Saturday, March 16.
On Quakers convicted as Popish Recusants.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I met with some people in the Hall,
who put this List into my hands. It seems, it is a
List of those sort of people convicted as Romish Recusants.
Mr Sollicitor Winnington.] The severities of that Law,
against the Papists, were never intended to mean the Quakers, that they should be under the penalties of the Statute
of Recusancy, of Q. Eliz. The Judges in their Circuits
were directed by my Lord Chancellor to put the Laws in
execution against Recusants; on consideration whereof the
Judges consulted, whether the Quakers came within that
Law. In the Circuits the Quakers were severely prosecuted,
and their estates were seized accordingly. They have
made application about it, and 'tis thought severe upon
them. If these Laws against Recusants, [made] when
no such persons were known in the world, be applied to
them, and the severity of the Laws now in being against them likewise, 'tis a great severity, and worthy
Sir Edward Dering.] This matter seems to be of great
consequence, and not fit for sudden thoughts. I have
had it in my thoughts to do something in it. But I
hope, by this means, care will be taken that the Papists slip not out of those Laws. I had rather that the
Quakers suffer them. The Quaker's conscience is not
to pay the dues of the Church, and to keep men out of
their own. I think the thing is worthy of your serious
Sir Philip Warwick.] Our eyes are upon Popish Recusants, and 'tis reasonable they should be on the Quakers
also. The Quakers say "they must go when God
calls them;" and no man knows the end of that. Our
Acts, as to these punishments, have had, as a religious
prospect, so a politic; and to show that we have not
had good success in them, I am as willing to go to a
Committee to consider them as any body.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] To make a distinction between Quakers and Papists, is the way to make Papists
turn seemingly Quakers. But notwithstanding these rigours they complain of, Conventicles are as frequent
as ever, and if they have indulgence given to them,
who acknowledge no Sacraments, you will punish them
that do—The Quakers hold themselves absolved from
all ties of Government. It looks to that effect every
day. I would have a Committee take these things into
Sir Humphry Winch.] The Motion from Lee is not
for an indulgence towards the Quakers; 'tis only to distinguish Laws against Quakers and Papists. It seems
that the same sort of persons are subject to the Popish
Laws, and the least penalty they undergo, under the
notion of levying the two thirds of their estates by the
Statute, is, in some, more than their whole Revenue.
It seems to me very untoward. I look upon it, that
your intention, in the main, is that a Committee
shall examine matter of fact, of the seizure of the two
thirds by virtue of that Statute of Recusancy, whether it be true, or not.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Make what Laws you will,
and the former Laws too, the Quakers will come under
them. They acknowlege not the Government; they
will not swear at all; and there can be no Government
without Oaths, no Court, no Jury. The fifth Monarchy-men are under the notion of Quakers; they are
for King Jesus, and not King Charles. The Quaker
says, "He is not for Arms." But one I saw preaching
by Aldersgate lately, upon St John's making plain the
paths, &c. was beaten by the people. But he watching his opportunity, beat four of the people soundly,
with a Crab-tree Cudgel. What need you be doubtful
in distinguishing them, for the Jesuits do lead them?
A Captain in Lord Fairfax's Army thought a godly
man was a Jesuit. The Quaker will not protest against
the Pope, though he says he is a Protestant. But yet
I move that the Committee may see what may be done
to distinguish them.
Col. Titus.] I wonder that Birkenhead, who has always expressed so great a zeal against Conventicles,
should be present at them, but I believe it, because
he says it. I hate them as much as he, but the Question is, whether they are justly, or unjustly, used in their
punishment. That those that do not acknowlege the
Pope should be punished, and Papists that do acknowlege him should not be punished, is strange to me.
I do not know any instance of that, and hardly of
any punishment given to a Papist. King James's Laws
did punish Papists Recusants, and your Laws Protestant Recusants, and Presbyterians, (though they think
the Pope Antichrist,) and the Anabaptists and Independents. Where is the prudence of it to make all these
people as one, and [where is] the Justice in this manner of prosecution? And when there is neither, I hope
you will remedy it.
