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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Monday, June 17.
Colonel Birch.] If I durst speak Latin, I would much rather say, this House does give this money ex dono, than ex debito. I would have it a memorial in your books, how things of the Navy are now given in, viz. 60,000l. in value, in stores for the Navy, besides what has been used upon reparation of ships.
Sir William Coventry.] This is a small sum, not worth spending your time about, that Pepys offers, &c. Now the Fleet is in good repair, and fitted for service, there is over and above 60,000l. I would make this use of it, not to put the ships back again from this condition, but let it be entered upon your books, &c. In one Session it was said, "That the Navy was a lame arm to beg with." But "that lame arm" is now cured, and I would have all the people know it, that henceforward the Navy, being in this condition, may be kept on by the officers. I fear the hopes of your repairing it have brought this negligence of the Navy to this pass. Let it be this day entered in your books, "That the Navy is in this condition and order fitted, with 60,000l. in stores."
Mr Pepys.] I would not be thought to say a new thing, a fresh suggestion, to mislead you. I end with what Coventry moved, to let this be made matter of record. Another little word I must add: There is 22,000l. "in contract" for stores, which was comprehended in the sum demanded in the Report.
Mr Garroway.] That little word of Pepys's, neither bought nor sold, but "contracted" for stores. Let this be asserted, and clear, and I'll give my consent to the rest, "That there are stores for ninety ships."
The Sum of the Report was, That upon the disbursement of the 200,000l. borrowed upon the Excise, the Committee found that there had been borrowed, and applied to the extraordinary charge of the Navy and Ordnance, 150,078l. 4s. 2d. But the Officers of the Navy and Ordnance affirming the accounts they had shown to the Committee, to the House, it seemed to some, that there was 160,000l. expended upon the Navy alone, though others did not see it. So that the House divided upon the Question, and it was carried by eight voices, [139 to 131,] That the former were in the right. After which, the Officers of the Ordnance made it out, that there was expended by them 40,000l. [which was borrowed upon the credit of the additional Excise.] Upon which the House divided, and the account was allowed by seven voices, [149 to 142.]
Tuesday, June 18.
"That the season requiring a recess by the middle of next month, it was convenient that he and his Parliament should part fairly, and with a perfect confidence towards one another: That therefore he should open his Heart freely to them: That a Peace was ready to be determined; at least as to Spain and Holland; in which his part would be not only that of a Mediator, but Guarantee: That Spain, moreover, demanded of him to be at the charge of maintaining Flanders, even after the Peace: That this would oblige him to keep up his Navy; and called for some assurance to the world, that we were well united at home: That though the House of Commons might perhaps think such a Peace as ill a bargain as a War, they would nevertheless be reconciled to it, if they seriously considered, that otherwise Flanders would have been lost, perhaps by that time; and that they would, he believed, give much greater sums, rather than the single town of Ostend should be in the French hands; which would enable them to keep forty of their men of war over against the River's mouth: That if they desired to keep up the reputation England had acquired abroad, by raising 30,000 men in forty days, and preparing a Navy of ninety ships; if they desired to maintain the Honour of the Crown at home, to look to the safety of the balance of affairs abroad, and pursue the War with Algiers; if they desired he should pass the rest of his life in quiet, and all the rest of it in confidence and kindness with them, and all succeeding Parliaments, they must find a way not only to settle for his life his Revenue, as it was at Christmas last, but also to add, upon some new funds, 300,000l. a year; upon which he would pass an Act to appropriate 500,000l. to the Navy and Ordnance; and should be likewise always ready to consent to such Laws as they should propose for the good of the nation."
Mr Mallet.] Here are gracious expressions in his Majesty's Speech, and if it fall out in the event as well as in the expression, it will be very well. I see we have Peace, &c. and, in some measure, from counsels here. As for the Guarantee, &c. I know not how it is made out to us. Yet we may give good Thanks "for the gracious expressions in his Majesty's Speech."
