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.
Monday, November 11.
[On the State of Ireland.]
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If the English Army had intercepted King James, we might have have had Dublin and Drogheda before they had it. I move, That some Persons of Trust may be employed to inspect the Army.
Mr Garroway.] I move to send into Ireland some Persons, not upon Recommendation, but Persons of Integrity, to inspect the Army. I would not have spoken now, but that the Fleet and Army are so out of order, that I know not what they are, nor where. I would have also a true State of the Army in England. I would know what we have to trust to.
Mr Papillon.] I move, That you will enquire what Wines and Brandies have been taken as Prize, and judged by the Commissioners, that it may be sent into Ireland for relief of the Army there.
Sir John Guise.] I know not whether the Army ought to be refreshed with that which ought to have been thrown upon the Ground. Perhaps there may be some running Contrivances to elude your Act, but you may, if you please, have benefit by this; perhaps your Army would buy it. I shall not be satisfied to elude your Law, but if it be distributed among the Regiments, that the common Soldiers may have the benefit of it, and none else, I am for it.
Mr Garroway.] I desire that some of these Gentlemen that tell us of this Wine and Brandy, would acquaint you how they came by it, whether by Prize from us, or the Dutch? I can give no Vote, till I know how they came by it.
Mr Sacheverell.] Appoint a Committee to enquire not only what Wines were seized, but how. I would have that to be part of the Question.
Sir John Guise.] I hope the Commissioners of the Customs will give you an Account. If they do not, appoint a Committee to enquire.
Mr Hampden.] You may direct the Commissioners of the Customs and Prizes to bring you an Account on Monday. Upon Papillon's Motion about Salt, direction is given that the Commissioners of the Navy shall have the refusal of the Prize-Salt, at the Price, I suppose, of Lancashire Salt.
[Ordered, That the Commissioners of the Customs, and the Commissioners of the Prize-Office, do, upon Wednesday Morning next, bring in an Account, what French Wines and Brandies, and other French Goods, have been taken as Prizes, or have been seized upon by the Officers of the Custom-House; and where they are, and when taken, and by whom.]
Col. Tipping.] I hear several thousands of Casks are providing for Portugal, for "red Wines;" which will be brought in under that Notion, and will prove "French Wines."
Mr Sacheverell.] I would know where they are taken, when, and by whom? I like the Motion well, to inspect the Army in Ireland, which, I hear, is so low that I am ashamed to name them. Notwithstanding the accounts of 36,000, I believe they are not 14,000 men, and we pay for 36,000. I would have nothing wanting of our Duty, and to take care that other Persons do theirs, to do what we would all carry on, the reducing of Ireland. As for the Fleet, if we have such another Summer, it will be in vain for us to be here. I move, That the King would send such Persons to inspect the Army and the Fleet, as he does conside in.
Mr Ettrick.] Several of your Members are in Ireland Men of Quality. I move, That they may come over and give you Account.
Col. Austen.] If you have Members there independent on all commands, I am for it, but I would understand the Members there. If no more than Common Fame represents, you had as good have none.
Sir John Guise.] I doubt not but it is absolutely necessary for your service to know the Numbers of your Forces in Ireland, the Army here, and the Fleet. I hope you will have a good Account, as far as relates to England and the Fleet, but you have an Army in Flanders; that in Ireland is wholly in Mr Harbord's, and that in Flanders in Lord Churchill's, Inspection, &c. As for a Committee, it is impossible they should give you Account, unless some such way be taken.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Debate now stands, that the Army of Ireland is disproportionable to what you pay; it is proposed to see the Musters sent up to the King. For the present, the King is a stranger to England; it is a wonder he knows so much already. 'Tis for the King's Service, that you make him this Representation; by it he may know what otherwise he could not. He must see with other mens eyes. I see no doubt but the King will appoint Commissioners; therefore put it off your Hands.
Mr Smith.] I would have Persons inspect the Army, that have no Interest of command in it; they must incur the ill thoughts of the rest, and I think them not safe in their lives by their Fellow-Officers.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I offer it, how you can address the King in this now, when, on Wednesday, you go upon the State of the Nation?
[Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, &c. That he will please to appoint some fit Persons to go over into Ireland, to take an Account of the Number of the Army there, and the State and Condition of it.]
[November 12, Omitted.]
Wednesday, November 13.
A Message from the Lords, to desire, That, Mr Serjeant Trenchard (fn. 1) and Mr Hampden (fn. 1) jun. and such other Members [as can inform the Lords about those matters] may have leave to appear, when desired, to declare their Knowlege who were the Advisers and Prosecutors of the Murders of Lord Russel, Col. Sidney, Sir Thomas Armstrong, Alderman Cornish, and others; [and who were the Advisers of issuing out Writs of Quo Warranto's, &c. and who were the Regulators, and who were the publick Asserters of the Dispensing Power.
Mr Sacheverell.] This is a Precedent that is very new. I never saw any of the like nature before. It lays a hard charge on you, as if your Members never mentioned this Evidence to you. The naming these Gentlemen in the Message, "and such other Members as can inform the Lords, &c!"—To grant an unlimited Power of we know not whom, is not Parliamentary.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think, the thing is quite new, or out of my Memory. I would rather take a day's time to consider of Precedents. I cannot agree that it is an original thing (as said) but things of this nature are nice betwixt both Houses.
Mr Boscawen.] There was a Member examined about Lord Essex. He asked your leave, when called upon by the Lords; and now it is much more reasonable that you should give leave.
Sir John Trevor.] This is a matter of great Importance. I would not deny the Lords any thing in which they have a judicial Power; if you can give them any Assistance, in that you may. Enquire into Lord Strafford's Case, and you will find that Sir Henry Vane, a Member, was examined by the Lords; and some Members now in Lord Stafford's Case; but it was when the Commons were Prosecutors. As for proceeding by Bills of Attainder, there are but few Precedents, but what have begun here, but those by the King's Attorney-General, by the King. I would not have you give up your Privilege; but I would give the Lords satisfaction, and answer them by Messengers of your own, and adjourn the Debate till to-morrow.
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I would willingly comply with the Lords. I hear only of the Precedent of the last Session; and before you confirm that Precedent, by adding another to it, I would consider.
Sir John Guise.] I know my own Ignorance in Methods of Parliament; but all desire to clear up the dust in this case. Rather than delay it, refer it to a Committee, to see the manner of proceeding of the House, and inspect your Books, and we commend it to their dispatch.
Mr Charles Montagu.] I am so far from hindering the Information of the House, that I could wish we had begun the Enquiry here. I believe the Committee of the Lords meet not till Friday, and you may consider of it.
Sir Robert Cotton.] I desire to see a full Prosecution of this Business. Never were men so illegally prosecuted and executed. But you have had no Precedents of this Nature, but the sending for Sir Christopher Musgrave, and he was named by the Lords; and so far I would agree with the Lords, to the Persons they name; but, as for the other Part of the Message, "That Persons at their Lordships pleasure may be sent for," there is no instance of Precedents; and seeing you have none, for the Honour of the House you ought to consult Methods of Parliament, and to answer it to those that shall come after us. I move for a Committee, &c.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I would not delay it so long as referring it to a Committee. The former part of the Lords request seems reasonable, and is far from claiming a Jurisdiction; but, as for the other Part, to examine whom they shall see cause, of your Members, I am utterly against that Jurisdiction.
