Debates in 1678: February (19th-20th)

Pages 179-198

Grey's Debates of the House of Commons: Volume 5. Originally published by T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, London, 1769.

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In this section

Tuesday, February 19.

In a Grand Committee on the Supply. [On the manner of raising the Million, &c.]

A Motion was made to lay part of the tax upon new buildings, &c.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] You may as well lay more tax upon Dorsetshire, because of their clothing trade, and not upon Bedfordshire. I would know what new foundations have been since 1672—Lately, upon tryal at law, Lord Chief Justice Hale did declare it legal to build, where foundations were laid. And why may not a man make the best of his own land?

Sir Tho. Littleton] You eased London, and laid the Tax upon Middlesex, by reason of these new buildings; and so they are taxed already. There is no reason for a man to be judged afterwards.

Sir Charles Wheeler.] In Coal Mines under ground, as well as Houses above ground, one is improvement above, and the other below. If you lay the tax upon ground improved, you pay as well for all Meadows as those improved at Salisbury, and there is no consideration for the Charges. Can we go through the War, without a Land Tax? I would have sure footing to maintain at the beginning the setting out of the War, the better to supply the King when we meet again, and the War is entered into.

Sir Nicholas Pedley.] The general pardon operates only upon what is past. New buildings were declared general Nusances in King James's time. They would in time make London too big for the whole body. You may well give a year's value upon them towards this charge.

Mr Garroway.] Young Gentlemen, come lately into the House, flatter themselves that this may save their Land in this Tax. 'Tis now sixteen years experience that when we come to a result, the thing, I believe, will be upon Land; and that is ready calculated for you.

Sir Thomas Lee.] If this be the last Tax we are to pay upon this occasion, then I would charge Land; but I would keep that for a reserve, till we come again; lest, when that shall be, we find no way to raise more money; our Land having its full load.

Sir Richard Temple.] In Henry VIII's, Edward VI's, and Queen Elizabeth's time, Subsidies were upon oath, and power to examine parish taxes, and by that means they raised the Subsidies from 30,000l. to 100,000l. and 'tis the equallest way that can be. Now, in Land Tax, all men that paid in Subsidy, were excused. Dignified Clergy now go free, and personal estates; which may bear a great proportion in the money; money at interest, adding nothing to the capital stock of the Nation. You are a trading Nation, and money ought to stir. Judgments and Mortgages make men waste their woods, and pull down their Houses, and plough their Lands, and destroy the Nation.

Mr Secretary Williamson.] Since you are going into so great an action, &c. and engagement, you have the annual charge of the War, in a great measure, before you; and this is but half your annual expence, but six months expence, you order it so. There is no more on your Land now remaining of the last Tax than six months; your Land is charged 35,000l. per mensem till August next. So that your Land being charged for seven months, viz. from February, as I suppose you will begin the Tax, it will be eight months before you can be charged with this. I would not therefore lay more on Land, for this will be a distant credit, [like] that [which occasioned] all the intricacy and garboil in accounts the last War. And since Land is to be your standing fund, you must not charge it with what it will not bear for six months. You will charge the Land eleven months to have wherewithal to carry on the War for six months. If that be your case, Land is no way at liberty to help you for five months, and I would have it helped with something else. If any thing can, it ought, and all that can be named is little enough. New buildings are pardoned by the Act of Grace, and not pardoned. This is a contributing towards your charge; though not by law, yet convenience to help you. These buildings are one of the banes of the Country; they draw away all your tenants, and must not these Lands supply your present occasion by way of penalty? Buildings may give something, &c. Those that hire them pay dear, and those that buy them. The owners having made profit of them, to the Nation's injury, ought to bear some part of the burden. To lay not more upon Land than what will come in upon Land, is a necessary caution for this great work.