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The King's Speech has matter of great weight in it. I suppose it is the Order of Parliament to set apart a time for the consideration of it. And in the mean time, to give his Majesty Thanks, "for the gracious expressions in his Speech."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I remember an Address of this House to the King, "for wearing of English Manufactures in the Court, by his Majesty's example, &c." sent by Sir Charles Harbord, who was no Privy Counsellor. This is an answer to what is urged, "That none but Privy Counsellors carry Messages to the King."
Sir Thomas Lee.] As to what is said of "Messages by Privy Counsellors only, &c." that is calling them only by their names. They go as a Committee only from the House. If the custom has been that Privy Counsellors propose Speakers, and they are chosen, it does not therefore follow that Privy Counsellors chuse them. What you will do is one thing, and what you ought to do is another.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Question is, Whether you will add any to the Privy Counsellors, as you have done upon other Messages. I have been added twice or thrice myself for one. But for sending the King Thanks, I remember none that have carried the Message but Privy Counsellors.
Mr Bennet.] When this is over, I would enquire who it is that advised the King to demand so great a sum of us, and a Revenue that the nation is not able to bear. But I am as willing to give Thanks for the gracious expressions in his Majesty's Speech as any man.
Mr Garroway.] Here are a great many points to be observed in the King's Speech. I think you have but little money to give. I remember, the present Lord Chancellor, when he was in this House, upon the making the King's Revenue 1,200,000l. a year, said, "We had given all we had to give." We have paid dear now for talking of a War with France, and our answer to this demand is, "That it is beyond our abilities; we have it not to give." I would first know where this 300,000l. is to be had, to make up the Revenue, &c? I would know where, or what it is? I know no such thing. I cannot imagine how so much as to think of it. I have heard it said, "That the Revenue should never be so big as to destroy amity betwixt the King and us;" and, "That it is fit for us to keep something always in reserve to present his Majesty with." This looks to me, of a strange nature, as if the House of Commons were never to come here more. I know not how to comply with it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would do all things with decency. You have made an Order, "That no more Motions for Money shall be made this Session," (see p. 92.) And if any Gentleman can show a reason why you should retract your Order, and consider the King's Speech, he says something to the purpose.
The Speaker.] The reason of it is, the House avoids a Question upon any thing of Money in the King's Speech, but it must arise from a Motion in the House, referred to a Grand Committee to consider, &c.
Mr Swynfin.] Now we are near the end of a Session, and wearied with long sitting, and Gentlemen must go into the country, to attend their affairs. Therefore you desired to have all the matter before you. This did not invite the King's Speech, nor give any occasion for it. I desire, however, we may not make any longer delay, but come to some resolution to-day, whether you will consider the several things in the King's Speech, or not. I am sorry the Motion is made to us now from the King, and am sorry we can give the country so little account of what we have done already. We have complied with all things at the opening of the Session, and it is a most unusual thing to have new demands for Money at the latter end of a Session. I know not any Precedent before of it. At the opening of the Session, there was Money given for an Army by land, and a Navy by sea, for a French War. And all the latter part of the Session has been spent in raising a great charge on the kingdom, for disbanding that Army; and it will lie very hard upon the people. You have gone through all, &c. unless what seems to be hinted in this Speech, about the Customs of Wines for the King's life. It is very strange, that, at the latter end of a Session, we should come upon this. And I hope the House will not take into consideration any new Motions, at the latter end of a Session, for so great an addition to the King's Revenue.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] When the King has no other way to raise Money, this is the King's highway; and it is for every man's good, and this may be so. There may be as much haste in denying now, as in giving Money, when we see what may happen to the nation by surprize, and how little will maintain an island, or a fort, which may cost 100,000l. to redeem. The King offers you some part of his Revenue for the Navy, and 100,000l. a year more than you would have appropriated to the Navy, viz. 500,000l. a year. When you shall have the Debate before you, of the necessity, inconvenience or convenience of this Grant, then it is time to think of a negative to it.
