Debates in 1673: March (24th-29th)

Pages 154-181

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 2. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Monday, March 24.

The Bill of General Naturalization [was read a second time.]

Sir Richard Ford.] This Bill exposes the great immunities of Corporations to be prostituted.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Supposes you do not intend, by this Bill, that every Gentleman shall set up what trade he pleases when he comes over—It is said, that Papists may come in by this Bill; you may, to prevent that, put in "Transubstantiation" for a Test—The King has been at great charge this war—It was looked upon, at the beginning of the war, to invite the Dutch; and should this Bill be thrown out, you will discourage them here and send them to the French—He shall not by this Bill be entertained in a town as a poor man—A Hollander told him, "If we were certain of a Peace, he could bring over four thousand men, much to the advantage of your cloth and other manufactures trade."

Sir George Downing.] Most of our manufactures came from Holland—He is against their being Freemen in Corporations—If a native must come through the difficulties of a seven years apprenticeship, would not have a town filled with foreigners—But to trades you want would give them encouragements by Freedoms; as Packers of Fish, Gold and Silver-workers, Dyers and Copper-makers, and would have such reserved from the Penalties of 1 Elizabeth, of being indicted for not serving seven years to a trade—Many Hollanders get themselves naturalized, or denisoned, and trade here all summer, and then in winter go to Amsterdam, with what they get here—Would have great care taken of that in the Bill.

Mr Boscawen.] They that come in will be Merchants and moneyed men, who will be willing to get an Act for Naturalization—You have more Merchants already than you have trade; you want them not for more shopkeepers: You have so many natives, they eat out one another—For Artisans, they may be useful to you; the greatest want of all is of them, and would have the Bill for the encouragement of them.

Sir John Duncombe.] Thinks it a good Bill, but to be committed, with care to be taken, if, after Naturalization and the Oaths, they go not away back from you, and stay neither here, nor in the Plantations—Would have them taken care for to stay; if they go away, to lose their Naturalization.

Sir Lancelot Lake.] Anciently, in matters of great weight, we went home to our country to advise with them—He would have that now done.

Mr Attorney Finch.] Before commitment of the Bill, would well consider, whether possibly a good Bill may come out of this—Naturalization makes any man equal in privilege to original birth, in the kingdom of England —It is not here as in the Roman State, when admitted a long time to the first degree, and some good distance of time before they were capable of offices—You at one blow beget so many foreigners to be Englishmen—This Bill admits any Protestant born under any Prince or Potentate; in this you make all the world Merchants of England; you grow an opulent nation; that supplies your industry and luxury—Lead, wool, and tin, you give them an opportunity to export—By this Bill, all your Turkey trade is destroyed in a moment—He that brings salt, is immediately entitled, by that little commodity, to trade and export your commodity; he may live cheaper than you, and truckle with the French Consul in Turkey, and you shall be but Factors, and stay at home—Wonders that now we are naturalizing all the world, no part of the world naturalizes us—You, Aliens every where, and they naturalized here—If once they are at home here, where will be the distinction between the English and Dutch manufacture? Your lead, wool, and tin, are your Indies; no imposition upon them to stay here with a family; not one line to fix them, neither Oaths nor Tests—It makes them natural subjects, and, unless you otherwise provide, free of Corporations—Your ancestors, in Queen Elizabeth's time, knew two-thirds of England destroyed by the plague, and yet they had no thoughts of Naturalization—You will find them suck your blood—They destroy Common and Statute Law—You make them Gentry and Nobility—You bring people not to make you rich, but to starve the poor—How comes it to pass, that you think fit now to change your Government, and all your municipal Laws, and all at the charge of your estates and understandings?—Would have many years to consider of this Bill.

Colonel Birch.] It is not fully expressed, but intended, in the Bill, that they should reside here—That which he admires, is, that many Turkey Merchants are in the House, and they say nothing in this business; they cannot speak so well as the Attorney; but he would take it ill, if they should speak in his trade as he does in theirs—We had all our arms first from Germany; fustians and silks all came from abroad, ninety parts out of an hundred—But if we must stick to our forefathers opinion, he is outdone—If the Scriptures be true, that a multitude of subjects is the glory of a King, this is a good Bill.

Mr Waller, to their coming in poor upon our Poor.] King James desired an Union with Scotland; the Parliament denied him nothing, but granted him not that; but the Lawyers found out a way of the post nati—They are an allerius nos—There was no danger then; now they must either come in with stocks, or go to the house of correction—We have had plague and war, and civil war, and have peopled Ireland with an hundred thousand souls—Forty shillings a year, when he was a boy, was a good servant's wages; now in Buckinghamshire, eight pounds a year, and are forced to send thirty miles for reapers, and fellers of wood—We labour under a paucity of people certainly—No man was ever denied Naturalization here, paying his fees—That which was said by the Ancients, of the "vivacity of youth and wisdom of age," (complimenting the Speaker) is in you; you want not the Fees of Naturalization-Bills in your fortunes, and would have a mark of honour upon you, whilst you are Speaker, for doing it. (fn. 1).

Mr Vaughan.] He remembers not the reason of the post nati, but thinks it because under our Allegiance—Is against reading the Bill again; the most destructive thing in the world to your Interest and Government.

[The Bill was committed, in the afternoon, 108 to 61.]

Tuesday, March 25, 1673.

