DEBATES IN THE House of Commons, From the Year 1667 to the Year 1694.
Tuesday, April 13, 1675.
The House met [ (fn. 1) When the King in his speech declared,
"That he would leave nothing undone that might show the
world his zeal for the Protestant religion, as established in the
Church of England, from which he would never depart, recommended to them the condition of the fleet, and, above all,
such a temper and moderation, as might disappoint the expectaions of those, who could hope only by violent and irregular
motions to prevent the bringing the session to a happy conclusion (fn. 2) ."
Resolved, Nem. Con. That the humble and hearty thanks of this
House be returned to his Majesty, for his gracious promises and assurances expressed in his speech, to preserve and maintain us in the
established religion, and our properties according to law; and for
his calling us together at this time for that purpose.
The House sat April 14, 15, 16, and 17, but no Debate is
taken notice of till]
Monday, April 19.
The Habeas Corpus Bill was read the first time, [being] the
same that was brought in the preceding session.
Another Bill was read against levying any tax, subsidy, or impost, without an act of parliament for so doing; and not to be levied in any other manner under a penalty of high treason. (fn. 3) The
same was brought in the preceding session.
SIR Robert Howard.] The thing aimed at in this bill,
is rather shaken than reformed; here is in it encouragement to resist the levying of money, perhaps in the
government of a parish on necessary occasions, and such
as raise money so, may be within the penalties of the bill,
as it is penned.
Mr Sacheverell.] Rises up upon Howard's expression of
"encouragement to resist." There is no such clause in
the bill. This is no new thing, it has its precedent out
of six laws now in being. In 5 Eliz. "It being
lawful to withstand" 20 Hen. VI. ch. 8. "Purveyors
may be resisted taking above such a value" Magna
Charta—5 Edw. III. ch. 7.—23 Hen. VI. ch. 2. "the
king's purveyor doing contrary to that statute, all the
towns thereabouts may resist the purveyor."
Sir William Lewis.] To Order—The second reading of
the bill is proper for these Debates, but now only whether
to read or not read the bill a second time.
(fn. 3) .] Good caution has been given not to undermine the government; the house was always cautious
of it. It was noised the last session that these bills were
the cause of our prorogation—It creates ill jealousies—When we come to debate the particulars of the bill, the
inconsistencies of the Bill with the government, it will
be considered maturely—But he finds little in the bill,
either impracticable, or inconsistent with the government;
it only puts penalties upon known laws.
Mr Sec. Coventry.] Numbers of people being concerned in levying of taxes, the bill should be maturely considered, and gentlemen prepare themselves to speak to
it, and have time to consider.
[The Bill was ordered to be read a second time.]
Sir Thomas Clarges.] [Occasionally] Hears of a Thesis
printed and published at Leyden, in Holland, and he that
maintained it in that university, and printed it, has 700l.
given him here for doing it, his name is Hamilton, a
Scotchman. [More of this hereafter.]
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Moves in behalf of the kingdom, and the whole Christian world, (France excepted)
for re-calling the English forces in that King's service;
that the French may be no farther encouraged to ruin
us, and the rest of their neighbours. 'Tis expected they
will invade Flanders—Watching the proceedings of the
House in this critical time. Would not by this motion
endanger a prorogation, has not that in his thoughts, hopes
it may be a good session, declares it, and therefore if any
thing concerning the fleet may be enquired into, would
come to it fairly without surprize, and not be upon a
rock at the latter end of a session—Would not surprize
nor be surprized.—Moves not as to the Dutch so much as
in relation to ourselves; sees nothing in them but encroachments upon public treaties.—He sees the Dutch
ambassador great with our ministers, and with the French
ambassador.—We have run into the error manifestly of
assisting the French, and would avoid it. In the Palatinate business Spain then stood in the room of France,
and was then as formidable as the French are now, ready
to swallow up the world. Addresses were then made
to K. James about it, but were denied, till he, in one of his
speeches, saw his error, and redressed it. In Cromwell's time,
something of this was done, as if it were the fate of England
under all governments. He does not design a breach of
peace with France,—the Dutch except against our sending
forces into France, and so does Spain. This lies as a bait
and allurement for more to go over. This summer there
will be 10000 of the King's subjects, English, Scotch, and
Irish, in a body, in the French army. This is so far from
a breach, that it preserves peace. Though there be no
article against sending men into Holland, yet men are
deterred from it, and none go over. Grotius tells us
"That if a Prince be in a formidable posture of war,
ready to devour his neighbours, no Prince is obliged to
stand the blow." The request of re-calling these men
is modest and moderate. If the English and Dutch say
the word, no man can come upon our coasts. Moves
only for recall of these forces, and doubts not but the dutiful advice of the Parliament will be preferred before any
council about the King.
