Fourth Session of King William's Second Parliament. ; The King's Speech to both Houses.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Am very glad to meet you again in Parliament, where
I have an Opportunity of thanking you, for the great
Supplies you have given me for the Prosecution of this
War. And I hope by your Advice and Assistance, which
has never failed me, to take such Measures as may be most
proper for supporting our Common Interest against the
excessive Power of France.
'We have great reason to rejoice in the happy Victory,
which, by the Blessing of God, we obtained at Sea; and
I wish I could tell you, that the Success at Land had been
answerable to it: I am sure my own Subjects had so remarkable a Part in both, that their Bravery and Courage
must ever be remembred to their Honour.
'The French are repairing their Losses at Sea with great
Diligence, and do design to augment their Land-Forces
considerably against the next Campaign; which makes it
absolutely necessary for our Safety, that at least, as great
a Force be maintained at Sea and Land, as we had the last
Year; and therefore I must ask of you, Gentlemen of the
House of Commons, a Supply suitable to so great an Occasion.
'I am very sensible how heavy this Charge is upon my
People; and it extremely afflicts me, that 'tis not possible
to be avoided, without exposing ourselves to inevitable
Ruin and Destruction. The Inconvenience of sending out
of the Kingdom great Sums of Money, for the Payment
of the Troops abroad, is, indeed, very considerable; and
I so much wish it could be remedied, that if you can suggest to me any Methods for the Support of them, which
may lessen this Inconvenience, I shall be ready to receive
them with all the Satisfaction imaginable.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
None can desire more than I do, that a Descent
should be made into France; and therefore notwithstanding the Disappointment of that Design this last Summer, I
intend to attempt it the next Year, with a much more
considerable Force; and so soon as I shall be enabled, all
possible Care and Application shall be used towards it.
'And upon this Occasion I cannot omit taking notice of
that signal Deliverance, which, by the good Providence
of God, we received the last Spring, to the Disappointment and Confusion of our Enemies Designs and Expectations: This has sufficiently shewn us how much we are
exposed to the Attempts of France, while that King is in
a Condition to make them; let us therefore improve the
Advantage we have at this time, of being joined with
most of the Princes and States of Europe, against so dangerous an Enemy: In this surely all Men will agree, who
have any Love for their Country, or any Zeal for our Religion. I cannot therefore doubt but you will continue to
support me in this War, against the declared Enemy of
this Nation; and that you will give as speedy Dispatch to
the Affairs before you, as the Nature and Importance of
them will admit, that our Preparations may be timely and
effectual, for the Preservation of all that is dear and
valuable to us.
'I am sure I can have no Interest but what is yours; we
have the same Religion to defend; and you cannot be more
concerned for the Preservation of your Liberties and Properties than I am, that you should always remain in the
full Possession and Enjoyment of them; for I have no aim,
but to make you a happy People.
'Hitherto I have never spared to expose my own Person
for the Good and Welfare of this Nation; and I am so
sensible of your good Affections to me, that I shall continue to do so with great Chearfulness upon all Occasions,
wherein I may contribute to the Honour and Advantage
Addresses of Thanks.
This excellent Speech produced hearty Addresses from
both Lords and Commons, and in particular to the Queen,
for her wise and happy Administration in the King's Absence
The Bill for regulating Trials in Treason, revived and dropt again.
On the 11th of November, the Bill for regulating Trials in
Cases of High-Treason was reviv'd, and a Clause being presented, to be added to it, a Debate ensued; the Result of
which was, that the Bill was ordered to lie on the Table;
and no farther mention was made of it during this Session.
The Parliament thank Admiral Russel. ; Enquiries into the Conduct of the Fleet.
