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 Second Session of the Second Parliament of King George I.
Anno. 10. Geo. 1. 1723-24.
On the 9th of January, the Parliament being met, according to their last Prorogation, the King went to the House of Peers, and the Commons attending, the Lord Chancellor read his Majesty's Speech to both Houses, as follows:
King's Speech at opening the Second Session.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"I Cannot open this Session without congratulating you upon the Success of your Endeavours last Year, for the Safety, Interest, and Honour of the Kingdom: The Rise of the publick Credit, the flourishing Condition of our Trade and Manufactures, and the general Tranquility of my People, are the happy Consequences of your prudent Resolutions. It is to be hop'd, that the few Examples, which were made of some notorious Offenders, will be sufficient to deter the most Disaffected from engaging in the like desperate and wicked Practices. The Augmentation, which you thought fit to make to our National Forces by Sea and Land, has not only secur'd the general Quiet of the Kingdom against any sudden Attempts or Insurrections, but has also given me such Weight and Credit in all foreign Negotiations, as greatly contribute towards the Preservation of the Peace of Europe.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I will order the proper Officers to lay before you the Estimates for the Service of the current Year: I desire such Supplies only, as you shall find absolutely necessary for preserving the Peace of the Kingdom, and for the Security of my People; and those, I hope, may be rais'd without laying any additional Charge or Burthen on my Subjects.
"I must, in a particular Manner, recommend to your Care the publick Debts of the Kingdom, as the most National Concern you can possibly take into your Consideration. I am persuaded it must be a very great Satisfaction to all my faithful Subjects, to see the sinking Fund improv'd and augmented, and the Debt of the Nation thereby put into a Method of being so much the sooner gradually reduc'd and paid off: It would be a Work truly worthy of a British Parliament, to begin this commendable Undertaking, and to make such a Progress therein, as, with a strict Regard to publick Faith and private Property, may pave the Way to this great and desirable End.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"In the present happy Situation of our Affairs, I have nothing more to recommend to you, than that you would make Use of the Opportunity, which your own good Conduct has put into your Hands, in considering of such farther Laws, as may be wanting for the Ease and Encouragement of Trade and Navigation, for the Employment of the Poor, and for the exciting and encouraging a Spirit of Industry in the Nation.
"I am fully satisfy'd, that the Trade and Wealth of my People are the happy Effects of the Liberties they enjoy, and that the Grandeur of the Crown consists in their Prosperity; and I am as fully persuaded, that all, who wish well to their Country, must agree with me, that it is the vainest of all Delusions to imagine, that the Religion, Laws, and Liberties of this Kingdom can ever be secur'd, but by supporting the present Establishment, and maintaining the Succession in the Protestant Line. Let us therefore heartily join in every thing that may tend to promote our mutual Happiness, and to extinguish the Hopes of those, who long have been and still are restless in their Endeavours to subject this Nation to the whole Train of Miseries, that are inseparable from Popery and Arbitrary Power."
The Commons being return'd to their House, the Lord Finch mov'd, and being seconded, it was resolv'd, Nem. Con. That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty, which was unanimously agreed to, and on the 11th, presented by the whole House, as follows:
The Commons Address of Thanks.
Most Gracious Sovereign,
'Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, beg Leave to congratulate your Majesty upon your safe and happy Return into these Kingdoms; and most humbly desire your Majesty to accept the unfeigned Thanks of this House, for your Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne. As your Majesty is pleas'd to found the Grandeur of your Crown in the Security of the Liberties of your People, and your Glory in promoting their Prosperity; so they, in Return, must be excited, by all the Ties of Duty and Gratitude, to build their Happiness upon the firm and unshaken Principles of Loyalty and Affection to your Majesty's most Sacred Person and Government.
'It is the greatest Satisfaction to your Majesty's faithful Commons to find, that the Loyalty of their Resolutions and the Justice of their Proceedings, in the last Session of Parliament, have been attended with all the happy Consequences they expected from them; and now have been rewarded with your Majesty's Royal Approbation.
'We beg Leave to assure your Majesty, that we shall readily and chearfully raise all such Supplies, as shall be necessary to support the Honour of your Majesty's Government, and secure the Tranquility of these Kingdoms.
'We are highly sensible of your Majesty's Goodness to all your People, in recommending, particularly at this Time, to our Consideration the publick Debts of the Kingdom; which are so heavy a Load, and so much a National Concern, that we should be wanting to ourselves, if we did not assure your Majesty, that we will use our utmost Endeavours to improve and augment the Sinking Fund, and thereby put the National Debt into a Method of being gradually reduc'd and paid, without any Violation of publick Faith, or Infringement of private Property: And as your Majesty is pleas'd to encourage our attempting so great and noble a Design; so we are fully persuaded, that the Wisdom and Steadiness of your Majesty's Government will enable us to perfect this great Undertaking.
'We assure your Majesty, that we know of no other Safety, under God, for our Trade and Wealth, Liberty and Property, Religious and Civil Rights, but the Security of your Majesty's Sacred Person and Government, and the Succession in your Royal House; which we will always support and maintain against any traiterous Attempt whatsoever; being truly sensible of the Blessings we enjoy under your Majesty's most gracious and happy Government, which has hitherto preserv'd us from all those Miseries, Experience has taught us, are inseparable from Popery and Arbitrary Power.
To this Address his Majesty return'd the following Answer.
The King's Answer thereto.