Sir Thomas Meres.] You are upon a tender and curious point. In Lincolnshire none have been convicted
but Popish Recusants. I would refer it to a Committee,
to know where, and who they are, that have convicted
them. I believe they that would confound those Laws,
favour Popery. If these people that have petitioned, tell
you a lye, they deserve to be punished. It is impossible to pen a Law of this nature, but it may reach Quaker
and Papist. But if you invalidate and take away all
the energy of these Popish Laws, which may reach
Quakers, you spoil all. But before I say any thing farther, I would examine the truth of matter of fact. The
Papist and Dissenter may easily be distinguished in the
prosecution; and let every tub stand upon its own
Col. Birch.] I would refer their paper to a Committee,
to enquire whether any but Papists have had two thirds
of their estate seized.
Mr Swynfin.] I would have a Committee impowered
to enquire whether those Laws have been executed upon any, but Popish Recusants.
Mr Waller.] I know not what well to say to this, of
convicting the Quakers, as Papists. But I will speak,
before you put the Question. It was never the meaning
of the House that it should be so. If they meant it,
they would never have made a more severe tryal and
penalty upon these men than the Papists. For the
Papists are not punished without conviction. They may
traverse the Indictment. But these have no tryal per
pares, only a single Justice of the Peace, &c. and Magna
Charta says, "no man shall be tried but per pares."
The Papist convict forfeits two thirds of his estate, and
those more than they are worth, and the Laws extend
to even death itself. No man is more against these men,
than I am. No reason will satisfy them; they are not
good at that, but they are best at suffering that ever people
were. In the times of Usurpation, the Quakers were
kindly used. They were so little supported by reason,
that the apprentices knocked them [down,] and abused
them. But as soon as we made these Laws against them,
and put them severely in execution, the people took
their part so much, that they have increased. By this
increase of sufferings, they have increased their opinions, "that our religion came in by suffering, Sanguis
Martyrum, &c." is not only a divine saying, but a moral.
I would have a Committee to inspect these things, and
remedy them, that the Laws against Papists may not be
inflicted upon those that are not.
Sir John Bramstone.] As the Law stands, they must
plead their conformity. If you take that away, you destroy all your Laws.
Sir Nicholas Carew] When these Quakers were returned into the Exchequer, they were looked upon as
Papists, and the World did think them so. I move,
"that there may be a distinction made between Protestant Dissenters and Papists."
Col. Birch.] I would have the Committee instructed,
"That they make a difference between Papists and
other Protestant Dissenters."
Sir Charles Wheeler.] I would not have the word
"other," because it will imply the Quakers to be Protestants.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] Never was a more needful time
than now to unite them, and I would have the word
Mr Love.] To have them all in the same Clause—I
am against it. They may come under the notion of
Papists, to have the better quarter I have had some
Quakers that would renounce according to the Test, &c.
and there are thousands that will. I would not have
them be encouraged to seek better quarters, by being
under the notion of Romanists.
Col. Titus.] If they are not Popish Dissenters, they
are Protestant or Mahometan Dissenters. If the Committee have power to repeal a Law, then there was some
danger in it. But that your door may not be too wide,
commit the thing upon the whole matter of the Debate.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] This seems to imply that
the Quakers will pass as Romish Dissenters; but they
are so different, so abominable, that they are not Christians—Inconsistent with the fundamentals of Christianity. The Committee is to enquire into a thing not
doubted. Diametrically opposite to Religion—So notorious, 'tis not worth your trouble—If the Law be
this, you cannot warrant the execution of it upon the
Quakers, in the Magistrates. I would enquire if the
Law against Recusants was designedly executed against
these people, and not let the door be opened to those
[for whom] you never intended it.
Lord Obrien.] That the Papists may not run away
without discrimination is your design.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This is the building or
falling of your Church, and of the State. I would see
only whether this is faulty in the Magistrate, or faulty
in the Law, and mend that.
Mr Boscawen.] All that is proposed is to know a
Protestant from a Papist; and if Gentlemen would not
have that, I would know what they would have. I
would have the Committee "to consider to make a
difference betwixt Popish Recusants, and other Dissenters from the Church of England;" and consider some
way of distinguishing the one from the other.
Resolved, That it be referred to a Committee to enquire, Whether the persons called Quakers, or any dissenting Protestants,
have been convicted as Popish Recusants, and two thirds of their
estates levied; and whether that, on the persons that are Popish
Recusants, and have been convicted, the penalties have not been
levied; and that the Committee do consider to make a distinction
of Popish Recusants from other Dissenters from the Church
Lord Russel.] 'Tis plain that as to Popish Recusants,
favour has been shown to them. We see how active
they are, both in town and country, and the Lords
have made little progress in our Bill. I move therefore,
"That we may have a day to consider the danger of our
Religion, and of the growth and progress of Popery."
