Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 12, 1666-1675. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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Anno 27 Caroli Secundi.
DIE Martis, 13° die Aprilis, 1675, Anno Regni Serenissimi Domini nostri Caroli Secundi, Dei Gratiâ, Angliæ Scociæ, Franc. et Hib. Regis, Fidei Defensoris, Vicesimo Septimo, quo die præsens hæc Decima Tertia Sessio tenenda est apud Civitatem Westm. ibi tam Spirituales quam Temporales Domini, quorum Nomina subscribuntur, præsentes fuerunt:
Vis. Newport introduced.
Whereupon he was introduced, between Viscount Fauconberg and Viscount Mordant; the Lord Great Chamberlain, and the Earl of Suff. supplying the Place of the Earl Marshal of England, going before, and Garter King of Arms carrying his Patent, which his Lordship presented on his Knee at the Lord Keeper's Woolsack, which was given to the Clerk of the Parliaments, and read at the Table.
The Patent bears Date the Eleventh Day of March, in the 27 Year of King Charles the Second, by which he is created Viscount Newport de Bradford: Which being done, he was placed at the lower End of the Earls Bench.
D. of Albemarle takes his Seat.
Marq. of Winchester takes his Seat.
E. of Pembroke takes his Seat.
E. of Stamford takes his Seat.
E. of Clarendon takes his Seat
Viscount Say & Seale, ditto.
L. Norreys, ditto.
His Majesty sitting in His Royal Throne, in His Regal Robes and Ornaments, the Peers being also in their Robes; the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod was commanded to signify to the House of Commons His Majesty's Pleasure, "That they come presently, to attend His Majesty."
His Majesty's Speech.
"The principal End of My calling you now is, to know what you think may be yet wanting to the securing of Religion and Property, and to give Myself the Satisfaction of having used the uttermost of My Endeavours to procure and settle a right and lasting Understanding between us; for, I must tell you, I find the contrary so much laboured, and that the pernicious Designs of ill Men have taken so much Place under specious Pretences, that it is high Time to be watchful in preventing their Contrivances; of which it is not the least, that they would, by all the Means they can devise, make it unpracticable any longer to continue this present Parliament: For that Reason, I confess, I cannot think such have any good Meaning to Me; and therefore, when I consider how much the greatest Part of this Parliament has, either themselves, or Fathers, given Me Testimony of their Affections and Loyalty, I should be extreme loath to oblige those Enemies, by parting with such Friends; and they may be assured, that none shall be able to recommend themselves to Me by any other Way than their good Services.
"I have done as much as on My Part was possible, to extinguish the Fears and Jealousies of Popery, and will leave nothing undone that may shew the World My Zeal for the Protestant Religion as it is established in the Church of England, from which I will never depart.
"I must needs recommend to you the Condition of the Fleet, which I am not able to put into that State it ought to be; and which will require so much Time to repair and build, that I should be sorry to see this Summer (and consequently a whole Year) lost, without providing for it.
"The Season of the Year will not admit any long Session; nor would I have called you now, but in Hopes to do something that may give Content to all My Subjects, and lay before you the Consideration of the Fleet; for I intend to meet you again at Winter.
"In the mean Time, I earnestly recommend to you all such a Temper and Moderation in your Proceedings, as may tend to unite us all in Counsel and Affection, and disappoint the Expectation of those who hope only by violent and irregular Motions to prevent the bringing of this Session to a happy Conclusion.
Lord Keeper's Speech.
"The Solemnity of this Day's Appearance is equal to the Weight and Importance of the Occasion. The Matters to be treated of deserve no less than an Assembly of the Three Estates, and a full Concourse of all the wise and excellent Persons who bear a Part in this Great Council, and do constitute and complete this High and Honourable Court.
"The King hath called you, at this Time, to examine and concur with Him in the best Expedients for the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, for securing the Establishment of it by a due Execution of the Laws, for providing for the Safety of the Kingdom, and for the Improvement of its Honour and Reputation; and withal, in order to these Ends, and above all the rest, to unite the Hearts of His Parliament and People to Himself, by all the Emanations of Grace and Goodness that from a great and generous Prince can be expected.
