Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 9. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
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Friday, February 22.
Resolved, That an Address be made to the King for a Proclamation to apprehend Mr Brent; and for a reward to him that shall take him, &c.
Sir Robert Howard.] According to your Command, I have brought an Account of Moneys delivered to Burton and Graham by Privy Seal, under the Title of "Prosecution of Law Suits." I have set down the day and year. The greatest Sum is 47,884l. &c. As for Secret Service, there will be a time to give you an Account of that, which may exceed a Million from the year 1679. Since there has been a Noise of this Business, I have received a Letter from Mr Burton, who desires to speak with me in the Tower. According to the Pleasure of the House, I shall go, or not go. I have showed the Letter to the Speaker.
Col. Whitley.] I know not what reward others have had, but I have paid above 23,000l. because I was told, I voted against the King in this House. I was one of the Commissioners to disband the Army: I would not deliver up Chester Charter: I am a Neighbour and Alderman of that City. These were my Crimes.
Mr Somers.] A thing once moved here may be soon public, and spread abroad. I move therefore that the Honourable Person may go to Burton presently.
Ordered, That Sir Robert Howard do immediately go and speak with Mr Burton in the Tower.
Sir William Williams.] If you can come at the Bills how the Money was paid upon Account of these Disbursements, then you have your end. You will find them hunting after the blood of Men: You are told of a large Account of "Secret Service;" when that shall come in, I would appoint a Committee to enquire into it.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] This, I believe, is in order to Impeachments for the discovery of the blood of those who suffered; and, for the present, to have what light you can, refer it to a Committee.
Col. Birch.] If for every great Business you will refer it to a Committee, you may employ the whole House. I would have it referred to the same Committee for Sir James Smith.
Mr Leveson Gower.] After King James sent out a Proclamation for a Parliament, there were Instructions to recommend Persons to be chosen, on purpose that the People should have Jealousies of them that they might not be chosen; one Roberts was employed by Brent to his Corporation to chuse me on purpose to keep me out. I would have this Roberts sent for.
February 23, Omitted (fn. 1).
Monday, February 25.
In a Grand Committee on the King's Speech.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] We have great Obligation to Holland; but I believe in ten days time we shall have an Account. The Condition of Holland is, they are at War with the greatest Power in the World. I would know the Condition of our Alliance with them; perhaps we shall enlarge it. I would not be hoodwinked. I would fully know it, and I hope we shall give found and good Advice. Though Holland has done great things for us, and though Holland is first in the King's Speech, I believe it an inadvertency. Ireland goes nearest us, and is of the greatest consideration; I would know the Condition of Ireland; which is not to be done without a clear Representation of it exposed to us, and I care not how soon it may be. I fear to-morrow will be too soon, the King being at Hampton Court.
Mr Hampden.] I was not at the first part of the Debate, but it seems to tend to the King's Speech, which declares his desire that you would consider of Alliances abroad, and of Ireland, which relates not only to our being, but our well being. 'Tis said by Clarges, "he would have an Explanation of the King's Speech" The King is not in town; but what use of it, if he were in town? You have his Speech, but if you would have particulars day after day, you will have no use of it; but whether will the State of Affairs bear your particular consideration? I am not moving for Money, but whether you will have a long series of Affairs, now every body expects its Action—Your Friends are afraid, and your Enemies laugh at delay—But if any man moves for Aid, then, by Order, you must appoint a day to consider of it. I wish with all my heart the House would consider of an Aid to the King, and I hope it will be for the Honour of the King, and the Nation, as much as can be, and I move you will consider it to-morrow.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] There is nothing yet before you to answer that Motion. I am as forward as any body to aid the King, but we are not proper for that till the State of the Revenue be brought in and exposed to you, which may do sufficiently. The Long Robe are of opinion, that the King is invested with it, and in possession of it, and holds it Jure Coronœ. I know in last King James's time, the first thing spoken of in Parliament was Aids, though I know heretofore Aids used to be the last. I hope we shall not be told we want Affections to the King, but I would go by the steps our Ancestors have trod it. I would know what the Revenue is, and then the uses to put it to. Ireland will cost so much, and Holland so many men and ships; when the Charge is before you, we shall know our Measures, and till 'tis clear to us that there is an use of Aid, 'tis not at all proper to consider it; therefore I move to adjourn this to Wednesday.
