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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Monday, March 11.
Sir John Guise.] There are three points touched upon in the King's Speech, relating to Money. The first is in relation to the advantage we have had from Holland, and what they have done for us, which we ought to be mighty sensible of, and touched with: And Gratitude becomes us—The danger for their Fleet in winter, &c. and the hazard that may be brought upon them by it. The next is, the consideration of Ireland: I would willingly have seen the State of the Army, and the Expence. The next is the Revenue, of which I would have all the branches before you, that you may consider, whether it shall be settled for Life, or Years.
Mr Papillon.] The consideration of Ireland, the Fleet, and Holland, all depend upon the Revenue, of which some is for Life, some for a term of Years. Some, the other day, thought all the Revenue was vested in the King; others did doubt it; therefore we ought to put it past doubt. Therefore I move for an Act to give and grant the Revenue to the King, that it may be collected without dispute, and an indemnity for the collecting it since the Vacancy; and if the State of the Revenue be ready, I would have it delivered in by Sir Robert Howard.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would have the redundancy of the Crown Revenue, after the Government is supplied, applied to the uses desired in the King's Speech; I mean, take the Customs to be 600,000l. one year with another. The Excise is a Revenue by itself. See to have also the Addition upon Linnen, Brandy, and Silk, and 400,000l. taken up upon them, and little to be depended on them—The Hereditary Revenue—The end of my proposition is, whether the Committee will take the Revenue as given in, or as I have reported it. I humbly propose, whether you will grant it for Life, or Years? I leave it to you.
Mr Garroway.] The Paper I have come by agrees with Clarges's account; but I think you are not ripe to come to that Question, whether the Revenue be standing, or not—Whether the Charges, for particular persons uses, upon the Revenue, shall continue? Begin, upon a fair clean paper, these Charges, whether they shall be continued, or taken away; and in that I shall serve you as well as I can.
Mr Sacheverell.] I take it, the Revenue ceases; 'tis rasa tabula; and I would have a short Bill to declare it so. Then you may declare such a part hereditary; but I shall be against a great Revenue, as in former time. If all may begin anew, I am ready to agree.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I hope you may have a shorter way. I remember, when the Debate was the other day, some were of opinion, that the Revenue discontinued; the Hereditary Revenue was in another condition; but the House avoided that Question, and referred it to a Committee. The hereditary part of the Excise is not above 300,000 l. per Ann. granting it to be in the King and his Successors from such a day from the time you have declared the Abdication.
Col. Birch.] I think, the Parliament were very prudent in the year 1661. The case was then directly as it is now. The Revenue was supposed to cease, and many, in London and elsewhere, hesitated the payment. You will not find it in your Journal, but in another place; and they declared, that it should be collected as legally as it was, for about six weeks, by reason that, in the mean time, they might settle it as now it is. Pass therefore a Question, that the Revenue be collected as legally it might have been, &c. till farther consideration be had of it. In short, the country do generally hesitate, and keep all in their hands except 15d. the Barrel. Therefore first put the Question, that the Money may come in to the respective Offices; and I would now order a Bill accordingly.
Mr Garroway.] I think you are not yet come so far. You say, it shall be collected; but you do not say to what end. Will you be tied up, by such a Vote, before you determine whether it be a standing Revenue, or an Aid? We know the burden of it, if you had, in Charles I's, Charles II's, and JamesII's time declared it so: You will have a hard task to alter it, without declaring it now to alter it hereafter. Declare it, one part as Revenue, the other as an Aid and Supply; otherwise I shall be against the Question.
Mr Finch.] I see many Gentlemens eyes are upon me; therefore I stand up to give an account of my Reasons for the part I acted in that unfortunate business, that may more immediately concern me. (He was taken down to Order, not speaking properly against the Bill) I am easily satisfied with the Determination of this House. I am sure, my Motion is for reading the Bill a second time. I stand up only for one Clause in the Bill. Every Gentleman knows, as well as myself, that a Conspiracy to levy War against the King, is Treason, by the Statute 25 Edward III. (He was taken down again to Order.) Give me leave to vindicate myself; what I shall offer will be very short; the Reasons I had to urge that point of Treason: If Law-Books have led me in the wrong, I am ready to rectify my opinion, whether to conspire, without levying War, be Treason. 'Tis to conspire the King's death, to keep him in custody till such things be done. 'Tis to conspire, as in the case of Dr Storey, to invite a foreign Prince to invade the Kingdom, though nothing followed upon it. 'Twas Treason in Lord Cobham's case, upon Debate of all the Judges, in the Report— "Conspiracy to levy War against the King" was, to conspire against the Life of the King. To throw open all inclosures generally all over the Kingdom, was the case of the Miller of Oxfordshire, who was actually executed. Upon this the difference stands in Books. Any general design (though not immediately against the King's person) to keep him in custody, till he had confirmed any thing that the People would have, is Treason; as in the case of Rea and Ramsey, in Rushworth's Collection—To raise War against the King, all the Judges declared it Treason. Having said this, it is authority enough for any Lawyer to do what I did. Whether the Judges were in the wrong, I shall not determine. He was taken down again by
Sir Henry Goodrick.] 'Tis strange to me to hear that learned Gentleman vindicate himself, when nobody accuses him, and thereby to arraign the justice of the Bill for repealing the barbarity of this Attainder by this murder. This is not to be suffered.