Sir John Knight.] Consider the poverty of the nation, and fall of rents; it is impossible we should grant what is desired. Here are Pensions upon the Revenue, and we must still supply it. I would have an Act of Parliament to annull them all. At this rate we shall be Normans, and wear wooden shoes. I move, therefore, "That there be no farther addition to the Crown Revenue, but that the Revenue may be better managed." Which will sufficiently do the business of the Crown, without addition.
Lord Cavendish.] There is no slavery like that under a form of Law. This is so formidable a demand, in the King's Speech, that the first impression I can make of it is, to remove those who advised the King to demand it. "The King would be at ease, if his Revenue was," and as long as these Ministers manage it, he never will; and I would have them removed. Our liberality has brought upon us the fears of Popery and arbitrary Power. I would not have our sleeps disturbed with this demand in the King's Speech; and whilst the House is full, I would see an end of these demands.
Sir Francis Drake.] Our Saviour was followed by a great many for the loaves, and so was the King's father. Great sums are asked. Is it from without us, or within us? Let us, however, get these men removed from the Throne, that have endeavoured to break trust and confidence betwixt the King and us. They are uneasy with a Parliament, and would have such a Revenue granted the King, that they may have no more. No Englishman can give this money demanded; and I would give none.
Sir John Ernly.] This of 400,000l. per annum for the Navy was formerly spoken of here. Here is nothing new in the King's Speech, but the additional Revenue of 300,000l. per annum. Inspect the King's Revenue, and enter into a Grand Committee, and I doubt not but you shall have satisfaction, that the Revenue will be more than expended on the King's necessary occasions.
Mr Booth.] It is said "that the Revenue cannot maintain the charge of the Government." If it be not enough, it is because there are so many Privy Seals; they are so numerous, and the Revenue is so ill managed; and it is very hard that the nation should supply the defects of ill management. The Speech tells you, "That the Revenue is not so great as that of other Princes." If it was so great as that of France, I fear it would be to make the King as absolute as the King of France. As to the Princess of Orange's Portion, I hope we shall not pay all the Portions the King engages for. I hear there are great expences in lodging at Whitehall, (the Dutchess of Portsmouth.) Still for more expences. I move, therefore, "That we may give no farther addition to the King's Revenue."
Sir Thomas Meres.] Enumerates the King's Revenue, and the charges upon the people, now amounting to about two millions; and here's a request of 300,000l. for the King's life, which, at seven years value, amounts to two millions. Pray put a Question whether you shall set a day for this Motion. And I pray you'll give a negative Question. I'll give a negative.
Mr Sacheverell.] There is more in this Question than in any I ever heard, since I sat here. The States of France gave the King power to raise money upon extraordinary occasions, "till their next meeting," and they never met more. This sum is asked, "because of the Algiers War;" and another reason is, "the King will give you 500,000l. per annum for the Fleet." And we gave 700,000l. per annum for it in the Customs. Those that move you now for a Supply, I believe, intend not to perpetuate it upon your land. Trade is already overcharged, and where will they have it? Home Excise; that way has lost them their liberty in France. Just as the calculation was made for the War, and disbanding the Army, and the Revenue demanded is calculated for an Army of 20,000 men. I would ask any Gentleman, whether he would make the Revenue so big, as there should be no use of a Parliament for supplying the King? and whether ever the Ministers will call a Parliament again, should you grant such a Revenue as is asked? Consider this too; when we are upon any good Laws, we are prorogued, and can do nothing but give Money. I'll trust the Ministers no more; and I'll give my negative to increasing the Revenue 300,000l. more.