Mr Hampden.] You are rationally moved, by Littleton, to send no Answer at all to the latter part of the Message.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I have a great difficulty upon me in this, concerning the Lords Jurisdiction. By the Statute of Henry IV, "There shall be no more Appeals of Treason of Lords against one another in Parliament." But, admitting the Lords had Jurisdiction of themselves, they have none upon Commoners, but, if this may tend to the Accusation of Commoners, it is against the right of the Commons; but if they say it is against such a Peer, and such, but to have your Members neither to know, whether it is against a Commoner, or a Peer, I am against it.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I came in late, but I collect from the Debate, that the Lords desire Trenchard and Hampden to attend the Lords, and give Evidence of the Authors of the Murders of Lord Russel, &c. the Advisers of the Quo Warranto's, and Regulators of Corporations, and any other Member to attend their Lordships, when desired. I think this of that importance to the Constitution of Parliament, that you cannot find one instance of that kind. When an Accusation has been from the Commons, then you have permitted your Members to give Evidence to the Lords, but upon an original Cause from the Lords—If you examine upon the Legislative, you are upon equal footing with the Lords; but will you submit and subject yourselves a degree lower, having no Precedents to warrant your Proceedings? I hope you will be tender how you admit it.
Mr Hawles.] 'Tis said, "There is no Precedent of this Message from the Lords;" and, indeed, there is no Precedent of what has been done lately in the abominable Tryals. It is certain that a Member may accuse a Lord, and certainly there is no manner of mischief in this, but to do a great deal of good.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I desire Gentlemen would think how little things draw great consequences; if Gentlemen see what they are about to do, perhaps they will not do it. I think I have read, or heard, that, in former times, the Lords sent to the Commons to persuade them to the necessity of giving Money; the Commons would not confer with the Lords about it. You may remember Skinner's Case (fn. 2). The Lords tell you, now, they are doing a thing that is the greatest matter in Question, whether they can do it; and when you make yourselves a Party, and consent to it, I know not how far it will go. It will be, or not be, as the Lords shall think fit. In Fitzbarris's Case, at Oxford, the Lords would not accept your Impeachment (fn. 3). I would keep Gentlemen on the ancient Foundation. This Case is an Enquiry into matters criminal. I know the consequence of the Quo Warranto's against Corporations, and no man is so brutish as not to abhor the Murders of Lord Russel, &c. but if the Lords take upon them to make Enquiry into that which you have power to do, and ought to do, they may, perhaps, bring a Commoner summarily to be tried at their Bar.
Mr Hawles.] Appeals were taken away by the Statute Henry IV. of one Lord against another in Parliament, for Treason; but still there are for Murder and Felony. Appeals for Treasons are always in Parliament, and are to be tried by Battail. If a man was antiquated, above sixty Years of age, he was not bound to Battail, nor a woman. But there is no colour that that Statute took away Impeachments in Parliament— I would have these persons, desired by the Lords, have leave to go.
Sir Henry Capel.] I know, whenever Privilege comes in Debate, that it is a very tender and nice thing, but I hope it shall ever be for the preservation, and not destruction, of the Government. I would not carry Privilege to that excess to prevent common Justice, that it may be obstructed. In this case, where you have reversed Attainder of these persons, I hope no Privilege will take place. I think this is no original Cause from the Lords. I think the Peers, as part of the Legislature, have power to enquire into these things, as well as the Commons. Here have been Charters and mens lives taken away, and ill Returns of Members designed, and your Laws destroyed thereby, and no remedy. It is said, "There is no Precedent for this, &c." but there is a Precedent the last Session: Sir Christopher Musgrave, and Sir Philip Howard, attended the Lords, to give evidence in the Case of Lord Essex. As for a Committee to consider this, it is a delay to the Enquiry, and we ought to show our readiness to the Lords in it.
Sir John Trevor.] I would know the date of the Messages; if it bears date now, it is a small delay for a Committee to consider it till to morrow-morning. Is it not better to allow the small delay till to-morrow, than to divide the House upon it? And the Yeas must go out.
Sir Robert Howard.] It has been said by some, "We must agree to all the Message, or none." Skinner's Case was most foreign to this, for that was point of Property, which might have had remedy in Westminster-Hall, and was an original Cause from the Lords. Can this be a prejudice to you? But this will be a deep one; when you will do nothing yourselves in it, and hinder the Lords from doing it. "You have heard a great deal of this Matter, and let all pass, and the Lords think they can do something in the discovery, and the Commons delay contributing to it." This will be said.
Mr Hampden.] The Question is not properly "Agree or not," but you may divide the Question. I am for maintaining all the Privileges of the House, but you have none for obstructing Justice. Our Common Law is founded upon eternal maxims of Reason of any Municipal Law in the world; the Civil Law, the Municipal Law of the Romans, was so. When your Privilege stops Justice, it is time to hinder it. In the Popish Plot, the Lords sent for some of the Commons to give Evidence, and particularly in the Case of Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, the Lords sent for Witnesses perpetually. The thing is not judicially before you. In Lord Bristol's Case, accusing Lord Clarendon, the Lords over-ruled it, "That a Lord could not accuse another in Parliament." In such Cases, when the Lords desire Evidence, and you plead Privilege, I could wish Privilege out of doors.
Resolved, That leave be given to Mr Serjeant Trenchard, and Mr Hampden (fn. 4), jun. to attend the Lords.
Mr Sacheverell.] Now you have given leave to your Members, the Lords will easily understand it, but leave it an indifference for any to go that will.
[In a Grand Committee.] On the State of the Nation.
Sir Robert Clayton.] I am sorry for the occasion of this day's consideration. Lee has told you, "That no complaints of Captains misbehaving themselves had reached the Admiralty." I could wish it had reached no other mens ears. Merchants are forced to hire Dutch Capers, much cheaper than they can get our own, for Convoys. The Merchants tell me, "They will give you proof, and produce receipts from Captains of Convoy-Money, of above 300 l." I have a Petition from some Merchants; they are ready to lay before you matters, with fair proof, of refusing Convoys, without great reward, and are ready with Evidence.
Sir Robert Howard.] Now we are come to a point, and a great one; therefore, I move, That the Speaker may take the Chair, to receive the Petition.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Whether we had ill conduct of deceit, I will not determine, but I am sure we are very unfortunate, when a great Fleet is in Harbour, and lies there, and consumes all its victuals, and no account of its service. Your men are debauched, and the Captains come to London to riot, and never went out to cruise, and no advantage is taken of that Fleet. You have heard of want of Convoys; though this of Trade is the life of the Land, yet we are over-reached in Treaties—The Dutch are at a fifth less charge in men than we. I could wish our Debate would tend to a remedy for the time to come. I have heard of Ships that have lain a year for a Voyage, and the Captains have taken all their men, and the Ships have been lost. Formerly we had men sufficient to carry on the War, and yet carry on our Trade. The Dutch are our great Competitors in Trade, and we join with them in War— I think, at least, we ought to prevent these mischiess for the future. There was a time when the Government of England, though an Usurpation, had the French, Spaniards, and Hollanders, all Enemies. Their Fleet was executed by Commission, not by one Admiral, but it had three, Blake, Deane, and Popham. As far as my Prudence reaches, I would not commit the Fleet to one Admiral, but to three (fn. 5). If the King send some of his Council to the General in Ireland, to advise and assist him—All this, I conceive, relates to the State of the Nation. You are not ready for a Question, but we see the evil, and may apply remedy for the future.
The Speaker resumed the Chair.