Mr Finch.] I ask pardon of the House. What I said was not against Order, since the House gave me leave to vindicate myself. I only showed you what I had read, and am far from arraigning this noble person; I did not intend it, and have as much respect for this noble family as any body. And now I have vindicated myself as to my proceedings in matter of Law. I desire the Bill may be read a second time.
Sir Henry Capel.] For respect to the family and the memory of this noble Lord, I am sorry this Gentleman did speak; and to vindicate the memory of this noble Lord, read the Bill presently. He has cited Book-cases to justify his proceedings, &c. which is properly at a second reading. I am surprized at this Gentleman's proceeding, and am sorry he has proceeded so far.
Sir William Pulteney.] I have as much honour for this person, &c. and noble family, as any body; but I would keep up Order. I would not have the Bill read a second time now, but to-morrow. This learned Gentleman did make a vindication of himself. I will not undertake to answer him presently; I may have occasion to answer him to-morrow.
Sir Robert Howard.] I cannot name Lord Russel without disorder. I would neglect all things to read this Bill a second time. Perhaps the learned Gentleman may tell us how large the Law is then; 'tis a sufficient thing to name that noble Lord. I am not able to say any more; but pray read the Bill.
Mr Boscawen.] I have hearkened diligently to the learned person's Law-cases. By the 25th of Edw. III, we are Judges here of the true intent of that Statute; and I would have it read—(which was.) I observe, by that Statute, the abridging Treason certain, which was before uncertain, for favour of the Subject. It seems to me strange, if compassing the death of the King should be Treason, and levying War, in another place of the Statute: If that be false, it must be taken out of the Bill. To me it seems to be a great wresting of the Law. It seems to me to be a transcendent wresting of the Law. Pray read the Bill a third time.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] In one Clause of the Bill there may be two or three words left out. It is said, "It is at the request of the Earl of Bedford and Lady Russel only." The justice of the Nation is greater to you than any particular Person's inducement. This Bill is not ex Gratia, all the Nation is concerned in it. When it is ex Gratia, it ought to be signed by the King.
The Speaker.] The usual way is to petition the King for the reversal of an Attainder, but I know not whether it is the usual way for the Commons to petition for a Bill, but with the Bill the Petition of the parties is annexed.
Mr Pollexfen.] From doubting one part of the Revenue or another, we may come to think there is no Revenue at all; and now settle it by Bill. You have brought in question the collecting of the Revenue, and given indemnity to those that gathered it, and, in the mean time, you give the Revenue to nobody. This is so great a loss of time, that it is not serviceable to you, nor the present occasion of the Nation, nor for the reputation of your affairs abroad. I thought it was taken for granted that it was a Revenue in the Crown, &c. and when you have done, three months hence you will be in the same doubts. You will have as much to do in this, as to determine whether it shall be for Life, or Years. To talk of "assisting the King with your Lives and Fortunes," and not to enable the King!—To give him power to take the Revenue, and now to declare it is no Revenue! Settle it one way or other, without any thing of gathering it for three months upon uncertainty. This will lead you into such a course that you will not know the end of it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think this does not lose your time, if you will settle the Revenue. You saw, since Pollexfen declared his opinion, the People have been still more in doubt. The Motion is made for all the Revenue, in the lump, and this may be passed in two or three days. Then you will consider Ships, the King's family, Ambassadors, Judges, the Army, and a part for the King's necessary support. Then you will find what may be spared for the Public, and how to supply it; till this be considered, what in time of Peace is requisite, and what in War; if three months be too little, make it six. When the State of War is known, you will know how near this will go to the payment.