"To all which the King is pleased to add, the Consideration of Your Liberties and Properties; and while He does so, you may be sure, that He who is so careful of your Rights will be mindful of His own too; for He that does Justice to all, can never be wanting to Himself.
"These Points are such, as though they be but mentioned by the King, though they are but only touched, as I may say, by His Golden Sceptre, yet this Royal Declaration of Himself, joined to what He hath already done, doth not only raise all our Hopes, but carries in itself so evident an Assurance, and is stampt by so sacred an Authority, that there remains no Place for doubting, nothing can be added to the Efficacy of it.
"His Majesty begins with the Consideration of Religion. He sees it is the First Thing in all your Thoughts; and you cannot but see that it hath been, and still is, the First and principal Part of His Care.
"His Majesty hath considered Religion, First, in general, as it is Protestant, and stands in Opposition to Popery; and upon this Account it is that He hath awakened all the Laws against the Papists: There is not One Statute extant in all the Volume of our Laws, but His Majesty hath now put it in a Way of taking its full Course against them; and upon this Account also it is, that, in a League lately renewed with a Protestant Crown, His Majesty hath made it One Article of that League, That there shall be a mutual Defence of the Protestant Religion.
"His Majesty hath considered Religion again more particularly, as it is the Protestant Religion established by Law in the Church of England: He sees, that as such, it is not only best suited to the Monarchy, and most likely to defend it, but most able to defend iself against the Enemies of all Reformation; and therefore upon this Account it is, that His Majesty, with equal and impartial Justice, hath revived all the Laws against Dissenters and Non-conformists; but not with equal Severity; for the Laws against the Papists are edged, and the Execution of them quickened, by new Rewards proposed to the Informers; those against Dissenters are left to that Strength which they have already. Both these, and all other Laws whatsoever, are always understood to be subject to the Pleasure of a Parliament, which may alter, amend, or explain themselves, as they see Cause, and according unto Public Convenience.
"For, when we consider Religion in Parliament, we are supposed to consider it as a Parliament should do, and as Parliaments in all Ages have done; that is, as it is a Part of our Laws, a Part, and a necessary Part, of our Government: For, as it works upon the Conscience, as it is an inward Principle of the Divine Life by which good Men do govern all their Actions, the State hath nothing to do with it, it is a Thing which belongs to another Kind of Commission than that by which we sit here.
"Now, as it relates to Government, 'tis somewhat an unpleasant Observation, to see how slow many inferior Magistrates are in the Discharge of this Part of their Duty, which refers to the Safety of the Church against the Enemies on both Sides of it, the Papists and the Dissenters: For this is that which opens Mens Mouths to object against the Laws themselves; this is that which encourages Offenders to dispute that Authority which they should obey, and to judge those Laws by which they ought to be judged. They have found a Way to make even Justice itself criminal, by giving it a hard Name, and calling it Persecution.
"To what a strange Kind of Perplexity do Men labour to reduce this Government: If the Laws against Recusants be not executed, the Church of England is abandoned; if they be, all Sorts of Recusants complain of Persecution, as if the Abandoning of the Church of England were not in some Sense a Persecution too.
"Let us suppose that possible, which the Piety and Goodness of the King hath made next to impossible: But let it be for once supposed, that the Church of England were forsaken, her Authority made insignificant, her Government precarious; suppose her disarmed of all those Laws by which she is guarded, denied all Aid from the Civil Magistrate, and that none were obliged to obey her Commands but those that have a Mind to it! Would not this turn a National Church into nothing else but a tolerated Sect or Party in the Nation? would it not take away all Appearance of Establishment from it? would it not drive the Church into the Wilderness again, where she should be sure to find herself encompassed with all Sorts of Enemies, if at least she could find herself at all, in the Midst of so many Tolerations?