Mr Pilkington.] I move that, without delay, we may speedily fall on consideration of the King's Speech, suitable to what the Parliament is called together for.
Mr Howe.] I am well pleased we should consider the relief of Ireland, but our affairs at home fright us more than those abroad; the old Army is rather grown worse than mended. I have a Letter from my Corporation (Cirencester) that the Soldiers quartered there, will not let the People make Bonfires at proclaiming the King, and they are not checked by their Officers. If you give pay to the Officers, it is not convenient the Soldiers should have pay to cut our throats. Let the Army be in the hands of those the King may trust, and then give Money.
Sir William Williams.] If you will consider the King's Speech, you have fair room to debate on Aid, and, what belongs to it, the quantity and consideration of the Revenue. War and Peace we meddle not with; we are only to supply it. How far the Revenue was settled on the late King, whether all or part vested in him by Law, is fit to be considered. If there be a defect, it may be supplied by Act of Parliament; it is not fit to leave these things in the dark. When that is done you may consider of Aids, without going upon it hastily. But to say, that time will not stay for it—I am as much for haste as any body, but to justify myself to my Country, we cannot come at this matter without knowing whether you will continue the Revenue, or reverse all the last Parliament did. I am for supporting the King, both at home and abroad, in what fairly may be done, and all these things come naturally out for the King and Country.
Resolved, That the House will to-morrow Morning resolve itself into a Grand Committee to consider the King's Speech.
On leave being asked to bring in a Bill for taking away the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and to insert others, &c.
Mr Sacheverell.] I agree to the Motion for this Bill, to take away the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and in their stead to insert Oaths to this King and Queen. And I would have the other Oaths in the Act for regulating Corporations taken away. You have the same power to alter those as you have these.
Sir Robert Howard.] I would not charge this Bill with too many things; it will be long before you have the effect of it. The University, the Judges, and all other Officers, require speedy dispatch, and in time that Act of Corporations may be taken away at one blow. That Act had as much intrinsic Iniquity as any Act whatsoever. I would have an Act to take away any obligation to take the Sacrament upon accepting any Office; it is a prophaning the Sacrament. When that Act passed here, I remember it was moved by good Church of England-men.
Sir Henry Capell.] What belongs to the Oaths to the King and Queen, &c. I would have in one Act. I think it is well moved about the Corporation Oaths. I am glad to see men tender in Oaths; the fewer in the Government the better. The design formerly here was to bring the Government into as few hands as they could, and to bring in Popery at the bottom of all. I would have no more Oaths than are necessary to support the Government. The Corporation Oath was to establish arbitrary Power by Law. The Revenue of Corporations has been ill managed. I move that there may be leave to bring in such a Bill. As for what relates to the Sacrament, every body knows my Education has been for the Church of England, and I will live and die with it, but I would have the receiving the Sacrament, to qualify for those Offices, cease. It was pressed at here by men of great Abilities, and good Churchmen, were against it. Such use was made of it that People could not sell Ale without it, and that holy thing was profaned. The Test will do very well without it, and I would have it removed.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If the Oath be taken away in the Corporation Act, "that it is not lawful to resist the King," it implies you may resist him. As for the Sacrament, &c. "if you take away the whole Act, take away that;" I think that unreasonable. The public profession of the Church of England enjoins, "that the Sacrament be received at least once a year." There is no example in the whole World where any are in Office, and not of the public profession of the Religion of that Country. Men cannot be surprized, nor will there be any profaning the Sacrament, being obliged to receive it but once a year. I am not for taking away the whole Oath, but for having it explained.
[Leave was given to bring in such a Bill.]
Tuesday, February 26.
Mr Howe.] I received a Letter from my Corporation [Cirencester] last night, which acquaints me, with all the Terror that can be expressed, that the Soldiers are so insolent there, that, contrary to the interest of the King and Queen, they proclaim King James. 'Tis time to prevent these insolences—They drank King William's and Queen Mary's Damnation. I believe the Justices will not redress this—The Clergy are got into Cabals, and they would not appear at the Proclamation. I believe the black Coats, and the red Coats, to be the grievances of the Nation. I would willingly satisfy the poor People I represent.
