this preparation; and all this while here's no sort of War, nor any thing like it. You have not time to look into the Revenue, to see what has been spared out of it towards this charge. This looks as if it were to fright you out of your defence, when you shall have a War indeed. And now if you vote yourselves under an obligation to pay money for what was none of your advice, you throw all back upon yourselves.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Those who made the Alliances, wish them much better; but seeing they are obtained with great difficulty, to quiet the minds of the people, in stopping the growth of France, though they are not so good as good men could wish, yet a promise shall not be vacated, if the party has performed his part, as much as he is able. This sum of money, now in question, was given for extraordinary preparations, to enable the King to go and contract such Alliances; and though those Alliances are "not according to your Addresses," (because the House says "they are not," I say so too) yet this money was expended in order to the Alliances you desired, for preparations for such Alliances; and they not coming up to your sense, you made a difficulty of it.
Mr Vaughan.] I deny Williamson's argument, &c. Now the Question is, Whether their own act has not taken off the obligation, by the Prorogation. Will you be bound by nothing but money, and have all your Bills cut off? If you'll be bound by a Vote, the next Parliament is as much bound by a Vote of yours, as this after a Prorogation. 'Tis most certain that no Alliances have been made according to your Addresses. And for what can this money be demanded? Look upon your first Act, and the Address. The rest refer to that. I had rather hear them say candidly, "we want so much money," than come upon such a pretence as the thing will not bear.
Sir John Knight.] So many sums are asked for, day after day, that the nation cannot bear it. I would see all our miseries at once, and let us see them. The 200,000l. is for nothing but to make a Peace, &c.
Mr Pepys.] When Knight lays one hand on his heart, he should lay the other on his face, for shame. For the preparations for ships, &c. Knight knows that to be untrue. Knight has had, four or five days, account of every farthing, the quantity of Navy goods, the price, and date, to the value of a lanthorn. He has been offered original contracts expressly for preparations of this War. Another thing that he tells you is no less distant from the truth than that, and no less distant from his knowledge to be true. Take all together, and it comes not up to 400,000l. and he has told you double. I'll rather suffer, than not set you right. If I must suffer, I'll do it all together. Another Gentleman (Lee) says, "I do greatly apprehend the consequences of this 200,000l. that posterity should see, and be affrighted, that the very entrance into the War, should be a greater charge than the War itself." Had the War gone on, the Navy part would have come to 1,400,000l. If I must give offence, I'll do it all together. In 1652 and 1653, those never to be forgotten times, in those husbandry times, no Army was raised, &c. nor fears of the King of France, yet the Navy came to 1,700,000l. in one year's War with the Dutch. And the greatest year in our Dutch War came but to 1,400,000l. Is this so dreadful, when all your charge upon this occasion has come but to 400,000l.? Would you have thought yourselves safe in Alliances, without a Fleet? This has been expended for the safety of the kingdom; and should the King of France have found you not navally provided, would you have been safe by your Alliances? This cannot be thought an unnecessary preparation for a thing so essential. I move, therefore, that you would interpret your Address, so as to admit this a good debt.
Mr Garroway.] That so much money should go out of the Custom-house (as you have been told) and the Navy be in such a pickle, is a strange thing. Pepys defies you; he says, "If he must give offence, he will do it all together." He bid Knight "lay his hand upon his heart, and upon his face, &c." I move to have the words written down.
They were written down. He explained.
Mr Pepys.] I cannot recollect that ever I behaved myself to this House but with all the reverence and respect that becomes me. I do most heartily beg the pardon of the House, if I have given offence. The tenderness I have for truth, has constrained me to say what I did. And no man that reflects on my words can think I meant the body of the House. And so, I pray, what I said may be taken. If any Gentleman makes other constructions, I heartily ask his pardon. And I appeal to Mr Powle whether this was not said at the Committee; what was urged was to the reproach of the Navy-office, and I gave the Office its reputation. Pray, Sir, forgive me, if I was transported to hear the same thing said over again here.