"Seeing then no Way can be taken, but one Side or other will either call or think it Persecution, the Choice is not difficult; it is better to have a strict Rule than none at all, better to make the Law that Rule than to leave every Man to be a Law and a Rule unto himself.
"Happy is that Government when Men complain of the strict Execution of the Laws, especially when a Parliament is sitting which can take the truest Measures, and where the Wisdom of the Nation is to judge of the Interest of it.
"In the next Place, the King hath thought fit to direct your Considerations upon the Safety and Honour of the State; both which are then best provided for, when we keep up the Strength and Reputation of our Fleet.
"'Tis not altogether the natural Decay of Shipping, no, nor the Accidents of War, that have lessened our Fleet, though something may be attributed to both these; but our Fleet seems rather to be weakened for the present, by being out-grown, and out-built by our Neighbours.
"Now, as the Times of Youth and Health are best employed in providing against the Incommodities and Inconveniences of Sickness and old Age; so there cannot be a better Use made of Times of Peace, than to provide for Times of War; there cannot be a greater Security against your Enemies, than to be always in a Posture ready to receive them.
"Fleets may secure you Abroad, but good Laws are necessary to preserve you at Home. Nothing recommends the present Age unto Posterity so much as the Wisdom and the Temper of the Laws that are made in it; for all succeeding Ages judge of our Laws, as we do of our Ancestors, by the true and unerring Rule of Experience.
"In making of Laws, therefore, it will import us to consider, That too many Laws are a Snare, too few are a Weakness in the Government; too gentle are seldom obeyed, too severe are as seldom executed; and Sanguinary Laws are, for the most Part, either the Cause or the Effect of a Distemper in the State.
"To establish this State, there seems not to need many new Laws: Some will always be wanting; and though all that is wanting should not now be finished, yet whatever shall remain unfinished, may be perfected in Winter; at which Time, we have a gracious Intimation from His Majesty, that we shall meet again.
"But, left your greater and weightier Affairs should make you pass by Things of lesser Moment, it may not be amiss to put you in Mind to provide against the Excess of new Buildings near London and Westminster: 'Tis a growing Mischief, which nothing but a new Law can put a Stop to; a Mischief which for a long Time hath depopulated the Country, and now begins to depopulate the City too, by leaving a great Part of it uninhabited.
"If we look upon the State of Things Abroad, we shall find ourselves in such Circumstances, that it were great Impiety not to acknowledge those Mercies which, by a rare Felicity, have distinguished us from our now miserable Neighbours.
"We are newly gotten out of an expensive War, and gotten out of it upon Terms more honourable than ever. The whole World is now in Peace with us, all Ports are open to us, and we exercise a free and uninterrupted Traffic through the Ocean; and we are reaping the Fruits of all this Peace, by a daily Improvement of our Trade, and in the Increase of our Shipping and Navigation.
"No Influences of the Stars, no Configurations of the Heavens, are to be feared, so long as these Two Houses stand in a good Disposition to each other, and both of them in a happy Conjunction with their Lord and Sovereign.
"A Difference in Matters of State would gratify our Enemies too, the Enemies of our Peace, the Enemies of this Parliament; even all those, both at Home and Abroad, that hope to see, and practise to bring about, new Changes and Revolutions in the Government.
"They understand well enough that the best Health may be destroyed by too much Care of it; an anxious scrupulous Care, a Care that is always tampering, a Care that labours so long to purge all ill Humours out of the Body, that at last it leaves neither good Blood nor Spirits behind.
"One is, when Men do Quieta movere, when they stir those Things or Questions which are and ought to be in Peace; and, like unskilful Architects, think to mend the Building by removing all the Materials which are not placed as they would have them.
"Another is, Cum Res parvæ magnis Motibus aguntur, when Things that are not of the greatest Moment are agitated with the greatest Heat, and as much Weight is laid upon a new, and not always very necessary Proposition, as if the whole Sum of Affairs depended upon it.
"Who doth not see that there are in all Governments Difficulties more than enough, though they meet with no intestine Divisions; Difficulties of such a Nature, that the united Endeavours of the State can hardly struggle with? But, after all is done that can be, they will still remain insuperable.