The Commons took into Consideration the Naval Affairs,
and began with giving Admiral Russel their Thanks for his
great Courage and Conduct in the late (fn. *) Victory obtain'd at
Sea. However, there wanted not Persons in the House,
who suggested that the Advantage gained upon the Enemy,
might have been better improv'd. Upon which, the House
enter'd upon the examining the several Instructions, Orders,
and Results of Councils of War, touching the last Summer's
Expedition in relation to the Proceedings of the Fleet, and
the Descent intended to be made upon France, after the
Victory at Sea. Sir John Ashby was examined the 19th of
November, particularly in relation to the French Men-ofWar, that made their Escape into St. Malo, which the Count
de Fourbin, who commanded one of those Men-of-War,
(fn. *) confess'd might have been destroy'd with good Management by the English. However, the House was very well
satisfied with Sir John Ashby's own Account of that Matter; and the Speaker, by Direction of the House, told
him the House took notice of his ingenuous Behaviour at the Bar, and that he had given them Satisfaction,
and was dismiss'd from farther Attendance. The next thing
the Commons took into Consideration, was, why a Descent
had not been made into France? Admiral Russel was question'd about it; but he excused himself by saying, That twenty
Days had pass'd between his first Letter to the Earl of Nottingham, after the Fight, and his Lordship's Answer.
In the mean time, the Lords, at a Conference, communicated to the Commons some Papers, which their Lordships
had receiv'd from the King, relating to those Affairs, which
being read afterwards in the Lower House, it was Resolv'd,
That Admiral Russel, in his Command of the Fleet, during
the last Summer's Expedition, had behav'd himself with
Fidelity, Courage, and Conduct.
A Bill brought in, for regulating the East-India Trade.
On the 14th of November, Sir Edward Seymour deliver'd
to the Commons a Message to his Majesty, in answer to
their Address about the East-India Company the last Sessions.
Upon which, a Bill was brought in for Regulating and Establishing the East-India Trade; but it met with great Opposition,
and the Debate ended in an Address to his Majesty, like
the former, to dissolve the Company; to which the King
was pleased to return this Answer, 'I will always do all the
'Good I can for this Kingdom, and I will consider of your
In less than a Month's Time, the Commons went through
the Supply and voted,
For the Fleet 1926516 l for the Army 2090563 l. for
Deficiency of the Poll-Bill 750000 l. in all 4767079 l. The
ways and means for raising these prodigious Sums, were chiefly
four Shillings in the Pound Land-Tax, 70000 l. per Annum
out of the Hereditary Excise for four Years; and an Additional
Excise on Liquors, to raise a Million by Annuities.
An unconscionable Premium for Money by Annuitiet.
The latter was an unconscionable Advantage to the Subscribers, who had 14 per Cent. for Life, and many of them
are receiving it to this very Day.
That part of the King's Speech which refer'd to the Commons the Consideration of Methods to prevent the Inconveniencies of sending Money abroad, took up a great deal of
In the Consideration of the Navy, a Motion was made, That
his Majesty be humbly advis'd, to constitute a Commission of
the Admiralty of such Persons as were of known (fn. *) Experience in Maritime Affairs, which upon the question pass'd in
About the same time that the Address was mov'd for, another Address was carry'd Jan. 11. That for the future all
Orders for the Management of the Fleet, should pass through
the Hands of the Lords Commissioners for the executing the
Office of Lord-High-Admiral: [which Vote was thought
to be occasion'd by the Difference between the Earl of Nottingham and Admiral Russel.]
A Bill for satisfying the Debts due to the Orphans of London, was brought into the House of Commons; but not pass'd.
A Bill was brought in by the unanimous Consent of the
House, for the better Preservation of their Majesties Persons;
which was however thrown out at the second Reading.
The same Fate attended the Bill for the ascertaining the Fees
of Officers. A Care worthy the Regard of that House,
considering the abominable Extortions too much countenanc'd,
as well as practis'd in Courts of Justice, as well as other
About the beginning of December, Sir Edward Hussey,
Member of Parliament for the City of Lincoln, presented to
the House of Commons, A Bill touching Free and Impartial
Proceedings in Parliament, which pass'd the Commons and
was sent to the Lords for their Concurrence.
The King refuses to pass the Bill for frequent Parliaments.