Tuesday next was ordered for it.
Monday, March 18.
On the Poll-Bill, &c. (fn. 1) .
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This is a Bill the King
knows not what to make of; to last for three years,
and no estimate made of it. This will leave the King
in all the dissatisfaction in the world. When you have
made an estimate of this, and the Poll-Bill, you may
go on to the rest, and then 'tis time to remind the
King of passing the Poll-Bill, which is a declaring
War against the French King.
Mr Vaughan.] This looks like a contrivance to delay
that Bill, that the King may have the Money; and then
in plain English we shall have no War with the French King.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] This Bill is for a War, &c.
and not a farthing of it can be employed but in a War,
or to a War. This engages the King to a War, and you
know this Bill will not go through with it, and we
put the King in mind that the Bill is ready; and, at
the same time, put ourselves in mind that the Money
the Bill raises is for a War, and engage the King in it,
and you cannot expect but that old particulars of the
Poll will be now, and they came short then. In this,
you will put the King upon a great difficulty. I move
you therefore, that other things may go on so now
that the King may see the rest of the Money. Bills
are coming on as fast as methods of Parliament will
permit. 'Tis but fit this should be thought of.
Sir John Hotham.] If you intend to go this way,
I move, by way of Order (the thing being novel and
unusual to see Money refused from that Corner (fn. 2) , and
that I should move for Money,) that the King may be
acquainted that we fear, if this Bill be not passed speedily, the other Money Bills will be taken, and this
left, and so we shall have no prohibition of French
Commodities, and may be invaded by the French.
Sir John Ernly.] I doubt not of the going on of the
other Bills. But Williamson meant, that such a Progress might be made, that the King may see you intend other Money-Bills as well as this
Mr Powle.] If it should happen that the Bill should
not be passed in time, to the dates of the prohibiting
Clause, the Bill will not fall to the ground, for both
Houses, upon Conference, may mend the time. There
are several instances of it.
The Speaker.] It will be hard for men to be punished, before they have committed the fact.
[Resolved, That such Members as are of his Majesty's Privy
Council, do acquaint his Majesty, that there is a Bill of Aid
passed both Houses, and ready for his Royal Assent.]
Tuesday, March 19.
Mr Secretary Coventry delivered to the House the following
Answer from his Majesty:
"His Majesty hath received the notice sent him by this
House, that the Poll-Bill was now ready for the Royal Assent;
which his Majesty was well pleased to hear, and resolves to
pass it to-morrow. His Majesty desires this House to dispatch
the rest of the Supply promised him, with all expedition. The
Sea and Land preparations run great danger of being disappointed, if these Supplies be retarded: And it would be a satisfaction to his Majesty to hear from this House, that no more
time should be lost in a work so necessary for the safety and
reputation of the Nation, as the finishing those Supplies."
The Lords made these following Amendments in the last Address, which they sent down by the two Chief Justices (fn. 3) :
That the paragraph beginning, "And because your Majesty's
endeavours, &c." and ending with these words, "Your Majesty
may enter into the War," be left out: And instead of the word
"immediately," be put in these words, "with all expedition that
can possibly consist with the safety of your Majesty's affairs."
And instead of these words, "to no other end," towards the end,
they say, "to the end."
Sir Tho. Clarges.] The Lords have taken a long time
to consider of our Address, and have male great altera
tions in it. They have put out the word "immediately," which makes the Declaration of the War uncertain. We have been told, "that we are in a War
already with France, and that forces are sent to Ostend."
The Lords have taken time to inform themselves of the
state of affairs, and we are in the dark. I therefore
move that we may consider of their amendments to-morrow.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I expected that the Lords would
have delivered these Amendments to us at a Conference:
I thought that would have been so. The Lords have
given us no reason why they leave out this word "immediately," in the Address; and because the Lords
have given us no reasons, and I hear no body else gives
any neither, I would not agree to their Amendments.
Mr Mallet.] I think it a blemish to our actions,
to catch at any little phrase that may give a remora
to the thing you desire. I would give my consent to
Mr Powle.] For satisfaction of the Consederates, this
is done, &c. and as the Lords have amended it, 'tis
to declare War, God knows when. We have been
told, "we are in War;" and there is no way but to
go into War as soon as we can; and I would adhere
to our Address.