Sir John Lowther.] I will speak plainly what every man's heart is full of. The King has expressed himself in all kindness. He has trusted you with all he has in the World, and given into your hands a considerable part of the Revenue; and if you have the same jealousy of him, after all he has done and may do, this will gratify the Jesuits and France more than 200,000l. distributed and well given in the House of Commons, to bring about their interest—
Sir John Lowther.] What I said of Money, I meant to particular Persons. There have been People who have received Money, and seeing the Jesuits and Papists have spread these reports abroad, and foreign Ministers will make Alliances with the States of Holland, and then if that State cease their intercourse with the King, application will be made to the House of Commons, who give the Money, and not to the King—The wise part of the House of Commons will understand this, though the weak do not.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I am sorry that, at this time, when all manner of Duty has been expressed to the King from this House, there should be reflections of "200,000l. well given here." I remember, Persons in former Parliaments had Places, and were to receive the Money they gave, therefore were freer to give Money than others, and we did fear to give Money to others, and not to the King. Though we are not all upon one footing of Honour and Trust, we are upon one equal footing of Trust for our Country. I cannot make the Revenue be for longer time than has been proposed. Is it not fit that you should have three months to turn you in, that abuses may not be in the collection of the Revenue? Therefore it is fit that for this temporary Bill you give it for three months, or as long as you please.
Sir William Williams.] In the last Parliament, he was the bravest man, and some said, fellow, that would give the King most Money. All were so much for giving, that the King said, he would have no more that Session. We are not now a Parliament of Officers. We represent now all the People, the wise and the weak. And I represent the weak. 'Tis not the work of weak men, to declare a present Provision for the Crown.
Sir John Lowther.] I was mistaken in not giving the Revenue for three months, but only for collecting what Revenue King James had, and that Question you have had ready for you—A safe, wise, and a sudden Resolve! The King did distinguish betwixt the Collection of the Revenue and the Settlement. I would declare it for three months.
Sir Richard Temple.] I would have all Arguments forborne of distrust betwixt the King and us. I am very far from desiring the short Bill to be brought in for delay of Settlement of the Revenue. Can it be imagined that Bills should be brought in for all the Revenue, on a sudden? I would make no distinction in the Bill of what is continued and what not. Not by way of Grant.
Sir Robert Howard.] I speak not for the poor or the rich, the weak or the strong, of the House. I have an Office, but in some Offices I would not have been employed,—(reflecting upon Williams) By the way, I would show by a Motion to continue the Grand Committe, and to proceed on the Settlement of the Revenue; though for the present we proceed only on the Temporary Bill.
Mr Boscawen.] According to course of Parliament, if you grant the King an Aid, and he accept it, the Answer is, Grandmerciey ses bons sujets, &c. If this be no Grant, what Answer shall the King give to this Bill? If as a Grant of Subsidy, the King thanks for it. There is not so much danger in the fault of collecting it as going this way. I am of opinion rather of a Vote of the Lords and Commons to strengthen it for the present. I shall agree to it, but it is an ill expedient, and you will be in this box, and not know how to get out of it.
Mr Eyre.] If this be determined, you arrive not at your end. I see, in this matter of the Revenue, we go on very heavily. In a matter of this moment to support the honour of the King, whatever you do in this Bill, if it goes as is proposed, you do less than nothing, to the joy of your Enemies, and sorrow of your Friends. Therefore I propose a Vote, that you grant the King a Revenue for Life of 1,200,000l. per ann. made up of such Items as in the particular, &c. A great Revenue has been a great Grievance, but it was by no other method than we had put in their hands. Such a Revenue will be an evidence of affection to the King, and will support the necessary charge of the Kingdom. And while this is the standard, it can have no oppression; and less than this proposed cannot be thought of. It will be in a Protestant hand, and you cannot doubt but the spareable part will be treasured up for the good of the Subject.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] It has been well moved a great while since, and I wonder at no conclusion upon it. To settle it for three months is the most acceptable and expeditious thing you can do. The King does not expect that you should settle the Revenue immediately, without great caution and consideration. Therefore that the King may be in no inconvenience, settle it for three months; which will be so far from a distrust, that it is kindly and gratefully done by the People, and the King will take it well from you.
Mr Finch.] You give the King double the Revenue, if you do it for three months t You give him the Revenue, and the hearts of the People. This you will do in two days, and perhaps the other way not in two months.
Mr Pollexfen.] If you say, "I will not give the King this Revenue, but those that pay it not shall be under all the penalties as if it was given," this will raise all the jealousy and shame upon us imaginable abroad.