"This is that which makes the Crowns of Princes, when they are worn by the clearest and the noblest Title, and supported with the mightiest Aids, yet at the best but Wreaths of glorious Thorns. He that would go about to add to the Cares and Solicitudes of His Prince, does what in him lies to make those Thorns pierce deeper and sit closer to the Royal Diadem than ever they did before.
"No Zeal can excuse it; for, as there may be a Religious Zeal, a Zeal for GOD which is not according to Knowledge, so there may be a State Zeal, a Zeal for the Public which is not according to Prudence, at least not according to the Degree of Prudence which the same Men have when they are not under the Transport of such a servent Passion.
"Hath it not been a strange Mistake in some General Councils, and a Mistake which is fatal at this Day to the Peace of the Christian Church, that in most of their Canons and Sanctions they have more considered whom they should oppose, than what they should establish?
"And may it not prove a Piece of as ill Conduct in any Secular Assembly, to pursue good Ends by violent Means, and, in the Heat of that Pursuit, to choose rather to lose that Good they might have compassed, than to fall short of any of those good Ends which they have once proposed unto themselves?
"The King is far, infinitely far, from fearing any Excess of this Kind here. He knows too well the Wisdom, the Honour, and the Loyalty, of this great Assembly, to apprehend any Kind of Error, either in your Judgements or your Affections.
"Such Pilots need not fear a Storm. If you could, this Consideration alone were enough to support you, That you carry Cæsar and His Fortunes: You serve a Prince, in whose Preservation Miracles are become familiar; a Prince, in whose Style Dei Gratia seems not to be written by a vulgar Pen, but by the Arm of Omnipotence itself.
"Raise up then, by your Example, the Hearts and Hopes of all those whom ill Men have wrought upon to such a Degree, as to cast them into a Sadness, and into a Despondency, which is most unreasonable. What the Romans scorned to do after the Battle of Cannæ, what the Venetians never did when they had lost all their Terra Firma, that Men are now taught to think a Virtue, and the Sign of a wise and good Man, Desperare de Republica; and all this in a Time of as much Justice and Peace at Home, as good Laws for the Security of Religion and Liberty, as good Execution of these Laws, as great Plenty of Trade and Commerce Abroad, and as likely a Conjuncture of Affairs for the Continuance of these Blessings to us, as ever Nation prospered under.
"Then will the King esteem Himself a richer Prince than if He were possessed of all the Treasures of the East. Then, though this Session should close in a few Weeks, yet it may be perpetual, for the Fruit it shall produce, and for the Commemoration that will follow it. Then will this Year be a true Year of Jubilee; and we shall have nothing left to wish or pray for in this World, but the blessed Continuance of His Majesty's long and happy Reign over us."
Address of Thanks to be presented to the King for His Speech.
Protest against it.
Memorandum, That, before the putting of the abovesaid Question, these Lords following desired Leave to enter their Dissents, if the Question was carried in the Affirmative; and accordingly did enter their Dissents, as followeth:
"The Question being put, To give the King Thanks for His Speech; and we proposing to thank His Majesty for His Gracious Expressions in His Speech, and it being laid aside, do think fit to enter our Dissent to the Vote as it is now passed, because of the ill Consequence we apprehend may be from it, and that we think this Manner of Proceeding not so suitable with the Liberty of Debate necessary to this House:
ORDERED, That the Lord High Treasurer, the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Lord Steward, and the Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty's Household, the Lord Bishop of Durham, the Lord Bishop of Winchester, the Lord Berkley, and the Lord Maynard, are appointed to present the humble Thanks of this House to His Majesty, for His Gracious Speech; and to desire that His Majesty would be pleased to give Order that both it and the Lord Keeper's Speech made this Day may be printed.
ORDERED, That the Lord Steward and Lord Chamberlain of His Majesty's Household, do attend His Majesty, to know what Time He will please to appoint to receive the humble Thanks of this House, for His Gracious Speech.