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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Monday, April 7.
Mr Secretary Coventry acquaints the House, That Mr Reading had sent a letter to Mr Chiffinch, who seemed squeamish to take it; wherein he desires "by his means to have access to the King, in order to inform his Majesty of matters that much concern his Majesty and the Kingdom." And that he was commanded by his Majesty to acquaint this House, that his Majesty refused to receive any information or application from any whom the House of Commons had cognizance of before, and had begun with.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I think it not amiss, to order Reading to come to your Bar, and to let him know, that you have notice he has something to say which concerns the King and Kingdom, &c. and it is highly probable, he may inform you the whole matter, and to acquaint him that he is not to think to be farther examined. Possibly he may tell you the whole truth.
Colonel Titus.] I think it not to any purpose for him to come to the Bar. He probably may say somewhat you would not have divulged. I would have the Letter from his wife to him, which the Serjeant intercepted, (which was to this effect: "Do not throw yourself away, and your poor children—Come to a resolution with yourself. All say you have not carried yourself like a man of reason. Make me not worth the ground I go upon, &c.") to be delivered to the close Committee, to make what use they think sit of it.
Mr Powle.] For my share of it, I cannot agree that Mr Reading be brought to the Bar. It may be, something he may say may cross your Evidence against the Lords, &c. and so gratify his design by it. Let him see his own danger, and that may probably disappoint his design.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I am old enough to remember, that, when Lord Strafford was committed to the Black Rod, the Commons were dissatisfied, and the Lords resolved, "That till the Commons would send more particular Articles against him, they would not commit him to the Tower;" and the Commons thereupon did. I desire that some general time may be mentioned in the Impeachment from whence the date of these Treasons may be mentioned. The Act of Grace else may be pleaded by the Lords. He was interrupted to the Order of the Day.
Mr Garroway.] By the Lords Amendments, it is but a semblance of Banishment of the Earl of Danby, and he shall not have it—It is an Act of Indemnity, and you are about to mend it. I would not make this Bill otherwise than it is entitled; and not compound for Treason.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If possible, by any means I would preserve a good correspondence with the Lords. As for "the day of rendering himself, &c." you may make it longer; but if he be stripped of his honours and estate, and reduced to his first condition of Sir Thomas Osborne, you may have your ends.
Sir Thomas Lee.] You have said in the Bill, "If he does not appear, &c. by the 10th of April;" and the Lords say, "the 15th;" the consequence only is, that it gives him five days more to appear. But if it could be regular, I would offer it to be "May-day;" and if there should happen to be five or six days Debate, it would look like a retrospect Bill. I offer it only.
Mr Sacheverell.] This Amendment makes it a Bill of Banishment. Then whether is it more eligible to prevent Danby's standing his charge, or to go away out of England with all he has got, and come no more? It can never be, but the bigger the penalty is, the more likely it will be to bring him in. If we are of opinion that he will stand his charge, or come in, we ought not to agree with the Lords.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] He forfeits his honours, &c. since the 22d of December last. You strip him of all his estate and honours, and there will be little left to comfort him. I would agree with the Amendment.
Mr Vaughan.] The Amendment runs thus: "Danby shall appear by the 15th of April;" but he is at his liberty whether he will appear or not; so he may be in England till the first day of May, and have time to do all he has a mind to, &c. and carry away all he has got with him. And where are you mended in this, by rejection of the Lords Bill of Banishment?
Lord Cavendish.] If I could be of opinion of the Amendments of Banishment, &c. I would agree, &c. But this leaves the ancient methods of Parliament, giving up the Justice of England, as if you could not make good the charge. And so he may go away with the honours he has acquired, by the very crimes he is charged with. It is not for your honour, and I would not agree.
Mr Powle.] I am one of those who desire the Bill may pass, but not as it is amended. The case concerned in the Bill is, whether such crimes, as Danby stands charged with, shall go away with impunity? But here, in this Clause, something is mistaken. It seems to me to be very monstrous, that you give him time to the 15th of April for his appearance: Then come the Lords Amendments, If he come back, he shall stand attainted "from the 1st of May." Then, in that interval of time, he is under no manner of restraint (for I am of opinion he lies lurking about town,) and what then will hinder him in that space of time from coming into the King's presence, the House of Lords, or the Council-board? What he does now privately, he may, in that interval of time, do openly, and ship himself away with the spoils he has got—The penalties upon him are in the next ensuing Clause. I shall never agree that he shall go away with life and fortune. But if you have something equivalent, you have your end. This is my opinion, but I submit it to the House.
