Fourth Parliament of Great Britain : First session (1 of 3) - begins 16/2/1714

Pages 58-78

The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 5, 1713-1714. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.

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Fourth Parliament of Great Britain. ; Sir Thomas Hanmer chosen Speaker. ; Mr. Steele's Speech thereupon.

On the 16th of February, the Parliament of Great Britain met at Westminster, and the Commons, at the Desire of the Lords Commissioners appointed by her Majesty, attending their Lordships in the House of Lords, the Lord High Chancellor signified to them her Majesty's Pleasure, That they should forthwith proceed to the Choice of a fit Person to be their Speaker, and present him the Thursday following. Accordingly, the Commons being return'd to their House unanimously made Choice of (fn. 1) Sir Thomas Hanmer, Bart. to be their Speaker: Upon which Occasion Richard Steele, Esq; made the following Speech:

At the Close of the last Session of Parliament, her Majesty was graciously pleased to declare from the Throne, that the late rejected Bill of Commerce, between Great Britain and France, should be offered to the House.

That Declaration was certainly made, that every Gentleman who should have the Honour to be return'd hither, might make himself Master of that important Question.

It is Demonstration that was a most pernicious Bill, and no Man can have so great Merit to this Nation at this Time as his, by whose Weight and Authority that pernicious Bill was thrown out.

I rise up to do him (fn. 2) honour in some Measure, and distinguish my self, by saying, I wish him our Speaker, for that his inestimable Service to his Country.

(fn. 3) The new Speaker having received her Majesty's Approbation, by Lords Commissioners appointed for that Purpose, and the Members having qualified themselves, as usual, to assemble, adjourned to March 2. When her Majesty came to the House of Lords, and delivered the following Speech from the Throne.

The Queen's Speech to both Houses of Parliament.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

I Have much Satisfaction in being able, at the opening this Parliament, to tell you, that the Ratifications of the Treaties of Peace and of Commerce with Spain are exchanged, by which my Subjects will have greater Opportu nities than ever to improve and extend their Trade. Many Advantages, formerly enjoyed by Connivance, and procured by such Methods as made a Distinction between one British Merchant and another, are now settled by Treaty, and an equal Rule is established.

It has pleased God to bless my Endeavours to obtain an Honourable and Advantageous Peace for my own People, and for the greatest Part of my Allies. Nothing which I can do shall be wanting to render it universal, and I persuade my self, that, with your hearty Concurrence, my Interposition may at last prove effectual to complete the Settlement of Europe.

In the mean while, I congratulate with my own Subjects, that they are delivered from a consuming Land-War, and entered on a Peace; the good Effects whereof nothing but Intestine Divisions can obstuct.

It was the Glory of the wisest and greatest of my Predecessors, to hold the Balance of Europe, and to keep it equal by casting in their Weight as Necessity required. By this Conduct they enriched the Kingdom, and rendered themselves dreadful to their Enemies, and useful to their Friends. I have proceeded on the same Principle, and I doubt not but my Successors will follow these Examples.

'Our Situation points out to us our true Interest; for this Country can flourish only by Trade, and will be most formidable by the right Application of our Naval Force.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I have ordered such Accounts to be prepared and laid before you, as will shew you, at the Conclusion of the War, the true State of your Condition, whereby you will be better able to judge what Aids are necessary; and I only ask of you Supplies for the current Service of the Year, and for the Discharge of such Debts as you shall find, on Examination, to be just and reasonable.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

The Joy which has been generally expressed on my Recovery from my late Indisposition, and on my Coming to this City, I esteem as a Return to that tender Affection I have always had for my People.

I wish that effectual Care had been taken, as I have often desired, to suppress those seditious Papers, and factious Rumours, by which designing Men have been able to sink Credit, and the Innocent have suffered.

There are some who are arrived to that Height of Malice, as to insinuate, that the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, is in Danger under my Government.

Those who go about thus to distract the Minds of Men, with imaginary Dangers, can only mean to disturb the present Tranquillity, and to bring real Mischiefs upon us.

'After all I have done to secure our Religion, and your Liberties, and to transmit both safe to Posterity, I cannot mention these Proceedings without some Degree of Warmth; and I must hope you will all agree with me, that Attempts to weaken my Authority, or to render the Possession of the Crown uneasy to me, can never be proper Means to strengthen the Protestant Succession.

I have done, and shall continue to do my best for the good of all my Subjects. Let it be your Endeavour, as it shall be mine, to unite our Differences, not by relaxing from the strictest Adherence to our Constitution in Church and State, but by observing the Laws yourselves, and enforcing a due Obedience to them in others.

A long War has not only impoverished the Public (however some particular Men may have been Gainers by it) but has also greatly affected the Government itself.

Let it be your Care so to improve the present Opportunity, as to lay the Foundation of recovering it from those Disorders.

'I had the Concurrence of the last Parliament in making the Peace; let it be the Honour of this, to assist me in obtaining such Fruits from it, as may not only derive Blessings on the present Age, but even down to latest Posterity.'

Mr. Gore's Motion for an Address of Thanks. ; Sir Peter King's Remark thereon.

The Commons being return'd to their House, and their Speaker having reported her Majesty's Speech, Mr. Gore moved, that an humble Address be presented her Majesty, to return the humble (fn. 4) Thanks of that House, for her most Gracious Speech; and according to the several Heads of it, which was resolv'd accordingly, without any Opposition. Sir Peter King only suggested, That they ought not to act by a Spirit of Divination, and return Thanks for the Treaty of Commerce with Spain, before they knew, whether the same was Advantageous or no. Which occasioned some Modification in the Address, as to that Head.

On the 4th of March, Mr. Gore reported the said Address to the House, and the same being agreed to, was, the next Day, presented to the Queen, as follows:

Most Gracious Sovereign,

The Address.

We Your Majesty's most Dutiful and Loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, do with all Humility, return our sincere and hearty Thanks for your Majesty's most Gracious Speech from the Throne.

We beg Leave to assure your Majesty, that as nothing could be more afflicting to your People, than the Indisposition of the Best of Sovereigns; so nothing has ever been an Occasion of greater Joy and Satisfaction to them, than your Majesty's late happy Recovery.

