Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 9. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, December 26. In the Afternoon.
The Address above-mentioned was brought in by Mr Hampden, and agreed to by the Assembly, (see it in the Journal,) and on
It was presented by the Chairman to the Prince of Orange; for which his Highness returned them his hearty Thanks, but deferred his Answer till the next day,
Friday, December 28.
When he promised them "to endeavour to secure the Peace of the Nation, till the meeting of the Convention, for the Election whereof he would forthwith issue out Letters, &c." Such Letters were accordingly issued; and on
Tuesday, January 22, 1688-9,
The Convention met at Westminster (fn. 1); when, after Mr Powle had been chosen Speaker, the following Letter was presented to the House by Mr Jephson, the Prince's Secretary, and read by Mr Speaker:
"I have endeavoured, to the utmost of my power, to perform what was desired from me, in order to the public Peace and Safety; and I do not know that any thing hath been omitted, which might tend to their Preservation, since the Administration of Affairs was put into my hands: It now lieth upon you to lay the foundations of a firm Security for your Religion, your Laws, and your Liberties.
"I do not doubt but that, by such a full and free Representative of the Nation as is now met, the ends of my Declaration will be attained: And since it hath pleased God, hitherto, to bless my good intentions with so great success, I trust in him that he will complete his own work, by sending a Spirit of Peace and Union to influence your Councils, that no interruption may be given to a happy and lasting settlement.
"The dangerous condition of the Protestant Interest in Ireland requiring a large and speedy Succour, and the present state of things abroad, oblige me to tell you, that, next to the danger of unseasonable Divisions amongst yourselves, nothing can be so fatal as too great Delay in your Consultations.
"The States, by whom I have been enabled to rescue this Nation, may suddenly feel the ill effects of it, both by being too long deprived of the service of their Troops, which are now here, and of your early assistance against a powerful enemy, who hath declared War against them: And as England is, by Treaty, already engaged to help them upon any such exigencies, so I am confident, that their chearful concurrence to preserve this Kingdom, with so much hazard to themselves, will meet with all the returns of friendship and assistance, which may be expected from you as Protestants and Englishmen, whenever their condition shall require it."]
Mr Garroway.] All England is sensible of the great deliverance that we have had from Popery and Slavery by this generous Expedition of the Prince of Orange. I need not urge Arguments to give him Thanks; and, in the mean time, till we can proceed to a Settlement of the Nation, and till the Lords and Commons shall make farther application to him, desire "that he will be pleased to take the Administration of the Government upon him."
Mr Hampden.] I do concur in the Motion. As the Prince's Letter requires haste, so I would have no time lost in considering it, so as things may not be precipitated which require due deliberation. Be pleased, in the mean time, to thank the Prince, &c. for the great action he has done in delivering the Nation from Popery and Slavery; and, in the same words, to desire him to continue the Administration of the Government, till the Lords and Commons shall make farther application to him.
Col. Birch.] "That Thanks should be returned to the Prince, for his Deliverance of us, &c." I would not have it so; but, "that God has done it by his means." I could never have believed, some months since, what God, by his hand, hath wrought for this Kingdom.
Several other Motions were made for an Addition to the Question.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Nothing will save your time more than to let two or three Gentlemen withdraw, and pen you an Address, &c. upon the Debate of the House.
Mr John Howe.] I think it as proper for us to say, by whose means we were brought into Popery and Slavery, as by whom we were delivered out.
The Lords sent a Message, with an Address much of the same nature with that above debated, for the Concurrence of the House; which, with some little variation, was agreed to by both Houses.
Sir Henry Capel.] This Assembly has been chosen with freedom. There has not been a better Election a great while, without force of the Lord-Lieutenants. You have done a great deal in one day, but this is not enough; so consider the word "Administration;" 'tis but a small Trust you repose in the Prince; 'twill roll, and be uncertain. The Prince has told you who has helped him to come over hither, the Protestants. I have seen quick Bills for Money pass here, to fight against Protestants: I hope we shall now fight with them. His Troops are wanted in Holland. I hope you will not neglect a day to consider them: The Protestants abroad are uneasy till they hear how we proceed. The whole thing of "an actual War with Frrnce," which I have seen here debated, we could never arrive at. I have observed that we have not had above a hundred and sixty formerly, at giving great Sums; whereas, now we have no King, we are a full House. Therefore pray take the State of the Nation into consideration as soon as you please.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The matter before you is of the greatest weight; therefore I hope you will proceed with prudence and wariness. Whole Counties, as yet, have no Members: And, that there may be no imputations upon us, and that all exceptions may be taken away, I would have this great affair debated in a full House.
[On filling up the Vacancies of the House.]
Mr Hampden.] 'Tis proper to resolve upon filling the Vacancies of the House. I would not preclude the Motions for it; but 'tis the Order of the House, on a Vacancy, to send your Letter for filling up that Vacancy, &c. If you apply to the proper Officer, he must have a Seal; but now he has none, so cannot execute your Order. Make a general Rule for filling the Vacancies here, that, upon such a Motion, Application may be made to the Prince for his Letter to fill up that Vacancy.
Mr Seymour.] We are in so unfortunate an age, that it has improved Precedents, especially on mistaken grounds. There never was a Letter sent to the Chancellor for a Writ to fill up a Vacancy, but by a Warrant from the Speaker of the Commons of England assembled. "You are to take care to chuse, &c." It must be first made known to you, and it is the easiest way by Warrant or Order from you, and not to trouble the Prince upon this occasion.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] A Warrant from this House is a Warrant for the Lord Keeper or Chancellor, and he has always obeyed it, and thought it sufficient authority to send out a Writ. Now you are here as a Convention, which is a resemblance of a Parliament. The King, before he calls a Parliament, sends his Writ to chuse Members: After you have sat here, then your Precept; and now that we are sat here, you may send your Warrant or Letter to the Coroner.
The Speaker.] Anciently, you sent to the Lord Keeper or Chancellor, to issue out his Writ, &c. There was, I remember, a great controversy [in 1672] about my Lord Chancellor Shaftesbury sending out Writs to fill Vacancies, on his own Motion, before he had notice from this House (fn. 2). There are two ways now proposed; one for a Letter from the Prince to the Coroner, and the other for the Speaker to send his Letter in your name, &c. I am ready to put the Question which way you please.
Ordered, That the Prince be desired to send new Circulary Letters to some places where the old ones have miscarried.
[January 23, and 26, omitted.]
Monday, January 28.
[On the State of the Nation.]
Col. Birch.] It has been moved, by one or two, "that the Speaker leave the Chair." I have known it moved, in granting Money, and all ordinary business, "that the Speaker leave the Chair;" but to leave it now, in a great business, you will make it twice as long. I move you to consider, that, as it will hinder the work, so it will lower the greatness of it, and make it less than it is.
Serjeant Maynard.] 'Tis a great Affair now upon you. 'Tis never done till debated first in the House. How many propositions will happen at a Grand Committee, without your directions first! You must, at a Committee, know whereupon to go. First consider of the business, and then refer it as occasion requires.
