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An account of the Growth of POPERY, and Arbitrary Government in Eng∣land, &c.
THere has now for diverse Years, a design been carried on, to change the Lawfull Government of England into an Absolute Tyranny, and to convert the established Protestant Religion into down-right Po∣pery: than both which, nothing can be more destructive or contrary to the Interest and Happi∣nesse, to the Constitution and Being of the King and King∣dom.
For if first we consider the State, the Kings of England Rule not upon the same terms with those of our neighbour Nations, who, having by force or by adresse usurped that due share which their People had in the Government, are now for some Ages in possession of an Arbitrary Power (which yet no Presciption can make Legall) and exercise it over their persons and estates in a most Tyrannical man∣ner. But here the Subjects retain their proportion in the Legislature; the very meanest Commoner of England is re∣presented in Parliament, and is a party to those Laws by which the Prince is sworn to Govern himself and his people.Page 4No Mony is to be levied but by the common consent. No than is for Life, Limb, Goods, or Liberty at the Soveraigns discretion: but we have the same Right (modestly under∣stood) in our Propriety that the Prince hath in his Regality; and in all Cases where the King is concerned, we have our just remedy as against any private person of the neighbour∣hood, in the Courts of Westminster Hall or in the High Court of Parliament. His very Prerogative is no more then what the Law has determined. His Broad Seal, which is the Legitimate stamp of his pleasure, yet is no longer cur∣rant, than upon the Trial it is found to be Legal. He can∣not commit any person by his particular warrant. He can∣not himself be witnesse in any cause: the Ballance of Pub∣lick Justice being so dellicate, that not the hand only but even the breath of the Prince would turn the scale. Nothing is left to the Kings will, but all is subjected to his Authority: by which means it follows that he can do no wrong, nor can he receive wrong; and a King of England, keeping to these measures, may without arrogance be said to remain the onely Intelligent Ruler over a Rational People. In recom∣pense therefore and acknowledgment of so good a Go∣vernment under his influence, his Person is most sacred and inviolable; and whatsoever excesses are committed against so high a trust, nothing of them is imputed to him, as being free from the necessity or temptation, but his Ministers on∣ly are accountable for all and must answer it at their perills. He hath a vast Revenue constantly arising from the Hearth of the Housholder, the Sweat of the Laboures, the Rent of the Farmer, the Industry of the Merchant, and consequent∣ly out of the Estate of the Gentleman: a larg competence to defray the ordinary expense of the Crown, and maintain its lustre. And if any extraordinary occasion happen, or be but with any probable decency pretended, the whole Land at whatsoever season of the year does yield him a plentifull Harvest. So forward are his Peoples affections to give evenPage 5to superfluity, that a Forainer (or English man that hath been long abroad) would think they could neither will nor chuse, but that the asking of a supply, were a meer formality, it is so readily granted. He is the Fountain of all Honours, and has moreover the distribution of so many profitable Offices of the Houshold, of the Revenue, of State, of Law, of Re∣ligion, of the Navy (and, since his persent Majesties time, of the Army) that it seems as if the Nation could scarse furnish honest men enow to supply all those imployments. So that the Kings of England are in nothing inferiour to other Princes, save in being more abridged from injuring their own subjects: But have as large a field as any of external feli∣city, wherein to exercise their own Virtue and so reward and incourage it in others. In short, there is nothing that comes nearer in Government to the Divine Perfection, then where the Monarch, as with us, injoys a capacity of doing all the good imaginable to mankind, under a disability to all that is evil.
And as we are thus happy in the Constitution of our State, so are we yet more blessed in that of our Church; being free from that Romish Yoak, which so great a part of Christen∣dome do yet draw and labour under, That Popery is such a thing as cannot, but for want of a word to express it, be called a Religion: nor is it to be mentioned with that civility which is otherwise decent to be used, in speaking of the differences of humane opinion about Divine Matters. Were it either open Judaisine, or plain Turkery, or honest Paganisme, there is yet a certain Bona fides in the most extravagant Be∣lief, and the sincerity of an erroneous Profession may ren∣der it more pardonable: but this is a compound of all the three, an extract of whatsoever is most ridiculous and im∣pious in them, incorporated with more peculiar absurdityes of its own, in which those were deficient; and all this delibe∣rately contrived, knowingly carried on by the bold im∣posture of Priests under the name of Christianity. The wis∣dom of this fifth Religion, this last and insolentest attemptPage 6uppon the credulity of mankind seems to me (though not ignorant otherwise of the times, degrees and methods of its progresse) principally to have consisted in their owning the Scriptures to be the word of God, and the Rule of Faith and Manners, but in prohibiting of the same time their common use, or the reading of them in publick Churches but in a Latine translation to the vulgar: there being no better or more rational way to frustrate the very design of the great Institutor of Christianity, who first planted it by the extra∣ordinary gift of Tongues, then to forbid the use even of the ordinary languages. For having thus a book which is uni∣versally avowed to be of Divine Authority, but sequestring it only into such hands as were intrusted in the cheat, they had the opportunity to vitiate, suppresse, or interpret to their own profit those Records by which the poor People hold their salvation. And this necessary point being once gained, there was thence forward nothing so monstrous to reason, so abhorring from morality, or so contrary to scrip∣ture which they might not in prudence adventure on. The Idolatry (for alas it is neither better nor worse) of adoring and praying to Saints and Angels, of worshipping Pictures, Images and Reliques, Incredible Miracles and plapable Fables to promote that veneration. The whole Liturgy and Worship of the Blessed Virgin. The saying of Pater Nosters and Creeds, to the honour of Saints, and of Ave Mary’s too, not to her honour, but of others. The Publick Service, which they can spare to God among so many competitors, in an unknown tongue; and intangled with such Vestments, Consecrations, Exorcismes, Whisperings, Sprinklings, Censings, and Phantasticall Rites, Gesticulations, and Re∣movals, so unbeseeming a Christian Office, that it represents rather the pranks and ceremonyes of Juglers and Conjurers. The Refusal of the Cup to the Laity. The necessity of the Priests Intention to make any of their Sacraments effectual. Debarring their Clergy from Marriage. Interdicting ofPage 7Meats. Auricular Confession and Absolution, as with them practised. Penances, Pilgrimages, Purgatory, and Prayer for the dead. But above all their other devices, that Tran∣substantiall solacisme, whereby that glorified Body, which at the same time they allow to be in Heaven, is sold again and crucifyed daily upon all the Altars of their Communion. For God indeed may now and then do a Miracle, but a Romish Priest can, it seems, work in one moment a thou∣sand Impossibilityes. Thus by a new and antiscriptural Be∣lief, compiled of Terrours to the Phansy, Contradictions to Sense, and Impositions on the Understanding, their Laity have turned Tenants for their Souls, and in consequence Tributary for their Estates to a more then omnipotent Priesthood.