Lord Cavendish.] I would know, who are to be judges
of the expedition of declaring this War? Those who
have suffered the French King to come up to the greatness he is in at present? I would adhere.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] If the King declares War
before the fleet be out, we have no reason but to expect that the King of France will be master of two
or four millions of our ships and loading, and Merchants effects in France; and that will be more discouragement to the Confederates, than we can keep
them up by our declaring War. I think it, from the
bottom of my Heart, that 'tis the first time War was
ever declared before you were ready for it, and
Sir Nicholas Carew.] I am sorry we are so unprovided, when we have had so long a time to think of
it. We are satisfied in the Country that we shall declare War, God knows when—When the French Ambassador is gone, we give so much Money for an actual War, and now we are afraid to declare it. I
Mr Hampden.] It looks like suspicion of your advice
to enter into a War, if you are afraid to declare it.
If the King of France thought you in earnest, he would
seize two or four Millions. This makes me believe that
he thinks you not so. We were told "that we invaded
Prerogative, in the Address;" and the Chancellor at
the opening the Session, said, "That Alliances were
made necessary to put you into a War." We were
told here, "that we were in an actual War, and had
raised an Army;" and you will not quiet the King's
Subjects till these men are employed in the War; and
for these reasons, I cannot agree with the Lords.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The reasons that the King does
not declare War, are, that Declaration of War makes
all your Merchants lie open to be seized, which the
King of France will not do till you declare it.
Sir William Hickman.] I wish I had memory to repeat the reasons those honourable Gentlemen have given
you for this War. I would adhere.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I never said "there was a
War," but that "there might be a War."
Sir Tho. Lee.] You are sent to by the Lords to come
to a Conference, immediately. I shall say nothing now
to the matter, but would go to the Conference, and
then Gentlemen may go on where they left off.
Sir Tho. Meres.] In the Paper, the Lords do not
agree immediately: In the Message, they do agree
immediately; and therefore I would go to the Conference.
They went, &c.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] All "immediatelies" are, "as
soon as possibly may consist with the safety of the Kingdom." If we have a War declared, our forces in France
are to have forty days to return home, by Articles; and
for that great reason I would disagree.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If I were assured that
the word "immediately" would not be understood
otherwise than "the State of the affairs of the King
may suffer it," if that be the sense of the word, I would
agree with that sense, but not with a word of a double
sense. I agree with Sawyer in his sense of the word
"immediately"—Not till we are able by supplying
the King, and plainly till the King has that, 'tis impossible he should do it. And you appropriate all the
Money, and 'tis impossible for the King's Ministers
to touch a farthing of that Money, for any other use.
If there was no other objection, but that of the Merchants, 'tis but a mean consideration. The Merchants
have attended your advice to the King so long, that I
think the proclaiming War will fall as easily upon them,
as any thing ever did. The Dutch War broke out in
fact first, before any Proclamation, and the King laid an
embargo upon their Ships, and so they did upon us.
But all those Ships, and all those goods, went away,
and no accident upon them; but this sticks with me.
There must be preparations. Of your 600,000 l. there
is laid out 500,000 l, already, and yet the King is
in no condition to declare War, and by such a War the
French King may break in upon us justly. When the
King shall declare War, how do you know but that
the French King's Admiral, in the Indies, has a Commission in his pocket to fall upon you there? And, notwithstanding all the zeal you have here for this War,
the first successes do great things. Our Ships, out at
Sea, are not enough, nor men on the other side of the
water. For these, and a hundred such considerations as
these, 'tis impossible for you to go into the War with
safety, and with prudence, unless you know all other
circumstances; which as it is not your duty to know,
so 'tis very inconvenient you should, and 'tis impossible to declare War without knowing all. That
'tis morally impossible the King should do it—This
Amendment of the Lords puts the thing as far as possibly you can put it to—The King will go on to suit
his affairs, that "immediately" as soon as you enable
him, he may go on to declare War.
Mr Vaughan.] I was one of those against this word,
because I saw the fate of it. It is said here, "that our
Merchants will be in danger, &c. but from what,
from whom is it? From the French? They tell
us, "the War is actually made;" if so, 'tis then in
effect declared. I looked upon it as such, if I gave
credit to Williamson. He has said, "you should never
put the King upon a War, without preparation." I
never heard that we had let the King of France grow
so great without preparation, and all these things foreseen. If the Proclamation be to-morrow, 'twill be too
late; and I would adhere.
