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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Wednesday, March 20.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If I had not once seen a Bill of this nature laid on the Table, and passed in an afternoon, I should not be against letting it lie on the Table. Lord Clarendon's Bill of Banishment was passed a Month after the Impeachment, when it was thought most convenient for him; which then I thought of dangerous consequence. 'Tis my opinion that this Bill be thrown out; notwithstanding the good Clauses in it, it may be done for me and my family. When Bills upon the first appearance are dangerous, they are usually thrown out upon the first reading. I would have all things in this Parliament of a piece. You thought good for the present emergency to part with the Habeas Corpus Act for a time, but is this the way to secure the Government, to give liberty to the Peers to conspire with James II? I shall never think it for the Peace of the Government, if you pass this Bill, to let the Peers do all they please with impunity. The end and design of the Bill is, that the Peers may have challenges, as the Commons have. The Bill is of no use to you—For here is a number of Peers of the last Parliament, or ought to be. Perhaps not above eighty temporal Lords, and sixty summoned; some may be sick, or have business, or may be sollicited to be absent: If forty five appear, and twenty are excepted against, there can be no Tryal. 'Twas upon this argument before, when the Lords sent down a Bill of this nature, "that unless the Lords were under the common safety of others, the King sitting in their House, and hearing their Debates, they were in danger"—Is this a time to have that Jealousy, now we are under this happy change? Were it for nothing else, pray let us not overturn the whole frame of the Government for the Lords sake. Every Clause, in the Bill, relating to the Commons, is equally beneficial to the Lords. "In Indictments for Treason, (the Bill tells us) we shall have Counsel," and 'tis for able Juries; is it not as well for the Lords as us? For they must be tried in Appeals by common Juries. The Bill is abundantly less beneficial to the Commons than the Lords. The Crown you can oblige by intercourse of Aids, but there is none betwixt the Lords and you. Great purchases were made of these Honours. Notwithstanding the dangers the Lords apprehend, the Bill is of dangerous consequence to the Commons, and for the Honour of the House I would reject it.
Sir William Pulteney.] No man can deny but that the Lords ought to have fair Tryals. Whenever the Crown has a displeasure to a noble Peer, by practices he may be drawn into Treason, and a High Steward may be appointed, and seven of the summoned Lords to try him may take away his life. Will you at this time differ with the Lords? This is a time, when you have a good King, to get good Laws. The Peers were very instrumental in bringing about this good change, and they desire only that their posterity may be in good condition, and out of danger. Some Clauses relating to the Commons are inestimable, as "that a Juryman shall have 20 l. per ann. of freehold to try a Commoner;" and, "that Counsel shall be allowed in Treason, &c." Colonel Sidney had not lost his life, if he had had Counsel allowed him. Had that been four years ago, it might have saved the life of many a Person. I hope you will take care for the future against the same danger. A Commoner may except peremptorily against thirty five Jurors—I would have a good correspondence with the Lords.