The Speaker.] I have the honour to serve the King in the Navy-office, and I deserve to be hanged, if I should put that upon the Navy which is charged on the stores, and all those with me.
Mr Powle.] What Pepys presented to the Committee, by the Officers of the Navy, were exclusive to the old ships.
Mr Garroway.] Are not the Customs, Tonnage, and Poundage, for the maintenance of the Navy? I think that at the Committee, it is an unequal thing to have the Navy books put upon them. It is impossible for the Committee to make any thing of them. And now having lost all our Bills and Addresses, are we obliged in Prorogation only for money? Pray let the million, and this 200,000l. go together. Shall we never be unshackled? The Navy has not been repaired in two or three years, but talk but of a War with France, and you shall have money presently. The Poll-Bill amounted to 400,000l. No man modestly can say less. The disbanding the Army will come to 200,000l. and with all this not one ship at sea. The standing rigging, and apparel of the ships are all laid up, safe, I suppose, unless they be sent into France, as they were before. I am one of those fools that believe at last we shall have a War, &c. If there have been faults, let this 200,000l. go with them, for I'll not give a penny to reimburse it.
Then the Question was thus stated: "Whether there remains any obligation upon the House to repay his Majesty the 200,000l. charged upon the credit of the Act of additional Excise."
Sir Thomas Meres.] The promise was at our next meeting, &c. We met then, and expected that Alliances should have been made, and nothing was done. Must we eternally be obliged by this? I do affirm that 500,000l. per annum, of the Customs, ought to go towards guarding the sea, and let that be under your consideration. I am negative totally to this Question, for I'll not lose my money, as if I were outwitted.
Mr Powle.] The Question is now strictly, "Whether we are bound in justice to repay this money, &c." I will separate my argument from all other considerations. Our desires tended not to keep Flanders in the same station it was, but to lessen the power of the French King. Our promises were made the 29th of March, in case there should happen a War with the French King. Here it comes to be, that Alliances must be made which were not nine months after, and you have censured them, as not made according to your Addresses, and so there is no obligation upon you. Next, there's the Bill for the additional duty upon the Excise, &c. and at our next meeting, &c. Does not the promise wholly refer to our next meeting? The money must have been laid out in such extraordinary manner, in pursuance of our Addresses. Here's nobody can say that the 200,000l. was laid out before our next meeting. There has been nothing extraordinary done, that I know of, unless entertaining the French Ambassador at Newmarket. 'Tis one thing to repay, and another thing to give. I would not defraud the subject, nor be eternally bound up by this promise. We desired a War, and we have Peace. We desired to lessen the power of the French King, and we make Peace to greaten him. We desired an Alliance with Holland, and we, by our way of Treaty, have put them into the French protection. To that argument, that the promise is annulled by the Prorogation, I am unwilling to take that advantage; but if some things shall be discharged and other things remain, after a Prorogation, 'tis a condition I am very unwilling this House should be brought into.