Sir Edward Seymour.] What resolution soever you take, I would not have you go out of the method of usual proceedings. I know how strait-laced, in such a great matter, men will be in the House, where they can speak but once. 'Twill look as if you were not willing it should take effect, as if ill done. But that it may freely be done, pray leave the Chair, to debate freely the Establishment of the Nation.
The Speaker left the Chair.
[In a Grand Committee.]
Mr Dolben (fn. 3).] I take leave to remind you of the Order of the House on Monday, " to consider of the State of the Nation;" but not at the same time to debate the Remedies for the Misfortunes we are fallen under. First, consider the Condition of the Nation, as to that which concerns the Vacancy of the Government, by the absence of the King. I tell you freely my opinion, that the King is demised, and that James the Second is not King of England. For I lay it down as an undoubted proposition, that, when the King does withdraw himself from the Administration of the Government, without any provision to support the Commonwealth; when, on the contrary, he stops the use of the Great Seal, by taking it away with him, this amounts to what the Law calls "Demise," id est, a cession; and "demised" is "deserted the Government." This is evident in Law, as it is evident in Reason and Authority. The meaning of the word "Demise" is demissio, laying down; whether actually relinquishing the Government, or passively by death; in either of which cases, 'tis "a Demise." In the necessity of Government, all these cases have the same consequences. When the interruption is in the Administration, or 'tis demised; where there is the same mischief, there must be the same remedy. 'Tis the same thing for the King to withdraw his person, which makes a Parenthesis in the Government. By withdrawing the Seal, the Chancery ceases, and no Justice can be obtained. The Common Pleas cannot be possessed of any Cause, without an original Writ out of Chancery; and when these fail, the Law fails; and, by consequence, 'tis a Demise, for want of Administrators of the Government; which the Law cannot suffer. Qui cessat regnare cessat judicare. There is one Authority in the Rolls, instar omnium, in the case of Ed. IV. There was a rumour that the Earl of Warwick advanced towards him; he fled from Nottingham beyond sea; which was a clear Demise, and all proceedings in Westminster-Hall ceased, and it was judged a Demise. In 14 Henry VI. there are many Resolutions of Causes discontinued, by that Demise; remansit sine die, because le Roi se demise, in effect felo de se. Writs of Attachment were discontinued, because Justices came not into the country, and the King went beyond sea, without leaving a Lieutenant, The great Oracle of the Law, Judge Littleton, pronounced this departure of Edward IV. a Demise. Perhaps it may be objected, that Edward IV. did return again to the Administration of the Government, and resumed the Government by conquest, not in a legal way, but by the sword—There are two other Authorities that carry force in them. Edward II. resigned the Crown, but by duresse; yet he made the Resignation the 25th of January, and immediately it was judged a Demise. Richard IId's Resignation was per minas, yet that was judged a Demise (as in Rastall) Quod recordatum de regimine regni sui se demisit R. II. &c. These Precedents seem stronger in our case, which is a voluntary departure, without duresse. But that our King was frighted or forced away, others can better tell; but, by what is notorious to the World, there is a sufficient conviction that it was not Force; but that he did abandon his palace by night, and did go to sea, and was taken and returned again to his own Guards, that Papists might not raise any disturbance in the apprehension of his being detained prisoner. But this weighs most with me; that it was not probable that he was driven away by Force, when he stole away from his Guards, and repeated the attempt to be gone. There is the King's Letter to Lord Feversham, wherein he is obliged to follow the Queen. We have not only our Law in the case, but the authority of foreign writers, By the Civil Law, when the King does voluntarily abandon the Government, 'tis a Demise, and Cessation of the Government, according to Grotius, and other learned writers, by many Arguments from the Law of God—Grotius lays down some: Si princeps habet imperium pro direlicto, &c. he is but a private man then, he certainly ceases to be a Prince. Not that he was negligent in the Administration of Government, but did direlict; and we argue well, that a Direliction is a desertion of the Government. Hoffman, the Civilian, says, "If a Prince relinquishes the Government, he ceases to be a King." Regularly, I must end with a Motion; which is, that you will pass a Vote, that it is the Opinion of the Committee, "That King James the Second having voluntarily forsaken the Government, and abandoned and forsaken the Kingdom, it is a voluntary Demise in him."
Sir Richard Temple.] This learned Gentleman has said enough to convince us, that the gravity of this Committee is great, and that we have liberty to deliver the thoughts in every man's breast. I shall farther declare, that the King has endeavoured to destroy the Government of the Nation in Parliaments, by practising to get Votes before they meet, and to turn all out of the Government, who would not comply with him in Corporations to deliver up their Charters. This has been so notorious, that I shall not mention where; though it has been the Rights and Privileges of the People, yet they shall not be chosen till they declare they will destroy the Government. How has Westminster-Hall been tutored, Judges packed for purposes, and turned out, unless they assert power in Kings to dispense with the Laws, so that Westminster-Hall was become an instrument of Slavery and Popery, ordinary Justice destroyed, and extraordinary ways promoted, in that little and short time of the late King James's reign! When a King attempts to destroy the roots of Government, he differs in nothing from a Tyrant. All he has done may be reduced to that head of the destruction of the Church, by suspending the Ecclesiastical Laws, to destroy all that will not comply with Popery. The mischiefs are so recent and conspicuous, that, when you come to give Reasons, you will satisfy the Nation that King James has rendered himself inconsistent with Government. If there be not a Vacancy, and he has left the Government, what do we do here? He has quitted the Government, without assurance of any thing: He has suppressed the Parliament Writs: He has taken away the Great Seal; and here is an apparent end of the Government. The King is fallen from the Crown, and may think he is under an Obligation of Conscience to break the Laws against Popery. He may say, "I will never live in that torture:" And if he has said so, would any man doubt but that this is a Renunciation of the Government? All his actions have tended this way. If he be recalled, he will do the same thing again, and tell the World, "This is not from the Lords, but a company of miserable men of the House of Commons, and they may go home again; for the King can do no wrong, nor can forfeit his Crown by Male Administration."—But suppose the case were of an Infant, or Lunatic, the Nation may, in that case, provide for the Government; and, were the King a person that took care of the Government, he would never have left the Nation thus. He has taken none, and therefore it is our duty to do it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] When you have put the Question, "That there is an Avoidance in the Government," then your second part is, how to provide for it.
Mr Finch.] The Question now is of Vacancy in the Government: That of the Right and Title to fill it up comes too late after the other Question. Your Question is, Whether the Right itself is gone?
Sir Christopher Musgrave (fn. 4).] As to the matter of deposing Kings, I shall leave that to the Long Robe, to exercise their abilities upon. I live near a Kingdom (Scotland) where I know not how ill neighbours they will be, if they concur not with your sense. I would be clear, whether the intention is to depose the King; and, if he has forfeited his Inheritance to the Crown, I would know from the Long Robe, whether you can depose the King, or no.