Mr Garroway.] This Clause is turning of the whole Bill. The time given him is a pretty time to do what he has to do, so is a licence for him to stay here all that time. But say the Lords, "We may reach his estate." But the King may give it him again—There is no injustice in the case, in our Bill. If he will, he may come in in that time, and be tryed.
Mr Hyde.] I cannot let those words pass without an answer. The case was quite otherwise than Player represents it. "Special and particular matter," in the Impeachment against Lord Clarendon, was insisted upon by the Lords. And I then offered, "That, if the Gentlemen that brought in the Articles would make good any one Article, he would confess them all (fn. 1)." But he went away to leave his country in peace, and that he should give no occasion of difference between the two Houses, and had sufficient punishment by the Act of Banishment.
Colonel Birch.] As to what fell from Player; I was one of those that gave no consent to that Lord's Impeachment, without inserting "special matter" in the Articles. But as to this case, I will not speak for Danby in this Amendment of the Lords; but you may possibly hold so hard upon your Bill, that he may have opportunity to escape. Such is our fortune, by the goodness of a Prince, that rather than have Ministers chastisied, he would be chastised himself. Great familiarity has been with them by Princes, and they have been led by them. But it is our duty to throw our garment over them, rather than discover their nakedness. It may be the Treasurer will lay what you charge him with at the door of his Prince— and many know where he lay trinketing with the French —This will be ill done—but is this the most honourable way of dealing? Deprive Danby of his honour and estate; and if more be to come after him (as Bennet said) it may fright them.
Major Beake.] I wish that all crimes may have proportionable punishment. What is offered to you is, whether Danby shall have such a punishment, &c.? If Banishment be a better punishment than the forfeiture of his estate and corruption of his blood—I apprehend that Banishment was no mean punishment among the Romans and Grecians. For divers ages after the Conquest, Confiscation of Estate and Banishment were the usual punishments. Magna Charta says, "Nemo perdat patriam, &c." If you attain those ends you desire by Banishment, &c. a greater punishment will follow him, and that which he will never recover; the curse of Englishmen will go after him—He carries with him a wounded conscience; and that is part of the spoils he will take with him. His crimes are transcendent! They will dog him whereever he goes; the meanest person that he has oppressed may assault and attack him on the other side of the water. If we can but reach this, to lay him as low as the dust, can you promise to yourselves that the Lords will concur with what you aim at, or the King? I would take that course by which we may probably arrive at our end—And his honours and estate may be taken from him, before he had the Treasury.
Sir Henry Capel.] I am glad to see so great an Assembly, in a matter of so great moment, in so great a calmness. I shall ever take care to behave myself with moderation and temper, and will do it in this point, and keep the Government steady. As to what is said in reference to agreement to the Lords Amendments; in some measure, I agree. The steps of this Bill to the Lords have been very regular, very just, and we ought to stand by it. But the Lords, under favour, have not done the same. I know not by what measures the Lords have gone to amend this Bill. What reasons the Lords had, not to commit Lord Danby, &c. are yet unknown to me. Now this is come before you in this Parliament (though the Lords thought it irregular in the last.) The Black Rod is sent for Danby, and he is not to be found; and no more. You proceed with your Bill, and you ought to stand by your Articles, if you can, and put the least blemish upon them that you can, and you ought to take care not to be the first persons that comply, &c. I suppose the Lords have good reason for what they have done; but yet it appears not to us, what induced them to these Amendments. Your Attainder reaches to Danby's honours and estate, &c. We shall, it may be, agree to all the Lords have offered, &c.; but my Motion is, let us disagree with the Lords at present; and so if we go to Conference, the Lords may give us Reasons.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The Lords, at giving back this Bill at a Conference, with the Amendments, gave us no Reasons for them, but said, "They observed, that the great affairs of this Nation are at a stand, at a time of the greatest danger and difficulty that this Kingdom ever laboured under; that the King hath always in his reign inclined to mercy and clemency to his subjects; therefore, to a King so merciful and compassionate, the first interruption of his clemency, they did desire, should not proceed from the two Houses pressing the King to an Act of the greatest severity. Therefore have passed the Bill with some Amendments."