Mr Pepys.] This Debate concludes in the word
"immediately." I speak but to have by paraphrases
what you would have in one word. From this time
twelve-month, I provoke any man to show me the
like done in any History of the Navy. Things have
been carried on as far as the King has had Money to
carry them on. The King has strained his credit as
far as he can. If you call me to it, I can tell you
Ship by Ship; and when all is done, this is not the Fleet
you have declared necessary for this War. What less
can you be in to-morrow than an actual War ? And
you have declared for a Million of Money, but for entering into it. I move therefore you would agree.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Pepys has told you his knowledge
of the perfection of the Fleet. If it be not so, when he
sees you next, I will tell you that I wish some body else
had as much knowledge in the Fleet as he. This tenderness of an "immediate" Declaration of War, &c.
looks as if we were afraid, and did it unwillingly, that
we are so long about it. We were running into a War
with Holland, without any preparation. And for this
Poll-Bill, be it but 300,000l. 'tis more than Pepys
asked for the present occasion of the Fleet, in his paper
that he gave in of particulars; and no Parliament was
called, because there was no need of Money for the
Dutch War; and this sum is not sufficient for you to
enter into a War. You are told now, "that you are
in a War, and this Money is for nothing else," and
yet you must not declare it. The strongest reason I can
give myself for it is, that we do not recall these forces
from France. If there be a reason for this jealousy, 'tis
because we are still hurried on to Money. We shall
have your Money, and an Army, but there is great
fear of this Army. I am loth to tell you what fears
the people have of an Army, and what reason the people have for it. 'Tis necessary for the Peace of the
Kingdom that you raise this Money for their safety,
to protect them, and not to hurt them. There is no
doubt but the King will follow your advice, or give
you some satisfactory answer and reason for it.
Mr Pepys.] I remember my promise, and I may and
would part with my head, if what I have told you of
the Fleet be not true; if Lee will part with his head, if
it be true. But Lee loves his head so well, that I believe he would not bargain with me.
Sir John Ernly.] I have spoken with several Merchants,
that say, whether there be Peace, or War, with France,
they shall gain by it. I find that we shall go prepared to the War, but I do not think that expedition,
as the affair will bear it, will be consistent with the word
"immediately." I would be in the War as soon as
any man. I would therefore agree with the Lords,
and leave the King to be judge as far as his affairs will
bear the Declaration of War.
Col. Birch.] You are told how little difference there
is between the Lords Amendment, and your word "immediately." I will speak to the danger, to a present
or immediate Declaration of War. To the Merchants,
there was none in that Treaty, Williamson was at, in
six months time. The King of France may, it seems,
seize upon our Ships, and Merchants, if he will, and
we stand only upon his good nature; and he is a goodnatured man. As for the Plantations, he might have had
them before now, if he would too. For the Money
intended for the fleet, one fourth will be enough for
it, and you may set out 100,000l. If upon landing, &c.
you may in a few days draw 20 or 30,000 men of
the Militia, better men than you have of your new raised
men—With all expedition, I would "immediately" declare War, &c. If not to-day, to-morrow. Pray see
how one part of this Address agrees with the other.
Your Address had but three things in it; "recalling
Ambassadors," "coming out of the state of Mediation,"
and "immediately declaring War." That of "Mediation" is totally left out by the Lords, and think you the
Confederates will do any thing while we pursue the Mediation ? I would withdraw the French Ambassador, if
it were possible. Is the reason of this House any more
than it was the other day, when we did the same thing ?—
Break the Confederates once, and you will never unite
them. They will be disanimated for ever. But I understand not that sending men into Flanders is entering
into War with the French. This may be done, and
yet no War. They do but breathe yonder in Flanders,
to see what we shall do—We that were beginning to
awake, and see our interest—Can you imagine that the
very thing sent to agree should meet with as full a remora
and stop to what you intend, as can be? This looks
like a disanimation—Your forces are not yet come home
out of France, and you enervate the Confederacy. I
would therefore not agree.
Sir Gilbert Gerrard.] I believe that Holland, and the
Confederates, are not able to support themselves, without you. The French are a warlike Nation, and if
Spain cannot defend Flanders, he cannot defend himself, and then all is gone. I believe the Confederates
have all their encouragement from you, and I hope
the forces you have, you will quickly dispatch over; and
that you will open your purses. This House will never
forsake the King, if he will "immediately" declare
War. A Gentleman spoke of "false constructions, and
misrepresentations, &c." I speak from my heart and
conscience, I believe we are in great danger else, and
therefore I would not agree with the Lords.