We congratulate your Majesty on the Conclusion of the Treaties of Peace and Commerce with Spain, whereby your Majesty is pleas'd to declare, That you have procured new Benefits to your Subjects: But your Royal Care hath not been confined to your own People; It hath been extended to all your Allies. And your Majesty's Goodness must be for ever admired, that, notwithstanding any Discouragements you may have met with, you are pleas'd still to continue your Endeavours to make the Peace Universal, and thereby to complete the Settlement of Europe; and your faithful Commons will never be wanting in an hearty Concurrence to assist your Majesty in all such Measures as your Majesty shall judge proper to finish a Design, so Great and so Glorious.

Your Commons will with all Cheerfulness grant such Supplies as are necessary for the current Service, and for the Discharge of such Debts as are just and reasonable; they can never sufficiently express the Sense they have of their Happiness of being delivered from the Calamities of a consuming War, they will therefore (in Duty to your Majesty, and in Justice to those they represent) do all that is in their Power, that the good Effects of Peace may not be obstructed by any Intestine Divisions: They will, as far as in them lies, disappoint the Designs of malicious and unreasonable Men: They will, on all Occasions, shew their just Abhorrence of the licentious Practices in publishing scandalous Papers, and spreading seditious Rumours. And as your Commons will always support and maintain the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover, they can't but be astonished at the malicious Insinuations of any who would suggest, That Succession to be in Danger under your Majesty's most auspicious Government. For, when we consider that tis secured by the greatest Obligations Civil and Sacred, by Acts of Parliament, Oaths and Treaties, we cannot but declare our entire Acquiescence in these Securities, and must look upon such Insinuations to be groundless in themselves, and affronting to your Majesty and Your Government.

And your Majesty may depend, that your loyal Commons will never be prevailed on by any Pretences whatsoever, to countenance Attempts that may tend to weaken your Majesty's Authority, and to render the possession of the Crown uneasy to you, which can only proceed from the Rage of a disappointed Faction, and the Spirit of Rebellion.

The Queen's Answer.

To this Address the Queen return'd the following Answer.

This Address is so dutiful and expresses so fully the Sense of my loyal Subjects, that I esteem it as a Proof of the good Choice they have made of you to represent them.

I give you my hearty Thanks for it.

The Confidence you have in my Affection, the Abhorrence you declare of the malicious Insinuations of the Protestant Succession being in Danger under my Government; and your Acquiescence in the present Securities for it, are very suitable Returns for the tender Regard, I have always had for what concerns my People, and will most effectually, by the Blessing of God, unite the Minds of my Subjects, and disappoint the Designs of those who would disturb the present Tranquillity.'

The Speaker having reported this Answer to the House it was resolved to return her Majesty the humble Thanks of the House for the same.

Resolutions about the qualifying of Members.

The 6th the House, in a grand Committee, considered the Act of the Ninth Year of her Majesty's Reign, intitled, An Act for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by the farther Qualifying the Members to sit in the House of Commons; and came to the following Resolutions.

I. That, notwithstanding the Oath taken by any Candidate, on or after any Election, his Qualification may be afterwards examined into.

II. That the Person whose Qualification is expresly objected to in any Petition, relating to his Election, shall, within fifteen Days after the Petition read, give to the Clerk of the House of Commons, a Paper signed by himself, containing a Rental or Particular of the Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, whereby he makes out his Qualification: Of which any Person concern'd may have a Copy.

III. That of such Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, whereof the Party hath been in Possession for three Years before the Election, he shall also insert in the same Paper, from what Person, and by what Conveyance, or Act in Law, he claims and derives the same; and also the Consideration, if any paid, and the Names and Places of Abode of the Witnesses to such Conveyance and Payment.

IV. That, if a fitting Member shall think fit to question the Qualification of a Petitioner, he shall, within fifteen Days after the Petition read, leave Notice thereof in Writing with the Clerk of the House of Commons; and the Petioner shall, in such Case, within fifteen Days after such Notice, leave with the said Clerk of the House the like Account in Writing of his Qualification, as is required from a fitting Member.

After having taken these Resolutions, the House adjourned to the 9th, when the same were reported, and with an Amendment to one of them, agreed to by the House.

Accounts and Estimates ordered to be laid before the House.

After which, the Resolution for granting a Supply being reported and agreed to, the House ordered to be laid before them, 1. An Account of the Deficiency of the Moneys granted in the Year 1713. 2. An Estimate of the Ordinary of the Navy for the Year 1714, with the half-pay to the Seaofficers and Marines. 3. An Account for the Extraordinaries for the Guards, Garrisons, and Land-forces for the Year 1713. and also of the growing Charges for the Guards, Garrisons and Land-forces, for the Year 1714. 4. A State of the Debts due to the Army at Christmas last, distinguished under the several Heads of Subsistance, Off-reckonings, and Clearings. 5. An Estimate of the Charge of the Office of Ordnance by Land service for the Year 1714. 6. A State of the Debt of the Navy to Christmas last. 7. An Account of all the Ships in Sea-pay, which had been employed, with the several Complements or Number of Men, borne or mustered from the first of July last, to the first of March Instant. 8. An Account of all Orders for discharging of any Ships since the first of July last, the Date of those Orders, and the Time of their Discharge. 9. An Estimate of the Sum that will be wanting to complete the Fund of the South-sea Company for the Year 1714. 10. An Account of all Ships in Sea-pay, which had been employed, with the several Complements or Number of Men borne or mustered from the 25th of December 1712, to the first Day of July last: And resolved That an Address be presented to her Majesty, by the Members that were of the Privy-Council, that the proper Officers might be directed to lay before the House the said several States, Accounts, and Estimates; which was accordingly presented and complied with.

Complaint lodg'd by Mr. Foley against Mr. Steele.

