SPEECHES and DEBATES In the Third Session of the Second Parliament of King George I.
Anno 11. Geo. I. 1724.
THE Parliament met on the 12th of November, according to their last Prorogation, and the King being come to the House of Peers with the usual State,
and the Commons attending, the Lord Chancellor read his
Majesty's Speech to both Houses as follows:
The King's Speech at opening the Third Session.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Am persuaded, you share with me in the Satisfaction
I feel at the prosperous Situation of Affairs: Peace with
all Powers Abroad; at Home, perfect Tranquility, Plenty,
and an uninterrupted Enjoyment of all Civil and Religious
Rights, are most distinguishing Marks of the Favour and
Protection of the Divine Providence. And these, with all
their happy Consequences, will, I doubt not, by the Blessing of God upon our joint Endeavours, belong continu'd
to my People.
"The same Provision by Sea and Land, for the Defence
and Safety of the Nation, will continue to make us respected abroad, and consequently secure at Home. The
same Attention to the Improvement of the publick Revenues, and to the Ease and Encouragement of Trade and
Navigation, will establish Credit upon the strongest Basis,
and raise such a Spirit of Industry, as will not only enable us gradually to discharge the National Debt; but will
likewise greatly increase the Wealth, Power, and Influence
of this Kingdom.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I have order'd the proper Officers to prepare and lay
before you Estimates of the Expences for the Service of the
ensuing Year; and, as they do not exceed what has been
found by Experience to be absolutely necessary for the Security of the Kingdom, I make no Question but I shall
have your ready Concurrence in raising the Supplies, in
such Manner as shall be most easy to my People.
"There is one Thing that I cannot but mention to you,
as deserving your particular Consideration. It is too manifest, that the Funds establish'd for the finishing the Works
at Greenwich Hospital, and providing for a competent
Number of Seamen there, cannot, in Time of Peace, be
sufficient to answer the Expences of this great and necessary Work. It is therefore very much to be wish'd, that
some Method could be found out to make a farther Provision for a comfortable Support to our Seamen, worn out
in the Service of their Country, and labouring under old
Age and Infirmities.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"You must all be sensible how much our present Happiness is owing to your Union and steady Conduct. It
is therefore wholly unnecessary to recommend to you Unanimity and Dispatch in all your Deliberations. The
Zeal and Abilities you have on all Occasions shewn in
supporting the Interest of your Country, even under the
greatest Difficulties, leave no Room to doubt of my
having your intire and effectual Concurrence in every
thing, that can tend to the Service of the Publick, and
to the Good of my People."
Mr E. Thompson's Motion for an Address of Thanks, which is agreed to.
The Commons being return'd to their House, and Mr
Speaker having reported his Majesty's Speech, Mr Edward
Thompson mov'd for an Address of Thanks and Congratulation, which being unanimously resolv'd, a Committee was
appointed to draw it up.
Nov. 13. Mr Thompson reported the said Address, which
was agreed to Nem. Con. and on the 14th, presented to his
Majesty by the whole House, as follows:
The Commons Address of Thanks to the King.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
Your Majesty's most dutiful and Loyal Subjects, the
Commons of Great-Britain in Parliament assembled,
return your Majesty the Thanks of this House for your
Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne; and as
your Majesty's fatherly Tenderness for your People, and
the unspeakable Comforts of an easy Government, demand
the sincerest Tribute of Duty; your Majesty's faithful
Commons do now offer to your Majesty their most unfeigned Assurances of Gratitude and Loyalty, with that becoming Zeal and Affection that is particularly requisite at
'We beg Leave to congratulate with your Majesty on the
prosperous Situation of Affairs at Home and Abroad; a
Subject not only of Content, but of Joy: And we should
be wanting to ourselves, and insensible of our own Prosperity, if we did not feel the same Satisfaction in reaping the
Fruits of your Majesty's great Wisdom, that your Majesty
hath in imploying it to direct and guide us to our own
'Peace with all Powers Abroad, Plenty and Tranquility
at Home, with a full and quiet Enjoyment of every Thing
that is dear and valuable to us, are peculiar Marks of your
Majesty's Government; which that they may be for ever
remembred, this House will use their utmost Endeavours,
by the Divine Assistance, to transmit the happy Consequences of these Blessings to the latest Posterity, as Monuments to Futurity of the Glories of your Majesty's
'To support the Interest and Credit of our Country, is
to pay the most acceptable Obedience to your Majesty, and
therefore this House will proceed with all Chearfulness and
Dispatch in raising such Supplies as shall be necessary for
the Honour and Safety of the Nation: We will labour
to discharge gradually the National Debt, by the Improvement of the Publick Revenues; to increase our Wealth,
by the Advancement of our Trade; and to establish our
Strength, by the Encouragement of our Navigation; and
are ready heartily to assist your Majesty in every thing that
shall tend to the Security and Grandeur of your Majesty
and your Kingdoms.'
To this Address his Majesty return'd the following Answer.
His Majesty's Answer.
I Return you my hearty Thanks for your loyal Address;
I never made any Doubt, but that whenever the Honour and Interest of the Kingdom call'd upon you, I
should meet with the same Return of Duty and Fidelity,
and the same Affection and Zeal for my Service, as I have
hitherto experienc'd on all Occasions.
Debate concerning the Number of Land-Forces.
Nov. 23. In a Committee of the whole House, the Commons consider'd farther of the Supply. The several Estimates of the Charge of Guards, Garrisons, and LandForces; of the Forces in the Plantations, Minorca, and Gibraltar; of the Out-Pensioners of Chelsea-Hospital, for the
Year 1725, and of extraordinary Expences not provided for
by Parliament, having been referr'd to the Committee, Mr
H. Pelham open'd the Debate on those several Heads, shew'd
the Necessity of keeping up the same Number of Guards,
Garrisons, and Land-Forces, and mov'd for making the
same Provision for them for the Year 1725, as was made
for this Year. Mr Pelham's Motion was supported by Mr
Treby, Sir Edmund Bacon, General Wade, and Mr Yonge;
but was opposed by Mr Plummer, Mr Freeman, Sir William
Barker, Lord Morpeth, Sir Joseph Jekyll, Mr Cornwall, Mr
Snell, Mr Hungerford, and Mr Shippen, which occasion'd a
warm Debate, that lasted till Four in the Afternoon. Those
who oppos'd Mr Pelham's Motion, were not all of the
same Opinion, as to the Number of Troops, some being
for reducing the Army to seven or eight Thousand Men,
as was done after the Conclusion of the Treaties of Ryswick
and Utrecht, and others insisting only on the Disbanding of
the 4000 Men rais'd upon Occasion of the late Conspiracy.