Mr Waller.] I have not yet heard a true reason why
we should agree with the Lords. One was that "concerning the Merchants" That we have not done our
parts last year, as to the growing greatness of the French,
I will not believe; and now we give a Million towards
this War—Unless we imagine Alliances, I dare not give
my consent to agree.
Sir Thomas Meres.] The word we would have in the
Address is "immediately." The sense we have of it is
"without any interposing:" I believe the Lords understood the word as some Gentlemen have said. I think it
was their sense three or four weeks since, but certainly their
sense is not ours, else they would not have explained our
words so. Keeping back the Money-Bill lost us four, five,
or six days. I think this Address pushes on Money in that
word "immediately." The Kingdom is at a loss what is
aimed at. About four months ago, many men doubted
and reasoned, and did think themselves in great danger,
what would become of us. Thinking men thought we
should not meet, and we should have no Alliances; but I
said, "we should have Alliance, or something like it, because we had some obligation of Money upon us." I am
still of the same opinion, that we shall have a War; but I
think it will be just such a War, as there is an Alliance,
a seeming Alliance, and a seeming War; not much to
hurt solidly. But our case is this; we would either
not part with our Money, or have a War. I ever
was for the word "immediately," not to be in the
dark; and if you like not the word, "immediately,"
I am confident it will be but a seeming War. I am
sure 400,000l. will set out an imaginary War. We see
hats, and feathers, and scarves, about the streets, but I
would have a War really to mischief France, and to
make good our prohibition of their commodities, and
effectually to go on with it; then all as one man we
shall do it: Else but half will go against France. This
word may draw on a Peace; I am for it, for that reason
also. If we must have this Peace, I would have it known
by August. I would not stay till October, not so long,
for then we shall give Money for it. Be it War, or
Peace, I am for this word "immediately;" and I would
not agree with the Lords.
The Question being put to agree with this Amendment, it
passed in the Negative, 155 to 112. And the rest of the Amendments were also rejected.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I suppose we intend to effect this,
but I hope for none, unless we have a Conference with
the Lords, and prepare our Reasons for not agreeing.
Ordered, That the same Persons who drew the Address, do
draw the Reasons for not agreeing [to the said Amendments.]
Wednesday, March 20.
[In a Grand Committee on the Bill for the late King's
Mr Waller.] 'Tis said that the late King chose the
place of his Interment to be where his Ancestors were
interred. The other day I was at Windsor, and an old
Sexton showed me the place where the late King was
buried, in St George's Chapel. A King's Will is a
sacred thing, and 'tis a blessing, in the Bible, " to be
buried with his fathers." Does any body know it was
the King's Will to be buried at Westminster? King
James his father, was buried there. Henry VII.
built the Chappel, and his Monument is there; and,
the late King deserves a better Monument. Though
Henry VII. was a great Prince, who united the two
Roses, this King was a great Martyr for the Church
and Laws. If there be any thing of his Will in it, 'tis
the sacredest thing in the World, and I would have it left
to the King.
[The Speaker resumed the Chair, and Sir Thomas Meres reports, That the Committee had sa, and being informed, that
the Black Rod was at the door, the Committee had ordered him
to leave the Chair.
On a Message from the King, the House went up to attend
his Majesty, in the House of Lords; where he gave his Assent
to the Poll-Bill, &c. and made the following Speech, which
was reported by the Speaker:
"My Lords, and Gentlemen,
"I am so zealous for the good of the Nation, that it shall be
your fault, and not mine, if all be not done as should be, for the
honour and safety of it: And I must tell you, there must be no
[March 21. Omitted.]
Friday, March 22.
The Commons delivered the following Reasons, at a Conference with the Lords, for their not agreeing with the Lords in
their Amendments of the Commons Address, &c.
"I. That his Majesty having declared to us, since this Meeting, "That he had made a League offensive and defensive
with Holland against the growth and power of the French King,
and for the Preservation of the Spanish Netherlands," we cannot
but suppose, that his Majesty hath disposed of his affairs already
in order thereunto, and is therefore now so far engaged that an
"immediate" Declaration of War against the French King cannot be either prejudicial or dangerous to his Majesty's affairs.