Mr Comptroller Wharton (fn. 5).] I am glad Gentlemen have explained themselves. The Gentleman makes a question, whether the King may be deposed; but, whether he may be deposed, or deposes himself, he is not our King. 'Tis not for mine, nor the interest of most here, that he should come again. Abdication and Direliction are hard words to me, but I would have no loop-hole to let in the King; for I believe not myself nor any Protestant in England safe, if you admit him.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I believe we are in great danger, should the King return again; but I would willingly know the opinion of the Long Robe; and I hope they have that candour and tenderness, that they will clearly give their thoughts in this great and extraordinary affair.
Serjeant Maynard.] I know not the meaning of this, but I am afraid of a meaning. The Question is not, whether we can depose the King; but, whether the King has not deposed himself. 'Tis no new project; our Government is mixed, not monarchical and tyrannous, but has had its beginning from the people. There may be such a transgression in the Prince, that the People will be no more governed by him. All Governments, both military and civil, he disposes of, and because he asked a Million for life, and we asked, the last Parliament, but that some Officers, not qualified by Law, might be removed from their Places, the Parliament was dissolved—'Tis a mistake, that Ireland was conquered; it was yielded to Henry II. by calling him to take possession of it; and for five hundred years it was part of the Monarchy of England. The last Rebellion was by the influence of the Priests and Jesuits, and in 1641 the Protestants were all massacred. They slew 200,000 Protestants; and all that has been done in Ireland, would have been done in England. All authority, civil and military, was in Irish hands. Was this done like a King of England? What shall we think of this? Ireland to be in Popish hands! Can the King give away that Kingdom? This has been long creeping upon us. There is no Popish Prince in Europe but would destroy all Protestants; as in Spain, France, and Hungary; and in Spain they destroyed a gallant young Prince (Don Carlos) whom they suspected to incline to the Protestants; and now they would make Magdalen College a new St Omers.——The rest the Compiler could not bear.
Mr Harbord.] If the Question be, whether you have power to depose the King, that may tend to calling him back again, and then we are all ruined.
Mr Howe.] Some of the Counsel talk as if they were instructing Juries. I wish they would come plainly to the point.
Sir George Treby.] I am sorry for this heat in a matter that requires our utmost deliberation. 'Tis no less a Question than, whether we shall be governed by Popery and Arbitrary Government, or whether we shall be rid of both. One Gentleman would have the Long Robe declare, whether we have power to depose the King; though he speaks pertinent, yet it is not proper now; for we have found the Crown vacant, and are to supply that defect. We found it so, we have not made it so. Mr Finch would have it, the King going out of his Wits, not out of the Government. He knows the case; we are fallen out of the King's hands, and the Government must be provided for, before you go any other way than what was first proposed—But, to what has been said of "our not representing the fourth part of the Nation, accounting women and children, and all persons not Freeholders, of 40l. per annum, who are part of the Nation, and in a Convention ought to be represented, when the Government is to be disposed of," I say, we represent the valuable part, and those that deserve a share in the Government. You have advised the Prince of Orange to take upon him the supreme Authority of the Administration of the Government. The condition of the Nation is incumbent on you to provide for; and I am in conscience satisfied, that the King has lost his legal Government, and is fallen from it. That King that cannot, or will not, administer the Government, is no longer King; and this King neither will nor can; which are sufficient reasons to declare the Throne vacant. There are but two parts in Government, to command and obey the Legislature; but it is by the people's consent we make Laws; and the King, in executing them, assumed a power to dispense with the Laws in a lump. He dispensed with the Statute of Provisors; and the consequence was, the Pope sent a Nuntio hither; and the consequence is, he declares "he can no longer nor farther treat with his people in Parliament." As soon as that is done, he assumes an inherent indispensible Authority to vacate all your Laws, dispense with the Act of Uniformity, and set up the Ecclesiastical Commissions: No authority is above them; they judge without Appeal; they would have deprived all the Protestant Bishops and Ministers in England, and filled up their Bishopricks and Livings with Popish Priests—The cement of the Government is for the People to depend upon the King for the Administration of the Government, and the People for the execution of Laws, preservation of their Grants and Charters. The King, by this dispensing power, might have packed Members of Parliament, like the Parliament of Paris, which is in the nature of Registers, only to record the King's Will and Pleasure by his Dragoons; so, by this time, we might have been chosen by Regulators or Dragoons; and Parliaments would have represented none of the People, except Papists. When the Constitution of Parliament is thus invaded, instead of redress of Grievances we should have no Parliament called but of such as made Grievances. If the Prince of Orange had not rescued us from Popery, we should have delivered up, by Law, both Religion and Kingdom. The height of the Article against Richard II. was, "That he would have the Laws in his own breast, and packing of Parliaments." It was the judgment of King James I. in the Parliament of 1607, "That, when a King breaks in upon his Laws, he ceases to be a King." It was the great Argument, in the Exclusion Bill. What hurt can be done by a Popish King, is in the Royal Office only; but it is impossible in the rest of the Offices of the Government; for no Papist could come into them by Law, because of the Tests: And this was the judgment of King James's friends then, and that it was that preserved the Crown to him. How far this is a renouncing the Crown, is the Question. This was King James I.'s own judgment; he is fallen from the Crown, and is under an obligation of conscience to break these laws—I think it was an error to let him into the Throne, and I would not do another in not keeping him out. Our Deliverer has taken care of us; therefore put the Question, "Whether King James II. has not made an Abdication of the Government, and that the Throne is void."
Sir Thomas Clarges.] To say "that the Crown is void," is a consequence of an extraordinary nature. The consequence must be, we have power to fill it, and make it from a successive Monarchy an elective; and whether a Commonwealth, or alter the descent, is yet ambiguous. How came we hither the 22d of December, but to confer with the Members of former Parliaments? I told them then, "It was to consider how to pursue the ends of the Prince of Orange's Declaration, according to his Letter." And the advice ended, to call a Convention by the Prince's Letter; that so a full and free Representation of the people might advise to prosecute the ends of the Declaration, which would be tant-amount to a legal Parliament. I desire the Prince's Declaration may be read.—(which was done.)
Sir William Williams.] Should you go to the beginning of Government, we should be much in the dark: Every man in town and country can agree in fact of the state of things. 'Tis plain that King James II. is gone out of England into France; that is a plain fact. 'Tis a wilful, voluntary, or mixed action. I hear of no direction for Administration of the Government, when the King left the Kingdom; how he has disposed either of Courts of Justice, or of the Parliament. If this fact be true, he is become useless, and has left no remedy to preserve the peace of the Kingdom. This is partly the State of the Nation; and in that Kingdom where we had always disrelished him in several Parliaments, he has left several Places void in the Government; then what is to be done in this case? I propose it to be the first step, to declare, "That James the Second, by withdrawing himself from England, has deprived the Kingdom of England of the exercise of Kingly Dignity." Can any man deny all this? Then the consequence is, we are deprived of a King.