I must indeed do them that right to avow that, out of an equitable consideration and recompense of so faithfull a slavery, they have discharged the People from all other services and dependance, infranchised them from all duty to God or Man; insomuch that their severer and more learned Divines, their Governors of Conscience, have so wel instruct∣ed them in all the arts of Circumventing their neighbour, and of colluding with Heaven, that, wear the scholars as apt as their teachers, their would have been long since an end of all either true Piety, or common Honesty; and nothing left among them but authorized Hypocrisy, Licentiousnesse and Knavery; had not the naturall worth of the better sort, and the Good simplicity of the meaner, in great measure pre∣ferved them. For nothing indeed but an extraordinary temper and ingenuity of spirit, and that too assisted by a di∣viner influence, could possibly restrain those within any the termes or Laws of humanity, who at the same time own the Doctrine of their Casuists or the Authority of the Pope, as it is by him claimed and exercised. He by his Indul∣gences delivers soules out of the paines of the other world: So that who would refuse to be vicious here, upon so goodPage 8security. He by his dispensation annuls Contracts betwixt man and man, dissoves Oaths between Princes, or betwixt them and their People, and gives allowance in cases which God and nature prohibits. He, as Clerk of the spirituall Market, hath set a rate upon all crimes: the more flagitious they are and abominable, the better Commodities, and men pay onely an higher price as for greater rarityes. So that it seemes as if the commands of God had been invented meer∣ly to erect an Office for the Pope; the worse Christians men are, the better Customers; and this Rome does by the same policy people its Church, as the Pagan Rome did the City, by opening a sanctuary to all Malefactors. And why not, if his Power be indeed of such virtue and extent as is by him chalenged? That he is the Ruler over Angels, Purga∣tory and Hell. That his Tribunal and Gods are all one. That all that God, he can do, Clave non errant, and what he does is as God and not as man. That he is the Universall Head of the Church, The sole Interpreter of Scripture, and Judge of Controversy. That 〈◊〉 is above Generall Councils. That his Power is Absolute, and his Decrees In∣fallible. That he can change the very nature of things, mak∣ing what is Just to be Unjust, and what is Vice to be Virtue. That all Laws are in the Cabinet of his Breast. That he can Dispence with the new Testment to the great injury of the Divels. That he is still Monarch of this World, and that he can dispose of Kingdoms and Empires as he pleases. Which things being granted, that stile of Optimum, Maximum & supremum numen in terris, or that of Dominus, Deus noster, Papa, was no such extraordinary stroke of Courtship as we reckoned: but it was rather a great clownishness in him that treated so mighty a Prince under the simple Title of Vice-Deus. The exercise of his Dominion is in all points suitable to this his Pretence. He antiquates the precepts of Christ as things only of good advice, not commanded: but makes it a mortall seu even to doubt of any part of his own Religion,Page 9and demands under paine of damnation the subjection of all Christians to his Papal Authority: the denying of two things so reasonable as blind obedience to this Power, and an Implicite Faith to his Doctrine, being the most unpar∣donable crime, under his Dispensation. He has indeed of late been somewhat more retentive then formerly as to his faculty of disposing of Kingdomes, the thing not having succeeded well with him in some instances: but he layes the same claim still, continues the same inclination, and though velvet headed hath the more itch to be pushing. And how∣ever in order to any occasion he keeps himself in breath al∣ways by cursing one Prince or other upon every Maunday Thusday: Nor is their any, whether Prince or Nation, that dissents from his Usurpations, but are marked out under the notion of Hereticks to ruine and destruction whensover he shall give the signal. That word of Heresy misapplyed, hath served him for so many Ages to Justify all the Executions, Assassinations, Warrs, Massacres, and Devastations, whereby his Faith hath been Propagated; of which our times also have not wanted examples, and more is to be expected for the future. For by how much any thing is more false and un∣reasonble, it requires more cruelty to establish it: and to in∣troduce that which is absurd, there must be somwhat done that is barbarous. But nothing of any sect in Religion can be more recommended by all these qualityes then the Pa∣pacy. The Pagans are excusable by their natural darkness, without Revelation. The Jevvs are tolerable, who see not beyond the Old Testament. Mahomet was so honest as to own what he would be at, that he himself was the greatest Pro∣phet, and that his was a Religion of the Sword. So that these were all, as I may say, of another Allegiance and if Enemys, yet not Traytors: But the Pope avowing Christianity by profession doth in Doctrine and practise renonce it: and presuming to be the only Catholick, does persecute those toPage 10the death who dare worship the Author of their Religion in∣stead of his pretended Vicegerent.
And yet there is nothing more evident, notwithstanding his most notorious forgeries and falsification of all Writers, then that the Pope was for severall Hundred of Years an honest Bishop as other men are, and never so much as dream∣ed upon the Seven Hills of that universal power which he is now come to: nay was the first that opposed any such preten∣sion. But some of them at last, growing wiser, by foisting a counterfeit Donation of Constantine, and wresting another Donation from our Saviour, advanced themselves in a weak, ignorant, and credulous Age, to that Temporal and Spiritual Principality that they are now seised of. Tues Petrus, & super hanc Petram, adificabo Ecclesiam meam. Never was a Bishop-prick and a Verse of Scripture so improved by good manage∣ment. Thus, by exercising in the quality of Christs Uicar the publick function under an invisible Prince, the Pope, like the Maires of the Palace, hath set his master aside and deli∣vered the Government over to a new Line of Papal Succes∣sion. But who can, unlesse wilfully, be ignorant what wretch∣ed doings, what Bribery, what Ambition there are, how long the Church is without an Head upon every Vacancy, till among the crew of bandying Cardinalls the Holy Ghost have declared for a Pope of the French or Spanish Faction. It is a sucession like that of the Egyptian Ox (the living Idol of that Country) who dying or being made away by the Priests, there was a solemn and general mourning for want of a Deity; until in their Conclave they had found out another Beast with the very same marks as the former, whom then they themselvs adored and with great Jubilee brought forth to the People to worship. Nor was that Election a grosser reproach to human Reason then this is also to Christianity. Surely it is the greatest Miracle of the Romish Church that it should still continue, and that in all this time the Gates of Heaven should not prevaile against it.
Page 11It is almost unconceivable how Princes can yet suffer a Power so pernicious, and Doctrine so destructive to all Go∣vernment. That so great a part of the Land should be ali∣enated and condemned to, as they call it, Pious Uses. That such millions of their People as the Clergy, should, by re∣maining unmarryed, either frustrate humane nature if they live chastly, or, if otherwise, adulterate it. That they should be priviledged from all labour, all publick service, and ex∣empt from the power of all Secular Jurisdiction. That they, being all bound, by strict Oaths and Vows of Obedience to the Pope, should evacuate the Fealty due to the Soveraign. Nay, that not only the Clergy but their whole People, if of the Romish preswasion, should be obliged to rebel at any time upon the Popes pleasure. And yet how many of the Neighbouring Princes are content, or do chuse to reign, upon those conditions; which being so dishonorable and dangerous, surely some great and more weighty reason does cause them submit to. Whether it be out of personal fear, having heard perhaps of several attempts which the blind obedience of Popish Zelotes hath executed against their Princes. Or, whether aiming at a more absolute and tyran∣nical Government, they think it still to be the case of Boni∣face and Phocas (an usurping Emperour and an usurping Bishop) and that, as other Cheats, this also is best to be managed by Confederacy. But, as farre as I can appre∣hend, there is more of Sloth then Policy on the Princes side in this whole matter: and all that pretense of inslaving men by the assistance of Religion more easily, is neither more nor lesse then when the Bramine, by having the first night of the Bride assures himself of her devotion for the future, and makes her more fit for the husband.
This reflection upon the state of our Neighbours, in aspect to Religion, doth sufficiently illustrate our happinesse, and spare me the labour of describing it further, then by the Rule of Contraryes: Our Church standing upon all pointsPage 12in a direct opposition to all the forementioned errours. Our Doctrine being true to the Principles of the first Christian institution, and Episcopacy being formed upon the Primi∣tive Model, and no Ecclesiastical Power jostling the Civil, but all concurring in common obedience to the Soveraign. Nor therefore is their any, whether Prince or Nation, that can with less probability be reduced back to the Romish per∣swasion, than ours of England.
For, if first we respect our Obedience to God, what ap∣pearance is there that, after so durable and general an en∣lightning of our minds with the sacred Truth, we should a∣gain put out our own Eyes, to wander thorow the palpable darkness of that gross Superstition? But forasmuch as most men are less concern’d for their Interest in Heaven than on Earth, this seeming the nearer and more certain, on this ac∣count also our alteration from the Protestant Religion is the more impossible. When beside the common ill examples and consequences of Popery observable abroad, whereby. we might grow wise at the expense of our Neighbours, we cannot but reflect upon our own Experiments at home, which would make even fools docible. The whole Reign of Queen Mary, in which the Papists made Fewel of the Protestants. The Excommunicating and Deprivation of Queen Elizabeth by the Pope, pursued with so many Trea∣sons and attempts upon her Person, by her own Subjects, and the Invasion in Eighty-Eight by the Spanish. The two Breves of the Pope, in order to exclude King James from the Succession to the Crown, seconded by the Gunpovvder-Trea∣son. In the time of his late Majesty, King Charles the first, (besides what they contributed to the Civil War in England) the Rebellion and horrid Massacre in Ireland, and, which was even worse than that, their pretending that it was done by the Kings Commission, and vouching the Broad Seal for their Authority. The Popes Nuncio assuming nevertheless and exercising there the Temporal as well as Spiritual Pow∣er,Page 13granting out Commissions under his own Hand, break∣ing the Treatys of Peace between the King, and, as they then styled themselves, the Confederate Catholicks; heading two Armies against the Marquess of Ormond, then Lord Lieu∣tenant, and forcing him at last to quit the Kingdom: all which ended in the Ruine of his Majesties Reputation, Go∣vernment, and Person; which but upon occasion of that Re∣bellion, could never have happened. So that we may reckon the Reigns of our late Princes, by a succession of the Popish Treasons against them. And, if under his present Majesty we have as yet seen no more visible effects of the same spirit than the Firing of London (acted by Hubert, hired by Pied∣delou two French-men) which remains a Controverfie, it is not to be attributed to the good nature or better Principles of that Sect, but to the wisdom of his Holyness; who observes that we are not of late so dangerous Protestants as to deserve any special mark of his Indignation, but that we may be made better use of to the weakning of those that are of our own Religion, and that if he do not disturbe us, there are those among our selves, that are leading us into a fair way of Re∣conciliation with him.