Lord Cavendish.] The danger of Flanders falling into
the French hands, is what he most apprehends. If one
Prince has been able to manage a war against Christendom with such success, we may justly apprehend it. 'Tis
our interest to support the Protestant interest, which
France totally destroys. Seconds the motion.
Mr Sec. Coventry.] Desires leave to make a small deduction how the affair stands—Would not put the King upon the inconvenience of re-calling them all, but such as the
King lent, to be recalled; they are the K. of England's subjects, but the K. of France's soldiers. Are they of a number to break their way home? All law of armies will hang
them if they should attempt it. Fears that men go over,
and complaint is made of it, but still asks where are they
forbidden? In Ireland, and all places, ambassadors apply to the King's Ministers, and wishes they would apply no where else. But to come on this instant upon this—Will not you alarm the King of France? And yet you shall
not have a man come over. The King in the Gospel considered whether with his 1000 men, he could meet
the other with 10000. The King of France may make
a peace with the States before you have passed these Bills
before you.—That now you will take these men away levied with leave. Will you do this before you have money or men? Let us take our own beam out of our own
eye, then shall we see the better our brother's moat in
his—but till you are well, and the king confide in you,
and you trust him, you are not to talk of the King of
Sir Thomas Meres.] Acknowledges himself altogether
unable to enter the lists with Coventry. This address to
the King "for re-calling these men out of France" concerns the very being of England, and now is a fit time to
do it. The next session will be too late. These walls will
witness against us, and the ghosts of our ancestors will rise
against us if we do it not. 'Tis said "Why should you
not assist the French with those that are now here, his soldiers?" It seems then that the people of England are his
subjects. You may discharge those that are there, and
prevent more going over; by doing so, other nations
will not think us asleep, dull, and phlegmatic.
He conceives this vote will not conclude a sudden peace,
betwixt the French and the Hollanders, but hopes the
confederates falling flat, this vote will encourage them.
'Tis touched as if we were governed blindfold, and that
6 or 7 men must govern all. He is glad to enquire as
country gentlemen used to do. Formerly this House did
understand foreign affairs as well as any council. The
suffering these men to be in France is not for the interest
of religion. That has been our interest at all times since
the reformation. 'Tis the King's glory to defend the
Protestant religion, and his greatest interest. The King
of France is now the great patron of the Popish interest.
In their treaties with us, when we joined with them against Holland, one of the articles was "that in all towns
surrendered them, half the churches should be Popish." Whoever will support the Protestant religion,
must not support the French interest, and he lays that
down for a principle. The edict of Nants [has been]
violated upon 100,000 Protestants. We all know what
became of them in Piedmont. In France, Protestants are
hindered from all manner of offices of value. They are
not to marry Papists, and after having become Papists, 'tis
death to turn Protestants again. They are governed there
by citadels, and by military power. This is against your
trade—by the French correspondency you have lost the
Spanish, the most advantageous trade we have. The
French are industrious in it. The Spanish more heavy,
and not so apt. Ten thousand of our men are in France—Would we had them in England! Though this town has
too many, yet we want men all over England. We are
their neighbours, and it is extremely dangerous they
should get Flanders, which would help them to the trade
of the whole world. Their fleet is now 100 men of war,
and fears that our fleet is not so great by a third part.
The King of France is setting up for the Western empire.
Observe how the French have broke all treaties, and at
last ours, both by sea and land. But imagine them
faithful and kind, 'tis as dangerous to our interest. They
have destroyed their three estates, an ill example to us in
government. 'Twas always the opinion of our ancestors
to keep the balance equal betwixt France and Spain.—To
which we ought to have a deference. The permitting these forces to be in the French service, must be
ill taken by our allies. The French already scorn us in
some of their books; let us not make them greater than
they are by permitting these forces to be in their service.