Serjeant Maynard.] The Question is, where you will lay this Tax. A certain sum is most certain to be raised, and most equal. Ever since I have known the Law, and practised at the King's Bench, I never knew any general, but this of new building declared a Nusance. Building itself is no Nusance, but it being an inconvenience to the Civil Government, is the greatest Nusance that ever was. Though the Court of Star-Chamber in some things was a grievance to the Nation, and the King could not make a thing unlawful to be lawful by Prerogative, yet the Star-Chamber construed the increase of new buildings to be a contempt, to do an unlawful thing, when there was a Proclamation to the contrary. Irish cattle are enacted a Nusance, malum, unlawful, or because prohibited; and some things are Nusances, by the very inconvenience of themselves, as the multitude of buildings are. Continuance of them, though pardoned, is now a Nusance. I speak not this to bring a tax upon new buildings, but to clear the matter of Nusance. An Act of Parliament may declare a Nusance that is none, and a continuance is a new Nusance.

Col. Birch.] I am still of the same mind I was last night. I would be glad of the 200,000l. that we lost yesterday. If I were sure we should have no War, I would charge Land without any more ado. But if Gentlemen have a clear sight in this great matter, there is nothing to make you low and contemptible to your Enemies, but charging your Land. If once you make a concurrent Tax upon Land, the French King will not be afraid of what you can do. I am for charging Land, when we come shoulder to shoulder with the Enemy. Till then it will be but vain to charge Land. I hear it talked of, "laying part of this Tax upon money at interest;" but I would never do that till you can secure your money by a Register-Bill. In the body [politic] 'tis as in the body natural. If the money does not circulate, all will fly to the head, like the blood, and kill presently. If those at the helm do not consider to bring the blood round again, the many consequences will be fatal. If you lay this Tax upon Land, the first six months perhaps may come in, but the second six months will sink a third part of the value of the Land; and Cattle and Corn will give nothing. I would have this seriously thought of; there can never be War, if this money be raised by Land-tax. I take this as before you; let new buildings go as the least of evils; keep the Tax from Lands. I was here in a Convention in 1654, about paying some debts contracted for the Navy. (I never saw so many wise men together.) And then it was said, and said again, "that new buildings were Nusances," when all was fair green fields at St James's. They then put in something by way of a Jury, to enquire into the values, and raised a good deal of money upon them; I can tell you how much. I would have "new foundations since 1654" pay one half year's value of the present rent. If they be Nusances, and Crimes, I would have them pay, but only as we pay for our Land—Hold us to this point, till either it be laid aside by a Question, or resolved, "that since 1655 and 1656, they may pay one half year's value."

Serjeant Maynard.] I would lay the Tax upon the Landlord. There are eighty and twelve thousand— which by law ought not to be. In St. Giles's parish scarce the fifth part can come to Church, and they must be of no religion at last. I am most for it, that there may be no farther increase of them.

Mr Waller.] If these buildings be a Nusance continued, they are to be pulled down by Law.

Sir Thomas Clarges saying some words, "as if this Tax would make the Government odious,"

Sir John Talbot took him down for reflective language

Sir Thomas Meres excused him, and

Sir Thomas Lee took Meres to the Orders.] It is the Order of the House neither to excuse nor take a Gentleman down to accuse him, till he be heard cut.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] 'Tis not reasonable that those Houses which have been Nusances two or three years, should be taxed like those that have been forty years. In the Borough a man may build by Law, and 'tis no offence, for the verdict upon these new buildings was passed upon that Statute. When the Lords find their Inheritances equally taxed with the nation, they may pass the Bill; but when this Tax is upon a number of Lords, will they not be heard at their Bar? Which will occasion Conferences, and hinder the Progress of affairs. Lord Chief Justice Vaughan, when here, said, "That the Law of Parliament was the Law of the Land; and no man ought to be taxed but for the spareable part of his Revenue." And is one half year's rent the spareable part? I desire these Gentlemen of the Long Robe would tell us whether it be illegal to erect new Houses.

Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] It seems, there is some disference of opinion in this matter amongst those of the Long Robe. I stand up, in the main, to ease Land. But I think there is a mistake in this of new buildings, &c. 'Tis the interest of the House to establish the durable interest of the Nation, the Freeholder. This Debate is charging new buildings, and the reason in the Debate is, "That they are a common Nusance." Though I am not of the Coif, yet I will presume to offer my reasons. A common Nusance is not dispensible but by Act of Parliament, and is "a detriment to all the King's subjects." 27 Eliz. "No buildings were to be within such a distance of London whatsoever." But that was but for a number of years. I never knew a Nusance enacted perpetual, but that of exportation of Leather, and importation of Irish Cattle. When the Act was expired, notice was taken of the contempt of it, against a Proclamation. When Essex-House was to be pulled down, the Society of the Middle Temple thought it an inconvenience. They had the best Counsel they could get, but were forced to sit down with as good a Composition as they could get. The first cause I ever was of was that between Lord Clare, and Clement's Inn. Now they are not a Nusance. Yet there is reason why they should be charged. I think, a very young man may remember the increase of buildings about London. Nothing decays rents in the Country like new buildings about London. Labourers in the Country, at six pence and eight pence a day, come here, and turn coachmen and footmen, and get a little House, and live lazily; and in the Country the farmer is constrained to pay sixteen or eighteen pence a day, through the fewness of workmen, and therefore can pay less rent. They will leave the Country for better Wages. Sumptuous Houses are a great invitation to Gentlemen of Quality, and their Wives, to come to London, where they live better, and more at their ease and content, than with a greater number of servants and expence in the Country. I know not how Clarges finds it that the builders get but 4l. per cent. but I know that if their Houses are not in bad places, they get 15 l. per cent. I would have this charge on the Landlord, to stop the increase here, for the Land-holder must support the Nation. The Law takes notice of the Free-holder, for tryals upon juries. The rest are but servants to them, and they, having greater advantage, ought to bear the burden. 'Tis an easy matter then to propose a charge upon them. I suppose you intend to charge some on Land for certainty, and that may be a certainty on the buildings also—They live better, and in more plenty and profit than the Freeholder, and they are but supernumeraries to serve them, and they ought to bear a part of this charge.

Mr Williams.] If this of new building be a project, I am against it; if not, I am for it. Therefore, in the first place, ascertain a proportion upon them towards this Million you have voted. As to the Nusance, 'tis said only as an argument to induce you to tax them, not that we declare it so—Some things in themselves, and some things by accident, are Nusances, and you may consider your own condition of Nusance. Some will say, "A long Parliament is a Nusance," and for us to declare that a Nusance, may draw the people to think us so; and I would have these new buildings Nusances by accident. To run into all the circumstanstance of these buildings, whether the Landlord or Tenant, shall pay this Tax—There is also a mean proprietor—This will create a hundred Questions. I would lay it therefore on the value; but if you lay sums upon them, you must have a calculation of their number "since 1656," for the oldest must pay, they having had greater profit, and 'tis fit a general estimate of their number should be made. There are said to be about 20,000 houses, then you may lay an estimate, whether 400,000 l. &c. Then I will go along with you, or else 'tis an improbable thing to raise any money on them.

Mr Swynfin.] The only strong reason I hear for this charge is, "That 'twill ease your Land," and that reason is grounded, "because they draw common people, and labourers hither." Suppose you lay half a year's rent upon them, will that hinder Gentlemen, and poor people and loose tenants from coming hither? So that these reasons work not with me. But is this that which turns the Country up to London? Then you should make an Act to erect no more, and that will stop them. I am against this charge, till I know how much this will keep off the Tax from Land. To give my negative, or affirmative, I would value them before you put the Question. It may come to this, that the receivers may not receive half what you rate them at, and the King not have half, and therefore some think this may raise 400,000 l. and others not 40,000 l. so that we shall lay an unusual Tax, supposing to keep the burden off from Land, and at last return to Land again. I would agree how much shall be accepted to keep off Tax from Land. When the Chimney Act was computed ['twas] uncertainly, and we charge the subject we know not how. Let some Gentlemen bring a clear estimate what these buildings will bear; else I cannot give my consent at all.

