Debates in 1679: October 7th

Page 347

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 7. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Debates in the House of Commons, From the Year 1667 to the Year 1694.

Tuesday, October 7, 1679.

THE new Parliament met (fn. 1), but was prorogued to the 17th, and then was adjourned to the 30th of the same month. At last, after seven more Prorogations, they met for the dispatch of business,


  • 1. The Duke of Monmouth having been deprived of his Posts in the Army, and by his Majesty's command having left the Kingdom, and the Duke of York having returned from his exile, and having Scotland assigned him for the place of his residence, his Royal Highness, before his departure for that Kingdom, carried an important point with the King, which showed that his interest with his Majesty was all-sufficient; namely, the putting off the Session. All the remaining strength of his enemies lay in the House of Commons, and he was resolved they should derive no benefit from it, at least till time had somewhat qualified their fury, and proper endeavours had been used to loosen their hold upon the people. But, according to Sir William Temple, however artificially this matter was laid by those of the Cabal, they fell into the very same mistake which had occurred at the Dissolution of the last Parliament, in the manner of communicating it to the Council: All was laid upon the King, as before, who said, "That upon many considerations, which he could not then communicate, he found it necessary to make a longer Prorogation of the Parliament than he had intended: That he had considered all the consequences so far as to be absolutely resolved, and not to hear any thing against it: That he would have it prorogued till that time twelvemonth, and that he gave it in charge to the Lord Chancellor to proceed accordingly." All the majority of the Council were astonished at so abrupt a declaration. Several rose up to reason upon it, but were obliged to desist, the King continuing positive to admit of no opposition, and, in effect, signifying thereby, "That he did not require advice, but obedience." Care was however taken to prepare the Public for this alteration of measures by due degrees. The first Prorogation was only from the 17th to the 30th of October, which was followed soon after with public notice in the Gazette, "That his Royal Highness having represented to his Majesty, that he conceived it would be more convenient in many respects to be in his Majesty's own dominions than those of any other Prince, and made it his humble request to go to Scotland, his Majesty had granted it." This notice was dated October 7th. The 12th their Royal Highnesses arrived at Whitehall "in their way" (as the Gazette phrases it) "to Scotland." The 15th the Parliament was yet farther prorogued, and the same day Lord Shaftsbury (for openly opposing, as Ferguson asserts, the Duke's residence in Scotland,) was dismissed from his place at the Council Board. Ralph. The Parliament having been prorogued from October 30th to January 26th, on that day as many Members of each House attending as were required by their respective rules, his Majesty gave them a meeting, and from the Throne signified, "That when he declared in Council his intention of putting off the Parliament to a time so remote, it was not without mature consideration: That he could not be persuaded from any thing that had happened since, in reference to affairs within the Kingdom, to alter or repent of that resolution: That notwith standing, considering the present danger that threatened some of our Neighbours and Allies (the Dutch) he thought fit to appoint a day for their meeting again in April: That the distractions and jealousies at home were of such a nature, and so heightened and improved by the malice and industry of ill men, that he was unalterably of opinion, that a longer interval of Parliament would be absolutely necessary for the composing and quieting men's minds, and that therefore at the said meeting in April there should be a farther Prorogation, unless the condition of our Allies abroad did then require our immediate assistance."