The next Day, the whole House, in a Committee, considered further of the Act for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by the further qualifying the Members to fit in the House of Commons. But came not to any farther Resolution: And then they 'ordered Accounts to be laid before the House of what Money was issued for the Service of the Navy, out of the Funds granted by Parliament for the Service of the Years 1712, and 1713, and to what Uses applied; distinguish'd under the several Heads thereof.' On the 11th, a Bill was ordered to be brought in for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limiting the Number of Officers in the House of Commons: After which it was moved to take into consideration that Part of her Majesty's Speech to both Houses of Parliament, which related to the suppressing seditious Libels and factious Rumours. This Motion being levelled at Richard Steele, Esq; a Member (Mr. Arthur Moore) represented, That that Gentleman having the Honour to be a Member of that House, they ought not to full upon him, while he was absent; and thereupon it was resolved, to put off the Consideration of that matter till the Saturday following. The next Day, Mr. Auditor Foley made a Complaint to the House of three printed Pamphlets, one entitled, 'The Englishman, fromSaturday, January 16 to Tuesday, Jannary 19, 1713 / 14, wherein is a printed Letter to the Englishman, to which is subscribed the Name Richard Steele: Another entitled, The Crisis; in the Title Page whereof it is said, By Richard Steele, Esq; And the other entitled, The Englishman, being the Close of the Paper so called; in the Title Page whereof it is also, By Richard Steele, Esq; As containing several Paragraphs tending to Sedition, highly reflecting upon her Majesty, and arraigning her Adminstration and Government:' Which Pamphlets being brought up to the Table, it was ordered that Richard Steele, Esq; a Member of that House, should attend in his Place next Morning. After this it was resolved to address her Majesty, That she would be pleased to direct the proper Officers to lay before that House,

Accounts, &c. call'd for.

I. An Account of the Expence of the Navy and Victualling, between the 30th of September 1710, and the 31 st of December following.

II. An Account of the Sum Total, of which the Capital of the South-Sea Stock did consist on the 25th of December, 1713. And also of the particular Tallies and Orders, Bills, Tickets, Certificates and Debentures, which have been taken or admitted into the said Joint-stock, and the Sums for which they respectively were taken.

III. An Account how much of the Capital of the SouthSea-Stock, has been admitted, or subscribed for the Use of the Public, and at what Time the whole, or any Part thereof was actually admitted or subscribed, and what Interest hath been paid or Dividend made thereupon, to whom, and at what Time.

IV. That an Account be laid before this House, how much of the Public Stock has been transferr'd Half-Yearly, and to what Uses it has been applied, and what remains of it.

V. An Estimate of the Value of the Stores, which were in the several Yards of the Navy at Christmas 1710, and also at Christmas 1713

And VI. An Account of the Ships and old Stores, which have been sold in the Year 1712, and 1713, and for how much they were so sold.

Mr. Quin committed to the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms.

The same Day Mr. Speaker acquainted the House, That the Day before he receiv'd a Letter sign'd by one John Qnin, with a Petition enclos'd, drawn in a Form to be presented to the House, in which Letter was contain'd a Scandalous Offer of a Sum of Money to be paid to him, upon Passing such an Act of Parliament as was desir'd in the said Petition: Which Letter being read, the said John Quin was order'd to be sent for immediately into the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, and was afterwards examin'd touching the said Letter.

Order'd out of Custody.

The next Day the said Mr. Quin, an Irish Gentleman, put up a Petition to the House, 'Acknowledging his Offence, as being committed by him through Inadvertency and Ignorance, being a Stranger, and unacquainted with the Method of obtaining Acts of Parliament, and begging Pardon of Mr. Speaker and the House, for his Offence; and praying to be discharg'd out of Custody' Which being read, it was order'd that the said Quin be brought upon Monday Morning next to the Bar of the House; where having upon his Knees, receiv'd a Reprimand from Mr. Speaker, he was order'd out of Custody paying his Fees.

Mr. Steele allow'd four Days to prepare for his Defence.

Mr. Steele attending in his Place, according to Order, on the 13th, several Paragraphs in the Printed Pamphlets, complain'd of the Day before, were read: And Mr. Steele desiring time till Thursday next, to be heard touching the same, the further Consideration of the said Pamphlets, was order'd to be adjourn'd to that Day. The same Day, the Consideration of that Part of her Majesty's Speech, relating to Libels, was put off till that Day Se'ennight.

His Motion about the Papers relating to Dunkirk carried in the Negative.

The 15th, Mr. Steele moved, and the Question was propos'd, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, that she would be pleased to give Directions; that the several Representations of her Majesty's Engineers and Officers, who have had the Care and Inspection of the Demolition of Dunkirk, and all Orders and Instructions given thereupon, might be laid before the House.' But the previous Question being put; whether that Question be now put, it was carried in the Negative, by 214 Voices against 109.

Accounts call'd for. ; Bills to regulate the Forces. ; Resolutions for a Bill to prevent the Running of Wool. ; Place-Bill read the first Time. ; Papers relating to the Pretenders Removal from Lorrain call'd for.

The same Day, the House resolv'd to address her Majesty, that an Account be laid before the House of the Funds for the Payment of the Annuities to the East-India Company, to Michaelmas last, and then a Bill was order'd to be brought in, for the better Regulating the Forces to be continued in her Majesty's Service, and for the Payment of the said Forces, and of their Quarters. After this Sir Edward Knatchbull reported from the Committee, to whom it was referred, to consider of proper Heads for a Bill, for the more effectual preventing the Running of Wool, that they had prepared proper Heads for that Purpose, which they had directed him to report to the House; and he read the same in his Place, and afterwards delivered them in at the Table, where they were read, and agreed unto by the House, and are as follows, viz. 1. That the Register or Entry of all Unwrought Wool be made throughout the whole Kingdoms of Great-Britain and Ireland. 2. That all Permits or Sufferances, whereby any Unwrought Wool is removed, be extended to all the Persons that shall buy it, or to whose Use it shall be delivered. 3. That all Persons receiving any Unwrought Wool, do give a Receipt for the same, that it may be traced, through the several Hands, till the same be fully manufactured. 4. That upon Information of any Quantity of Unwrought Wool, or Woollen Yarn, that is run, any Justice of the Peace of the County, shall have Power to summon the Party; and upon Conviction, to levy a Penalty upon his Goods and Chattles; out of which, the Informer, Aider and Assister, is to be rewarded. 5. That all Persons removing Wool at any time, except between Sun and Sun, shall be liable to the Penalty, and be deemed Runners of Wool. 6. That all Persons have Power to seize the Person or Persons, as well as the Wool, of such who shall remove it in the Night-time. 7. That not above— Men shall be allowed to travel with any Waggon, Cart, or other Carriage of Wool; and not above —Men to — Horses loaded with Wool, and if such Person or Persons be found armed, to be deemed Runner or Runners of Wool, and be liable to the same Penalties. 8. That every Custom-house Officer, or others concerned in the Execution of this Act, shall be obliged to grant a Permit or Sufferance when demanded. 9. That every Custom-house Officer, or others concerned in the Execution of this Act, shall be obliged to discharge his Book from the Entry upon the Sufferance granted. 10. That every Customhouse Officer, or others concerned in the Execution of this Act, who upon Informatoin shall refuse or neglect to apprehend the Person or Persons of those, who shall be concerned in Running of Wool, shall suffer the Penalty of—: And a Bill was ordered to be brought in, upon the said Resolutions. Then Sir Arthur Kay presented to the House, a Bill for Securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limiting the Number of Officers in the House of Commons; which was read the first Time, and order'd a second Reading: After which upon the Motion of the Lord Lumley, seconded by the Earl of Hertford, it was resolv'd, Nemine Contradicente, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, That she will be pleas'd to order an Account to be laid before the House, what Steps have been made for the removing the Pretender, from the Dominions of the Duke of Lorrain, pursuant to the Address of both Houses of the last Parliament; and what Answers have been given to her Majesty, or any of her Ministers, by the Duke of Lorrain, or any of his Ministers. And Ordered, That the said Address be presented by such Members of this House as are of her Majesty's Privy-Council.'