Sir Thomas Meres.] If you will go back to the year 1630, it will raise you something. In 1654, it did not raise above 40,000 l. and consider they must pay Tax also. It will be four or five shillings in the pound upon them, and this is concurrent upon them besides the half year's rent, which is ten shillings in the pound. As Williams told you, if you lay it upon the original Landlord that built it, he, perhaps has not two shillings in the pound, and then there is a tenant, and a tenant under him. (And now you are in earnest, as I did not believe you were before) If you circle in the Bills of Mortality upon new foundations, from 1630, if that Question pass, it will come to something. But for those just out of the Bills of Mortality, and they are not [to be] taxed, [to] pay nothing, that will be unjust. I would have the Question "from 1630, all the buildings within the weekly Bills of Mortality, upon new foundations;" and the other Question, by degrees, step by step, till we know how much they will bear.

Mr Sec. Coventry.] There is scarce a year but three or four houses either fall down or are new built in Covent Garden, and they [to be] rated as you do old ones,—that will be very hard and unequal.

Sir John Talbot.] Moneyed men may be met with here. They are the builders, and send money abroad for foreign timber, where our crown-pieces go for 5s. and 6d. and 6s. I would tax them.

Mr Garroway] I look upon this Tax as unjust, and therefore I am against it. I am taxed to the utmost in the country. If you will say, "Tax them at the rate of the city of London by reason of their trade, but if for their moneys because they have built houses," I know not, but by the same reason, you will tax all men that have raised estates since the King came in and had nothing before, as if they were Rosicrucian Knights that had got the Powder of Projection.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] If you put building as a crime, 'tis a greater crime to build near the time of making the Statute than to have built farther off.

Sir John Talbot.] From 1630 to 1640, the builders paid a fine to the King, by censure in the Star-Chamber, and from 1640 to 1656 they paid likewise. Consider how great a proportion those paid that were then built; but I find my old House is not a jot eased by the new buildings in St Margaret's Fields.

Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Statute of Q. Elizabeth, spoken of, does not extend to such a distance from navigable rivers—But people may build on new foundations. Cottages are to have four Acres—Boroughs and Corporations are excepted out of that Act.

The first Question was put, Whether one half of the full yearly value should be charged upon all the Buildings erected upon new foundations, [without the City of London, and] within the weekly Bills of Mortality, since 1630, (except such as were demolished by the late fire;) which passed in the Negative.

The second Question, Whether upon Buildings, &c. since 1640, passed also in the Negative.

The third Question, Whether upon Buildings, &c. since 1656, passed in the Affirmative, [and was agreed to by the House.]

Mr Sacheverell.] I would have an addition to the Question. I look upon this Tax, to be laid upon the new Buildings towards the Million you have voted, to be as a fine little sugar plumb to quiet us for yesterday's Vote of a Million, &c. which will never be made much of. I believe this War intended with the French is such a War as that of Henry VII. with France. We shall find that an Act of Re-assumption of Lands granted from the Crown, will give more ease to the subject, and I move for an Act of Re-assumption, &c. since 1656.

Mr Williams.] I believe the thing very good, but not seasonable now, and very well worth your Consideration in its time.

Sir Thomas Meres.] These things relating to Houses may be doubtful; but as for the Crown-Lands, and those that have them, they were valued at 300,000 l. &c. and they may raise something. If you vote a Re-assumption, I am for it.

Wednesday, February 20.

[In a Grand Committee on the Supply.] On the Re-assumption of Crown-Lands.

Sir Charles Wheeler] The Duke of Buckingham had 30,000 l. a year of the Crown-Lands granted to his father, &c.

