Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 3, January - March 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Thursday, February, 24, 1658–9.
Mr. Speaker took the chair at nine.
Mr. Cooper prayed.
Query, per diurnal (fn. 1) what passed before, for I went out into the hall for half-an-hour, and when I came in again
The order of the day was read. According to the order made yesterday, the House took into consideration the matters then debated on. (fn. 2)
Sir Walter Earle. I move that the Speaker collect the debate, and put us in a way to come to a question.
Sir Henry Vane. The committing this business to his Highness will at once give away your militia, as to the naval part. The next step will be your militia, at land, and then you are concluded in your claim to the militia.
I would have a fair question touching the sending a fleet to secure the Baltic sea.
Mr. Attorney-general and Mr. Bacon moved that it was no complicated question, nor a granting away the militia.
Mr. Neville. Your debate only relates to sending a part of your fleet to the Baltic sea. Otherwise you give away the merit of the business at once.
Captain Baynes. This sending to the Baltic sea tends to a breach of peace with Holland. For defence we are always prepared. If anything of offence be intended, it is fit we should understand it.
Such actions as these are called expeditions, because expedition is the life of action. I except against the word "advise," in the question, I know not whom we shall advise with. The militia is in you. I would have the word, declare or direct. Because this House must pay them, it is, therefore, fit they should dispose of them.
I move for a Committee of this House to dispose of this business.
Mr. Onslow. I see we are at a loss for want of being open faced in this debate. Make this the matter of your debate, whether this House shall dispose of this fleet, or his Highness. That will clear the matter.
Mr. Attorney of the Duchy. Another question is more proper, that the fleet be disposed of by the single person; by the advice of this House. That will exclude neither this House nor the single person.
Mr. Onslow agreed with that motion.
Sir Henry Vane. The greatest pinch in this debate is, whether you will have a war or no, and whether, as the state of the report is, and the state of your affairs are, you will think fit, at this time, to send a fleet.
Mr. Bampfield. That question will draw the House into many considerations. It is not fit to debate all those things in this House. This will lead you to a conclusion, that the power of sending this fleet is wholly in this House. Then, the officers must be agreed on, here. This will lead you inevitably into debate, whether the single person or the other House have any, or what part of this power. You will insensibly creep into the other debate.
Make your question, that it shall be disposed on by the single person and the Parliament. Till you come to your constitution, I see you are gravelled in every debate. Whatever you propound, the constitution will, inevitably, come in upon you.
The business of sending a fleet to the Baltic Sea was nearer in the debate yesterday.
I found a general inclination that the words in the question had been only, as to referring the preparing of the fleet to the single person. Then it would not stick; but this word, disposing, say some, seems to give away the question.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. You cannot proceed other than upon the report, as Sir Henry Vane moved.
I agree we are in a perplexity, and likely to be so, till we resolve our constitution.
For husbanding your time, for which we must answer, for we are all mortal, refer it to your Commissioners of the Navy, to inquire into the preparation, and report it to you.
I would have us go plainly, and like right Englishmen to debate this.
Let us go to the proper business of the day, to debate the other House. We die away apace. Let us settle the greatest things, in our time, that we can.
Sir Thomas Wroth. We discover rocks every day. If we must sail by rocks, we were better to do like wise pilots, that is, avoid if we can, or hazard them as little as we can.
The proper debate, in my opinion, is about the other House. Another House or no House.
Men are born to be subjects and not to be slaves. Either let us be slaves or freemen. The English are easy to be governed, and they love it; but it must be as freemen and not as slaves.
The greatest questions before us, and fittest first to be resolved, are the negative voice, and the militia, both by sea and land.
I therefore move to waive this question, till that be determined. Sure we are more than mere bankers, called together to raise monies, and to put them into bottomless bags.
First debate your constitution.
Captain Hatsell. You ordered to debate this, de die, in diem. It is told you, the sun rises high. This will admit of no delay. If you enter into these considerations, I know not when you will end. (fn. 3)
Mr. Knightley. I should be sorry that any power without doors, should, sitting the Parliament, dispose of any forces, without your advice.
It has been reported to you, of the preparation on the other side.
In 40, (fn. 4) the disposing of the militia was by your advice. The officers depended upon your allowance.
We are to advise what is for the good of his Highness and the nation, not, only to make him great.
If you think this gives away nought from you, I am not against it, with a preliminary vote to this purpose, that, sitting the Parliament, the disposing of the militia, by sea and land, is, wholly, in the Parliament.
Colonel Parsons. I rise up to second Mr. Knightley's motion, that, sitting the Parliament, the disposing of the forces, &c. is in the Parliament.
Make this preliminary vote, and then refer it to his Highness's disposal.
Mr. Reynolds. I move to the same purpose. Thus the rights of the people are not only asserted by votes. There is not only a claim made, but a possession along with it, which does strengthen the claim.
If we fall a raising of money, and leave it to the single person to spend it as he pleases, it is not reasonable. We did not so with Ireland.
We have not only a right in claim, but a possession and fruition of it. Let us come roundly to this question, as was moved before.
Mr. Manley. Remember the time, the constitution of the skies, what we have learned at school. Occasion is bald behind.
The question of authority and power at this time is not necessary. I am sure it is your proper business to advise; that excludes no person's right.
It is in vain to counsel at home, if forces be not abroad. I would have it the advice of this House to his Highness, to proceed in such a way, for the best maintenance of your interest by sea, and not tell them whither you will go.
Mr. Turner. This has been done as to the general preparation, it being the duty of the single person to guard the sea. But this is a particular design, and it is said there will be matter of charge, a million of money. It is very needful that you should advise in this.
I would not have your debate so open, but refer it to a small Committee to attend and advise with his Highness about it. Whatever is debated here, is beyond sea in six days. By that time your Committee have considered of this business, you may, in the meantime, consider your constitution.
Captain Baynes. As the peace (fn. 5) was made without the House, the war might also have been made without it. It is fit you should have an account of all this, how your estate is with all your allies. But I would not have this now debated, but only go upon your vote that you will send out a fleet for the ends propounded.
This is a power which I suppose you will delegate, whether to his Highness and council, till you have considered them, or refer it only to his Highness and such persons as he shall advise with, or with the Commissioners of the Navy and Admiralty, who are all members. It is but on the defensive part that is propounded.