"I Return you my hearty Thanks for this dutiful and loyal Address: The Wisdom and Resolution of this Parliament have principally contributed to our present happy Situation; and the Perseverance of my faithful Commons, with the same Zeal and Unanimity, in the Dispatch of the publick Business, will be the surest Means of improving this favourable Opportunity to the best Advantage, for the Honour and Interest of the Kingdom."
Debate concerning the Number of Land-Forces.
January 22. The Commons, in a Committee of the whole House on the Supply, read the Estimates of the Charge of the Guards, Garrisons, and Land-Forces, and Mr Treby mov'd for keeping up the same Number of Troops for the Year 1724, as were maintain'd the Year before. This occasion'd a warm Debate which lasted five Hours. Mr Treby (fn. 1) was supported by Mr. R. Walpole, Mr Pelham (fn. 2), Mr Doddington (fn. 3), Mr Yonge (fn. 3), Mr Thomas Broderick, Lord Finch, Serjeant Miller, Hon. Mr St John Broderick, Mr Docminique, and Mr Pulteney (fn. 4). But Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who was supported by Lord Morpeth (fn. 5), Mr Bromley, Sir Thomas Hanmer, Mr Sloper, Mr Shippen, Hon. Mr Verney (fn. 6), Mr Hungerford, Sir Joseph Jekyll, Mr Jefferies, Mr Walter Plummer, and Mr Hutcheson, insisted, 'That the additional Troops rais'd the last Year should be disbanded, because there was, at this Time, no apparent Occasion for so great a Number of Forces; but the Question being put upon the Motion, it was carry'd in the Affirmative by 240 Votes against 100; and resolv'd, I. That the Number of effective Men to be provided for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Jersey and Guernsey, for the Year 1724, including 1815 Invalids, be 18264 Men, Commission and Non-Commission Officers included. II. That a Sum not exceeding 655,668 l. 8s. 7d. be granted for defraying the Charge of the said 18264 Men, for the Year 1724.
Jan. 23. Those Resolutions being reported, were agreed to by the House.
Petition from the Sufferers by the Bahama Project. ; Debate thereon. ; The said Petition rejected.
February 21. Sir John Guise presented to the House a Petition of Sir Gustavus Huine, and George Pratt, Esq; and several other Persons who were Sufferers by becoming Adventurers in the Project for carrying on a Trade to the Bahama Islands. After the Reading of this Petition, a Motion being made, that the said Petition be referr'd to the Consideration of a Committee, many Members were inclin'd to the Affirmative; but Mr R. Walpole thereupon represented, 'That this Petition seem'd intended to open again the Wounds of the Year 1720, which the Parliament, with great Wisdom, had endeavour'd to heal; that if they countenanc'd such a Petition, they would soon have a Load of Petitions of the same Nature brought upon them; and that the Law being open, the Petitioners ought to seek their Relief there, where many had already found it.' To this Lord Morpeth reply'd, 'That the rejecting of this Petition would sound very ill without Doors, and look'd as if they skreen'd their own Members; some of whom were known to have been the principal Managers of the Bahama Project: The Question being put upon the Motion, it pass'd in the Negative.
April 24. The King came to the House of Peers, and Sir William Saunderson, Gentleman-Usher of the Black-Rod, was sent with a Message from his Majesty to the House of Commons, commanding their Attendance in the House of Peers; the Commons being come thither accordingly, his Majesty gave the Royal Assent to several Bills; after which his Majesty made the following Speech, by the Mouth of the Lord Chancellor.
The King's Speech at concluding the Second Session.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
'The Unanimity, Chearfulness, and Dispatch with which you have now finish'd every Thing I recommended to you at the Opening this Session, are fresh Instances of your Affection to my Person and Government, and cannot fail of contributing, with the Blessing of God on our Endeavours, towards the Establishment of that happy Tranquility we now enjoy, both at Home and Abroad.
"Your continuing the like National Force by Sea and Land this Year, as was judg'd necessary by Parliament for the Service of the last, gives me great Satisfaction: You have hereby wisely provided against the Mischiefs from any sudden Shocks of publick Credit; you have provided for the Safety of the Kingdom, and have enabled this Nation to hold among the Powers of Europe the Rank and Figure due to her Honour and Dignity. Nothing could have been more acceptable to me, than your having been able to make that Provision without laying any new or additional Burthens on my People.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I return you my Thanks for the Care and Pains you have taken towards augmenting the Sinking Fund, and improving the publick Revenues by putting them under a stricter Management. I make no Doubt but that the happy Beginning you have made will be attended with such immediate good Consequences, as will encourage you to pursue the Way you have now open'd for a gradual Reduction of the Debt, and for putting the Trade and Navigation of Great Britain on such a Foot, as may not only in some Measure discourage the unjustisiable Encroachments they labour under from some of our Neighbours, but at the same Time extend her Exportations beyond what has been known in former Ages.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
"As the early Recess which your Diligence and Unanimity has procur'd you, affords you the Opportunity of a longer Retirement into the Country, than the Business of former Sessions has usually allow'd of; I assure myself, that you will carry with you thither the same Zeal for the publick Good, with which you have been animated in Parliament; and that you will make it your Business to discountenance any Remains there may be yet left of Sedition or Disaffection, and to promote that perfect Harmony and Confidence between me and my People, which "I most earnestly desire, and on which our mutual Happiness entirely depends."
The Parliament prorogued.
Then the Lord Chancellor prorogu'd the Parliament to the 4th of June: They were afterwards farther prorogued to the 12th of November.