But those continued fresh Instances, in relation to the Crown, together with the Popes claim of the Temporal and immediate Dominion of the Kingdoms of England and Ire∣land, which he does so challenge, are a sufficient caution to the Kings of England, and of the People, there is as little hopes to seduce them, the Protestant Religion being so inter∣woven as it is with their Secular Interest. For the Lands that were formerly given to superstitious uses, having first been applyed to the Publick Revenue, and afterwards by se∣verall Alienations and Contracts distributed into private possession, the alteration of Religion would necessarily in∣troduce a change of Property. Nullum tempus occurrit Ec∣elesiae, it would make a general Earth-quake over the nation, and even now the RomishClergy on the other side of thePage 14water, snuffe up the savoury odour of so many rich Abbies and Monasteries that belonged to their predecessors. Here∣by no considerably Estate in England but must have a piece torn out of it upon the Titile of Piety, and the rest subject to be wholly forfeited upon the account of Heresy. Another Chimny mony of the old Peter pence must again be payed. as tribute to the Pope, beside that which is established on his Majesty: and the People, instead of those moderate Tithes that are with too much difficulty payed to their Protestant Pastors, will be exposed to all the exactions, of the Court of Rome, and a thousand artifices by which in former times they were used to draine away the wealth of ours more then any other Nation. So that in conclusion, there is no English-man that hath a Soul, a Body, or an Estate to save, that Loves either God, his King, or his Country, but is by all those Tenures bound, to the best of his Power and Know∣ledge, to maintaine the established Protestant Religion.
And yet, all this notwithstanding, there are those men a∣mong us, who have undertaken, and do make it their busi∣nesse, under so Legal and perfect a Government, to intro∣duce a French slavery, and instead of so pure a Religion, to establish the Roman Idolatry: both and either of which are Crimes of the Highest nature. For, as to matter of Govern∣ment, if to murther the King be, as certainly it is, a Fact so, horred, how much more hainous is it to assassinate the Kingdome? And as none will deny, that to alter our Mo∣narchy into a Commonvvealth were Treason, so by the same Fundamenttal Rule, the Crime is no lesse to make that Monarchy Absolute.
What is thus true in regard of the State, holds as well in reference to our Religion. Former Parliaments have made it Treason in whosoever shall attempt to seduce any one, the meanest of the Kings subjects, to the Church of Rome: And this Parliament hath, to all penalties by the Common or Statute Law, added incapacity for any man who shall pre∣sumePage 15to say that the King is a Papist or an Introducer of Po∣pery. But what lawless and incapable miscreants then, what wicked Traytors are those wretched men, who endevour to pervert our whole Church, and to bring that about in ef∣fect, which even to mention is penal, at one Italian stroke attempting to subvert the Government and Religion, to kill the Body and damn the Soul of our Nation.
Yet were these men honest old Cavaliers that had suffered in his late Majesties service, it were allowable in them, as oft as their wounds brake out at Spring or Fall, to think of a more Arbitrary Government, as a soveraign Balsom for their Aches, or to imagine that no Weapon-salve but of the Moss that grows on an Enemies Skul could cure them. Should they mistake this Long Parliament also for Rebells, and that, although all Circumstances be altered, there were still the same necessity to fight it all over again in pure Loy∣alty, yet their Age and the Times they have lived in, might excuse them. But those worthy Gentlemen are too Gene∣rous, too good Christians and Subjects, too affectionate to the good English Government, to be capable of such an Im∣pression. Whereas these Conspiratours are such as have not one drop of Cavalier Blood, or no Bovvels at least of a Cavalier in them; but have starved them, to Revel and Sur∣fet upon their Calamities, making their Persons, and the ve∣ry Cause, by pretending to it themselves, almost Ridicu∣lous.
Or, were these Conspiratours on the other side but avow∣ed Papists, they were the more honest, the less dangerous, and the Religion were answerable for the Errours they might commit in order to promote it. Who is there but must acknowledge, if he do not commend the Ingenuity (or by what better Name I may call it) of Sir Thomas Strickland, Lord Bellassis, the late Lord Clifford and others, eminent in their several stations? These, having so long appeared the most zealous Sons of our Church, yet, as soon as the latePage 16Test against Popery was inacted, tooke up the Crosse, quitted their present imployments and all hopes of the future, rather then falsify their opinion: though otherwise men for Quality, Estate and Abilityes whether in Warre or Peace, as capable and well deserving (without disparagement) as others that have the art to continue in Offices. And above all his Royal Highnesse is to be admired for his unparallelled mag∣nanimity on the same account: there being in all history per∣haps no Record of any Prince that ever changed his Religi∣on in his circumstances. But these persons, that have since taken the worke in hand, are such as ly under no temptati∣on of Religion: secure men, that are above either Honour or Consciencs; but obliged by all the most sacred tyes of Malice and Ambition to advance the ruine of the King and Kingdome, and qualified much better then others, under the name of good Protestants, to effect it.
And because it was yet difficult to find Complices enough at home, that were ripe for so black a desing, but they wan∣ted a Back for their Edge; therefore they applyed them∣selves to France, that King being indowed with all those qualityes, which in a Prince, may passe for Virtues; but in any private man, would be capital; and moreover so abound∣ing in wealth that no man else could go to the price of their wickednesse: To which Considerations, adding that he is the Master of Absolute Dominion, the Presumptive Mon∣arch of Christendom, the declared Champion of Popery, and the hereditary, natural, inveterate Enemy of our King and Nation, he was in all respects the most likely (of all Earth∣ly Powers) to reward and support them in a Project every way suitable to his one Inclination and Interest.
And now, should I enter into a particular retaile of all for∣mer and latter Transactions, relating to this affaire, there would be sufficient for a just Volume of History. But my intention is onely to write a naked Narrative of some the most considerable passages in the meeting of ParliamentPage 17the 15 of Febr. 1676. Such as have come to my notice which may serve for matter to some stronger Pen and to such as have more leisure and further opportunity to disco∣ver and communicate to the Publick. This in the mean time will by the Progresse made in so few weeks, demon∣strate at what rate these men drive over the necks of King and People, of Religion and Government; and how near they are in all humane probability to arrive Triumphant at the end of their Journey. Yet, that I may not be too abrupt, and leave the Reader wholly destitute of a thread to guide himself by thorow so intriguing a Labyrinth, I shall summari∣ly as short, as so copious and redundant a matter will admit, deduce the order of affaires both at home and abroad, as it led into this Session.
It is well known, were it as well remembred, what the provocation was, and what the successe of the warre begun by the English i•… the Year 1665. against Holland: what vast supplyes were furnished by the Subject for defraying it, and yet after all. no Fleet set out, but the Flower of all the Royal Navy burnt or taken in Port to save charges. How the French, during that War, joyned themselves in assistance of Holland against us, and yet, by the credit he had with the Queen Mother, so farre deluded his Majesty, that upon assu∣rance the Dutch neither would have any Fleet out that year, he forbore to make ready, and so incurred that notable losse, and disgrace at Chatham. How (after this fatall conclusion of all our Sea-Champaynes) as we had been obliged to the French for that warre, so we were glad to receive the Peace from his favour which was agreed at Breda betwixt England, France, and Holland.
His Majesty was hereby now at leisure to remarke how the French had in the year 1667. taken the time of us and while we were imbroled and weakned had in violation of all the most solemn and sacred Oaths and Treatyes invaded and taken a great part of the Spanish Nether-Land, which hadPage 18alwayes been considered as the natural Frontier of England. And hereupon he judged it necessary to interpose, before the flame that consumed his next neighbour should throw its sparkles over the water. And therefore, generously slight∣ing all punctilious of ceremony or peeks of animosity, where the safty of his People and the repose of Christendom were concerned, he sent first into Holland, inviting them to a nearer Alliance, and to enter into such further Counsells as were most proper to quiet this publick disturbance which the French had raised. This was a work wholy of his Majestys designing and (according to that felicity which hath allways attended him, when excluding the corrupt Politicks of o∣thers he hath followed the dictates of his own Royal wisdom) so well it succeeded. It is a thing searse credible, though true, that two Treatyes of such weight, intricacy, and so various aspect as that of the Defensive League with Holland, and the other for repressing the further progresse of the French in the Spanish Netherland, should in five days time, in the year 1668. be concluded. Such was the Expedition and secrecy then used in prosecuting his Majesty particuler instructions, and so easy a thing is it for Princes, when they have a mind to it, to be well served. The Svvede too shortly after made the third in this Concert; whether wisely judging that in the minority of their King reigning over several late acquired dominions, it was their true intrest to have an hand in all the Counsells that tended to pease and undisturbed possession, or, whether indeed those ministers, like ours, did even then project in so glorious an Alliance to betray it afterward to their own greater advantage. From their joyning in it was called the Triple Alliance, His Majesty with great sincerity continued to solicite other Princes according to the se∣venth Article to come into the Guaranty of this Treaty, and delighted himself in cultivating by all good means what he had planted. But in a very short time these Counsells, which had taken effect with so great satisfaction to the Nation andPage 19to his Majestyes eternal honour, were all changed and it seemed that Treatyes, as soon as the Wax is cold, do lose their virtue. The King in June 1670 went down to Dover to meet after a long absence. Madam, his onely remaining sister: where the days were the more pleasant, by how much it seldomer happens to Princes then private persons to injoy their Relations, and when they do, yet their kind interviews are usually solemnized with some fatlity and disaster, no∣thing of which here appeared. But upon her first return into France she was dead, the Marquess of Belfonds was immedi∣ately sent hither, a Person, of great Honour dispatched thither? and, before ever the inquiry and grumbling at her death could be abated, in a trice there was an invisible Leagle, in prejudice of the Triple one, struck up with France, to all the height of dearnesse and affection. As if upon discecting the Princess there had some state Philtre been found in her bowells, or the reconciliation wiah France were not to be celebrated with a lesse sacrifice then of the Blood Royall of England. The sequel will be suitable to so ominous a beginning. But, as this Treaty was a work of Darknesse and which could never yet be understood or discovered but by the effects, so before those appeared it was necessary that the Parliament should after the old wont be gulld to the giving of mony. They met the 24th Oct. 1670. and it is not without much labour that I have been able to recover a written Copy of the Lord Bridgmans speech, none being printed, but forbidden, doubtlesse lest so notorious a Practise as certainly was never before, though there have indeed been many, put upon the Nation, might remain publick. Al∣though that Honourable person cannot be persumed to have been accessory to what was then intended, but was in due time, when the Project ripened and grew hopeful, discharg∣ed from his Office, and he, the Duke of Ormond, the late Se∣cretary Trevor, with the Prince Rupert, discarded together out of the Committee for the Forraign Affaires, He spoke thus.