Sir Henry Capel.] 'Tis not the intention of any man here to give the King the Revenue for three months, and Pollexfen mistakes the thing. We are beholden to those Gentlemen who put us in this method at first. The Book of Rates, the Act for Excise, we do not yet know; there are complaints of the ill administration of them; now is the time to correct it. I speak it to the Honour of the Gentleman that made the Motion, that you will have no delay in the thing. Then you will see the whole establishment and the expences, and what to give for an established Revenue. 'Tis not a time to name the Revenue now; 'tis the doubt of some Persons whether the Revenue is, or is not sunk; but continue the Revenue entire for three months, for support of the Crown, and all will agree to it.
Sir John Holt.] For time to consider the Revenue, I do not oppose it, but as to the hereditary part of the Revenue, if that be determined, there will be no need of such an Act. Some are of opinion that it is determined, but I have not heard one Reason for it. If the King accepts this, the Question is determined; and it is in being; the Revenue was given to the Crown of England, and annexed to the Office of King William and Queen Mary; it continues, and stands in no need of a temporary Act of Parliament.
Mr Wogan.] It would be strange if the Revenue granted the Crown, upon a valuable consideration, instead of the Court of Wards, should determine with the late King James. Was it granted on any other consideration?
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am indifferent whether you put it on the hereditary, or temporary Revenue. If you had gone according to the Opinion of the learned Gentlemen, you had made no Act, but let them go on to collect the Revenue. The hereditary Revenue is so little, that, I believe, the House will supply it; the reason why it is asserted is, that part must go with the Crown of England. But when the King must alien this to the Bankers, this must make such men as me scruple the matter.
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, that a Bill be brought in to collect the Revenue till the 24th of June 1689, with a Clause of Indemnity to all who have collected it since November 5, 1688, and before the 13th of February next ensuing. [Agreed to by the House.]
Mr Godolphin.] The King's Speech is of weight, not only for the substance but order of it. I think, the Propositions are to consider the Revenue. Till you have provided for Holland, you cannot be sure whether you have a Revenue at all. Should you not take care to preserve them that have done so much for you, they may put themselves into hands that may pay them.
Thursday, March 14.
Mr Hampden, jun.] You have made a Vote to stand by the King with your lives and fortunes, in defence of the Laws of the Protestant Religion, and the King has given you a gracious Answer to your Address, and in a great measure has opened the present affairs of the Nation and his Allies. The condition they are in, and their deliverance, is in great measure owing to the Dutch Army under his Conduct, and they have brought a great charge upon themselves. The French King threatens Holland, and they must have a great Army to stop this torrent. In North Holland there are more Papists than Protestants, and in other places, they have nothing to depend upon but your Generosity. Ireland must be thought of; besides what the King informs you of, you have it from other Gentlemen that 20,000 Horse and Foot are the least you can send to reduce it; which will require a great sum of Money; but the King promises you it shall be laid out for the use of the Nation. It is a difficult matter what to propose; but I humbly offer what has been done on the like occasion in neighbouring Countries to yours. The Dutch had formerly War with Spain, and lately with the French King. They did, at the beginning of the year, make their State of War, and computed the Expences for carrying it on. By this, they took their measures from the King of France, who can raise what Money he pleases. He makes the State of War himself, charges the Provinces, and they levy it to his satisfaction. I move that we may address the King, that we may have a Scheme or short State of the War drawn, of the expence we must be at. As for the payment of his debt to the Dutch, that is in pretty good forwardness.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] 'Tis absolutely necessary to support the Government, and the Revenue is necessary to be settled for the support of the Government. The methods proposed to you last time the Committee sat may be considered. We lie under the greatest obligation imaginable to the King, who has delivered us, and eased us from a Tax so burdensome to the People. You are not yet ready, I conceive, for Hampden's Motion, but for the ordinary Expences, 'tis absolutely necessary to support the Government.
Sir Richard Temple.] You are upon a method to proceed upon the King's Speech; all that has been moved has been contributary to it. I would have all you are to do before you, and then you will know what to apply to the Civil Government, and the other Matters; as the Expence of the Dutch; and next, to assist the Dutch according to the Alliance, and the charge of it by computation given in; then, the farther charge of the Navy, besides what you are to assist the Dutch with; and then, the computation of the Affairs of Ireland. The King tells us, for Ireland it will require 20,000 men; what Horse, what Foot, &c. with the charge of transportation.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Consider first the charge of this present year, and then know what will make up these extraordinary charges. For the Fleet, and other charges, we are not tied up to a computation brought in to us, but what we shall judge of it.