Sir Robert Clayton.] I have here a Petition from Merchants, who have had to the value of 600,000 l. taken from them by Pirates, and French Capers. If you please to give the Merchants a day, they will make out their complaints. Many have been taken within sight of land, betwixt Scilly and Plymouth, and the French have done it.
Mr Garroway.] When the Petition was opened, you were told of Convoy-Money: I would have the Petitioners called in, to aver the giving of Convoy-Money.
Sir Robert Clayton.] Give them time, and they will prove it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I would have them called in, to inform you of getting Foreigners to convoy them, and giving Money to our Captains to convoy them.
They were called in.
The Speaker.] What sums of Money were given for Convoy, and to whom?
Answer.] Captain Churchill (fn. 6), of the Pendennis, convoyed twenty Ships; before he would take them they paid him, some ten, some eight guineas.
Emanuel Hudson paid him 40l. for himself, and four more. I have showed the receipt of 40l. to Sir Patience Ward, by Captain Churchill, for Convoy.
Sir Patience Ward.] Capt. Churchill would not undertake a Convoy without 300l. and because he could not have the Money, he pressed his men; and the Ship, for want of men, was cast away.
Mr Garroway.] The Convoy is only from the Land's End to the River. If there be but this one Case, it is well; but if there be more, give them till Monday.
Mr Hawles.] To give a gratuity for a present, when the Convoy goes off, is ordinary; but this was paid first, by agreement.
Sir Edward Seymour.] Before you leave the Chair, I have a short Motion to make, which, I hope, is for your service. By what I have heard, I find the State of the Nation is in ill condition. It is a large Field, but one thing is manifest and notorious, the loss of Trade and Treasure, by neglect of guarding the Sea, whether by ignorance of the Admirals in general, or by particular mismanagements.
Mr Garroway.] If you put it "To enquire into the mismanagement at Sea," your Order will be too narrow; but put it "for want of due guarding the Sea."
Sir Thomas Lee.] I do not know Gentlemens meaning, nor how far losses at Sea, and due want of guard, will ex tend. Losses may be, and yet good Fleets at Sea, and you Masters of the Sea. Great numbers of Ships were lost when the French Fleet came not out. If Merchants will go Ship by Ship, and not by Company, all the Fleet cannot protect them. For my own part, I will own my ignorance: Gentlemen that know as little as myself, have got ten times more of the Government than I have.
Admiral Russel (fn. 7).] It being a Question, Whether the Fleets were sufficient to keep the French from coming out, they lay so long, that it was judged by Seamen fit for us to go in. It is said, "The Fleet last Summer was of no use;" but you did not only keep the French Fleet in, but went to Ireland, a dangerous Coast, and kept and prevented the French from landing Men and Money. I think that was service in your Fleet. 'Tis impossible to guard all places, but if your Merchants will venture, they cannot be guarded. If it appears to be thus, I think the Question better let alone.
Sir Samuel Dashwood.] I can justify it by Persons, that the Sugar-Fleet lost seven Ships. The Lords of the Admiralty were acquainted that the Fleet was in danger, that Lord Berkeley might stay for Convoy, but the Admiralty commanded Berkeley home; and I think the loss was for want of Convoy.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Every fault is great, till understood. I think I may agree with the Gentleman in what he said. The thing, in plain English, was thus: Such Ships as were fit to keep the Sea, and not sick, were ordered to cruise, to do some service of importance. The King commanded Lord Berkeley to come in, and refit, and victual; these were to take more men on board, for some extraordinary service in Ireland.
Mr Papillon.] I hear it said, "More service was done in keeping the French from Ireland, than saving seven Sugar-Ships;" but I would know why provision was not made for both, Trade preserved, and Ireland guarded? But it is demonstrable we lost our Ships for want of Guards.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I think myself as little concerned as any man. You are told, "both, &c. might have been taken care of;" but I think it could not. It must be remembered, that the Streights Fleet are resitting, and Berkeley's in Harbour, which make up twenty-seven or eight, so that number being added to Berkeley's, and those designed for the Indies and Streights, I think the Admiralty not much asleep in the Service.
[The Petitioners being called in, were ordered to attend on Monday Morning; and Captain George Churchill, a Member of the House, had notice to attend in his Place at the same time.]
Thursday, November 14.
[In a Grand Committee.] On the State of the Nation.
Mr Howe.] I think the Question is, Whether the Merchants were lost for want of being kept, as the Chairmanstates it? I would consider every part by itself. First, that the Miscarriages are faults, and not misfortunes. [Secondly,] how the Toulon Fleet came to join the Brest Fleet, and, [lastly,] how K. James got into Ireland. Not guarding the Seas has been a great fault. If the Admirals are in fault, put them out, punish them. When the men were to go into Ireland, there was nothing to transport them, and no provision for them. Name the persons that are to blame; come to the root, and that is the way to cure the branches. Provisions were faulty, and, in some places, none to be had. No man can be angry with a man for getting a good place, or buying it cheap; enquire into those who put them in. Scotland is in ill hands; in Flanders we pay for 10,000 men, and have not 3000. These little things moved are below us. At the good Spring in Hyde Park, if one pipe runs muddy, then cleanse it; but it the whole Spring runs muddy, we shall think somebody stirs it with a dirty stick. I do not like shooting Cannon at Sparrows.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I think the Trade of the Nation is no "Sparrow." You are told of a 10 l. Convoy, &c. is that nothing? I know no greater offence in the Government than raising Money on the subject; it is an obstruction of Trade, and a great Grievance, and we must look for a Remedy. The great end of enquiry into these matters, is to prevent coming into them again. I move, That the Question may be, "That the not guarding the Seas, is an obstruction of Trade, and a Grievance to the Nation."
Sir Joseph Tredenham.] I think nothing will more satisfy the People, than to let them see that we do it for their benefit, that they may pay Taxes more casily. I move that it may be represented what an ill State we are in.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] If it be a Grievance that Trade is obstructed for want of Convoys, you ought to declare it so. What else would you redress? I lay no imputation on Gentlemen; I do not arraign the thing; but the Loss of seven or eight vessels is an inconsiderable thing—And you will be at the same pass next year. Call it a Grievance, and put your stamp upon it.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If you can find out persons, punish them; but, in the mean time, find out the thing. When you have found out stations for Ships, as Merchants can best inform you, if you apply to the King he will remedy it, but not to pick holes in the Government.
Sir John Guise.] Do you think this will make more discontent in the Nation than is already? Every Sea-Port knows and speaks it. I have heard, and am afraid, that when the French came out, some of ours came in. If you believe that was so, that your Ships were called away, and your Merchants left, you may resolve it. I am afraid the removing those Ships was the Loss.