My Lords, and you the Knights, Citi∣zens and Burgesses of the House of Commons.
WHen the two Houses were last Adjourned, this Day, as you well know, was perfixed for your Meeting again. The Proclamation since issued requiring all your attendances at the same time shewed not only his Majesties belief that his busi∣ness will thrive best when the Houses are fullest, but the importance also of the Affaires for which you are so called: And important they are. You cannot be igno∣rant of the great Forces both for Land and Sea-service which our Neighbours of France and the Low-Coun∣tries have raised, and have now in actual Pay; nor of the great Preparations which they continue to make in Levying of Men, Building of Ships, filling their Ma∣gazines and Stores with immense quantities of all sorts of Warlike Provisions. Since the beginning of the last Dutch War, the French have increased the Greatness and Number of their Ships so much, that their Strength by Sea is thrice as much as it was before. And since the end of it, the Dutch have been very diligent also in augmenting their Fleets. In this conjuncture, when our Neighbours Arm so potently, even common prudence requires that his Majesty should make some suitablePage 21preparations; that he may at least keep pace with his Neighbours, if not out-go them in Number and Strength of Shipping. For this being an Island, both our Safety, our Trade, our Being, and our Well-Being depend upon our Forces at Sea.
His Majesty therefore, of his Princely Care for the Good of his People, hath given order for the fit∣ting out of Fifty Sayl of his Greatest Ships, against the Spring, besides those which are to be for Security of our Merchants in the Mediterranean: As fore∣seeing, if he should not have a considerable Fleet, whilst his Neighbours have such Forces both at Land and Sea, Temptation might be given to those who seem not now to intend it, to give us an Affront, at least, if not to do us a Mifchief.
To which may be added, That his Majesty, by the Leagues which he hath made, for the Common Peace of Christendom, and the good of his Kingdoms, is obliged to a certain Num∣ber of Forces in case of Infraction thereof, as al∣so for the Assistance of some of his Neighbours, in case of Invasion. And his Majesty would be in a very ill condition to perform his part of the Leagues (if whilst the Clouds are gathering so thick about us) he should, in hopes that the Wind will dis∣perse them, omit to provide against the Storm.
My Lords and Gentlemen, Having named thePage 22Leagues made by his Majesty, I think it necessary to put you in mind, That since the Close of the late War, his Majesty hath made several Leagues, to his own great Honour, and infinite Advantage to the Nation.
One known by the Name of the Tripple Alliance, wherein his Majesty, the Crown of Sweden and the States of the United Provinces are ingaged to preserve the Treaty of Aix la Capelle, concerning a Peace between the two warring Princes, which Peace produced that effect, that it quenched the Fire which was ready to have set all Christen∣dom in a Flame. And besides other great Bene∣fits by it, which she still enjoyes, gave opportunity to transmit those Forces against the Infidels, which would otherwise have been imbrued in Christian Blood.
Another between his Majesty and the said States for a Mutual Assistance with a certain number of Men and Ships in case of Invasion by any others.
Another between his Maiesty and the Duke of Sa∣voy, Establishing a Free Trade for his Majesties Subjects at Villa Franca, a Port of his own upon the Mediterranean, and through the Dominions of that Prince; and thereby opening a Passage to a Rich part of Italy, and part of Germany, which will bePage 23of a very great advantage for the Vending of Cloth and other our home Commodities, bringing back Silk and other Materials for Manifactures than here.
Another between his Majesty and the King of Denmark, whereby those other Impositions that were lately laid upon our Trade there, are taken off, and as great Priviledges granted to our Merchants, as ever they had in former Times, or as the Subjects of any other Prince or State do now enjoy.
And another League upon a Treaty of Com∣merce with Spain, whereby there is not only a Cessa∣tion and giving up to his Majesty of all their Pre∣tensions to Jamaica, and other Islands and Coun∣tries in the West Indies, in the Possession of his Ma∣jesty or his Subjects, but with all, free Liberty is gi∣ven to his Majesties Subjects, to enter their Ports for Victuals and Water, and safety of Harbour and Return, if Storm or other Accidents bring them thi∣ther; Priviledges which were never before granted by them to the English or any Others.
Not to mention the Leagues formerly made with Sweden and Portugal, and the Advantages which we enjoy thereby; nor those Treaties now depending between his Majesty and France, or his Majesty and the States of tbe United Provinces touching Com∣merce, wherein his Majesty will have a singular re∣gardPage 24to the Honour of this Nation, and also to the Trade of it, which never was greater than now it is.
In a word, Almost all the Princes in Europe do seek his Majesties Friendship, as acknowledging they cannot Secure, much less Improve their present con∣dition without it.
His Majesty is confident that you will not be contented to see him deprived of all the advanta∣ges which he might procure hereby to his own Kingdoms, nay even to all Christendom, in the Repose and Quiet of it. That you will not be con∣tent abroad to see your Neighbours strengthening themselves in Shipping, so much more than they were before, and at Home to see the Government strug∣ling every year with Difficulties; and not able to keep up our Navies equal with theirs. He findes that by his Accounts from the year 1660 to the Late War, the ordinary Charge of the Fleet Communibus annis, came to about 500000 l. a year, and it cannot be sup∣ported with less.
If that particular alone take up so much, add to it the other constant Charges of the Government, and the Revenue (although the Commissioners of the Treasury have mannag’d it with all imaginable Thrift) will in no degree suffice to take of the Debts due upon Interest, much less give him a Fonds for the fitting out of this Fleet, which by common Estimation thereofPage 25cannot cost less than 800000 l. His Majesty in his most gracious Speech, hath expressed the great sence he hath of your zeal and affection for him, and as he will ever retain a grateful memory of your former rea∣diness to supply him in all Exigencies, so he doth with particular thanks acknowledge your frank and chear∣full Gift of the New Duty upon Wines, at your last Meeting: But the same is likely to fall very short in value of what it was conceived to be worth, and should it have answered expectation, yet far too short to ease and help him upon these Occasions. And therefore such a Supply as may enable him to take off his Debts upon Interest, and to set out this Fleet against the Spring, is that which he desires from you, and recom∣mends it to you, as that which concerns the Honour and Support of the Government, and the Wellfare and Safety of your Selves and the whole King∣dome.
My Lords and Gentlemen, You may perceive by what his Majesty hath already said, that he holds it re∣quisite that an End be put to this Meeting before Christmas. It is so not only in reference to the Pre∣paration for his Fleet, which must be in readiness in the Spring, but also to the Season of the Year. It is a time when you would be willing to be in your Countries, and your Neighbours would be glad to see you there, and partake of your Hospitality and Charity, and youPage 26thereby endear your selves to them, and keep up that Interest and Power among them, which is necessary for the service of your King and Country, and a Recesse at that time, leaving your business unfinished till your Return, cannot either be convenient for you, or suit∣able to the condition of his Majesties Affaires, which requires your Speedy, as well as Affectionate Consideration.
Page 27There needed not so larg a Catalogue of pass, present and future Leagues and Treaties, for even Villa Franca soun∣ded so well (being besides so considerable a Port, and that too upon the Mediterranean (another remote word of much efficacie) and opeing moreover a passage to a rich part of Italy, and a part of Germany, &c.) that it alone would have sufficed to charm the more ready Votes of the Commons into a supply, and to justifie the Necessity of it in the noise of the Country. But indeed the making of that Tripple League, was a thing of so good a report and so generally acceptable to the Nation, as being a hook in the French nostrils, that this Parliament (who are used, whether it be War or Peace, to make us pay for it) could not have desired a fairer pre∣tence to colour their liberality.