Mr Attorney Finch reports from the Conference with the Lords, on the alterations of the Lords Amendments, that they are content to lay aside the Proviso of "exemption of persons named;" they agree to all parts of the Bill, and the variations. The Earl of Anglesea only managed the Conference, who told us how ready the Lords were to comply with us in so important, good, and seasonable a Bill, sent them by this House. They agree to the "servants of the Duke of York." They would not have "the Queen" pressed in reference to "her servants," because both Houses would vary in their late Address to the King about Popery, "such as are obliged to attend the Queen;" and it would infringe the articles of treaty between the Crown of Portugal and this Crown, the Queen retrenching those articles in taking two thirds of the King's subjects to attend her, whereas she might have taken all Papists and foreigners; this great moderation of the Queen deserves respect from both Houses. As to our reason, "that their attendance upon the Queen would occasion great resort of Papists to Court," because the "Duke's servants" are left out of the Bill, half the reason is accommodated. The noli prosequi, the Lords would have, &c. the Lords thought the leaving out this Clause would make it more easy to offenders; because the Attorney General is not obliged to prosecute, or so faintly, that it might come to nothing; it might be an advantage to the King; suppose prosecution, and, it may be witnesses not ready, and so you prosecute the delinquent to absolution. Should the Attorney be bound to prosocute always, it may be the restraining the discontinuance of the offender, and he might plead it in Bar, and it would suppress the knowledge, whether the party be the offender, or no, and so frustrate much of the end of this Bill.

[To the Amendment of "including the Queen's servants."]

Mr Waller.] Puts you in mind of the great honour his Majesty did this House, and the kingdom, in communicating his design of marrying the Infanta of Portugal, and would have our acknowledgment to him, for communicating it, read; we had the greatest honour upon this occasion that the King ever did us—We knew her Religion then, she forgets her father's house; it is a great advantage to us to have a friend; let us make one in his Royal Bed, as we would do in the Lords House, or of those that are near him.

Mr Garroway.] Has as much tenderness for the Queen as any man, though he cannot so well express himself; but in this would know what he did—Would add the words, "her now sworn servants."

Mr Secretary Coventry.] In former marriages, the articles were none, but such as of her Religion; there are very few [servants] of her Religion, and they are mortal—Would you have none Catholics after them? Would have liberty, that their places may be filled up.

Lord Cornbury.] She has not above eight Papists, servants, and admits Protestants into her service, without asking any questions.

Mr Powle.] Would willingly agree with the Lords, if the thing brought no inconvenience with it—Wishes some temperament, that the Lords might have added, "it is not only for this present Queen, but for all future Queens"—Would not have any articles of marriage to abrogate the Laws of England—Thinks it an omission (with deference) in the Lords of the Council, and managers of the business.

Sir Thomas Lee.] You are told "the Queen's servants are few," but would know what security you may have for the future, that they shall be no more—Knows not what number this may increase by your countenancing it.

Lord Cornbury.] Has reason to believe, that there will be no increase of the number; there has been none these eleven years; they have their places during the King's pleasure, and no danger in it.

Colonel Birch.] Reasons of our disagreeing are parliamentary at a Conference—The succession part will make an occasion of taking in Papists; because for eleven or twelve years she has been very quiet, many will be removed now upon the Act, and they will press to be put into the Queen's service.

Mr Vaughan.] All his good wishes to the Queen cannot make a digression from his duty—She must have persons to attend her; she comes not hither to change her Religion; but why must she have her trust reposed in Papists? The King and she will draw two ways in interest—Shall we repeal so many Laws in a compliment? It is against the King's interest, and your duty, and would not agree with the Lords.

Mr Sacheverell.] Remembers that the Address to the King has reference to the Priests, and that is a reason why we should not agree—Supposes the articles of Marriage do not give a liberty to English Priests.

Mr Attorney Montagu.] If any English Priests stay, their lives are not safe, and they will not stay—Thinks we may agree.

Mr Vaughan, with leave, spoke again.] Mr Harwood said, "we strain at this, when we did not at a greater thing;" would know the meaning of it.

[Agreed to, severally, with the Lords.]

[In the Afternoon.]

Mr Powle reports from the Committee the Address to the King concerning the Irish Grievances, which was agreed to, and is as follows:

"WE your Majesty's most loyal Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, taking into consideration the great calamities which have formerly befallen your Majesty's kingdom of Ireland, from the Popish Recusants there, who, for the most part, are professed enemies to the Protestant religion and the English Interest; and how they, making ill use of your Majesty's gracious Disposition and Clemency, are, at this time, grown more insolent and presumptuous than formerly, to the apparent danger of that kingdom and your Majesty's Protestant subjects there; the consequence whereof may likewise prove very fatal to this your kingdom of England, if not timely prevented; and having seriously weighed what remedies may be most properly applied to these growing distempers, do, in all humility, present your Majesty with these our Petitions:

"That, for establishing and quieting the possessions of your Majesty's subjects in that kingdom, your Majesty would be pleased to maintain the Act of Settlement, and the explanatory Act thereupon; and to recall the Commission of Enquiry into Irish affairs, bearing date the 17th of January last, as containing many new and extraordinary Powers, not only to the prejudice of particular persons, whose estates and titles are thereby made liable to be questioned, but in a manner to the overthrow of the said Acts of Settlement; and, if pursued, may be the occasion of great charge and attendance to many of your subjects in Ireland, and shake the peace and security of the whole kingdom:

"That your Majesty would give order, that no Papist be either continued or admitted to be a Commander or Soldier in that kingdom; and, because the Irish Papists have furnished themselves with great quantities of arms, that your Majesty would please to give directions so to disarm them, that they may not be dangerous to the Government there, and that their arms be brought into the public magazines:

"That the like order may be given, that no Papist be either continued, or hereafter admitted to be Judges, Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Coroners, Mayors, Sovereigns, or Portreves in that kingdom:

"That the titular Popish Archbishops, Bishops, Vicars-General, Abbots, and all others exercising Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, by the Pope's Authority, and, in particular, Peter Talbot, pretended Archbishop of Dublin, for his notorious disloyalty to your Majesty, and disobedience and contempt of your Laws, may be commanded, by Proclamation, forthwith to depart out of Ireland, and all other your Majesty's dominions, or otherwise to be prosecuted according to Law; and that all Convents, Seminaries, and public Popish Schools, may be dissolved and suppressed, and the regular Priests commanded to depart, under the like penalty:

"That no Irish Papists be admitted to inhabit in any Corporation of that kingdom, unless duly licensed, according to the aforesaid Acts of Settlement; and that your Majesty would be pleased to recall your Letters of the 26th of February 1671, and your Proclamation thereupon, whereby general licence is given to such Papists to inhabit in Corporations there.