Serjeant Maynard.] King Charles I. granted many Lands to the City of London. Those that bought these Lands were so wise as not to keep them. Consider from what time you will make this Re-assumption. That is one consideration. As to Tenants that have bought those Lands, will you make a distinction of service? Some have done great services for the Crown, and have had those Lands for a reward—And have not those that purchased been invited by you? 80,000 l. a year was sold, by Act of this Parliament, of the King's Fee Farm Rents. If you shall undo the owners of these Lands, without any way of Consideration, 'twill be very hard. I submit this to your Consideration.

Sir Thomas Mompesson.] To put this in a method, will take more time than you have to spare. There is a stronger Consideration for this of Re-assumption, &c. than the other of new Buildings, and I would have some Consideration of that.

Col. Birch.] They were chiefly rents bought in the late King's time—But I can show forty times the value now upon improved value. What has been disposed of by Act of Parliament cannot be touched, and I lay that aside, and 'tis not considerable in comparison of the others. Kings rarely come to Parliament to enter into War: Formerly they entered first into War, and then came to the Parliament for aid to maintain it. I have heard from Serjeant Maynard, "That Acts of Parliament confirm sales, &c. from such a time:" But none from the 1st of King James. Now to make an Act of Re-assumption, from so long a time, would make an Earthquake. We have found that Dean and Chapters Lands were sacred; they were restored, &c. I had bought some, but now I have none—The Crown-Lands are in so many hands now, that 'tis not practicable to reassume them, from 1 King James—and not one part in ten is alienated for the tenth part of the value. If you please to put those Lands, at a two years value, towards this Tax, with a Non obstance, where there is an Act of Parliament for Confirmation of them, &c. I think it reasonable.

Mr Secretary Coventry.] Either these men that have these Crown-Lands came lawfully by them, or unlawfully. 'Tis not fair dealing to take from the King, &c. and confirm it to parties—If they are lawfully seized of these Lands, I know not why they should be taxed for them.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Those that have got on a sudden into great wealth and rents, I would have taxed.

Sir Thomas Lee.] I think it as great a Crime to take away the Support of the Crown, as to do a thing against the Government, like that of new Buildings. The state of the case is quite altered. The King, at his coming in, was possessed of a great quantity of Land: I think, of 150,000 l. per annum. This, together with Excises, and 1,200,000 l.—And then the Sollicitor, General Finch said, " 'twas all you had to give, and all the King could ask of you;" and since that, the King has had the Chimney Act. An estimate was then brought into the House, it seems for no other purpose than for people to beg them, and the other Revenues. And now the King "cannot speak nor act, &c" because all the Revenue is gone away. These are arguments why you always must give, and it always must be begged. These Lands cannot be given without Act of Parliament, but re-assuming entirely is a great consideration; but this is only to take from them that have got it, out of what you have paid. Put the Question then, "Whether these Lands shall bear any part of the Tax;" and how much, is an after Consideration.

Mr Sacheverell.] I think these Revenues are not to be alienated on any terms, and if Gentlemen look upon the Grants as good, I am not for charging them to confirm them by it. If you intend to re-assume all the Crown Revenue, not granted by Act of Parliament, I am for it. But I would have an Act also, to make it penal for the future to obtain such Grants, and to make the Crown-Lands unalienable for the future—I am for that.

Sir John Knight.] Some would willingly give three years purchase to have these Lands confirmed to them, and I would have them re-assumed that they may case us in the burden of our Taxes. In Cornwall there is 30,000 l. a year of old rents. 100,000 l. per annum. That is gone out of the Crown, which was for the safety of it. You will find thirty several Acts of Parliament, in former Kings times, for Re-assumption of the CrownLands, and I would have it so now.

Sir Thomas Meres.] I would not, by taxing those who have these Grants in the Crown-Lands, [make] a worse or a better title, but leave them in statu quo. I desire to take some profit of them now, and some another time. They may well contribute, for all their Lands ought to go to the Crown; but by this Act I would have them neither make a better nor worse step than before.