Mr Snell, Member for Gloucester, to shew the Danger
of a Standing Army in a free Country, brought two Instances;
the one of an Insult given by Dragoons encamp'd in the West,
to some Country-Men that were merry-making; the other,
of an Officer quarter'd at Gloucester, who, upon a Rejoicing-Day, would not permit the City Drums to beat, pretending, that none but the King's Drums had a Right to
beat in the Garrison.' To the first of these Complaints Mr
Treby answer'd, 'That by several Affidavits taken before the
Magistrates in the Neighbourhood, it appear'd that a rude
Mob of discontented People had given the first Insult and
Provocation to the King's Troops, by calling them Roundheads, and other abusive Names, and singing or playing the
Tune of, The King shall enjoy his own again, &c. To the
other, it was said, That the Officer, who was guilty of that
Piece of Indiscretion, was so far from being countenanc'd,
that on the contrary, upon the first Notice given of it to
the Secretary of War, he was order'd to be dismiss'd from
his Majesty's Service; which Punishment he would have undergone, had not the Magistrates of Gloucester been satisfy'd
with his Submission, and interceded for him.' Mr Hungerford endeavour'd to shew the Danger of regular Troops to a
free Nation, and what little Occasion there was for them at
this happy Juncture, and concluded, 'He could not imagine,
what Use an Army could be put to, unless it were to extinguish the Flame that had been kindled in Ireland by the new
Brass Half-pence, [meaning the base Half-pence coin'd by Mr
Wood for the Use of Ireland,] and to force that People to
swallow them.' But the most material Objections were
urg'd by Mr Shippen, who upon this Occasion spoke as
I Have spoke so often against maintaining an extraordinary Number of Land-Forces in Time of Peace, that I should
now choose to be silent, if I had not the first Day of the Session enter'd my Claim to dispute the Continuance of the Four
thousand Augmentation Troops, and if I did not think it my
Duty to oppose every Proposition, which seems to carry the
least appearance of Danger to our Constitution.
'I ask Pardon, especially of the Honourable Gentleman
who moved it, if I take the present Question to be of this
Nature. Nor can I be persuaded, that the frequent Imposition of unnecessary Taxes, or the Repetition of any Grievance, ought to beget an Insensibility, or a siavish Acquiescence
in it. On the contrary, I think it ought to awaken and
double our Attention, lest it should in time plead a Prescriptive Right, and gradually grow into an Establishment.
'If I may be permitted to consider the King's Speech, as the
Composition of his Ministers, which tho' I know by Experience to be a more dangerous, [See p. 160] is yet a more Parliamentary Way, than to consider it as an Edict from the
Throne, I will observe, that it does not ask the Opinion and
Advice of the Commons, how far they will use their great,
essential and undisputed Right of raising Money; but it positively prescribes the exact Provision we are to make, both by
Sea and Land, for the Service of the ensuing Year; and,
whether that be not a new Method of speaking to Parliaments,
is with all Deference submitted to the Wisdom of this House,
which is the best Judge of its own Privileges and Power.
'Surely, Sir, it is very melancholy to hear one Session after
another, that, tho' we are in a State of Tranquility, as the
Language is, yet we can neither be secure at home, nor respected abroad, without continuing above Eighteen thousand
Land Forces in Pay.
'This Way of Reasoning entirely misrepresents our Circumstances and Condition. For it would suggest, that we cannot
enjoy the Blessings of a good Reign, without enduring at the
same time the Hardships of a bad one, which is a Contradiction in itself, and inconsistent with the Notions we, as Englishmen, must ever entertain of our legal Liberties, in Maintenance of which our Predecessors in Parliament though fit
to alter the Lineal Succession of our Royal Family. This
Way of Reasoning farther supposes, that the mutual Confidence betwixt his Majesty and his People is destroyed, that
there is a Distrust on one hand and a Disaffection on the
other, for which there is not the least Ground or Pretence.
For his Majesty, by his Residence amongst us this last Summer, has not only given us the clearest Proof of his preferring
the Welfare and Happiness of these Kingdoms to that of his
own Foreign Dominions; but has for ever secured the Love of
his Subjects here by his most gracious Affability and personal
Condescensions to them. He has for ever secured that Tranquility at home, on which he is pleased with so much Satisfaction to congratulate his Parliament. Nor can this Tranquility be affected by the Clamours in Ireland against a late
Patent, [meaning Mr Wood's Patent for Coining, which was
afterwards recalled] for there is a large Army in that Kingdom sufficient to curb tumultuous Spirits, and to awe Patronizing Malecontents, should any such be found. Nay, if more
Forces are judged necessary, either for the Honour or Safety
of the Government there, that Kingdom is able and willing
to maintain more on its own Establishment; and therefore all
Arguments drawn from thence relating to the present Question must be inconclusive. The House may perhaps think
fit, at a proper Season, to listen so far to the Complaints of
our Fellow-Subjects in another Kingdom, as to call for this
obnoxious Patent, and to examine into the Grounds of it.
For the Misgovernment of Ireland has been frequently under
the Examination of the House of Commons here, and such
Examinations have formerly proved fatal to as great Ministers as England ever bred; which may be Matter of Reflection to their Successors, and to those it may concern;
but can never be any Inducement to an English Parliament
to pay one Soldier more, than is absolutely necessary for
our own Use.
'Now all Rebellions, all Conspiracies, seem to be totally
extinguished, not more by the late seasonable Exertion of
Parliamentary Justice, than by the wise and prudent Conduct of those in the Administration. They have so carefully
reviewed and modelled the Forces this Summer in every
Part of the Nation, that, we are to hope, there are not left
even so many, as three or four Serjeants and Corporals, who
shall have Fool-hardiness enough to undertake again to draw
the whole Army into wild and chimerical Attempts. They
have freed the Church from all Apprehensions of Danger,
by promoting only the most orthodox and learned Part of
the Clergy to the Episcopal Dignity, and other Ecclesiastical
Preferments. They have preserved the State, by advancing
only Men of distinguished Ability and Experience to all great
Offices and Civil Employments. They have, which is above
all, reconciled their own Animosities, and have no other Contentions now, but who shall best serve his Majesty and the
Publick, without any Views of accumulating immense Wealth
to themselves, or of aggrandizing their own private Families. Such an Administration can never need the Assistance
and Protection of above Eighteen thousand disciplined Troops.
Such an Administration should not suffer the Army to run
away with the Reputation of their good and great Works, or
to assume the Glory of raising our Credit, enlarging our Trade,
and establishing our present Prosperity.
'Nor are our Foreign Affairs in a less flourishing Condition, than those at Home, so far as I am capable of judging on
the common Appearance of Things, without being in the Secrets of the Cabinet.
'We can have no Apprehensions from, our nearest Neighbour, France. For that Kingdom is engaged to us by many
strict Treaties, and I have heard the French Bona Fides, of
late Years, as much asserted and extolled in this House, as I
have formerly heard it ridiculed and exploded. Besides, we
have a vigilant Minister at Paris, who by his own Skill and
Penetration in Politicks, as well as by good Advice and
Assistance from hence, is not only promoting the British Interests there, but influencing and directing the French Councils.
'Nor can we have any Pretence to keep up those Forces
on account of Danger from Spain. For, if that Monarchy
should be indiscreet enough to retain the least harsh Remembrance of any pretended ill Usage from Great Britain: If
it should resent our glorious and seasonable Conquest over
their Fleet in the Mediterranean, [See p. 185] for which we
struck a Medal with pompous Inscriptions: If it should insist
on the Restitution of Gibraltar and Port-Mahon, which, in
my humble Opinion, can never be surrender'd without the
highest Infamy, as well as Injury, to England. I say, if any
thing of this kind should remain in the Breast of the Court of
Spain, notwithstanding our Treaties and daily Negotiations
there, it is our Comfort, that we need fear no Invasion from
their Armada; that the Mutability of their Counsels, their
Pretensions in Italy, their Distance from Great Britain, render
it impracticable for them, to annoy or distress us. And if
King Philip's Resignation of that Crown was a good Argument the last Year, for continuing the Four thousand Augmentation Troops, then his Resumption of it now must be a
good one for disbanding them this Year.
'The Emperor's personal Obligations to Great Britain are
such, that it is impossible for him to entertain any ill Intentions against us, either on account of the Oftend-East-India
Company, or of his Majesty's glorious Endeavours to remove
the Religious Grievances in Germany, and to promote the
Protestant Interest there, of which he is the great Guardian.