Col. Birch.] We all agree, that one such a Year's War more will make an end of you. In short, from one end to the other, there is no part of what we have done this Year that will serve our turn the next Year. 'Tis not as formerly, when care was taken to suppress that Debauchery that is now, both in Navy and Army, and till you suppress damning and swearing: (He was called to name them— He replied,) Pray name them that do not—Not to talk of spending 500,000 l. in the tail of the Year. Formerly, Merchants were hired and sent out, whose interest it was; they paid them well, and the Sea was well guarded. They did not do as they did this Year, pack them up like herrings in a barrel; they brought the Nation to that greatness, that all the World durst not look us in the face. Then Money went out carefully and regularly. Sometimes the Commissioners went as low as Chatham, and then they did more in two months than now in twelve. If this is the thing, what do you enquire after? Part with your Money, and wait better luck. That eighteen or twenty French Ships should come from Toulon to Brest, and nobody hear of them! Pardon that piece of ill luck in our People, to be asleep all that while. It looks like something either to weaken you, or to bring you to a Treaty with the French. These men formerly would have been at Corke or Kinsale in all this time, and made it but an hour's work. As for the Question, "That the Sea has been ill-guarded," it is part of our bad luck; but I care not much that you should put it, for they tell you, "Those were called back by the King's command;" but to send none in their place,— I believe his Majesty a Prince of better conduct than to aver such a thing. If Gentlemen agree with me, that neither our conduct, nor way of fighting, are fit to be done again next Year, we must have other hands next Year, else the game is up; had you other hands, I would give my consent to hang good numbers. To have shoes made by a Joiner! Men may be gallant, but not skilled in sea-matters till they know. You need not press Merchant-Ships; they will come in; but I will speak no more of men I do not know. Had we Tarpaulins to command, we should, next Year, have something like something.
Admiral Russel.] I know not well where to begin. I have had the honour to be long in the Navy, which seems [now] charged with Ignorance, Cowardice, or Corruption. I am willing to decline that service, and had I thought I could not have been serviceable to the Government, my own condition is so easy that I might have declined it. 'Tis said, "When the French came out, we ran away." These are hard things, and men will justify themselves from this hard Imputation. We lay on the French Coast six weeks, and, I believe, for the most part, not three leagues from UShant. We lay there as long as Weather would permit. We are accused of "letting the Toulon Squadron join the Brest." We had no way to know it but by Scouts. There are foggy nights, weather, and winds, that carry us eight or ten leagues from thence. Nobody that served in the Fleet but was as desirous to prevent this, as any Gentleman here. I attribute this to misfortune only. Unless we should pull the French out of Port by the ears, I know not how to have fought. I do aver this, that fifteen days after we left Brest, no Ship came in there. I desire that either these things may be proved, or these reflections laid aside.
Mr Hampden.] Nobody is more ready to redress Grievances [than I,] and I would have you take some way to redress your Grievances. I would have all persons speak without passion or reflections. In the Letters that were intercepted you find it said, "That though it was a cold season, yet it was like to be hot weather in this House." And nothing but personal reflections will do it. If you go and look back to Miscarriages, set your bounds how far you will go. I have never meddled with persons in this House for thirty years. If you will look back, say how far. I know not whether the Fleet be weak or strong. That the French are too strong, is as much the cause as you too weak, Who would have thought of this formerly? I say, this greatness came from the Pensioner-Parliament that sold their Country. Their greatness arose from our Treachery. That there is Treachery now at Sea, is the complaint; the reason, because there are too many Votes on the other side. Can a house, and a family, and all, be removed on a sudden? There is something to be indulged in this. I never had employment nor money before. I have got nothing, only I desire quiet with my neighbours. I do not only serve the King as my Prince, but (pardon the mean expression) as one whom I love. Be pleased to agree what you would have done, without personal reflection.
Col. Austen.] It has been asked, "To what time will you go back for enquiry into Miscarriages?" It has this Answer; As far as the necessity of affairs will lead you. In a private family, if you entertain all those old servants that have ruined you before, [what can you expect?] I remember Howe told you of awls and bristles in a shop; you would not think a painter but a shoe-maker was there. If you hope for better management, these journeymen, and their tools too, must be laid aside.
Sir John Trevor.] The State of the Nation you are now to consider. Great mismanagements have been, whether by mistakes, misfortunes, or corruptions. We can have no remedy but from the King; therefore I would have the House moved to represent to the King the State of the Nation; and then you may come to the Heads, and the first moved to be voted the first Head; and then, whether any thing amiss in relation to the Government, to bring it in, whether in the disposition of the Army, or the Fleet before Brest; and, in the last place, to offer your Advice to the King how these things may be remedied. You need not call these things Grievances; they will be so manifest they will call themselves Grievances. Howe would find something against these persons in the Government; but to go back and ravel into, that will never have an end. I would not be hollowed off from one thing to another. 'Tis "the present State of the Nation" is our business. Though we go several ways, yet all are for regulating Affairs to keep out the French and the Irish. Till you have Reports, from Committees, of the several Branches, I would adjourn the Debate, and make Report to the House of what you have done.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am unwilling that these things which will naturally follow should be called Grievances. 'Tis as natural that Trade be obstructed, as that you make War; and all you can do cannot prevent Ships being taken. You may say as well, the French War is a Grievance. I will not conceal faults, nor say there are none, but I think the Nation cannot bear the expence long. That which I move you is to search the Admiralty-books, and compute all, and then you will see how the Money went away. I stand up only that I would not have any outcry against the Government. That which is done could not be helped. You are at War with one Kingdom, and have another to conquer. I desire, whatever censure you pass, do it as it deserves, when you have examined all; if you make men unable to serve the King, you stop the War. I move, That you will appoint a Committee to search the Admiraltybooks for their Orders, and numbers of Ships, and see the State of the Ships, and then give your Judgment.
Mr Elwill.] 'Tis a strange thing we should have so many Ships at Sea, and never meet any French Ships; and 'tis strange doctrine to have so much loss by Capers of six or ten guns; and if we cannot fortify ourselves against Capers, how shall we against Men of War? If the Committee will enquire into the numbers of Ships for Stations, that will be your only way to secure Trade.
Sir Edward Seymour.] By the Debate of the Committee it is difficult for me to know in what manner to apply my Discourse. I know not what ill-luck there is without doors, but I am sure we have it within, when there are personal reflections. Our Treasures are spent, and turn to little account, and those Miscarriages are repeated. 'Tis said, "Our Ships are taken by Privateers, and not by Men of War." We had enough to have cleared our Coasts, if they had been sent out to lie in a Line of Battle. We are told, "We may repair to the Admiralty-books to be informed, &c." If once we have loss of Trade for want of Convoy—You will see by the Admiralty-books what Ships have been appointed for Guards. If we confirm these Miscarriages, we invite the same to be done next year—Because of the misfortune in another Government, what did it occasion, but the loss of that Government, and an Abdication of a King, a thing never heard of before! But you'll find that Parliament called a "Pensioner-Parliament," were enemies to France and Popery. I hope there are no Pensioners in this Parliament, but I am sure it is full of Officers, and an "Officered Parliament;" and now we speak of Miscarriages, we are told, "That is branding the Government, and reflecting;" pay your Money, and that is omnia bene. I heard it once said in the Long Parliament, by Sir Edward Baynton, "That he heard thing that would make a cat speak;" but, before God, this makes me speak. I move, that you will vote, "That the not guarding the Sea is the occasion of the decay of Trade, and loss of Treasure;" and then in time you may look into the Admiralty-books. As for Admiral Russel, I believe him the last man that would do ill in the Navy, and the last man that can be reflected on.
[Resolved, That it is the Opinion of this Committee, That the want of a Guard, or Convoys, for the Merchants, for the last Year, hath been an obstruction of Trade, and an occasion of great losses to the Nation. Which was agreed to by the House.]
An Address to the King was reported, &c.
Mr Howe.] The words, "Who gave directions, &c." are said to be a great Charge on the Sovereign—If they directed the Under-Officers, 'tis the same thing. You would laugh at me to take one for my Steward who has been burnt in the hand for robbery. Either let the Address go, or recommit it. Several things are talked of, and the Committee will have a good account of them, if you recommit the Address.