Sir William Williams.] I have a great Honour for the Peers, and as far as with Justice I will do it. This Bill is not only dangerous to the Commons, but to the Crown too. There is a little sprinkling of Holy Water in this Bill. It provides (as the Bill is penned) "that all manner of crimes may be tried by the Peers." Though the Preamble of the Bill tells you of Tryals of "capital Crimes," yet the body of the Bill is "all Tryals"— (He was in that mistaken) All Peers are on their Honour; and you alter the very Constitution of the Kingdom. It may so fall out that the number of Peers cannot be had, that this Law requires, and so there may be a failure of Justice. The whole design of the Bill is, that there may be a number of Peers, that may judge against Law and Right. But can you give any one instance, that any Peer, in our memory, ever miscarried upon the ancient way of Tryal? If we had found any lamentable experience and example of this ancient way of Tryal—but there being none, why should you alter the Law for a bare suspicion only? In James II's time, Lord Brandon was found guilty by his fellow Commoners, and condemned (fn. 1) : Lord Delamere (fn. 2) by his Peers was acquitted. What advantage do we get by this Bill? We would have fair and equal Tryal, and shall we, in prejudice of the Commons, give this challenge away? 'Tis almost impossible to have just Tryal this way. The Peers are most of a blood, (the ancient Peers) and so a Commoner can have no fair Tryal against a Peer, and they have already more Privileges than the Commons. You, by this, advance the Peerage against the common right of the Commons, and make it neither in the power of the King, nor the Commons, to bring a Peer to Justice. The Commons are straitened, and the Crown is straitened. How many men have been undone by Scandalum magnatum! Commoners have had 20,000l. verdict against them; and a Peer thinks himself dishonoured unless the Jury gives what he demands. I would rather provide against these things. If the Lords will set a Limitation to Scandalum magnatum; (it may lie twenty years, and they may bring it about) if the Lords will agree that no Words shall be scandal, but where an action may be brought by a Commoner against a Commoner—Suppose a Commoner say, "He cares for a Peer no more than a dog," though a Peer call me rogue and rascal— Let the Lords frame a fair Bill, and we will pass it. If they will have ceremony, we will compliment them, and stand bare in their Lobby, and the Painted Chamber, at Conference; but matter of right we shall dispute. Pray lay aside the Bill. What relates to the Commons that are Grievances already, your Bill may do; and they are put into this Bill for a handle.
Sir Robert Howard.] By the consequence of Williams's discourse, he is for the Bill and against it. I think the Bill is rather descending to us than taking from us. That of Scandalum magnatum added to the Bill may be of use. The Bill does us no hurt. Methinks Juries of finding the Scandalum magnatum at excessive damage, and fines with salvo contenemento, may be remedied, and I am for the Bill.
Mr Hampden.] I am not for throwing out the Bill, nor for a second reading of it. Let it lie upon the Table. I hear an instance of passing Lord Clarendon's Bill of Banishment, &c. The House was then very thin. All Clarendon's Friends were for passing it—A Relation of Clarendon's for no passing it was at a distance—I am not for throwing it out, nor for a second reading, for I do not know the parts of it. Let it be well considered. If you cast out the Bill, you can receive no Bill of this matter this Session. I would read it a second time in a full House.
Mr Finch.] I am for letting the Bill lie upon the Table, and so be read in a full House. The objection for throwing it out is, because the Peers have an equal benefit with the Commoners, which is no objection. The Number objected of the Peers, "that they may be sollicited to stay away, &c." they may be so to appear too. I would have it lie upon the Table, and have a second reading that we may be fit to speak to it.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The natural Question is, "Whether you will read it a second time." The reason why you let the Bill lie upon the Table, after you have read it, is, you are masters of the parts of it. In former Parliaments, we were well acquainted with this Bill. I would have a Question that every body may be gratified in. I would adjourn the Debate.
Sir William Williams.] I take the Revenue to be 1,580,000l; out of this certainly I deduct the HearthMoney, 200,000l: Your immediate Charge then is the constant Charge of the Crown. If you give the Crown too little, you may add at any time; if once you give too much, you will never have it back again. Therefore I would declare the constant Charge of the Crown.
Mr Sacheverell.] I agree, that it is necessary to consider the constant Charge of the Crown in time of Peace. By the Charge of the Navy and Army in King James's time, we cannot make computation, nor from the calculation made from King Charles's, when the Expence was extravagant—Rather then compute the moderate Charge in King Charles's time. I would know whether, in the years 1673, 74, 75, 76, the Customs did not arise to as much as in all the severe way of management? 'Tis necessary that you agree what the common Expence of the Government is, under Heads, as it was drawn up in the time of Sir William Coventry; the Pensions were never heard of till Mr Guy's time. Expences are much lessened, and the Revenue advanced. Bating the Navy and the Army, I would see if the constant Charge is not above 400,000l. per ann.—As if 600,000l. for an Army for ever—To find all the Navy out of repair, and cost as much as when in service, I cannot agree. Because the Army and Navy cannot but be maintained, therefore I am of opinion, that the Navy and Army are not to be considered in the constant Charge. I doubt not but we shall give what is necessary; but I would consider the Navy and Army as an extraordinary Charge.