Accounts call'd for. ; 10,000 Seamen voted for the Year 1714.

The 17th, it was resolv'd to address her Majesty, that there be laid before them, 1. An Account of the Deficiency at Michaelmas 1713, of the Yearly Fund of 186670 l. for the Classis Lottery of Two Millions, in the Year 1711; And an Account of the Deficiency at Michaelmas 1713, of the Yearly Fund of 168003 l. for the Classis Lottery of 1800000 l. in the Year 1712. Then, in a Grand Committee, on the Supply, it was resolv'd. That ten thousand Men be allow'd for the Sea-Service, for the Year 1714, beginning from the first Day of January 1713; And that a Sum not exceeding 4 l. a Man per Month, be allow'd for maintaining the said ten thousand Men, for thirteen Months, including the Ordnance for Sea-Service: Which Resolutions being on Thursday the 18th of March reported by Mr. Conyers, were agreed to.

Proceedings on Mr. Steele's Case.

The House being informed, that many Persons (some of great Quality) were in the Galleries, and in the Speaker's Chamber, who refused to withdraw; the Orders of the second Instant, were read against Strangers, being in the House and Galleries, and for clearing the Speaker's Chambers, and locking the Back-doors, and bringing the Key to the Table; and it was Ordered, That the Serjeant at Arms attending this House, do take into Custody such Strangers as shall refuse to withdraw out of the Galleries and Speaker's Chamber. Then the Order of the Day being read, for taking into further Consideration the printed Pamphlets, complained of to the House, intituled, The Englishman, from Saturday January 16, to Tuesday January 19, 1714; The Englishman, being the Close of the Paper so called; and the Crisis; as containing several Paragraphs, tending to Sedition, highly reflecting upon her Majesty, and arraigning her Administration and Government: And Mr. Steele appearing in his Place, owned he wrote and publish'd the said Pamphlets, and the several Paragraphs therein, which had been complained of, and read to the House, with the same Chearfulness and Satisfaction, with which he had abjured the Pretender. Then a Debate arising upon the Method of Proceeding, Mr. Auditor Foley propos'd, that Mr. Steele should withdraw; but, after several Speeches it was carried, without dividing, That he should stay, in order to make his Defence. He desired that he might be allow'd to answer to what might be urged against him, Paragraph by Paragraph: But tho' he was powerfully supported by Mr. Walpole, General Stanhope, the Lord Finch, (eldest Son to the Earl of Nottingham,) and the Lord Hinchingbrooke, Son to the Earl of Sandwich, yet Mr. Steele's Accusers insisted, and it was carried, That he should proceed to make his Defence, generally, upon the Charge given against him. Mr. Steele proceeded accordingly, to make his Defence: And, for near three Hours, spoke to the several Heads extracted out of the three Pamphlets above-mentioned, (which had been printed, and given to all the Members) with such a Temper, Modesty, Unconcern, easy and manly Eloquence, as gave entire Satisfaction to all, who were not inveterately prepossess'd against him.

Mr. Foley's Speech. ; Mr. Walpole.

Mr. Steele being withdrawn, and Candles order'd to be brought in, most Members expected, that Mr. Auditor Foley would have sum'd up, and answer'd Mr. Steele's Defence, Paragraph by Paragraph; but he contented himself with saying, in general, 'That, without amusing the House with long Speeches, it was plain to every Body, that the Writings that had been complain'd of, were seditious, and scandalous, Injurious to her Majesty's Government, the Church, and the Universities, and moved that the Question should be put thereupon.' This occasioned a very warm Debate, that lasted till Eleven o'Clock at Night: Robert Walpole, Esq; who spoke in Favour of Mr. Steele, made a very long and most eloquent Speech, wherein he went to the Bottom of the Affair; shew'd that this violent Prosecution, struck at the Liberties of the Subject, in general, and of the Members of that House, in particular; justify'd Mr. Steele, on all the Heads of the Accusation raised against him; and said, he hoped the House would not sacrifice one of their Members to the Resentment and Rage of the Ministry, for no other Crime, than his exposing their notorious Mismanagements; and like a good Patriot, warning his Countrymen against the imminent Dangers, with which the Nation in general, and, in particular, her Majesty's Sacred Person, were threatned, by the visible Encouragement that was given to the Petender's Friends. 'If a Papist, said Mr. Walpole, or to that Purpose, nay an Irish Papist, who for many Years has been a Servant to the late King James, and the Pretender, (meaning Sir Patrick Lawless) one who has borne Arms against her Majesty in France and Spain; one who is strongly suspected, of having embrued his Hands in the Blood of the late Duke of Medina Celi, and Marquess of Leganez: If, said he, such a Man be not only permitted to come into England, but to appear at Court, in the Presence-Chamber: If he be caressed by the Ministers: Nay, I speak it with Horror, if such a Man be admitted to her Majesty's private Audience in her Closet, will not every good Subject, think her Majesty's Person in Danger? And is it then a Crime in Mr. Steele, to shew his just Concern, for so precious a Life?