First assert your right to delegate, and then delegate. I would have it be asserted to be in this House, and not in the other House, unless it appear that they are equal contributors. I would have this to be part of the Bill.
Sir Walter Earle. If you proceed not in this, till all these things be determined, I doubt it will be too late. Consuletur Roma, &c. While you are consulting, the Sound will be gone, out of your power to recover.
Colonel Gibbons. Sapiens incipit a fine; consonant hereunto is your vote, to preserve your safety and commerce.
I conceive this House is fit to dispose of them, because they must pay them. To that purpose, I would have a Committee appointed by you, to dispose of this business. Content not yourselves with the bare declaring it your right, but do it by action.
Major-general Kelsey. Your vote will not answer your ends.
It was reported to you, that the Sound was in the eye of his Highness and the Council, which if once in the possession of another, you are ruined and undone.
I understand not much difference of charge between having forty ships in the Downs or in the Sound. You have voted such a fleet to be prepared. Whether will it be more advisable to have them in a place where they may do you service ? It is not a fleet in the Downs, or on the coast of England can do you any good; but to put yourselves in such a posture, as may break the design of your neighbours, which is to possess themselves of the Sound, and thereby become your masters.
It is true, we run the hazard of a war, if we go; but it is more obvious that we run a greater hazard if we do not go; and suffer the Dutch to possess themselves of the Sound. They will give laws to all the world, if they once get you under.
If you stay at home, the Danes are not beholden to you, nor the Swede neither. If the Dutch go to aid the Dane, they will have a good pledge for their assistance. They will save stakes which way soever the scales turn. You will certainly lose yours.
I hear all say, his Highness is a very wise, prudent, and innocent person. He will be very cautious in sending a fleet thither, while you leave it thus in the dark. Upon this general vote, he will do nothing without your advice, neither will any without these walls, as I suppose, dare to give him any advice to the contrary.
It is evident it will discourage the Swede, and encourage the Austrian faction.
It will be certainly effected, to bring over the Austrian forces into Zealand. It is not enough to be triumphant in the Channel.
If I apprehended that referring the care of this to his Highness were giving away your militia, I should be as much against it as any man. I think nought less.
No more is given to his Highness by delegating this power, than if you did appoint a Committee, for you delegate them. Do you give away your power to any ?
Two or three days are considerable. I doubt the time will be irrecoverable, unless the Providence of God prevent it. I would have this business speedily referred to his Highness, to take effectual course in it.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I rise with a sad heart to see worthy gentlemen that have been with us from the beginning, so differ from us in this business.
I am prudently tender of foreign war, and conscientiously tender of drinking blood. We are too much guilty of that already, unless it were better digested. I doubt God is angry with us. We are here in an island, or little world, and it is enough if we can preserve ourselves.
The law of nature directs us not to shed blood without just cause; but upon unavoidable necessity. If one will take my house from me, and will fight for it, I have a just cause to defend it. But if another man have a better hat than I, must I have it ? If the Sound belong to the Dane, what have we to do with it, if it is the blessing of God that maketh rich, not the counsels or the wisdom of wicked persons ? Is it our right ? Can we fashion ourselves after the princes of the earth; and not expect to partake of their cup ? Let us do like Christians. What success had we in going about to take away that which belonged to the King of Spain? God blasted that action, with the Dutch expense and dishonour, and disowned our seeking after the dominion of Spain, which was none of ours.
I confess it grieves my heart to consider what your predecessors did in voting the Spanish war, so costly and dishonourable to us.
It is our interest and our honour to redress and reconcile our neighbours.
It is said, we have our commodities from thence. It is true, we have so; but whoever has the Sound, we may have still the commodities for our money. The Dutch are resolved to defend the Dane, and I think they may. They go upon a just and honourable account, to assist an oppressed prince. He is a poor prince, and the Dutch in friendship with him. I hoped we should have sown in the spirit, not in the flesh. (fn. 6) I find nought of Jesus Christ in the bottom.
God Almighty would never have ordered a war with Canaan, but that they gave the first occasion of it.
Councils of men engage in war without inevitable cause; but I think we especially ought not to be drawn into it, upon any cause of denomination, or carnal ends.
It is a maxim in Parliament, that no war ought to be made, without our consent, because it is our purse, and our blood must maintain it.
O ANTICHRISTOS is in every man's mouth, that it is against Antichrist, and for pulling down the Pope, for which we fight. (fn. 7) I do not know who that Antichrist is. However, I do not think that Antichrist must come down by the fleshly sword: it must be by another kind of weapon.
It is impossible to send a fleet, but a war must ensue. That we should be the catchers of the spoil is not Christian. Remember what Achan said. (fn. 8) God blessed the war with the Dutch, because we stood on a good footing. They began with us. (fn. 9)
Let the quarrel go as it will, we are safe, we are secure to defend ourselves. I hope there is not a man within these walls but will account English blood precious. We ought not, for any fleshly advantage, to buy domination with blood.
Set Christian rules aside, it is not suitable, as your affairs are now, to undertake this. Antichrist must not fall but by the spirit.
Put not this business out of your own hands. Choose your officers. I would have none to engage in a bloody war, or in the expense of millions of money, without your consent.
Sir, if our navy should miscarry, do we not lose all, to take princes', poor princes' possessions from them. Have we not enemies at home and abroad ?
Will not God blast us? If God blast our navy, where then are we ? If, by wicked courses, we should exasperate other princes abroad, how do we know that they may not unite to pour out all their forces upon you? How many discontented spirits there are.
Sir, there is a great deal of weakness in this their counsel that is given you. War ought to be very just, and undertaken upon godly principles and scripture grounds, which will no where justify the taking away another man's right. Let us make a war upon scripture principles, viz. defensive. Has not all the blood spent been held forth as upon reformation.
In order to your safety and preservation, I would have you command your Commissioners of the Navy and Admiralty to put your vote, the other day, (fn. 10) in execution. Thus put yourselves into such a posture, as that you may not be found naked to defend yourselves, when your enemies come upon you.
Mr. Attorney-general. It is your duty to collect the sense of the House, and if you do not put us into a way, we shall wander, ad infinitum. There is no danger of giving away the militia, by referring this business to his Highness.
Sir John Lenthall. I am as much against war as any man. Consider your charge. You have five armies abroad, besides that at home, and now going to send a sixth; now going upon 50,000l. pay behind, fifty weeks arrears, and this navy will be as big as any army. I find a great difficulty how they shall be paid. But this interest being at stake, I doubt if we suffer this to go away from us, all our reputation is gone.