Tuesday, April 8.
Mr Powle reports the following Reasons why the Commons disagreed to the Lords Amendments, &c. viz. "The addition to the title doth show, that the Amendments, made by your Lordships to the Bill, do wholly alter the nature of it; and from a Bill of Attainder, have converted it into a Bill of Banishment, which the Commons cannot consent to for these Reasons (fn. 2):
"1. That Banishment is not the legal judgment in cases of High-Treason: And the Earl of Danby, being impeached by the Commons of High-Treason, and fled from justice, hath thereby confessed the charge, and therefore ought to have the judgment of High-Treason for his punishment.
"2. That Banishment being not the punishment the Law inflicts upon those crimes, the Earl of Danby might make use of this remission of his sentence, as an argument, that either the Commons were distrustful of their proofs against him, or else that the crimes are not in themselves of so high a nature as Treason.
"3. That the example of this would be an encouragement to all persons that should be hereafter impeached by the Commons, to withdraw themselves from Justice (which they would always be ready to do, if not prevented by a commitment upon their Impeachment;) and thereby hope to obtain a more favourable sentence in a legislative way, than your Lordships would be obliged to pass upon them in your judicial capacity.
Mr Sacheverell reports, from the Secret Committee, That Mr Reading has licence now from the King to speak his mind. He made many alleviations and palliations to his attempt of invalidating the testimony against the Lords, &c. of those he endeavoured to corrupt, and trisled with the Committee.
Mr Seymour.] I was surprized to see Reading brought in that manner to the Committee, in irons. It is the first time that ever a prisoner of the House of Commons was so brought. I move, that he may be carried to a Justice of Peace, that he may be done with as the Law orders and directs.
Serjeant Maynard.] An Act to prohibit Irish Cattle is unjust to our fellow subjects, and an impolitic Act. In story we find what a great deal of blood and pains have been spent to bring that Kingdom into order. If this Bill pass, they will have no dependence upon England, if they have no trading. If they fall from us, it cuts them off from all commerce of trade. Some few Lords have their rent only brought into England. What will they care? They will in a short time be better than we. They have trade already with France, and if you put them to manufacture their own wool, they will carry that trade from you. We bought Cattle lean from Wales, and fat, and they could sell them for no more, than when Irish Cattle came in. Pardon me, if I speak plainer. I was once for making Irish Cattle a nusance. See how it goes upon Prerogative; where it is a nusance the King cannot pardon what is past, nor henceforward give a toleration for doing it. A private nusance the King cannot pardon, nor hinder a man's taking his remedy. It is a nusance to a private person, because it does him wrong. Properly a nusance is where a thing is malum in se; malum injuriosum. The King may not pardon the thing when it is done, nor dispense with the doing it. What is the nusance of Irish Cattle? Commune nocumentum populi. By neighbours and inhabitants only, is not good in Law; it must be common; and one half of us are not of opinion that these Cattle coming in do hurt us—One gets not so much as the other for their land. If I were upon my Oath, I think the King may pardon it, though made a nusance, it being malum prohibitum only, and these the King may dispense with, though not with malum in se. I would not put Ireland into a condition to make them as considerable as ourselves.
Sir Edward Harley.] The Gentleman has told you, "That this Bill is unjust, uncharitable, and impolitic." It is far from being "unjust;" if so, it is unjust to prohibit French goods, or of any foreign Nation. It is a strange rule of Justice for another Nation to impose commodities upon us that we have no need of, to destroy our own growth; that's strangely impolitic. As for the "uncharitableness" thereof, it is a rule, that "Charity begins at home." It is strange that out of our kindness to Ireland, we should be unkind to the imperial territory and seat of the Government. It has cost England great sums to rescue Ireland. And as to the "impolitic part, &c." Ireland is but a Colony of England; now can any story give an account that Colonies have been so indulged, as to prejudice the territory from whence they came? If the meat you eat must come from them, that is not politic to be at their mercy. If it be such a prejudice to the populous trading part of England, that they cannot subsist without the prohibition, &c. and must lay down their breeding ground, then it is a common nusance.