As to that Passage of Mr. Steele's Crisis, wherein he says, That a late treasonable Book, on the Succession of Hereditary Right, has publish'd the Will of King Henry the Eighth, which seems to be intended as a Pattern for the like Occasion. And a little lower, Let those who act under the present Settlement, and yet pretend to dispute for an absolute Hereditary Right, quiet themselves with the Arguments they have borrowed from Popery: Mr. Walpole said, it could not be denied, 'That the Lord Treasurer was the Patron of learned Men, for whose Use and Improvement, he had set up a fine Library; and that it appear'd by the Book call'd, the Hereditary Right of the Crown of England asserted, &c. that the Author had free Access to that Library, and had drawn very material Passages out of some Manuscripts in it. But that the Lord Treasurer's Care, to supply him with Materials towards that Work, went yet further, since his Lordship had employ'd a Man to look among old, musty Papers, the Will and Testament of King Henry VIII. which the said Author had inserted at Length in the Appendix to his Book. That he appeal'd to Mr. Lowndes, a Member of the House, and Secretary to the Treasury, whether he had not paid, by the Lord Treasurer's Order, 12 or 14 l. to the Person that had made that great Discovery; but that, in case he should deny it, he, Mr. Walpole, had Evidence to prove it.' Mr. Lowndes, seem'd not to deny the Fact. 'He only said, that Will was not so rare a Piece, since it was to be seen in a Place he named, in Westminster-Abbey.'

On this Occasion, Mr. Walpole mentioned three Points, in which he endeavour'd to prove the Peace had been already broke. 'The first, he said, was the Demolition of Dunkirk, which ought to have been finish'd five Months after the signing of the Treaty: But that instead of that, the French had, yet only pull'd down Part of the outward Fortifications, without touching the Foundations; which, on the one hand, rendred the English Garrison useless, and exposed to any Insults, and, on the other Hand, would afterwards make it easy for the French to restore and rebuild those Fortifications; which was the more probable to be in their Thoughts, since, instead of ruining the Harbour, they were actually repairing the Sluices, and working on a new Canal. That the 2d Point, was the Renunciations of the Princes of the House of Bourbon, which were laid down as the Foundations and Basis of the Peace, on Pretence that thereby the Crowns of France and Spain, will be more divided than ever: But that supposing, (what he could not by any Means grant) that those Renunciations were to be depended upon, they were yet conditional, and suppos'd the Emperor's Renunciation to the Crown of Spain: And therefore, as no Care had been taken to engage his Imperial Majesty to agree to that necessary Condition, so the Renunciations of the Princes of the House of Bourbon, became thereby not binding, or void.' The third Instance which Mr. Walpole gave of the Violation of the Peace, was the French King's Ordinance, dated September 18th, N. S. 1713. forbidding the Children of French Refugees, tho' born out of his Dominions, to come into them, without his Permission, upon Pain of being sent to the Galleys. Mr. Walpole farther represented. 'That the said Ordinance was against Natural Right, and the Law of Nations, and, in particular, derogatory from the Rights and Liberties of the British Nation, which the Children of the Refugees born in England, were entituled to enjoy, as well as the other Natives. That he would adventure to say in their Behalf, that it were to be wish'd, that all who have the Happiness to be born in England, were as good Englishmen as the Sons of the Refugees; and that the British Nation, was the more concern'd in having that Ordinance repeal'd, in that the Refugees and their Children, were the fittest to carry on a Trade with France.'

Mr. Hor. Walpole.

Mr. Horatio Walpole back'd, what his Brother Robert said in Favour of the French Refugees; and 'deplored the lamentable Condition of their Ministers and the Poor amongst them, to whom the Lord Treasurer, had not paid one Penny of the 15000 l. per Annum, voted by Parliament, and allow'd in the Civil List, toward their Assistance and Relief, since he came into his Office.' He said to that Purpose, 'That some amongst them, suffer'd now more in England, than they did during the Persecution in France; since there were always some charitable People who reliev'd them while they were in Prisons and Dungeons, whereas here they were let starve.'

Lord Finch. ; Sir William Wyndham.

My Lord Finch, back'd also Mr. Robert Walpole, and gave early, pregnant Proofs, of the Eloquence hereditary in his noble Family. His Lordship, among other Things, endeavour'd to justify Mr. Steele, with relation to the nicest and tenderest Part of the Charge against him, viz. his Third Wish, in the Close of his last Englishman, That his Electoral Highness of Hanover, would be so grateful as to signify to all the World; the perfect good Understanding he has with the Court of England, in as plain Terms, as her Majesty was pleased to declare she had with that House, on her Part, He said thereupon, 'That, supposing there were in this Wish, some injurious Insinuation, yet the same, could not, without Injustice, be apply'd to the Queen, but only to her Ministers: That no Body doubted the good Understanding between her Majesty and the House of Hanover; but that it was notorious, that the Ministers shew'd no great Regard to that Illustrious House, Witness, (to pass over other Instances) the Slight they put upon the Baron Bothmar's Memorial; which the Queen had perhaps, never seen, had not the Dutchess of Somerset, shew'd it her Majesty in Print, in the Daily Courant.' My Lord Finch likewise justify'd Mr. Steele, in relation to his Reflections on the Peace: We may, said his Lordship, give it all the fine Epithets we please; but Epithets do not change the Nature of Things. We may, if we please, call it here honourable; but I am sure it is accounted scandalous in Holland Germany, Portugal, and over all Europe except France and Spain. We may call it advantageous, but all the Trading Part of the Nation, find it to be otherwise: And if it be really advantageous, it must be so to the Ministry that made it.' Sir William Wyndham saying thereupon, 'That the Ministry would not say that the Peace was advantageous to them:' The Lord Finch very smartly reply'd, Then 'twas plain, it was advantageous to no body.

Mr. Steele expell'd the House.

