DIE Lunæ, 29 die Aprilis.
Domini tam Spirituales quam Temporales præsentes
||His Royal Highness the Duke of Yorke.
Epus. Bath & Wells.
Epus. St. David's.
Ds. Thesaurarius Angliæ.
Ds. Custos Privati Sigilli.
L. Great Chamberlain.
Comes St. Albans.
Ds. North et Grey.
Ds. Arundell Ward.
Ds. Grey de Wark.
Ds. Gerard Brand.
Ds. Arundell T.
Ds. Butler de
(fn. *) West.
His Majesty sitting in His Royal Throne, adorned
with His Crown and Regal Ornaments (the Peers being
likewise in their Robes); the Gentleman Usher of the
Black Rod was commanded by His Majesty to give Notice to the House of Commons, "That they presently
attend His Majesty, with their Speaker."
Who being come; the Lord Chancellor, by Directions of His Majesty, made the Speech following:
L. Chancellor's Speech.
"My Lords; and you the Knights, Citizens, and
Burgesses of the House of Commons;
"His Majesty, having made a League Offensive and
Defensive with Holland, and endeavoured to improve
that League by entering into further and more general Alliances for the Prosecution of the War, hath
nevertheless thought fit, before He make His last
Step, to take the further Advice of both His Houses
of Parliament, and resolves to govern Himself by
"And to the End His Parliament may be able to
give a clear and certain Judgement in this Matter,
His Majesty hath commanded that the present State
and Condition of Affairs should be fully and plainly
opened to you.
"And this I shall do in a few Words:
"The First Address to His Majesty from both Houses
was upon the Sixteenth of March, 1676, wherein
the dangerous Growth of the French Monarchy being
observed, and the Conquests made in Flanders, together with the ill Consequences arising from thence,
His Majesty is desired to strengthen Himself by such
stricter Alliances as may secure His own Kingdoms
and preserve The Spanish Netherlands.
"But this Address did neither desire, nor seem to
intend, that His Majesty should so suddenly and so
abruptly depart from His Figure of Mediator, as immediately to become a Party in the War, before any
such Alliances were made.
"For this Address was followed with several other
Addresses from the Commons, in the Months of
March, April, and May following; all of them pressing His Majesty to hasten this entering into such
Alliances; and One of them particularly pointing at
a League Offensive and Defensive with The States
"And in Truth, as no Alliances could well be made
till we had consulted with Holland, so no Entry could
be made upon any Alliance with Holland until the Mind
of the Prince of Orange were perfectly known; for
upon him would depend much of that Certainty
and Secrecy, which was absolutely necessary to bring
such a Treaty to Perfection: But the Prince was in
so great a Hurry of Business, and such a Heat of
Action, that no Time could possibly be found all that
Summer to enter upon this Treaty.
"And yet, that no Time might be lost, His Majesty did all He could at Home, to fit and prepare
Himself for such an Alliance when the Time should
come: He repairs His old Fleet, buys in necessary
Stores for the Navy and Ordnance; and in this and
other Provisions for better securing His Foreign
Plantations and Islands nearer Home, expended a
great deal more than the Two Hundred Thousand
Pounds which He was enabled to borrow upon the
Excise; and if He could have then prevailed to have
had the Six Hundred Thousand Pounds compleated
as He desired, the Expence of that in other Stores
and Provisions, both for Land and Sea, would by this
Time have given an universal Content and Satisfaction.
"Nor did His Majesty rest here; but He continued still, during all the rest of that Summer, to
make all the Steps He could towards an Alliance
with Holland: To this End He did, in the Month of
June, send for His Ambassador Sir Wm. Temple to
come to Him from Nimeguen, in order to his being
employed to negotiate with the Prince of Orange,
touching those Measures which were necessary to be
taken for the common Safety; but the Prince's continual Action caused it to be deferred: And yet, in
August following, the King appoints His Ambassador Mr. Hide to wait upon the Prince, and to know
of him what Course he thought best to be taken as
Things then stood; and to desire him, that he would
either write his own Mind, or send some Person
hither instructed with it, or come himself. The Prince
was pleased to chuse the latter.
"By that Conversation with his Highness, His Majesty quickly understood to what a low Estate
the Affairs of Holland were reduced, and in what great
Disorder the rest of the Confederates were; they
in Flanders totally desponding, and the People in
Holland being violent for a Peace; so that there
seemed to be no other Remedy or Expedient lest,
but for His Majesty to try whether a Peace could be
obtained upon reasonable Conditions.
"This being the main and principal Point to which
the King had all that Year been earnestly solicited
by The States, that is to say, in the Months of January, May, and September last, just before the Prince
came over; and His Majesty had Reason to believe
that such Endeavors would be grateful to The States,
and took thereby an Opportunity to engage The
States, that, in case of Refusal, they should enter
into such an Alliance with His Majesty, as might
enable Him to obtain His Desires by Force of Arms;
for His Majesty did well perceive, that The States
of Holland, whom He had so long found weary of
the War, would never enter into any Alliance with
His Majesty for the Prosecution of this War without a Prospect of a Peace.
