Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 11, 1693-1697. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1803.
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Lunæ, 14 die Januarii;
Sexto Gulielmi Tertii.
A Member discharged from custody.
ORDERED, That Thomas Neale Esquire, in Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, for absenting himself from his Service in Parliament, be discharged out of Custody, paying his Fees.
Mr. Christie reported from the Committee, to whom it was referred to examine and consider the Petition of the Poor of Cobham College, and Proprietors of Lands now under Water in West-Thorock, in the County of Essex, That they had examined and considered the same accordingly; and do find the Matter to be as followeth; viz.
That, in December 1690, a general Inundation happened, such as never was before in the Memory of Man; whereby all the Banks and Sea-walls next to the River of Thames, from Purfleet to St. Clement's Church in the said Parish of West-Thorock, were broken down, and a thousand Acres of Marsh-land overflowed, which have ever since continued under the Water:
That the said Banks and Sea-walls were, at the time of the said Inundation, in very good Repair, and kept out the Water, until it ran over the Top about two Foot Water; but, upon the Reflux of the Tide, they were all broken down, though the Water was never known to go over the Banks before upon any Flood:
That the Petitioners, who are the Proprietors of the said Lands did immediately all that possibly they could to drain their Lands of the said Water, and to make good the Banks and Sea-walls; and so continued to do as long as there was any Hopes of recovering the same, having expended above 3,000 l. in attempting it; which hath proved ineffectual: And particularly the Lady Smith, who purchased of Colonel Grice about 200 Acres of the said Lands, not above a Fortnight before the Inundation, expended, for her Share, above a Thousand Pounds, though she never received one Peny of Rent, and paid the Land-Tax for two Years, when the Land was under Water: Besides which Expence, the Proprietors have sustained great Losses and Damage to several Houses and Outhouses, Cattle, and Stock, which have been quite carried away by the Rapidness of the Stream:
That, several Complaints being made to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, touching the Shelf mentioned in the Petition, Sir Richard Haddock, Sir Henry Sheers, and several other Members of Trinity-House, DeptfordStrond, did, by Order of the said Lords Commissioners, about a Year since, go down the River of Thames, and found that the said Inundation had made a very great Breach in the Banks and Sea-walls; and that the said Shelf, which reaches a full Third Part over the Thames, was occasioned by the said Breach and Overflowing of the Lands upon the Ebbing away of the Tide, which soaks and washes the Land, and brings the Earth into the River: That the said Shelf increaseth daily, so that, unless some speedy Care be taken to remove the same, it may quite choak up the River in time; however, as it then was, it was a great Prejudice to the Navigation, many Ships having run upon the said Shelf, and received much Damage by reason of the Shallowness of the Water, where, before the Shelf was five Fathom deep at low Water, was not then above Three Fathom Water; so that Mariners are forced to steer a new Course about, to come up the said River: That they believe the Shelf might then contain 500,000 Tons of Earth, and that the Charge to clear the Thames of it might, at that time, amount to about 20,000 l.; but know not how much the same is increased since, nor what the Charge may be of removing the same: And Sir Henry Sheers said, He delivered a Plot of the Shelf, and an Estimate of the Charge, to Sir William Ashurst, when Lord Mayor of London, being summoned before him to give an Account thereof.
That the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, as Conservators of the River of Thames, and Commissioners of Sewers, by Act of Parliament, upon Complaint made to them about the Navigation of the said River decreed the Petitioners to pay Six Pounds per Acre, to make good the said Banks and Sea-walls, or otherwise their Lands to be sold, according to several Acts of Parliament in that Case provided:
That the said overflown Lands, before the Inundation, were not worth above Four or Five thousand Pounds to be sold; and the Charge of draining the same, and making good the Banks and Sea-walls, is computed at about 16,000 l.:
That the Estate of the Poor of Cobham College in the said Lands was lett at 40 l. per Annum Rent, before the Inundation; but since they have made nothing of it:
That a very great Ferry, which daily used to transmit Cattle between the Counties of Essex and Kent, is totally destroyed by the said Inundation, many Highways thereby rendered impassable; and that the Parishioners of WestThorock cannot go to Church but at low Water.
And that, upon the whole Matter, the Committee came to a Resolution; which they had directed him to report to the House; and is as followeth; viz.
Resolved, That, the Petitioners having fully proved the several Allegations of their Petition, it is the Opinion of the Committee, That the Petitioners are sit Objects of Relief; and that the Shelf mentioned in their said Petition is a great Prejudice to the Navigation of the River of Thames, and worthy the Consideration of the House.
Resolved, That the further Consideration of the said Report be adjourned until Saturday Morning next, Eleven a Clock.
Elections—incapacitating Persons refusing Oaths.
Ordered, That Leave be given to bring in a Bill to disable all Persons from voting in Elections of Members to serve in Parliament, who shall refuse to take the Oaths to the Government: And . . . . Mr. Fitton Gerrard, and Mr. Arnold do prepare, and bring in, the said Bill.
Vesting Interest of Judgments, &c.
Mr. Waller, according to Order, presented to the House a Bill to vest the Interest of Judgments, and other Securities assigned, in the Assignees: And the same was received.
Supply Bill; Land Tax.
Resolved, That this House will, upon Wednesday Morning next, at Eleven a Clock, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider further of the Bill for granting to his Majesty an Aid of Four Shillings in the Pound, for One Year, for carrying on the War against France with Vigour.
Tryals in Lancashire, &c.
The House, according to the Order of the Day, proceeded in the further Examination and Consideration of the late Proceedings and Tryals in Lancashire and Cheshire.
And Sir Edward Clark, Mrs. Amwell, and the Oilman upon Snow-hill the Constable, attending according to Order;
They were severally called in; and examined.
Also Sir Henry Wingfeild, Mr. Witherington, and Mr. Perkins, attending according to Order, were severally called in; and examined.
Ordered, That Sir Edward Clark, Mrs. Amwell, the Constable, and the Master and Mistress of the Ram Inn, and their Two Daughters, and Mr. Newberry, be discharged from further Attendance.
Ordered, That Sir Henry Wingfeild be discharged from further Attendance at this Time.
Ordered, That Candles be brought in.
And they were so.
One Sprat attending;
He was called in; and examined.
Resolved, That this House will, upon Thursday Morning next, at Eleven a Clock, proceed further in the Examination and Consideration of the late Proceedings and Tryals in Lancashire and Cheshire.
Ordered, That all Persons who were formerly summoned to attend this House, touching the said Proceedings and Examinations, and who have not been discharged from their further Attendance, do attend this House upon Thursday Morning next, Ten a Clock.
Ordered, That John Wilson, Edward Brown and Eliza. Hatton, do attend this House upon Thursday Morning next, at Ten a Clock.
Ordered, That all Committees be adjourned.
And then the House adjourned till To-morrow Morning, Nine a Clock.