You lose your cordage, &c. as was told you. Like good gamesters, if you will not play, stand by. I think it is fit to stand and look on. Calking, pitch, tar, sails, and mast, come from Norway. The Swede hath got considerable places, and he hath got all the tar in those places into his possession, and hath put such rates upon it, that we pay double the value for it. He buys up all, and sells to us as he pleaseth, and imposeth several hard things upon us, and hath engrossed all the tar trade.
As I shall never press you to make a great enemy too little, so I would not have you make a little enemy too great. If he shall get Copenhagen, he hath the largest extent of ground of any prince in Christendom. If he gets Copenhagen, Norway will soon fall into his hands; as easily as, when you have taken Westminster, Chelsea must yield, and then we lose all our masts too. However the case go, your interest will be out of doors.
A considerable navy is very fit; not to increase the Swede, nor diminish the Dane, nor irritate the Dutch, but to secure our own interest.
If you please, I would move to nominate a Committee of a few members of your own House to treat with his Highness about this, and I doubt not but by their advice, his Highness may manage this business with the like prudence and care as all see he has done hitherto; which may reconcile every part to the benefit of the whole.
Mr. Speaker. There are various debates for eight or nine propositions. (He repeated them all). It is doubted that some questions may involve that the matter of the militia might be preserved entire to you.
I shall propose it to you, whether, sitting the Parliament, the power of disposing the militia shall be in this House.
Colonel Fielder. I move to change the word House, and to say the Parliament, and I doubt not but it will be as unanimous as the vote yesterday.
Serjeant Seys. This previous vote will take away all grounds of jealousy. I would have the question be, that the militia be disposed by the single person, with the consent of the two Houses, sitting the Parliament, and, then, that there shall be no no war undertaken, but by consent of Parliament.
Mr. Neville. I doubt this will lead into a long debate. The militia hath been in several hands according as the balance of government hath varied. It has sometimes been asserted to be in the King, sometimes in the Lords, sometimes in the Commons.
By the Petition and Advice the militia is entrusted in the Parliament, sitting the Parliament. I suppose you will consider where it is now. It is no where in the world by any law, for the Petition and Advice is out of doors.
I doubt the business of the Sound will hardly keep cold corked up, till you have considered these things, and settled the debate concerning the militia. I would have you, then, quite put this off at present.
Let it pass now and declare your sense, whether you think it fit to engage in this war, whether this fleet shall go into the Baltic sea, or whether they shall have your instructions along with them what to do.
Mr. Higgons. Before you go to another debate, resolve whether it shall be transmitted to his Highness, as was moved on Monday.
Serjeant Maynard. I am loth to offer my conception, being unfit to advise.
That which is desired is, that what we conclude may be in plain terms, and not doubtful, ambiguous and scrupulous. I was under some mourning to find the militia question at this time. The right of the militia, in this discourse, looked rather like a diversion, and seemed very wide from the matter.
Some spoke concerning the Dutch. I look upon it, there are many of them that wish us well; but, in general, they have trade for their great Diana, which hath made them forget the good they have received from us.
They have a readiness always to harm us. Your loss in the Spanish war has been by the hands of the Dutch. It is rather a Dutch war, under the Spaniard's name.
They sell their ships to the Spaniards, and their goods are exposed to open sale in their markets. They fill their ships with men, and meet with Englishmen. If we are too weak, then they are Spanish; if too strong, Dutch. Two hundred and odd ships have been thus lost in a short time. More mischief is done by them, than by the Spanish. Such is their affection, and such their interest.
It is their interest to take away trade from the English. Our ships lie by the walls, and theirs ride. The whole trade, almost, of Christendom is come into their hands.
I think they love us well enough but for our trade. Yet their attempts have been set enough upon us, by making such preparations. We hear they are now setting out onehundred-and-twcnty sail, whereof ten are advisers, and as many fire-ships.
Is this preparation for naught ? If it be for the Sound, that is not our business to engage in a war. But we are obliged in a proportionable measure. We shall not thereby design a war, but rather prevent it. I hope every good Christian prays against it. But, to take it in the general. If a war should fall out, let us send such persons well instructed, not to engage but upon good terms.
There is great odds between two ambassadors and twenty sail of ships. If you go weak, and creeping, and begging, you are like to do little good. Your forces must be as bold as theirs. If you send two ambassadors, and they one hundred sail, you will come home with rags. It is said, your ships will be of little use without cordage, and what if the Dutch will not sell? Truly, I think he will not, until he hath ruined you and your concernment. But admit we cannot have it at all, your ships must lie by the walls. They cannot ride without sails.
A Committee will but clog the business. You cannot give such certain instructions as any man can pursue, but, in general, we may. I hope we shall be careful of blood, but for fear of that, we must not put ourselves in danger of falling into greater.
I shall humbly conclude, that it may be referred to his Highness, my Lord Protector, to put your vote into effectual execution, and to add some instructions which I am not prepared with, But to that purpose, that there be as much care as may be taken, not to give any occasion of war.
Mr. Onslow. Your vote already passed, to put a fleet forthwith to sea, answers all objections as to any delay in the business. I would have us careful, whatever our jealousies be, not to asperse our allies. I do not concur to speak so largely against the Dutch, who are at present in amity with us; though, perhaps, I am as jealous of them as any.
Those that offer you a Committee and the like, put you upon a delay.
I shall pursue what is offered. The great rocks are, 1. The fear of involving ourselves, in passing away of the militia; and 2. The danger of involving us in a war with our friends. I would reconcile these difficulties and dangers. I would have no vote to conclude your claim to the militia, nor one that has any inclination to foment a war, and so it was opened to you by the Secretary, to mediate peace, &c. I therefore move to pass a vote to this effect: that, pro hac vice, it be referred to his Highness, to put the former vote in speedy and effectual execution, and to send the fleet to sea; and that special care be taken to preserve a right understanding between foreign states, and to use all endeavours to mediate a peace between the princes.
Mr. Chaloner. If it be matter-of-fact that, the worthy Serjeant has offered you, as that the Dutch have done you that mischief, I should be as much for a war as any man, but I doubt he is mistaken.
They have been your friends. Your men go under their flags and in their ships. They have not done you that harm. I would have the grounds of the war examined, before you send any fleet.
