Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 13, 1675-1681. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830.
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Anno 30 Caroli Secundi.
MEMORANDUM, quod hodierno die Lunæ, 21° die Octobris, Anno Regni Serenissimi Domini nostri Caroli Secundi, Dei Gratia, Angliæ, Scociæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ, Regis, Fidei Defensoris, &c. Tricesimo; in quem diem, post separales Prorogationes, Parliamentum inchoatum Octavo die Maii, Anno dicti Domini Regis 13°, continuatum fuerat, Decima sexta ejusdem Parliamenti Sessio incepta est apud Westm.; quo die Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales, quorum Nomina subscribuntur, præsentes fuerunt:
His Majesty, sitting in His Royal Throne, adorned with His Regal Crown and Ornaments (the Peers being likewise in their Robes), commanded the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to give the House of Commons Notice, "That it is His Majesty's Pleasure, that they attend Him presently, with their Speaker."
His Majesty's Speech.
"I have thought the Time very long since we parted last; and would not have deferred your Meeting by so many Prorogations, if I could well have met you sooner. The Part which I have had this Summer in the Preservation of our Neighbours, and the wellsecuring what was left of Flanders, is sufficiently known and acknowledged by all that are Abroad: And though for this Cause I have been obliged to keep up My Troops (without which our Neighbours had absolutely despaired); yet both the Honour and Interest of the Nation have been so far improved by it, that I am confident no Man here would repine at it, or think the Money raised for their disbanding to have been ill employed in their Continuance; and I do assure you, I am so much more out of Purse for the Service, that I do expect you should supply it.
"I now intend to acquaint you (as I shall always do with any Thing that concerns Me), that I have been informed of a Design against My Person by the Jesuits; of which I shall forbear any Opinion, left I may seem to say too much, or too little: But I will leave the Matter to the Law; and, in the mean Time, will take as much Care as I can to prevent all Manner of Practices by that Sort of Men, and of others too, who have been tampering in a high Degree by Foreigners, and contriving how to introduce Popery amongst us.
"I shall conclude with the recommending to you My other Concerns. I have been under great Disappointments by the Defect of the Poll Bill. My Revenue is under great Anticipations, and at the best was never equal to the constant and necessary Expence of the Government, whereof I intend to have the whole State laid before you; and require you to look into it, and consider of it with that Duty and Affection which I am sure I shall always find from you.
L. Chancellor's Speech.
"How much the King relies upon the Advice and Assistance of His Parliament, how necessary He accounts it to Him, and how safe He thinks Himself in it, is evident by this, that He hath not suffered you all this Year to be out of His Reach; but hath continued you from Time to Time, by a Succession of little and short Prorogations; and without all Per-adventure we had sooner met, if it had been possible for us to take right Measures here, without a full Knowledge of the State and Condition of our Neighbours.
"The Close and Period of the last Session is very memorable; for it may seem perhaps to some to have ended with very different, if not contrary, Counsels and Supplies, tending both to War and Peace: But yet they who look more nearly into the Matter shall find, that this Incertainty proceeded not from any Unsteadiness at Home, but from the Mutability of Affairs Abroad, every Week almost producing several and contrary Appearances.
"The same Incertainties of Counsels and Events Abroad continued for the most Part of the Summer. One while the Parties, exhausted by the War, seemed to be willing to accept any Peace their Enemies would give; and there wanted not those among them who made Use of the Impatience of their People to necessitate them to it.
"Another while the Performance of the Conditions offered became so doubted, and was at last explained in a Manner so vastly different from the First Proposals, that Despair begot new Resolutions of continuing the War.
In the Midst of these miserable Perplexities and Confusions, His Majesty was daily solicited, with the highest Importunities and the most earnest Supplications that were possible, not to disband the Troops He had raised; and not only so, but that He would still continue to send over more and more of His Troops, and to augment the Forces which He had already Abroad.
"They did as good as tell Him plainly, That it was from the Reputation of His Alliance, that any Overtures of Peace had been made at all; and that it was from the Continuance of His Arms that any fair Performance could be expected.
"They prayed His Majesty to consider, That if He thought it expedient to obtain some Kind of Respite, or Breathing-time, for The Spanish Netherlands, or to secure any Kind of Frontier or Barrier between them and their too powerful Neighbours; all this, and more, very much more, perhaps no less than the Safety of Christendom, would entirely depend upon His Majesty's preserving Himself in that considerable Posture both by Sea and Land wherein He then was.
"There was no resisting such repeated Intercessions; and though His Majesty saw well enough that His complying with these Desires would engage Him in an Expence far beyond what He was then provided for, yet He could not possibly decline the Charge, nor refuse to undergo the Difficulties. And now, whatever the Cost of all this may amount to, yet neither His Majesty nor His People will have any Cause to repent it, when they shall consider, that it hath already produced such great and good Effects to His Majesty's Allies, and so much Honour to the whole Nation; that whatsoever is saved of Flanders, is now acknowledged by all the World to be wholly due to His Majesty's Interposition.