Mr Guy.] I hear my name mentioned upon the head of great Sums, though under the denomination of Secret Service—The reason was, to ease the charge of the Great Seal: But, be it what it will, I am ready to give account, to a penny, of what I received.
Mr Garroway.] I am ready to serve you to come to an end. I agree not to the Medium; but if you will come to make a Revenue for the King, we cannot say the Revenue will stand to 1000, or 10,000l. there being several variations of the Customs in several Years. We are now providing for a War, and something of the Revenue may be applicable to it. I except not against the accounts of the several particulars of the small branches of the Revenue, but I hope the King will contribute to the War as well as we; it is for his safety. Shall we be worse husbands now, than in the late Kings reigns, in all the extravagances of expences? Compute the necessary Charge of the Crown, and let the remainder be applied to the Charge of the War.
Col. Birch.] I would refer all the Charge of the Government, and that of the Houshold, to the Privy Council, except that of the Navy, the Family that rises and falls upon occasion. This being presented to the House, you will immediately see the Charge; else you will be long in your Resolutions.
Mr Harbord.] Here have been several Motions. You may be sure, that the Money you give will not be spent in debauchery and lewdness, but employed as you would have it. Either to make particular provision, &c. or in gross, I am indifferent. In another thing, you must give the King your helping hand, or else you do nothing: There is a farm given out of the Customs to the Dutchess of Portsmouth's children, which is the farmage of Coals, and that is in Papists hands.
Sir Henry Capel.] You are pretty near a Question. The establishment of the Government is agreed on all hands: There remains nothing but provision for the Ordnance, Army, and Fleet. Though in Peace you'll allow for a summer-guard, and in winter for the safety of trade: The Plantations, Indies, (and they had more men of war there than we here) these are to be considered, in time of Peace, as part of the Government in Peace. I do not understand, that what is established for the Fleet and Ordnance is for the sum total of the extraordinary Charge. The Question is only now, of having an account brought you. You will have no head of it of Secret Service to trouble you. There must be an Establishment for the Queen, and Princess Anne, who has deserved very well of the Nation.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] What Charge is for the Fleet in time of Peace, must go into that in time of War. There is a Charge of the Ordnance of 80,000 l. per ann. for Yatchs and Ketches, &c. The fairest way will be, to agree a certain sum for the Revenue, and not meddle with the distribution of it, and so refer it to the King; who, if it be too little, will inform you by his Ministers, if it be wanting, and you may supply it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I know not how the condition of the War may leave you. I love not to please myself with the names of a Navy and Army—But not so properly till we see how things stand abroad; how Alliances are concluded: But I think the Debate leads you to consider of Ireland, and to support the Charge of this year's War, and to know what of the Revenue will do. What the constancy of the Revenue must be, men are tender, but will be willing to supply the present emergency.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] 'Tis absolutely necessary, when you consider the Revenue, that you consider the summer and winter-guard, and likewise the Ordnance and Garrisons; and all these must be in your eye. As for the Expences of the Civil Government, you have as much before you as is desired. You must likewise consider the Queen, and the Princess of Denmark; and when that is done, I would not be pinching to support the Government at ease. I know we are under great necessities for raising Money, and for the Charge of the Ordnance, I can do it to a farthing. I believe England can never be without some standing force. I deal plainly with you.
Col. Birch.] I never was so puzzled in a Question, in my life, as in this. We are establishing a Revenue, as in time of Peace; pray God we may see it! I understand the Debate to be this; they that know the Revenue, to bring in what Particulars there are for the Government. I really would vote 1,200,000 l; and I would have the World know that the King has such a Revenue; and the Privy Council will tell you what is for the Civil Government; else it is in effect to settle a Revenue of 400,000 l. per ann. only.