'The Dutch are our old natural Allies, and always ready
to assist us. Nor is it their Fault, that we have sometimes
disputed amongst our selves concerning the Expence of transporting their auxiliar Forces. They are bound to us, by
antient Ties of Gratitude, for their original Preservation,
and by, what is yet a stronger Cement, their own present
Interest and Safety.
'As to the two Northern Crowns of Sweden and Denmark,
They have in their Turns received our Protection, and tasted of our Bounty. We all remember the famous Æra,
when Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Pounds, as well as
many smaller Supplies since, were raised on that Account.
[See p. 125] Besides, we are to hope our Expeditions into
the Baltick, under the Conduct of a brave Officer [Sir John
Norris] here present, have been as effectual as they have been
expensive, and that our Fleet has not only awed them into
a Reconciliation betwixt themselves, but into an absolute
Submission to Great Britain.
'The Czar is stretching his Conquests into remote Parts
of the World, and if what we hear of a late Treaty be
true, that it is made entirely in favour of Great Britain, without any regard to Foreign Principalities, we can apprehend
nothing from our new Ally, who is otherwise so fully employed. For, however extensive our mediating Care may
be, I presume we are not engaged with him to oppose the
intended Succession of the Crown of Poland, or to settle the
Balance of Empire in Persia.
'If such then is our prosperous Situation at Home and
Abroad, Why should we be denied the promised happy
Consequences of it? Why should we be afraid of reducing
our Land Forces? Why should we not at least strike off
the Four thousand Augmentation Troops, in Compassion to
a Nation loaded, and almost sunk with Debt? For should a
Storm arise after this Calm, should any new Events produce a Rupture in Europe, it will be time enough, if we are
either prompted by our own heroick Disposition, or bound
by any inviolable Treaties, to enter into the Quarrels of
the Continent, I say, it will be time enough, when the
War shall be actually declared, to lend our Assistance to
those, whom we voluntarily espouse, or to perform our Engagements to our respective Allies, if they shall not be found
romantick and impracticable. We have the Opinion of a
most eminent Author in Civil Learning, 'That it is more
grievous to any Nation to bear the least extraordinary Taxes
in Times of Peace, than to endure the greatest Impositions
in Times of War. Because a War may prove advantageous, may terminate in Conquest and glorious Acquisitions. But a Continuance of extraordinary Taxes, without
it, must inevitably end in Poverty and Ruin.'
'Now I can never be so unjust to his Majesty's most
mild and gracious Government, as to ascribe our present
Tranquility to the Continuance of an extraordinary Number
of Troops, any more, than I can believe, it would cease
at the Reduction of Part of them. This would be a dangerous, as well as an absurd Doctrine, with relation to us
at Home. For should it be admitted, that above Eighteen
thousand Land-Forces have not only procured our present
Tranquility, but that they are absolutely neccssary to the
Security of the Kingdom; then it will follow, that the same
Number will always be absolutely necessary; that a military
Power is the most pacifick Form of Government; and that
an Army will be a better Preserver of Peace and Plenty, a
better Guardian of our Civil and Religious Rights, than the
Law of the Land. This Doctrine too, considered with
regard to the Respect and Influence we may have Abroad,
is as absurd and ill grounded: For that Respect and Influence can never proceed from the Number of LandForces, we may think fit to burthen our selves with in Time
of Peace: But it must proceed from the Advantages of
our Natural Situation, from our Naval Strength, from our extended Commerce, from our vast Riches, which have enabled
us to carry on long and expensive Wars; to maintain, when
our Allies failed in their Quota's, three great Armies at
once in three distant Nations; and these Advantages will ever
enable us to hold the Balance of Power in Europe, unless
worn out with unnecessary and insupportable Taxes.
'But, if not so much as the Four thousand Augmentation
Troops are to be parted with, if they are to be continued
till the Pretences of all the Princes in Europe shall be adjusted, till the different Interests of different Nations shall be
reconciled, till the Claim of Bremen and Verden shall be fully settled and acquiesced in, till the long expected Form of
a Congress shall be compleated, I freely own, I am not
without my Apprehensions, that our immense National Debt,
instead of being annually reduced, will be daily increased;
that our present Grievances, for Grievances we have in the
midst of all our Tranquility, instead of being speedily removed, will become perpetual, and we may dream of Blessings
we shall never enjoy.
'On the whole, I am against continuing the Number of
Forces proposed, and for disbanding at least the Four thousand Augmentation Troops.'
Mr Shippen having done Speaking, Mr. Yonge rose up
and said, ' That he was oblig'd to the Gentlemen that spoke
on the other Side, for furnishing him with Reasons for keeping up the present Number of Troops: That the prosperous
Situation of Affairs, the Peace with all Powers Abroad, and
the perfect Tranquility at Home, being in a great Measure,
owing to the good Fosture we were in both by Sea and
Land, which made us respected Abroad, and secure at Home,
it were Imprudence not to continue those Forces on the
same Foot. That the Parliament had indeed oblig'd King
William, of glorious Memory, to reduce his Army to seven
thousand Men. But what was the Consequence of it? Why,
truely, the French King was thereby encourag'd to acknowledge and proclaim the Pretender, as King of England, and
to seize on the Monarchy of Spain, which was the Occasion
of a long, bloody, and expensive War. That as to the Reduction of the Army after the Peace of Utrecht, it was well
known, that it was principally owing to those who were
for having an Army of another Stamp. That this Reduction would have prov'd fatal to the Protestant Succession,
had some People had Time to ripen their Designs. That
at least it encourag'd a great Rebellion soon after his Majesty's happy, and almost miraculous, Accession to the Crown:
And as the Spirit and Discontents which rais'd that Rebellion, were not yet wholly extinguish'd and subdu'd, they
would soon see Insurrections at Home, and the Peace of
Europe disturb'd Abroad, if they parted with the Army.'
After this the Question being put upon Mr Pelham's Motion, it was carry'd in the Affirmative, by 206 Voices against
69; and resolv'd, I. That the Number of effective Men
to be provided for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Jersey and Guernsey, for the Year 1725, be,
including 1815 Invalids, 18,264 Men; Commission and
Non-Commission Officers included. II. That the Sum of
654,488 l. 17 s. 8 d. be granted for the Charge of the said
18,264 effective Men, for the Year 1725.
A Petition of the Earl of Oxford and Lord Morpeth, complaining of the Deficiencies of the Accounts of the Masters in Chancery.
January 23. A Petition of Edward Earl of Oxford, and
of Henry Lord Morpeth, two of the Guardians of the
Person and Estates of Elizabeth Duchess Dowager of
Montagu, a Lunatick, was presented to the House, and
read, setting forth, That very great Sums of Money of
the said Lunatick's Estate have, pursuant to Orders of the
Court of Chancery, been brought before Mr Hiccocks, late
one of the Masters of the said Court, and Mr Thomas Bennet his Successor, now one of the Masters of the said Court,
in order to be placed out at Interest for the Benefit of the
said Lunatick, upon Securities to be approved by the said
Masters respectively: That upon examining into the Accounts of the Masters in Chancery, relating to the Suitors
Monies brought before them, considerable Deficiencies appear; and that the said Mr Thomas Bennet has not deposited, pursuant to Orders of the said Court, several Mortgages
for large Sums of Money, belonging to the Estates of the
said Lunatick; neither hath he deposited nor secured, pursuant to Orders of the said Court, 9000 l. and upwards, of
his Balance of Cash; and praying such Relief as the House
shall think fit.
