Monday, April 4.
Sir Thomas Meres reports the Conference with the Lords [on
the alterations made by the House to the Lords Amendments to
the Bill of Conventicles.]
The Earl of Anglesea (fn. 1)
managed, who said,] That the
Lords agreed that the "24th of June," in their amend
ments, should be the "10th of May." They agreed
that the "ten" they amended should be "five," as we
first sent it up. They agreed to "the Justices discharge
of the fine in the Exchequer," and to "the Appeal."
They do not agree to "the Proviso concerning themselves."
To our amendments of "the Proviso of the Prerogative"
they agree. Their reasons why they agree not to "from 10s.
to 40s." because our ancestors were tender to preserve the
Law that tryals might be by Juries. Although that
fwearing, nor yet drunkenness, must be tryed by Juries,
he would not have the penalty be, but by Jury, in this
spiritual drunkenness. As to the "40s." it gives way to
partiality amongst our tenants. If the House of Commons would have it "40s." they would agree, but exempting themselves. He hoped that all the other Provisos
would hinder the Justices from impertinent trouble. This
Law is perpetual; the former was temporary, and therefore the Lords cannot agree. The Lords use to have
no Conventicles in their Houses. In the Statute of
Queen Elizabeth, the Lords were exempted from the
oath of Supremacy, by reason of the confidence she had
in the Peers. (Birkenhead said, "There was no such
thing in the Statute.") To "the attachment" there needs
none of that, for the notoriety of the fact is more than
that. The Peers are public persons, and baulk not. In
case of Felony, a Peer may be attached, which they take
to be sufficient. Lastly, the Peers have conceded much
this Parliament, as in the Militia, Highways, and Taxes
to be rated by the Commons.
The Lord Chamberlain, Earl of Manchester (fn. 2) .] They
agreed to our amendments of the last Proviso about the
Prerogative and Supremacy. It was far from their thoughts
to alter any thing by it in the Government. Lord Coke
said, "General words (as this Proviso is) bind not." They
were not guilty of the least umbrage of a subtle contrivance. They do agree with us.
(fn. 3) , to the Proviso for the Peers.] The King
had always taken great care of the Peers, &c. To the
last Proviso. The Commons have done very well in their
amendments of it.
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] The exemption of the Peers
makes their houses a Sanctuary for Conventicles.
Sir Robert Howard.] By Common Law a Peer was
as liable to be arrested as a Commoner—Knows not, in
any case of search, where the houses of Peers have exemption.
Mr Seymour.] This looks as if we were not both under
the government of one person—He would have one Law
for the same subjects.
Sir Robert Holt.] A Lord may let his house to any
person who may keep Conventicles in it.
Sir Thomas Clifford.] Knows no reason why mortar,
stone, and timber should have an exemption one more
than another. From their houses they may at last come
to their lands. To what they say, "that in the Bill
of Printing-presses they are exempted from search, but
by the King's Warrant, &c." 'tis answered, that Printing-presses are not easily portable, and the King's Warrant may be had timely. This is a perfect setting up toleration in Peers houses.
[Resolved, That this House is not satisfied with the Lords
Reasons, in not agreeing with this House, in altering their
amendment, relating to the search of their houses. And that
this House is not satisfied with the Lords Reasons for retaining
the Proviso, relating to attaching the Lords persons. A free
Conference was desired.]
Sir Thomas Meres reported the Lords reasons for having three
horses and not five. The House adhered to five.
In the Afternoon.
A Bill [from the Lords] for advancing the sale of his Majesty's
Fee-farm Rents, and other Rents, [was read the first time (fn. 4) .]
Sir Thomas Clifford.] The fee-farms saleable by this
Bill are about 32,000 l. yearly value. The Queen-Mother had 20,000 l. a year of them; to the Queen-Confort
never 10,000 l. of them came in. The Dutchy of Cornwall is 15,000 l. yearly, whereof 5000 l. of them yearly
goes off in charges of collecting. Assures the House that
there is no Chapman provided. Every purchaser has six
months. No man has contracted or sued for them; but
there is a debt charged upon them.
Sir Henry Pickering.] Hopes that by to-morrow morning an Act of Re-assumption may be brought in.
Mr Coleman.] For the town of Salisbury they have 25 l.
a year paid out of the Fee-farms of Wiltshire in general;
this being not in particular charged, knows not where
they shall have it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The King runs in debt now, and
when this is gone, we must supply again.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Thinks it an ill thing for the King
to sell lands. This takes away a great regality, and the
purchaser has that. He perceives now that these Regalias may be given to subjects. For the King, who was
the best freeholder, to part with this!—An Act of Re-assumption may be a much better remedy to pay the King's
Sir Robert Carr.] Knows nothing more vexatious than
the collection of these rents. Thinks it an ease to the
Sir William Coventry.] Thinks it but a sad prospect
for the King to sell his lands. We have passed Acts for
persons to sell their lands, not because they are weary of
their lands, but of their debts. But this topic he speaks
principally upon, that the hindrance of trade in the
country, is because we have no banks in the country,
who will let moneys be payable again at six per cent.