Resolved, Nem. con. That it is the opinion of this Committee, that there be a Revenue of 1,200,000l. per ann. settled upon their Majesties, for the constant necessary Charge of supporting the Crown [in time of Peace.]
[March 20 (fn. 3) Omitted.]
Friday, March 21.
Mrs Fitzharris at the Bar.] When Mr Fitzharris brought home the Libel, he showed it to me. I asked him the design of it. He told me, "The King had employed him to write it, and to convey it into Protestants houses, and the pockets of the leading men of the Houses of Lords and Commons, who opposed the Duke of York's and the King's interest; as the Earls of Bodford, Essex, and Shaftesbury." The King told her husband, "He would make him greater than the Duke of Albemarle: He brought the King into the Throne, but Fitzharris would keep him in it."—The King said, "He should die, if there were no more men in the world, for discovering the contrivers of the design."——The King and the Dutchess of Portsmouth prosecuted him.—I was paid 10l. a week, whilst I was in the Messenger's hands: I know not who paid it, only a man came and asked for Madam Fitzharris, and I received it about a fortnight betwixt my husband's condemnation and his death. I was importuned to persuade him to lay the Libel to the Protestants charge. I was persuaded by Mr Seymour and Sir Lionel Jenkins. I was threatened by Mr Graham, because I would say nothing against Stephen College. My husband desired me to do justice to those that were like to suffer in the City.—I absented myself privately for three quarters of a year, and hearing that Lord Arran was to go Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, I would have addressed myself to him, but Sir Edward Fitzharris told me, Lord Arran would not see me without the King's leave. Sir Stephen Fox took my children from me, and kept them, and paid me my Pension no more; and told me, I must have my children sent me again. By Dr Hawkins's (fn. 4) importunity, my husband accused the two Sheriffs of London, and Sir Robert Clayton, and he promised him he should have a Pardon. Seymour and Jenkins promised me to speak to the King; but they did it to get me away. When I came to the Tower, I found Dr Hawkins with my husband, who told me, He was sure he should have a Pardon. I said, "Pray let not the Doctor delude you."—The Doctor told him, "There was no way to be saved but by accusing Lord Shaftesbury, and the rest of the Lords, if he would but say, that the Protestants employed him."—I met Seymour and Jenkins, who bid me not be frighted at the taking away my Pension; I should be allowed 3l. 10s. out of my estate. I said, that would not maintain us.—Jenkins said, "I was against the King's interest, and too violent a Protestant." I replied, "I know nothing of the Protestants, and should be a mad woman to say what I knew not."—I was brought sometimes to Jenkins's lodgings, sometimes to Seymour's, and they retired with me into a room. They first promised me my husband's life, and that he should have honour and money; and what I would ask after my husband's death.
Mr Whitaker, the Attorney, at the Bar.] After the Oxford Parliament, that Fitzharris was to be tried, it was desired by several persons, that he should not be tried in the King's-Bench, but, as he was designed, by the Impeachment at Oxford. By means of the Warder's wife, he sent me a sheet of paper of the matters he could say, viz. "That he was employed by the King, the Dutchess of Portsmouth, and Mrs Wall, to disperse the Libel; and that he had 200l. paid him by the King, at the Dutchess of Portsmouth's chamber." I did what I could to hinder the Tryal. I drew him his Plea, "That he was the same Fitzharris who was impeached in Parliament."—He was put upon his Tryal: Some were excepted against, as not Freeholders, by the King's Counsel; and some excepted against peremptorily. What Fitzharris would have had, was to let the Jury know what had been done with him. After the Lords Howard and Shaftesbury were committed, I was sent for by a Warrant from the Secretary. I insisted upon the Rights of the City, and was some time at my Lord Mayor's.—I prayed, that I might go to a common Prison, but I was sent to the Tower, and kept with bread and water, till I paid 40s. a week to the Warder, and 65l. to the Lieutenant. Afterwards I did petition the Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and was delivered by Habeas Corpus; and I sued Sir Lionel Jenkins for false imprisonment. During this, my wife took care of my Papers.—I employed Sir Robert Killigrew to procure Fitzharris's Pardon.—My wife delivered him the Papers, who delivered them to the King, and the King was very joyful that he had them.