Mr Somers (fn. 6).] What you do in this case will satisfy the World abroad, if it be like other cases. Sigismund King of Sweden's case is parallel to ours. King James the First (upon an occasion most have heard of) protested, "That if his Posterity were not Protestants, he prayed to God to take them from the Throne." Sigismund made the like imprecation. He was so considerable as to be chosen King of Poland. After the Crown of Sweden descended to him, he sent to take the Government upon him: He returned, when he had changed his Religion, and brought Jesuits along with him, who were resty, and would disturb the Government, and invade the Laws, as they have ever done. The King prepared to force his way to the Crown; but before they came to a Battle, they entered into a Treaty, and the King promised to call a Parliament, and that Religion should be settled; but before they met, he withdrew to the Kingdom of Poland: So they settled Charles VIII. upon that Throne. First and last, the matter was jesuited, to change Religion, subvert the Government, and to withdraw from the Kingdom. That withdrawing of Sigismund was much less than ours. He went to the Kingdom he came from; ours has withdrawn to another Kingdom, which has always been against the interest of England, and he cannot come out of the French King's power without his consent, and all to his advantage. Some have taken notice of things before, and some since, his desertion: But the King's going to a foreign Power, and casting himself into his hands, absolves the People from their Allegiance. He sent an Ambassador (fn. 7) to Rome, received a Nuntio from thence, received a foreign Jurisdiction, and set up Romish Bishops in England, that the Popish Religion might intervene with the Government, thereby to subject the Nation to the Pope, as much as to a foreign Prince. Ireland, which has cost England so much Treasure to reduce, and now to deliver it up to the Irish, to subject it to a foreign Power ! And to do things by such hands, as, by the Constitution of the Kingdom are incapable! The hands were as much out of the way as the design—Just like Sigismund, after he had left the Kingdom, to send away the Seal, call a Parliament, and then desert the Nation !—My Motion is, That you will appoint a Committee to draw a Vote upon the Debate.
Serj. Maynard.] The difference is in words only: I will speak to the last only. I am not of opinion that the King, being a Papist, has made himself incapable of the Crown.
Mr Finch. (fn. 8) ] You have had variety of Motions, and have well collected them. Give me leave to examine the Motions; and I ask pardon if I differ in some things. 'Tis moved, that, by acts done by the King, he has lost his Crown that way; by going away, he has abdicated the Crown, and made a total refusal of the Government. 'Tis moved to vary the state of the Question, and only for the present to declare the Throne vacated. What Question, in point of Law, there is between "demised, abdicated, and deserted," the consequence can be but one and the same: If it be meant "Vacancy in the Throne," and you must fill it, and that it is devolved upon the People, that is, I believe, farther than Gentlemen would go: I believe no body will urge that so far, the Constitution of the Kingdom and Government not admitting it—If we were in the state of Nature, we should have little title to any of our estates—That the King has lost his Title to the Crown, and lost his Inheritance, is farther than any Gentleman, I believe, has, or will explain himself. The provision you will make will be but little acceptable to such a foundation. The consequence is but this; since the Monarchy is hereditary, be it vacated, or whatever you will call it, the descent is the consequence of all. No man will say the Monarchy is elective, let the Administration be ever so ill, and that the King has no more in the Monarchy than the exercise of it. If by neglect, or male-administration, he can forfeit no more than is in him, then this consequence is no more, than that his personal exercise of the Crown is gone; but still it must subsist somewhere. This is of the highest consequence that ever any Debate was here, for Law and Religion to be established sure and firm. However we may weather it, Posterity may curse our memory in after-ages, if we fail in this weighty matter. What to propose is difficult. I will not go about to say that what the King has done is any way justifiable. Here has been an actual invasion of our Religion and Properties, when they did get men in to give up the whole Rights of the Kingdom. These are things of a high nature, and call for your timely assistance. Consider the difficulty that will arise in the consequence, to say, that the King has made a total Renunciation of the Kingdom. That the King may renounce, all agree, that such Renunciation must be voluntary and public—And whether such Desertion be an Abdication? If he has lost it, the Monarchy will either be hereditary or elective, and here will be consequences. I am not of opinion that you should send Proposals to the King; it will not consist with the security of the Nation. Suppose the Kingdom under a state of Infancy, or Frenzy, the safety of the Government is in the unanimous opinion of the Nation. It is not hard to say, that the Parliament must provide for the Administration of the Government, but to call this "a direct forfeiture of the Crown!"—I will not excuse the King, and say he can do no wrong; but would avoid all doubts, and not say, in real common parliamentary construction, that the King can do no wrong, or that he has forfeited his Crown by male-administration— But suppose it the case of a Lunatic, or Infant, the Nation may provide for the Government; and were the King a person that took care of the Government that he ought to have taken care of——
Sir Robert Howard.] I differ in the circumstances of what has been said, though I agree in the main. There is an inconvenience in resting upon the word "Demise." Richard II. would have no Laws but what were in his own breast; but our King would not be satisfied with arbitrary Government in the Laws Temporal, but in the Laws of the Church too, thereby to influence our souls as well as our bodies; and, by an arbitrary Government, to subvert the Civil and Ecclesiastical Power; and 'twas no wonder, when a Jesuit and Papist sat in Council, that all Corporations were subverted, and Parliament-men closeted. This was the design of Rich. II. to try Sheriffs, to pack a Parliament, to make the people own their destroyers—But if the Demise of the Government fail, where is the foundation we are upon? It must be somewhere. By a legal and just tryal, no man has wrong done him. The King has none done him, in disposing of the Government, for he acts as a private man, he ought to act from his Laws—When he acts by his Will, and not by the Laws, he is no King; for he acts by Power and Tyranny. I have heard, "that the King has his Crown by Divine Right," and we (the People) have Divine Right too; but he can forfeit, if he break that pact and covenant with his People, who have Right, by reason of their Election, as well as in the name of Mr King— This original of power, resistance or non-resistance, is judged by the power resolved by People and King— The Constitution of the Government is actually grounded upon pact and covenant with the People. If this be so, what remains but that the King has made Abdication of the Government, and at one time has lopped off both Church and State? Could he have compassed Liberty of Conscience, he would have cut off Church and State at one stroke, and settled Popery. Here has not been one thing unattempted to destroy us: And if this be so, 'tis my opinion that here is an Abdication of the Government, and it is devolved into the People, who are here in civil society and constitution to save them. And if Divine Right does consecrate all these violations of our Laws, 'tis strange! If the King be of another Religion from his people, and makes a combination with a foreign Power, shall he carry all away with him to destroy us? I am of opinion, "that James II. has abdicated the Government (fn. 9)."
Mr Pollexfen. (fn. 10) ] The Question that has been proposed is, "Whether, by a voluntary departure of the King, the Government is demised?" I would not have Gentlemen surprized by the word "voluntary going away;" there is more meant by that than you suppose. There is a descent of the Crown, if a voluntary departure; and then what do you here, if you admit that? But if it be a "Demise," then the Crown is full by succession; and then too what do you here? If Force has been upon the King, and then he fly, will you call this "a voluntary departure?"—Was it "voluntary" his flight from Salisbury to London? The stronger did chase the weaker. If this is "voluntary," what means the noise of Arms? And is all this "a voluntary driving away?" I would not have you catched with this, to entangle the Debate. 'Tis an unnecessary Question, to carry at first sight; and if the Crown be vacant, trouble yourselves no farther in the matter—If the Crown be demised, you must think of the succession of it.