The Council of State durst not send an army to Scotland, till they had acquainted the Parliament with it. They provided all, and a declaration ready. The Parliament approved of the war and declaration. (fn. 11) I was one of the Council. (fn. 12)
It is necessary you should be acquainted with the reason of this preparation. Make it your debate, whether for the interest of England and preservation of your trade in those parts, you should send a fleet into those seas.
If you merely assert the right of the militia, and then refer this matter back to the Protector, what account can you give (fn. 13) of it ? I would not have any begin or hazard a war, without your privity.
Mr. Swinfen. Nought in your vote carries so far as the debate goes. Nothing is mentioned as to your advantage or disadvantage, to engage for or against any interest.
It is only generally agreed to send out a fleet for the ends that you do every year.
The Spaniard trades not. We can get nothing of him. The Dutch is in the bottom of all this business.
We cannot have our necessary commodities but over land to Lubeck, and there the Dane hath Glucstadt up the river; so we cannot pass without his leave.
Rather than to lose this, we ought to fight for it.
The nation will not have that weight and reputation with it, if the Protector send it, as if you send it, and own it, and countenance it; for they know abroad that the money is yours, and if you engage, you both will and can carry it on.
Suppose you should refer the execution of this vote to his Highness. This does not make a war, nor direct him one way or other. You need not determine touching the debate, of Dutch, or Danes, or Swede.
The militia conies not at all in dispute by this reference. This reference takes and keeps the militia in your hands. His Highness acquaints you, and rather gives you a possession. It implies that the militia is in you. His Highness would never have sent to you else. If he had sent to you, to put it into execution, (fn. 14) it had been that he had then taken the militia upon him.
You have, nemine contradicente, agreed to send a fleet, and now, unless you send them out, it will do you no good. Such debate will retard your business; you lose both opportunity of honour and safety. The occasion requires speed.
Admit it should engage us in a war, you cannot come to a particular resolution but your enemies will know it beforehand. You must hear Dutch, Dane, and Swede, by their ambassadors; and who so proper as his Highness ?
Refer it to his Highness, with due caution not to engage us in a war. I agree with Serjeant Maynard's motion.
Mr. Lloyd. This preparation amounts to no more than your ordinary preparation every year; but it is reported to you, that the Sound is in danger.
We must come out of the clouds and speak plain English. The bottom is the Dutch, but it is res ipsa loquitur. We feel the Dutch. The Spanish could not offend us at sea without the Dutch. They are worse than enemies, secret enemies.
If we were enemies, we could meet with his prizes, as well as he does with us. I vow I speak it tremblingly. If this opportunity be lost, I dread the consequence.
I hope you will send ambassadors to mediate a peace, but rather than lose your interest you will engage in a war. Let us speak plain, come out of the clouds, whether you will engage if there be occasion.
If the Dutch give us no provocation, we will not engage. Do but countenance and own it. It will go a great way abroad.
You need not involve your militia; make it with an hac vice tantum. You admit the executive power in his Highness; and this is no more than to give him the executive in this. Refer it to his Highness and the officers of the Admiralty and Navy. Let it be expressed, that you will send a fleet to the Sound. The Dutch have a long time declared their resolution. The more public, I think, the better, and more for your service.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. If I thought to refer it to a Lord Protector and Council, were no more than a reference to a Council of State, or a Committee of the House, I should not now trouble you, but there is more in this.
You might very well retain what you grant. And, on the other side, if there were no hazard of a war, nor engaging your militia, (fn. 15) it were not so much neither. But this implies a war: and doth it not signify that you will have no regard to treaties and amities, but merely to interest of state ?
If you will begin a war, it must be upon clear grounds; the state of all things declared, the justness of the quarrel stated. The grounds (fn. 16) were manifestly held out to the Long Parliament. When Henry V. (fn. 17) engaged in the war with France, the grounds were first laid, then money and shipping prepared. (fn. 18)
This navy must either go to look on or engage, if to engage, it is a war, if to look on, it is dangerous rather than advisable. I never knew it successful.
The Pope sent an army or navy once to the like purpose, when two fighting princes were determining their quarrel. He intended to look on in a war between Milan and the Florentine. But the fortune of that was, that he was made a prey to the conqueror, (fn. 19) and conquerors have always discouraged that looking on. You are in peace with Swede, and Dane, and Dutch. If at peace, what is the quarrel ?
The justice of the quarrel must be considered. If we war with any, we must answer it as one honest man would do to another.
The Dane made first an invasion upon the Swede. The Swede's quarrel was just, I grant. He might safely keep what he gained.
The Dane kept the treaty punctually, which was made by our mediation. How then, can we assist the Swede, who is upon the score of breaking his treaty, and go against our confederate, the Dane, without ground; or stand by, and see him ruined.
The Dutch have the greatest interest, and they have a just interest already granted them by the Dane. If we invade that right of the Dutch, we begin the quarrel. So far for justice. Till the justice be decided, I shall never countenance the war.
If the Dane gain the Sound, it will be very dangerous; and will it not be more so, if the Swede get it, than if it comes into the hands of the Dane or Dutch ? He hath almost all the Sound, and the territories and coast by land. He is master of the greatest shipping, and will command the Baltic Sea. He is a most potent prince, that hath at this time one of the best and ablest councils for war in Christendom. He understands the secret of trade. His business must be to make himself not only the greatest master at sea, but of trade also. He may overrun Spain, Denmark, Pomerania, Italy, and make himself master of this part of the world.
His predecessors overran the whole world with their bodies of men; but how much easier will it be for them to transport these great bodies of men, when they shall gain the great mastery at sea. Are not the Dutch and we in most danger to be the first fallen on ? By reason of state, we or Holland must be his next prey.
Admit the worst. Suppose the Dutch have the Sound. But how will they keep it ? You have the King of Sweden your friend; and the King of Denmark, he also is a sure friend, as necessity makes him to be so.
You have all the petty princes upon the Baltic coast, the Hans Towns, and free States and Cities. These will help you against Holland, whose interest it is to suppress them. But if the Swede obtain it, what friend have we, or friend ship with any, that can serve us 'to get it out of the Swede's hands, if ever he get it wholly ? I move that we may not engage.