"[That your Majesty's Letter of the 28th of September 1672, and the Order of Council thereupon, whereby your Majesty's subjects are required not to prosecute any actions against the Irish, for any wrongs or injuries committed during the late Rebellion, may likewise be recalled.]

"That Colonel Richard Talbot, who hath notoriously assumed to himself the title of Agent of the Roman Catholics in Ireland, be immediately dismissed out of all command, either civil or military, and forbid an access to your Majesty's Court.

"That your Majesty would be pleased, from time to time, out of your princely wisdom, to give such farther orders and directions to your Lord Lieutenant, or other chief Governor of Ireland for the time being, as may best conduce to the encouragement of the English Planters, and Protestant interest there, and the suppression of the insolences and disorders of the Irish Papists.

"These our humble desires we present to your Majesty, as the best means to preserve the peace and safety of that your kingdom, which hath been so much of late endangered by the practices of the said Irish Papists, and, particularly, of the said Richard and Peter Talbot; and we doubt not but your Majesty will find the happy effects thereof, to the great satisfaction and security of your Majesty's Person and Government, which, of all earthly things, is most dear to us, your Majesty's most loyal and obedient Subjects."

Mr Powle also reports the following Address to the King, about Grievances in England.

"WE your Majesty's most loyal Subjects, the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, conceiving ourselves bound in necessary duty to your Majesty, and in discharge of the trust reposed in us, truly to inform your Majesty of the estate of this your kingdom; and, though we are abundantly satisfied, that it hath always been your Royal will and pleasure, that your Subjects should be governed according to the Laws and Customs of this realm; yet finding, that, contrary to your Majesty's gracious intentions, some Grievances and Abuses are crept in; we crave leave humbly to represent to your Majesty's knowledge, and to desire,

"That the imposition of twelve-pence a chaldron upon coals, for the providing of convoys, by virtue of an Order of Council, dated the 15th of May, 1672, may be recalled, and all bonds, taken by virtue thereof, cancelled.

"That your Majesty's Proclamation of the 4th of December, 1672, for prevention of disorders which may be committed by soldiers; and whereby the soldiers, now in your Majesty's service, are, in a manner, exempted from the ordinary course of justice, may likewise be recalled. And whereas great complaints have been made, out of several parts of this kingdom, of divers abuses committed in quartering of soldiers, That your Majesty would be pleased to give order to redress those abuses, and, in particular, that no soldiers be hereafter quartered upon any private houses; and that due satisfaction may be given to the Innkeepers and Victuallers where they lie, before they remove. And, since the continuance of soldiers in this realm will necessarily produce many inconveniences to your Majesty's subjects, we do humbly present it, as our Petition and Advice, that, when this present war is ended, all the soldiers which have been raised since the last Session of Parliament may be disbanded.

["That your Majesty would likewise be pleased to consider of the irregularities and abuses of pressing soldiers, and to give order for the prevention thereof for the future. And although it hath been the course of former Parliaments to desire redress in their Grievances, before they proceeded to give a Supply, yet we have so full assurance of your Majesty's tenderness and compassion towards your people, that we humbly prostrate ourselves at your Majesty's feet with these our Petitions; desiring your Majesty to take them into your princely consideration, and to give such order for relief of the subjects, and the removing these pressures, as shall seem best to your Royal wisdom (fn. 2)."]

[This was also agreed to by the House.]

Mr Vaughan, to the Lords Concurrence to the Address.] It will look like having no complaint of Grievances, for the future, without the Lords—Hereafter, if any great man be impeached, we may be put to it, and it may sometimes make them Judges of our Laws and Liberties.

Resolved, That the Addresses be presented to his Majesty; and that those Members of the Council that are of the House, be desired to know his Majesty's pleasure, when this House shall attend him with the Addresses concerning Grievances.

Wednesday, March 26.

His Majesty's Answer to the Addresses of Grievances, as reported by the Speaker:

"THAT he observed the Address did consist of many different parts; and therefore it could not be expected there should be a present Answer; but for the several particular things contained in it, he would, before the next meeting, take such care, that no man should have reason to complain."

Ordered, That the Thanks of this House be returned to his Majesty, for the often accesses they have been admitted to his Majesty's person, and for his most gracious Answer to the several Addresses of this House; and, particularly, for his last gracious Message, and for the care he hath declared he will take of the Protestant Religion.

[March 27, omitted.]

Friday, March 28. Good Friday.

Debate on the Lords Amendments to the Bill for Ease of Dissenters, with a Clause in the Bill of the King's power of issuing out Proclamation, if he saw cause, either of Liberty or Restraint.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Issuing out the King's Proclamation is a Law fairly of Impunity, and so we make it, and no otherwise; the Proclamation is the same in effect as the Declaration.

Mr Powle.] If Liberty to Dissenters be granted, and it may be recalled by Proclamation in the King's power, they are not sure they shall have Liberty; and who will lay out his money for stock, or trade, that must be in perpetual doubt and danger? And you will have no effect of the Bill?

Mr Garroway.] If they must live here, this is a pernicious way, you can never hope for any fruit of Naturalization—This Proclamation sets all backward, and may make it a thing mercenary, or by friendship—If abused, the King may be free to take it away—Would agree as soon to lose the Bill, as have it.