"And though the Peace, which since hath followed, be very far from such a Peace as His Majesty could have wished, yet 'tis such a Peace as His Neighbours were resolved to have. No Obligations they lay under to insist upon a better Peace, no Conjunction with His Majesty, no, nor the Offers to declare War on their Behalfs if they desired it, could prevail with them, or keep them from being wrought upon by the ill Arts of those who first raised unreasonable Jealousies amongst them, and then caused them to precipitate themselves into a Peace.
"Let no Man wonder (fn. 1) then, if the Money given toward this Disbanding have been applied toward the Payment of the Army as far as it would go: There needs no Excuse for that which was inevitable.
"The Provision which was made for paying off the Army went no further than till the last of June for Part, and the last of August for the rest: But the Fleet was provided for only till the Fifth of June; so that the Continuation of the Fleet and Army from that Time was wholly upon His Majesty's Charge.
"And as this was an Expence so absolutely necessary to our own Interest, in the Preservation of our Neighbours, that His Majesty could not with any Honour or Safety to Himself have avoided it: So the Service which hath been done by this Means to a great Part of Christendom is so universally acknowledged, that you cannot but be well pleased to have your Share in the Honour of it, and will be willing to defray the rest of the Charge, which hath far exceeded all that was given by that Act.
"And His Majesty hath found Himself in greater Streights than He could have imagined, by the unexpected Deficiency of the Poll Bill; for whereas it was made a (fn. 2) Fund of Credit for Three Hundred Thousand Pounds, besides a further Credit for Stores, the Product of that Act hath fallen so strangely short of what the Parliament expected from it, that it hath not raised that Sum of Money, by a great deal, which was allowed to be borrowed upon it; and by this Means, they who have furnished Stores upon the Credit of that Act will be in Danger to be very great Losers, unless you are pleased to take some Care of them.
"Thus you have shortly an Account of what hath been doing Abroad, and the Charge of it: 'Tis now high Time to look a little nearer Home; and surely, in that State of Things to which they are now reduced, 'tis visible and plain enough what must be our Business for the Time to come.
"First, we must look to ourselves, and provide for our own Safety; for that which the Consederates acknowledge with Thanks, we may be sure hath a quite different Resentment in other Places. And, in order to this, Care must be taken so to strengthen ourselves, both at Home and Abroad, that they who see us in a firm and well-settled Estate may have no Hopes to surprize, nor any Temptation to make an Attempt upon us.
"And herein it will be necessary to take Notice of what His Majesty recommended to you, and to weigh very well the Importance of reducing the Sea and Land Forces, and the Consequences which may attend such a Reducement; for, this be assured, that nothing in the World would more gratify our Enemies, than to see us afraid of maintaining ourselves in a Posture of Defence, which is the only Posture they are afraid to find us in.
"And that the Fears of Popery may not too much disquiet you, be pleased to consider, that you have One Security more; since that which was always the Interest of His Majesty's Honour and Conscience is now become the Interest of His Person too, to protect the Protestant Religion, and to prevent the swarming of Seminary Priests; for His Majesty hath told you, that He hath lately received Information of Designs against His own Life by the Jesuits; and though He doth in no sort prejudge the Persons accused, yet the strict Enquiry into this Matter hath been a Means to discover so many other unwarrantable Practices of theirs, that His Majesty hath Reason to look to them.
"Nor are these Kind of Men the only Factors for Rome; but there are found among the Laity also some, who have made themselves Agitators to promote the Interests of a Foreign Religion, who meddle with Matters of State and Parliament, and carry on their pernicious Designs by a most dangerous Correspondency with Foreign Nations.
"In the next Place, let us carefully avoid all Differences amongst ourselves, all Manner of clashing about Jurisdictions, and all Disputes of such a Nature as can never end in any Accommodation; for this is still what our Enemies would wish, who would be glad to see us ruined, without their being at the Charge of it.
"And therefore we must now above all other Times labour to shew the World the most effectual Significations of our Loyalty and Duty that we are able to express: For nothing in the World can more discourage our Enemies, as on the contrary nothing does or can so ripen a Nation for Destruction, as to be observed to distrust their own Government. Be pleased then now to take Occasion to manifest such a Zeal for the Government, as to look into the State of that Revenue which should support the constant and necessary Charge of it, and to see that it be made equal to it.
"First, you see, the King expects it; and then again you cannot but see that nothing is, or can be, of a more public Consideration, than to support the Dignity of the Crown, which is in Truth the Dignity of the Nation: Besides, 'tis unsafe, as well as dishonourable, that the King's Revenue should fall short of His most necessary and most unavoidable Expences.
"And, if upon a due Examination, it shall be made appear to you, that though there had been no Diminution of the Customs, yet no Thrift or Conduct in the World could ever make the Revenue able to answer the certain Charge of the Government, much less to discharge those Anticipations which lie heavy upon it; how can it be possible for it to supply those Contingencies which happen even in Times of Peace, and which can never be brought under any Regulation or Establishment?