Mr Powle.] I take this increase of the Revenue to import no less than the change of the Government. Either we shall not need Parliaments any more, by good husbandry of the Crown, or else the Crown must still have Aids, and the nation be not able to bear it. In the Revenue now, there are all the marks of superfluity; as Pensions on the Customs, and other branches of the Revenue, besides 80,000l. paid out of the Exchequer for secret service, within these few months. And I have seen accounts in the Secretary's papers, for Intelligence, &c. that come not near up to that sum. Now, we are required to inspect the Revenue, &c. a most unreasonable thing, at the latter end of a Session! I know not how this Revenue can be granted, but upon a Home-Excise; and then what use can there be of so much Revenue, but for keeping up the Army? We are told things in foreign affairs in the King's Speech, "That now it is too late to ask our advice." The King desires "that his Revenue may be equal to other Princes, &c." but our situation defends us, and our Navy secures us. Where enemies have no sea to pass, there must be Garrisons upon the frontiers, and Armies that must be paid. I would have all men consider this Question, of increasing the Revenue 300,000l. for the whole fate of Parliaments depends upon it.
Mr Pepys.] That which is the Question, is, not granting the thing, but "appointing a time to consider of it." You are told, "That the Revenue is short, for the necessary occasion of the Government." Examine the truth of it, by assigning a time to see whether those Gentlemen that speak on the one side or the other, are in the right.
Mr Vaughan.] By Williamson's argument, since the House does not willingly entertain the Motion now, &c. that is to say, it may be taken up again. Some are dissolving this bond betwixt the King and his people, by this. I could not think that there was so much guilt in any person in the kingdom, to make such efforts. You have had strange judgments in the Exchequer-chamber, in the case of Barnardiston and Soames. Such Judges may be prepared for judgments against you in the Exchequer-chamber for what you do here, when these doors are shut. Vassalages hereafter will not be confined to particular tenures, but this will be throughout the whole nation. I have seen men rise from nothing, within these walls. And when they are taskmasters within these walls, they are task-masters to ruin the nation, with raising themselves. You have but one more addition to your misfortune, and that is, to give this 300,000l. increase to the Revenue. And I will give my negative to it.
Sir William Coventry.] I rise only to speak to the previous Question. It is become a very parliamentary thing, but a word sometimes slips into it, that makes a doubt. The word "now" being not put in it, it may be a fortnight, or a month hence; but if you please to leave out the word "now," then the Question will be, "Whether you will consider of the Motion for increasing the Revenue 300,000l. per annum."
Sir Job Charlton.] I move that you will give the Officers of the Treasury time to make out, whether the Government cannot be supported without this addition to the Revenue. The King denies you no Bills you present him, only le Roi s'avisera. And I would not have you do any indecent thing to the King. (He was laughed at.)
The Question being put, "That the House will go into a Grand Committee, to consider of the Motion for raising 300,000l. per annum, for an additional Revenue to the King," it passed in the negative, without a division (fn. 1).
Mr Powle.] The sooner you give your Compensation, &c. the less you will have the effect of your Prohibition. When the year is out, you'll see what damage it will be to the Revenue, and then will be time to consider of it.
Lord Cavendish.] I would know, whether by the Peace we have a better opinion of the King's Ministers, or by the Chancellor's Speech a worse opinion of ourselves. I move that the Audit of the Exchequer may be brought in, by the Auditor of the Exchequer, to see what has been issued out for Secret Service, since May 1677, with the Pensions. And I hope that such as are concerned in charging the Revenue unnecessarily, will have their condign punishment.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I know not what this Compensation is now, in this new dress of Prohibition, any more than in its old dress of Revenue. This morning still we have propositions to have no farther use of us. The Officers of the Ordnance's paper for stores was 80,000l. and the land Army no less, which you have allowed; and if the whole rents of England should be enacted into the King's Revenue, they would not suffice the Government, as things have been managed.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] This is the strangest chimerical motion that ever was made in Parliament, for just nothing. For you have not yet received any damage. The purport of the Prohibition is for advantage in the parts of trade.
Colonel Birch.] They that moved the Compensation, &c. to-day, have ill timed it. There have been so many goods of all sorts come in out of France, before the time limited for Prohibition, that the defect of the Customs cannot be seen till Michaelmas. I would now lay this Motion aside, and adjourn.
