Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Lunæ, 28 die Maii , 1677.
Answer to Address.
MR. Speaker acquaints the House, That he had attended his Majesty with the Address of this House on Saturday last, in the Banqueting-house at Whitehall: And that his Majesty was pleased to return this Answer:
That the Contents of it were long, and the Matter of Importance: And that he would take it into his Consideration; and, with all convenient Speed, return an Answer to it.
Mr. Secretary Coventry acquaints the House, That it was his Majesty's Pleasure, that the House should attend him immediately in the Banqueting-house at Whitehall.
And, accordingly, Mr. Speaker with the House went to attend his Majesty.
And the House being returned;
Mr. Speaker acquaints the House, That his Majesty, having taken their last Address into Consideration, was pleased to return an Answer to it: And, to avoid Mistakes, had committed it to Paper; Which Mr. Speaker read to the House; and is as follows:
COULD I have been silent, I would rather have chosen to be so, than to call to mind Things so unfit for you to meddle with, as are contained in some Part of your Address; wherein you have entrenched upon so undoubted a Right of the Crown, that I am confident it will appear in no Age (when the Sword was not drawn) that the Prerogative of making Peace and War hath been so dangerously invaded. You do not content yourselves with desiring me to enter into such Leagues, as may be for the Safety of the Kingdom; but you tell me what Sort of Leagues they must be, and with whom: And, as your Address is worded, it is more liable to be understood to be by your Leave, than your Request, that I should make such other Alliances as I please with other of the Consederates. Should I suffer this fundamental Power of making Peace and War to be so far invaded (though but once) as to have the Manner and Circumstances of Leagues prescribed to me by Parliament, it is plain, that no Prince or State would any longer believe, that the Sovereignty of England rests in the Crown; nor could I think Myself to signify any more to foreign Princes, than the empty Sound of a King. Wherefore you may rest assured, That no Condition shall make me depart from, or lessen, so essential a Part of the Monarchy: And I am willing to believe so well of this House of Commons, that I am confident these ill Consequences are not intended by you.
These are, in short, the Reasons, why I can by no means approve of your Address. And yet, though you have declined to grant me that Supply, which is so necessary to the Ends of it, I do again declare to you, That, as I have done all that lay in my Power, since your last Meeting, so I will still apply myself, by all means I can, to let the World see my Care, both for the Security and Satisfaction of my People; although it may not be with those Advantages to them, which, by your Assistance, I might have procured.
Mr. Speaker further acquaints the House, That it was his Majesty's Pleasure, that the House should be adjourned till the Sixteenth Day of July next: And that, if he intended they should then sit, and proceed to do Business, he would signify his Pleasure by Proclamation.
And accordingly, the House adjourned till the Sixteenth Day of July next, Ten of the Clock in the Morning.