In a Grand Committee on the King's Speech.
Mr Eyre.] He who spoke last began about the middle of the King's Speech, short, but multum in parvo. That we may be able to come to some resolution, I desire we may go on, Paragraph by Paragraph.
Lord Falkland.] We ought to take that first on which all the rest is founded. That upon settlements at home is the foundation of all the rest. Whatever is done in relation to Ireland, and abroad, Money must be thought of, and I propose that for consideration.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] That is irregular, for it is not referred to you by the House to consider of, and therefore out of course, and Money is a tender matter. As I understand, the Speech points directly to the matter of Settlement, and the condition of Allies abroad and Holland, (and so reads it) so the King here advises a good Settlement. And it seems to me this good Settlement is to change this Convention into a Parliament; so had not the wisdom of this House turned this Convention into a Parliament, you would have advised the King speedily to have called one; and as the King leaves it to your wisdom to consider what Acts to propose, so now 'tis a proper time for a Settlement of your chief errand; therefore I would consider what foundation that may subsist upon; they are there but in the nature of Projections. I shall not direct, but I think the purport of the King's Speech is to consider a Settlement most for the King's advantage and our good. And therefore I move it.
The Speaker resumed the Chair, upon occasion of some strangers being in the Gallery, and left it again.
Mr Garroway.] We are invited by the King's Speech to make out a Settlement to secure ourselves, &c. We heard yesterday from the Gentlemen of the Long Robe, that the Revenue is not ceased by the Demise of the King—If provision be not made against the disorder of the Soldiers, 'tis not safe for us to sit here— How you will go about that I see not, till you know whether the Revenue be really settled in the Crown; and then you will know what to trust to. If there be a doubt upon it, we must go some other way; but if you declare the Revenue settled, it may end all discourses.
Sir William Williams.] You are told of the Long Robe's discourses of the Revenue; if any doubt or question be upon it, clear it. The measure of the matter before you must be the Revenue certain upon the Crown, and you may measure by it. I take it from the Acts of the last Parliament, (made in great haste) which are very doubtful to me, and I would be cleared, and come speedily to a resolution, if it be a good Revenue, for the use of the Prince; if not, declare it so.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I was with an honourable Person discoursing of the Revenue, that I was not free to grant it for Life. Learned men are of opinion, that all of the Revenue granted for Life of the late King is to the benefit of this King Jure Coronœ. If it be so, I shall acquiesce in it, that the King may have it with honour for the support of the Government.
Mr Pollexfen.] What opinion I was then of, I am now, and am ready to tell my Reasons. If the Revenue goes not with the Crown, where is it? Where the Crown is gone, the Revenue is gone. It always goes where the public capacity goes: I never knew the contrary. "But the Revenue (it may be said) is granted to the King for Life." I would have the words of that Act read, (which was read) I will take it in the several parts of it: "It does give and grant, &c." and next, " it shall be received by the King for Life;" with reference to the former Acts. Now whether this be in the King, &c. If I make a Lease to the King for Life, as long as he lives amongst men, 'tis a good Lease, if a man enters into Religion, or be attainted of Treason—Suppose the King granted a Pension, or charged it, &c. for his Life—If civilly dead, this never qualifies the first Grant for natural Life. Then next, whither must the Revenue go? Shall it go from the succession? Then this being granted to succession, it follows, the Crown must have it, for maintenance of the State and Government of the Kingdom. This is the Reason I give my opinion upon.
Sir William Pulteney.] Under favour, I think estates given to James II are expired and determined; he having abdicated the Government, and thereby the Throne become vacant. Whatever relates to King James II is determined. I agree, if it be a Lease for Life of King James II, it is not determined by his Abdication, and that Grant does not determine the Grant over to another, if granted to a person for Life, and he be attainted, or civiliter morluus. But our case stands on another bottom, on a construction by Act of Parliament, which says, It shall be collected and paid, "to the King during his Life.'i "'Tis our security, as well as support of the Crown, to have the Revenue in our disposal; though I am not against granting it, yet I would have it from three years to three years, to secure us a Parliament. At least it is a doubtful case. But King James has abdicated, &c. and is no King, and there is an interregnum. How we can count this man alive, I know not. I am for settling it as you shall think fit.