Sir William Coventry.] Since we are come to that condition we are told of, it becomes us strictly to consider what to do in matter of money. For either we must give up the nation, or unstring our purses. A great sum it must be, and what shall we carry home to the people for it but this news, that the King of France is greater than ever he was? And in probability may have such an influence on Holland, that we one time or other may have them our enemy? And this is our great comfort for giving 800,000l. Having said this, I come to what is strictly before you. Is there no obligation upon the Ministers to keep the Navy in repair, unless we do it? Are not the Customs to do it? (They were not given for a Revenue, &c. though they are called "a Revenue.") But I hoped they might have gone towards reparation of the Navy. I cannot allow the putting the ships in repair to be part of this charge given us in. They ought to have been in repair. You were told, "That less than 600,000l. could not make the King speak nor act." Then sure those things were not done. We said, when that sum was demanded, "That the House was empty, &c." And, provided that nothing might stick on our hands, we desired to meet after Easter, in order to extraordinary preparations, and then we were ready to do our parts; but still let not advantage be taken upon tenderer words we used to the King than to other men. We speak not to the King in the strict style of condition, and which amounts to so much, "That for your Majesty's extraordinary occasions we give you the Excise, and what can it be more than for the Navy? If your Majesty lay out 200,000l. show us Alliances according to our desires, and we will support you in them, and reimburse that." The King told us, "He could not speak nor act, &c." but surely after all this, we expected that something would have been done of such public offence to the King of France, as would have produced a War. After Easter, when we were ready to do our parts, we were sent home with a perfect disallowance of what we did. The most remarkable thing in the interim was a Proclamation, that we should not meet till December. From all this I reckoned that the King had provided for our security, having told us, "he could not speak nor act under 600,000l." But if they put us off till April, that must supply the money, I cannot think one tittle intended till September, but all thoughts of Peace. Therefore, I do not think the obligation is at all upon you. Plainly you did expect speedily entering into Alliances, and to be perfected and imparted to you at your next meeting; still expecting that the 200,000l. would have been laid out. I am sorry to give a negative to money, but as this matter doth stand, I think there is no obligation upon us to reimburse the 200,000l. And I must give my negative to it.
The Question being put, That there remains an obligation upon this House to repay [his Majesty] the 200,000l. charged on the credit of the Act for additional Excise, it passed in the affirmative, 177 to 162.
Sir William Coventry.] Now the Question is over, I would not (according to several Motions) have any thing to do with accounts any farther. You have voted the 200,000l. and farther accounting will be farther wrangling. I desire only that it may be avowed upon your Books, that the Navy is now in repair, that hereafter we be not put to those reckonings again, and yet find the Navy out of order.
[June 10. omitted.]
Tuesday, June 11.
The House, according to Order, took into consideration his Majesty's Message; (see p. 68.) which was read to the House.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Speaker ought to have read the King's Message, and not the Clerk.
Sir William Coventry.] I have observed, that the King's Message, always, at the first reading, is read by the Speaker, but if read again, by the Clerk. The Speaker reads it the first time, and we are all uncovered; the Clerk the second time, and we are all covered.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The Question is, Whether you will go into a Committee with instructions relating to the Bill, or, Whether you will go upon the Message, in the House. The parting with your Forces before the Peace be beyond doubt or certainty of the possibility of a War, may be of ill consequence. I will beg leave to acquaint you with one thing that happened. On Sunday they had a new Memorial of the danger of the Confederates disbanding. Now whether you will proceed in the House, or by way of instruction to the Committee, along with the Bill, is to be considered.
Mr Powle.] This is fitter for meditation than discourse. By that little experience that I have, I find there is an alteration of affairs here, and all Europe over. It is common, in all makings of Peace, that the Allies have room to come in. And I would know from the honourable persons, how we are comprehended, whether with France, or the Confederates, or neither side? And what benefit the Peace will be to England? The Dutch desire Peace, to facilitate their Commerce. And for us to raise an Army, and continue it, to no purpose, I think not advisable.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] In this interim, the Confederates have time to come in and accept of the Peace. It may prove a dead child; it may be abortive;—'tis a thing that depends upon other men;—a little time will tell you;—but till then, I am not able to say any thing.
Mr Vaughan.] Coventry mistook Powle's question, which was, "In what part of the Alliance we stand comprehended, whether on the French side, or on the Confederates?"
Mr Secretary Coventry.] That must be the result from the Ambassador's negociation at Nimeguen.