Mr Garroway.] I observe that the Lords, by tricking you, instead of a parliamentary way to answer your Reasons, have slipped them over. I will speak my mind plain. Danby has been my friend, but I am more for your honour. The Lords have formerly entered things into their Books, but found little benefit by them. I hope at last Danby will come in, and all this is but to drive a better bargain for him. I move, that you would adjourn.
Wednesday, April 9.
Mr Sacheverell.] The Lords have desired a Conference upon the matter of the Bill of Attainder of the Earl of Danby, &c. They agree that your Reasons are strong and valid against their Amendments, but pray you to wave all methods of Parliament, and destroy all methods of proceeding, &c. I am in a doubt, whether you will not be caught in a free Conference to argue the subject-matter of the Bill. I would only show the Lords, that their Paper, now offered, is destructive, and contrary to methods of Parliament, and draw up your Reasons for it, &c.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I speak to point of Order. The Lords went yesterday in an irregular method in the Conference; for you agreed to confer with them upon the subjectmatter of the last Conference, and when the Lords came to debate, they did not fall upon the subject-matter, &c. But you cannot have a free Conference from the Lords, when they will say nothing of your Reasons, and by not drawing it into Conference, they do in effect allow your Reasons. I speak only to forms. I reserve myself for the Debate.
Sir William Coventry.] I speak to method of proceeding. If you go to a Question, you must read the Lords Amendments; to some of which you have agreed, to others not. Now the Lords send you down Reasons why you should agree to their Amendments. Every time you put the Question for the Conference, they must be read; for it may so happen, that Members were not here, when they were read before, and so cannot give their judgments to the Question.
Sir Joseph Williamson.] I take it, you cannot read them again. The Lords agree, in the last Paper, with such and such circumstances. As to the first point, they do not agree, as to the cutting off all his honours and lands, &c. But they agree so as that your Question is not upon the first point, but the last.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] This Paper from the Lords, is not an answer to your Reasons, but to accommodate and arbitrate the thing. In effect, if you will take 10s. in the pound, you may. They say, "Let us banish him," and you would attaint him. They would have you depart from your Reasons, and accept of their expedients.
Sir Francis Winnington.] I take it, as the matter stands, to be no more than this: We send a Bill to the Lords, and they make Amendments to it, and you disagree to those Amendments, and send the Lords your Reasons for it. Barely they insist upon their Amendments, so far as to exclude all Attainder. They tell you, "They do not come to argue, but to mitigate and reconcile." They have not yielded to any particulars of your Amendments. They agree so far as to exclude all Attainders; and that is the same thing as to disagree; and they insist upon all their Amendments.
Mr Vaughan.] You have offered the Lords your Reasons, &c. and they answer them not, but say they will not argue your Reasons, but insist upon their own Amendments. When that is done, there is an end of all intercourse in that matter, and that is a way of reasoning in the streets. We ought to proceed then no farther, but adhere to our own Reasons.
Sir John Trevor.] The Lords have got a word, a fine one, "insist." It was never known in Parliament, but in the last Parliament. You send them up a Bill of Attainder, and they send you down Amendments by Amendments, and you deliver your Reasons against them. The Lords should, in this case, desire a free Conference, and give no Reasons, but "insist, &c." You sent the Lords a Bill for disbanding the Army, and to place the Money in the Chamber of London. They amended it, and would have it in the Exchequer. The Commons would not agree to it, and at that Conference they told you, they did insist upon it; whereas they should have had a free Conference, &c. If you do not now demand a free Conference, and put their Amendments to the Question, you are out of the course of Parliament.
Mr Seymour.] I rise up to speak to method of proceeding. You are moved to desire a Conference with the Lords, to show the Lords the errors of their proceedings. They who do it, would do well to assign, those errors. The Lords were at liberty to say what they would, and you thought fit not to agree with their Amendments, and you presented them your Reasons at the Conference, why you could not agree, &c. The Lords have given you Reasons, why they insist upon their Amendments, though not logically, for not agreeing strictly. You ought to put the Amendments to the Question, point by point. You are to agree to the Amendments with the coherence. The Lords cannot mend their own Amendments, but you may yours; and you may put that Question after that Question of adhesion. Then you stick to your Bill.