Sir Robert Howard.] I cannot sit mute and not discharge my duty to the King and you. There comes now in the Address a crowd of particulars, and you tell the King a great deal of nothing, and conclude upon nothing. A bare Address from you may better reach your end. I am for recommitting this Address, leaving out all the history, but only such generals, as it is impossible but the King will understand you, and guide his apprehensions; in that way it will be done to his honour. When the King has given you those Rights that never Prince gave before, when that is done, that is all the King and Nation can expect from you. Recommit this Address, and I hope it may have a happy effect.
Mr Hampden.] I am for recommitting this Address, and with that direction, that it be only a Preface to your Vote. I doubt not but great Miscarriages have been. Nobody in the Kingdom but has observed them, and I am of the opinion still. A great house, when removed, is not quickly set in order; but we can deny no man Justice. These particulars are not proved; this and that has been done, and that omitted, but nobody named. I know not what to say to it. It is said, "If it be recommitted, there will be no return of it." But there was a long Address to the King for the French War, and you had the effects of it; you are engaged in a War, and deeply too. Let the Address be short, your Vote is comprehensive enough.
Mr Foley.] All the particulars in Ireland, and the ill success of the Fleet, these things are obvious, and need no proof. You desire, "That men unsuspected may be put in office." If the House come up to that, let the House give directions to the Committee, "That People, strangers to the Kingdom, may not recommend persons incapable for employment."
Mr Garroway.] I see a fatal Necessity of an Address, but I would do it with all respect imaginable, but have a care of your own Honour. People will never carry on a War unless you take notice of Miscarriages with all duty and tenderness We are his Council, and let it lie any where but here. If there be hard words in the Address, mend them, but let it go on in God's name.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] No Instructions can be given to your Committee, as moved, to enquire into particulars of Londonderry, &c. You order an Address drawn up by your Vote, and then enquire whether it be done or not. No Parliament-man can own that, after an Order to send for Persons, Papers, and Records, to know whether your Vote be true, or false.
Sir Richard Temple.] When you commit the Address, they can only pursue the first Order, and put in execution the first Resolution. The matter of the Address you are never to examine, after the Resolution of the House.
Mr Garroway.] If the Committee has not pursued the Instructions of the House, you may give farther Instructions, and 'tis regular.
Col. Birch.] To have the Address in generals may reflect on the House, as if they could not make out what they complain of. Londonderry is a general Head; I would have that particularized. That Blood must be answered for, when they might have relieved it the first day, as well as the last. When a victual-ship turned his a—e on the Boom, and broke it! That is plain, but possibly the first neglect of Ireland is not so plain. Recommit it on the Debate of the House (fn. 8).
Friday, November 15.
Debate on disfranchising the Borough of Stockbridge for Bribery and Corruption (fn. 9).
Sir William Williams.] For us to quarrel with our own Elections, who serve for Boroughs, and to add the Boroughs to Counties, is a matter of great weight, and deserves consideration. If the Constitution had been so from the beginning, much might be said for it. I hope, at this time of day, we shall not alter the Constitution of England. You are a wise Parliament, and this is a thing of the first impression. You break the ice by this, and give a handle to throw Boroughs into Counties; and another Parliament may throw Counties into Boroughs. I move, That you will adjourn the Debare.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I am very tender in any new proposal, that changes the Order of your Constitution. The best way to preserve it is to put it upon a right foot. That one of the third parts of the State should alter any thing of the whole, is strange. But Gentlemen forget their Constitution of Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses! Burgesses are for Manufactures, and other advantages; they may present you with what may increase them. Instead of giving Money to be chosen, you would find it otherwise, when Boroughs shall give wages. Is that the guide of the Legislature? The consequence of that will be, the other Boroughs will be terrified. If men must buy to come hither, they will fell when they come here. This Borough paid but nine Pound, the last Tax, to the Government.
Mr Hawles.] They in this Town that have taken Bribes have offended highly. When the Long Parliament made the Government a Commonwealth, they disfranchised all Boroughs, and diminished the numbers of Parliament-men. I think doing that would alter the Government. Therefore I would take some time to consider that before I would do it.
Mr Foley.] This case is of great consequence, and you ought to consider of it. The Records show, that, Towns have desired to be excused from sending up Burgesses by reason of their poverty, not [being] able to pay wages. Suppose you suspend this Town from sending Burgesses till they have got a better body of men to elect—I would consider it.
Sir John Trevor.] I never heard of Boroughs dissolved before. I am afraid, if this Question pass, you, Mr Speaker, and I, shall sit no more in that Chair. I have the honour to serve for a Borough in Devonshire (Beeralston) for which I am obliged to a Member of the House, (Maynard) and to the Gentlemen of that Country. If you break the ancient Constitution of Elections, I know not the consequence. If the offence of this Borough be Corruption, it is the highest. That Boroughs have, upon their own desire, been exempted, there are a great many Precedents. In the Long Parliament many Boroughs were revived. This House voted it a Franchise, and not forfeited by disusage, being inherent in the body of the People, declared upon a contest betwixt the King and the Parliament in 1641, and many wise men were in that Parliament. The security of the Nation was ever thought in the mixture of this House. What shall [then] become of Merchants, to inform you of Trade? The House stands upon ancient Constitutions, and I hope you will not remove old Land-marks.
Mr Finch.] Though this is a poor Borough, and Bribery has been found in the Election of Members, yet the disfranchising of it carries a great consequence. This is not the first poor Borough guilty of Bribery; but it happens to be first questioned; and shall all the poor Boroughs be disfranchised, because this poor Borough has been guilty of Corruption? At Westbury, formerly, there was Bribery, and the Mayor was fined; had there been reason for it, it would have been disfranchised. Before you make this first step, pray consider of it till Monday.
[Which was ordered.]
Saturday, November 16.
On the Defect of Ordnance, &c.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] You have been upon the State of the Nation. I am to acquaint you with that which admits no delay, and if not speedily taken care of, no man in England is safe. With the King's leave (I durst not else) I must acquaint you, that there is a Petition to the Office of Ordnance from men of great quality and esteem, from all the Powder-makers of England, (I do not charge this upon any particular person, but I hope you will not let the King want) from the Gun-smiths, the Ironmongers, the Salt-petre men, Gun-powder men, Matchmakers, &c. [desiring to be furnished with Moneys to support their credit.] The Board of Ordnance has not been deficient, but the King's service cannot be pursued without your Assistance. Those Powder-makers who belong to the several Countries [have made] 24,000 barrels, of which a great deal is lost and spent. You cannot depend upon more than 600 barrels, all the work standing still. They want but one single Vote of encouragement. You want all this to set out your Men of War. I see an honourable Gentleman who can tell you how those guns have been directed. It is of great importance; the Petition is from men of great credit—The Store is so low, there is not above thirty Ton of Brimstone. The Merchants have sent word to the Office of Ordnance, that they will have 20 l. a Ton; and now they refuse to enter into any Contract at all; without something of your encouragement, 'twill be lost. I move you for a special Committee to enquire, and a Vote for encouragement.
Sir John Guise.] I now hear what I have seen a good while. You give Money for the War, and you know not whither it goes. If to the Navy you transfer credit, look where you will, you find it not disposed as you intend it. The best thing you can do, is not to see your Money diverted. I hope you will give some encouragement to these men, and appoint a Committee to know the State of the Account of the Nation, and you will see those that are honest.