A Motion relating to the Masters in Chancery. ; The Debate thereon.
This Petition coming unexpectedly into the House, whilst
the Accounts of the Masters in Chancery were put in a
Course of Examination before the Lords Commissioners of
the Great Seal, the said Petition was ordered to lie upon the
Table: But a Motion being made, That the proper Officer,
or Officers, of the Court of Chancery, do lay before this
House Copies of the Orders made by the Court, relating to
the Accounts, and the Effects belonging to the Suitors, in
the Hands of the Masters of the Court of Chancery, dated
the 17th and 21st of December last, with Copies of the
Reports therein mentioned; and also the Accounts of the
said Masters relating thereto, with their several Explanations
of the said Accounts; a great Debate arose thereupon, in
which some severe Animadversions were made on the Conduct of the Earl of Macciesfield, late Lord Chancellor.
Then Mr Henry Pelham mov'd, ' That the Debate be adjourn'd to the 9th of February, which was carried by a great
February 9. Mr Methuen acquainted the House, that he had
a Message from his Majesty to the House, sign'd by his Majesty; and that he was commanded by his Majesty to lay before the House Copies of several Reports and other Papers
relating to the Masters in Chancery; and he delivered his
Majesty's Message to Mr Speaker, and the said Copies and
other Reports, at the Table. His Majesty's Message was read
by Mr Speaker, as follows, viz.
King's Message relating to the Suitors in Chancery, and the Accounts of the Masters.
His Majesty having Reason to apprehend, that the
Suitors of the Court of Chancery were in Danger
of losing a considerable Sum of Money from the Insufficiency of some of the Masters, thought himself obliged, in Justice and Compassion to the said Suitors,
to take the most speedy and proper Method the Law
would allow, for inquiring into the State of the Masters
Accounts, and securing their Effects for the Benefit of the
Suitors: And his Majesty having had several Reports laid
before him in pursuance of the Directions he had given,
has ordered the said Reports to be communicated to this
House, that this House may have as full and as perfect a
View of this important Affair, as the Shortness of the
Time, and the Circumstances and Nature of the Proceedings would admit of."
Then the said Reports, together with some of the Papers
referr'd to therein, were read, and order'd to be taken into
farther Consideration on the 12th Instant.
The House consider the King's Message and the Papers referr'd to therein. ; After the Consideration whereof, Sir G. Oxenden moves for impeaching Thomas Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. ; Debate thereon.
Feb. 12. The House took into Consideration the several
Reports and Papers referred to in his Majesty's Message of
the 9th Instant. After the reading Part of the said Papers,
Sir George Oxenden, Bart. rose up, and said, 'That it
manifestly appear'd by these Reports, which after the strictest Inquiry, and upon the maturest Deliberation, had been
drawn up by Persons of the greatest Weight and Authority,
for their Abilities, Experience, High Stations, and Integrity; That enormous Abuses had crept into the High Court of
Chancery, chiefly occasion'd by the Magistrate, who was at
the Head of that Court, and whose Duty consequently it
was, to prevent the same. That the Crimes and Misdemeanors of the late Lord Chancellor were many, and of
various Natures, but might be reduc'd to these three Heads.
I. That he had taken into his own Hands the Estates and
Effects of many Widows, Orphans, and Lunaticks, and either had dispos'd of Part of them arbitrarily to his own Profit, or conniv'd at the Officers under him making Advantage of the same. II. That he had raised to an exorbitant
Price the Offices and Places of the Masters of Chancery,
and in order to enable them to pay to him those high Prices
and Gratuities for their Admission, had trusted in their Hands
large Sums of Money belonging to Suitors in Chancery.
III. That in several Cases he had made divers irregular Orders. So that in his Opinion, that first Magistrate in the
Kingdom was fallen from the Height of the Dignities and
Honours, to which he had been rais'd by the King's royal
Bounty and Favour, to the Depth of Infamy and Disgrace.
And therefore he mov'd, That Thomas Earl of Macclesfield
be impeached of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.'
The House resolve to impeach the Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanours, and a Committee appointed to draw up Articles accordingly. ; A Bill order'd to indemnify Masters of Chancery, on Discovery of what Sums they paid for their Places,
This Motion was seconded by Mr Strickland, and Mr Doddington, who said, ' The Misdeamenors of the late Lord Chancellor were of the greatest and most dangerous Consequence,
since most of the Estates in England, once in thirty Years,
pass through the Court of Chancery.' Mr William Pulteney,
who stood up next, said, ' That it was far from his Thoughts
to endeavour to abate the just Resentment which the Gentlemen who spoke last, shew'd against the great Abuses that had
been committed in the Court of Chancery: But that in his
Opinion, they went a little too fast in so weighty and important an Affair, by which Means they might lose the very
End they aim'd at, viz. the effectual punishing the Person by
whose Neglect, at least, those Abuses had been committed;
That whatever Deference they ought to pay on this Occasion, to the Capacity, Experience, Integrity, and Authority
of the Persons who had drawn up the Reports that had been
laid before them, yet it little became the Dignity, and was
even derogatory to the Prerogative of that House, which is
the grand Inquest of the Nation, to found an Impeachment
upon those Reports, without a previous Inquiry, and Examination into the Proofs that were to support it; and therefore mov'd, that this Affair might be referred to the Consideration of a select Committee.' He was back'd by Sir
William Wyndham, who urg'd, 'That by proceeding by
way of Impeachment upon Reports laid before them from
above, the Commons would make a dangerous Precedent,
and seem to give up the most valuable of their Privileges,
viz. the Inquest after State Criminals.' Sir Wilfred Lawson,
and Sir Thomas Pengelly supported Mr Pulteney's Motion.
But Mr Yonge (fn. 1) , and Sir Clement Wearg (fn. 2) answer'd those
Objections, whereupon the previous Question was put, Whether the Question be now put upon Sir George Oxenden's
Motion? Which after some Debate was carry'd in the Affirmative, by a Majority of 273 Voices against 164. Then
the main Question being put, it was resolv'd by the same
Majority, That Thomas Earl of Macclesfield be impeach'd
of High Crimes and Misdemeanors; and it was order'd, that
Sir George Oxenden do go up to the Lords, and at their Bar,
in the Name of the House of Commons, and of all the
Commons of Great Britain, impeach Thomas Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes and Misdemeanors; and acquaint
them, that this House would, in due Time, exhibit particular Articles against him, and make good the same. Then
a Committee was appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield; to which Committee the several Reports referr'd to in his Majesty's Message, were referr'd. After this, upon a Motion made by
Mr West, and seconded by Mr Edward Thompson, a Bill
was order'd to be brought in, To indemnify the Masters of
Chancery from the Penalties of the Act of the 5th and 6th
Years of King Edward VI, against buying and selling of Offices, upon their discovering what Consideration, Price, or
Gratuity they paid, or agreed to pay, for the Purchase of,
or for their Admission to, their Offices.
Which is read twice, and order'd to be engross'd,
February 13. Sir George Oxenden reported, That he had
been at the Bar of the House of Lords, and in the Name
of this House, and of all the Commons of Great Britain, had
impeached Thomas Earl of Macclesfield of High Crimes
and Misdemeanors, and acquainted the Lords, That the
Commons would, in due Time, exhibit particular Articles
against him, and make good the same. After this, Mr West
presented to the House, a Bill, For indemnifying the Masters
in Chancery from the Penalties of the Act of the 5th and
6th Years of King Edward the VI, against buying and selling
of Offices, upon their discovering what Consideration, Price,
or Gratuity they paid, or agreed to pay, for the Purchase of,
or for their Admission to, their respective Offices. Which Bill
was immediately read the first, and second Time, and without going through a Committee, order'd to be engrossed.
