The fourth Parliament of Great Britain: The accession of George I (begins 1/8/1714)

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The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 6, 1714-1727. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.

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SPEECHES AND DEBATES IN THE House of Commons, DURING The Last Session of the Fourth Parliament of Great Britain.

Mr W. Bromley's Motion to adjourn.

Her Majesty Queen ANNE dying on Sunday the first of August 1714, and the Crown of these Realms immediately devolving to his royal highness the Elector of Hanover, pursuant to the act of Settlement pass'd in 1701, the Parliament, according to a resolution taken in Council, met that very day; but Sir Thomas Hanmer, bart. Speaker of the House of Commons, knight of the shire for Suffolk, being in the country, Mr William Bromley, member for the university of Oxford, and Secretary of State, mov'd to adjourn to the Wednesday following; which being seconded, Sir Richard Onslow, bart. member of parliament for the county of Surry, oppos'd the same, as being too long an adjournment at so critical a juncture, and therefore mov'd for adjourning to the next Day only; which last motion was agreed to. This and the three following Days being spent in taking the oaths, &c. On the 5th the (fn. 1) lord Harcourt, lord high Chancellor, and the rest of the Lords Justices, came to the House of Lords, and the House of Commons being sent for, and attending, the lord Chancellor made the following speech to both Houses of Parliament.

Lords Justices Speech.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

"It having pleas'd almighty God to take to himself our late most gracious Queen, of blessed memory, we hope that nothing has been omitted, which might contribute to the safety of these realms, and the preservation of our religion, laws, and liberties, in this great conjuncture. As these invaluable blessings have been secured to us by those acts of Parliament, which have settled the succession of these kingdoms in the most illustrious house of Hanover, we have regulated our proceedings by those rules which are therein prescrib'd.

"The Privy Council, soon after the demise of the late Queen, assembled at St. James's, where, according to the said acts, the three instruments were produc'd and open'd, which had been deposited in the hands of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the lord Chancellor, and the Resident of Brunswick. Those, who either by their offices, or by virtue of these instruments, had the honour of being appointed Lords Justices, did, in conjunction with the Council, immediately proceed to the proclaiming of our lawful and rightful sovereign King GEORGE, taking, at the same time, the necessary care to maintain the publick peace.

"In pursuance of the acts before-mention'd, this Parliament is now assembled; and we are persuaded, you all bring with you so hearty a disposition for his Majesty's service, and the publick good, that we cannot doubt of your assistance in every thing which may promote those great ends.

Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

"We find it necessary to put you in mind, that several branches of the publick revenue are expir'd by the demise of her late Majesty; and to recommend to you, the making such provisions, in that respect, as may be requisite to support the honour and dignity of the Crown: And we as sure ourselves, you will not be wanting in any thing that may conduce to the establishing and advancing of the publick credit.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

"We forbear laying before you any thing that does not require your immediate consideration, not having receiv'd his Majesty's pleasure; we shall only exhort you, with the greatest earnestness, to a perfect unanimity, and a firm Adherence to our Sovereign's interest, as being the only means to continue among us our present happy tranquility.

An Address to the King resolv'd on.

Hereupon it was resolv'd, nem. con. that an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, which a Committee was appointed to draw up; and it was unanimously resolved also to take into consideration the next day, the Lords Justices speech to both Houses.

On the 6th, Mr. William Bromley accordingly reported the said address; which being read, was unanimously agreed to, and was as follows:

The Commons Address.

Most gracious Sovereign,

'We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, having a just sense of the great loss the Nation has sustain'd by the death of our late Sovereign lady Queen Anne, of blessed memory, humbly crave leave to condole with your Majesty on this sad occasion.

'It would but aggravate our sorrow, particularly to enumerate the virtues of that pious and most excellent Princess: The duty we owe to your Majesty, and to our Country, oblige us to moderate our grief, and heartily to congratulate your Majesty's accession to the throne, whose princely virtues give us a certain prospect of future happiness, in the security of our religion, laws, and liberties, and engage us to assure your Majesty, that we will, to our utmost, support your undoubted right to the imperial Crown of this realm, against the Pretender, and all other persons whatsoever.

'Your faithful Commons cannot but express their impatient desire for your Majesty's safe arrival and presence in Great Britain.

'In the mean time, we humbly lay before your Majesty the unanimous resolution of this House, to maintain the publick credit of the nation, and effectually to make good all Funds which have been granted by Parliament, for the security of any money which has been, or shall be advanced for the publick service, and to endeavour, by every thing in our power, to make your Majesty's reign happy and glorious.

Mr Bromley, in his motion for the foregoing address, dwelt much on the great loss the nation had sustain'd by the Queen's death; and was back'd by (fn. 2) Mr Robert Walpole, member for Lynn, who mov'd, that they should give the King assurances of their making good all Parliamentary Funds. (fn. 3) Mr Thomas Onslow, member for Guilford, said thereupon, 'that the principal stress of the Address ought not to lie upon condoling, but upon congratulating, and giving the King assurances of their readiness to maintain both his Majesty's undoubted title to the Crown, and publick Credit.'