"You may be sure, a great and generous Prince would be glad, by good Managery, to have wherewithal to exercise His Royal Bounty. But our Neighbours have found a Way to prevent all that: For their vast Preparations put His Majesty upon a vast Expence, to preserve Himself and us.
"And yet His Majesty doth not think that there need many Words to bespeak your Zeal and Industry in His Service; for the Things themselves now speak, and speak aloud. The public and the private Interest do both persuade the same Things; and are, and ought to be, mighty in Persuasion.
"If the Honour and Safety of your Country, and, which is next to that, the Concerns of your own Families and Posterities, cannot awaken your utmost Care to preserve that Government which only can preserve you and yours, all other Discourses will be to no Purpose.
There is so strange a Concurrence of ill Accidents at this Time, that 'tis not to be wondered at, if some very honest and good Men begin to have troubled and thoughtful Hearts; yet that which is infinitely to be lamented is, that malicious Men too begin to work upon this Occasion, and are in no small Hopes to raise a Storm that nothing shall be able to allay.
"If you can rescue the King's Affairs from such a Tempest as this; if you can weather this Storm, and steer the Vessel into Harbour; if you can find a Way to quiet the Apprehensions of those who mean well, without being carried away by the Passions of others who mean ill; if you can prevent the Designs of those without Doors, who study nothing else but how to distract your Counsels, and to disturb all your Proceedings: Then you will have performed as great and as seasonable a Piece of Service to the King, as ever He stood in Need of.
"And when the World shall see, that nothing hath been able to disappoint the King of the Assistance He had reason to hope from this Session, but that there is a right Understanding between the King and His Parliament, and that again strengthened and increased by new Evidences of your Duty and Affection, and raised above all Possibility of being interrupted; then shall the King be possessed of that true Glory, which others vainly pursue, the Glory of reigning in the Hearts of His People; then shall the People be possessed of as much Felicity as this World is capable of; and you shall have the perpetual Honour and Satisfaction of having been the Means to procure so much solid and lasting Good to your Country, as the Establishment of the Peace and Tranquillity of this Kingdom, and consequently of all His Majesty's Dominions."
Address for these Speeches to be printed.
ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lords with White Staves be, and are hereby, appointed to wait on His Majesty, humbly desiring, in the Name of this House, "That His Majesty will be pleased to give Order, that the Speeches made by His Majesty and the Lord Chancellor, this Day, in the House of Peers, may be printed and published."
Bill to prevent Minors clandestine Marriages.
Committee for Privileges.
Committee for the Journal.
Lords Committees appointed to consider of the Orders and Customs of the House of Peers, and Privileges of the Peers of this Kingdom and Lords of Parliament; and to peruse and perfect the Journal Book.
Committee for Petitions.
Address to the King, for a Fast.
It was moved, upon Occasion of His Majesty's Speech, "That an humble Address may be presented to His Majesty, for a Day of Fasting and Humiliation, for the further Discovery of the horrid Design against the Sacred Person of His Majesty."
"We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and in Parliament assembled, having been acquainted, by Your Majesty, that there is Information given of a horrible Design against Your Majesty's Sacred Life (which God long preserve); and being very sensible of the fatal Consequence of such an Attempt, and the Dangers of the Subversion of the Protestant Religion and Government of this Realm, which God in His infinite Mercy hath hitherto prevented, and we hope will prevent for the future; do most humbly beseech Your Majesty, That a Solemn Day of Fasting and Humiliation may be appointed, to implore the Mercy and Protection of God Almighty to Your Majesty's Royal Person, and in You to all Your Loyal Subjects; and to pray Him to bring to Light, more and more, all secret Machinations against Your Majesty and Your whole Kingdom."
Message to H. C. with it.
Address for Papers concerning the Plot.
"We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, having been acquainted, by Your Majesty, that there is Information given of a horrible Design against Your Majesty's Sacred Life (which God long preserve), are humble Suitors to Your Majesty, That You would vouchsafe to communicate to us (as far as Your Majesty shall think fit) such Papers as have any Tendency to the Discovery thereof, or of any other Design against the Protestant Religion as it is now established in the Church of England, that we may use our utmost Endeavours to serve Your Majesty, according to our bounden Duty and Allegiance."
ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lords with the White Staves do attend His Majesty, from this House, to present their humble Address concerning Papers relating to the Discovery of the horrible Design against His Majesty's Sacred Life.
King's Speech to be considered.
ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That this House will take His Majesty's Speech and the Lord Chancellor's Speech, made this Day in the House of Peers, into Consideration To-morrow Morning.
Answer from H. C.
King to be attended.
ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Lords with White Staves do attend His Majesty, to know His Pleasure, at what Time both Houses may wait on Him, with their humble Address for a Fast.