Serjeant Holt.] It is not the Question concerning the expedience or convenience, but how this matter stands in point of Law? Upon reading the Act, it carries a plain construction expressly; for King James II had it for Life, and that King James is now living, which the House has declared, and that he has abdicated, &c. If that had not been, the Throne had not been vacant; and if King James be alive, the Revenue continues; and who must take it? The King takes it in his political capacity, which is not dead but remains. If King James be still alive, I see no reason that the Revenue is determined. If it be given to King James, 'tis a see simple; if to his Heirs and Successors, 'tis otherwise; his natural and political capacity, his Heirs and Successors. Suppose Tenant for Life be attainted, the King has it for life of the person attainted, and his Successor has it. Besides, not only his political capacity remains, but his trust for guarding the Seas, and he is a person that can answer the end of the trust. I hope you will not say the King is dead as to the vacancy of the Throne, and alive as to the Revenue.
Mr Peyton Ventris (fn. 2).] I should be loth the King's Revenue should depend upon doubt. Revenue given to the King is to his Successors, where the Act runs, "The King shall be paid it;" and "only to the present King devoted;" (see the Instrument) it belongs not to his Successors.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] There are three forts of Revenue, some for Life, and some for Successors, &c. The only Question is that for Life, and admitted in his political capacity; but with limitation for his natural Life, 'tis not so long as he shall continue King, but for his natural Life. 'Tis argued "that any Grant to the King in his political capacity is now determined, that carries a trust with it." Other Gentlemen say "this is but in the nature of an ordinary conveyance." Now who shall have this Estate? If a man enters into Religion, it does not determine the Estate, but the Heir shall enter. If it be granted to the King in his political capacity, it goes with the King in present. 'Tis most plain the trust is for the Public. I take the Law to be, that those Grants are construed in the common course of Law.
Sir John Guise.] What is given to the King, I conceive, is not as he is King, but for support of the Nation, to take care of it. If so given, then 'tis not the King's going away who was to receive it, 'tis not come to be nothing, but is fallen upon the Lords and Commons— And no more is conveyed than granted; therefore I would declare it in the King.
Lord Falkland.] Being settled on King James for Life, you cannot do it for King William, during King James's Life. You have declared the Throne vacant, and after it was so for some days. If the Revenue did cease when the Throne was vacant, I know not how it can be revived but by Act of Parliament. I would not have the Revenue doubtful, but clear it by Act of Parliament.
Sir George Treby.] The Long Robe were pointed at even now, and I will deliver my Opinion freely. I think 'tis mighty plain that this Crown is an hereditary Crown. Richard II abdicated, and there was a vacancy. When the King dies, nolens volens, the Crown descends to his Successor; but when he abdicates the Crown, the disposing of it comes to the Lords and Commons, and must be so accepted by the King. Lord Falkland is above the study of the Law, but if he was conversant, he would know that if a Revenue is granted to John-a-Styles for Life, though the King dies, if John-a-Styles is alive, that Lease is not void. I have spoken of this variously, and was not determined in my thoughts till this morning, but now am of opinion that it rests in the Life of King James II. From the opinion of the last Parliament, and this too, the Revenue is of Inheritance of years and life. That upon which the Question arises is that of the Customs, and half the Excise, given to the King, and limited to his Life, in his corporeal capacity. What is meant by the King's Life? I think, not his Reign, for it might have been as well expressed his Reign, and as well now; but I think it is intended, during his natural Life. If all the Parliament were asked, when that Grant passed, if they intended, that, as long as King James should live, it should return to the People,—they would say no. In those three sorts of Revenue 'tis expressed in the same words as this, for Life—His Majesty for Life. Is that for eight years determined? No. Which implies that 'twill go to his Successor, notwithstanding his Demise or Abdication. 'Tis as reasonable to construe this so too, and expound one part by another. Had it not been for this unfortunate change for James II, (which I speak of with melancholy thoughts) you yourselves in effect have declared your mind as to this Revenue. When you desired the Prince of Orange to take upon him the Administration of the Government, you remember that Gentleman who said, "we were no Parliament," said, "we wanted only a Declaration of it, but had not formality"—When the Prince of Orange was happily arrived, and the Lords and Commons were summoned, they advised the Prince to take the Administration of Affairs upon him, Civil and Military, and the public Revenue. He put out a Declaration of the great disorder in collecting the Customs, and appointed Officers to receive and collect the same till the 22d of January, the time the Convention was to meet. Then you addressed him with Thanks for accepting the Government, and desired him to continue the receiving the Revenue, &c. which could have no other interpretation than what Revenue was then in being; and it is strange it should not be continued, and nothing of consent in Parliament. Till King, Lords, and Commons are actually joined to the King, 'tis no Parliament—If so, you declare William has done what James II did, and what you thought a Grievance. No man but concludes the uncertainty of the Revenue to the King for another man's Life; and I need not labour the matter.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I do not labour this, but I offer only, that, if there be any doubt, you will put it past doubt.