Here is a preparation of a million, and our eyes are towards the Sound. But how stand our engagements. Are we engaged, or free to assist the Swede. If we be not engaged, that may alter the case, and we may debate it. But I would move, upon the whole matter, to have the power of war and peace in this House.
I would neither be engaged in a dangerous war, nor in what will cost a million of money. It is a dangerous precedent, which in former times would not be suffered. This precedent was not allowed in 1640. You will give away a great part of your militia. I move again, not to be surprised in anything; lest by quenching flames abroad, you kindle flames at home. (fn. 20) You have done enough in preparing what you have done.
In the meantime, whilst we debate, let the preparations go forward. I would have it referred to the Commissioners of the Navy and Admiralty.
Major Beake. I understand not what that gentleman would have referred to the Commissioners of the Navy and Admiralty. There is a necessity to do something with all speed. Self-preservation, in some cases, furnishes good grounds to justify the taking up arms: the argument against the design, is the difficulty of undertaking it by a war. I suppose the case may be a case of war. I cannot distinguish but that a war will ensue, in case the state of affairs require it, upon the place.
Here are two princes in dispute about their respective rights. As to the Swede, it is supposed the first war was upon just grounds: I will not dispute it. But a war unjust in its rise, may be just in the consequences of it; in something arising upon the result.
Suppose an innocent party assaulted, the party assaulted goes beyond the bounds, the just measure of defence or retaliation, and pursues his stroke to blood. In this case the party nocent may keep the sword in his hand, to defend himself against the innocent person, and a third party may step in to prevent him from doing injury. Let this case be applied.
Examine the interest engaged in this business. You will find the imperialists the highest and greatest. Take away the King of Sweden, and you make clear way for the imperialists.
As to the interest of trade, if the Sound come into the hands of the Dutch, they will draw the portcullis, and without that, we can neither defend ourselves nor employ ourselves. We are an island, and not capable to depend upon ourselves without trade with all parts.
Refer this to his Highness and council.
Sir Henry Vane and Mr. Trevor moved to adjourn for an hour, that we might all sit upon an equal account; and this debate was adjourned accordingly.
Resolved that the House be adjourned until half-an-hour past two o'clock.
Afternoon at three. February 24,1658–9.
Mr. Alderman Topham, (a burgess for York.) Except the Sound be guarded, we shall not want only cordage, &c. but very bread. All commodities which come from Moscow, would be brought down to the ports of Poland. We want only a navy to secure our trade, and be a guard to the merchants and ships.
My motion is, that you would refer to his Highness the Lord Protector the care of guarding the seas, and that two members of the House be joined in a Committee to go along with the Admiral, to see that there be no rash engagement.
Mr. Speaker moved what Mr.Onslow had moved, as to the hac vice tantum, that it be referred to his Highness forthwith to set forth a fleet, &c. This question was twice read.
Mr. Scot. You are asked to have it referred, hac vice. I except against the words. I dare not give away our right, no, not for a moment; especially yielding it to him who claims it ex adverso. Take possession of it first. Nil dat, quod non habet. I would have a previous vote, before you dispose, that the right of the militia is in this House; for all is yet here, until you give it out. You cannot dispatch this fleet under the word, Parliament. We must know first what is the Parliament; and if two Houses, which of the two Houses. The question is, whether you should refer it to the single person, or keep it here. There are two things, first, the execution. As to the preparations, what need you to say the Protector shall order the Commissioners of the Navy, when you yourselves may do it. Secondly, the dispositive and directive power. Is it all that you have to do, to say that you are so far masters of the militia as to dispose of it to others. You have said it is in you. You are the constitutors. It is yet in your power, and not suitable to your occasions, to stay settling the constitution. The fleet cannot stay so long. Take not less than the Petition and Advice gives you.
It is objected, that you are not a body fit to manage such an affair as this. But the time well was, when two kingdoms (fn. 21) were conquered, and the Dutch tantum non, by the counsels of a Parliament and some twenty of the Council. Then why that argument, that such bodies are not fit to manage such a business, because of required secrecy.
It is said, that when we made war against Scotland, we began first; that the war was carried on by the Long Parliament upon a presumption that they would do us wrong; and so it is applied to the Dutch being capable to do us harm. But it was not presumptions barely against Scotland: it was demonstrations. They made the war first. We had uncon trollable evidence and even assurance that they espoused the King of Scots' interest, his patrimonial interest here, and would restore the King to his hereditary dominions. Was not this ground enough ? (fn. 22) Secondly, there was justice demanded. An army was raised and sent to the frontiers, and a declaration sent to them, that if they would secure us against these attempts, then we would desist.
Whether then, we should refer this matter to his Highness and the Council, or whether we should manage it here ? I have told you already, that a Parliament and Council did manage the war with great success. The case is different now. Eadem ratio, eadem lex. De operibus Dei non est judicandum ante quintum actum.
I know no incommodiousness in it.
The former vote was, as Mr. Swinfen told you, a virgin vote, not big-bellied at all. You gave nought away. But do not you, in any vote, say you are not fit to manage that affair, or denounce a war; but you leave it to his Highness. Is it not ground enough for you lawfully to send a fleet of ships into the Baltic Sea, to guard your merchants and secure your trade there.
The last summer, Mr. Topham said, (fn. 23) the King of Sweden sent a dispatch, that if he might have ten or twenty ships, he would quit us of contribution. He further said, that you might have had Cronenburgh Castle. If the Council would not accept such an advantage, you should not think it fit to trust them with the management of it now.
Are not the Council you would refer it to, his Highness's Council ? I look upon his father as of much more experience and counsel than himself; yet he was never so successful as when he was a servant to the Commonwealth. What a dishonourable peace he made, and what an unprofitable and dangerous war. Was not the effect of the peace with Holland, and the war with Spain, the most disadvantageous and deplorable that ever were ? Therefore, if he that was a man of war and of counsel, miscarried, why should I trust a single person, the most unfit to refer it to. Yet you do implicitly commit the whole charge upon his Highness.
We are not engaged against the Dane, Swede, or Dutch. What then should our fleet do there ? Provoke five or six princes, engage voluntarily, not only against Holland, but against the Dane, Brandenburgh, Emperor, and all that party. If the Dane gain it, never expect any kindness from thence. If the Swede be conqueror, you are at his discretion; you have no footing.
Sir, let the business be what it will be; whatever you do, let it be by your counsels. Transmit it not, it is your doing and counselling, and countenancing, that will give credit and reputation to the action.