Mr Hampden.] I agree with the premises of that Gentleman, but not the conclusions. Your Money has not been diverted from the Navy, Army, nor Ordnance. The King has not received by 150,000 l. of what you have appropriated. If you enter into a War, and your Money does not answer, you cannot be served. If you appropriate the Money, I hope it will not be to all the uses, for then the Offices must stand still. If it has been embezzled in Musters, enquire into it. Suppose now a great deal of Money is wanted at the Ordnance, there is 25,000 l. laid out upon Salt-Petre, if this Money has been diverted; if Soldiers had robbed and stole, and entered upon Gentlemens Estates for want of Money. I can make out that many a 10,000 l. is come short of what you have given.
Mr Garroway.] I did not expect any thing of this, this day. When we computed the charge of the War, we did include the Office of Ordnance, and now they cannot carry on the War without more Money. There were Stores in the Office, and we have had no fight. I have heard of debts upon an old foot of account, I would know whether this is upon the new or old account.
Sir Henry Goodrick.] The Office of Ordnance has avoided all manner of account of charge. All this now demanded is made within the compass of one year, there has been such extraordinary emption since. There is no old debt at all of Sir Thomas Chichley's time, but this is for Stores actually since 'twas in this King's Service. The Office of Ordnance has not failed in asking, nor the Treasury in giving.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I take the public Revenue to be 1,900,000 l. per ann. You have passed a Vote for 600,000 l. per ann. for the Civil Lift, but it cannot appear to be above 300,000 l. in time of Peace, understanding, in time of War, all that can be spared out of the Revenue to the public interest of the Kingdom. I think it very extraordinary that the Ordnance should make these Reports here; it is to the Treasury they ought to apply. Here is a Bill for a Goose, and a Bill for a Gander. Common Fame says, the Army is not paid, nor the Fleet, only Subsistence-Money. They cannot at Plymouth ship above half the Companies. It is said, the Dutch Officers are paid, and the English not paid, and for some months behind-hand. This is making us Commissioners of Accounts, by bringing these Accounts to us. We have lost great opportunities in Ireland; I hope they will give you a better account.
Sir Edward Seymour.] Whether Money has been diverted, or misapplied, this is matter of fact; the Seamen are not paid, and the Office of Ordnance is in a miserable condition. I will tell you this for matter of fact, and lay it before you, and I will undertake to make it out upon undeniable Records; that in January last, all the Stores of the Ordnance and Navy were fully provided, yet remaining in the Office of the Ordnance to the value of a Million. I would know where the expence has been; no occasion of consumption, there must be a fault somewhere.
Col. Austen.] The point of fact before you is a defect of the Ordnance, and is there not a necessity to supply that defect, to give credit, and enquire into faults afterwards?
Sir Thomas Lee.] I find one Office draws on another. Gentlemen will see, by the accounts of the Treasury, that the Seamen cannot be paid. 400,000 l. has been paid to the Navy, but that is from the last of December. I do not think it proper, as the King's Officer, to complain without command, or direction, from the King; I am here as a Member of Parliament. You will find, upon enquiry, how little came in of the Money you gave.
Sir Henry Capel.] I know not well the drift of this Debate. I would gladly have the Revenue made out 1,900,000 l. per ann. The Excise is to pay a considerable Sum of the Prince of Orange's Money. Till you see the Accounts and the Vouchers, 'tis a hard thing to say, "That my Steward has embezzled my Money." How far Guise's Abilities are in Accounts, I know not; but this may startle a man, till he sees the nature of the Accounts. I hope every body, hand in hand, will be as thrifty as they can.
Sir John Guise.] If I am the man reflected on, I am as capable of reckoning 1, 2, 3, as another man. As for Money, I would give it as soon as any body.
Mr Sacheverell.] I am surprized at the Motion. 1,900,000 l. gone, and neither the Army nor Navy paid!—I must wonder how 900,000 l. all comes under Lord Ranelagh's care; the Fleet nor the Irish Army is concerned. How can it come about that the Armies of Holland and England come to 900,000 l? I do not understand it; I desire he would inform the House of it.
Earl of Ranelagh (fn. 10).] 981,000 l. [has been] paid me. I shall explain how that Sum has been issued. There are four Armies in being; the English Army in Holland, the Dutch, and the English, in England, and the Army in Ireland. I have nothing to do with the Dutch Army, but all passed in my name, but was received by a Dutchman, Paymaster to that Army. An account has been given to the Committee; I cannot carry all the figures in my head, but when you require it, it shall be done. The King paid the Arrears of the Army that came over to him from King James; they were 22,230 men. They went from my care to Mr Harbord—So that all paid me is about 360,000 l. I am near the matter, clearing the Dutch and English Armies. When the King came over, there was no standing Privy-Seal, and so no legal acquittances—Though you gave much the last Session, yet not for the Forces in England; for those in Holland and Ireland only.
Mr Sacheverell.] I hope Ranelagh will not take it ill if I ask him a Question, or two. Whether an Army of 40,000 men may not be maintained? If it can be made out, that there never were 50,000 men, I would know, if there was not 1,400,000 l. spent, and no Army paid? Suppose 35,000 Foot, at 2 l. a head Pay, Officers and Soldiers, that is 700,000 l. Suppose there are 15,000 Horse and Dragoons, paid them in 50 l. a man, and that is not above 1,500,000 l. The year is gone about, and the Army not paid; I would know how that comes about?
Earl of Ranelagh.] I hope, that, by virtue of my memory, you will not put me to give account of every foot of things. When, the last Session, the account was called for, the charge was 1,700,000 l. per ann. Whether it was wrong cast-up may be soon found out. Though we all know the Muster-rolls are not complete, nor the Army paid, yet all, through my Management, is paid the English and Holland.
Mr Garroway.] I think we cannot come to an issue of this at this time. As for the Accounts given you here of 35,000 Foot, and 15,000 Horse and Dragoons, when this King came in, and King James's Army was disbanded, they had lost 20 * * * * (fn. 11) by run-aways. How they could, before Ireland * * * * (fn. 11), have so many men as 50,000, I think no man can make out.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] You are told, the Charge was 50,000 men; that number, being never here, cannot come to 1,400,000 l. In the time of Cromwell, and King Charles II, the establishment of a Trooper's pay in Ireland was but 12 d. a day, and the Foot 8 d. In Dublin it was more, because dear there. The Grievance to me is this; the Officers are not paid, and not clearing the Musters is a great damage to the King. Some reflections are made on what I said of the Revenue's being 1,900,000 l. per ann. I told you that loss of Customs and defalcations were to be allowed. I will make it good upon my credit, that near that value is received—The Tax, &c. 800,000 l.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think this is a good Account that has been given, but I would have it brought into the House in writing. We have been upon a long Debate, and are coming upon a dangerous Question, upon a sudden Motion in the House. I know not what times or necessities you are coming into, therefore I would be tender to engage in you know not what. If all things of this nature be brought hither, you will raise more Money than you will know how to pay. You have already voted credit, upon what you have given, for 300,000 l. That may give some credit to the Ordnance, and your Bills depending may give more.
Mr Garroway.] I think it is well moved not to vote on a sudden Motion. 'Tis a dangerous Precedent to make ourselves Accountants. You are here to compute the War in gross; mine has no other end but to give Money for the necessary defence of the Kingdom. Let them compute the charge for so many men; if they mispend it, let them answer it in God's name. I would enter upon Accounts no farther than to supply the present occasion. The deeper we entered upon Accounts, the deeper was always the charge. I have ever found it.
Sir John Trevor.] I had rather lose my Estate in Ireland, than have that Vote. What does the King stand for! And the several Offices brought hither, must we be the Officers of every Commission?