Mr Williams.] This charge you lay upon them is in respect of the profits they have already received. They have intruded into the King's possessions, therefore you do well to right the Crown.

Mr Finch.] I am against the Question, as it is stated— But neither myself nor any relation I have, has the least interest, direct nor indirect; not one foot of these Lands I have, or am likely to have, and so I have no interest in the Question, and may speak with the more freedom to it, because I am impartial. The King has an absolute right to these Lands; he may sell, or give them—'Tis said, "They have been given to deceivers, and obtruders. And this will confirm them—and the only intent "to strengthen some Letters Patents." If those Letters Patents are good already, they need no Act to confirm them. Purchasers since 1660 have alienated those Lands, by indefeasible title, and paid a consideration—Shall these pay for Reversions that never have received the profits?

Mr Neale.] Those Lands are not worth so much as other Lands by four years value. I would have them rated at two years value.

Sir Edmund Wyndham.] Since this of Re-assumption, &c. has been started, I would have something done; people else will sell them, and then you cannot touch them again, when you meet. Therefore I would charge them now.

Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] I would go farther than England: I would have the Lands given away in Ireland re-assumed, and am ready to give my Vote to the Question.

Mr Powle.] This Debate seems to me, as if you had given so much the other day, that now you go a hunting where to find it. What may pass for good Grants in Westminster-Hall, may yet be judged otherwise here. To take away the patrimonium sanctum, was always esteemed a crime, and punished no where but here; legislatively, by Acts of Re-assumption. But then they have come with fresh pursuit after them. Parliaments may have intervened. Formerly it has been upon a hot scent. Something of crime there is in it; but not such as to make the intruder punishable in Westminster-Hall. When multitudes offend, general punishment is not thought convenient in Government. When the King came in, how many hundred thousand pounds were pardoned, which the Crown had a right to! But when 'tis so populously concerned, viz. the whole Government, it would do well that they paid a year's value, and that we confirm their titles. If you will go to a total Re-assumption of these Lands, you will destroy thousands of families; and, I hope, by putting a year's value upon them, to have some account of them. In the late Convention, there was a Question, that satisfaction should be made by the purchasers of the King's Lands. 'Twas then undertaken, that the King might have 100,000 l. a year, and the purchasers be satisfied for what they had paid for the Lands. There are not many hundred pounds a year of that left now in the Crown. Now, if you will go back to King James's time, Antiquity of possession does make a kind of right. There is always a distinction between the ancient Patrimony of the Crown, and Lands which have fallen to the Crown by Escheats. That is a casual Revenue, which the King has to give for reward of services done him. A year's value of Lands given from the Crown, from 1660, and a half year's value of Lands given, &c. from King James's time, I shall agree to.

Mr Waller.] I have heard that all Lands were first in the Crown, as in Doomsday book. Land-tax is a Re-assumption; we give back to the Crown what came out of it. I cannot imagine how, if the Common Law cannot secure a man, an Act of Parliament should. Many men talk of Non obstante's, &c. The Common Law of England is of a second nature, a custom. I think, an Act of Parliament is no better than the Common Law, and I wonder at it, that, in King Stephen's great Wars, there was not one Tax laid upon the People. The reason was, because Land was so in the Crown; but at last Land coming so out of the Crown into the Commons hands, they grew considerable. There may be extremities in all things. What a world of Land would have come to the Crown, if the Act of Oblivion, that sacred Act, had not been made! I would have a Committee to consider of such restrictions in this matter as may be equitable and just, and I shall approve of it.

Mr Garroway.] In this matter, I would stir nothing that may be any occasion of discontent from the people to the Crown, as this may do. It may be of dangerous consequence, and I would be tender in it.