Sir Joseph Williamson.] I did think this last Paper delivered at the Conference, not to be the same as their first; they come nearer to you, than in their first. You are reading the Amendment of changing the Attainder, if he came not into England by such a day, into Banishment; it is a penalty, upon that condition only. Thus far then the Lords come; they say, "they shall insist on their Amendments no farther than to exclude Attainder and forfeiture of all his honours and grants, &c. from such a day, &c." They agree, then, if you will bate them the Attainder, they will insist upon no farther point; so they are in a disposition to deprive this Lord, if he appear not by a day, of his honours and grants, &c. from such a day. I have spoken my mind. This being the case, I wish this Lord Justice beyond that, and it is pretty well known, I have no obligation to him; I would condescend to the public convenience—There is more cause than this for agreement between the two Houses. When you come to apply to them judicially, and they turn themselves to the legislative course; this is the place for that consideration. If Justice can be reasonably satisfied by this compliance of the Lords to deprive Danby of honours, &c. this being the case, how advisable is it for you to insist upon the Attainder, &c. with the consequences, which turns him and his family to the lowest condition, without remedy but by Act of Parliament! You have all the reality of the penalty if he stands out; you have all your end but that of the Attainder.
Serjeant Ellis.] Lord Danby at first was not committed, and those who manage the Conference must lay that as the first foundation, that all this ill consequence is come from the not committing him, and lay some weight upon that at the opening of the Conference.
Sir Henry Capel.] If omitting securing Lord Danby, &c. be not inforced at the Conference, it will open a door for all great men to escape Justice; the not committing, &c. upon the Commons accusation. If the Commons cannot reach men in their regular way of proceedings, there is an end of all Parliaments. The five Lords were committed by the Lord Chief Justice for the Plot, and the Parliament in being. I move, therefore, that the Managers at the Conference may have some such instructions.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think that the Committee is pretty well impowered already, and you have reason for it; for in your parenthesis in the last Reasons, you touched that matter sufficiently; so that there is a foundation laid for this Debate already. The Lords say, "That whatsoever has been done in Danby's case, to remove all jealousies of the precedents of this kind, shall not be drawn into example for the time to come." And the Lords said, "They would not commit him, &c." I know not to which to apply; what is moved should be insisted upon, whether one or all. In the case of Lord Clarendon, so often cited, &c. there was only special matter insisted upon by the Lords, &c. before they would commit him, and then they asked the opinion of the Judges, as now in this case they have done. Now the question is, whether you will not cozen yourselves in it, &c. if you insist upon this Bill (and no man is the better for Danby's going away) then you will have a good precedent for running away; but if you lay the weight upon the matter of securing Danby, that is in the judicial proceedings; and so you may put the Lords upon starting aside from the matter in question. Therefore I would not insist upon that, but touch it only.
Sir William Coventry.] The Lords may retract, if you infist upon that point of their not securing Danby. An error they committed the last Parliament is not a proper subjectmatter for this Conference, and they may say, "Your Managers have transgressed their bounds, for the Conference was asked upon the Amendments of the Bill, &c."
Mr Sacheverell.] The Lords have made you an offer which seems very kind, but is no way beneficial to your end, &c. They say, "What they have done in this Lord's case, &c. shall not be a precedent for the time to come." I am afraid the Lords foresee that your Articles have laid a foundation for the Commons to defend themselves, and so that shall not be a precedent. Possibly subversion of the Government is not by any positive Law High-Treason, reserved to judgment of Parliament by 25 Edw. III. Consider if you do not in a great measure deprive yourselves of that right, that the Lords have made a resolution in, "That Impeachment, and Writs of Error, &c. shall remain still, though the Parliament be prorogued or dissolved, &c." The Commons still have their right, and if you agree to this point, you may part with that, a much greater point.
Mr Hampden.] I have stood still to hear the prudential part of this matter only. The Question is, Whether you will meddle at all with the Lords omission of not securing Danby, &c. I would touch it the most you can do. In the preservation of your rights, you may go farther than touch it lightly; you must stand to it, and defend it; if you touch it lightly, you will rather lose than gain by it. Suppose any of the Lords (for they are touchy, and nice, and well versed in their methods) should reply upon it, and bring it in debate, should your Managers yield it, or argue it? I would rather let it alone at this time.