Mr Howe.] One would have the Revenue during King James's life, and another during King William's; but I would make no such Leases, but from time to time by Parliament. I hope Westminster-Hall shall never decide our Purses, what we are to give. I think King James did abdicate the Revenue; nay, that he did forfeit it to somebody's hands, and if we could give it, nemo dat quod non habet. That the Crown is forfeited, and that the Lords and Commons offered it as a Present to King William, and that they have a right to offer this Revenue as a Present to him, is my opinion.
Mr Godolphin.] I am willing to divide with both opinions. I believe, that Parliament that gave this Revenue, intended not to give it to King William; for there were no thoughts then of King James's Abdication. If any doubt be in the House, it is in your power to put it out of doubt.
Sir Jonathan Jennings.] 'Tis highly necessary to come to an end of this Debate. There have been many cases put, and I hope some come up to our case. We are told, "some of the Revenue is for years, and some for life, and is in the present King as it was in King James." If a Patentee come and show you a Grant for years, or life, before the Abdication, declared even before the King left the Kingdom, shall not that stand good to the Patentee? And then, where shall be the support of the Government? I hope this will be suddenly answered, as a weak suggestion, and that you will go on.
Sir William Williams.] What is given, of this nature, is the gift of the Commons only, and the Crown is to take it as it is given. The People are the Donors, the King is the Donee—All agree, it is in the Crown as a Trust. Be it either way, I propose "that you will give it the King for three years."
Sir Richard Temple.] You have had a long Debate, and 'tis hard to know what to advise you in this case. You have heard the Gentlemen of the Long Robe, who tell you "the Revenue is still in being, and applicable to King William; but you must still declare it in King William by Act of Parliament;" meaning, should you do it by Vote alone, it will not be so satisfactory. The reasons offered do not take away all doubt. 'Tis said, "the Revenue is granted to the late King, but with limitations, for Life:" I would know, whether in his natural capacity, or political? His political capacity ceases, and you have impowered the Prince of Orange to reign; but where was it during the Vacancy, when one of the capacities is gone? I would have it explained. This being the case, King William will hold it upon mighty uncertainties, if during the Life of King James: Therefore I would have a Bill brought in, to declare the Revenue as you shall think fit.
Col. Birch.] 'Tis very convenient that this matter be cleared. I perceive this is a doubt amongst learned Gentlemen. I cannot think that this being given for King James's Life, is intended longer than his Reign, when he does not protect and defend you. Could it be intended, if you give it King William for Life, if he cannot reign over us? No doubt it is a Revenue which fell into the same power and authority that the Government fell into, which was Lords and Commons. Though King William be sufficiently indemnified by Act of Parliament, &c. and though you did think fit to give the Kingship out of yourselvss, you will bear me witness, I was one of the forwardest to part with it; and so I would do with the Revenue. But our greatest misery was, our giving it to King James for Life, and not from three years to three years, and so you might have often kissed his hands here. I do not believe that King William would have it longer: Perhaps persons would make it their interest to keep us asunder, but such a Grant will keep us together.
Sir George Treby.] This Gentleman has commended us of the Long Robe for our learning. But as for his reason, "that he has had Kingship in him, and knows King William's mind;" he is too hard a match for me to deal with him. He says, "the Revenue was to King James no longer than he should protect us, but given to King William because he does protect us." But what if he subvert?—We should then give to one to redeem us.