Mr Powle.] I see not, either from the state of affairs at home or abroad, that a standing Army is a convenient thing for us, especially for home. We are told, "we are in the state of mediators, indifferent between both parties; and neither to assist the King." We hear of great jealousies the Dutch government has of us; and if so, they care not to see our Army on the other side of the water; and the Spaniards are jealous of us, as to France; and if we are in no condition to make War with the French, and that we cannot, &c. I would willingly make Peace with them. If they be not your friends, prevent them from being your enemies. These new Forces may engage us in new broils, and we shall have no body to assist us. As for giving advice in this case, I know not what to say, we having been so sharply reprimanded for it already. For my share of it, as to the protection of the King of Spain, remembering that when we advised the King about a French War, we were checked for it, therefore I move to answer the King's Message, "that we leave it to him." And if there may be any Clause in the Bill, to continue the Forces in Flanders, that are there, I am not against it.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] It is not intended to keep those Forces up—But this is what we have been wishing and advising this year; and it is offered, for their sakes, to keep those men on foot only in Flanders, till a Peace be settled. And their interest for so much is ours. It is asked, "What part we shall have in this Peace?" The King only knows, when the Peace is made, what interest not only is for his Allies, but for himself too. It will be an affront to the King, who has stood Mediator in this Peace, not to name him in it, if he pleases to be named.
Sir William Coventry.] I rise now principally to speak to the condition we are in, &c. I hope we are now doing something for England. We have done something for France, I am sure, and for the Spaniard. And if the King leave them to the Spaniards and Germans, I am sure it is no dishonourable thing. But why we should be at the charge, and the Spaniard throw up the game, I understand not. The Dutch desire the King to keep up his forces, and they thereby spare their own. But shall our security be the better for this? But I cannot believe that our Ministers have, all this while, been asleep, but have secured our safety with the King of France. I am not so far of opinion with Powle, as to disclaim this of the Peace, and the War; but it has not been answered, "To what effect those Forces are to be kept up in Flanders, for the good of England?" When the French King sent propositions of Peace to Nimeguen, in the front of it the King of England undertakes that Sweden shall be satisfied. If that be so, we may be engaged in a War with the Swede, &c. As to the matter of a Fleet, &c. the King of France has no Fleet, in these seas, to contend with the fourth part of what you have. I suppose there is an use of some ships for tossing your men into Flanders; and a few may do that. Unless the Confederates give us good security to be supported, why should we offend the French King, unless we offend him to some purpose? We may be embarked in mischief and expence, by keeping up their Forces. I would have that matter enlightened to us, before we proceed any farther.
Mr Garroway.] If Holland and Spain have accepted of Peace, then we are out of doors. They have taken care of themselves, and where is the dishonour, and where is the inconvenience, of recalling those Forces out of Flanders? If the Peace be a good Peace, why do not we come into it? If bad, why do we not protest against it? It is a strange intricate thing, that such and such a thing may happen, therefore we must keep up an Army. If you recall them out of Flanders, they and these here may be disbanded. The Cessation of Arms may be for three Years. I would know whether we are under an obligation to keep the Army up for three years. Such things have happened, and may again. All have accepted the Cessation, except some Northern Princes; and as for the Emperor, surely the House of Austria will not totally leave him out. I see nothing new before us, therefore, according to the first advice, you may very well go on with the Bill for disbanding the Army.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] 'Tis but a few days that are desired to see what will become of the Peace, "till the 27th of July."
Colonel Birch.] Will any man tell me, that's an argument "till the 27th of July?" Keep up the Army for fear of the King of France, and keep it up for ever. To my capacity, we are still in the same darkness as when we first raised this Army. If we had more clearness and plainness, the thing would succeed much better. 'Tis pressed to know on which side we fall, and where's our benefit, by the Peace? To which I hear not one word of answer. What do we get? What's our advantage? The cui bono? I doubt not, the honourable persons, if they please, could tell you. Shall we hire merchant ships and fire-ships for nothing? The War was intended against France, but, instead of that, this is to make War against ourselves, by the great charge. It cannot be thought that this is undertaken for Sweden, &c. Every man knows, these great ships must do something before the 10th of August, for it is not safe to keep them longer out (fn. 2). If it be for our fears of France, &c. that will never be at an end, and those fears will be hotter and hotter upon us, and the King of France cannot disband his Army. He must keep his people in order. Either we have assurance with the Confederates, or with France. Having no more light, I know nothing you can farther do, than to proceed upon the Bill for disbanding; and to fill it up hereafter, as the King shall better inform you.