And passes the House.
Feb. 15. The said engrossed Bill was read the third Time,
pass'd and sent up to the Lords.
Feb. 24. Sir George Oxenden acquainted the House, that
he was directed by the Committee appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment against the Earl of Macclesfield, to
move the House, That such Persons as the Committee should
find it necessary to examine, be examined in the most solemn
Manner; which was order'd accordingly.
A Bill relating to the Building 50 new Churches being read a second Time, Mr Onslow moves for a Clause to disable any Body Politick or Corporate from buying any Advowsons of Livings. ; Debate thereon.
March 17. A Bill, For better effecting the pious Intention of
building fifty New Churches, &c. pursuant to a Message from
the King, Feb. 10. recommending such a Bill to the Consideration of the House, was read a second Time, and committed
to a Committee of the whole House, who were order'd to
receive a Clause, to confirm Ministers and Curates in the
Enjoyment of such poor Livings as are, or shall hereafter be,
augmented by the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty, for
the Augmentation of the Maintenance of the poor Clergy;
Hereupon a Motion was made by Mr Arthur Onslow, and the
Question put, ' That the said Committee have Power to
receive another Clause or Clauses, to disable or render incapable any Bodies Politick or Corporate, Brotherhoods or
Societies, to purchase or take any Right of Advowson, Patronage, Presentation, Nomination, Collation, or Donation of,
in, or to any Benefice with Cure of Souls; or of, in, or to
any Donative, or any other Ecclesrastical Preferment whatsoever.' He was seconded by Serjeant Miller, and back'd
by Mr Sandys, and some other Members, but being oppos'd
by Mr Yonge, Mr Oglethorpe, Mr Hungerford, and Mr
R. Walpole, the previous Question being put, that the
Question be now put, it was carried in the Negative, by
144 Voices against 74. The Design of this Motion was to
restrain the two Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, from
purchasing new Advowsons and Presentations of Benefices.
Sir George Oxenden reports the Articles from the Committee of Impeachment against the Earl of Macclesfield. ; Debate thereon. ; The said Articles order'd to be engross'd,
March 18. Sir George Oxenden, from the Committee
appointed to draw up Articles of Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, acquainted the House, that they
had drawn up several Articles accordingly, which they had
directed him to report to the House; and he farther acquainted the House, that they had other Matters depending
before them, relating to their Inquiry: and he read the Report in his Place, and afterwards deliver'd the Articles in
at the Table, where they were read by the Clerk. These
Articles were one and twenty in Number, and the two first
relating to Offences said to be committed before the Act of
Indemnity passed in the Year 1721, Mr Conduit, Member
for Whitchurch, mov'd, that the said Articles be recommitted.
Hereupon Mr Walter Plomer, one of the Committee that
had drawn up the Articles, said, ' That the Crimes, for
which the Earl of Macclesfield was impeached, being complicated, and having a Relation to, and Dependence upon,
one another, they could not mention one without the other.'
He was answer'd by Sir Philip Yorke (fn. 3) , who spoke for the
Motion for recommitting the Articles. To this, Sir Thomas
Pengelly (fn. 4) , reply'd, ' That in the Case before them, they
ought to distinguish between an Act of Oblivion, and an Act
of Indemnity: That the first is begun in either House of
Parliament, and being the Act of the three Estates, or of the
whole Legislature, clears and purges Offenders of all Crimes
therein specified: But that it is otherwise with an Act of Indemnity, which flows from the meer Grace and Clemency
of the Sovereign, is sent down to the Parliament, who are
at Liberty either to accept or refuse it, but not to alter any
Thing; and regards only Crimes committed against the
King, his Predecessors, and Successors; which was not the
Case of the Earl of Macclesfield, who stood impeach'd for
Crimes and Misdemeanors committed in a high Office and
Trust, against his Fellow-Subjects.' This was answer'd by
Mr Yonge, to whom Mr West reply'd; and to the latter Sir
Gilbert Heathcote. But Sir Clement Wearg having strenuously supported Sir Thomas Pengelly's Argument, the opposite Side drop'd the Motion without dividing. Then the
Report being read, Paragraph by Paragraph, the several
Articles were agreed to by the House, and order'd to be
engrossed. It was also order'd, that a Clause be prepared,
saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit any farther Articles against the said Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, and that he
might be put to answer the said Crimes and Misdemeanors.
March 19. Sir George Oxenden presented to the House a
Clause saving Liberty to the Commons to exhibit farther Articles against the Earl of Macclesfield, which was agreed
to, and order'd to be engross'd with the Articles of Impeachment against the said Earl.
And carried up to the Lords by Sir George Oxenden.
March 20. The engrossed Articles of Impeachment of
High Crimes and Misdemeanors against Thomas Earl of
Macclesfield were read, and order'd to be carried to the
Lords by Sir George Oxenden; who being return'd reported, that he had been at the Bar of the House of Lords,
and left with the Lords the said Articles of Impeachment.
April 8. Mr R. Walpole acquainted the House, That he
had a Message from his Majesty to this House, sign'd by his
Majesty, and he delivere'd the same to Mr Speaker, who
read the same to the House, as follows, viz.
King's Message relating to the Civil List Debts.
"The Necessities of his Majesty's Government having
render'd it impracticable for his Majesty to make
any considerable Retrenchments in the Expences of his
Civil List; and having engag'd his Majesty in some extraordinary Expences, which, he is persuaded, his loyal
Commons will believe have been employ'd, not only for
the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, but for the Interest and Prosperity of his People; His Majesty hopes,
from the known Zeal and Affection of this Parliament to
His Person and Government, that he may be enabled to
make use of the Funds, lately settled for the Payment of
the Civil List Annuities, and for re-placing the same to
his Majesty, in the most advantageous Manner, and upon
the Credit thereof to raise a Sum of Money sufficient to
redeem those Annuities, and to discharge the present
Debts contracted in his Civil Government."
Which is referr'd to a Committee of the whole House.
Hereupon it was resolved to take his Majesty's most gracious Message into Consideration, the next Day, in a Committee of the whole House; and, in the mean Time,
Mr Scrope, by his Majesty's Command, presented to the
House, An Account of the Debts upon the Civil List, at
Michaelmas 1724, and also, An Account of the Payments
into the Exchequer upon the Deductions of Six-Pence in the
Pound, [See p. 259.] for the Year ending at Lady-day, 1725.
And the said Accounts being read, were severally ordered to
be referred to the Consideration of the said Committee.
Mr Pulteney's Motion for an Address for an Account of Pensions, &c. paid from the 25th of March, 1721, to the 25th of March, 1725. ; Which is agreed to.
After the Reading of these Papers, Mr Pulteney took Notice, ' That it was not long since [viz. July, 1721.] a Fund
was given to discharge the Debts of the Civil List; and therefore it was Matter of Surprize, that so many new ones had
been contracted in so short a Time; that if Things were
carried on at this Rate, there would be no End of it; that
it was incumbent upon them to inquire into the Causes of
this growing Evil; and therefore mov'd, That an Address
be presented to his Majesty, that he would graciously be
pleased to give Directions, that the proper Officer or Officers
of the Exchequer, Excise, Customs, and Post-Office, do lay
before the House an Account of all Monies which have been
issued and paid out of the said Offices to any Person or Persons on Account, for the Privy-Purse, Secret-Service, Pensions, Bounties; or any Sum or Sums of Money to any
Person or Persons whatsoever without Account, from March
25th, 1721, to March 25th, 1725.' And being back'd by
several Members, the said Address was voted accordingly.