Mr Dolben.] I would not be thought to catch the House, by any Motion from me. I must still call the King's departure, when he needed not, and might have stayed, though there was "noise of Arms," yet if the King would not stick to his Laws, nor redress the grievances of his people, I must call that "a voluntary Demise." 'Tis true, upon a Demise, there must be a Descent; but the Question is, whether the Crown be vacant, now the King is departed, and no body to fill it up.
Sir James Oxenden.] 'Tis "a voluntary departure" in the King, to go away, and stir up foreign Princes to bring a foreign Power to destroy us. I cannot call it otherwise.
Sir Henry Capel.] 'Tis said, "the King might have stayed, and called a Parliament." But Popery and a Protestant Government are inconsistent. I move, that you will vote, that the Crown is vacant.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] The Gentleman that first moved in this Debate, put it upon "a Demise." "Devolution" and "Abdication" seem to be the same thing called by various authors. You have been moved for other words, and in case of "Abdication," it is not difficult. As to the next step, there is a great difference between the Throne being vacant by Abdication, and Dissolution of the Government. The Vacancy of the Throne makes no Dissolution of the Government, neither in our Law, nor any other. If the Government be fallen to the People, which People we are, what do the Lords and we here? If it be devolved upon the People, we have nothing to do here; we are not the People collectively: We are Representatives of the People in the three Estates of the Nation, and the King. And our Oaths of Allegiance, which we take before we sit, are to the hereditary succession of the Crown; the third Estate, which is the House of Commons, represents the Freeholders and Burghers, who are not the fourth part of the Kingdom. If the Government be devolved to the People, Copy-holders, Lease-holders, all men under 40 s. a year are People—What needs the advice of the Lords to reduce things to a settlement? Is it not then the right of all the People to send Representatives, and our sitting under this frame of Government is void, as we ought not to be here, so it restores not the rights of the Kingdom— Restore those rights by what free Parliament we can, in such a form, and frame, and constitution as the Government will admit. What do the Lords there? Are they Representatives of the People? No; of their own Estate only. If the Government be devolved upon the People, what do the Lords there? And we are not the People. Once a Government did dispose of Crowns; And they were not the fourth part of the Kingdom that disposed of the Crown in 1648. This has not only relation to ourselves, but to another Nation, Scotland—If we proceed on a sandy foundation, we shall destroy all we do. The People have a judgment of assent or dissent, but not a superiority of determination. If he relinquish the possession of the Throne, but not the Title, whether does that amount to "an Abdication" of the Government? I take the King's departure out of the Kingdom to be "an Abdication" of the Government. He refuses to govern, that acts otherwise than the Laws direct. And he that will go out of the Kingdom, does make an Abdication and Dereliction of the whole Government. In all I have read, I never met, in so short a reign, the Laws so violated, and the Prerogative so stretched. In his Declaration, he wishes that all his subjects were Catholics, and, if in his power, would certainly have effected it; we must all have been Catholics, or not safe. The Church and State were turned topsy-turvy. As to his suborning a Parliament, this and Richard II. are the only instances I have met with, that so we might have had neither Liberty nor Property in the Nation—His intention was to govern without Law. The Protestant Religion here was interwoven with all the Protestant States of Europe; and that principle justifies the Prince of Orange's coming over, and all that joined with him; which interest, if it fall, all falls with it. From the time the King has withdrawn, here has been no application made from him; and therefore I believe he has no intention to govern, according to the Constitution of the Government: Therefore no obligation remains upon us to him, in case this be an Abdication of the Government.
Mr Boscawen.] I have hearkened to Sawyer a great while, but I know not how to understand, "that the fourth part of the people of England are not here represented," and "that this is not a Parliament." I would know of him, what other way he can propose of calling a Parliament, than what has been in calling this? I am of opinion, that, if we sit here till he finds a way to sit better than as you are, you may sit till doomsday. Gentlemen, in former Parliaments, may remember they were told, "that the King could not be true to his Religion, if he did not what he has done:" And I believe none are willing to go into Egypt again. To settle things now, is the way to maintain both your Laws and Religion—If the King's going away be a Demise, then you must supply the Throne—And here is not only the King, but a little one beyond sea too, that will pretend. I would say no more, but "that the Throne is void;" then take the best way you can; and there is but one to defend you from him that is gone, that endeavoured to destroy your Laws. We must not fight with a bulrush: Therefore declare "that the Throne is void," and fill it. And pray put the Question, "That the Throne is void."
Sir William Pulteney.] I shall speak short to the Question, whether "Abdication," or "the Throne void," I would have both in the Question, for what he has destroyed was without making any provision for the Administration of the Government. We come to supply what he has taken from us. Have not you made another determination of putting the Government into another's hand for the present, which you have already, in effect, declared "a Demise?"
Mr Howe.] People were not free from slavery till the Tyrant ran away. I will not say that any King may have the same guilt, but we may have the same fears of Popish Lord-Lieutenants set over us: Therefore put into the Question all this. The last use he made of the Great Seal was to pardon malefactors, that have reduced you to this condition.
Mr Finch.] I desire to explain myself. 'Tis insinuated as if, from what I should have said, a loophole may be left for the King's return. I am so far from that, that I think there can be no safety in the King's return, by unanimous consent of the Nation. I think the Government not safe by his Administration; But all men will agree to be secured. I did say no more. I did not mean to capitulate, but to establish things by such a Regent during the King's life; if there may be such a security, all men will agree to it, and this is no loop-hole to let in the King again to the Government; for the King, by going away, &c. and his maleadministration, ought not to be trusted; and we may fear that, in the Regency, power may be exceeded: Therefore we have a right to demand security, that we be invaded no more: Yet the disposing of the Crown is another Question. All men can agree, that there is no security in his return. But whether his Administration does so cease as to lose his Titles, every man must swear to his Vote, that he whom you shall place on the Throne is lawful and rightful King.
Sir Robert Howard.] As to the succession of the young Gentleman beyond the seas, if he dies, France will find another for you.
Resolved, That King James the Second, having endeavoured to subvert the Constitution of the Kingdom, by breaking the original Contract between King and People, and, by the advice of Jesuits, and other wicked Persons, having violated the fundamental Laws, and having withdrawn himself out of this Kingdom, has abdicated the Government, and that the Throne is thereby become vacant. (fn. 11) [Which was agreed to by the House, and the Lords concurrence was desired.]
Tuesday, January 29.
Mr Garroway.] Great numbers of ships have taken in freight for France: I would have you address the Prince of Orange to stop them. Our Trade with the French King is to our disadvantage; and now that King James is there, our mariners may be stopped.
Mr Boscawen.] I would not barely address the Prince to stop those ships, but with it send our Reasons for it.