Lord Cavendish.] Could the King of France ever have had a more glorious Peace than this? This Army we have raised has augmented his glory. 'Tis too much to keep up these Ministers, who have so much abused the nation, and the Army both. Therefore I would disband the Army.
Sir Thomas Lee.] By the "27th of July" the Cessation will be over. What can these new forces do, to be sent over? Time of action will be past. Therefore I see no use of them at all, and I would go into a Grand Committee, upon the disbanding Bill.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Our advice was not followed, but that of the Privy Council is. And can any man say, that England is in a good condition? Our advice is to be taken, and is much better than theirs. Pray leave the Chair.
Mr Bennet.] I am more afraid of French Ministers than a standing Army. He then told a story, reflecting upon Lord Treasurer Danby. When he was in France last, being to fight with a French Marquess, he desired an English Gentleman to be his second, who came in great haste to do him that service from Rouen. When the Gentleman came, &c. he told him, "He had killed the Marquess in a rencounter the day before." But soon after, the Gentleman going to Court saw the Marquess there, &c. He made his comparison of raising the Army, to Danby's killing the Marquess. The story occasioned much mirth in the House, and afterwards some libels.
Mr Garroway.] Plainly I would have the Question, "Whether you will give any farther instructions to the Committee, for altering the time of disbanding the Army before the 27th of July."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am not altogether for disclaiming this power of advice, &c. though Powle intended it not so far. I am of opinion still for a War with France, if a Treaty with the Confederates, and the Emperor, may be obtained. But now it is remarkable that the Spaniards have accepted and signed the Peace. But Germany has not, whom alone we would assist. This Address of ours has been waved, and no encouragement has been given us. But I was never for a War, before we had Alliances made. And if no Alliances are made, we have no encouragement to go into War. The Parliament and nation were very zealous for War, and not for enlargement of dominion, but for the true interest of the nation. But the nation having been thus used, though there may be forwardness elsewhere, there may be backwardness with us here. We have given a million of money for this War with France. And what comes of it? A million for our misery!
Sir Thomas Clarges.] There are some in the world, and, perhaps, here, that think a War may be. But for the forces abroad the charge is not much. 170,000l. will disband and pay them off, a sum not worth raising by a tax—for the King to keep the Peace, and not withdraw his forces before others do. If they disband "at the end of the Cessation," and the English Army "forthwith" disband, I shall agree to that.
Sir John Hotham.] I differ from Littleton; for I think those forces went into Flanders in time of Peace, and not of War. If Gentlemen had foreseen Peace, no man would have been enticed to have raised them. But these forces in Flanders may be a nest-egg, &c. and since we have no War, and they have been raised by tricks and deceits upon you here, I would not have them kept up by tricks and conceits that we understand not.
Mr Vaughan.] The Crown of England is established by Laws; and had it not been so, King John's resignation to the Pope had been good. If any man is so hardy as to advise the King to govern by a standing Army, he would subvert Law; and it is against the government of the nation. The King has his Posse Comitatus, and the Militia, to oppose invasion and rebellion; and he may raise arms for defence of an Alliance. These are all the ends to answer just Government, and I believe the King will do no otherwise. But the keeping this Army up, is certainly in terrorem populi; and the Laws abhor all arms but legal arms. These forces are upon free quarter, and if you let them stand against Law, you will have little use of Law—when their strength is above Law. The longer you keep them here, the longer you must pay for them, and so you give up the liberties of the people you represent. You cannot keep them one hour longer, without giving up those you represent.
Mr Swynfin.] The account we can give of all the money that has been raised is, that it has been totally lost, for the end we gave it. If a man can give no other account to him that trusts him with his money, but "that he was deceived, and outwitted," will it not make a man careful in the rest of his reckonings? Possibly, at a Committee, something may arise out of it, to bring in some new Motion; but I would sit from day to day, till we have finished the Bill.