Sir Thomas Littleton.] He likes the Lords Amendment as well as any thing in the Bill—It is necessary, in this manner; you do, by this, trust the King with the peace of the kingdom; it has had good effect already in the King's power, when the Declaration was issued out—Are they not at uncertainty in Holland? The supreme power there, in a quicker way than we, can take their liberty from them—This is a thing settled in the King, and will startle nobody; the power, in the King, of doing or not doing, settles the minds of men, and is the best thing in the Bill.

Mr Vaughan.] We ever condemned the form of the Declaration, though the matter we accepted—This Proviso establishes the form of the Declaration; the security of Property is the greatest security for Religion, and all you have—Your Bill is but temporary, and the best purse, or the greatest favour, may purchase Dispensations from Court, or from Rome.

Sir Edmund Wyndham.] This is but publishing a new Law by Proclamation, and no more.

Sir Richard Temple.] You say you would be contented the King should recall it, and you put it out of the King's power, if you reject the Proviso—It says, "the King may declare Impunity by Proclamation, not to any particular person"—It is not as the Declaration; there is much difference between a thing done by Proclamation when you have a Law for it, to empower the King to do it—It is the only expedient that can be thought of.

Lord St. John.] It is the intention of the Bill to bring people and manufactures into the nation, and to keep those here we have—Who will stay when indulgence is uncertain, and not by a Law?—He is against all Laws that shall make Proclamation as good as a Law—Moves not to agree.

Colonel Birch.] This Bill has had one or two fair escapes, though this has the least need of it—A point left out in this Bill he would not willingly lose, the King's power of suspension; what is due to the King he would have him to have—Knows nothing in the Clause but what you may accept of—Looks upon it, that if you agree not to the Lords Proviso, you may as well lay aside the Bill; every Gentleman can reflect upon what he would have, and what he has already—Would agree.

The Speaker, reproving Gentlemen for noise.] It is against the rules of the House to speak on one side the House, and talk on the other.

Colonel Strangways.] Would endeavour to remove one argument of the King's having all the Thanks; it is the King makes the Law; it is before but an embryo; our making Laws is now out of doors, (reflecting on Birch.) The inducement to promote this Bill is, that, otherwise, they are subjected to all the Laws in force—It is not only to Protestant Dissenters, but this Proviso of the Lords extends to Turks, Jews, Socinians, &c. it is so general: You by this set up a shop of indulgences and offices, and the people must pay dear for them; and the next Session we may spend half our time in disputing the King's power again; and he would not agree.

Sir Robert Carr, to the setting up shops.] When the indulgences were granted, nothing was given for Licences but to the Under Clerks—It is for Presbyterian subjects only, and would not agree with the Lords.

Sir Robert Howard.] The King did do it by his Declaration, and now he will not, because the Parliament dislikes it; he will not retract from a thing; he would have done it if the Parliament had liked it—Would make the King the product of what is proper to him in this business. Statute of Elizabeth and Edward VI. The King has ecclesiastical matters put into him as the conduit of conveyance; if the King has any power, it is in ecclesiastical matters—The Parliament thinks fit that something of Pase be given; but by whom? Can you avoid the conduitpipe? Must we avoid the King in this? Consider then, whether the Lords Proviso is not more parliamentary than what we sent them up—If this House was put to it to define Prerogative by Law, it has always been the care not to define it; too much or too little—Some body must be in trust still for the peace of the nation; he has been seven years of the opinion for Ease to Dissenters—A narrow Act will not attain your end; but some [will be] pleased, and many displeased; by this Proclamation you may do what you most wish, for all persons—Lord Coke was no friend to Prerogative, and yet granted the King a provident relaxation of ecclesiastical matters.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Cannot agree with the Lords—It looks to him, as if it gave an opportunity to give the King a power he never had before, like the power in Ireland to the Lord Lieutenant about Corporations—We do we know not what, that you should make so many subjects have a dependence that others have not—The Church of England will be lessened by making more have dependence on this Proclamation—Would have persons dependent on the Crown, that we may all have the same common interest—You are told "it is so in Holland, because the opinion of the Government is for it;" but our Government is otherwise; their opinion is according to their Government, and something more goes to law-making here than there—If you put it to the Proclamation-power, we see several parts of the kingdom, and can represent their opinions; the King must have information, pro hie et nunc, and no where better than here—Men are never undone all on a sudden; this may draw strange consequences—The King is supreme Judge, but still according to rules and methods of law—Knows not to whom this may reach; the Proclamation may have the force of your enacting clause, which you can never foresee.

Colonel Titus.] When you were angry at the Declaration, it was at the manner, not the matter of it—If this Law of Ease be lost, it will occasion great inconveniences; the Preamble of it is such a concession as you would not be willing to lose—How can you remedy the inconveniences of this Bill, if you give no power to recress it? It is convenient that the King ought to have the Thanks of it—Some men behave themselves very ill, others very well; the Law being equal, it cannot be distinguished; "the King may," some say, "who knows that the King will grant it?" The Dissenters have had it already, and need not mistrust him—It is said that all people are not upon the same foot; he would not have Dissenters to be so, but would have the Church in its full establishment.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] We are yet ignorant of their numbers and their disposition, but when they have their liberty established by Law you may know both, but can help neither—A Criminal depends more upon the King than he that is not, and so the Church—It goes through all your Corporations; and to be established without correction, he knows not the consequence—The Churches of Holland have no more foundation, if not Calvin, than a Mountebank; by the Union of Utrecht, no established Religion but the rites of Calvin; their toleration is rather a countenance. Mr Biddle, a Minister of the Church of England, Presbyterians, Anabaptists, English, countenanced, but not tolerated there—Our Church was shut up there; you can never suppose the King can keep up the Church without Bishops.