And therefore after all the immense summs lavished in the former War with Holland, they had but in April last, 167•…, given the Additional Duty upon Wines for 8 years; amounting to 560000 and confirmed the sale of the Fee Farm Rents, which was no lesse their gift, being a part of the publick Revenue, to the value of 180000l. Yet upon the telling of this Storie by the Lord Keeper, they could no longer hold but gave with both hands now again a Subsidy of 1s. in the pound to the real value of all Lands, and other Estates proportionably, with several more beneficial Clauses into the bargaine, to begin the 24 of June 1671, and expire the 24 of June 1672. Together with this, they granted the Additional Excise upon Beer, Ale, &c. for six years, to reckon from the same 24th of June 1671. And lastly, the Lavv Bill commencing from the first of May 1671, and at nine yeares end to determine. These three Bills summed up therefore cannot be estimated at lesse than two millions and an half.
So that for the Tripple League, here was, also Tripple-Supply, and the Subject had now all reason to beleive that this Alliance, which had been fixed at first by the Publick Interest, Safety and Honour (yet, should any of those give way) wasPage 28by these Three Grants, as with three Golden Nailes, suffici∣ently clenched and reivetted. But now therefore was the most proper time and occasion for the Conspirators, I have before described, to give demonstration of their fidelitie to the French King and by the forfeiture of all these obligations to their King and Countrey, and other Princes, and at the ex∣pense of all this Treasure given to contrarie uses, to recom∣mend themselves more meritoriously to his patronage.
The Parliament having once given this Mony, were in consequence Prorogued, and met not again till the 4th of February 1672, that there might be a competent scope for so great a work as was desined, and the Architects of our Ruine might be so long free from their busie and odious in∣spection till it were finished. Henceforward, all the former applications made by his Majesty to induce Forraine Princes into the Guaranty of the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle ceased, and on the contrary, those who desired to be admitted into it, were here refused. The Duke of Loraine, who had alwaies been a true Freind to his Majesty, and by his affecti∣on to the Tripple League had incurred the French Kings displeasure, with the losse of his whole Territorie, seised in the year 1669, against all Laws not only of Peace but Hosti∣lity, yet was by means of these men rejected, that he might have no Intrest in the Alliance, for which he was sacrificed. Nay even the Emperour, though he did his Majesty the Honour to address voluntarily to him, that himself might be received into that Tripple League, yet could not so great a Prince prevail but was turned off with blind Reason, and most srivolous Excuses. So farre was it now from fortifying the Alliance by the Accession of other Princes, that Mr. Henry Goventry went now to Svveden expresly, as he affirm∣ed at his departure hence, to dissolve the Tripple League. And he did so much towards it, cooperating in that Court with the French Ministers, that Svveden never (after it came to a Rupture) did assist or prosecute effectually the ends of thePage 29Alliance, but only arming it self at the expence of the Leagues did first, under a disguised Mediation, Act the French Interest, and at last threw off the Vizard, and drew the Sword in their Quarrel. Which is a matter of sad reflexion, that he, who in his Embassy at Breda, had been so happy an Instrument to end the first unfortunate War with Holland, should now be made the Toole of a second, and of breaking that threefold Cord, by which the Interest of England and all Christendom was fastned. And, what renders it more wretched, is, that no man better than He understood both the Theory and Practick of Honour; and yet, cold in so eminent an Instance, forget it. All which can be said in his excuse, is, that upon his return he was for this service made Secretary of State (as if to have remained the same Honest Gentleman, had not been more necessary and lesse dishonourable) Sir William Lockyard and several others were dispatched to other Courts upon the like errand.
All things were thus farre well disposed here toward a War with Holland: only all this while there wanted a Quar∣rel, and to pick one required much invention. For the Ducth although there was a si quis to find out complaints, and our East India Company was summoned to know whether they had any thing to object against them, had so punctually complyed with all the Conditions of the Peace at Breda, and observed his Majesty with such respect (and in paying the due Honour of the Flagg particulary as it was agreed in the 19th. Article) that nothing could be alleadged: and as to the Tripple League, their Fleet was then out, riding near their own Coasts, in prosecuting of the ends of that Treaty. Therefore, to try a new experiment and to make a Case which had never be∣fore happened or been imagined, a sorry Yatch, but bearing the English Jack, in August 1671. Sailes into the midst of their Fleet, singled out the Admyral, shooting twice, as they call it, sharpe upon him. Which must sure have appeared as ridiculous, and unnatural as for a Larke to dare the Hobby.Page 30Neverthelesse their Commander in Chief, in diference to his Majestys Colours, and in consideration of the Amity be∣twixt the two Nations, payed our Admiral of the Yatch a visit, to know the reason; and learning that it was because he and his whole Fleet had failed to strike Saile to his small-craft, the Dutch Commander civilly excused it as a matter of the first instance, and in which he could have no Instructions, therefore proper to be referred to their Masters, and so they parted. The Yatch having thus acquitted it self, returned, fraught with the Quarrel she was sent for, which yet was for several months passed over here in silence without any Com∣plaint or demand of satisfaction, but to be improved after∣wards when occasion grew riper. Forthere was yet one thing more to be done at home to make us more capable of what was shortly after to be executed on our Neighbours.
The Exohequer had now for some years by excessive gain decoy’d in the wealthy Goldsmiths, and they the rest of the Nation by due payment of Interest, till the King was run (upon what account I know not) into debt of above two Millions: which served for one of the pretences in my Lord Keepers Speech above recited, to demand and grant the late Supplies, and might have sufficed for that work, with peace and any tolerable good husbandry. But as if it had been per∣fidious to apply them to any one of the Purposes declared) it was instead of payment privately resolved to shut up the Exchequer, least any part of the money should be legally ex∣pended, but that all might be appropriate to the Holy War in project, and those further pious uses to which the Conspi∣rators had dedicated it.
This affair was carried on with all the secresy of so great Statesmen, that they might not by venting it unseasonably spoile the wit and malice of the business. So that all on the suddain, upon the first of January 1671, to the great aston∣ishment, ruine and despaire of so many interested persons, and to the terrour of the whole Nation, by so Arbitrary aPage 31Fact, the Proclamation issued whereby the Crown, amid’st the confluence of so vast Aides and Revenue, published it self Bankrupt, made prize of the Subject, and broke all Faith and contract at home in order to the breaking of them abroad with more advantage.
There remained nothing now but that the Conspirators, after this exploit upon our own Countrymen, should mani∣fest their impartiallity to Forainers, and avoid on both sides the reproach of Injustice by their equality in the distribution. They had now started the dispute about the Flag upon oc∣casion of the Yatch, and begun the discourse of Surinam, and somwhat of Pictures and Medalls, but they handled these mat∣ters so nicely as men not lesse afraid of receiving all satis∣faction therein from the Hollanders, then of giving them any umbrage of arming against them upon those pretenses. The Dutch therefore, not being conscious to themselves of any provocation given to England, but of their readinesse, if there had been any, to repair it, and relying upon that faith of Treatyes and Alliances with us, which hath been thought sufficient security, not only amongst Christians but even with Infidels, pursued their Traffick and Navigation thorow our Seas without the least suspicion. And accordingly a great and rich Fleet of Merchantmen from Smyrna and Spain, were on their Voyage homeward near the Isle of Wight, under a small Convoy of five or six of their Men of War. This was the Fleet in contemplation of which the (conspira∣tors had so long deferred the War to plunder them in peace; the wealth of this was that which by its weight turned the Ballance of all Publick Justice and Honour; with this Trea∣sure they imagined themselves in stock for all the wicked∣nesse of which they were capable, and that they should never, after this addition, stand in need again or fear of a Parlia∣ment. Therefore they had with great stilnesse and expidi∣tion equipped early in the year, so many of the Kings Ships as might without jealousy of the number, yet be of compe∣tentPage 32strength for the intended action, but if any thing should chance to be wanting, they thought it abundantly supplyed by virtue of the Commander. For Sir Robert Holmes had with the like number of Ships in the year 1661, even so time∣ly, commenced the first Hostility against Holand, in time of Peace; seizing upon Cape Verde, and other of the Dutch-Forts on the Coast of Guiny, and the whole Nevv Nether-lands, with great success: in defence of which Conquests, the English undertook, 1665, the first War against Holand. And in that same War, he with a proportionable Squadron signalized himself by burning the Dutch Ships and Village of Brandaris at Schelling, which was unfortunately revenged upon us at Chatham. So that he was pitched upon as the person for understanding, experience and courage, fittest for a design of this or any higher nature; and upon the 14th. of March, 1672. as they sailed on, to the number of 72 Vessells in all, whereof six the Convoy; near our Coast, he fell in upon them with his accustomed bravery, and could not have failed of giving a good account of them, would he but have joyned fortunes, Sr. Edvvard Spraggs Asistance to his own Conduct: For Sr. Edvvard was in sight at the same time with his Squadron, and Captaine Legg making saile towards him, to acquaint him with the design, till called back by a Gun from his Admirall, of which severall persons have had their conjectures. Possibly Sr. Robert Holmes, con∣sidering that Sr. Edvvard had sailed all along in consort with the Ducth in their voyage, and did but now return from bring∣ing the Pirates of Algier to reason, thought him not so pro∣per to ingage in this enterprise before he understood it bet∣ter. But it is rather beleived to have proceeded partly from that Jealousy (which is usuall to marshal spirits, like Sr. Roberts) of admitting a Companion to share with him in the Spoile of Honour or Profit; and partly out of too strict a regard to preserve the secret of his Commission. However, by this meanes the whole affair miscarried. For the Mer∣chantPage 33Men themselves, and their little Convoy did so bestir them, that Sir Robert, although he shifted his Ship, fell foul on his best Friends, and did all that was possible, unless he could have multiplied himself, and been every where, was forced to give it over, and all the Prize that was gotten, sufficed not to pay the Chirurgeons and Carpenters.