Col. Birch.] If King William should destroy the Laws, Foundations, and Liberties, I doubt not but you will do with him as you did with King James. As to my knowing King William's mind, if it is his mind to have some for Life, then, by chance, it is beyond the intention of this House.
Mr Finch.] The Revenue, without all manner of objection, is better for the Nation than disputable, and that there should be a Revenue necessary to support the Crown and you. The Law allows no distinction of capacities in the King, as his political and natural capacity. 'Tis an old mistake, as old as Edward II's time; and you know what use the Spencers made of it: They ought not to be separated by Law. 'Tis said, in the Act, "During the King's Life, which God long preserve;" as if to preserve his Reign, and not his Life. 'Tis said, "You have desired the King to collect the Revenue, till it shall be farther settled." You will find, all along, the Revenue collected in the name of King James, collected and administered in his name: I think that no argument, to continue longer that political capacity. To give the King, for the safety and protection of the Kingdom, in his political capacity, then you give to all the Succession in political capacity. 'Tis most proper to give such a Revenue; and I move, to give the King a Revenue to support the Crown.
Mr Somers.] This case of the Revenue is of great consequence, and certainly 'tis manifestly a doubt. But I cannot agree that the natural and political capacity, &c. are not distinguished; because our Laws do distinguish them. But I think an 'Act of Parliament much expounds them, when a Revenue is granted for the King's Life. For increasing the King's Revenue, when you limit it, 'tis for Life, and can be intended no longer than in the Preamble of the Act, which intends it for his Reign; therefore settle it in the most solemn and perfect way. With a common person it ends with Life; but a Demise and Abdication of the Crown do extinguish his Title to it. Settle it as you please.
Sir Robert Howard.] As it has been moved by the learned person, let us go upon certainty. You have said, that King James has abdicated the Government, and you have disposed of the Crown; I cannot apprehend how he abdicated the Crown, and not the Revenue. I deal freely with you; Tallies are struck in King James's name, but I have prepared an instrument to the contrary. If you are not in a condition to dispose of the Revenue, how came it into your hands to dispose of the Crown? I think both are inseparable. Suppose he that has the Crown retire into a Monastery, and is incapable to govern, and a Revenue is given him for Life, is his not the case of a private man? He is no longer a King. 'Tis my opinion, that the Revenue of the Crown is from the People, and the Nation; as you have disposed of the one, you may dispose of the other; and so you may proceed to show how it shall be disposed of by Act of Parliament.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] If this Question be carried in the Negative, where is your Revenue, and how shall the Kingdom subsist? People are not apt to part with Money, and your Vote will not make Law, and it is no more Law by your Vote; it must be by Act of Parliament; and the greatest security to the Crown is, not to put that Question, but to bring in a Bill.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If we bring in a Bill, it must be a Bill to grant a Revenue; and it is not to begin here, but from the whole House. 'Tis most proper and natural to put the Question, Whether the Revenue be in the King; and then the House to go into a Grand Committee. I have heard the Gentlemen of the Long Robe with great attention; but one thing sticks with me: There is a great difference betwixt what was anciently, and now; formerly the Crown subsisted by Lands of its own, but now by what arises out of the Subject.
Mr Pollexfen.] There are no rules of Law to distinguish one sort of inheritance of the Crown, and another King James had the Right in him, and his Heirs and Successors had it, and no distinction in Law of his political and natural capacity. If an Estate be granted for Life to King James, there is no distinction and limitation of Estates betwixt Grants to the King and a private inheritance.
Sir Henry Capel.] The rule we go by here is Justice and Truth. I would know if we have done Justice to fill the Throne with King William and Queen Mary? Is it a prudent thing for us to say, that King James II is no King, and yet James II has a Revenue? I remember, on Debates on the Exclusion-Bill, Gentlemen that argued against it, alleged "that there was no danger in the Duke of York's coming to the Crown; for, when the King dies, the Revenue ceases; and the Parliament will take care of Religion, before they grant it." We have seen that has been otherwise. When the King has abdicated the Government, it is inconsistent with reason to think otherwise. I think this matter relates to Money, therefore 'tis proper to be in a Committee of the whole House.
Sir Robert Howard.] The Question may have inconveniences; therefore resolve the House into a Grand Committee.