Sir William Williams.] I never knew the House get any thing by looking into Bills of Parcels. I am as willing as any man to give Aid as far as the Kingdom can bear it. I would consider what we are able to do, and you shall see I am in earnest to come roundly to it. First, make a retribution to the States of Holland, and leave the King to dispose of it as he thinks good. 'Tis their Men, and Money, that have done our Work. I move for a sum not exceeding 500,000l. for that purpose.
Mr Papillon.] Our condition is not so secure as it is thought. There is a great enemy that has an intention to destroy both the Dutch and us. Here is yet no Settlement of the Revenue, and they will be hard put to it. I see not so hearty a union abroad, as I could wish, though I am glad to see it in this House; but I fear there is an intention to undermine us. Here is yet no Settlement of the Revenue, the Oaths, nor the Courts of Justice. We know the computation of the charge pretty near, and I believe the whole about 6 or 700,000l. If you voluntarily give the Dutch such a Sum, without casting it up to a penny or two pence. But it is to me of great consequence, that as we address the King on other Occasions, we may do it on this, that if we do support Alliances, we may be fixed in them. You cannot avoid War with France, and you must support Alliances, and let the King know so much. As for the charge of Ireland, it is easily known, 20,000 men being the number given in; if we go to particulars, we shall never have an end. And as for the Customs, though some of them have been irregular, yet gather them as they have been these twenty eight years. Therefore I would address the King for an Alliance with the Dutch, which will save us, and we will supply him to support them.
Mr Harbord.] The King, in his great Prudence, caused the Dutch Ambassador to make an Account in general; accordingly the Secretary of the Admiralty made a computation of the charge. I have it in my hand. The King likewise commanded the charge of Ireland to be computed, besides our defence at home; but that will not be perfect till to-morrow.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would have something we understand. The Account is in Guilders; we know not the value of them. I would have them computed to the value of our Money. The Debate runs upon Aid and Supply. Is it not fit to state the Revenue, what it is for the maintenance of the Government? 'Tis not reasonable we should bear all the charge. Taken down to Order by
Mr Harbord.] 'Tis said, "'tis not reasonable England should bear all the charge"—The Prince took the ancient Troops of the States, and agreed with the German Princes to supply them; they had the Money, and the Prince has bought them for ever; and 'tis not reasonable that England should pay all that charge for six months expedition only. I told the King, it was impossible to supply all at once. "Therefore (says the King) I desire 200,000l. down, and the rest of the payments betwixt this and next Spring;" but there will not be so much for Ireland as for Holland. If the King of France, by fair or foul means, makes Peace with Holland, you may throw your Caps at Ireland—If the French King spreads his Money among the Dutch, and says, "I have seized your ships, but will let them go, and will make Peace with you and the Emperor," what impression will this make among the Populace! Says the King, "Let the World see you take Holland into your Arms, their spirits will rise, and be able to defend themselves:" Say they, "Give us but this credit, if your fleet is not ready, our's shall be." But as for the Revenue, it cannot be computed; the Customs, by reason of the French goods, &c. fall to nothing.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I am ready to give the States of Holland all the returns of thanks for their great Assistance in our extremity, and would have a union of Coalition to support them, and ourselves; but I would consider what condition we are in. Says Harbord, "they are ready to go into a War with France, and what becomes of your Revenue then?" But consider, if the Excise be certain, if the Customs do fall, we may aid the King from time to time for that defect. At the present, here is 500,000l. besides 1,200,000l. per ann.—We have already given 400,000l. and was it not upon part of the obligation to Holland? I do say, besides all the uncertainty, there is 500,000l. to supply all necessities. Take out the ordinary Revenue, and you have latitude upon the rest for taking Money up upon security. The Treasure of the Nation is in your hands. I suppose you will dispose wisely of what is above the ordinary Expence of the Government.
Mr Howe.] There were reflections abroad on our Proceedings yesterday—I would not believe ourselves like bullies, to eat and drink at a tavern, then quarrel with one another, go away, and leave the reckoning unpaid; and I fear we shall leave the Dutch so. As the Gentleman said to his Creditors, "he will tell them to-morrow when they shall come again." We are told of the French King and King James making preparations for Ireland; but he comes not thither as King James, but as the French King's Minister. He has the French King's Intendant des Finances, and the French King has made Regents over him, as some would have made him here. If you would have the Papists turn our Churches into Chapels, and make bonfires of the Protestants, then put this Debate off till to-morrow. Therefore I move that Mr Hampden may leave the Chair, and that the House be moved for a Supply, &c. and give the People credit, that the delay may be no longer laid upon us; and name a sum of Money for the States of Holland, &c.