Mr Hampden.] I would have it part of the Address, "That the Prince would please to stop those ships, by some speedy course, that are going to fetch Wine from France;" left the French King stop your ships and men too.
Mr Pilkington.] When the Wines are bought up, then you will have an embargo upon your ships in France; and both Wine, Money, and Ships will be gone. And farther I desire, "that the Prince of Orange will take care that no ships go for Ireland," whither, I believe, ships are gone down the river.
Mr Sacheverell.] An Embargo at this time to be general would be of ill consequence: To run that trade into one hand at this time, the Merchants will suffer by it.
Mr Love.] I desire the Prince may be moved, "that a few ships may cruize upon the Irish coast, to give encouragement to the Protestants there."
Lord Falkland (fn. 12).] The Prince has ordered ships to cruize upon the Irish coast, and in the Channel.
Col. Birch.] I trouble Wine as little as any body; but I have found by experience that claret will be drank, and Money spent, and not only in brandy but linnen. Nineteen parts in twenty of the French commodities we pay ready Money for. If any Gentleman can, let him find a way to reduce that trade to balance—And it has been, that nothing from that Kingdom has been but by way of exchange. I would have the Committee of Trade sit, to take this into consideration: I would have no Embargo, but save your Money, and that will do your work against this hereditary enemy of us and the Empire.
Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to consider of the Trade between this Kingdom and France, &c. and that an Address to the Prince of Orange be prepared, to desire him to lay an Embargo on all ships going out of this Kingdom for France.
In a Grand Committee. On the State of the Nation.
Col. Birch.] When I consider the extraordinary hand of God that brought us hither, and the freedom we are here met in, it amazes me; and I am not able to comprehend this work of God in such an extraordinary manner; and, concerning King James's deposing himself, 'tis the hand of God. These forty years we have been scrambling for our Religion, and have saved but little of it. We have been striving against AntiChrist, Popery, and Tyranny. If we go through with this work, let every one understand what he means: Therefore I shall tell you what I mean. King James I. was so fond of the Spanish match (though that proved a French match at last) that he lost the Palatinate by it: Then followed pulling Members out, and committing them to prison. When once King Charles I. married a Papist, all things, from that time forward, went the contrary way; all things tended to Popery and a Civil War. At last I was in it, and, I thought, on the right side—(I am sure, I endeavoured to make it so before I left it.) When the two Estates remonstrated, and begged that the Customs might not be levied without Law, and Ship-money, there were smooth tongues in this House then to carry it on—Then came the breaking the Laws and Liberties, when things were near a conclusion—It was not the fault of the Ministers of the Church of England; nay, nor the Non-conformists, but Popery was in the box, and Idolatry. I remember what was said in this House, when the late King James was married to this Queen: "Men will follow their interest; and it was his interest to destroy the Protestant Religion, our Laws and Liberties." Popery will not prosper but in an arbitrary, tyrannical soil. If there had never a book been written on this subject, yet men may see, that, if God had not stopped him, we had been led like sheep to the slaughter. If then we are like to be ruined, if governed by a Popish Prince, my Motion is, "That you will vote it inconsistent with a Protestant State to be governed by a Popish Prince."
Sir Richard Temple.] I hope this will have no Debate; for we have found by experience, that a Popish King is inconsistent with the Government of a Protestant Nation.
Sir Patience Ward.] The prospect of a Popish successor was that which laid all the plots against the life of the late King Charles, and the Protestant Religion.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] This Debate is preparatory to what farther you intend to do. I move, "that you will vote it inconsistent with a Protestant Government to have 2 Popish Prince." There is a possibility that a Papist may be saved, and a possibility that a Popish King may govern well; but where the Papists govern the King, 'tis next to an impossibility that the Government should be Protestant.
Mr Dolben.] There is nothing in Statute nor Common Law against a Popish Prince, but it is against the interest of the Nation.
Major Wildman.] The Lawyers tell you, "there is neither Common nor Statute Law against a Popish King;" but the Government of this Kingdom of England is an independent Supremacy, that neither foreign Potentate, either ecclesiastical or civil, has any thing to do here. There is no Popish Prince but does acknowlege the Pope to be supreme; but 'tis Treason to acknowlege that Supremacy here: Therefore to say, "that there is no Statute Law, &c." is strange to be averred by the Long Robe. I move, therefore, that you will not only declare it to be against the interest of the Protestant Religion to be governed by a Popish Prince, but "that it is against our Law." Our free independent Government is not consistent with a Nuntio from the Pope. Four hundred years together we have laboured to keep the Church of Rome from our Government. 'Tis inconsistent with the Law of England to be governed by a Popish Prince.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] Will that Gentleman say, "that the Laws four hundred years since, and some in Henry VIII's time, were inconsistent with the Popish Government?" I am sure, without doors, it will be strangely thought of, if Henry VIII. should not be some time a Popish Prince.
Major Wildman.] Henry VIII. renounced Popery utterly. We speak of Princes holding Communion with the Church of Rome; and you may lay the word "Papist" aside.
Mr Hampden.] I have a great deference to the learned person; but the Pope's Supremacy was never heard of before the first Nuntio came into England, at the instance of William the Conqueror, who found his Clergy high, and therefore he got a foreign power over them, but complained afterwards, as the greatest Grievance, of the Pope's power in Appeals, upon which the Statute of Provisors was made. Henry VIII. was the first Prince that totally shook off the Pope's power, and the grounds justified him, being against the Constitution of the Government; and all agreed to it, and the Laws against Nuntios from the Pope. Q. Mary, not soon, prevailed with Cardinal Pole to come over for Nuntio. I desire the Question as moved, &c.
Lord Falkland.] For the honour of your proceedings, let what you do to-day be consistent with what you did yesterday. If it be inconsistent with the Law to have a Popish King, pursue your Vote of yesterday.
Resolved, That it hath been found, by experience, to be inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant Kingdom, to be governed by a Popish Prince.
Mr Wharton.] You resolved, by Vote, yesterday, "That the Throne was vacant;" and I suppose every Gentleman, and those few that were against the Vote, are now for filling the Throne, and re-settling the Government; and I hope it will be done as near the ancient Government as can be. 'Tis a matter of the greatest weight, and deserves the greatest consideration. Consider of it a thousand years, and you cannot cast your eyes upon a person so well to fill it as the Prince and Princess of Orange. To them we owe all our safety; most of us, by this time, must either have been slaves to the Papists, or hanged. I hope, that, for the future, we shall have security and preservation from them, and put them in a condition of saving us from our dangers for the future. As you did yesterday, so I desire you will now call upon the Gentlemen of the Long Robe to put you in some way practicable. I have read the story of Philip and Mary; that was not a good reign, and so not a good Precedent; but I hope we shall be all happy under King William and Queen Mary.