Sir Charles Harbord.] I have, both before and since I was the King's servant, endeavoured to prevent Grants of the Crown Lands, &c. But when they are passed, I would not have the King less just nor honest than another man. You would not pass them by Act of Parliament, by charging them as has been moved. There are two sorts of Alienations of the Crown-Land, either by Gifts and Grants, or Sales. In case of Gifts and Grants, you have confirmed some by Acts, &c. And they are good Grants in Law. If you can in justice improve the Crown-Land, you may. But make justice equal, not to undo a million of persons. There were mighty Grants formerly to the Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Somerset. They were mighty things. Lord Dunbar had mighty things. All these were alienated to purchasers, freeholders, and the Law cannot dispossess them. I would go no farther than those Grants, &c. from 1660. But still that will not do your business in what these may bear. I would futurely ease Land, but for the present this will raise you little or nothing.

Sir Robert Sawyer.] Excepting two Grants to the Duke of Albemarle and the Earl of Sandwich, I think there are no Grants sold or given of the Crown-Lands that will in any measure do any thing. Grants that have reserved the old rents, I suppose, you intend not to meddle with. I believe they come not to above 10 or 15,000 l. per annum, and to brand them criminal!—As the King has rewarded those who have suffered for him, will you let them who have bought and sold Bishops Lands, &c. go free? Will you let them alone? Whether are you going to raise 10 or 12,000 l.? So small a thing! There are two sorts of Patrimony of the Crown. The ancient Patrimony of the Crown, and casual Attainders and Escheats. Escheats may be granted away. The ancient Patrimony, &c. is of above 400 years, and 'tis a great difficulty to bring that back to memory. When the Conquest was, all Lands were in the Crown. And in the Wars of York and Lancaster, the next succeeding King called all in question. When a weak Prince had granted away the Crown-Lands, those sales have been called in question. And an Act of such oppression as this will be cannot pass without some reflection upon us, who for some few instances of rewards, that the Crown has given to persons of desert, &c. What is Law, is Law every where. When I consider how little this will raise, and what reflection it will be upon the Government, I am against it. That casual Revenue of Escheats is kept separate in the Exchequer from the rest of the Revenue. I think it fit not to stir this matter, at this time of day.

Sir William Hickman.] Remainders in the Crown, but lately purchased out of the Crown, without a jointure, cannot be made, nor Lands sometimes sold. Abbey Lands may have Remainders in the Crown, and those are the great bulwarks against Popery.

Sir Richard Temple] To say "That no Revenue of the Crown is alienable," is strange; and if all the forfeitures in England were to be still in the Crown, it would have all England in time. Ancient Demesne in the Crown was never alienable. The late King Charles, out of a worthy resolution to pay his father's debts, sold some of the Crown-Lands, and, perhaps, he was deceived in the value. But since this King's time, you will find little alienated. You are now to consider, if it be reason to charge Crown-Land, sold since 1660, to be taxed distinctly from other Lands. The King's Revenue in 1660, then stated, was a great work. All that was done then was, not that the Crown-Lands should not be alienated, but that leases should be let upon improved value, and your Address to the King was accordingly. So that Revenue made up, with the rest, 1,200,000 l. a year. But I fear you will not find the moiety of the improved value reserved, upon leasing those Lands. If you intend to see and examine that Revenue, 'twill be a great trouble, and not to be done. Till I hear why these Lands should be taxed more than others, I cannot give my consent. I would have you go on funds that you can raise Money upon.

Sir Charles Harbord.] The King has granted me four Manors of 400 l. per annum each, not a farthing profit to me, as long as the Queen lives. (This Sir Charles said, upon Mr Goring's alleging he had Crown-Lands given him.) As I have saved the Crown 80,000 l. at a time, I desired only a mark of my service, and that is all.

Mr Sacheverell.] It would be a long roll to know the remainder of an Estate in the Crown of a Gentleman's Lands, and so he cannot alien nor sell; 'twill be a perpetual Entail, which is against Law. I would limit this Tax, to such Lands as have not been sold on a valuable consideration, of the ancient Crown-Lands, and I am for that Question.