The Earl of Macclesfield's Answer to the Articles of Impeachment referr'd to the Committee.
The same Day the Earl of Macclesfield having given into
the House of Lords his Answer to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him by the Commons; their Lordships sent, the next Day, a Copy to the House of Commons,
who referred the Consideration thereof to the Committee
appointed to draw up the said Articles of Impeachment.
Debate on the King's Message relating to the Civil List Debts. ; Motion for raising a Million for redeeming the Annuities of 25,000 l. per Annum, charg'd on the Civil List; and for paying the King's Debts.
April. 9. A Motion being made for the Speaker to leave
the Chair, that the House might go into a Grand Committee,
to consider of his Majesty's most Gracious Message about the
Debts of the Civil List, Mr Pulteney represented, 'That
the House having order'd an Address to be presented to his
Majesty, for several Papers relating to the Civil List and
other Expences, they ought, in his Opinion, to put off the
Consideration of his Majesty's Message, till those Papers were
laid before the House; it being natural to inquire into the
Causes of a Disease, before one applies Remedies to it.' Mr
Yonge, Mr H. Pelham (fn. 5) , and Mr R. Walpole, having oppos'd
it, Mr Pulteney said, 'He wonder'd how so great a Debt
[viz. 508,367 l. 19 s. 4 d.] could be contracted in three Years
Time, but was not surprized some Persons were so eager to
have those Deficiencies made good, since they and their Friends
had so great a Share in it. And desired to know whether
this was all that was due, or whether they were to expect
another Reckoning?' To this no direct Answer was given;
but in general, it was said, 'That there was, indeed, a
heavy Debt on the Civil List, and a great many Pensions;
but that most of these had been granted in King William's
and Queen Anne's Reigns, some by King Charles the Second, and very few by his present Majesty. That since the
Civil List was first settled for his Majesty, an Expence of
about 90,000 l. per Annum had happen'd, which could not
then be foreseen, and therefore was left unprovided for:
That upon Examination of the Account given in of the Civil
List Debts, it would appear, that most of those Expences
were either for the necessary Support of the Dignity of the
Crown and Government, or for the Publick Good: That
there was, indeed, a Pension of 5000 l. of another Nature,
viz. upon Account of the Cofferer's Place, but which could
not well be avoided; for both the Lord Godolphin, who
was in that Office, and his Father, had so well deserv'd of
the Government, that they could not handsomely remove
him without a Gratuity; and therefore they gave his Lordship a Pension of 5000 l. to make Room for the worthy Gentleman, [meaning Mr W. Pulteney] who now enjoys (fn. 6) that Post.' Then the Commons, in a Grand Committee, took his Majesty's Message into Consideration, and a
Motion was made, 'That for the Redeeming the Annuities
of 25,000 l. per Annum, charged on the Civil List Revenues,
by an Act of Parliament of the Seventh Year of his Majesty,
and for discharging the Debts and Arrears due from his Majesty to his Servants, Tradesmen, and others, his Majesty
be enabled to raise any Sum, not exceeding one Million, by
Exchequer-Bills, Loans, or otherwise, on the Credit of the
Deductions of Six-pence per Pound, directed by the said
Act of the Seventh Year of his Majesty's Reign, and of the
said Civil List Revenues, at an Interest or Rate not exceeding
3 l. per Cent. per Annum, till Repayment of the Principal.'
This Motion occasion'd a farther Debate; but the Question
being put, it was resolv'd in the Affirmative, by 239 Votes
against 119. This Resolution being the next Day reported,
was agreed to by the House, and a Bill was ordered to be
brought in thereupon.
Address for an Account of the Produce of the Civil List from 1699, to 1715.
April 10. It was resolv'd to address his Majesty, for an
Account of the gross and clear Produce of the Branches of
the Revenue of the Civil List Funds, from Christmas 1699,
to Lady-day 1715. Which Address was readily complied
Lord Finch offers to the House a Petition of Henry late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke.
April 20. The Lord Finch (fn. 7) , Knight of the Shire for Rutland, having offered a Petition of Henry St. John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, to be presented to the House: Mr R.
Walpole acquainted the House, that he had received his Majesty's Commands to acquaint the House, That the Petitioner
had, seven Years since, made his humble Application and
Submission to his Majesty, with Assurances of Duty, Allegiance, and Fidelity, which his Majesty so far accepted, as
to give him Encouragement to hope for some future Marks of
his Majesty's Grace and Goodness; and that his Majesty is
satisfied that the Petitioner's Behaviour has been such, as convinces his Majesty that he is an Object of his Majesty's Mercy; and his Majesty consents that this Petition be presented
to the House.
Then the said Petition was brought up and read, setting
forth, That the Petitioner is truly concerned for his Offence,
in not having surrendred himself, pursuant to the Directions
of an Act of the first Year of his Majesty's Reign, whereby
the Petitioner was attainted of High Treason, and forseited all his Real and Personal Estate, [See p. 39.] and by
Reason thereof hath suffered very great Losses: That upon
the Petitioner's Marriage in 1700, Sir Walter St. John,
Bart. and the Lord Viscount St. John, the Petitioner's Grandfather and Father, together with the Petitioner, made a Settlement of their Family-Estates in the Counties of Wilts,
Surrey, and Middlesex, all which Premisses, except a very
small Part thereof, are now in the Possession of the Petitioner's
Father, and the Petitioner cannot become intitled thereto for
his Life, until after his Father's Decease: That the Petitioner hath, in most humble and dutiful Manner, made his
Submission to his Majesty, and given his Majesty the strongest
Assurances of his inviolable Fidelity, and of his Zeal for his Majesty's Service, and for the Support of the present happy Establishment, which his Majesty hath been most graciously pleased to accept; and praying, that Leave may be given to bring
in a Bill for enabling the Petitioner, and the Heirs Male of
his Body, notwithstanding his said Attainder, to take and
enjoy the said settled Estate, according to the Limitations of
the said Settlement, or other Assurances therein mentioned;
and for enabling the Petitioner to hold and enjoy any Personal
Estate or Effects whereof he now is, or hereafter shall be
possessed, and to invest the same in the Purchase of any Real
or Personal Estate within this Kingdom.
And moves for a Bill to be brought in according to the Prayer of the said Petition. ; Debate thereon. ; A Bill order'd to be brought in accordingly.