But seconds the motion for "Address to the King for
Mr Sec. Coventry.] Meres desires "that he should not
support France nor the Romish religion." He said no
such thing, nor made one motion to support France.
Pray tell him what he said amiss.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Intended it not to that Gentleman then, but to all advisers of such things in general.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Every body knows of these
mens going over, as much as they that ought to know it,
and want of taking notice of it by them that ought to
look to it, is the cause of it.
Mr Wood, a ship wright.] Desires that a passage in my
Lord Keeper's speech may be remembered "that Joseph, in time of plenty, provided for famine," and
though we are in peace, would think of building ships.
Col. Strangways.] Is glad to see we begin to come to
our wits again. Should you advise the King of France
not to agree with Holland, you engage our King in a war.
It concerns us to look to ourselves, lest we should be engaged in a war with Holland, and therefore would petition
the King to put a stop to any more of his subjects going
over to the French service.—The scale now is turned from
former times.—France is grown more powerful than
Spain.—If the French should take Antwerp, and be masters of the Scheld, they will be formidable.—Is sure that
a great many of our men are gone over into France, and
few the other way into Holland. But is glad to see the
House awake in it. Would have trade considered; for
silk, wine, and linnen, that we have out of France, outbalance all your trade together, with brandy, which carries away not only your money, but your senses with it.
Mr Sec. Williamson
(fn. 4) .] As to "recalling our forces al"ready there" we cannot do it, and as to "stopping any more going over" it was the last night's business.
If there is any countenancing their going over, it is on
the other side to Holland—Would do equal to both. Every man has his opinion, and he has his. He fears we
ought to have an eye upon some others of our neighbours as well as the French. Our fears are on the other
side, (the Hollanders) and 'tis the opinion of the council
already. This cannot be a war of religion; though the
Swedes have declared themselves for France, yet their
Ambassador has cast in a memorial to the Emperor for the
Protestants of Hungary.
Sir William Coventry.] Is glad the Swede takes such
care of the Protestants of Hungary—Should have more
believed his care of the Protestant interest, had it been as
well for the Protestants of France, as those of Hungary.
What he does is only his interest. The Secretaries object,
"that it is a thing not to be done." He will not oppose
what Privy counsellors affirm, but 'tis an odd thing for
our King's subjects to sell their allegiance to another
King. Though they should be naturalized by the King of
France, and the Parliament of Paris, that does not absolve their allegiance here, and he thinks that the King's
Ministers ought to have taken care of their return upon
the interest of their Prince concerned. If that has not
been done, 'tis selling these men to slavery. 'Tis safer to
recall them while the King of France has an enemy;—our
safety better while he has work on his hands, than when
he has none. If France refuse to let them come home,
he gives cause of offence to England, and this is not safe
for him to do. The opinion abroad is, that there is
such a misapprehension of our interest, that there is not
an indifference kept between the French and Dutch. If
our men are under such an unlucky propensity that they
will go into the French service against their King's will,
would move for an Act to make it highly criminal to go
under a foreign Prince's service without allowance from
Mr Garroway.] Our fears of ruin from the French are
in every body's mouth. The question before you is "for
the recall of these men from the French service." For
soldiers to go over and have leave to fight against Protestants, is a corrupt school to teach them to despise religion and property. If they are sent by public authority,
hopes such a provision, as is fitting, is made for their return. If they go privately, they ought, at the sea side,
to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy, or they are
felons if they return. Knows not what condition they
are in. What compliment has the King of France made
with Liege or Flanders? Whatever is before him he
will take if he can, and if he makes peace with his enemies, we may be the next. Would have the address
made to the King with all respect. They are gone over
either by authority, or not. If by authority, hopes their
return provided for; if not, they ought at their perils to
come home. The French have remittance out of Spain,
by bills of exchange, though now in war with them,
400,000 per ann. out of Germany, Spain, England, and
Holland itself. People grounded on such a bottom dangerous to let be great. Would have a committee to
draw the state of our condition in reference to France,
and in the mean time would address the King for removing those forces.
[Resolved,] That an humble address be [presented to his Majesty] for the speedy re-calling of all his subjects [home out of the
French King's] service, and for hindering any more from going over, into that service [for the future.]
Mr Powle.] More men may be transported into France
before the prohibition comes from the King; therefore
would proceed with this presently to be presented, fearing
that the influence of the French council is too great.