A Motion was made, That, on account of the general apprehension that Tangier was to be sold to the French, a Vote might pass, that those who shall advise the King to sell Tangier, shall be accounted enemies to the King and Kingdom.
Mr Seymour.] It is not fit for the House to receive any Motion that carries reflection on the Government. Search your Books, and you will not find one Vote like this; and this upon a suggestion only of bare hearsay. Things not fit to be moved are not fit to be proceeded in. If it be insisted upon, &c. you can find no such Vote upon your Books, &c. This not being annexed to the Crown of England by Law, you cannot vote him an enemy to the King and Kingdom, that advises the sale of it. There appears nothing of intention of the sale of it; and those are the fittest to judge of it, who have the only right to the sale. I think Tangier of such importance, that it will be the last thing in the world the King will part with, as knowing the consequence it is of for trade; and it is never to be suspected that the King will go any where for Money, but to his Parliament. As to bringing in a Bill to appropriate Tangier to the Crown of England, that may be done; but if you subject it to the Law of England, many things in the Government of Tangier are not applicable to the Law of England. Since all Gentlemen are persuaded in their opinion, that as to trade, we cannot be without it, I hope Gentlemen will take care to support it by some Clause in the Bill for appropriating it, &c.
Colonel Tilus.] I desire that Gentleman to remember, that on raising the Customs in the case of Alderman Chambers, 3Char. they that did it, were voted enemies to the King and Kingdom. Though Mr Finch said "it was in the worst of times," it was the 3 Char. the best of times.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] My argument was this: That which you design, is to prevent the sale of Tangier, whether by a Law, or Address to the King, &c. Your Vote cannot make it a Law. Next, that you deliver your opinion some way to save Tangier. But your Vote is no matter of record. It is for yourselves alone, upon your Books; and if you are of opinion that the keeping it is of absolute necessity, the way to make use of that, is to represent to the King the danger of parting with it, and then you are in the right.
Lord Cavendish.] Seymour said, "There was no precedent of such a Vote, to cast an aspersion upon the Government upon a bare suggestion." But if the thing be not prevented by bare suggestion, we shall never do it. These things and designs are works of darkness, and not to be discerned till they are done.
Col. Birch.] I hear it said, "that, if you resolve Tangier to be of such use to the Kingdom, then you should take the charge and care of it upon you." I must say, that Tangier was estimated, and Dunkirk too, into the charge of the 1,200,000l. Revenue for the King, upon the calculation of particulars. I would therefore vote as is moved, because Dunkirk was sold to the French, and a Bill was sent up to annex it to the Crown of England. As for the indecency of passing such a Vote, I have not had those advantages of education that other Gentlemen have, but I am sure there is safety in the Vote. How we shall keep it, is not the Question. It is said, "that the Government of Tangier cannot be applied to English Laws." But how was Calais governed, when in English hands? We shall find Laws to govern it, when once we are sure of it.
Sir Joseph Williamson.] I desire to give my opinion, and reasons for it, in what is moved. The importance of Tangier is too well known, and I take it to be highly criminal to advise the selling of it. It is not a plain open country, but a Port. A Counsellor that advises selling this, as a Port, is highly criminal. I will not therefore easily suspect any such. Then, as to the prudential part, men of experience in commerce and navigation will tell you, that, however imperfect things are left there, yet it is of that importance and concernment in relation to Algiers, that hardly a buyer of it in Europe, but will be suspicious to us as an enemy. I am against the selling, and as much detest the thoughts of it, as any man; but you have no ground for your apprehensions that it is about to be sold, but a report at large. Grave Assemblies go not about to frame advice upon bare reports and possibilities of what, peradventure, may be only, without farther reasons for their apprehension. Supposing there were such a fear, yet you have a remedy to-morrow morning, by bringing in a Bill to annex it to the Crown, &c. Enough has been said of that, and things having been mentioned here, it is intimation enough of the danger of those persons who shall advise the sale of it. The Bill is reverential, and observant to the King. I would advise that, and lay aside the Vote.