After the Reading of this Petition, the Lord Finch mov'd,
that a Bill be brought in, according to the Prayer of the late
Viscount Bolingbroke's Petition. This Motion was seconded
by Mr R. Walpole, who, having repeated Part of what he
had before laid before the House, by the King's Command,
in the Petitioner's Behalf, added, 'That he was fully satisfied, that he had sufficiently attoned for his past Offences,
and therefore deserv'd the Favour of that House so far, as to
enable him to enjoy the Family Inheritance that was settled
upon him; which, according to the Opinion of the best
Lawyers, he could not do by Virtue of his Majesty's most
Gracious Pardon, without an Act of Parliament.' This was
confirm'd by Sir Philip Yorke and Sir Clement Wearg. Then
Mr Methuen (fn. 8) stood up, and strenuously opposed the Lord
Finch's Motion; he said, 'That as he had the Honour to be
one of the King's immediate Servants, it might, perhaps, by
some be thought unbecoming his Station, to appear against
a Petition, to the presenting of which his Majesty, in his
Royal Clemency and Goodness, had graciously been pleased
to give his Consent: But that being at Liberty to follow the
Dictates of his Conscience in this Matter, he would freely
declare his Opinion, that the Publick Crimes for which this
Petitioner stood attainted, were so heinous, so slagrant, and
of so deep a Dye; as not to admit of any Expiation or Attonement; and whatever he might have done to deserve his
Majesty's Private Grace and Pardon, yet he thought him altogether unworthy of any National Favour.' Hereupon Mr
Methuen instanc'd the late Lord Bolingbroke's scandalous
and villainous Conduct, while he had a Share in the Administration of Affairs in the last Reign. How he was the principal Adviser of, and Actor in, the wicked Measures that
were then pursued; his clandestine Negociation of Peace
without the Privity of the Queen's Allies, contrary to the
express Tenor of the Grand Alliance; his insolent Behaviour
towards all the Confederates in general, and the Dutch in
particular; his sacrificing the Interest of the whole Confederacy, and the Honour of his own Country, particularly in
the base abandoning of the poor and brave Catalans: A
Transaction with which he had an Opportunity to be intimately acquainted, as having had the Honour, at that Juncture, to serve the Nation as the Queen's Minister in Portugal;
and to sum up all his Crimes in one, his traiterous Design
of defeating the Protestant Succession, the Foundation of
both our present and future Happiness; and of advancing a
Popish Pretender to the Throne, which would have involv'd
his Native Country in endless Misery. Mr Arthur Onslow,
Lord William Paulet (fn. 9) , Sir Thomas Pengelly, and Mr Gybbon (fn. 10) supported Mr Methuen; Serjeant Miller hereupon
said, 'That he was against the Motion for three Reasons,
I. Because he thought it against the Interest of the King.
II. Against the Interest of his Country. III. Against the
Interest of the present Ministry. That he loved the King
better than he loved himself; and hated his Enemies more
than he did. That he loved his Country as he loved himself; and as he thought its Interest inseparable from the
King's, so he would not have any publick Favour shewn to
one, who had acted in so notorious a Manner against both.
And as for the present Ministers, he was so well satisfied
with their just, prudent, and successful Management, that
he would not see them expos'd to the Cabals and Intrigues
of their inveterate, though seemingly reconciled Enemies.'
On the other Hand Sir Thomas Hanmer and Dr Friend
spoke for the Motion, and took that Occasion to extol his
Majesty's Royal Clemency; and then the Question being put,
on the Lord Finch's Motion, it was carried in the Affirmative by 231 Votes against 113, and his Lordship and Mr
R. Walpole were ordered to bring in a Bill according to the
Prayer of the late Lord Bolingbroke's Petition.
Sir George Oxenden reports the Committee's Replication to the Earl of Macclesfield's Answer to the Articles of Impeachment; Which is order'd to be engross'd,
April 23. Sir George Oxenden reported from the Committee, to whom it was referred to consider of the Answer
of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield to the Articles of Impeachment exhibited against him, 'That the said Earl had industriously avoided giving a direct Answer to several Matters
positively alledg'd against him, and had endeavour'd to disguise the Crimes laid to his Charge; and that many Parts
of the said Earl's Answer are contradictory and inconsistent;
and the Committee did humbly submit to the Judgment of
the House their Opinion, that for avoiding any Imputation
of Delay in the Commons, in a Case of so great Moment,
a Replication be forthwith sent up to the Lords, maintaining
the Charge of the Commons; and that the Committee had
prepared a Replication accordingly, which he read in his
Place; and the said Replication being read a second Time, it
was resolved to be the Replication of the Commons to the
Answer of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield; and order'd that the
said Replication be engrossed.
And sent to the Lords.
April 24. The Commons read the engrossed Replication
to the Answer of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, which was
order'd to be sent to the Lords.
The Bill in Favour of Lord Bolingbroke, read the first Time,
April 27. Lord Finch presented to the House a Bill, For
enabling Henry St John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, to take
and enjoy several Manors, Lands, &c. which was receiv'd,
read the first, and order'd to be read a second Time.
And a second Time, and committed.
April 30. The late Lord Bolingbroke's Bill was read a
second Time and committed to a Committee of the whole
House, who were ordered to receive a Clause or Clauses,
'For preserving the Inheritance of all the Family Estate in
the said Bill mentioned, to the Issue Male of the Lord Viscount St John, on Failure of Issue Male of the said Henry
St John, late Viscount Bolingbroke, with Proviso to the said
late Viscount Bolingbroke to charge the said Estate with a
Sum of Money, and to make Leases in like Manner, as he
was enabled to do by the Marriage Settlement in the said
Bill mentioned, and to make a Jointure, and Provision for
Lord W. Paulet moves for a Clause to disable Henry late Lord Boling-broke from Sitting in Parliament, or holding any Place. ; Debate thereon.
May 3. The Order being read for the House to resolve
itself into a Grand Committee upon the late Lord Viscount
Bolingbroke's Bill, the Lord William Paulet mov'd, That
it be an Instruction to the said Committee, That they have
Power to receive a Clause to disable the said Henry St John,
late Viscount Bolingbroke, to be a Member of either House
of Parliament, or to have or enjoy any Office or Place of
Profit or Trust under his Majesty. This Motion was back'd
by several Members, but was opposed by Mr Robert Walpole,
and the Question being put thereupon, it was carry'd in the
Negative by 154 Voices against 84. After this the Commons in a Committee of the whole House, went through the
said Bill, and made several Amendments thereto, which being the next Day reported by the Lord Finch, were, with
an Amendment to one of them, agreed to, and the Bill so
amended, order'd to be engross'd.
Lord Bolingbroke's Bill pass'd and sent up to the Lords.
May 5. The engross'd Bill, For enabling Henry St. John,
late Viscount Bolingbroke, and the Heirs Male of his Body,
notwithstanding his Attainder, to take and enjoy several Manors, Lands, and Hereditaments, &c. was read the third Time,
pass'd, and sent up to the Lords.
Names of the Managers at the Earl of Macclesfield's Trial.
May 6. The Commons order'd, That the Committee appointed to manage the Evidence against Thomas Earl of
Macclesfield, be at Liberty to proceed in such Manner as they
shall think most important for the speediest expediting of the
said Trial. Then upon a Message from the Lords, importing, That their Lordships were ready to proceed on the
Trial of Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, the Names of the
Managers were called over by the Clerk, viz. Sir George
Oxenden, Bart. (fn. 11) Sir Clement Wearg, Sir Thomas Pengelly,
Sir William Strickland, Bart. (fn. 12) Mr Doddington, Lord Morpeth, Mr Arthur Onslow, Mr Palmer, Mr Walter Plomer,
Sir John Rushout, Bart. Mr Edward Thompson (fn. 13) , Mr Philips
Gybbon, Mr Hedges, Mr Sandys, Mr West (fn. 14) , Mr Snell, Mr
Lutwyche, Hon. Mr Thomas Gower, and Mr. Cary (fn. 15) . Accordingly the said Managers went up to the Bar of the House
of Lords, to proceed on the Trial, which held till the 26th
of this Month, and being printed by Authority, may be found
at large in the 6th Volume of the STATE TRIALS.
The Lords send a Message to the House, that they were ready to give Judgment against the Earl of Macclesfield. ; Debate thereon. ; The Thanks of the House order'd to be given to the Managers, by Mr Speaker.