The Question being put, That the Compensation to the King for the Clause of Prohibition of French commodities should be referred to the consideration of a Committee of the whole House, it passed in the negative, 202 to 145.
Sir Thomas Mompesson.] Moves that an account of all the Pensions charged upon the King's Revenue may be brought in. And if those Gentlemen that went out for the Compensation, think the Revenue will be straightened, they will not be against stopping those Pensions.
Sir William Coventry said,] I take ourselves to be useful, not to say necessary, to the Government, and till those scandals are taken away from us, mentioned in a book, of receiving pensions for our Votes (which, it seems, has been thought fit to be amongst the advertisements in the Gazette, and a reward promised to the discoverer of the Author or Publisher,) I say, since this is made public, till this scandal be taken away, we cannot serve the nation as we ought. Money, Solomon says, will blind the eyes of the wise. If a man be in poverty, he need not be ashamed of his Majesty's bounty. I say, he need not be ashamed of the bounty of his Prince. But that man, whoever he be, that goes about corrupt Members of Parliament for their Votes, be he ever so great, should be ashamed of it. If a man be so base as to receive 500l. for his Vote here, he, in time, will raise it up to 1500l. And that trick will be spoiled at last. If a man has been so transported by any pressures, let not the reputation of all your Members lie under scandals; else the very Laws you make will not meet with that chearful obedience they ought to have. I hope, therefore, that this House will do something in vindication of themselves, the thing now being made Gazetie-matter, in the face of the whole world. I am not a man prepared to prescribe you a method to purge yourselves; but now that the jealousy has got so much strength as to be in print, and since it deserves the notice of the Government, which has put it in print, seeing the ill fame of it has gotten abroad, I would have the good fame of our endeavouring to detect it get abroad likewise.
Mr William Harbord.] Whoever attempts the enslaving, and making the legislative Power subservient to any particular subject, is [guilty of] the greatest crime that can be. Therefore I will explain myself thus. I would have every Gentleman of the House come to the table, and protest that he has received no reward for any thing he has done in Parliament, or for giving his Vote. Or if any Gentleman be in employment in the Government, and has been put out of his Place for giving his Vote here according to his conscience, or has been threatened, this is a great crime. And I would have it as comprehensive as you can.
Of all these Articles it was proposed that every Member should purge himself; [and a Vote passed accordingly.] But after it was thought that all was done and settled, and the House was about to rise, so many went away before a Committee was appointed to draw up the said Tests, that the Court Party took advantage to put the Question, Whether a Committee should be named, or no, which was carried in the negative, [100 to 86,] and so the thing ended.
Wednesday, June 19.
Complaint was made, by several Members, of the Clerk's non Entry of the Enquiries yesterday, concerning moneys issued out by Privy Seals, and that he deserved to be turned out of his place for his misdemeanor.
A Letter was sent from Sir Solomon Swale to the Speaker, to excuse his receiving the Sacrament (fn. 2) till Sunday sevennight, being prevented the last Sunday, by reason there was no Sacrament at St Martin's Church, and after next Sunday come sevennight he hopes to be here to give his attendance (fn. 3).
Mr Williams.] A Certificate of his repairing to divine service, and hearing it orderly, is a fair inducement to the Diccesan to certify. For the Order is nothing about receiving the Sacrament, only "his conformity," 3 James. And his "allegation about receiving the Sacrament" is an insignificant thing, to delay time only.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Since Swale has had two or three admonitions, for these five months last past that you have sat, and he has been convicted a year and a half, there's no farther forbearance can be, but you must do something with him.
Mr Daniel Finch.] The not receiving the Sacrament does not disable Swale from sitting in Parliament, but the not taking the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy. I move, that, if before Monday he receive not the Sacrament, and take not the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, he shall not be permitted to sit here; and that a Writ be sent out to chuse another Member to serve in his place.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] A Popish Recusant convict cannot come near the King's person, and, á fortiori, he cannot be of the great Council of the nation. Whoever disables himself (as this case of Swale's is) from his attendance in Parliament, you ought to discharge. And now you have fears and jealousies of Popery, to let such a man be one of you, that wilfully stands out of the Church!—You cannot answer it. I hope you'll discharge him.