Mr Sacheverell.] This is a strange Debate, such as I never heard before, and, no farther reason assigned, we must renounce what we have passed upon a solemn Debate. Let Gentlemen remember what was spoken the other day, when "the last of June" was proposed for disbanding, &c. It was said, "the forces abroad could not be paid under a month's time." And if that averment be true, we are under an impossibility of doing it. It looks as if an essay is made upon us, in time of Peace, how we shall admit a standing Army by consent. The same argument may be used, one, two, or three months hence. If it be for the honour of the King, &c. that is as good a reason as for the Army in Scotland. No man can think these forces are kept up for the safety of Flanders. At a month's end you may be told, that the Cessation will be for three months more, and as good a reason for the precedent then, as now. Is it that we should increase jealousies in Holland, and they leap into the King of France's arms? Therefore I can never give consent to one day's enlargement of the time of disbanding the Army.
Mr Powle.] I move for an accommodation, as to those forces that are beyond the sea. That the Question may be, "Whether the time shall be enlarged for disbanding the forces raised since the 29th of September last, not exceeding the 27th of July?"
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If you continue them till the "27th of July," it is in effect till our next meeting in winter. They must run out yet more money, and may not be disbanded then neither.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] We are naturally fortified by sea, and we have our Militia, and no need of an Army, &c.
Sir Francis Drake.] I'll only say, that a standing Army and a Parliament are inconsistent, and let Gentlemen give their Votes how they please.
The first Question being put, "That the time be enlarged for disbanding the Forces [that have been] raised since the 29th of September last, not exceeding the 27th of July," it passed in the negative, 167 to 164.
The second Question, "That the time shall be enlarged for disbanding the Forces now beyond the sea (only,) not exceeding the 27th of July," passed in the affirmative, 172 to 166.
This was as Instructions to the Committee.
Wednesday, June 12.
A Bill for hindering persons to sit in either House [of Parliament] without taking the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and the Test against Transubstantiation, [was read the second time.]
Sir John Trevor.] I would no more speak against this Bill, than for Idolatry. But it is a vain thing to send this Bill up to the Lords. It has been three times sent up already, and you have had no dispatch of it, there are so many Lords Papists in that House. There runs an opinion without doors, that it makes a disinherison to pass this Bill. But if the Lords will not pay their duty to the King, and renounce those treasonable positions, they are not fit to sit there. I wish this Bill may look forward, that you let not every tree be there to bear fruit, &c. The Statute of Queen Elizabeth is, "That the Members of the House of Commons shall take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, forasmuch as the Queen is already satisfied with the duty and loyalty of the Lords temporal, they shall sit without taking the Oaths, &c." And because of this Statute of the 5th of the Queen, and there are so many Popish Lords, they will throw it out of their House. Therefore I would have the Bill look forward, that no Lords shall sit there, for the future, either by Descent, or be called by Writ, that shall not take the Oaths prescribed in the Bill for the better suppression of Popery.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If this Bill will not pass, no Bill that you can ever make against Popery can hold. Trevor's argument is, as if a man were ready to die of an acute distemper, and a physician should give him a remedy to operate seven years hence. I have heard that the Lords, in former Bills for educating the children of Popish parents in the Protestant religion, called it "the greatest inhumanity in the world." Like Turks, that take away children of tribute from the Christians, the sharpest thing in the world! They had rather you would hang them. But this Bill breaks no bones, it is consistent with the rules of the Government, and it is reasonable that they should be excluded from part of the Legislature, &c. It carries no cruelty in it. It is a fair and a just Bill, and if it pass not the Lords House, it will be the fault of the Commons, for we may make it pass if we please.
Mr William Harbord.] I am sorry to hear any arguments for jealousies and apprehensions that this Bill should not pass the Lords House. Look upon our neighbours; see what they have done in France and Holland. In Queen Elizabeth's time, the Protestants were favoured in France; their Judges and Parliament were mixed with them; they called it Chambre mipartie. But since that, in France, &c. they have made laws so severe against them, as to root them quite out; and surely it is as wise for us, as for that great Monarch, to be tender of our religion. Holland is full of sects, but they suffer no religion in the Government but Calvinistical. If we cannot support our religion, it is a wonder we should be contrary to all the world.