Mr Hampden.] The manner of opposition to this Vote, moved for, is that which calls me up. It is said, "That those things are not sit to be moved, that are not fit to be proceeded in." But I think, that only such things as are never sit to be moved, are never sit to be proceeded in. If the thing be so highly criminal to advise it, and necessary to the Nation, and your duty to prevent it, then let your mind be known before-hand, that your justice may light the heavier upon them that shall attempt to advise the sale of it. Chambers's case mentioned, in which there was such a Vote as is now moved for, was in good times, or at least called so; and that Vote, "That whosoever shall lay any Tax, or Tallage, &c. upon the people, without consent of Parliament, are enemies to the King and Kingdom."
Sir Henry Capel.] It is objected, "that this is a summary Vote." But whilst the Bill is passing to annex Tangier, &c. we must declare as is moved, for we know not what stop this Bill may have, that is of so much consequence. Therefore I would make such a Vote.
Sir William Hickman.] A Gentleman said (Seymour) "That it is not to be expected that the King will go to any body for Money but the Parliament." But when I consider that, the last year, application was made to the French King for six millions of livres, mentioned in the Treasurer's Letter to Mr Montagu (fn. 3), without Parliament, and the Parliament then sitting, we may suppose this may be done. Therefore I move as before.
Mr Love.] I am apt to believe, that the intention of selling Tangier is not so, because that Honourable Person (Seymour) who is near the King, says so, but it is talked familiarly. If the French have that, they will have as good an advantage as they that have the Sound. If Tangier were under water, I should be glad of it; but seeing we have it, it is not a time to say, that it is no matter if it were gone. If it were in the hands of the Dutch, or the Spanish galleys, your trade is gone. You have been told, "it may be parted with if besieged, and cannot be kept." It may be worth millions to the French; they may then put what impositions upon our trade they please.
Mr Hampden, jun. (fn. 4).] Whoever advises the selling of Tangier, has not the Nation at his heart; and whoever has advised all the ill we have gone under, may procure persons to advise the sale of Tangier. Therefore I move as before.
Sir Francis Winnington.] The Gentlemen that move against the Vote, call it "highly criminal to advise the King to sell Tangier." All conclude it of great consequence to the Nation. Either the King is advised to sell it, or not: If nobody has advised it, the Vote touches nobody; if there be any such—had there been such a Vote, Dunkirk had not been sold; and we may reasonably believe it, when Statesmen put the King upon such necessities as of late they have done. You were formerly told, "that Dunkirk was a charge to the King, and therefore sold;" but I had rather give a charge out of my estate, than I would have aggrandized the French King. It is said, "That this advice to the King of selling Tangier is not on foot." But that which is vox populi, common same, is an instruction to us to give counsel. But when there is opposition to the debating it, it looks as if there was something in it. If the thing be done, it is no hurt to us; and when I hear so many wise men say, "That they who advise it are enemies to the King and Kingdom," pray put the Question for the Vote.
Resolved, Nemine contradicente, That those who shall advise his Majesty to part with Tangier to any foreign Prince or State, or be instrumental therein, ought to be accounted enemies to the King and Kingdom.
A Bill was ordered in to annex it to the Crown of England (fn. 5).
Thursday, April 10.
Mr Boscawen.] Those Gentlemen that are for bringing in Irish Cattle, are not disposed to the interest of their country. This is to put out one of their eyes, to put out both of their neighbour's. It is said, "That it is unjust to take trade from Ireland, and freedom of trade." London is the great seat of the trade of England; it is four parts in five of the whole Nation. If they have so much greater advantage of the trade of Ireland, and the parts about it, &c. it is just that the country should have some share of trade too. Exception is taken, that we look upon the Irish as foreigners, &c. Foreign bought, and foreign sold, &c. Essex calves are sold double the price of Welch and Western runts. As for saying the keeping Irish Cattle out, has spoiled trade; the remote parts from London are spoiled in trade, which ought to be considered, who have now little wool and yet the price is fallen, and in some countries not half the sheep they had, and that is an argument that we want no Cattle, and that we have stock enough. If Cattle come out of Ireland, English Cattle will be sold cheaper, and that takes away the profit of the stock, and then the land will be turned into more corn—What is got by them, is part for themselves, and the whole for Ireland.