Lord Falkland.] It concerns us to take such care, that, as the Prince of Orange has secured us from Popery, we may secure ourselves from Arbitrary Government. The Prince's Declaration is for a lasting foundation of the Government. I would know what our foundation is. Before the Question be put, who shall be set upon the Throne, I would consider what powers we ought to give the Crown, to satisfy them that sent us hither. We have had a Prince that did dispense with our Laws; and I hope we shall never leave that doubtful. The King set up an Ecclesiastical Court, as he was Supreme Head of the Church, and acted against Law, and made himself Head of the Charters. Therefore, before you fill the Throne, I would have you resolve, what Power you will give the King, and what not.
Mr Garroway.] We have had such Violation of our Liberties in the last reigns, that the Prince of Orange cannot take it ill, if we make conditions, to secure ourselves for the future; and in it we shall but do justice to those who sent us hither, and not deliver them up without very good reason.
Sir William Williams.] When we have considered the preservation of the Laws of England for the future, then it will be time to consider the persons to fill the Throne. The Prince's Declaration has given us a fair platform. Some of your Laws have been very grievous to the people, though not Grievances; and perhaps those occasioned Arbitrary Government. Those are to be redressed. Because King Charles II. was called home by the Convention, and nothing settled, you found the consequence. Charles II. was a young man, in the strength of his youth, and, you know, much Money was given him, and what became of it? The Act of the Militia is worthy your consideration, and he in whose hands you will put it should be our Head. I take it to be your security to settle your safety for the future, and then to consider the person. I now speak for all England. I would consider purging Corporations, and arbitrary Power given the late King by the Judges: Weak Judges will do weak things; their master commands them; they read no books, and know nothing to the contrary. I could give many more instances.
Sir Richard Temple.] I hope you will not leave till you see how we got out of our rights. Secure your liberties, and you cannot better recommend the Government to one to succeed than by settling these things. I will reduce my thoughts to three heads essentially necessary: 1. Encroachment upon Parliament, (though in the hands where you will place the Government there may be no danger) to secure posterity; and you may have time to call persons to account that break Parliaments, when they will not do what pleased; to provide for their certainty and frequency, and that persons obtain not Pardons when they have ruined the Nation; and to provide for Elections of Parliaments, that Corporations may not be made tools to nominate whom they please; to provide against a Standing Army without consent of Parliament, not in Peace, when there is no War nor Rebellion. An Army was no part of the Government till the late King's time. The Militia-Act was made use of to disarm all England. 2. Your care should be, that Westminster-Hall be better filled with Judges, and not, under pretence of the King's Prerogative, to give away all. That the Judges be "during life," and that they have Salaries instead of Fees: That Sheriffs make not unjust Returns of Juries, and that Westminster-Hall have as little power as you can. Formerly Westminster-Hall decided not great cases, but left them to Parliament. The Judges now do not only Lex dicere but facere. In new and difficult cases, this will be the way to preserve you from what they are bid to judge. 3. The Coronation-Oath to be taken upon entrance into the Government; and, as we are sworn to our Kings, so they to be sworn to protect us. Pursue the ends of the Prince's Declaration, with some such securities as I have mentioned, that these things may be taken care of; to recommend to posterity what you have done for them.
Mr Boscawen.] We know, that the Prince's Declaration pursues all those ends mentioned. But Arbitrary Government was not only by the late King that is gone, but by his Ministers, and farthered by extravagant Acts of the Long Parliament. The Act for regulating Corporations was upon a specious pretence to secure the Crown, but had the end with the Commissions for regulating Corporations. Though ever so loyal, yet if they differed from the designs of the Ministry, they were put out. The Militia, under pretence of persons disturbing the Government, disarmed and imprisoned men without any cause: I myself was so dealt with. There is a Clause in the Militia-Act, for a week's tax after 70,000l. for trophies, and not to exceed it; but as it is now practised, two or three years have been collected together, without regard to the Act. Arbitrary Power is ill in a Prince, but abominable to one another. The Triennial Bill for Parliaments was but a device, when we were going into slavery; but by such an Act, if we have no redress of Grievances (as Mr Vaughan, of this House, then said, who was as much for the King as any) "better to have no Law at all." I move, that these things may be taken into consideration.
Resolved, That, before the Committee proceed to fill the Throne, now vacant, they will proceed to secure our Religion, Laws, and Liberties.
Serjeant Maynard.] I agree to the Vote; but I fear, if we look so much one way on Arbitrary Government, we may sit five years, and never come to an end of what has been moved. One says, "in the Saxon time, the people were much puzzled. One King made one Law, and another King another." Another drives at a new Magna Charta. The former Parliaments cared not which way they run, so Pensions were paid— The management of the Militia was an abominable thing—Many speak, in Coffee-Houses and better places, of fine things for you to do, that you may do nothing but spend your health, and be in confusion—Take care of over-loading your horse, not to undertake too many things. I would go only to things obvious and apparent, and not into particulars too much. (Not well heard.)
Lord Falkland.] We must not only change hands, but things; not only take care that we have a King and Prince over us, but for the future, that he may not govern ill. Some, perhaps, are dissatisfied with the Power, some with the Army—'Tis for the people's sake we do all, that posterity may never be in danger of Popery and Arbitrary Power.
Mr Sacheverell.] Since God hath put this opportunity into our hands, all the World will laugh at us, if we make a half settlement. As the case stands, no man can tell that what he has is his own. Unless you look backward how men have been imprisoned, fined, severely dealt with; the same may happen to other Gentlemen. We must look a great way backward. I cannot find three Laws, from twenty years upwards, that deserve to be continued. In the great joy of the King's Return, the Parliament overshot themselves so much, and to redress a few Grievances they got so much Money, that they could live without you; Pensions were agreed for so much in the hundred for all they gave; Warrants of Commitments, Arms taken from persons, &c. They were ill-affected to the Government, because they endeavoured to chuse persons they liked not. You may look back a great way; but secure this House, that Parliaments be duly chosen, and not kicked out at pleasure; which never could have been done, without such an extravagant Revenue that they might never stand in need of Parliaments. Secure the Right of Elections, and the Legislative Power.
Mr Pollexfen.] First make a Settlement of the Laws, that they may be asserted, and those must all be consulted by Lords and Commons, and then settle the Crown. Every man sees the nature of this proposition; if this be to confound you, 'tis a dreadful proposition: I am as much for Amendment of the Government as any man, and for repressing the exorbitances of it; but the way you are in will not settle the Government, but restore King James again. If but a noise of this goes beyond sea, that you are making Laws to bind your Prince, it will tend to confusion. The greatest enemy you have cannot advise better. One Kingdom is gone already, and this is in confusion. Some of the Clergy are for one thing, some for another; I think they scarce know what they would have: And the more we divide, the more it makes way for the Popish Interest. Popery is the fear of the Nation, and all that have voted against Popery may fear Popery—But now we begin to forget it. Formerly it was thought impossible that Popery should come in, and that the Tests would keep it out—But how can we bring to pass all these Proposals, before he is King? We cannot; and when he is King, perhaps he will not pass these into Laws—To stand talking, and making Laws, and in the mean time have no Government at all! They hope better things from our actions abroad, and a better foundation of the Protestant Interest. The Prince's Declaration is the cause of your coming hither, that the Kingdom may be established, and the Laws and Government secured from being subverted again. If we stand talking here, we shall do as strange things as those who prevailed by Arms in the late times; and, not coming to a Settlement, it ended in their own destruction, and never came into any settled Government; so the Authority of the King swept away all at last. We lately had a Bill of Exclusion; it was talked of so long, that both parties suffered, one formerly, the other since. A Law you cannot make till you have a King. The thing you go upon is not practicable: One Gentleman is of opinion "to take away all Laws since this King came to the Crown;" another (Christie) "to make a new Magna Charta." If you sit till all these Motions are considered, we may think to make our peace with King James as well as we can, and go home.