This will take off the King's debts, and destroy the Banking at London—Thinks by that to have better trade and
fewer fanatics; by this the King has power of obliging,
which these rents, by vexatious collection, do disoblige.
A gentleman gives six per cent. and is uneasy. The King
gives 10 per cent. If any other way for payment can be
more eligible, he would take it.
Mr Cheney.] Possibly an account of the King's moneys
may help out his debts. When for 2s. rent to the King,
it has put the party to 36 l. charge in the Exchequer. If
a retrospect might find out 150,000 l. that might do it,
he would be glad of it. But when the 10 per cent. eats
off the hundred, wonders that it should be received in
Sir Thomas Clifford.] The Treasurer of the Navy paid
40 per cent. for commodities, when he had no money;
and the question in Council was, whether 10 per cent.
ready money, or 40 per cent. on trust. The Bankers
ought to be commended and encouraged, for they have
not 40s. per cent. gain, when Clerks are paid, and Brass
Sir Robert Howard.] The Nation's revenue upon lands,
and the King's upon Excise, is a sad prospect. When
good store of beef and mutton was stirring, it was a happy
time. But if nothing will help the King but this Bill, he
has nothing to say against it, but to be sad.
Mr Henry Coventry.] It is both lawful and convenient
for the King to sell these lands. It is lawful, for the King has
mortgaged them, and therefore must sell; it is convenient,
for the King parts only with dry rents, and no Regalias
at all. The Court of Wards and Purveyance were Regalias, and we parted with them. You are told of great
vexation upon the subject by it; therefore it is convenient. We that depend upon the King would have him
live. If a Merchant be thought in debt more than he
can pay, his credit is spoiled. If the King was beforehand in money, the Exchequer would be safer than Banks.
These great sums of the Bankers are made up of little
sums, and the Bankers are put upon hazard of having
it lie in their hands, and yet must pay interest. The King
pays none to them till he receives it. The King asks nothing by Parliament now, but what his ancestors might,
and have done without Parliament, as he may do in this.
For he might sell it, it may be, at ten years value; the
assurance of an Act of Parliament will make the Purchaser give twenty.
Mr Vaughan.] The revenue was a help to a good King
in bad times. Of what nature is the King's revenue
when this is gone? Excise and Custom, which depend
upon the luxury of the subject. We in the Country must
suppress drunkenness in álehouses, so that the King's
Laws and his Revenue are at war. 'Tis the only certain
Revenue of the Crown, and would not have the Bill
Mr Sollicitor Finch.] The question is not, whether
they shall be sold, but whether well sold. The King
will be a richer man, twice told, by the Bill. The Bill
could not begin otherwise than with the Lords, who
knew the King's pleasure. The Kings have formerly
signed Bills for sale of their revenue, and with these
steps the Bill came into the Lords House.
Mr Steward.] After taking away the pillars of the
Crown, he is sorry to see it supported by crutches. He
is rather persuaded to a Re-assumption than this Bill—
Would rather that those persons who have such lands
may have long leases, that so they may depend on the
Crown. It is said, "that they are dry rents;" he thinks
that's but a dry exception.
[The Bill was ordered to be read a second time.]
Tuesday, April 5.
[The Fee-farm Bill was read the second time.]
Sir George Downing.] This revenue has not for many
years come to 10,000 l. a year, the Queen-Mother's jointure and Queen-Consort's excepted. The Exchequer
debts 600,000 l. Navy debts 500,000 l. and this debt not
contracted in time of peace. When you was come to last
for a supply, it was 3,000,000 l. The fleet you gave
300,000 l. upon Wine to set out—It cost 1,300,000 l.
The King has borrowed all for meat and drink, and
every thing, as high.—As we are in Peace, the Navy
comes to 400,000 l. a year, and he cannot, by all his
Arithmetic, make the King's revenue above 900,000 l.
a year.—140,000 l. this Act will make, and no more.
How can this debt be paid, and the Crown stand, by
this Act of Wine?
Sir Richard Temple.] On this subject, knows not what
to offer you, to extricate you out of the difficulties. Some
propose an Act of Re-assumption, and that will not near
do neither. Some cankers there must be in the revenue.
The King of France, who was nine years revenue behindhand, by looking into his accounts has recovered himself,
and filled his coffers; and that has fired his zeal in the
business of accounts. The Crown of France has likewise
Sir Robert Howard.] Thinks that the discourse of the
King's condition has been too large. Would have the
Bill committed, rather than a new tax instead of it.
[The Bill was ordered to be committed.]
[The House sat April 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11; and then, by his
Majesty's pleasure, adjourned to October 24.
October 24.] The House met, when the King, in a short
Speech, referred all to the Lord Keeper Bridgeman, who acquainted them with "the several Leagues his Majesty had made
since the late war, to his own honour, and the nation's advantage, as 1. The Triple Alliance between England, Sweden,
and Holland. 2. That between his Majesty and the States,
for a mutual assistance. 3. One with the Duke of Savoy;
4. Another with the King of Denmark; and, 5. A treaty of
commerce with Spain. And concluded with asking such a
Supply, as might enable the King to take off his debts upon
interest, and to set out a powerful navy against the spring."
The House then adjourned to