My Lord Lumley, Son to the E. of Scarborough, my Lord Hinchinbroke, and some other Members, spoke with a great deal of Vivacity in Favour of Mr. Steele, and against the Conduct of Ministry: But Mr. Auditor Foley, Sir William Wyndham, the Attorney General, and some other Courtiers, being supported by a great Majority, which, in popular Assemblies and Consultations, generally supplies the Want of Arguments, still insisted on the Question, so that at last, it was carried by 245 Voices, against 152, First, 'That a printed Pamphlet, intituled, The Englishman, being the Close of the Paper so called, and one other Pamphlet, entituled, The Crisis, written by Richard Steele, Esq; a Member of this House; are scandalous and seditious Libels, containing many Expressions highly reflecting upon her Majesty, and upon the Nobility, Clergy, Gentry and Universities of this Kingdom, maliciously insinuating, that the Protestant Succession in the House of Hanover is in Danger under her Majesty's Administration, and tending to alienate the Affections of her Majesty's good Subjects, and to create Jealousies and Divisions among them. Secondly, That Richard Steele, Esq; for his Offence in Writing, and Publishing the said scandalous and seditious Libels, be expell'd this House.'

Mr. Bailie. ; Sir James Steuart.

It is observable that two (fn. 5) Scotch Members only spoke in this long Debate, to wit, Mr. Bailie, and Sir James Steuart, Judge Advocate in North-Britain. The first said, 'He was little acquainted with the Affairs of England, but had made it his Business, to know those of his own Country; and that, by all the Observations he could make for some Years past, they who appear'd the most zealous for the Pretender's Interest, were the most favour'd and countenanc'd, by those in Power.' This was confirm'd by Sir James Steuart, who added, 'That to his certain Knowledge, three or four thousand Pounds had been yearly remitted to the Highland Clans, whose Chiefs; and the Men under their Command, were known to be entirely devoted to the Chevalier.'

Place-Bill read the second Time. ; Regimental List of the Half-pay Officers call'd for.

On the 19th, the Bill for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limiting the Number of Officers in the House of Commons, was read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the whole House; after which it was resolved to address her Majesty, That a Regimental List of the Half-pay Officers for the Year, 1714, might be laid before the House.

A Bill to take off 3 d. per Pound of the Drawback upon Tobacco exported to Ireland. ; Place-Bill ordered to be engrossed. ; Commissions of Commissaries of Trade called for. ; The Commons adjourned for a Week.

The Parliament of Ireland having been prorogued to the Month of August next, before they had provided for the Maintenance of the Government in that Kingdom, a Project was set on Foot here to supply that Defect by retrenching the Drawbacks upon Goods exported thither from England. According to this Scheme, the 22d, the House, in a grand Committee, considered the present Laws with respect to Drawbacks upon Tobaccoes, Muslings, and East-India Silks, carried to Ireland; and came to two Resolutions, which were reported the next Day, and with an Amendment to one of them agreed to by the House, as follows: viz. '1. That Three Pence per Pound, Part of the Drawback on Tobacco to be exported from Great Britain for Ireland, be taken off. 2. That the said Diminution of the Drawback do take Effect upon all Tobacco exported for Ireland, after the 24th of March 1713, and continue until the Additional Duty of three Pence Half-penny per Pound upon Tobacco in Ireland, expiring on the said 24th Day of March be regranted:' And ordered a Bill to be brought in upon the said Resolutions. The same Day, the Commons, in a Committee of the whole House, took into Consideration the Bill for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limiting the Number of Officers in that House, and made several Amendments to the same, which were on the 24th reported, and, with an Amendment to one of them, agreed unto by the House, and the Bill, with the Amendments was ordered to be engrossed. After this, it was resolved to address her Majesty for 'a Copy of the Commission appointing Commissaries on her Majesty's Part, to treat with Commissaries of France concerning the Trade of both Kingdoms;' as also for 'Copies of all Commissions appointing Commissaries to treat, in Matters relating to Trade, with the Commissaries of any foreign Princes or States, since the Time of the Restoration:' And then the House adjourned till that Day seven-night, by Reason of the Easter Holy-days.

Bill to prevent the Running of Wool.

The 31st Sir Edward Knatchbul presented to the House a Bill for the more effectual preventing the Running of Wool, which was receiv'd and read the first Time: After which it was resolv'd to present two Addresses to the Queen, that she would be pleased to direct the proper Officers to lay before the House, 'An Account of the Charge of Provisions furnished by the Commissioners for Victualling her Majesty's Navy, to Land Forces or Garrisons, since the First of August, 1710, when and for what Services the same were supplied, and what Money has been received by the Treasurer of the Navy, towards reimbursing the said Expence. Secondly, An Account of the Produce of the Duties and Customs upon French Goods for the two last Years, ending at Christmas last; as also, an Account of what Surplusage, or Unappropriated Money, has been paid into the Exchequer since Michaelmas, 1710, and to what Uses the same has been issued and applied.' Mr. Gwyn, Secretary at War, presented several Estimates to the House, which, with some others, were referr'd to the Grand Committee of the Supply.

Bill to lessen the Drawback on Tobacco exported to Ireland.

April 1, the Directors of the South-Sea Company were order'd to lay before the House, the Reasons, why the Sufferers at Nevis and St. Christopher's, had not been admitted to subscribe the Debentures into the Stock of the said Company; and Mr. Conyers presented to the House, according to Order, a Bill for lessening the Drawback on Tobacco, carried into Ireland, which was receiv'd, and read the first Time.

Papers about the Pretender laid before the House, and others call'd for. ; Supply voted. ; Papers call'd for.