Colonel Birch.] I believe, verily, Popery to be Idolatry; but I had rather you would look forward than backward, and not let Popery grow up to a tree in the education of their children. It has been such a practice in France, in either party; if parents have been Catholics, their children have been taken away to be educated. The reason of this Bill may turn against us another time—At such a jump, to turn so many Lords and Commons out of Parliament! You know what I mean by this, should religion be changed. And I would give no countenance to any thing that looks like that.
Sir Charles Wheeler.] I desire our Government may be preserved as we have found it. Let those that come after us struggle as well as we, without these extreme and violent ways. Cannot a Lord that is not a Protestant, give a Vote whether Leather shall be transported, as well as a Commoner? Saying "it is in our power to make the Bill pass," is an innovation as well as all the rest. We may save ourselves from the growth of Popery, in punishing those that go off from us. The danger is, we know not what may be hereafter. I believe the Catholic Religion is Idolatry. Bread in substance, transformed and transmuted into the body of our Saviour, &c. is intrinsic Idolatry. As for that, spoken of, about "their Courts of Justice in France and Holland," no measure can be taken betwixt them and us. But I can name a Protestant now, a Counsellor of the Parliament of Rouen. He is Sir William Scott's son. So that holds not that is alleged, &c.
Mr Powle.] I cannot be of Wheeler's opinion, "to leave the kingdom as we found it." That is, never to mend it. Had your predecessors been of that opinion, we had had Popery long since established. I think the Bill is very well calculated for this time. It meddles with nothing but keeping Papists out of the Government. I wish that the Protestants, all the world over, had no more severe treatment than to be excluded out of the Government. They are men so obnoxious to the penalty of the Law, that they have not freedom of votes; and I am against any man's sitting here, that has not that freedom. As for the children, &c. I think that a cruelty to take away your child to have him damned, as that way in Turkey, &c. which is the worst fort of the Christian slavery. As for passing of this Bill, there is much of it in our power. Within twelve months we have given great sums; and if we part with our money, and have not some good Bills, (we had not any public Bills passed in that time) it is in vain to sit here.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I desire to explain myself. This is called by Wheeler "an innovation, &c." But we know it was the ancient course of Parliament to have Grievances redressed, before Money was given. But the "innovation" is to give Money first, before Grievances are redressed.
Mr William Harbord.] I know a Lord Lieutenant and a Colonel that are Papists still. He was called to name them; but the Question was put, and carried for committing the Bill.
June 13 and 14 (fn. 3), were spent upon the Tax Bill.
Saturday, June 15.
On the Speaker's touching upon Sir Thomas Meres, by way of reproof, for sitting up so late at night that he came not timely in the morning to make his Report from the Committee of Privileges,
Sir Thomas Meres said,] It is not true, that I sat up so late last night.
Several took exceptions at his Reply to the Speaker.
Sir John Hotham.] I think both the Speaker and Meres were to blame, for what they said. I would have the thing rest, and go no farther. I have respect for them both.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I would have Meres explain himself in this, as one Gentleman would do to another.
The Speaker.] If I said "that Meres sat up late last night," I hope it is no crime to say so. What is said to the Speaker, is said to you all; and if you'll put it up, I will.
Sir Thomas Meres.] It is the first occasion I have given to misspend your time, these eighteen years. I grant I might have said it in the words, "it is not so." If there was heat in you, or me, I am sorry for it. But I must say I did not sit up late, for I was not well, and so went home late. When the House declares the words not fit to be said, I will say so too. Upon the whole matter, I desire I may not be the occasion of misspending the time of the House.
Sir Jonathan Trelawney.] Recites the late case of Mr Pepys, when exceptions were taken at his words, &c. (See p. 74.) I wonder at your coolness now. Then Gentlemen cried, "To the Bar, &c." And now to be silent, when the whole House is given the lye, and no manner of excuse made, but rather the thing justified.