Motion for a Supply.

The same day a motion being made, that a Supply be granted to the King, for the better support of his Majesty's houshold, &c. the consideration thereof was referred to the Committee of the whole House the next day, when the same was agreed to nem. con. and fram'd into a resolution. And on the 7th a Bill being order'd to be brought in accordingly, Mr. Wykes, member for Northampton, proposed tacking to it a Bill for limiting the number of Officers in the House of Commons, but nobody seconding that motion, it dropp'd.

Mr R. Walpole.

Some members having mov'd for Sir William Wyndham, bart. member for Somersetshire, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, to be Chairman of the grand Committee of Subsidy, Mr Robert Walpole reply'd, that Mr. Conyers, member for East Grinstead, had for so many years so well discharg'd that office, that it would be ungrateful, unmannerly and imprudent to chuse another; on which Mr Conyers carried it.

Then it was propos'd to give the King one million sterling; but this motion, tho' not directly oppos'd, afterwards dropt.

Mr Conyers. ; Mr H. Walpole's Motion for paying the Hanoverian Troops, and offering a Reward to apprehend the Pretender.

Aug. 12. Mr. Conyers presented to the house a Bill for the better support of his Majesty's houshold, &c. and on the second reading thereof the next day, (fn. 4) Mr Horatio Walpole, member for Castle-Rising, mov'd, that the Committee of the whole House, to whom the said Bill was committed, might have power to receive one clause, to enable the Lord Treasurer, or Commissioners of the Treasury for the time being, to issue the sum of 65022 l. 8 s. 8 d. being the arrear due to the troops of Hanover, for their service in the Low Countries in the year 1712, out of the 300,000 l. granted in the last session of Parliament to her late Majesty, towards satisfying the debt due on account to the Land-Forces. And another clause to enable and require the lord high Treasurer, &c. to issue out of any money granted by parliament 100,000 l. for apprehending the Pretender, if ever he should land, or attempt to land in any of his Majesty's dominions.

Sir William Wyndham seconded Mr Walpole in the first clause; and Mr Shippen, member for Saltash, very ingenuously own'd he had oppos'd that payment in the late reign, but that he was for it now. Mr Aldworth, member for Windsor, back'd likewise the motion; but as if he design'd to expose the member, who, at this juncture, appear'd so forward to pay those very troops, which, a few months before, he had treated as Runaways, he said, "That for his part, he had formerly been against that payment, because he had been given to understand, in that very house, that those troops were Deserters; but that he had since been informed, that they were hir'd to fight, and had serv'd well as long as there was fighting; and if when they came in fight of the enemy, they who had hir'd them, would not suffer them to fight, he did not see the reason why they should be call'd Deserters." As to the clause, for a reward of 100,000 l. for apprehending the Pretender, Mr Campion, knight of the shire for Sussex, said, "That he was not in the House when that clause was mov'd; but if he had been present, he would have oppos'd it, because, in his opinion, the Protestant Succession was no longer in danger, since his Majesty's peaceable accession to the throne; and he defy'd all the house to prove the contrary." He was seconded by Mr Shippen: but Mr (fn. 5) W. Pulteney, member for Heydon, and, after him the (fn. 6) lord Lumley, member for Arundel, argu'd, "That the Protestant Succession was in danger, as long as there was a Popish Pretender, who had many friends both at home and abroad: That the late Queen was sensible of that danger, when she issu'd out her proclamation against him; and that the case was not alter'd by her Majesty's demise: That the nation would be at no charge, if the Pretender did not attempt to land; and if he did, 100,000 l. would be well bestow'd to apprehend him." To which no reply was made.

The Commons having pass'd the Subsidy Bill, and two others, and the same being also return'd to them pass'd by the Lords; on the 21st of August the Lords Justices went to the House of Lords, and the Commons attending, the Speaker, on presenting the Bill, For the better Support of bis Majesty's Houshold, &c. together with another Money-bill, made the following Speech.

The Speaker's Speech to the Lords Justices, on presenting the Subsidy-Bill, &c.

My Lords,

The Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, under the present happiness they enjoy, by his Majesty's peaceable and quiet accession to the throne, could not enter upon any Work more satisfactory and pleasing to themselves, than the providing a sufficient revenue for the occasions of his Majesty's civil government, in order to make his reign as easy and prosperous, as the beginning of it hath been secure and undisturb'd.

'They are sensible, that the peace of the Kingdom is not to be preserv'd, nor the rights and liberties of the Subjects to be protected, without supporting the just authority and dignity of the Crown; and therefore they have thought it their interest, as well as duty, to make such a provision, as may not barely suffice to the necessity of the Government, but may be suitable to the state, the honour, the lustre, which the Crown of Great Britain ought to be attended with.

'Whatsoever is superfluous in that provision, and more than the ordinary services of his Majesty shall require, will but enable him to exert his highest and most valuable prerogative of doing good: And we can give no greater proof of the trust we repose in his Majesty's gracious disposition, than putting the same entire revenue into his hands, which her late Majesty died possess'd of; whose virtues we all admir'd, and of whose affections and concern for the religion, laws, and liberties of this kingdom, we had had so long experience.