Sir Robert Killegrew, at the Bar.] I had several Papers delivered me by Mr Whitaker. By command of the King, I made twelve journeys betwixt London, Hampton-Court, and Windsor.— I had hopes of getting Fitzharris's Pardon, if I got the Papers— They were very reflective things—Lord Halifax, Jenkins, and Lord Rochester, read the Papers, and would not trust me with them. I sealed them up, when I delivered them to Lord Halifax, and they opened them, and sealed them with Lord Halifax's Teal, at Whitehall. At the Secretary's Office, the Lords delivered them to me, and I to the King, to whom I gave them. He told me, it was well done, and gave me his hand to kiss.
Mr White, a Messenger of the Council, at the Bar.] Mrs Fitzharris's maid, and three of her children, were kept at my house three weeks. Mr Graham, Mr Burton, and another came to her.— I heard she had 3l. a week. I had orders to keep her close prisoner to all but them. They came to her once a week. They were with her above an hour in private. I was paid by the King. Sir Lionel Jenkins was paid by the Treasury, for keeping her and her children.—She had 40s. a week, when she was a week out of my custody.—Mr Squibb paid the money, and I knew she lived upon it.
Mr Whitaker.] The substance of his Papers was, "That he was employed by the King, and the Dutchess of Portsmouth, that those Libels should be put into the persons pockets mentioned." I remember one of the persons, Seymour. Mr Bethel, possibly, can give you information. I believe the Papers were Fitzharris's hand.
Mrs Fitzharris.] Mr Graham complimented me first, "That my lodgings were not good." I said, "They were good enough for a Prisoner."—Then he told me, "I must prepare to go to College's Tryal." I said, "I could not swear against people I knew nothing of." He said, "I was against the King's interest." I was sent for, or sent to, every day, to persuade me, that Protestants had employed my husband, and I should be taken care of, and my children; and that the King would be a father to my children, and a husband to myself.
Mr Bethel (fn. 5), at the Bar.] I did attend Mr Fitzharris, at his instance, in Newgate. He said, "The King would hang him, because he knew more of the Popish Plot than any man." He would not tell me Particulars, but "that he would inform the Parliament, on whom he relied for his safety."
Mr Harbord.] I observe, that, in Lord Russel's Tryal, they would not have Freeholders on the Jury, for fear they should save him; and they would have Freeholders on this man's Jury, that they might hang him.
Mr Howe.] Had I not apprehended it for the service of the King and Kingdom, I would not trouble the House upon the Declaration spread about against the King and Queen for King James. A Gentleman is ready to prove, that one said to him, "That King William would abdicate the Government in six months time, and that King James would be at Whitehall." One Bowtell heard Captain Motley say it.
Mr Bowtell.] I heard Captain Motley say, "That in three weeks time King James would be possessed of Whitehall; and that King William would abdicate in three months." He said it at a Coffee-house in Buckingham-Court. The woman of the house heard all the words. He is a disbanded Captain. I know not what Religion he is of. He is there every day; and he swore, "Damn him, he would break my head, if I did not believe him."
Sir William Williams.] All are agreed for a Supply; 'tis before you, the Sum and the Time. I need not go into topics of the necessity of it, as it has been done already by Mr Eyre. You have had Computations; and you may conjecture, probably, what will do. 'Tis your present consideration, whether you will give an Aid for six months, or twelve; which I see is no great difference—All of us have confidence in the King, as a good husband. I would vote the Sum for twelve months. If the King can spare any of the Money, in reducing it, or scattering it amongst them, [he will]—But I would have it from three months to three months, not exceeding 600,000l. We may add when we please.