To descend to the very bottom of their hellish Conspira∣cy, there was yet one step more; that of Religion. For so pious and just an Action as Sir Robert Holmes was imploy∣ed upon, could not be better accompanied than by the De∣claration of Liberty of Conscience (unless they should have expected till he had found that pretious Commodity in plun∣dering the Hoale of some Amsterdam Fly-boat) Accord∣ingly, while he was trying his Fortune in Battle with the Smyrna Merchant-Men, on the thirteenth and fourteenth of Marcb, One thousand six hundred seventy tvvo, the Indulgence was Printing off here in all haste, and was Published on the fifteenth, as a more proper means than Fasting and Prayer for propitiating Heaven to give Success to his Enterprise, and to the War that must second it.
Hereby, all the Penal Lavvs against Papists, for which former Parliaments had given so many Supplies, and against Nonconformists, for which this Parliament had payd more largly, were at one Instant Suspended, in order to defraud the Nation of all that Religion which they had so dearly pur∣chased, and for which they ought at least, the Bargain being broke, to have been re-imbursed.
There is, I confess, a measure to be taken in those things, and it is indeed to the great reproach of Humane Wisdom, that no man has for so many Ages been able or willing to find out the due temper of Government in Divine Matters. For it appears at the first sight, that men ought to enjoy the same Propriety and Protection in their Consciences, which they have in their Lives, Liberties, and Estates: But that to take away these in Penalty for the other, is meerly a more LegalPage 34and Gentile way of Padding upon the Road of Heaven, and that it is only for want of Money and for want of Re∣ligion that men take those desperate Courses.
Nor can it be denied that the Original Lavv upon which Christianity at the first was founded, does indeed expresly provide against all such severity. And it was by the Humility, Meekness, Love, Forbearance and Patience which were part of that excellent Doctrine, that it became at last the Univer∣sal Religion, and can no more by any other meanes be pre∣served, than it is possible for another Soul to animate the same Body.
But, with shame be it spoken, the Spartans obliging them∣selves to Lycargus his Laws, till he should come back again, continued under his most rigid Discipline, above twice as long as the Christians did endure under the gentelest of all Institutions, though with far more certainty expecting the return of their Divine Legislater Insomuch that it is no great Adventure to say, That the World was better ordered under the Antient Monarchies and Commonvvealths, that the number of Virtuous men was then greater, and that the Chri∣stians found fairer quarter under those, than among them∣selves, nor hath there any advantage acrued unto mankind from that most perfect and practical Moddel of Humane So∣ciety, except the Speculation of a better way to future Hap∣piness, concerning which the very Guides disagree, and of those few that follow, it will suffer no man to pass without paying at their Turn-pikes. All which had proceeded from no other reason, but that men in stead of squaring their Go∣vernments by the Rule of Christianity, have shaped Christi∣anity by the Measures of their Government, have reduced that streight Line by the crooked, and bungling Divine and Humane things together, have been alwayes hacking and hewing one another, to frame an irregular Figure of Political Incongruity.
For wheresoever either the Magistrate, or the Clergy, orPage 35the People could gratify their Ambition, their Profit, or their Phanfie by a Text improved or misapplied, that they made use of though against the consent sense and immutable pre∣cepts of Scipture, and because Obedience for Conscience sake was there prescribed, the lesse Conscience did men make in Commanding; so that several Nations have little else to shew for their Christiainity (which requires Instruction only and Example) but a pracell of sever Laws concerning Opi∣nion or about the Modes of Worship, not so much in order to the Power of Religion as over it. Neverthelesse because Mankind must be governed some way and be held up to one Law or other, either of Christs or their own making, the vigour of such humane Constitutions is to be preserved un∣till the same Authority shall upon better reason revoke them; and as in the mean time no private man may without the guilt of Sedition or Rebellion resist, so neither by the Nature of the English Foundation can any Publick Person suspend them without committing an Errour which is not the lesse for wanting a legall name to expresse it. But it was the Master-peice therefore of boldnesse and contrivance in these Conspiratours to issue this Declaration, and it is hard to say wherein they took the greater felicity, whither in suspending hereby all the Statutes against Popery, that it might thence forward passe like current money over the Nation, and no man dare to refuse it, or whether gaining by this a President to suspend as well all other Laws that respect the Subjects Propriety, and by the same power to abrogate and at last inact what they pleased, till there should be no further use for the Consent of the People in Parliament.
Having been thus true to their great designe and made so considerable a progresse, they advanced with all expedition. It was now high time to Declare the War, after they had begun it; and therefore by a Manifesto of the seventeenth of March 1672, the pretended Causes were made publichPage 36which were, The not having Vailed Bonnet to the English Yatch: though the Duch had all along, both at home and here as carefully endevoured to give, as the English Minestrs to avoid the receiving of all satisfaction, or letting them un∣derstand what would do it, and the Council Clock was on purpose set forward lest, their utmost Compliance in the Flag at the hour appointed, should prevent the Declaration of War by some minuts. The detaining of some few English families (by their own Consent) in Surynam after the Dominion of it was by Treaty surrendred up to the Hol∣lander, in which they had likewise constantly yielded to the unreasonable demands that were from one time to another extended from hence to make the thing impracticable, till even Banister himself, that had been imployed as the Agent and Contriver of this misunderstanding, could not at the last forbear to cry shame of it. And moreover to fill up the measure of the Dutch iniquity, they are accused of Pillars, Medalls, and Pictures: a Poet indeed, by a dash of his Pen, having once been the cause of a Warre against Poland; but this certainely was the first time that ever a Painter could by a stroke of his Pencill occasion the Breach of a Treaty. But considering the weaknesse and invalidity of those other al∣legations, these indeed were not unnecessary, the Pillars to adde strength, the Meddalls Weight, and the Pictures Colour to their Reasons.
But herein they had however observed Faith with France though on all other sides broken, having capitulated to be the first that should do it. Which as it was no small peice of French Courtesey in so important an action to yield the Eng∣lish the Precedence, so was it on the English part as great a Bravery in accepting to be the formost to discompose the State of all Christendom, and make themselves principal to all the horrid Destruction, Devastation, Ravage and Slaugh∣ter,Page 37which from that fatal seventeenth of March, One thou∣sand six hundred seventy tvvo, has to this very day conti∣nued.
But that which was most admirable in the winding up of this Declaration, was to behold these Words,
And vvhereas vve are engaged by a Treaty to support the Peace made at Aix la Chapelle; We do finally Declare, that, notvvithstanding thé Prosecution of this War, We vvill main∣tain the true intent and scope of the said Treaty, and that, in all Alliances, vvhich We have, or shall make in the progress of this War, vve have, and vvill take care, to preserve the ends thereof inviolable, unless provoked to the contrary.
And yet it is as clear as the Sun, that the French had by that Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, agreed to acquiess in their former Conquests in Flanders, and that the Eng∣lish, Svvede and Hollander, were reciprocally bound to be aiding against whomsoever should disturbe that Regulation, (besides the League Offensive and Defensive, which his Majesty had entered into with the States General of the Uni∣ted Provinces) all which was by this Conjunction with France to be broken in pieces. So that what is here decla∣red, if it were reconcileable to Truth, yet could not con∣sist with Possibility (which two do seldom break company) unless by one only Expedient, that the English, who by this new League with France, were to be the Infractors and Aggressors of the Peace of Aix la Chapelle (and with Holland) should to fulfill their Obligations to both Parties, have sheathed the Sword in our own Bowels.
But such was the Zeal of the Conspirators, that it might easily transport them either to say what was untrue, or undertake what was impossible, for the French Ser∣vice.
Page 38That King having seen the English thus engaged beyond a Retreat, comes now into the War according to agreement. But he was more Generous and Monarchal than to assign Cause, true or false, for his Actions. He therefore, on the 27th. of March 1672, publishes a Declaration of War with∣out any Reasons. Only, The ill satisfaction vvhich his Ma∣jesty hath of the Behaviour of the States General tovvards him, being risen to that degree, that he can no longer, vvithout dimi∣nution to his Glory dissemble his Indignation against them, &c. Therefore he hath resolved to make War against them both by Sea and Land, &c. And commands all his Subjects, Courir sus, upon the Hollauders, (a Metaphor which, out of re∣spect to his own Nation, might have been spared) For such is our pleasure.