Mr Waller.] That power you give the King is by yourselves, and only temporary, and never intended as an indulgence—As soon as they have the Law, they have the Law, as well as to go to Church—Possibly when Laws are made, they are for neither of the three States sake, but for the peace of the kingdom—If argued à majore ad minus, the King calls a Parliament, and dismisses them; makes Peace and War: You give no greater power than this—If a Coachman can neither restrain his reins, nor slacken them, and be tied to the box, he would drive scurvily—Suppose any inconvenience in the kingdom, the King can neither streighten nor slacken the reins, and can never be able to govern.

Mr Harwood.] Wonders that any man will put the King to the trouble of sollicitations of all sorts of people; a trouble, he hopes, you will never give him—Mr Waller is free with the King, in his comparison of a Coachman—Thinks the King would be at a loss to drive without the help of the Law.

Mr Milward.] Wise Physicians give physic that they may correct—This seems an experiment; if of good effect, it may be continued; if not, the King may restrain it. 21 James, chap. 10.

Sir Charles Harbord.] To give that liberty, by Proclamation, for no more than the Law gives, he sees no inconvenience in it; the persons are so inconsiderable, that, without some indulgence, you will make the King and kingdom weak, and he would agree with the Lords.

Mr Swynfin.] 'Tis a thing of great weight, and we are in great streights about it. If this had been at the beginning of the Session, we had time enough; therefore is for that now, that, if he had time, he would not be for—Those that would not have the Law put into the King to give life and effect to it, yet find it necessary; the King may take it away, which is a larger power, than to give him power, by Proclamation, as large as making a Law—If this indulgence be ill used, here is Law against them, and they are visible persons—All conclude something would be necessary, but all this while nothing has been done, but that the severe Laws against these Dissenters may be let loose—This lies before him now, whether they shall have all Laws let loose, or have nothing, there being but to-day and to-morrow to sit; thinks it fit to agree with the King's gracious and merciful intentions to these people.

Serjeant Seys.] Will any dislike a Liberty, because it comes by Act of Parliament? Does any Act pass without the King's liking it? Can any man define what restrictions and latitude the Proclamation will have? And doubts will arise whether according to the Act, and raise such Questions that the people will not know what to do—We have seen the effect of the Declaration; it had good effect upon some, and bad upon others—Would not agree with the Lords; but if the people make an ill use of this Act, the King may restrain them.

Mr Powle.] This parting with the Legislative Power out of our hands, there is scarce a precedent for—Knows but one—The giving the Legislative Power into a few hands will alter the Government—In Henry VIII's time Parliaments were in great submission to the Crown; and yet, in those times, when the Power of the King was greatest, they trusted him not with such a Proclamation—Wales, at that time, was separated from England, and then the King had such a Power; but no man can show him, it ever was in England—The argument of Holland, so often exploded, here weighs no more with him than street and coffee-house talk—If this number of Dissenters be so great, does it not give, in effect, a Tax upon them, which, by Proclamation-Power, they may buy of the King, and so a greater Tax upon the nation than is already granted; but he sees no danger of the King's suppressing them, if disorderly—We know how to lay things equally upon the people, and we put it out of our hands, by this Proviso, into the Privy Counsellors, who, with submission, are not so competent judges as we are.

A Bill for the King's general and free Pardon was sent from the Lords (fn. 3).

Mr Powle, before it was read.] Knows that general Pardons have been inspected by some persons of the House, to see how far they extend, and whether greater or less than former Pardons; and would have it lie till to-morrow morning upon the table.

Colonel Strangways.] The Fast of Good Friday is usque ad vesperem, and he would not sit any longer.

Mr Powle, to the Question of reading it now.] Would have something considered before this passes—No Officer shall issue out Writs of Election after the last day of Session of Parliament, for now we have an adjournment for six months, and all those Writs may be issued out, and yet not offend against this Act, and no punishment of the Officer, his punishment being for issuing them out after the last day of Session—The pardoning pence and halfpence is good, because most Corporations are concerned in it, but thinks the exception of coin current cuts that off without benefit—First Fruits, Tenths, Subsides, &c. things that refer to account—Thinks that some accounts are fit to be pardoned, that persons may be at an end, imprisonments excepted—There have been divers committed by the Privy Council of late, and great sending for persons by Serjeants at Arms. If the Privy Counsellors have exceeded their power, persons committed are excluded from all grace and favour of this pardon—In Queen Elizabeth's time, in the business of Mary Queen of Scots, they couched these words, "she being committed by the Queen and Council's special command, upon special occasion." These things occur to him; knows he has no need of this pardon, and great offenders and offences are pardoned in it—Would have it considered.

Mr Attorney Finch.] He likes the Clause "if molested by the officer, treble damages." Process before the last day of Session, and so may be tormented in the mean time—The King, who will be the Conservator, will take severe course with any officer, and would see him that dares be so that he himself will not call to question—If there be any arrears of First Fruits and Tenths, God forbid that the King should not have them—Farthings pardoned; he thinks farthings are no part of the current money of England, nor any coin, and so no danger—As to prisoners in the Tower, by command of the King and Council, the Queen of Scots was no subject of England, and so never in the words of the Pardon. 21 James was the last general Pardon—Excepting condemns no man, but excepts him from Pardon—Would you have active persons prisoners of State, who in no age were ever thought fit to be exempted? He is not enough privy to the Councils of the King his Master, but it is necessary for some persons whom you would be sorry to see loose—Above forty things are pardoned in this Act that never were pardoned; forest-trespasses, and many other things, never pardoned but by the Act of Indemnity—Never was any Pardon so ample as this.

Sir Thomas Lee.] Would have nothing remain but joy—Would know what is meant by "Prisoners of State;" a dear-bought Pardon to be against the Petition of Right—Does not say the Pardon is, but it is a strange kind of implication—What was the occasion of the Petition of Right? That of Prisoners of State was part—Would put those things out of memory, never to be brought into question again,

Mr Attorney Finch.] Believes that zeal for public Liberty inspires Lee; he believes those prisoners may demand Habeas Corpus to-morrow if they please, and it is no infringement of right.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Be the crime ever so inordinate, he is immediately pardoned, were there not these exceptions.