II. That by declaring a War "immediately," his Majesty
may begin the War against France at this time, upon equal
terms; whereas, if things continue in this doubtful state, the
French King may begin upon us, when he sees his best advantage, and surprize his Majesty's Subjects, while they go on securely in their trades, in confidence of a seeming Peace: And
if we should agree to the Amendments your Lordships propose,
the provocation to the French King will be equal to an "immediate" Declaration of War; and will equally justify him in such
a manner of proceeding, and yet, at the same time, leave ourselves and the Confederates in great uncertainty.
III. That the Arms of the French King have been of late
so prosperous and successful, that it may be doubted, that, if
his Majesty does not "immediately" declare War, the Confederates, or some of the principal of them, may be constrained
to make a Peace upon such terms, as the French King will grant;
whereby we may be left to defend ourselves alone, or upon
much greater disadvantages than we may do at present.
IV. That by the words your Lordships have put in, the
time would be left indefinite; and so must be subject to the
exposition of those, who have prevailed with his Majesty to defer the entering into the War too long already.
V. That by declaring a War "immediately," the forces
his Majesty hath raised must presently be sent abroad, and employed beyond sea; whereas, otherwise, they may be kept up
in this Kingdom; than which nothing can be more dangerous
to his Majesty, and more destructive to the laws, liberties, and
properties of the Subjects of this Kingdom; the fear of which
hath already possessed their minds.
VI. That by such a Declaration, his Majesty's Subjects,
now in the French service, will be recalled, and brought thence;
and, by that means, the Arms of France will be deprived of their
assistance, and his Majesty and the Confederates strengthened
by the addition of so many sorces, who may otherwise suddenly
be employed in fighting against those whom we desire to support.
VII. That the charge of maintaining the Land-forces will
be very great; and we can no way satisfy those we represent;
chearfully to bear such taxes as are necessary, unless the immediate employment of them abroad be plain and visible.
VIII. That if his Majesty make himself a party in the War,
it will be inconsistent with the continuance of a Mediation.
IX. That the continuance of the English Ambassadors at
Nimeguen, as Mediators, may raise a doubt in the Confederates,
that his Majesty had not [quite] laid aside all endeavours of
Peace, by way of Mediation, and would therefore prosecute the
War with less vigour (fn. 4) ; and may also cause apprehensions that the
forces sent to Flanders are rather intended to enforce a Peace,
than for the defence of those Countries against the French.
X. That in the powerful condition the French King is in
at present, it cannot reasonably be expected he will condescend
to any Peace, whereby his Majesty's Kingdoms may be sufficiently secure.
XI. That the continuance of a French Ambassador here,
after declaring the War, may be very prejudicial, in respect of
intelligence, and private correspondences: And, as to the
English Ambassador in France, we conceive it better for his
Majesty to recall his own Ambassador from thence than to have
him sent away (fn. 5) ."
Whereunto the Lords made this Reply at a Conference:
"That this House being of the same mind with the Commons, in our earnest desire to have a War prosecuted against
France, we think it highly necessary, at a time when we should
be unanimous in our Counsels, that nothing should appear of
difference between the two Houses in their Reasons, upon a matter of so high importance to the Kingdom: And where, in our
Answer to the Commons, it may perhaps be necessary to say
things which might afford matter of fresh disputes, instead of
arriving to that end we all aim at, we do therefore chuse to
give this only Answer to the whole, that, understanding these
Treaties are not yet perfected with the Allies, which are so absolutely necessary to the vigorous prosecuting of the said War
against France, and the obliging the Allies not to leave us alone
in it, we cannot agree to the Address of desiring his Majesty to
declare a War, untill the Alliances with the Emperor, Spain,
and Holland, at least, shall be completed: In the dispatch whereof,
we are confident his Majesty will not be wanting, on his behalf (fn. 6) .
[March 23. Omitted. Adjourned to Tuesday.]
[Tuesday, March 26, 1678.
The House addressed the King for a short Recess; to which
his Majesty agreed, and appointed them to adjourn to April 11,
the next day.
Wednesday, March 27.
The House, according to Order, took into consideration
the danger the Church of England is in by the growth of
Popery, and being informed, that Mass is publickly said in
many places in the County of Monmouth, and one Mr Arnold
being called in, and asked divers Questions touching the matters
contained in a Paper delivered in, viz. "An Information of several
Popish Priests, and Jesuits, and of the persons that countenance
and support them;" and one Captain Scudamore being also called
in, and asked several Questions concerning one Elliot, a Popish
Priest, formerly committed to jail by the said Captain Scudamore;
Ordered, That the Thanks of this House be given to Mr Arnold
and Captain Scudamore, for their Informations, &c.]