But not passing there, Occasion was taken to bring in
and pass another Bill for frequent Parliaments, which pass'd
the House of Commons also, but was refus'd by the King;
and the Reason given for it, was, that the King had no
mind to part with this Parliament as long as the War lasted.
Pamphlets order'd to be burnt.
January the 21st. A Complaint having been made to the
House of Commons, of a printed Pamphlet, entitled, King
William and Queen Mary Conquerors, as containing Assertions of dangerous consequence to their Majesties, to the
Liberties of the Subject, and Peace of the Kingdom; the
House, upon examination of the matter, ordered the said
Pamphlet to be burnt by the Hands of the common Hangman; and that his Majesty be desired to remove Mr. Edmund
Bohun, the Licenser, from his Employment, for having allowed the same to be printed. In this Debate it was suggested, that Dr. Burner, Bishop of Sarum, had recommended
this Notion of Conquest, in his Pastoral Letter to the Clergy
of his Diocese; though he had done it only upon a favourable Supposition, not in a way of assertion: However the
Majority in the warmth of debating, and some of them for
the sake of (fn. *) Allusion to the Author's Name, passed the same
Censure on the said Pastoral Letter, and ordered it publicly to
be burnt by the common Executioner. On January the 24th
the Lords came to a like Resolution; That the Assertion of
King William and Queen Mary's being King and Queen
by Conquest, was highly injurious to their Majesties, and inconsistent with the Principles on which this Government is
founded, and tending to the Subversion of the Rights of the
People. Which Vote being communicated to the Commons,
that House, on the next Day, unanimously concurred with
their Lordships, with the remarkable addition of some words;
viz. injurious to their Majesties rightful Title to the Crown
of this Realm.
Sir Edward Seymour, being order'd to represent to his
Majesty, that under pretence of pressing Men for Sea-Service,
Land-men had been taken up, and ship'd off for Flanders,
as particularly a Servant to a Member of the House of Commons; his Majesty return'd Answer by the same Sir Edward,
that he had order'd the Officers of the Army not to receive
any such press'd Men, and the Commissioners of the Admiralty to examine the Press-masters, and punish those that had
press'd Landmen for Sea-Service.
Upon Information given to the House of Commons, of the
ill State of Ireland, the House ordered an Address to be
drawn up; which was presented to his Majesty on March
so in this form.
Address of the Commons upon the State of Ireland.
'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects the
Commons in Parliament assembled, having taken into our serious consideration the state of your Majesty's Kingdom of
Ireland, find our selves obliged by our duty to your Majesty,
with all Faithfulness and Zeal to your Service, to lay before
your Majesty, the great Abuses and Mismanagements of the
Affairs of that Kingdom.
'By exposing your Protestant Subjects to the Misery of free
Quarter, and the Licentiousness of the Soldiers, to the great
Oppression of the People; which we conceive hath been occasion'd chiefly by the want of that Pay, which we did hope
we had fully provided for.
By recruiting your Majesty's Troops with Irish Papists,
and such Persons who were in open Rebellion against you,
to the great endangering and discouraging of your Majesty's
good and loyal Protestant Subjects in that Kingdom.
'By granting Protections to the Irish Papists, whereby Protestants are hindred from their legal Remedies, and the course
of Law stopt.
'By reversing Outlawries for High-Treason against several
Rebels in that Kingdom, not within the Articles of Limerick,
to the great discontent of your Protestant Subjects there.
'By letting the forfeited Estates at Under-Rates, to the Prejudice of your Majesty's Revenue.
'By the great Embezzlement of your Majesty's Stores, in
the Towns and Garrisons of that Kingdom, left by the late
'And by the great Embezzlements which have been made
in the forfeited Estates and Goods, which might have been employed for the Safety and better Preservation of your Majesty's Kingdom. We crave leave to represent to your Majesty, that the Addition to the Articles of Limerick, after
the same were finally agreed to and signed, and the Town
thereupon surrendered, hath been a very great Encouragement to the Irish Papists, and a weakening to the English
'Having thus, most gracious Sovereign, out of our affectionate Zeal to your Majesty's Service, with all humble Submission to your great Wisdom, laid before you these Abuses
and Mismanagements in your Kingdom of Ireland, we most
humbly beseech your Majesty, for redress thereof,
'That the Soldiers may be paid their Arrears, and the
Country what is due to them for quarters; and that no Irish
Papist may serve in your Army there.