Sir William Coventry.] I shall not trouble you with any discourse of trade; but in short the Question is, amongst ourselves, upon which our Resolutions turn, viz. What is good for us, and what is bad? Gentlemen are to consider the general and universal good, which must take place of the more particular good. This lies between the breeding and feeding ground. It is said, "That English Cattle are cheaper now than they have been for ten years." But I fear, there is another reason for that; it is the uncertainty we stand upon for our peace and quiet. My neighbours in the country told me, that the market fell upon the news of the Protogation, and rose again when we sat. The matter of Popery, and the fears of France, there is not the poorest man but considers that. He knows not how soon he may have soldiers take away what he has, and he will not lay out his money in stock. But this is a reason that I hope is not durable. I hope this Parliament will secure the people's fears. Now for the breeding and feeding lands, let Gentlemen apply their thoughts; there is an obligation upon us to consider the major part of either in the value of the Nation; for that defends us, and pays Taxes, &c. and ought to be supported. If there be a thousand acres of rich land to three hundred of breeding land, is it prudence to improve the three hundred as much as you lose in the thousand? If the feeding land be richer in the lump, and defends the Nation, that ought to be taken care of in the first place. As to the common people, there is no comparison, who receives advantage or disadvantage by it. It is plain, if Irish Cattle be kept out, it makes fiesh dearer, and then comes in that consideration, that all who depend upon manufactures and navigation will have it cheaper, and not dearer.
The Debate was interrupted by a free Conference, which Sir Thomas Lee reported; That the Managers had, as well as they could, supported the Reasons, &c. you formerly sent the Lords, &c. The Lords had better explained themselves thus; "That being in another Parliament, they hoped the Commons would not take offence that they have reversed a Resolution of the former Parliament. They have sent an Order to take the Earl of Danby into the custody of the Black Rod."
Mr Powle.] The Lords seem to retract their error, &c. and that the not securing the Earl of Danby, &c. shall not be upon their Books for the future. I would have some Members search the Lords Books, to see if it be so entered.
Sir Robert Peyton presented a Petition from Dr John Nelson, Doctor of Law and Divinity, which sets forth, "That he did not publish the Book of "Letters, &c. from a Jesuit at Paris" (See the Print;) but that the Earl of Danby, having got a copy of it, caused Hills the Printer to print it."
Sir Thomas Exon, Doctor of Laws.] By other books this Doctor has writ, he has showed himself loyal; and it was quite contrary to his intention that this pamphlet should ever be printed. He humbly supplicates your compassion for what he has done.
Mr Garroway.] I am against reading this Petition; you had good reason for the commitment of this Doctor, and he has not yet been at the Bar; and for what books Exon speaks of, that he has wrote, they are against the Church of England, and we may find good occasion to question him for them. I am against reading his Petition till he has been at the Bar to acknowlege his fault, and asked the Pardon of the House.
Sir Nathaniel Herne.] He pretends this book written for information, &c. but it is against the Doctrine of the Church of England, and there are such desperate hints in it, that it is fit he should answer it at the Bar.
Mr Montagu.] I am against discharging him till Lord Danby be tryed. One of the Articles against Danby is, "That he is a favourer of Popery," and so against the Church of England; and this man, by his encouragement, has written this Book.
Colonel Tilus.] I know not the man's merit, or poverty (as has been alleged;) but I hear it said, that he has 700l. a year in preferments, and I believe his merit is as much as his poverty. It is said that he is a Protestant; but he has written a Book in the name of a Jesuit. I like not such Protestants. It is said abroad, that there are Protestant hands in the Plot; and will not the world believe it, from such a Book, &c.? He would make the world believe that it is the Jesuits advice to fall upon the Ministers. Danby gave order for printing this Book, and I believe for the writing it too. It may be, if you send for him, he may say something to give you farther light into the matter. You ought not to condemn him unheard, therefore I would read the Petition.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] His Petition is a kind of justification of what he has done. He says, "he wrote only what might be said as to affairs." As if the meeting of this Parliament was to be managed by the conduct of the Jesuits. Two or three years since, a Book was written, called "The Countermine;" when the Parliament was in a good humour against France: At that time, a Book came out to parallel those Counsels to the Proceedings in 1641. If this man was the author of it, it was a desperate and seditious thing. In his Petition he lays something to the Printer's charge. I would have a Committee to examine the matter and the Printer.