Mr Vaughan.] Whoever is a prisoner ought to be so by Law—Those committed by the King and Council are not prisoners of State, and they may have Habeas Corpus. Would have no other distinction pass than "Prisoners of Law."

Sir John Mallet.] Jersey and Guernsey are the King's dominions, and a Writ cannot pass thither; here was an Act depending in this House about it.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Is sorry that the point of halfpence and farthings is left a moot point; if it be, he will come to the Attorney-General for his hand.

The Bill passed.

Debate on the Lords Amendments to the Bill for Ease of Dissenters, resumed.

Mr Swynfin.] We all know that many keep in the Communion of the Church of England, and come to the Liturgy and Sacraments, but are shut out of the Ministry by the Subscription; and that these men should be shut out of the benefit of this Bill is hard—The Proviso says ["fall from the Church"] but would know in what they fall from it; some of the Papists have fallen from our Church, and you have marked them in the other Bill, but these do not fall from it—Suppose one should conform, and do as they do in the Churches of France or Holland; but should he go to Rome and do as they do there, we should judge him a faller off—Only speaks it, because to learned men that are Protestants it will prove a scandalous Law.

Colonel Strangways.] No learned man of the Church of England will conform to the German or French way—It becomes every man to conform to the custom of the Church he was born in—We do not censure the Churches beyond sea, nor blame them for imposing upon their children—But to a Presbyterian that will not allow the Church of England to have the power of other Churches abroad, he will not consent—If you allow not the Parliament to command and judge things indifferent, you take away all—It is not Religion but Government—To shut a door, or take up a pin, is a great thing when commanded, though but little in itself.

Colonel Titus.] It gives these people indulgence in great things, but restrains them in small; like the custom at Rouen in France, where a Malefactor must be pardoned and carried about in triumph on their great Saint's day, be he a murderer, or has lain with his sister; but a small rogue is not pardoned—King James gave particular instructions to all his Ambassadors at Paris, that they should go to Church at Charenton, and [it has been] so since his time—To procure this liberty, it seems, persons must differ from your Church as much as they can.

Sir Adam Browne.] The Proviso says ["seduced"] Hopes you will suppose Growth of Popery as well as Presbytery.

Colonel Birch.] Would fain know what it is to be of the Church, and what not; that will require a Divinity Lecture—Let the same word be in the Proviso as against the Papists, and pen it as in that, and he is not against it.

Mr Garroway.] Would have this "deserting" described, you will else be subject to every little Proctor or Informer.

Sir Thomas Lee.] You will make it, by this Proviso, so unintelligible, that you will make it rather an Act of Combustion than of Ease.

Sir Charles Harbord.] Shall this extend to all? Who then shall be safe? This is a perfect setting of snares.

Mr Powle.] It is so obscure few can understand it; ["Common Prayer, or seduced"] a disjunctive; what shall be understood a withdrawing from the Church of England? If once a man comes in, you exclude him the benefit of his other congregation; if you will hinder him from coming, though for his curiosity, you may fright him away from conversion to our Church.

Mr Sollicitor North.] The Question is intended to discourage apostacy, ["those that have for a twelvemonth last past"] Would have it thus mended; instead of "seduced and deserted the Church the space of a twelvemonth;" "not received the Communion and do go to Conventicles."

Mr Waller.] Suppose this; "no man shall desert our Church"—When beyond the sea he went to their Protestant Church, but when an Ambassador came, he went to his Church. This will make men dissemble, and come to our Church when they care not for it.

Colonel Titus.] Would gladly know, if any man that has within a twelvemonth received the Sacrament, may keep Conventicles? You will give liberty to Dissenters, and not to such as are not.

On the Lords Proviso of Indemnity.

Mr Powle.] Would have it an Indemnity to such as have omitted, as well as acted, by virtue of the late Act of Conventicles.

[It was so amended.]

Sir Thomas Lee.] Moves that it may not indemnify such as have received money by virtue of penalties in that Act.

[A Conference was desired on the Amendment.]

Saturday, March 29.

Debate on Members taking the Test in the Act of Popery.

Sir Thomas Meres.] The words of the amendment are, "Every person that has any public trust or employment from his Majesty, or derived from him," which comprehends Members of Parliament.

Colonel Birch.] This will sound very ill abroad, that all persons in employment and trust must take this Test, and that we should not include our Members.

The Speaker.] It is the same thing as if you should enjoin all Members to observe the Law.

Sir John Duncombe.] The thing is objected to in the House, and we ought to be satisfied in the thing before we rise—Would have your sense declared here, and explained by yourselves, that we be not brought into Westminster Hall about it.

Mr Waller.] Believes it always that the Officers of the kingdom are to take this; as by the statute of Elizabeth—The Commons cannot all come hither, and therefore we represent them; a majore cautelâ, we may have an Order made in it—That statute enjoins Oaths before we sit here.

The Speaker.] The thing is no Law yet, and you are going to make a Declaration of a thing before it be—Pray consider of it.

Sir Richard Temple.] You can make none of these Orders; if such a Law pass to do so, it is not fit to be upon your books—Would have it according to rules prescribed in that Act.

Mr Attorney Montagu.] If you order it according to the Bill, such a thing has passed, and you may be mentioned in it.

Sir Thomas Meres.] He that sits here owns an authority; he sits here in a place of trust; it may be, a complaint may come from his Borough, and he be put out—Would have no man surprized.

Mr Waller.] We are sent here only by our country; not by the King, but by name.

[No Vote passed in it.]

Mr Thomas.] Moves to have our Addresses concerning Grievances, and the King's Answer to our Grievances, printed.