The 2d, the Commons resolv'd to address the Queen, 'for an Account of the Deficiencies arising upon an Act, pass'd in the 3d and 4th Years of her Majesty's Reign, for granting to her Majesty, a further Subsidy on Wines and Merchandizes imported:' After which Mr. Secretary Bromley, also, presented to the House, pursuant to their Address to her Majesty, 'An Account of what Steps had been taken for removing the Pretender from the Dominions of the Duke of Lorrain, pursuant to the Addresses of both Houses of the last Parliament; and what (fn. 6) Answers have been given to her Majesty, or any of her Ministers, by the Duke of Lorrain, or any of his Ministers, and also a Copy of two Letters in French; the one being an Answer of the Baron Le Begue to a Letter from the Bishop of London, dated November 9, 1713, and the other being a Letter of the Duke of Lorrain to the Baron Le Begue, dated November 27, 1713.' And the said Account was read, after which it was Order'd, That the said Copies of the said Letters be referred to a Committee to translate, and report the same to the House. A Committee was accordingly appointed; and Resolved, 'That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, That she would be pleased to direct, That an Account be laid before this House, what Instances had been used with the Emperor, for the revoking the Passport granted by him, for the Pretender's residing in the Dominions of the Duke of Lorrain, or against renewing the same.'Then the House, in a Grand Committee on the Supply, 'Resolv'd to grant the Sum of 245,700 l. 00 s. 3 d. for the Ordinary of the Navy, for the Year 1714, including Half-Pay to the Sea-Officers.' After which it was resolv'd, to present four Addresses to the Queen, that her Majesty would be pleased to direct the proper Officers to lay before the House, 1st, An Account of the Charge of the General and Staff Officers, and of the Expence of each Garrison of Great Britain, for the Year 1714. 2dly, An Account of the State of the Fortifications and Harbour of Dunkirk, and what Representations had been made, from time to time, by the Engineers and Officers, appointed to inspect the Domolition of the same, with the Answers thereto, and the Orders given thereupon. 3dly, An Account of what Instructions had been given for the settling the Trade with Flanders; and what Progress hath been made therein. And 4thly, An Account of what Forces were in her Majesty's Pay, in the Year 1711, and what are now subsisting.

Place Bill pass'd. ; Resolutions on the Supply.

The 5th, An Engrossed Bill for securing the Freedom of Parliaments, by limiting the Number of Officers in the House of Commons, was read the third time, amended, pass'd, and sent to the Lords for their Concurrence: After which a Bill was order'd to be brought in, for allowing a Draw-back upon the Exportation of Salt, to be made use of, for curing of Fish, taken in the North Seas, or at Iseland; and, in a Grand Committee on the Supply, Resolv'd, 'That a Sum not exceeding 498085 l. 10 s. be granted to her Majesty, to make good (for the Services of the Navy) the like Sum, which, in the Year commencing from Christmas 1713, is to be paid by the Treasurer of the Navy, by Quarterly Payments to the South-Sea Company, pursuant to the Act of Parliament in that behalf.

2. That the Number of Men to be allow'd for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Jersey and Guernsey, for the Year 1714, be Eight thousand two hundred thirty two Men, Commission and Non-Commission Officers, and the two Independent Companies in North Britain included. Which Resolutions were, on the 7th of April, reported and agreed unto by the House.

Papers about the Pretender call'd for.

The same Day the Commons resolv'd to address her Majesty, That an Account of the present State and Condition of the Navy, might be laid before them; and then unanimously resolv'd, to consider of the State of the Nation, with regard to the Protestant Succession, that Day Seven-night: In order to which they also resolv'd to address the Queen, 'That the Letter from the Bishop of London to the Baron de Begue, Minister of the Duke of Lorrain to the States-General, concerning the Removal of the Pretender, from the Dominions of the Duke of Lorrain, might be laid before the House.

Three Addresses ordered. ; Bill for Relief of the Tobacco Merchants.

The 8th, it was resolved to present three Addresses to her Majesty, that she would be pleased to order to be laid before them, 1. An Account of the State of the Negociations of the several Treaties of Peace, between her Majesty and her Allies and France and Spain, and of the Obstructions, which occured in carrying on the said Negociations. 2. An Account what Licences, Privy-Seals, or Passports have been granted since the Year 1688, to Persons outlawed or attainted in Great Britain or Ireland, or who have borne Arms in the Service of her Majesty's, or the late King's Enemies, for their returning into these Dominions. And 3. A Copy of the Articles and Capitulations of Limerick and Gallway. Then the House proceeded to the hearing of the Merits of the Election of the of Linlithgow; and the Counsel on both Sides were called in; and the Petition of John Howston, Esq; complaining of the said Election, was read; and the Writings produced as Evidences, both for the Petitioner and sitting Member were read, and the Council on both Sides were heard and then they withdrew. Then a Motion being made, and the Question put, That Sir James Carmichell, Bart. had a Right to vote for a Commissioner to serve in this present Parliament for the Shire of Linlithgow; it passed in the Negative. Another Motion being made, and the Question put, That Sir James Carmichell, Bart. is duly elected a Commissioner to serve in this present Parliament, for the Shire of Linlithgow; it passed in the Negative. And resolved, That John Howston, Esq; is duly elected a Commissioner for the Shire of Linlithgow. The same Day, upon the reading a Petition of the Merchants of London, trading in Tobacco, on behalf of themselves, and the Planters of Virginia and Maryland, it was ordered, that a Bill be brought in for the Relief of the Petitioners: But a Petition of the Merchants of London, trading to and from Virginia and Maryland, against the Bill for lessening the Drawback on Tobacco carried to Ireland, being offered to the House, and the Question put, That the Petition be brought up, it passed in the Negative.

Account of the Moneys paid to the Highland Clans; and other Papers called for. ; Resolutions on the Supply.

The 9th, the Commons resolv'd to address her Majesty, 1. For 'an Account of all Sums of Money, which had been paid to the Highland Clans in North Britain since the Year 1688, with the Names of the respective Persons, to whom any such Sums have been paid, and by whom. 2. For the State of the Garrisons in North Britain, and an Account of what Arms and Ammunition, have been brought out of North Britain into South Britain, since Michaelmas 1710. And 3. For Copies of the several Papers and Representations, relating to the Garrisons of Jamaica, and the Leeward Islands, which had been sent over from the respective Governors of those Places, and the Opinion of the Assembly with respect to the Forces there.' The same Day, in a Committee of the whole House upon the Supply, it was resolved to grant, 1. 386427 l. 17 s. 10 d. for maintaining of Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, Jersey and Guernsey, together with the two Independant Companies in North Britain, for the Year 1714. 2. 54645 l. 1 s. 3 d. for maintaining her Majesty's Forces and Garrison at Minorca, for the Year 1714, 3. 34856 l. 14 s. 9 d. ½ for maintaining her Majesty's Forces and Garrison at Gibraltar, for the Year 1714. 4. 20170 l. 1 s. 6 d. for maintaining of four Companies at New York, four Companies at Anapolis Royal, four Companies of Placentia, one Company at Bermudas, and the Garrisons of Annapolis Royal and Placentia, for the Year 1714. 5. 67358 l. 15 s. 7 d. for supplying the Deficiency for the Fund for the Classis Lottery in 1712, for the Year ending at Michaelmas 1712. 6. 67546 l. 4 s. 3 d. ½ for supplying the Deficiency of the Fund for the Classis Lottery in 1712, for the Year ending at Michaelmas 1713. And in the 7th Place, 42576 l. 6 s. 4 d. to make good the Desiciency of the yearly Fund, granted by an Act in the Ninth of the late King William III. for the Benefit of the Company and others, trading to the East-Indies.