Sir Robert Howard.] I would not have you make good husbandry, at the expence of our own hazard. 'Tis said, "You may raise it at so much a Quarter." You must consider, you cannot raise this but by annual things. There is 600,000l. for the Dutch. The next you are to raise, must be so much a year for so many years. Ireland is not able, in the least manner, to afford subsistence. Those who are up, and assist you, must have Pay from you. He that has done so much for us, will not turn upon us, to take any thing from us unreasonably.
Mr Garroway.] I would know upon what we are to lay the Money, before we think of the way of raising it, lest we should have recourse to Land-Tax at last. I move, to raise 310,000l. for six months, and so from six months to six months.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] Not one point of the Estimate is disputed; but some part of the Charge cannot come in the rest of the six months; all the rest to be deducted from the rest of the six months. But I am for the Question of the whole Sum.
Mr Harbord.] This 300,000l. will not carry your Forces into Ireland. Persons have been sent into the North of Ireland, and there are not Oats for your horses, only Grass; they must be had out of Cheshire, Wales, and Lancashire—Money must be spent in Bread, Barley, and Beef—What with the Levy-Money and Arms, you will not have one shilling to keep them the rest of the time. They have Commissions in Ireland for 30,000 men; and as soon as the King shall land these men, all must be supported at the King's charge. This way will be fatal to the King and yourselves.
Mr Hampden, jun.] The charge of one year is partly agreed upon; and I think it must be for a year, for this reason: 'Tis more than an Irish War; I think 'tis a French War. The French King has carried King James into Ireland; and there is no way possible to bear that great Force, but by securing Ireland. You must give the King such a fund of Credit, as that foreign Protestants may come into Alliance with him. Always, the computation of Germany is for a Year; if for half a Year only, no body will ever join with you. If for common defence, do it for a Year, that they may join with you. Therefore I move for 700,000l.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] If you had a prospect to end the War in a Year, I would give it for a Year. I fear it will be a longer time; and, let it cost what it will cost, and for as long a time as it will, it must be maintained. You are told of "Oats, and other things;" but the allowance to the Soldiers is what they subsist upon, and their Pay discharges that. To vote, "That you will supply the War from time to time," gives it the greatest reputation imaginable—And I would maintain this War with the greatest ease to the People, that you may have their hands and their hearts to assist you. I speak not this to stop your Forces—But there were formerly Reimbursements out of confiscated Estates, upon Money lent here, upon those that have brought us into this necessity. For six months I would give fully; but, I hope, that Nation may maintain the War after that time.
Sir Robert Howard.] What Garroway said is rational. We are all of a mind for the whole, but the difference is the provision for six months, &c.—We are, in effect, paying a Land-Tax to our advantage in the sale of Corn—'Tis true, a great deal of Money is to be raised. —The Motion of not exceeding 700,000l. does not hinder you from the manner of raising it. The next thing will be, the way of raising it.
Mr Hampden, jun.] I fear the War will not be thoroughly begun in six months. Do you think the French King will lay aside his fundamental policy; to keep you in continual work, as he does in all other places?
Col. Birch.] What Sum soever you put, is alike to me. We are to confederate; and will that give your Alliance any encouragement? Will this be an encouragement to your friends, (I know not how many they are) to tell them but of six months provision for the War? The business cannot be well begun in six months. I am far from thinking that six months will make an end. You have Ireland, and the French, upon you. This will be an encouragement to your enemies.
Mr Garroway.] You have now a Land-Tax, and you have not appropriated one penny to the use you intended it yet; and if you take not up Money upon Interest, I know not where you will have it. This is not all the Charge; it will cost you more.
Mr Sacheverell.] I have attended the Debate as well as I could. I take it, that the Gentleman that moved for six months, would raise men, and send them into Ireland; and, if there is farther occasion, would comply with the same Sum to go on, because he thinks that necessary at the first beginning of the War, but not afterwards. Those who stand up for a Previous Question, I would know whether they are not against the Supply—I think these men cannot be sent over till the latter end of the year, and keep the sea in the mean time. I would, therefore, vote the six months Supply, and the rest I shall do as I think fit.