Sir John Mallet.] Divers Grievances have been by soldiers since the Address, and 'tis fit the people should have notice of it.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] You will show your complaints to the King of Grievances, but not his Answer, for the King has not yet published any thing relating to it—You have no power to print it.

Sir Thomas Meres.] He will not say you have power to print the King's Speech, but we have power to print our own Address; there are many instances this Parliament, and it may be of great use.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] By the Act of Printing, you cannot print.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Since that Act, Sir Edward Turner, late Speaker, has appointed things to be printed several times.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] Shall not dispute whether we have power or no; it is a kind of Appeal to the people; but printing this will much heighten and increase the love of the people to the King—Would have the Privy Counsellors of the House desire his Majesty to cause them to be printed.

Mr Harwood] Stands up to second Clarges's Motion—Some inconveniences have lately been by soldiers—You have had a Member lately robbed [Mr Wharton] by persons like soldiers, armed and horsed; his Motion is no more than to keep the people quiet—Thinks it a reasonable Motion, and would have the King moved in it.

Sir Richard Temple.] You would not let your transactions be printed in news-books; you have decried this printing, begun in the Long Parliament, as of ill consequence; let these things, like Appeals to the people, be avoided.

Sir Thomas Lee.] The Motion is far from "an Appeal to the people;" this is only, that the King having given as a gracious Answer, you publish it. To what intent? It will be a means to prevent farther mischief; the people may address the King for remedy for the future.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] To print this, as if it were a Statute or a Law, will look like remonstrating; the Long Parliament was condemned for it.

Colonel Birch.] The Question is not your directing it to be printed, but desiring the King to cause it to be printed. If this were printed, it would end many disputes in the country about quartering of soldiers.

Sir Robert Carr.] What can this printing be but a mistrust of the King, that he will not do what he has promised? No doubt but the King will do it as effectually as he has promised.

Mr Vaughan.] These are good objections, if the House was to order it to be printed; but we do no more appeal to the people by this than by publishing a Law—It is to publish his Majesty's gracious favour to his people.

Mr Cheney.] For the ill consequence that hath been made of it, and may be of this, would not have it printed.

Sir Robert Howard.] The first Motion is out of doors by the Act of Printing—As for the next Motion, printed things are always the best speakers to the people—To what end should the people think you do this?

Mr Swynfin.] It has been debated long, and you cannot rise without a Question—As he cannot think the Address improper, or the King's Answer such as you cannot rest upon as satisfactory, therefore he is clear for moving the King to have it printed—It is said "this is but an Address of this House to the King"—Your usual course is, when your Grievances are not redressed, to have recourse to the Lords for a Law—In regard you have waved all other ways, and taken this, it is most reasonable to have it printed, that a countryman may have something to show.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Swynfin said, the other day, "it was a reproach to a man, to have the Test of renouncing the Covenant put upon him"—To those that have not as well as to those that have taken it, it is a reproach—Supposes this printing will be so to the King, by the same reason as his other objection.

Sir Thomas Meres.] How much the people are beholden to the House of Lords, and how little to us! The King's Answer about the Declaration we did not print. We are beholden to the Lords for it, and so are the people.

Sir Thomas Lee.] If you will adjourn now, adjourn the Debate likewise to the next Session, and let it be upon your Books.

[The House divided even upon the Question, 105 to 105: The Speaker had the casting voice, and gave it for adjourning, and jestingly said, "He would have his reason for his judgment recorded, viz. because he was very hungry."]

In the afternoon, Sir Thomas Meres reports the Conference from the Lords; upon the Amendments in the Bill of Ease to Protestant Dissenters.

To our Amendments to the Lords Proviso,

Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Shaftesbury.] The Lords did desire all agreement with this House, and never Session was more happy in agreements—The Lords insist upon the King's Proclamation, and say it keeps the whole scheme of the Bill—To our reasons of "the Proclamation with limitations," they answer, that the Proclamation may give less power, but not more than the Bill; as the Proclamation is without precedent, so, they say, is our Bill without precedent, and alters the establishment by Law for a time: A Lease is as good a Lease for one year, as for seven; it always ought to be at the will of the Crown and dependent; the King may give them less, but not more than the Act—The Lords like not the Clause of "misdemeanor;" since, upon that, the King may take away their liberty; it supposes a right in the Dissenters, which they cannot allow—As to the other Amendment, here they are only making an Act of "Indulgence," not of "Comprehension;" some will not be comprehended; the Anabaptists are men of good lives, and are good traders—It is severe as to the Papists, because they must repair to the Quarter Sessions, and then they will be known—As for the Covenanters, all we can do may be to let in some few; those that have taken it may repent; those that have not may be more dangerous.

Earl of Anglesea.] It is better to leave the trust in the King, who has barred himself from suspending the Laws, by the preface of this Act—Such Proclamation gives notice where Licences may be had, the authority being from the Act, not the Proclamation, and so must Licences be granted; the countenance is more from the Law than the King; offenders of the Law can have no privilege but from the Law; where the King gives at pleasure, he may take away at pleasure—34 Elizabeth—That Act is only for Churchmen, and this not.

Debate upon the Amendments.

Mr Powle.] Is fully convinced, that our arguments, at the Conference, were good; for the King may alter the Law, by this Proclamation, as often as he pleases—This extends not to a single Law, but to many, and excludes this House and the Lords—We, by giving this power, if abused, may be the greatest Grievance to the nation that is possible—Licences must be bought, and you put these Dissenters, who are numerous, to have money raised upon them—You, by giving this authority, dispense with all Papists, Jews, and Mahometans, and knows not but with Idolaters also—He questions not but the King may use it well, but knows not how long it may continue, if Parliaments be laid aside, and possibly it may be an occasion that we may not meet again.