These Resolutions, being the next Day reported, were agreed to by the House; after which it was resolved, to put off the Consideration of that Part of her Majesty's Speech, relating to seditious Libels, and factious Rumours, to that Day sevennight; and in a Committee of the whole House, they went through the Bill, for lessening the Drawback on Tobacco carried into Ireland; and made some Amendments to it, the Report of which was put off till the Wednesday following. The same Day, the Gentlemen appointed to bring in a Bill, for the Relief of the Merchants in London trading in Tobacco, &c. were discharged from preparing and bringing in the said Bill: And the Consideration of that Matter, was referred to the Grand Committee of the Supply.

Bills for the Relief of Tobacco and Wine Merchants.

The 12th, upon the Report of the Resolutions of the Committee, to whom the Petition of the Merchants, Drapers, and other Dealers, in mixt or medley Broad-Cloaths, had been referred, a Bill was ordered to be brought in, to explain and amend an Act passed in the tenth Year of her Majesty's Reign, intituled, An Act for Regulating, Improving, and Encouraging the Woollen Manufacture, &c. Then, in a Committee of the whole House on the Supply, it was resolved, That three Bills be brought in, one to impower the Lord Treasurer, or the Commissioners of the Treasury for the Time being, to compound with Robert Wife, and his Sureties for Customs of Tobacco; another for the Relief of the Merchants and Traders in Tobacco; and a third for the Relief of Wine Merchants: Which Resolutions were immediately reported, agreed to, and the said two Bills ordered to be brought in accordingly. The same Day the Grand Committee of Priviledges and Elections examined, the Merits of the Election for the Town of Buckingham, and adjudged it for Dr. Ratcliff, and Thomas Chapman, Esq; sitting Members.


  • 1. He was proposed first by Lord Scudamore, who was seconded by Mr. Thompson.
  • 2. At these Words, the light-beaded Part of the House clamoured out The Tatler! the Tatler!
  • 3. At this Ceremonial Sir Thomas Hammer himself in a very handsome Speech, setting forth (as usual) his Inabilities for the Discharge of such a difficult and important Trust, and his Desires of being excused from the Acceptance of it, the Lord Chancellor made Reply, 'That her Majesty had too great a Knowledge of Sir Thomas Hanmer's Zeal for her Service, and Experience in Parliamentary Affairs not to think him duly qualified to fill that Chair, which would rather take a Lustre from him that sate in it, than give any Honour to him; and that it was her Majesty's Royal Will and Pleasure, not to admit of any Refusal.'
  • 4. About this Time Stocks fell between 2 and 3 per Cent.
  • 5. This Affair made a great Noise, and gave the Enemies of the Ministry then in being, an Opportunity of ripping up several Things, which, without this Prosecution, had perhaps been never mention'd in the House of Commons; and which, being spoken in the Hearing of several Lords, (as some were suffer'd to be present there) occasion'd afterwards the like Reflections, and strict Enquiries in the House of Peers. On the other Side the most bitter Invectives were not wanting against the suppos'd Criminal and those that stood by him, and when it was moved on the Part of the Accusers, that the Dilinquent should be committed as well as expell'd, Mr. C—r flung out this biting Sarcasm, that there needed not that Act of Justice from them, for, if once he should be expell'd, his Creditors would take that Business off from their Hands, and most certainly commit him. Mr. Auditor H—y had indeed a little more Mercy in his Anger; and alluding to the same Misfortunes of his being more than ordinarily generous, out of his Excess of Com assion for the Distress'd, only said, he could prove him not work a Great; which, if true, had been a mighty Token of his Guilt. Hist. of the 1st and 2d Session.
  • 6. Among these Papers was the following Letter from the Duke to the Queen. MADAM, 'We could not be more surpriz'd at the Addresses of the British Parliament last Summer, than with the late Remonstrances of your Majesty's Minister at Utrecht, in relation to the Removal of the Chevalier St. George, from the Dominions of Lorrain. Before we could absolutely comply with the Request of the most Christian King in that Affair, the profound Respect we have for your Majesty, and the tender Regard we have for your Quiet, made us apprehensive of giving the least Uneasiness to your Majesty. But when we were assured, on the contrary, that this Expedient would be highly agreeable to all Sides, as the only Means to remove one of the chief Obstacles to the general Peace of Europe so much wanted and desired; Proud of so great an Honour we could no longer refrain opening our Arms to receive a Prince, the most Accomplished, the most Virtuous, and most Amiable of Human Race, who only wants to be seen to be admired, and known, to be almost adored; whose Magnanimity in his Sufferings renders him worthy of his high Birth, besides his other great and commendable Qualities, which confess the Royal Blood that flows in his Veins. We therefore hope your Majesty, and the British Nation, will not take in ill Part, that we cannot comply with a Demand so inconsistent with our own Honour, and the Laws of Hospitality, and that, after our Protection once given, we should voluntarily abandon to the Rage of his Enemies, an innocent, distressed Prince, who knows no Crime, but being born the last Heir Male to that Illustrious Family, which, for several Ages, has given so many Great Monarchs to the World; amongst the rest, your Majesty, of whose heroic Virtues he is a happy Imitator, and whose conspicuous, and great Actions have reflected as much Lustre, as you have received from your Noble and truly Royal Progenitors. That God Almighty would take your Majesty into his Holy Protection, is the ordent Wish of, Madam, Your Majesty's, & c.