"And, to convince the World that His Majesty
was resolved to espouse the Interests of The States
Generall to the uttermost, His Majesty (who could
not but see that the Happiness and Prosperity of the
Prince did very much depend upon the Quiet and
Repose of those Countries) did, in the Time of their
most pressing Dangers, give His own Niece in Marriage to the Prince; which Act alone was enough to
extinguish the Fears of all at Home, and raise the
Hopes of all that were Abroad.
"And with this Assurance, and this Evidence of the
King's good Intentions to The States, the Prince returned.
"And now, to the End it might be known whether
His Most Christian Majesty would consent to such
Conditions of Peace as might be grateful to The
States, and that such Measures might be taken as
were sit, in case of Refusal, Conditions were prepared, and sent to Paris by the Earl of Feversham in
November last; and in December following, the Earl
of Feversham returns with an Answer very dissatisfactory.
"This ill Answer being returned, the King His
Majesty hastened the Meeting of the Parliament,
and proceeded to close up the Treaty with The States
Generall for obtaining of those Conditions by Force
of Arms, which could not be obtained by fair Means.
And this is the League Offensive and Defensive made
with Holland, and concluded in the Beginning of
January last, which His Majesty is graciously pleased
may be communicated to the Parliament, if they
shall desire to see it.
"And His Majesty, at the same Time, and for the
fuller Satisfaction of His Parliament, and the better securing of His Kingdoms in all Events, did
further take Care to conclude another perpetual Defensive Treaty with The States Generall.
"In Execution of the Offensive and Defensive League,
His Majesty sent to The States, to have the Number
"of Forces by Sea and Land adjusted, and did agree
what His own Quota by Sea should be, and sent
over some Forces into Flanders; and had sent more,
but some Difficulties were made on that Side, which
His Majesty for the Friendship's Sake which He hath
with them does not think fit to remember.
"The next Thing absolutely necessary to be done
was, to have One common Alliance for all Parties
to enter into, for the carrying on of the War, by disposing the several Stations of the joint Forces, by the
general Prohibition of Commerce, and by providing
against all Possibilities of any separate Peace.
"For which Causes, His Majesty appoints His own
Commissioners to meet and treat with the Foreign
Ministers: But, to the King's great Disappointment,
it appeared that the Dutch Ambassador had no Power
to treat, which made the other Ministers refuse to
enter upon any Discourse: And therefore, to obtain these Powers to be sent, His Majesty, besides
the repeated and pressing Instances of His own Ambassador in Holland, was pleased to write Himself to
The States very earnestly in this Matter.
"At last, Powers come; but then the Ambassador
wants Instructions, so that nothing at all could be
concluded touching those Points which were most
essential and necessary to be settled between us, and
which the King hath never ceased to press for to
this very Day. But hitherto the King finds, what
He always feared, that the Dutch are making Haste
to get out of the War; and are so far from disposing
themselves to enter into any new Alliance for the
more vigorous Prosecution of it, that whether they
will persevere in the League Offensive and Defensive
which they have made with the King, or to what
Degree they will act if they should persevere, depends upon very many and very great Uncertainties:
For they are at this very Time entered upon Considerations of accepting such a Peace as the Most
Christian King hath thought sit to offer lately at
Nimegen, though it be without His Majesty's Consent or Privity, and contrary to that League by
which they stand obliged to Him to prosecute the
War, till a much better Peace can be obtained.
"To prevent this, the King hath sent an Express,
on purpose to know what they intend by this Manner of Proceeding, and to dissuade them from it, by
letting them see that this will be as ill a Peace
for themselves and the rest of Christendom as their
Enemies could wish.
"But the King as yet can receive no other Account
from them, but Complaints of their great Poverty,
and utter Inability to be at any further Charge in
carrying on the War. And the King is informed, by
His Ambassador, that they intend to send over an
Envoy Extraordinary to His Majesty, to beg His
Majesty to accept of these Propositions, to excuse
themselves for this, upon the general Impatience of
"This is the State of the Case; and thus it stands
at this Day between us and Holland, from whom we
have little Hopes now, that they should ever so far
enter into this new and common Alliance as to
make it Quadrupartite.
"And now, upon the whole Matter, the King demands your Advice, what may be fit for Him to do
in this difficult Conjuncture; and resolves to pursue
it: And therefore desires you to take this Matter
into your most speedy and most serious Considerations."
King to be moved to lay the Treaties before this House, and Lords to have Copies of the Speech.
ORDERED, That this House will take the whole
Matter of this Speech into Consideration To-morrow
Morning; and no other Business to intervene, until this
House hath given some Resolution in this Matter.
And further it is ORDERED, That the Lord Chancellor do humbly move His Majesty, from this House,
That He would be pleased to communicate to this
House the whole Treaties of the Leagues mentioned in
the Speech; and Copies of the Speech to be written
out, for the Use of all the Lords.
Dominus Cancellarius declaravit præsens Parliamentum continuandum esse usque in diem Martis, 30um
diem instantis Aprilis, hora decima Aurora, Dominis
Hitherto examined by us,