Mr Boscawen.] If the Proclamation be by virtue of an Act of Parliament, it is no argument against it; that it may bring in all sects, is not so obvious an objection, but under the word "Protestant," all are excluded that are not so; if he be a Jew, Turk, or Mahometan, it is secured as much as may be—They will be known what they are, and there is no danger by agreeing with the Lords.

Mr Vaughan.] If any man believes he will purchase this Bill at the price of renouncing his Religion, and his God, he is mistaken; your Bill gives only indulgence to "such as subscribe the Articles, &c." But as they have added this Proviso [there is] no manner of Test, all are let in, and persons admitted that will say any thing, and that your Church has no Lawfulness in it, and the reason of dispensing with those Laws dissolves the whole government of the Church—If a man has no other sanction, but the Law, for his Faith, we let in Atheism and Socinianism, and he would rather be of no Religion, than believe that Christ is not God—This makes way for the same counsel the King had in the Declaration; and some of Lord Anglesea's arguments are, "that when the King will break his Laws, you will give him a Law to do it"—For the Crown to pardon, it is good for every man, and fit it should have it, but the power of "indulging" is a thing you cannot give, and hopes it will never receive.

Mr Swynfin.] The Question before you now, is, Whether it shall be left at liberty for the King to issue out his Proclamation, &c.—Agrees with Mr Vaughan thus far, if he can make it good, that it is against Law and against God, if an impunity was given to any man to do it; but there is no such thing, in fact; it is directed only to "Protestant" subjects, and if they preach any thing against the Doctrine, Government, or Discipline of the Church of England, they have not the benefit of this Act—Hopes that his stating the thing so amiss, will not weigh with you; "you give the King this power again of dispensing," he says; he that releases does destroy his right, and taking a new Grant of it destroys it more in Law—If your Law had gone without this, it might be abused, as may any other Law you can make—The King is limited within the bounds of this Law, and how can you be abused? After a general sense of the House that something should be done, there is but one of these two things, either to agree with the Lords, and have something, or not agree, and have nothing. He is for agreeing.

Mr Waller.] Bring what Tests you will, and you cannot keep out the Socinians; but that is of another nature —There is in all things an extraordinary trust in the King; as in the Licences of Alienation, and several other things: This Proclamation is said to be like the Declaration; but by the Declaration of Breda you have disbanded a veteran army—Our Church is best when, like the head of it, meek and peaceable; we have had kindness and peace by the Breda Declaration; like the Sciences,

Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.

Colonel Strangways.] Now the whole scheme of the business is altered—Doubts that some that made these arguments in the Lords House had a hand in the Declaration—He can suffer for his religion as chearfully as ever—Such persons as have said, "that God had blasted the family of the Stuarts," have been licensed by the Declaration—Let us not do this at the end of a Session, when we cannot foresee what a tract of time must discover—Had you questioned those men that gave the King that advice, it had never come to this—It is a Law to justify them in what they have done—Have regard to the Protestant Religion and the Church of England—Though we have charity for these people, yet they hold, that there is no Salvation in our Church, as the Church of Rome does. Have they not told you that the Government by Archbishops and Bishops is antichristian? Would not agree.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Would open the truth of this matter a little; he has ventured to hurt the Church of England more for their sakes than he will tell you—By the Lords Amendments, all sects go together with the "Protestant doctrine;" they may have all the exercises of Popery, only they must not preach against the doctrine of the Church of England.

The Lords insisting on their first Amendment, the Question being put for candles, upon division of the House 75 were for candles, and 136 against candles; those that were for candles, were for prolonging the Debate, that the Black Rod might call us before we voted, "adhere;" and though divers Motions were made for adjourning the Debate till next Session, yet no Question could be put, the Black Rod knocking at the door.

The House was then adjourned by his Majesty's desire to October 20 (fn. 4). And so ended this Session, on Easter Eve, at nine of the clock at night.


  • 1. Alluding to the Speaker's giving all his Fees of private Bills to the Poor of St. Giles's parish, in which he lived.
  • 2. It is worthy observation, that the grand points of "the irregular Writs," "the War," "the Alliance with France," and "the shutting up of the Exchequer instead of applying for the advice and assistance of Parliament," are not so much as mentioned [in this Address:] and that in the introduction to these articles are many tender catprassions. Now supposing it was necessary, for decency's sake, to presume, that the King was ignorant of measures transacted in his own name, and well disposed to govern as he ought, it could not be presumed that these measures had no Author nor Adviser; and that these Abuses and Grievances had crept in by chance: Not withstanding which, instead of tracing the evil to its source, and making a wholesome example of the wicked Ministers, who had so notoriously milled his Majesty, and aggrieved and endangered his people, they suffered "An Act of Grace," (which was so worded, as to contain an absolute pardon of every offence against the State before the 25th of March, 1673) to be brought in, and passed; which put them out of the reach of justice for ever. Ralph.
  • 3. This Act of Grace was desired chiefly to cover the Ministry, who were all very obnoxious by their late actings. Burnet. See p. 162. Note.
  • 4. The King came to the House of Lords, before the Bill for Ease of Dissenters, and some others, could be fixed, and, besides the MoneyBill (which passed under the Title of "A Supply of his Majesty's Extraordinary Occasions") and the Popery Bill (commonly called "The Test Act") passed eight public Acts. "Thus ended, says Burnet, this memorable Session. It was, indeed, much the best Session of that long Parliament. The Church Party showed a noble Zeal for their Religion; and the Dissenters got great Reputation by their silent deportment." In consequence of the Test Act, the Duke of York himself, who was Lord High Admiral of England, and the Lord Treasurer Clifford, both laid down their places. The latter is said to have been so much disgusted at the King's passing that Bill, and some other condescensions, that he retired, and died in privacy and discontent, in Devonshire. Sir Thomas Osborne succeeded him as Treasurer, being created Lord Viscount Dunblain and Earl of Danby, &c.