May 27. The Lords sent a Message to the Commons, acquainting them, that their Lordships were ready to give
Judgment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, if the Commons, with their Speaker, would come and demand the
same. Hereupon a Motion was made, and the Question proposed, That this House will demand Judgment of the Lords
against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield; which occasioned a
warm Debate, that lasted till Five in the Afternoon, when
the previous Question being put, That the Question be now
put, it was carried in the Affirmative, by a Majority of
136 Voices against 65; and then the main Question being
put, it was resolv'd, That this House will demand Judgment
against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield. This done, the Commons resolv'd, Nem. Con. That the Thanks of this House be
given to the Members, who were appointed the Managers
of the Impeachment against Thomas Earl of Macclesfield,
for their faithful Management in their Discharge of the Trust
reposed in them. Hereupon Mr Speaker gave them, they
standing up severally in their Places, the Thanks of the
House, as follows:
The Speaker's Speech on that Occasion.
IT is with the greatest Chearfulness, that I obey the Commands of the House on this Occasion; and yet I was never, on any Occasion, more scnsible of the Difficulties of performing them as I ought; but I have this Satisfaction in this
Motion's being made when I least expected it, that my not
being prepared may be some Excuse for those Defects, which
I should not have been able to have supply'd, had I had never
so long a Time for Consideration.
You have maintained the Charge of the Commons, with
that Force of Argument, Beauty of Expression, and Strength
of Reason, as would have gained you the bighest Applause in
the most flourishing of the Grecian Commonwealths; and I
— Nec dignius unquam
Majestas meminit sese Romana locutam.
But I shall not enlarge farther on this Part of your Praise,
being sensible that I am not able to express myself in a Manner suitable to the Dignity of the Subject; your own Tongues
are only equal to such an Undertaking; and were I able to do
it, your Modesty would not permit it: I shall therefore proceed in obeying the Commands of the House, in such a Manner,
as you yourselves may hear it, not only without Offence, but
I hope with Satisfaction; by endeavouring to set in their
proper Lights the great and lasting Benefits your Country will
receive by your faithful Discharge of your Duty.
You have stopp'd the Cries of Orphans, and dried up the
Tears of the Widow; even those who must ever be insensible
of the Benefits they receive, Ideots and Lunaticks, and such
only can be insensible of them, will be Partakers of the Fruits
of your Labours.
But you are more particularly intitled to the Thanks of this
House, by having made the Prosecutions of the Commons against great Offenders, practicable; The Power of Impeachment, that Sword of Vengeance, which the Constitution has
put into the Hand of the Commons, and which, when drawn
by Party-Rage, when directed by the Malice of Faction, or
wielded by unskilful Hands, has 100 often wounded that Constitution it was intended to preserve, has now, by your able
Management, turn'd its Edge to its proper Object, a Great
Offender; and if the Wound it has given should not be so
deep, as many expect; yet you may be very sure, it never can
be imputed to the Want of Strength in your Arm; And I hope
and trust, from your prudent Conduct through the whole Progress of the Trial, that this great Privilege of the Commons
will ever remain a Terror to evil Doers; and that it may be
a Praise to them that do well, the House has unanimously
come to this Resolution,
Resolv'd, Nemine Contradicente, 'That the Thanks of this
House be given to the Members, who were appointed the
Managers of the Impeachment against Thomas Earl of
Macclesfield, for their faithful Management in their Discharge of the Trust reposed in them.'
Which is ordered to be printed.
The Commons unanimously resolv'd, That Mr Speaker be
desired to print the above Speech, and sent Sir William Gage
with a Message to the Lords, to acquaint them, That the
Commons, with their Speaker, intended immediately to
come to the House of Lords, to demand Judgment against
Thomas Earl of Macclesfield.
The Commons demand Judgment against the Earl of Macclesfield, who is fin'd 30,000 l.
Though it is not properly within the Compass of our Design, to take Notice of any Proceedings of the Commons
at the Bar of the House of Lords, yet, as the Judgment of
their Lordships against the Earl of Macclesfield gave Occasion to an Address from the House of Commons to the King,
it will be necessary here to add, That the Commons with
their Speaker went up to the House of Peers; where Mr
Speaker having demanded Judgment against Thomas Earl of
Macclesfield, for the High Crimes and Misdemeanors of
which he was impeached by the Commons, the Lords, by
the Mouth of Sir Peter King (fn. 16) , Lord Chief Justice of the
Court of Common-Pleas, their Speaker, pro Tempore, gave
the following Judgment, viz. 'That Thomas Earl of Macclesfield be fined in the Sum of Thirty Thousand Pounds
unto our Sovereign Lord the King; and that he be imprisoned in the Tower of London, and there kept in safe
Custody, until he shall pay the said Fine.'
The House address the King that the Earl of Macclesfield's Fine may be applied towards making good the Deficiencies of the Masters in Chancery. ; Which his Majesty consents to.
May 31. It was resolved, Nem. Con. That an humble
Address be presented to his Majesty, 'That he would be graciously pleased to order, That the Fine imposed by the
House of Lords, on Thomas Earl of Macclesfield, or any
Part thereof, as the same shall be paid into the Exchequer,
be issued and paid into the Court of Chancery, to be applied
towards making good any of the Losses of the Suitors occasioned by the Deficiencies of the Masters of the said Court,
as that Court shall think fit to direct.' And it was order'd,
that the said Address be presented to his Majesty by such
Members of the House as are of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council. About half an Hour after, Mr Robert
Walpole reported to the House, That the said Address had
been presented to his Majesty; and that his Majesty had
commanded him to acquaint the House, That he would give
the necessary Orders according to the Desire of the House.
The same Day the King being come to the House of
Lords, with the usual State, and the Commons being sent
for up and attending, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to
the Bill in Favour of the late Lord Viscount Bolingbroke,
and to several other Bills.
After which the Lord King, Speaker of the House of Lords,
read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament, as
The King's Speech at concluding the Third Session.
'My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Am come to put an End to this Session of Parliament,
which, though it has been extended to an unexpected
Length, has been so well employed for the Service and
Interest of the Publick, that I assure myself it will be to
the general Satisfaction of the Nation.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"The prudent Use you have made of the present flourishing State of Credit, by a certain Reduction of more
than three Millions seven hundred Thousand Pounds to an
Interest of Four per Cent. and by a wise Provision for the
Redemption thereof by Parliament, without farther Notice, on Payment of such Sums as the Circumstances of
the Government will from Time to Time admit, has secured a considerable Addition to the Sinking Fund, not
subject to the Hazard of future Events.
"You have not only raised the Supply for the Service of
the current Year, at the lowest Rate of Interest that has
been ever known, but without laying any new Burthen on
my People, you have enabled me to discharge the Debts
of my Civil Government: Debts contracted by necessary
and unavoidable Expences, and in Support of such Measures of Government as have greatly increased the Happiness of my People: You have thereby shewn your just
Regard to my Honour, and the Dignity of the Crown.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"As all our publick Blessings are the happy Effects of the
general Tranquility we now enjoy, I cannot but express
my Satisfaction in the Provision you have made, for suppressing and preventing Disturbances and Commotions in
those Parts where the Peace of the Kingdom might have
been most endanger'd.
"Nothing more remains necessary, than to tell you, that
I entirely depend on the faithful Discharge of your Duties in your several Stations, and on your constant Care in
your respective Countries, to preserve the Peace and Quiet
of the Publick; but I know not how to part with you
without first returning you my very hearty Thanks for the
many repeated Instances you have, in this Session, given
me of your Duty and Affection; all such Returns may
be expected from me, as can be made by the most indulgent Prince to an affectionate and loyal People."
The Parliament prorogued.
Then the Lord King, by his Majesty's Command, prorogued
the Parliament to the first of July; They were afterwards
farther prorogued to the 20th of January.