Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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'House of Commons Journal Volume 9: 15 February 1677', in Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687, (London, 1802) pp. 382-383. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol9/pp382-383 [accessed 3 March 2024]
Jovis, 15 die Februarii, 1676.
Message to attend the King.
A MESSAGE from his Majesty, by Sir Edward Carteret, Usher of the Black Rod;
The King commands this honourable House, to attend him immediately in the House of Lords.
And accordingly Mr. Speaker, with the House, went up to attend his Majesty in the House of Lords.
Mr. Speaker, with the House, being returned;
The King's Speech reported.
Mr. Speaker reports, That the Croud being great, and the Noise much, he could not well hear, nor would take upon him to report the King's Speech: And that, to prevent Mistakes, he had obtained a Copy of what was delivered by his Majesty; which he read to the House; and is as followeth:
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I HAVE called you together again, after a long Prorogation, that you might have an Opportunity to repair the Misfortunes of the last Session; and to recover and restore the right End and Use of Parliaments.
The Time I have given you to recollect yourselves in, and to consider whither those Differences tend, which have been so unhappily managed and improved between you, is enough to leave you without all Excuse, if ever you fall into the like again.
I am now resolved to let the World see, that it shall not be My Fault, if they be not made happy by your Consultations in Parliament: For I declare Myself very plainly to you, that I come prepared to give you all the Satisfaction and Security in the great Concerns of the Protestant Religion, as it is established in the Church of England, that shall reasonably be asked, or can consist with Christian Prudence. And I declare Myself as freely, that I am ready to gratify you in a further Securing of your Liberty and Property, if you can think you want it, by as many good Laws as you shall propose, and as can consist with the Safety of the Government; without which there will neither be Liberty nor Property left to any Man.
Having thus plainly told you what I am ready to do for you; I shall deal as plainly with you again, and tell you, what it is I do expect from you.
I do expect and require from you, That all Occasions of Difference between the Two Houses be carefully avoided; for else they who have no Hopes to prevent your good Resolutions, will hope, by this Reserve, to hinder them from taking any Effect. And let all Men judge who is most for arbitrary Government; they that foment such Differences as tend to dissolve all Parliaments; or I, that would preserve this and all Parliaments from being made useless by such Dissentions.
In the next Place, I desire you to consider the Necessity of building more Ships; and how much all our Safeties are concerned in it. And, since the additional Revenue of Excise will shortly expire, you that know Me to be under a great Burthen of Debts, and how hard a Shift I am making to pay them off, as fast as I can, I hope will never deny Me the Continuance of this Revenue; and some reasonable Supply to make My Condition more easy.
And, that you may be satisfied, how impossible it is (whatever some Men think) to support the Government with less than the present Revenue, you may at any time see the yearly established Charge; by which it will appear, that, the constant and unavoidable Charge being paid, there will remain no Overplus towards the Discharging those Contingencies which may happen in all Kingdoms, and which have been a considerable Charge to Me this last Year.
To conclude, I do recommend to you the Peace of the Kingdom, in the careful Prevention of all Differences; the Safety of the Kingdom, in providing for some greater Strength at Sea; and the Prosperity of the Kingdom, in assisting the necessary Charge and Support of the Government.
And, if any of these good Ends should happen to be disappointed, I call God and Men to Witness This Day, that the Misfortune of that Disappointment shall not lie at my Door.
The rest I refer to the Chancellor.
A Bill to regulate Elections of Members to serve in Parliament, was read.
Resolved, &c. That this Bill be read a Second time.
Privilege-Freedom of Speech.
A Complaint being made by Sir John Holland, a Member of this House, that he had been traduced to his Majesty by another Member of the House, for making a scandalous and seditious Speech in the House the last Sessions; and thereupon moving for a Petition to be presented to his Majesty from the House, to assert a Freedom of Speech, and Liberty of Debate, in the House;
And Sir John Holland being demanded to give an Account to the House, by whom, and in what manner he had been so traduced; and who gave him Notice thereof; and he thereupon affirming, that he had his first Information from the late Lord Chief Baron, who did not name the Member by whom he was so aspersed; but had been since told, by a noble Lord, that the said late Lord Chief Baron did tell him, that Mr. Ashburnham, the Cofferer, was the Person that told the King, that he heard Sir John Holland make the same Speech that he did in One thousand Six hundred and Forty.
And Sir John Holland further affirming to the House, That Sir Francis Clarke, and another Member of the House, whose Name he knew not, were present when he had the first Information from my Lord Chief Baron;
The House thereupon proceeding to the further Examination of the Matter;
And Mr. Ashburnham standing up in his Place, and giving an Account to the House that he was not at all concerned in the Matter, nor did ever give any such Information to the King, as is charged upon him;
And Sir Francis Clarke also averring, that he did not remember, that he ever heard any thing of this Matter from the late Lord Chief Baron;
After the Debate thereof;
Resolved, &c. That it doth not appear to this House, that Mr. Ashburnham, his Majesty's Cofferer, hath failed in his Duty to this House, by traducing Sir John Holland to his Majesty, for having made any scandalous or seditious Speech in the House, against his Majesty, the last Session.
The King's Speech to be considered.
Resolved, &c. That this House will take his Majesty's gracious Speech into Consideration on Tuesday Morning next, at Ten of the Clock.
And then the House adjourned till To-morrow Morning, Ten of the Clock.