[Resolved, That this House will, to-morrow morning, resolve itself into a Grand Committee, to take into consideration the King's Revenue.]
Wednesday, February 27.
In a Grand Committee on the King's Revenue.
Mr Hampden in the Chair.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I do not well comprehend Cotton (Sir Robert, of Cambridgeshire) who desires, "that the Revenue may be a Million"—If two years, two Millions; and his desire answered—I would do my duty to my Country, as well as to the King, and expect from the King what I do not from others. I would have the Monarch and the People in mutual confidence, or else there is no safety to either. I think we ought to be cautious of the Revenue, which is the life of the Government, and consider the two last Reigns. It seems, by the King's Declaration, we are out of danger of falling into the misfortunes of the two last Governments. If you give this Revenue for three years, you will be secure of a Parliament. I doubt not the people of England, when they meet here, and have good execution of their Laws, and are in security and safety; 'tis an unreasonable supposition, that the people will not aid him according to his occasions. And I move, "that the Revenue may be settled for three years."
Sir Robert Sawyer.] I believe Sir Robert Howard can give you an account of the yearly value of the Revenue.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] When you have overcome this, I would have it determined, whether the temporary part of the Excise and the Customs are in being, before you proceed to any farther matters.
Mr Love.] I find there will be occasion of discourses, what the Revenue is? Therefore I move, that Howard may give you the Revenue. When all is before you, you may consent to such a Revenue as may make the King great to all the World.
Sir John Lowther.] I shall be sorry, in the Motion I shall make, to be an instrument to lose the good correspondence betwixt the King and you. We are not secure from danger; and I believe you will not lessen your reputation abroad, by having an entire confidence in him, and being perfectly united in interest and affection. The States of Holland are now engaged against the mighty power of France; and, I believe, you would not have the reputation of the King lessened in that Court. The King of France has 200,000 men, has equipped many ships, is preparing to assist King James in Ireland, and has great correspondence in Scotland. The Duke of Gordon is in possession of Edinburgh Castle, and it is thought will make King James a passage into Scotland by Ireland. The French King is upon his march with 80,000 men into Flanders, with design upon Holland; I know not what can resist him, unless that little State, by the blessing of God, can do it. This is the state of affairs abroad: The Army is discontented at home. All this considered, I would have Gentlemen consider, whether it is not necessary that there should be confidence in the King. I doubt not but the King will call Parliaments often. If I had thought him a man of that temper as not to call Parliaments, I should never have ventured my life and fortune for him; and if he would not have continued to support the Protestant Religion. If these considerations move with you, I shall be glad of it; if not, I shall comply with any other Motion.
Sir Edward Seymour.] You have had a representation of the difficulties you are under. Arguments are not much altered from former times to make us unanimous in assisting the King; but now they serve for another turn. What you settle on the Crown, I would have so well done as to support the Crown, and not carry it to excess. We may date our misery from our bounty here. If King Charles II had not had that bounty from you, he had never attempted what he had done. In his time, it was only, ask and have, carried on to that attempt as to hazard our ruin. Now we have a Monarch, we must support him. I was sorry to hear what I did yesterday (from Birch) as if the King was like a single person, to call him to account when we will, and that we should so soon change our respect to him. If we settle the Revenue, I would enquire into it; if you know not the value of what is given, you cannot do it effectually. There is great need of Money, and when you know the particulars of the Revenue, you may better consider of it, and not go away with names, but do things. Before you make any settled resolutions, enquire into it; and, if possible, that the whole Revenue granted may be at one time certain, and not a part temporary. To enquire into the Revenue is your best method.
Sir Francis Drake.] We are told of former excess of giving Money: I was never for it, because it was against the interest of the Nation, to stab our Religion, and Laws. I thank God, we are delivered from these men; now we are under a Prince who has deserved well of the Nation in delivering us, and I would give him the best acknowlegement we can, but not to prejudice the People. The same reasons for not giving formerly make me for it now, for our Prince to support the Honour of the Nation. 'Tis proposed, "that you calculate what is necessary to support the honour and dignity of the Crown." I believe you will have an account given in a short time. I would appoint tomorrow for it.