'And, forasmuch as the reducing of Ireland hath been of
great expence to this Kingdom, we do also humbly beseech
your Majesty, that (according to the assurance your Majesty
has been pleased to give us) no Grant may be made of the
forfeited Estates in Ireland, 'till there be an Opportunity of
settling that matter in Parliament, in such manner as shall
be thought most expedient.
'That the true Account of the Escheats and forfeited Estates,
both real and personal, and Stores left by the late King James,
may be laid before the Commons in Parliament; to the end,
that the said Escheats, Forfeitures, and Stores, and the Embezzlements thereof, may be enquired into.
'That no Outlawries of any Rebels in Ireland may be reversed, or Pardons granted to them, but by the Advice of
your Parliament; and that no Protection may be granted to
any Irish Papist, to stop the Course of Justice.
'And as to the additional Article which opens so wide a
Passage to the Irish Papists, to come and re-possess themselves
of the Estates which they had forfeited by their Rebellion;
we most humbly beseech your Majesty, that the Articles of
Limerick, with the said Addition, may be laid before your
Commons in Parliament, that the manner of obtaining the
same may be enquired into; to the end it may appear by
what Means the said Articles were so engaged; and to what
Value the Estates thereby obtained do amount.
'Thus, may it please your Majesty, we your most Dutiful
and Loyal Subjects, do lay these matters in all Humility
before you; and as your Majesty hath been pleased to give
us such gracious Assurances of your readiness to comply with
us, in any thing that may tend to the Peace and Security of
this Kingdom, we doubt not of your Majesty's like Grace
and Favour to that of Ireland; in the Safety and Preservation whereof, this your Majesty's Kingdom is so much concerned.'
His Majesty's Answer.
To which Address his Majesty return'd this prudent Answer;
Gentlemen, I shall always have great consideration of
what comes from the House of Commons; and I shall
take great care that what is amiss shall be remedied.'
The House seemed to be well satisfied with this Answer, and
proceeded vigorously in the remaining part of the Supplies;
being sensible that his Majesty was desirous to go early into
Royal Assent given to several Acts.
On the 14th of March his Majesty came to the House of
Peers, and gave the Royal Assent to the Supply Bills: To an
Act for preventing Suits against such as acted in Defence of the
Kingdom. To Acts for the Militia, and Public Accounts; for punishing Mutiny, Desertion, and False Musters; to an Act for the
Encouragement of Privateers; and to another for Preserving the
Game: And to 22 private Acts. After which, his Majesty
made this Speech.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'The large Supplies, which you have given me this
Session, are so great Testimonies of your good Affections, that I take this Occasion with great Willingness,
to return my hearty Thanks to you: And I assure you, it
shall be my Care to see that that Money you have given,
may be effectually applied to such Services, as may be most
for the Honour and Interest of England.
'I must recommend to your Care the Peace and Quiet
of the several Counties to which you are now returning;
and doubt not, but by your Care, the Supply, which you
have so freely given, will not only be effectually levied,
but with the greatest Equality too, and the least Uneasiness
to the People that is possible.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
'The Posture of Affairs does necessarily require my Presence abroad; but I shall take care to leave such a Number
of Troops here, as may be sufficient for the Security of
the Kingdom against any Attempts of our Enemies.
'I shall add no more, but that as I shall continue to expose my own Person upon all occasions, for the Good and
Advantage of these Kingdoms, so I do likewise assure you
that my hearty and sincere Endeavours shall never be wanting in any other kind, to make this a great and flourishing Nation.'
Then the Parliament was prorogu'd to the Second of May.