Mr Godolphin.] The Gentleman over the way was upon a topic to induce the House to give Money, &c. which was from the French King's tampering in Holland, &c. I was in Holland when this House was zealous for an actual War with France, and then a Peace was privately treated with France; which we ought to prevent now. If we cannot reduce Ireland, unless we secure Holland, that must be your first step. I move therefore, that the King be addressed to make a stricter Alliance with the States, and invite the Emperor into it, for common security against France.
Mr Pollexfen.] Though we pay more for this Expedition than it has cost the Dutch, let us not enter into particulars; it will more heartily show our affection without examining them. The interest of the King puts us upon embracing the Dutch; if we show coldness, or delay, to aid and assist them, what will the World say? That we do not make returns for what they have done for us. I know no King, but the French King, that can hurt us, and considering what our Ancestors have done, have we not by the prevalency of that King destroyed our Neighbours? Let the World see we are returned to our senses, and that we are truly English.
Mr Boscawen.] The nature of the Question is, "To give the King a Supply, to enable him to re-imburse the Dutch, &c." If the Gentleman means to prove the charge, Harbord told you the King had examined it; and I believe if you will examine it farther, you will get nothing by that.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I confess, I know not how to speak in this. It seems, by some Gentlemen, if we come not to a sudden Resolution in this, we are undone; but possibly this Nation and Holland will not be lost for one night's consideration. I have seen Money granted here suddenly, but by them that have had shares in it afterwards. If the importance of this be such that we must break Order, as formerly in the Long Parliament.—
Friday, March 15.
Mr Harbord.] Lord Dumbarton's Regiment, which is now Marshal Schomberg's, with the Grenadiers and some Officers, have deserted, and chosen two Captains. They have seized the Artillery at Ipswich, and have made Proclamation for King James. The Regiment of Fusileers is at Harwich; they say, they will declare with them. They are 1500 men, with the Train of Artillery (fn. 1), and how many will join them I do not know.
Sir Jonathan Jennings.] In order to what has been reported, certainly I believe there is more than ordinary in these things. I have received a Letter from the Mayor of Rippon, of some Papists, to the same effect; that the Papists are very high, ride in numbers, and have cabals. Therefore I think it fit that you secure your sitting here, and that the Government may be preserved.
Mr Harbord.] I hear, by Letters from Norwich, "that a Papist was seen by several to go into a House, and immediately the House was on fire, and he got to a place to have the prospect of it." The person is examined and secured.
Mr Howe.] When we look before us, and see these things, there is a fault somewhere. I would know how these Officers remain in command; and would address the King that some of the Dutch Troops may be sent after them. I say "Dutch Troops." I know not which else to trust.
Sir Richard Temple.] You see the present condition you are in. I would revive the Committee for banishing the Papists out of town. I know not what to advise you, unless an Address to the King to take some speedy course with the Papists; and I would have a Bill, "That, if any person shall write, speak, or declare for King James, he be speedily brought to tryal."
Col. Birch.] This is no jesting business; this is the countenance of more men than those six hundred that were quartered at Brentford, and went away with their arms; and I believed they would come to the rest— This is not done without conduct, and you will have an Army in a few days. I would address the King, "That some foot and horse of the King's own, and what may be trusted, may join together," and I hope, without a Bill, to dispatch these Men.
Mr Hampden.] For the nature of the thing, I shall state the case; you need not be long resolving. I believe this an actual levying War by 25 Edward III. You cannot have counsel here that will be difficult. Do you but resolve this to be Treason, and if King William and Queen Mary be King and Queen, this is Treason; and correspondence, upon levying War, is Treason, I believe. I would apply to the King to take some course in this, and that you will assist him.
Sir William Williams.] No doubt this is an actual levying War. Since you have acknowledged King William and Queen Mary to be King and Queen, whoever does adhere to the King's enemies, in or out of the Kingdom, 'tis Treason; so you need not make a Law for it ex post facto, but 'tis provided by your old Law to be Treason; for they are King and Queen de facto; and that Law is a safe foundation for you to go upon; and come to a speedy resolution of this House, that they have committed Treason, and so bring them to a speedy judgment, and thus the People will go along with you.