Then this Question was put, and carried, viz. That whereas it appears to the House, that Sir Solomon Swale is convicted of Popish Recusancy; and having been divers times called upon by this House to signify his conformity to the Church of England, which he hath not done, in pursuance to a peremptory Order of this House;
Ordered, That the said Sir Solomon Swale be discharged from the service of this House; and that a new Writ be issued out for the choice of another Member to serve in his place, for the Borough of Aldborough, in the county of York.
Thursday, June 20.
The Lord Treasurer, by his Majesty's command, acquainted the Lords, "That his Majesty did yesterday receive a letter from his Ambassador at Nimeguen, Sir Lionel Jenkins, dated the 15th of June, which gave him an account, that the French Ambassadors had declared to the Dutch Ambassadors there, that they would not void any one of the places they held in the Spanish Netherlands, till Sweden be effectually restored to the places taken from them; no, notwithstanding that the Peace was already signed and ratified between them. That upon this is arisen a difficulty on the side of the Spaniards, whether they will accept of the French conditions.
"That Monsieur Beverning, one of the States Ambassadors there, had thereupon earnestly enquired of him, whether the Army of England was presently to be disbanded; because no body could tell what end things would come to; for if France will keep all the places in the Netherlands filled with their troops, it is in vain that the States have taken so much pains about their Barrier; for they will have none, when all is done. And the said Monsieur Beverning was very anxious, till he did hear out of England, that the Army might not yet be disbanded.
"That the Imperial Ministers had been to visit him that day; and that their principal business was to learn what they could from him, in what state our Army was, things being in this doubtful condition."
The Commons, after the Conference, had some Debate upon the said Message, but did nothing thereupon; but Resolved, That a Message be sent to the Lords, to remind them of the Bill for disbanding the Army.
The House then went into a Committee of the whole House, and Resolved, That the [new] imposts on Wines and Vinegar be granted to his Majesty for three years, from the first of August next, upon such Wines [and Vinegar] as may now be legally imported.
The Question being put, That the sum of 200,000l. which was borrowed on the credit of the Excise, shall be charged on the Bill for impost on Wines, it passed in the negative, 179 to 168 (fn. 4).
Friday, June 21.
Resolved, That a Supply, not exceeding the sum of 414,000l. shall be granted to his Majesty, for paying off the extraordinary charge of the Navy and Ordnance; and for paying the Princess of Orange's Portion; and for the repayment of the 200,000l. borrowed upon the credit of the additional Excise. And that the people be charged with no more money this Session of Parliament.
Saturday, June 22.
The Lords believing it impossible to disband the Army by the days the Commons named in the Bill, changed the "last of June" to the "27th of July," for that part of the Army in England: And for those abroad, they changed the time from the "24th of July" to the "24th of August." [And the Bill, with these amendments, being returned to the Commons this day, they were, on Debate, disagreed to by the House.]
Tuesday, June 25.
The Commons [at a Conference] gave several reasons for their not agreeing with the Lords in the above amendments. The main one was, "It being a Bill of Money, they cannot allow their Lordships any manner of power, to add, or diminish, to, or from it, &c." [And they offered a Proviso, by way of Expedient.]
The same day several ways were proposed for raising the said sum of 414,000l. as upon buildings [crected since 1656, upon new foundations,] within ten miles of London. [But this was rejected, 117 to 88.] By the old way of Subsidy, &c. but at last it was concluded by Land Tax. The House grew so thin, that, upon a division [for adjourning the Debate] the Aye's were but 74, and the No's 71.
Wednesday, June 26.
The Lords, at a Conference, gave several reasons for insisting on their amendments to the Bill of disbanding, and for rejecting the Proviso offered by the Commons. But to all the amendments but one the Commons disagreed, and adhered to their Proviso.