Was ever in any Age or Nation of the World, the Sword drawn upon no better Allegation? A stile so far from be∣ing Most Christian, that nothing but some vain French Ro∣mance can parallel or justify the Expression. How happy were it could we once arrive at the same pitch, and how much credit and labour had been saved, had the Compilers of our Declaration, in stead of the mean English way of gi∣ving Reasons, contented themselves with that of the Dimi∣nution of the English Honour, as the French of his Glory! But nevertheless, by his Embassador to the Pope, he gave after∣wards a more clear account of his Conjunction with the English, and that he had not undertaken this War, against the Hollanders, but for extirpating of Heresie. To the Em∣perour, That the Hollanders were a People who had forsaken God, were Hereticks, and that all good Christians were in duty bound to associate for their extiapation, and ought to pray to God for a blessing upon so pious an enterprise. And to other Popish Princes, that it was a War of Religion and in order to the Propagation of the Catholick Faith.
And in the second Article of his Demands afterward from the Hollanders, it is in express words contained, That fromPage 39thenceforvvard there shall be not only an intire Liberty, but a Publick Exercise of the Catholick Apostolick Romane Religion throughout all the United Provinces. So that vvheresoever there shall be more than one-Church, another shall be given to the Catholicks. That vvhere there is none, they shall be permit∣ted to build one: and till that be finished, to exercise their Di∣vine Service publickly in such Houses as they shall buy, or hire for that purpose. That the States General, or each Province in particular, shall appoint a reasonable Salary for a Curate or Priest in each of the said Churches, out of such Revenues as have formerly appertained to the Church, or othervvise. Which was conformable to what he published now abroad, that he had entered into the War only for Gods Glory; and that he would lay down Armes streightwayes, would the Holland∣ers but restore the True Worship in their Dominions.
But he made indeed twelve Demands more, and notwith∣standing all this devotion, the Article of Commerce, and for revoking their Placaets against Wine, Brandy, and French manufactures was the first, and tooke place of the Catholick Apostolick Romane Religion, Whether all these were therefore onely words of course, and to be held or let lose according to his occasions, will better appeare when we shall have heard that he still insists upon the same at Nimegen, and that, although deprived of our assistance, he will not yet agree with the Dutch but upon the termes of restoring the True Worship. But, whatever he were, it is evident that the English were sincere and in good earnest in the Design of Popery; both by that Declaration above mentioned of Indulgence to the Recusants, and by the Negotiation of those of the English Plenipotentiaryes (whom for their ho∣nour I name not) that being in that year sent into Holland pressed that Article among the rest upon them, as without which they could have no hope of Peace with England. And the whole processe of affaires will manifest further that booth here and there it was all of a piece, as to the project of Religi∣onPage 40and the same threed ran throw the Web of the English and French Counsells, no lesse in relation to that, then unto Government.
Although the issuing of the French Kings declaration and the sending of our English Plenipotentiaries into Holland be in∣volved together in this last period, yet the difference of time was so small that the anticipation is inconsiderable. For having declared the VVarre but on the 27th of March, 1672. He struck so home and followed his blow so close, that by July following, it seemed that Holland could no long∣er stand him, but that the swiftnesse and force of his motion was something supernatural. And it was thought necessary to send over those Plenipotentiaries, if not for Interest yet at least for Curiosity. But it is easier to find the Markes than Reasons of some mens Actions, and he that does only know what happened before, and what after, might perhaps wrong them by searching for further Intelligence.
So it was, that the English and French Navies being joyn∣ed, were upon the Tvventieighth of May, One thousand six hundred seventy tvvo, Attaqued in Soule Bay by De Ruyter, with too great advantage. For while his Royal Highness, then Admiral, did all that could be expected, but Monsieur d’ Estree, that commanded the French, did all that he was sent for, Our English Vice-Admiral, Mountague, was sacrificed; and the rest of our Fleet so mangled, that there was no occa∣sion to boast of Victory. So that being here still on the lo∣sing hand, ’twas fit some body should look to the Betts on the other side of the Water; least that Great and Lucky Gamster, when he had won all there, and stood no longer in need of the Conspirators, should pay them with a Quarrel for his Mony, and their ill Fortune. Yet were they not con∣scious to themselves of having given him by any Behaviour of theirs, any cause of Dissatisfaction, but that they had dealt with him in all things most frankly, That, notwithstanding all the Expressions in my Lord Keeper Bridgmans Speech,Page 41of the Treaty betvveen France and his Majesty concerning Com∣merce, vvherein his Majesty vvill have a singular regard to the Honour and also to the Trade of this Nation, and notwithstand∣ing the intollerable oppressions upon the English Traffick in France ever since the Kings Restauration, they had not in all that time made one step towards a Treaty of Commerce or Navigation with him; no not even now when the English were so necessary to him, that he could not have begun this War without them, and might probably therefore in this con∣juncture have condescended to some equality. But they knew how tender that King was on that point, and to pre∣serve and encrease the Trade of his Subjects, and that it was by the Diminution of that Beam of his Glory, that the Hollan∣ders had raised his Indignation. The Conspirators had therefore, the more to gratify him, made it their constant Maxime, to burden the English Merchant here with one hand, while the French should load them no less with the other, in his Teritories; which was a parity of Trade in∣deed, though something an extravagant one, but the best that could be hoped from the prudence and integrity of our States-men; insomuch, that when the Merchants have at any time come down from London to represent their grie∣vances from the French, to seek redress, or offer their humble advi•…e, they were Hector’d, Brow-beaten, Ridiculed, and might have found fairer audience even from Monsieur Col∣bert.
They knew moreover, that as in the matter of Commerce, so they had more obliged him in this War. That except the irresistable bounties of so great a Prince in their own particu∣lar, and a frugal Subsistance-money for the Fleet, they had put him to no charges, but the English Navy Royal serv’d him, like so many Privateers, No Purchase, No Pay. That in all things they had acted with him upon the most abstract∣ed Principles of Generosity. They had tyed him to noPage 42terms, had demanded no Partition of Conquests, had made no humane Condition; but had sold all to him for those two Pearls of price, the True Worship, and the True Government: Which disinteressed proceeding of theirs, though suited to Forraine Magnanimity, yet, should we still lose at Sea, as we had hitherto, and the French Conquer all at Land, as it was in prospect, might at one time or other breed some difficul∣ty in answering for it to the King and Kingdom: However this were, it had so hapned before the arrival of the Plenipo∣tentiaries, that, whereas here in England, all that brought ap∣plycations from Holland were treated as Spies and Enemies, till the French King should signify his pleasure; he on the contrary, without any communication here, had received Addresses from the Dutch Plenipotentiaries, and given in to them the sum of his Demands (not once mentioning his Majesty or his Interest, which indeed he could not have done unless for mockery, having demanded all for himself, so that there was no place left to have made the English any satisfa∣ction) and the French Ministers therefore did very candidly acquaint those of Holland, that, upon their accepting those Articles, there should be a firm Peace, and Amity restored: But as for England, the States, their Masters, might use their discretion, for that France was not obliged by any Treaty to procure their advantage.
This manner of dealing might probably have animated, as it did warrant the English Plenipotentiaries, had they been as full of Resolution as of Power, to have closed with the Dutch, who, out of aversion to the French, and their intolle∣rable demands, were ready to have thrown themselves into his Majesties Armes, or at his Feet, upon any reasonable con∣ditions; But it wrought clean otherwise: For, those of the English Plenipotentiaries, who were, it seems, intrusted with a fuller Authority, and the deeper Secret, gave in also the English Demands to the Hollanders, consisting in eight Ar∣ticles, but at last the Ninth saith,
Although his Majesty contents himself vvith the foregoing Conditions, so that they be accepted vvithin ten dayes, after vvhich his Majesty understands himself to be no further obliged by them. He declares nevertheless precisely, that albeit they should all of them be granted by the said States, yet they shall be of no force, nor vvill his Majesty ma•…e any Treaty of Peace or Truce, unless the Most Christian King shall have received sa∣tisfastion from the said States in his particular.
And by this means they made it impossible for the Dutch, however de∣sirous, to comply with England, excluded us from more ad∣vantagious terms, than we could at any other time hope for, and deprived us of an honest, and honourable evasion out of so pernicious a War, and from a more dangerous Alliance. So that now it appeared by what was done that the Con∣spirtors securing their own fears at the price of the Publick Interest, and Safety, had bound us up more strait then ever, by a new Treaty, to the French Project.
The rest of this year passed with great successe to the French, but none to the English. And therefore the hopes upon which the War was begun, of the Smyrna and Span∣ish Fleet, and Dutch Prizes, being vanished, the slender Al∣lowance from the French not sufficing to defray it, and the ordinary Revenue of the King, with all the former Aides be∣ing (as was fit to be believed) in lesse then one years time exhausted, The Parliament by the Conspirators good leave, was admitted again to sit at the day appointed, the 4th. of February 1672.