Sir George Treby.] In this, I observe one thing, that it is good we have a King, for if we had had no King, nor Parliament sitting, since they are so insolent in the face of the King and Parliament, what would they have done if the Nation had wanted one of them? In this Crisis, if we cannot defend ourselves by Law and Sword, 'tis time for us to dig our Graves, and lie down in them. Can any man doubt that this is Treason? Your declaring it to be Treason will weaken it, as if it were a doubt. I confess, I am not capable of advising you what to do, and (with great respect) I think this House not proper for military means advice. We must go to War and open force, and we must oppose force with force, and maintain in the Field what we have done in our Council and Senate. Therefore I move that the Lord Lieutenancies and Deputies may be in such hands as the Kingdom may be, and we sit in safety. I think all the powers of our profession useless in such a case.
Sir Robert Clayton.] The wonder of all this is, that we have not heard one word of the Trumpeters of these Disorders. They cannot forbear reflections upon Persons the Nation has an Honour for. At Newcastle, some Priests labour, all they can, to promote this Work. I would have something done to stop these people's mouths.
Col. Mildmay.] 'Tis generally believed, that these you are informed of are not barely alone, but that 'tis universal; and, as for those Trumpeters, who have forborne praying for King William and Queen Mary, and go not to church to hear it prayed, the Question is, which is the best way to prevent this? 'Tis said, "What is done in so great an Assembly will not be long a secret." I think this proper in the King's Council to whom you have given the Government. The Militia of England is a great body, 150,000 men, that serve you gratis; they bear their own charges, and you are safe in them. This being delayed (with some other things which have been too long) I cannot wonder now at the circumstances we are under: I rather wonder that we are so well, than so ill. I would recommend it to the King to settle the Militia, and especially that of London. As for the Money, I doubt not that you will lose any time. In the mean time, I would have Letters to the Sheriffs to stop them in their march.
Sir Henry Capel.] I think you are ripe for a Question. It is plain by what I have heard from the Robe that this is Treason. Corresponding with the late King is Treason. I hope in time, that care will be taken that this impudence of preaching may be taken care of, and it will be mended. I would apply to the King for a Proclamation against these men.
Major Wildman.] I have heard sad news, and many things have been well proposed; but the suppressing these men it is proper to leave to the King: But we ought to represent it to the King; and now we see so great a boil broke out, how many are like to break out. 'Tis our Duty to inform the King what we hear from all parts. I must inform the House that I have letters every day of the ill condition of the Soldiers in their Quarters; at Newbury, Abingdon, and other places, they would not suffer the cryer, or bell-man, to say, "God bless King William and Queen Mary!" There are Papers cast about, to fright people with the change of the Government, with millions; hundreds of these are dispersed; I have received some. The disease is so general, I know not what to propose; but 'tis proper for this House to give the King the best Informations we can of the Officers who connive at these things. I offer to the House to address the King to take a special care of the places where the late King's Soldiers are quartered, and especially to have an eye that the Officers prevent disorders, and to be fully assured of his Officers, both Civil and Military.
Mr Hampden.] I offer it, notwithstanding the opinion of the learned Gentlemen, as I am not of opinion, "that it is a vain thing to declare this Desertion of the Soldiers to be Treason." This at the first was taken only for Soldiers mutinying, but what is there in declaring this to be within the 25th of Edward III? Soldiers deserting and corresponding with the King's Enemies to be Treason? You must speak out and say, this is High Treason, and this will put an end to it, and men will be afraid to countenance it; and go to the Lords, that, by your joint advice, the King may issue out his Proclamation to inforce the Law, as your advice, as the only proper remedy, and that you will give the King your assistance in it.
Sir John Lowther.] At the same time when you advise the Proclamation, consider the occasion, and then the proper remedies, that the cause may be taken away. In former reigns, criminals were so much the more enemies by how much they were in desperation, and therefore I would put men out of doubt, and make as many friends as we can. Therefore I move, that whether, as you made a strict enquiry into Grievances, there may not as well be an Act of Oblivion at the same time, and, at the same time, that you address the King to proclaim his pardon to such as shall surrender themselves, and return to their obedience and duty.
Sir Robert Howard.] The Lords and Commons addressing the King makes the Proclamation have greater force, and next to an Act of Parliament; but as for the Oblivion just moved to be put in, it looks as if you were afraid, and is a kind of seconding these men in their Rebellion, and all this will look little less than an Act of Parliament.
Saturday, March 16.