Sir Edward Seymour.] You have appointed Monday for enquiries; I have a list in my hand of particulars, most from trading Merchants. They may be in being, and the House not in being, and they feel the smart of it. I desire they may be here, by Order of a Summons from this House.
It was ordered accordingly.
Monday, November 18.
The Evidence of several Masters of Ships against Capt. Churchill, for taking Money for Convoys, was heard at the Bar, viz. "That he would not stir without it; and as for those who would give no Money, he took their men from aboard, and pressed them for his own Ship."
Capt. Churchill.] I find a Complaint against me, &c. I deny that I ever refused to convoy. At the first meeting, they agreed to make a purse. If I have given offence, I am extremely sorry for it, and shall do it no more. As for pressing the men, I took none but what I had extreme necessity for. If I took so many as is said, they could not have failed with me. I am sorry I have given offence, and I will never do any thing to displease this House. Convoy-money has been anciently practised.—I was forced from them by weather, and when I came to the Downs, the builders of the Ship wondered she could swim.
Mr Papillon] I would have Capt. Paris called in, who would not tell you the truth. If a witness be dealt with, and minces the matter, you will never have truth.
Sir Robert Rich.] I have heard the whole matter, and as for calling in the Captain, you need not. Your Member (Churchill) has owned the Money.
Capt. Churchill.] I confess, I convoyed twenty-two of forty-four, and if I had forced Money from one, I might have done it from others, and it was a voluntary gift from them. I acknowlege I received 150 guineas as a voluntary gift from them; and I compelled no man.
Mr Papillon.] This is a thing of great consequence. I would not have this Captain discouraged, nor the Merchants abused; if they will give a Gratuity, 'tis not extorted, but voluntary. Capt. Churchill told them, "If you will make it worth my while, I will go with you;" of this there are three or four Witnesses. If they had not made up this Money, they must have lain by, ('twas a bargain,) their men were taken from them; if you do not something exemplary in this, you will ruin both Seamen and Merchants.
Admiral Russel.] Nobody more desires that Criminals should be punished than myself. I know Capt. Churchill to be zealous for the Government. The thing, as it is alleged, appears a heinous crime. If these Merchants will run presently, and make Subscriptions, indeed I do not think Capt. Churchill so much to blame. If he does not appear to be a great Criminal, for his desert, and what he may do for the future, I hope you will inflict as moderate a punishment as you can.
Mr Smith.] I am sensible this Gentleman has done you very good service, and is hearty for the Government. This seems not to be so clear for your censure. He has made a modest confession of his fault, and if you can prevent this for the future, I would deal moderately with this Gentleman.
Sir William Williams.] I cannot agree to pass this over without a Question, nor would I deal severely with your Member. The thing has been fully proved at the Bar. Some call it "a free-will offering, or present." I would come to this Resolution, "That taking of Money for Convoys, by Men of War, is a Grievance."
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I think your honour is concerned, for Captain Paris has prevaricated with you, and you will lose your Authority if you suffer it.
Sir John Guise.] That which I suspected to be so heinous in this case, I hear nothing of. If there had been refusing of failing till the Money was paid—(He was taken down to Order.)
Captain Paris was called in.
Capt. Paris.] I have now recollected myself. I petitioned Lord Torrington for a Convoy; who answered, "If we would go to Torbay, he would take care of us." Capt. Churchill came, in the Pendennis; I asked him, "Whether he was ordered for our Convoy?" He said, "He was bound for the Channel, but if it would be made worth his while, he would convoy us."
Capt. Hill] Paris put the Question to Churchill, who said, "He had no Order to convoy us." Twenty-two fail of us subscribed 201 l. which he had. "If it was worth his while (he said) he would go to the Downs with us."
Capt. Churchill.] The offers from Capt. Hill came a week after, "That if I would leave the Fleet, and convoy them, they would make the 200 l. 400 guineas." This, I hope, will, in some measure, justify me to the House, that I am not so very covetous.
Mr Coningsby.] This is a fault, and a great one in Churchill, but I believe it an universal one; but because others have not been so modest as your Member, I would prevent it for the future.
Sir Edw. Seymour.] I do not at all approve that Method to pass by your Judgment upon those you have heard, and punish those you have not heard. You have heard the Examination, and an instance of your Discipline and Government of the Navy. I shall only say this, that this Affair now coming before you, and influencing the whole matter of Trade, I do not wonder that it is not more plainly proved, but that it is so much proved. 'Tis a hard thing to bring men before you with Accusations of this kind, and if you leave them in a condition to be worried by those they accuse, you will never have more. These Miscarriages, arising from particular persons, endanger the Government. They can get no Convoy from us, and they apply to the Dutch. When a Gentleman came that had the reputation of a Convoy, he was asked, "If he came to convoy them?" "No, he had liberty to go where he pleased, but make it worth his while and he would go with them;" and you see what that "while" was; it was 250 l. Till then they could get no failing orders. He was directed for Convoy, but he would not till it was for his advantage. Some of the Ships would not subscribe, and he took their men from them and after they had sent their Money, they were returned them again. Taking Money for Convoys has been a practice, but never came into this House before; and if now you take no notice of it, you authorize and allow it. First, take notice of those that informed you, and prevent the man from worrying. That others have done it, is no rule for you; neither this Gentleman's merits, nor any other's, are so great that you should lose your Trade for them. After all, this is before you: If you make not persons tremble, and, when proved, let it pass away, nobody, hereafter, will be afraid to do the same again. If you reprimand Captain Churchill only, you confirm the thing; but, whatever Resolution you will take to prevent it for the future, you shall have my Vote.
Col. Granville.] I hope you will not punish a thing not declared a crime. I should have thought myself ill used if I had it not. I have never got by the Sea so much as my pay. I move, That you'll vote this illegal, and admonish the Captain, in his place, that he will do so no more.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] I hear, from under the Gallery, what I heard not before, "That all Convoys have taken Money, and thought themselves ill used if not gratified." Presents have been given to Captains after they have convoyed Ships; but this Gentleman was sent down for a Convoy. He tells you, "That's a mistake of making it worth his while;" but one of the Captains tells you, "They could not have a Convoy without Money, and then they should have failing Orders." I have not heard of such a thing; if this be the practice of the Fleet, you ought to remedy it. Taking Money thus was ever a crime in this House; and why should this Person, being a Member of the House, fare better than those that are not? If you make a Law for this, they will say there was no Law before; Persons will not come before you; they will be a fraid. If you think this will give satisfaction to the Nation—If not, I am for punishing.
Col. Birch.] You are now upon giving Judgment that may be exemplary to the Nation. I do desire, in all these Cases, that something within may not give me the lye. I am for the severest punishment. About nine years ago, in the Long Parliament, (a time supposed none of the best) that horrible imprecation was made use of in the House, of "God damn me!" (Sir Robert Cann (fn. 12) ) to bring people to that degree of Prophaneness to bring in Popery at last—The Case was proved with us then, and with you now. There wanted nothing but to smooth over this horrid Oath; but, instead of that, the House thought fit to give a stop to that growing mischief; they brought that Member on his Knees, and sent him to the Tower. After some time he petitioned, and was brought hither, and expelled the House. I wonder how this complaint came so clearly before; but put a stop to this business. I challenge any man to give an instance where ConvoyMoney was paid before-hand; but for Convoys to contract before-hand!—These things being so plain, I would do by this Gentleman so as I hope you may never have occasion to hear of it in this place any more.