Sir Robert Howard.] I wish I could give the House satisfaction concerning the Revenue now—What was said is very true, that heat of Loyalty was carried on formerly to excess, but there is not that argument to carry us on now. If the Religion of the one and the other were the same, then be careful of excess; but coldness now will have more fatal effects. The Question now is, Whether you will grant the Revenue for Life, or Years? I have heard the argument for granting it only for three years, but to secure Parliaments. I will lay little argument upon the stress of a Protestant King, and no danger of Religion. I never will speak against a Triennial Parliament. When a Popish King has received such testimony of kindness from the Parliament as to have the Revenue for Life, if a Prince, come in to save your Religion and Laws, should not have the same confidence, it will be thought a great coldness. It will be a matter of great rejoicing beyond sea, if we come up with more chearfulness to that King who would have imposed upon you what this King has delivered you from. It may give encouragement to your enemies—Here are great dislikes, of a sad and cloudy nature; this may extend to cloud means minds, and extend to Elections of Parliament-men, for the future. Perhaps arguments of so short a term as three years may give encouragement to your enemies, when 'tis said that all must depend on the condition of the Revenue: You yourselves, when you shall see the condition of the Revenue, may more easily settle your thoughts, what you will do for three years, or longer.
Mr Eyre.] I move, that the debts of the Crown may be brought in, with the Charges upon the Revenue.
Sir Robert Clayton.] I am afraid that will not do your business. I apprehend that there may be legal Charges on the Revenue, as the Bankers Debt, and other legal Charges; and if the Courts of Justice do well, they will recover it on the King.
Mr Garroway.] The Bankers Debt is named: I believe it is upon that part of the Excise which legally ought not to be charged: There are Sollicitors at the door in this business already.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Since the Bankers Debt is named, when you come to look into the Revenue, you will see whether the Bankers Debt be legally due, and which ought to be paid. The case will be, whether the Crown has power to sell all the Revenue, not settled by Parliament—You must pay for what you buy, and yet come to the Lord Treasurer for it. I was of that Jury, when 80,000l. a year was bought valuably, and the Officers of the Exchequer robbed them of it.
Sir Henry Capel.] For fear of the Bankers, I would not neglect the security of the Kingdom: But if it be charged upon a branch of the Revenue, which it ought not to be, it is no Debt.
Sir Robert Howard.] I had the Honour to be one of the Members appointed to examine Coleman, who said, "that a considerable sum was to be given to secure the Bankers Debt;" and if it was thought good then, what need of security?
Sir Thomas Lee.] I know not how this Debate of the Bankers comes regularly before you. I am not versed in the rules of the Exchequer, and less in Law; but I had it from Lord Clifford, "that, if the Bankers lent the King 100l. it was at 10 per Cent."—They could not advance Money—Tickets cost 2s. 6d. a-piece, and so, upon reckonings, they made the King pay 50 per Cent.
Mr Boscawen.] The Bankers agreed with Coleman for such a sum of money. A great deal of money was lent to King Charles II, on credit, in Lord Clifford's time; and the shutting up the Exchequer was looked upon as the greatest invasion of Property. It was to make War with Holland; and, without that illegal way, they could never have got Money to make War. I would have it brought in; if legal, it may be thought of; if illegal, made void.
Mr Pollexfen.] I am of the mind of the Gentleman, to give the King that which may not deceive him, and in him, ourselves. I would have the whole Debt and Charge brought in.
Mr Sacheverell.] I have known this of the Bankers formerly. If you look upon it as a Debt from the beginning, and examine the accounts, it may probably last you till Midsummer. There was great sollicitation in the House then, and some say foul—It was urged then, "if you can prove a just Debt, will you come to account of the Money you lent; and will you be content to stand by it, and fall by that account?" Then said I, "What reason have you to expect more privilege than all the other subjects of England, and there is no reason to look into it." Was it examined, it would be found, that the King was so far from being debtor to them, that they would be debtors to him.
Mr Garroway.] When the King, that now is, was here as Prince of Orange, I walked with him; and, discoursing of the Bankers, I told him, they might have had all their Debt paid, would they have discounted at 7 per Cent.
The rest of this day's Debate was spent in several Proposals for raising Money. [And it was agreed, That 420,000l.should be given his Majesty by a monthly Assessment; which was the next day agreed to by the House.] [February 28 omitted.]