Serjeant Maynard.] We are so mealy-mouthed and soft-handed to the Papists, that it occasions their insolence. I think it is fitting that all Papists should refort to their own dwellings, and not depart without Licences from the next Justices; and another thing, that all those of that Religion bring all their fire-arms in, unless for the necessary defence of their Houses, to officers appointed. 'Tis not our Votes, nor the Ordinances of Lords and Commons, nor our being hot here, that will do it. I would not imitate their Cruelty: I am far from it. I would let them have their Religion in their private Houses, but no harbouring Priests and Jesuits. You'll pardon my boldness, but I hope I have done my duty.
Col. Birch.] I think Maynard's is an excellent Motion, and in good time. If we make a new Bill, perhaps it will not do so well, but, upon this Motion of Maynard's, I would refer it to the same Committee for the Lords Bill, and farther, that the Informer may have half the Arms for his discovery.
Serjeant Maynard.] If any Papist should have a hand in firing Houses, he should be compelled to help to rebuild them. For the present, if they do not deliver their Arms upon the King's Proclamation, they shall be subject to such penalties as the Law shall direct; in the mean time, that they be admonished.
The Speaker.] I would not have this without effect, which, I apprehend, it will be unless they are convicted, and being not convicted they will say they are not concerned, not being convicted, and not one man will go out of Town, nor deliver their Arms. Unless actually convicted, you cannot know a Papist, and you will have no effect of this Proclamation.
Mr Hampden.] The insolence of the Papists is grown great, I hear out of the Country. Do not give them encouragement by a brutum fulmen. I will not contradict Maynard in point of Law; I know not who are Papists. He must be a legal Papist, else he is not within the Proclamation. Proclamations are to inforce, not to make, Laws. He will keep his House according to Law, and not go out of Town. What Law have you to compell him to deliver his Horses? There you make a Law clearly. I would not have Gentlemen think that I believe it not just; but will you advise the King to cause the Papists to deliver up all forts of Horses, that are fit for warlike service, either for baggage, or dragoons? We shall terrify people by this Proclamation, the Parliament now sitting; and we are told we must make an Act to do it. I confess this is new; I never heard it in a Proclamation before. If you advise the King this, he will say, "see you advise me according to Law;" he will order his Counsel learned to draw it up; but they will say, 'tis not according to Law. 'Tis a hard point; if these objections are not of weight, I am mistaken. But you may have a Law to offer the Papists the Tests, and you may have it presently executed by Justices of the Peace, when they are named. Something must be done, and speedily done, but put not yourselves upon difficulties, nor the King, but if you will have a short Law for convicting them, I am for it.
Col. Birch.] I would not have this Morning's Debate lost, but have some fruits of it. I humbly desire that a Committee may sit, and, upon Debate of the House, a Bill may be brought in to convict them.
Mrs Fitzharris (fn. 2) delivered a Petition of Discovery, relating to the Hardships her Husband was under in the Tower, and the undue Practices in stifling the Evidence he could give of the Popish Plot.
Col. Birch.] I was afraid this woman would cozen me when she delivered me this Petition to present you. I durst not trust myself with her alone; therefore I got two or three to be with me. I move you, that two or three days hence the persons she mentions may come hither for discovery.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] Upon examination, I find nothing but clamour in this business. There was an Order of Council to prepare an Indictment of High Treason against Fitzharris, before the Parliament met at Oxford. 'Tis true, in the Oxford Parliament, a general Impeachment of High Treason was brought up by the Commons to the Lords against him. The Lords upon Debate resolved, "That he should be proceeded against in the common course of Law." After that Parliament was dissolved, I was ordered to proceed against him, according to the Directions of the Lords in Parliament; he was not at all charged in particular in Parliament, thereupon an Indictment was brought according to Law. When the King's Prisoner is brought by Habeas Corpus, if he be not tried the second time, he is discharged. 'Twas impossible he should be tried upon that Impeachment, for it was general, and otherwise he could not have been tried in the King's Bench.
Sir Robert Howard.] I remember that I was engaged in that business at Oxford. I was informed that several great Persons were concerned; I did move examining too far, as was then thought. You passed some Votes upon it. Certainly that business did carry the greatest discovery against the Protestants that ever was. I move that you will appoint a day for this, &c.
Mr Garroway.] I remember there was then great fear upon us, of trepanning Members, who were to have had papers put in their pockets, of a treasonable nature to destroy us; upon our enquiry into this we were dissolved. We sent up Sir Lionel Jenkins to impeach Fitzharris, but no particulars were sent up; but Sir William Jones and Sir Francis Winnington drew up a Question then, "That if any one proceeded to try Fitzharris, or any one impeached in Parliament, they were enemies to the Government." I suppose, in examining this matter, you may find something of use to you to help your proceedings against the Papists.