Mr Garroway.] I am sorry for this. I wish well to the Nation, though I have but little time to enjoy it. You are pressed for a Vote of detestation of this Crime; but first pass a Vote. I remember a person (Ashburnham,) for pressing the King about a Petition, about French Wine, who which he treated for a small sum 400 l. he was turned out of the House (fn. 13). I wish I had never heard of this here, but, now it is a thing before you, in Judgment; but, if because it was not a Crime before, you pass no Judgment upon it, I look upon all these poor men that complain, as crucified. I have said before, to some of them on the like occasions, "You will be turned out of your Offices for it." I know not what to move you, but some exemplary thing you ought to do.
Mr Foley.] This matter is of great moment to do justice home. You have two Witnesses, that, on the Composition, they returned the pressed men back again. If you pass this by, it is to no purpose to talk of Miscarriages in the Navy. I am sorry this Gentleman is a Member; because of the Justice of the House, you are the more concerned, and you can do no less than send him to the Tower.
Sir Edward Seymour.] I am for proposing a Question, seeing the Chair proposes none; viz. "To declare that Money extorted, from the Merchants, for Convoy is illegal, and does obstruct Trade." Next, "Whether Captain Churchill be guilty of extorting Money? And next, "What punishment you will inflict on him?"
Resolved, That the requiring or receiving Money for Convoys is illegal, oppressive to Merchants, and destructive to Trade.
Sir William Williams.] I cannot agree, as is moved, "That Churchill only make submission." It will require a great deal of Examination; if you will lay a severe punishment upon him, it will discourage him and many more. I would adjourn the Debate for a week.
Resolved, That Capt. Churchill is guilty of requiring and receiving Money for Convoys.
Sir William Leveson Gower.] I will never make Apologies for any man that has robbed by Sea or Land. I hope an ounce of Misdemeanour will never weigh down a pound of Merit. I would have him reprimanded only in his Place.
Sir Edward Seymour.] Here is a person has broken your Laws, oppressed your Trade, and you are now going to apply Punishment. It is proposed to give him a reprimand in his Place, and the consequence will be, he will do so no more; and, if he does, he will not give an Acquittance for the Money. You cannot, in justice, punish any man more, if you punish not this man. It is said, "He is a Gentleman of great Merit;" but no man of the Fleet can come before you, but as much may be said for him. But who would not, for 200 l. but have a reprimand here, and go do the same thing again? But you are to do something more, in consideration of your own justice, and the men that brought this before you. Will you leave these men to be worried by this man? Send him to the Tower, and declare him not capable to serve at Sea again.
Mr Papillon.] As to restitution of the Money, it must be a greater sum than this 200 l. It must be all that has been taken.
Sir Christopher Musgrave.] You were told by one, "He was unwilling he should come upon his knees, and yet to be sent to the Tower." If sent to the Tower, he must be upon his knees at the Bar. Lord Devonshire was sent to the Tower (fn. 14), and not upon his knees. Will that sound well, to be reprimanded only in his Place? I would send this Gentleman to the Tower, and order him to make restitution. Else you will not give satisfaction to the people injured.
Sir Thomas Lee.] There is nothing so essential as the reputation of the House, that you will do right to all People, and see that none have wrong. The Exercise of your Power should be so used, as not always to exert itself to extremity. As for presents, every body takes them, but you are doing this for a Precedent, and I hope it will be remedied for the future. There are great expectations what you will do in this. For length of time in the Tower makes the Punishment. There have been Precedents, in these Cases, of bringing to the Bar; but I am for the new Precedent of Lord Devonshire, to commit this Gentleman to the Tower, and not bring him to the Bar. Neither would I encourage complaint by over-doing this. This Gentleman would rather, I believe, fight three battles with the French, than one with the House of Commons. I move, That he may be sent to the Tower.
Resolved, That Captain Churchill be committed to the Tower.
Tuesday, November 19.
Dr Walker came to the House to receive their Thanks for the service he did at Londonderry (fn. 15).
The Speaker gives an Account of a Precedent, in 1607, of a Scotch Gentleman that gave some Account to the House, Sir William Seaton, who had a Chair set for him (fn. 16).
Mr Garroway.] That was in respect to the Scotch Nation, and King James, then newly come in. It is honour enough to come to your Bar, to receive the thanks of the House, and I would do no more now, nor make any new Precedent.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I am afraid some Gentlemen make too light of Form; the Dignity of the House must be preserved. You sit covered in a Committee of Lords and Commons, but not at a Conference. Sir John Grenville, when he brought a very welcome Message to the House from Charles II, from Breda, delivered it at the Bar, and it was not thought below his dignity; and Sir Samuel Barnardiston, when he defended the Cause of the original Causes in the Lords House, had your Thanks given him at the Bar. You must have respect to the Dignity of the House, else you will bring it to nothing.
Dr Walker, at the Bar, standing.
The Speaker.] Dr Walker, the House has received a Petition from the Widows and Orphans of [those that were slain, and died in the siege of] Londonderry, and has thought fit to recommend their Petition to the King, that he would please to give them 10,000 l. [for the ease of their present sufferings.] They [likewise] take notice of the extraordinary service you have done to their Majesties, and to England and Ireland, in the defence of Londonderry; and especially in that you undertook it when those who should have done their duty deserted it; and they have commanded me to give you the Thanks of the House. [And they would have you give the Thanks of the House to all those that were in that Service.]
Dr Walker.] Those poor Creatures, I am assured, will be very thankful for the honour you have done them. For the Service we have done, we do not deserve the honour you have done us. We shall at all times be ready with our lives to maintain the Protestant Religion, and the Government. [And withdrew.]
A Petition from the Jews was delivered by Mr Paul Foley (fn. 17).
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I remember a Protestant Lady in France, who, being sick, and pestered by English Priests, sent for one of our Ministers, and he put them out. Our Ambassador had audience of the French King, and told him, "That they were Subjects of the King of England, and ought not to be molested." The French King replied, "While they are here, they are my Subjects, and under my Protection."
Mr Hampden, jun.] I hear some of these Jews are naturalized, but I would know how they come to be naturalized? If a Jew kill a man, or a man a Jew, he will be hanged. There is a great deal of difference betwixt being subject to the Laws, and enjoying the benefit of the Laws.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Consider the consequence of receiving this Petition from the Jews. It is directly against an Aid; "They desire not to be taxed, &c. "Pray let not such Petitions be received. You will not receive it from others, pray begin not with the Jews.
Mr Hampden, jun.] My knowlege reaches not to that doctrine of receiving no Petition against an Aid; it is not for the Honour of the House to receive such a Petition; it is a new way to me, that an Aid should be petitioned against in granting. I never saw such a Petition, nor such Reasons to the contrary. Those Jews are Subjects, in a large Sense, and since it is urged as the right of Subjects to petition, let them not have more right than the rest of Subjects.
Mr Foley.] I think, that, for the Honour of the House, you are to hear what they will say. Where you lay a general Tax on a whole Kingdom, you can receive no Petition against it, because all are represented here, but when there is a particular Tax on Men, they may petition.
The Speaker.] I never knew a Petition against a Bill before the House was seized of it.
Sir Richard Temple.] You have heard Petitions against a Tax on Sugar and Tobacco, but they must not take notice of every Vote to ground a Petition upon, that is not Parliamentary.
Mr Hampden.] You have thought it necessary that the Money should be raised. I have a Bill in my hand; pray let it be read.
[November 20, 21, and 22, Omitted.]