Sir John Ernly.] Though Birch tells you, "That among friends such words may pass," yet 'tis the way to lose friendship by such words. I think Meres has asked the pardon of the House, and I would pass it over.
Sir Thomas Meres.] So many of the words as are applicable to the Order of the House, I am sorry for. But for the other, of the reflection, hereafter instead of saying "'tis not true," I must say "'tis not so."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If the words had been said without a provocation, the House would have been warm upon it; but you, Mr Speaker, gave the occasion. And I desire there may be forbearing on all hands for the future. If we have liberty to debate fairly without provocation, you, Mr Speaker, will have no reflection upon you.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] As to the measure of the words "true, or false," in common conversation the words are not allowed to one another. I should much wonder if Meres should make a difficulty of asking your pardon, and that of the House, for what he said in heat. And I think it reasonable he should do it.
Mr Sacheverell.] I was not here, when the words past betwixt the Speaker and Meres. Though I would have the thing laid aside, yet not without some declaration; for till then, if any man says any thing of me that is not true, I shall tell him "'tis not true."
Mr Garroway.] Pepys's case was this—His words were, "Let it give offence if it would," (See p. 74.) upon previous consideration. I hope the Speaker will not pretend to so absolute a command over the House as to say sharp things, and no man be permitted to reply upon him. The custom of the words "'tis not true" is more sharp than they are in their own nature.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I'll say something to the words I heard; they were "I hope you'll speak truth whilst you are in the Chair."
Mr Goring.] I am not against putting these words up here, if we may have liberty to demand satisfaction without doors. To which
Sir John Hotham replied,] I like the motion well, if we were all upon the same foot, and if there might be no pardons so easily obtained, &c.
Sir Thomas Meres.] If it may be acceptable to the House, I will speak. (His friends cried, "No, No.")
Mr Garroway.] If you, Mr Speaker, will not own the words that Meres supposed you said, Meres will quickly explain himself in the thing, and there's an end of it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] I say it over again, I am sorry for your expence of time. I own the thing was sudden, and without any sort of ill-nature. I own all that, and that we have been long acquainted and familiar. And I apply my being sorry, as you apprehended it.
Sir William Coventry.] I am unwilling to speak, till I have heard the Speaker's and Meres's words perfect. The less we repeat the words of exceptions on both sides, the better. Meres saying "his words were mistaken" goes a great way towards satisfaction. Some Gentlemen seem to think that Meres saying "he was sorry, &c." was not applied the right way; but it seemed to me then that he applied the word "sorry" right. I would have it passed over. It looks like an ill omen abroad, that here has been more clashing at words this Session, than in seven, eight, or ten Sessions before. But I hope the Speaker has had his full satisfaction, and I would proceed no farther in it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Most certainly Coventry has repeated my sense, and I own what I said to be his.
And so the thing went off.
Then Sir Thomas Meres made his Report of a Breach of Privilege, complained of by Sir William Terringham, a Constable distraining one of his Cart Horses, there being more than five in the Team, contrary to the Act, &c. And the Question being put, it was Resolved, That it was no Breach of Privilege.
A Motion was made, That the House should not accept of any new Motion for Money after Tuesday next.
Sir William Coventry.] Then the King's Speech may be considered, that our fears of being put upon giving more Money may not be inflamed.
The Question proposed was, That, after Tuesday next, there shall be no new Motion for a Supply, but what is contained in the King's Speech.
Sir William Coventry.] Our weak brethren are full of apprehensions and jealousies, and I would carry the security of the Vote along with us.
Resolved, [On a division, 163 to 154,] That, after Tuesday next, no new Motion be made for a new Supply to [be given to] his Majesty before the Recess.
Resolved, That on Tuesday next, the House will take into consideration that part of his Majesty's Speech which relates to a farther Supply.
Resolved, That no new private Business be received.
Ordered, That the Report concerning the Navy, &c. be received on Monday.