It is known abroad, the Dutch know, that a Parliament of England can fight and conquer too; but they do not know so much of any body else.
When should the fleet go ? What if, when your fleet go forth, the Dutch should pour out their fleet and strength in Charles Stuart's behalf, upon you at home.
Here is a rubber playing in Christendom. Can you, by law or conscience, undertake to assist either party. Is there any of them you can in justice attack. What title can you have? If the war be not just, it will ruin you. It was told you well, there is no just ground. It is objected that you are in danger, therefore you must prevent it. Indeed, by the judaical law, if I were hungry, I may take an apple banging over my head, or in a hedge, or, being in want, kill a sheep and take the shoulder, and leave the rest: it shall not be felony. But I cannot take away the land, nor the tree that bore the fruit I dare not say it is mare liberum, lest I conclude your narrow sea. But if we cannot do well without Cronenburgh and Elsinore, what! must we have and take then by justice and injustice, by hook and by crook. God can send supplies a better way, and by better means. I move,
1. To declare the right of the militia, sitting the Parliament, to be in yourselves.
2. That you will dispose of this expedition, yourselves, to be in such hands as you think fit.
3. That you will examine the grounds of the war; and be shown how you may make a lawful war, or upon what terms we ought to undertake it.
Mr. Topham. A word of vindication. I never said that I knew ought of dispatches between the King of Sweden and his Highness; it was only what I heard a merchant say.
Mr. Scot said he understood him otherwise.
Captain Hatsell. I desire not to reflect upon what was done by his Highness, or the Long Parliament. It is objected that this may occasion a war. I hope not; but if for not doing this you become a prey, that is considerable too. I shall speak to your question.
The Hollander is undoubtedly endeavouring to become master of the Sound, the door of the Baltic Sea.
We find the King of Sweden deeply engaged against the Dane, Pole, Emperor, and Brandenburgh. If these complicated interests prevail, you are utterly shut out. The Dutch contribute their assistance to the King of Denmark. If the Dutch go forth with their fleet, and supply the Dane, and the Swede be driven out, and the Dane become master of it, what is our interest then in those parts? If the confederate forces drive out the Swede, what will your commerce there signify? The Swede never did you an injury. You need not suspect him. The Dutch have done you injuries, and that very lately.
If the Swedes should succeed, the Dutch would, with their fleet and 4000 men, make peace with them.
You can neither preserve your trade nor your own safety, without putting out the fleet presently. The time of year is for hemp and flax coming from those seas. I would have you refer it to his Highness and the Council.
Mr. Neville. I know not what your question is, nor to whom you are referring it. I know not that the Council are made, or approved by you. I know not that there is a Council in being; you give the power of peace and war by this vote, to his Highness.
I understand by that gentleman's motion, that the Dutch are already your enemies. He says they carry 4000 men that are your enemies. I would have you refer it to the Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy; but I am against referring it to any Committee. I shall desire to be heard to the merit, before I part with so great a right as this in one question.
Mr. Lechmere. In your vote you had this business in your eye, touching the Baltic Sea; you have resolved to go forth with a very considerable navy.
It was moved that you cannot, in justice and right to the people, transfer it. I think you will not equip a navy, or appoint officers without advising your single person. I would not have us do that yet. This is to limit him with a witness. You did so in the beginning of the Long Parliament, limit the King, but that was only in case of his refusal. His Highness does not refuse to join in any thing that you advise him to Let your vote be thus: That it be referred to his Highness to put in speedy and effectual execution this vote, and to dispose and employ the same, according to such advice as from time to time he shall receive from the Parliament. (fn. 24)
By the Petition and Advice, which I take to be a law, it is directed that, sitting the Parliament, the militia shall be disposed by Advice of Parliament. The case is not as in 42, in case of his Majesty's not concurrence, (fn. 25) for you may have what consent and concurrence you please from his Highness.
He repeated the question again, as he had said before.
Mr. Godfrey. I second that motion, as clearly concurring with my sense.
There is no necessity at present to enter upon debate of the militia. The asserting of it in your declaration was only in case of the King's refusal. Blessed be God, there is not that occasion now.
You ought indeed to be very tender how you engage against your allies. Leaving the putting the execution to his Highness will answer that.
Mr. Trevor. I desire to know what is meant by advice of Parliament; whether it is intended that all instructions that shall go along with this expedition must be first allowed and confirmed here. Then the consequence is obvious. If you mean the advice shall signify nought, then otherwise.
It is objected, that this war is not just nor lawful. It may be replied, that we send our fleet and forces thither, not designedly to pick a quarrel, or to make a war. It is true, the consequence may be a war, so may our sitting still be a war. If the Dutch get the possession of all, we are not then further off from war than now. We must either have a war, or a peace as bad as a war; to have trade at their discretion. No man that has a concern in the interest of this nation can refuse this.
Instead of denying your power in the militia, it asserts it.
We must be ready to serve occasions, not to pick occasions. The business of war or peace must be trusted to the persons upon the place; you must give them general instructions.
If I knew any other way, I should advise. It would make us laughing-stocks, to declare beforehand what we will do. The Long Parliament never did it, but left it to the Council.
Refer it to his Highness to put this vote in execution, and if you please to add such prudent instructions as to be careful of making unnecessary war, &c.
Serjeant Maynard. I am against putting the word "advice," or to put whether these words shall be added; not that I am against advice, but that I would not have it so as that they cannot proceed but by your advice.
Mr. Bulkeley. Add "not to engage upon unnecessary terms."
Colonel Morley. My heart has bled for the blood already spilt, seeing how we were mistaken in what we fought for. I am against a war, unless upon clear grounds. I would have the leagues before us. All transactions should be before a Committee Those being drawn up, communicate them to his Highness and then go out.
I like well that you leave out the Council. I had rather refer it to his Highness; for the Council has made a dishonourable peace and a worse war.
Mr. Noell. Your case is, whether you will now go out to defend your being, or for ever destroy it. You cannot retrieve it, if once past.
I understand not that you are going to quarrel, either with Dutch or Dane, His late Highness sent to mediate a peace between those two princes. He did it with a great deal of prudence and wisdom. This could take no effect; they gave good words. The Dutch did yet send forces to assist the Danes. If we will be blind, we may. They went with a military power.
We that are merchants do see, and can see this business, that he intends to bring us under subjection. Where they have power, they are the unpitifullest people in the world. We know it, that feel it.