'As the Crown itself descends immediately, and knows no vacancy, the Commons have taken care that the revenue should follow it as close as possible; for they have given all the dispatch to this grant, which the forms of their proceedings would allow; so that when his Majesty shall please to answer the impatient desires of his people, by coming to take possession of his kingdoms, he will find himself equally establish'd in these revenues, as if he had succeeded to all by an uninterrupted right of inheritance; the only difference is this, that if he had inherited them, he would have wanted one single proof of the duty, and affection, and unanimity of his subjects.

'Our desire is, that this may be look'd upon as an earnest and a pledge of that zeal and sidelity which we shall always retain, and which, upon every occasion, we shall be ready to demonstrate to his Majesty's person and government: As such, we hope, his Majesty will graciously accept it at this time; and hereafter, when he shall have had experience of this first voluntary offering of his loyal Commons, we hope he will find it to his satisfaction, as large and as ample as he could wish; might but the term of the grant be as long as we could wish, since it is to have equal continuance with his Majesty's life.

My Lords,

'The Bill which the Commons have pass'd for the purposes I have mention'd, is entitled, An Act for the better Support of his Majesty's Houshold, &c.

'They have also prepar'd another Bill, entitled, An Act for rectisying Mistakes in the Names of the Commissioners for the Land-Tax, and for raising so much as is wanting, to make up the Sum of Fourteen Hundred Thousand Pounds, intended to be rais'd by a Lottery for the Publick Service in the Year 1714. This having been recommended to their care, and appearing to them to be necessary for his Majesty's and the publick service, they have reason to think, they have abundantly supply'd the defects in the former provision; and in this assurance, they humbly present this bill also for the royal assent.

The Royal Assent given thereto.

Then the Lords Justices gave the royal assent to the two bills mentioned in the foregoing Speech; and to An Act to enable Persons residing in Great Britain, to take the Oaths, and do all other Acts in Great Britain, requisite to qualify themselves to continue their respective Places, Offices, and Employments in Ireland.

After which the Lord Chancellor made the following Speech to both Houses.

Lord Chancellor's Speech to both Houses.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

"We cannot but express our greatest satisfaction, and, in his Majesty's name, return you thanks, for the convincing proofs which you have given, in this session, of your duty and affection to his Majesty, and of your zeal for his government.

"We must particularly thank you, Gentlemen of the House of Commons, for the aids which you have granted to his Majesty, for the better support of the honour of the Crown, and for preventing any disappointment in the Supplies given in the last session for the service of this year. You may be assur'd, that the unanimity, the chearfulness, and the dispatch, with which you have proceeded in granting these aids, will render them yet more acceptable to his Majesty: And you may depend upon our making a faithful representation thereof to him.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

"All necessary business being now happily concluded, it will be proper for us to put a speedy end to this Session. We think fit, at present, in his Majesty's name, to desire you forthwith respectively to adjourn your selves until Wednesday next.

After which adjournment, viz. 25th of August, the Commons being met again, Mr Bromley acquainted the House, that the Lords Justices had receiv'd his Majesty's answer to the Address of this House at the beginning of this Session; which he presented to the House, and is as follows:

The King's Answer to the Commons Address.


Your dutiful and loyal Address is very acceptable to me. The unanimity and affection my Commons have shewn upon my accession to the Crown, are most agreeable instances and pledges of their fidelity to me. I have a just sense of your inexpressible loss, by the death of your late Sovereign. You may be assur'd of my constant endeavours to secure to you the full enjoyment of your religion, laws, and liberties; and that it will always be my aim, to make you an happy and flourishing people; to which your resolution to maintain the publick credit of the Nation, will greatly contribute. I am hastening to you according to your earnest desire, and the just expectations of my people.

After this, the Lords Justices went to the House of Peers, and the Commons attending, the Lord Chancellor, made the following speech:

Lord Chancellor's Speech on proroguing the Parliament.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

"Having, since your late adjournment, receiv'd his Majesty's most gracious answer, under his sign manual, to your several addresses; and by his Majesty's command, order'd them to be deliver'd to you respectively; we do now in his Majesty's name, prorogue this present Parliament 'till Thursday the 23d day of September next; and this present Parliament is accordingly prorogu'd to Thursday the 23d day of September next.

The End of the last Session of the fourth Parliament of Great Britain.


  • 1. He was removed, and succeeded by Lord Cowper, 29th September, 1714, but created a Viscount, and a Privy Counsellor, 24th Aug. 1721.
  • 2. Since created a Knight of the Bath, afterwards of the Garter, made Chancellor, and Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer, &c.
  • 3. Now Lord Onslow.
  • 4. Since made Auditor of the Plantation Accounts, Joint Secretary to the Treasury, &c. now Cofferer to the Houshold, and Ambassador to the States General, &c.
  • 5. Made Privy Counsellor and Secretary at War, Sept. 27. 1714. and Cofferer of the Houshold, May 23, 1723.
  • 6. New Earl of Scarbrough.