Sir Humphry Winch.] I was formerly of that Committee of enquiry into the value of the Crown-Lands. The books were brought to the Committee, and in a recess of Parliament they took some pains, and made an extract of four volumes. The Revenue was then 18,000 l. per annum present rent, sold at the rate of 50,000 l. per annum. So if you add that to 70,000 l. 'tis 120,000 l. in the whole—But the present Revenue is but 18,000 l. per annum. I acquaint you with it, to this purpose. Suppose this raises you 50,000 l. The Question, "in reality worth," for the officers of the Army paid for it, in Tickets, and Arrears, at ten shillings value in the pound. Lord Sandwich and the Duke of Albemarle had 10,000 l. a year of those Lands—This cannot have a prospect of above 30,000 l. Now whether that will be worth your while, you may judge that Question.

Sir John Ernly.] The method you are in will hold you a month. You are to have a certainty to maintain your Vote, and whatever you can raise above, do it, but fix 120,000 l. a month for the War, &c.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Where the King's Revenue is alienated, I would have all that out, wheresoever it is.

The Speaker.] This Debate must end in a Question, I am one of those that welcome all propositions that have a tendency to ease Lands. That of the New Buildings, which you voted yesterday, if of as great a value as apprehended at first, may do something towards easing Land, but this to-day will do less than nothing from a retrospect to 1660 only. I desire Gentlemen to consider the bottom this stands upon, and the charge upon that Alienation. The whole is not above 100,000 l. a year, and some is disposed of by Act of Parliament. Some to the Duke of Albemarle, and to the Earl of Sandwich for his early repentance. Several Lands, by Act of Parliament, have been commuted. Cast your thoughts a little, and remember that never any King came into his Kingdom with such a debt of bounty as the King had to reward. Though their interest was given up for the public peace, yet some compensation they might expect of their lost fortunes, for preservation of the Government; and you now lay upon them a charge for that loyalty. If you lay the charge on these Gentlemen, 'tis unjust; if on the purchasers, 'tis so too. It will raise nothing, or worse than nothing. I would lay this Debate aside.

Upon a Division, &c. the Reassumption was laid aside (fn. 1).

Col. Birch.] "Upon Williamson's saying, Why should we lose this day so shamefully?" I believe we are not in earnest for a War, when we shall lay the Money that is to maintain it upon Land. When we began this, &c. I was for ready Money to be raised in two or three months time; and that is the outside I will offer you in any thing. The Tax on Land must occasion the King's paying interest, and you will have the same dishonour and loss by it, that you had before. The Navy cannot be hindered going on, or else so much Money out of the Customs given for the Navy makes nothing. Perhaps want of Money for these 15,000 men may be pretended. I hope they will be 30,000 men. But I would not have them stay here. We are weary of one thing and another to raise this Money upon, and at last we shall jump into such a Tax that we shall all miscarry in. If you lay this upon Land, you will fall into all the extremes of interest upon interest; and thereby you will have 200,000 l. of the 600,000 l. for Ships in the Exchequer; for that Money cannot be spent yet upon shipping. I would give an answer why we sit still: and as to what is farther offered, I have a Poll-Bill under my doublet. I have read it, and considered it; and what was in the last, was in the execution of it. Yesterday you took but an ounce of blood, and if you take not more, the body will be sick still. This Bill is for charging all people, that pay no LandTax. In Land-Tax twenty eight of thirty are not taxed. In the Poll, all may be, and Money may be reached.

Sir Thomas Meres.] Though pensions were not reached in the last Bill (it was lost but by six voice) I hope they may come into this Poll-Bill. But though Land bears not the charge, yet landed men do. This is to make children of us—But yet I know not a better way. I hope the House will retrieve this again of pensions, and I would try it.

Lord Cavendish.] "Offices that have large profits, and do little service," if you please, I will give you a list of, for your service.


  • 1. This being in the Committee is not mentioned in the Journal.