You go with a mediatory design, like Christians. It is not your design to take away the Sound from Denmark. You go not with any design of ruining any prince.
The business is not to help one or another, or to fight the Dutch; but with a force to mediate. If God bless the mediation, well. But suppose the worst, that the Dutch will set up the King of Denmark against the Swede, let us then share with the Dutch.
Without this, we cannot go out to sea; but sneakingly. Is it not for your honour. Your merchants cannot go with reputation unless they can say "Our prince can protect us." What makes the Jews so despicable, and made to wear yellow caps and red caps, but because they want a prince to protect them. (fn. 26)
If you miss this opportunity, I shall repent that ever I was born in this generation. It will be too late to-morrow. This action requires privacy. I understand not how you can manage.
I have nought but what I have scattered all the world over. I shall suffer as much by a Dutch war as any man; but I care not for my all, so posterity be cared for.
It must be carried on with counsels not fit to be known here. I hope you will not rise till you rejoice the hearts of all merchants in England; and all good people and generations to come will bless you for it.
Mr. Reynolds. If the Council go upon a principle that it is not fit for you to know, it is then fit indeed, to refer it to them. I have heard all this debate, and I profess I apprehend not what is at the bottom of it; nor am I convinced of the necessity so strongly pressed to hasten out this fleet.
If there be any engagement between us and the Swede, let us know it, and what it is. Who can blame the Dutch in what they do. If there be any design to make the King of Sweden master of the Sound, I pray we may know the bottom of it. The Swedish agent, I have heard, solicits for twenty frigates.
It is the interest of the mortgager as well as mortgagee to preserve the pledge; it is wisdom in the Dutch to do so. I understand not this to be the interest of England, else I am not an Englishman.
Without all doubt there is some latent reason, and engagement to the Swede, that we do not know of; else so many worthy persons would not press it so earnestly. If we must be involved in a war, contrary to our reason, it is strange.
It is said he trembles if we go not. I tremble if we go, and I doubt we shall deserve to wear caps and coats, as the Jews do, (fn. 27) if we go on with this business upon no better considerations. I would have some members appointed to advise about it. It may be carried on with secrecy enough.
I say it again, I am confident there is some engagement underhand, to carry on the Swedes' interest contrary to ours, or I know not what, per fas out nefas.
The Butch dare not take the Sound, lest they bring all Europe about their ears.
I move to consider what engagement there is between us and Sweden.
Mr. Secretary. This question has spent you much time. I shall not spend much more. It is not fit for me to advise you. I presume not to give you any counsel in this business, but only to clear matter-of-fact That worthy gentleman said he was very confident that there was some engagement underhand, to carry on the Swedish business. It doth not belong to charity to say or think so. You had a very honest, just, and true account of that affair, which was neither more nor less than what was then told you, with all ingenuity, and left to your wisdoms to take what counsels you think fit in that business. I told you there was no engagement at all. I was in hope that gentleman would give as much credit to my report, as not to have disbelieved it, unless he had known something of certainty against it. I know not what the Dutch think, but I do not believe they are such fearful men as we think they are; that they are afraid of bringing Europe about their ears. I never heard that anybody made a doubt in Holland, whether they should prepare their fleet upon this expedition or not. (fn. 28) Really here is no question about any war; nor, if you refer it to any, will they engage in any war but to defend themselves in case of being first assaulted.
If the Dutch should affront you and assault you, and your interest be attempted upon, I think you would give way to fight; and this is all that I know, that is in question.
It is neither for one end nor another, but only to secure the interest of England. The things are very obvious. I had as lieve it should be referred to other hands, but not for those reasons.
Great objection has been made to the management of the peace for ending the Dutch war. I wonder these gentlemen are so much now against the beginning of it again. I wish, with all my heart, the war had been prosecuted by the Long Parliament, to the utmost success, instead of their being tantum non conquered ; (fn. 29) that they must either have come to a coalition with you, to be one people, or have been brought to your feet. What progress was made in this, I know not; but I am sure of this, that the first offer of peace came from them.
That war had cost you near two millions of money. That was going to be done to manage that war, which would not have pleased the nation; the selling of tithes. (fn. 30) The proposals of peace came from them. One of the two provinces did write a letter, indeed, bewailing the sad effects and condition of the war. Thereupon, this State did write a letter back to heal the breach.
The peace savours more of a conquest than a peace. If that treaty be looked into, they took part with you against Charles Stuart. (fn. 31) They departed from many things they had demanded at the beginning of the war. I have heard very wise men say, that they think themselves so hard put upon by that peace, that they will never be quiet until they have extricated themselves out of it.
They were then able to put forth one hundred sail. Let not him that puts on his armour, boast himself as he that puts it off. Then, as to the war with Spain: the Spanish interest was never before cried up in Parliament as so considerable to this State. Queen Elizabeth would never be persuaded to make peace. She always vexed them in their Indias, though she had great affection to Philip II. (fn. 32) King James, indeed, courted the peace with Spain, pleasing himself with the title of Rex Pacificus, (fn. 33) whilst he forgot to be Defensor fidei. (fn. 34) But, in the 18th of that King, he was advised by Parliament against it, and they then espoused the war. (fn. 35)
A Declaration or Remonstrance in the beginning of the Long Parliament, who were a wise Parliament, complains greatly against the peace with Spain.
It states that the King was managed by the Jesuits, having been damped before by the breaking with Spain, in the last year of King James. The interest of France was not, as they affirmed, so contrary to religion as that of Spain; and the peace made with Spain was without consent in Parliament. (fn. 36) Those things have weight with me.
Ofttimes peace with Spain has been complained of in Parliament, but this is the first time that war with Spain was complained of. You export as much commodity, and import as much from Spain, as ever you did. You will find the decay of trade, if you examine it, to proceed from another cause. Our trade is lost by occasion of the Dutch.
We had ill success in the beginning, in the West Indies; (fn. 37) but we must not judge by events. Never were things done more to the interest of the English nation than of late; or greater honour attained than from that war. Dunkirk (fn. 38) is more considerable than men are aware of.
You may make as advantageous a peace as you please with them, if you spoil it not by your discourse here. You may, I believe, have your own terms. I shall pray you to make no delay of it, for I believe the necessity of your affairs requires it.