Mr Garroway.] I would not draw this Debate out at length; somewhat must be done: A great many things have been named by several persons to be redressed. I hope we do not go about to sit here till all be done. All we can do for the present is, to represent to the Prince that these things may be done, and, under some short Heads, to present the Prince with what you would have done to give security to the Government; and let an Oath be administered to him; and in a few days you may come to your end.
Mr Seymour.] We shall suffer by our doing more than by reason of not doing at all. Will you think fit to leave the dispensing power unquestioned in Westminster-Hall? Though the clock do not strike twelve at once, must it not strike at all? Will you do nothing, because you cannot do all? Will you let men go on in the same practices they have formerly? Will you establish the Crown, and not secure yourselves? What care I for what is done abroad, if we must be slaves in England, in this or that man's power? If people are drunk and rude below, as was complained of, must that stop Proceedings in Parliament?
Sir Thomas Lee.] I find there is a difference in the Committee, how to word the Question. I know not how to propose words to reach every man's sense. If you put it so general, how our Liberties have been invaded, perhaps a few days will state it. There was an opinion, formerly, of the Long Robe that must be exploded, "That the King may raise what Army he pleases, if he pay them." That is the support of slavery, when there is other support to the King than the people's affections to their Prince.
Col. Birch.] I am as much afraid of losing time as any body: Whereas disorders of the Army in Ireland are spoken of, they will be still worse, unless provision be made to keep us from Slavery and Popery. I differ from what Gentlemen say, as to the time it will take you up. I think it will not take you a day's time, when you have filled the Vacancy of the Throne. Prepare what you would have repealed, and present it. As to the Fast moved for, I know not what we should fast for—I will not call to-morrow (fn. 13) Sunday, for I do not find it called so in books: I would sit tomorrow, and I hope to make an end to-morrow. There is a Tax called Hearth-money; take that away, and the Prince will have ten times more safety than in all his Army; and that may be in one line.
Mr Hampden, jun.] You are, by Order, to consider the State of the Nation. Though you have voted, that King James has abdicated the Crown, you have not done all; we are still free, and not tied by Oaths. The time presses hard, on many accounts; and to rise without doing more than filling the Throne that is vacant, is not for the safety of the people. 'Tis necessary to declare the Constitution and Rule of the Government. In the late Convention, there was a Vote passed, "That the Government was in King, Lords, and Commons." I move that the Journal may be inspected. You have voted, "That King James has violated the Constitution of the Nation," call the chief Governor what you will.
Mr Harbord.] You have an infallible security for the administration of the Government: All the Revenue is in your own hands, which fell with the last King, and you may keep that back. Can he whom you place on the Throne support the Government without the Revenue? Can he do good or harm without it? 'Tis reasonable that you should be redressed by Laws; but unless you preserve your Government, your Papers cannot protect you. Without your sword, how will you be secured from the dangers from Ireland, and the mutiny of the Army? All may be lost, whilst you are considering.
Sir Richard Temple.] We here represent all the Nation. Place the Government in some person, and then provide for the rest.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] In justification of your Vote yesterday, to declare your Grievances, you are to declare wherein King James the Second has broken the Laws, and whom you have put by the Government. You must have wheels, before you can put the cart upon them. In the first place, put the Question, "That you will proceed in asserting the Rights and Liberties of the Nation; and that you will appoint a Committee to bring in general Heads of such things as are absolutely necessary for securing the Laws and Liberties of the Nation."
[A Committee was appointed accordingly.]
Wednesday, January 30.
[Dr Sharp (fn. 14) preached before the House.]
Mr Speaker informed the House, that Dr Sharp prayed for the King by the Title of "his most excellent Majesty, &c."
Lord Fanshaw.] The Clergy are subject to another jurisdiction, and you cannot censure them here for what they do in the Church.
Serjeant Maynard.] Dr Sharp is one of the first men that has made a breach upon your Vote. He has not done well: But I will not speak of your jurisdiction in this matter; but let him not have the Thanks of the House for his Sermon.
Sir John Thompson (fn. 15).] I would not single out Dr Sharp, when almost all the Clergy do the same thing.
The Speaker.] Because he that preached this Sermon, contradicts your Vote, which caused me to take notice of it: I take notice of it, to prevent future reflections. You vote one day, and 'tis contradicted in the Pulpit another. You will have a Sermon preached before you to-morrow by Dr Burnet; there is no danger of him; but I took notice of this, to prevent others.
Mr Howe.] This prayer of Dr Sharp's, to put a contradiction upon your Vote, will encourage the Priests to knock our brains out. The Vote we made is contrary to Passive Obedience, and this man preaches it up. I move, that the Speaker may have the Thanks of the House for informing us of it.
Mr Pelham. (fn. 16) ] I would not put a reflection upon this Gentleman; he has suffered for the Protestant Religion (fn. 17); and your Vote not being printed nor published, he could have no notice of it. I move, "that he may have the Thanks of the House for his Sermon."
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] No body ought to take notice of our Debates; and it has been complained of that your Votes have been made public. I wonder that this should be thought a crime in this Doctor. Is not there a Law, whereby they are enjoined to pray according to the Rubric? Shall your Vote dispense with an Act of Parliament?
The Speaker.] What I have informed you is not concerning the prayer in the Liturgy, but in his conceived prayer before Sermon.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] The Canon obliges it; and 'tis strange if by this you should ensnare many people. I think we have great obligation to this Gentleman; and you know that a Prelate was under suspension himself for not suspending him (fn. 17). All true Protestants have the greatest obligation in the world to encourage this Gentleman, and I desire that no discouragement may be put upon him.
Sir John Knight.] Reads the printed prayers for the day (which have reference to the Liturgy) Shall we lay a charge upon the Doctor, when he is obliged by the printed prayers? I move, "that he may have the Thanks of the House for his Sermon."
Sir Edward Norris.] I move, "that the Doctor may have Thanks for his Sermon against Popery;" and let the prayers alone till there be farther directions about them.
Sir William Williams.] Now you are putting the previous Question, I shall not interrupt it.
Sir John Lowther.] 'Twill look oddly to give the Doctor Thanks, in contradiction of your Vote; and the Lords Concurrence you have not yet to it; and yet it cannot be taken notice of. I would not put the previous Question, because some Gentlemen may not know what it means. [This gave distaste, and was by some bissed at. It fell.]
[January 31, Thanksgiving Day. Dr Burnet preached before the House.]