Sir Henry Vane. We are not yet at the bottom. Many considerable things have been offered in the last matter-offact; by Mr. Secretary.
What is declared, is to me very satisfactory. He assures us there is no engagement, nothing of any private treaty, between us and the Swede, that he knows of. But may there not be an underhand, secret treaty, that he knows not of. I have heard something to that purpose, and upon very good intelligence, that there is an engagement.
If the good Providence of God had not interrupted it, I believe the question had not now been to have been decided by you. The fleet should have gone long since, but it was prevented; and if it had gone, this debate had been determined before this time. But I shall not go upon that ground, but only upon the grounds that are offered, and suit my discourse to that.
The coalition with that State, the Dutch, (fn. 39) if it had been well pursued, you had shut out all correspondency with the Spanish interest.
I am not able to see through it, nor to understand how the whole state of managing the peace with Holland, and war with Spain, hath been agreeable at all to the interest of the State, but rather, very much to the interest of a single person.
The interest then used, and the endeavouring to bring the two nations to a coalition, which had made a great progress, would have drawn off the States wholly from the Spanish interest, which now mingles much in their counsels; and if that had been then followed home, it would have made that State at that time, wholly yours.
If, when you sent ten thousand men to Jamaica, where you have left your dead men to your reproach, (fn. 40) you had sent the same fleet to the Sound, and fallen upon the Dutch, that would have done your business. You might have been a great way in Germany, and have made an emperor there yourself.
That which increases my jealousy is, that I see this affair all along managed but to support the interest of a single person, and not for the public good, the people's interest.
Our counsels have been mingled with France, and taken from the Cardinal, who goeth upon the most tyrannical principles of government in the world. The French put us upon this remote design; and out of that bow, I doubt, comes this shaft, to be sent into the Sound. Whether this looks not like a principle of Cardinal Mazarine, for your single person to get a fleet into his hands ?
I know no reason you have to send a fleet indefinitely, implicitly upon this design. The Swede is absolute possessor of both sides of the Sound, and he will make sure of the passage too, if you do but assist him ; and when he hath it, he must either give it you by new treaty, or you must take it out of his hands by force.
When one half was in the Dane's hands, and the other in the Swede's, it was then best for us, for we might be as necessary to the Dane as any other.
France, when they see an opportunity, can easily resent former injuries. This business is not fit to be so openly debated. It requires more secrecy.
A two-fold necessity has been thought of, and is put upon you.
1. It is not to be delayed till to-morrow. That will be too late. This is the very nick of time, and they put it upon you with so great necessity, that all other arguments must receive no favour.
2. You must transmit wholly to the disposal of your single person, to do what he pleases. There is nothing lost in the preparations of the fleet. Your officers, I believe, are all commissionated upon that presumption, that the militia is already in him. Nought will satisfy, unless the militia be granted in the single person within twenty-four hours.
In answer to the objection.
1. The vote will not seclude us, unless the disposal be in the single person, and by that you give away implicitly the power of the militia, before you have asserted your own right, or taken it upon yourselves. Oh! but would you make the single person no other than a Committee-man !
Yet, though loth to own it, lest you come to a Commonwealth again, so dangerous, not so much as advice will be admitted.
2. And as you do not assert your right in the militia, so you do not assert your interest, or take that part of it that belongs to you in the very business before you. You must have the persons names brought in to you to be approved.
It is told you, you are not able here to make peace or war. Neither you nor your Council can manage peace and war. Your Commander-in-Chief must do it. I hope you will express your interest as well as a declaration. Assert the practice as well as the right of the militia. Be assured of the faithfulness to the Commonwealth, first, of those persons that you send. I hope you will have an able commander, and one that hath given good testimony of his good affection towards you.
3. You must at one day give up all the interest in the militia, upon the necessity that is urged upon you; the necessity that it must be done in this manner, and no other way.
1. Assert your militia to be in you.
2. Refer it to your Commissioners, to see that no delay be in it.
3. Have your officers before you, and approve of them.
4. Appoint a Committee of your own, to advise about disposing of this to the most public advantage.
Mr. Solicitor-general. I am no great statesman, and shall only look upon your affairs as they are at this time. It is a great question how your vote shall be put in execution. Is it not our interest to go into the Sound as the Dutch do, and for the same reason? We may go there without breach with them, as well as they without breach with us, to secure that place where our interest lies. To what end did his Highness acquaint you, unless he desired your advice, and acknowledged your interest. When you desire it, do you give it up from you.
If you vote all this power in you, it is not to exclude all other; for then we are as perfect a Commonwealth as ever we were.
This is plainly to shake off a single person and another House. Before 48, it was never challenged to be in this House. In the Parliament it was, and in the single person.
Your fleet will never go out, if it stay till all these questions be determined.
Notwithstanding the Secretary's explanation, that he knew nought of any private engagement to the Swede, Sir Henry Vane had affirmed that he was confident there was an engagement that he knew not of, and that he had heard so.
Mr. Bulkeley pressed that he might explain where he heard it, and of whom. If it was any of the council that engaged, they were not fit counsellors.
He was very hot in it, for which Sir Henry Vane afterwards reprehended him, and said, he could remember it, when he saw his turn.
Mr. Turner seconded Mr. Bulkeley.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge took it off. It was not pressed.
The question being put for candles,
The House was divided. 'The Yeas went forth.
Yeas 177. Mr. Gerrard and Mr. Raleigh, Tellers.
Noes 119. Sir Arthur Haslerigge and Mr. Scot, Tellers.
After a long debate, till almost eleven, the question was put if the question be now put.
Mr. Speaker declared for the Yeas.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge declared for the Noes.
The House was divided. The Noes went forth.
Yeas 176. Mr. Raleigh and Mr. Bodurda, Tellers.
Noes 98. Sir. Arthur Haslerigge and Mr. Neville, Tellers.
So it passed in the affirmative. The main question was put.
Resolved, that it be referred to his Highness the Lord Protector to put the vote of this House concerning the preparing and putting to sea a considerable navy for the safety of this Commonwealth, and the preservation of the trade and commerce thereof, in execution; saving the interest of this House in the militia and in making of peace and war. (fn. 41)
Resolved, that Mr. Secretary Thurloe be desired to carry this vote to his Highness.
Mr. Trevor moved to adjourn till Saturday.
Resolved, that the House be adjourned till Saturday morning next, at eight of the clock. The House rose at 11.