The Warr was then first communicated to them, and the Causes, the Necessity, the Danger, so well Painted out, that the Dutch abusive Historical Pictures, and False Medalls (which were not forgot to be mentioned) could not be better imitated or revenged, Onely, there was one great omission of their False Pillars, which upheld the whole Fabrick of the England Declarations; Upon this signification, the House of Commons (who had never failed the Crown hitherto up∣onPage 44any occosion of mutual gratuity) did now also, though in a Warre contrary to former usuage, begun without their Advice, readily Vote, no less a summe than 1250000 l. But for better Colour, and least they should own in words, what they did in effect, they would not say it was for the Warre, but for the Kings Extraordinary Occasions.
And because the Nation began now to be aware of the more true Causes, for which the Warre had been undertaken, they prepared an Act before the Money-Bill slipt thorrow their Fingers, by which the Papists were obliged, to pass thorow a new State Purgatory, to be capable of any Publick Imployment; whereby the House of Commons, who seem to have all the Great Offices of the Kingdom in Reversion, could not but expect some Wind-falls.
Upon this Occasion it was, that the Earl of Shafts∣bury, though then Lord Chancellour of England, yet, Engaged so far in Defence of that ACT, and of the PROTESTANT RELIGION, that in due time it cost him his Place, and was the first moving Cause of all those Misadventures, and Obloquy, which since he lyes (ABOVE, not) Under.
The Declaration also of Indulgence was questioned, which, though his MAJESTY had out of his Princely, and Gracious Inclination, and the memory of some former Obligations, granted, yet upon their Re∣presentation of the Inconveniencies, and at their humble Request, he was pleased to Cancel, and Declare, that it should be no President for the Future: For other∣wise some succeeding Governour, by his single Power Suspending Penal Laws, in a favourable matter, as that is of Religion, might become more dangerous to the Government, than either Papists or Fanaticks, andPage 45make us Either, when he pleased: So Legal was it in this Session to Distinguish between the King of Eng∣lands Personal, and his Parliamentary Authority.
But therefore the further sitting being grown very un∣easie to those, who had undertaken for the Change of Religion, and Government, they procured the Recess so much sooner, and a Bill sent up by the Commons in fa∣vour of Dissenting Protestants, not having passed thorow the Lords preparation, the Bill concerning Papists, was en∣acted in Exchange for the Money, by which the Conspira∣iors, when it came into their management, hoped to fru∣strate, yet, the effect of the former. So the Parliament was dismissed till the Tvventy seventh of October, One thousand six hundred seventy three.
In the mean time therefore they strove with all their might to regain by the VVar, that part of their Design, which they had lost by Parliament; and though several ho∣nourably forsook their Places rather than their Consciences, yet there was never wanting some double-dyed Son of our Church, some Protestant in grain, to succeed upon the same Conditions. And the difference was no more, but that their Offices, or however their Counsels, were now to be ad∣ministred by their Deputies, such as they could confide in.
The business of the Land Army was vigourously carried on, in appearance to have made some descent in Holland, but though the Regiments were Compleated and kept Im∣bodyed, it wanted effect, and therefore gave cause of suf∣pition: The rather, because no Englishman, among so ma∣ny well-disposed, and qualified for the work, had been thought capable, or fit to be trusted with Chief Command of those Forces, but that Monsieur Schomberg a French Protestant, had been made General, and Collonel Fitsge∣rald, an Irish Papist, Major General, as more proper for the Secret; the first of advancing the French Government, the second of promoting the Irish Religion.
Page 46And therefore the dark hovering of that Army so long at Black-Hearth, might not improbably seem the gatherings of a Storm to fall upon London; But the ill successes which our Fleet met withall this Year, also, at Sea, were sufficient, had there been any such design at home to have quasht it: for such Gallantries are not to be attempted, but in the highest raptures of Fortune.
There were three several Engagements of ours against the Dutch Navy in this one Summer, but while nothing was Tenable at Land, against the French, it seem’d that to us at Sea every thing was impregnable; which is not to be attribu∣ted to the want of Courage or Conduct, either the former Year under the Command of his Royal Highness, so Great a Souldier, or this Year under the Prince, Robert; But is ra∣ther to be imputed to our unlucky Conjunction with the French, like the disasters that happen to men by being in ill Company.
But besides it was manifest that in all these Wars, the French ment nothing less than really to assist us: He had first pra∣ctised the same Art at Sea, when he was in League with the Hollander against us, his Navy never having done them any service, for his business was only to see us Batter one another. And now he was on the English side, he only studied to sound our Seas, to spy our Ports, to learn our Building, to contemplate our way of Fight, to consume ours, and pre∣serve his own Navy, to encrease his Commerce, and to order all so, that the two great Naval Powers of Europe, being crushed together, he might remain sole Arbitrator of the Ocean, and by consequence Master of all the Isles and Continent. To which purposes the Conspirators furnished him all possible opportunities. Therefore it was that Mon∣sieur d’ Estree, though a Person otherwise of tryed Courage and Prudence, yet never did worse than in the third and last Engagement; and because brave Monsieur d’ Martel did better, and could not endure a thing that looked like Cowar∣disePage 47or Treachery, though for the Service of his Monarch, commanded him in, rated him, and at his return home he was, as then was reported, discountenanced and dismissed from his Command, for no other crime, but his breaking of the French measures, by adventuring one of those sacred Shipps in the English, or, rather his own Masters Quarrel.
His Royal Highnesse (by whose having quitted the Admiralty, the Sea service thrived not the better) was now intent upon his Marrige, at the same time the Parliament was to reassemble the 27th of October 1673. the Princesse of Modena, his consort, being upon the way for England, and that businesse seemed to have passed all impediment. Nor were the Conspirators who (to use the French phrase) made a considerable Figure in the Government, wholly averse to the Parliaments meeting: For if the House of Commons had after one years unfortunate War, made so vast a Present to his Majesty of 1250000 l. But the last February, it seemed the argument would now be more pressing upon them, that by how much the ill sucesses, of this year had been greater, they ought therefore to give a yet more liberal Donative. And the Conspirators as to their own particular reckoned, that while the Nation was under the more distresse and hurry they were themselves safer from Parliament, by the Publick Calamity.
A supply therefore was demanded with much more im∣portunity, and assurance then ever before, and that it should be a large one and a speedy: They were told that it was now Pro Aris & Focis, all was at stake, And yet besides all this, the Payment of the Debt to the Banckers upon shutting the Exchequer was very civilly recommended to them. And they were assured that his Majesty would be constantly rea∣dy to give them all proofes of his Zeal for the true Religion and the Laws of the Realm, upon all occasions: But the House of Commons not having been sufficiently prepared for such demands, nor well satisfied in several matters ofPage 48Fact, which appeared contrary to what was represented, took check; and first interposed in that tender point of his Royall Highuesse’s Match, although she was of his own Re∣ligion, which is a redoubled sort of Marriage, or the more spiritual part of its Happynesse. Besides, that she had been already solemnly married by the Dukes Proxcy, so that unlesse the Parliament had been Pope and calmed a power of Dispensation, it was now too late to avoide it. His Majesty by a short Prorogation of six days, when he understood their intention, gave them opportunity to have disisted: But it seems they judged the National Jnterest of Religion so farre concerned in this matter, that they no sooner meet again, but they drew up a second request by way of Addresse to his Majesty with their Reasons against it. That for his Royal Highnesse to marry the Princesse of Modena, or any other of that Religion, had very dangerous consequences: That the mindes of his Majesties Protestant subjects will be much disquieted, thereby filled with infinite discontents, and Jea∣lousies. That his Majesty would thereby be linked into such a foraine Alliance, which will be of great disadvantage and possibly to the Ruine of the Protestant Religion. That they have found by sad experience how such mariages have always increased Popery, and incorraged Priests and Jesuits to prevert his Majesties subjects: That the Popish party already lift up their heads in hopes of his marriage: That they fear it may diminish the affection of the people toward his Royal Highnesse, who is by blood so near related to the Crown: That it is now more then one Age, that the subjects have lived in continual apprehensions of the increase of Popery, and the decay of the Protestant Religion: Finally that she having many Kindred and Relations in the Court of Rome, by this means their enterprises here might be facilitated, they might pierce into the most secret Counsells of his Majesty, and discover the state of the Realm. That the most learned men are of opinion, that Marriages no further Proceeded in,Page 49may lawfully be Dissolved: And therefore they be∣seech his Majesty to Annul the Consummation of it, and the Rather, because they have not yet the Hap∣piness to see any of his Majestyes own Lineage to Suc∣ceed in his Kingdomes.
These Reasons, which were extended more amply against his Royal Highnesses Marriage, obtained more weight, because most men are apt to Judge of things by Circumstances, and to attribute what happens by the Conjuncture of Times, to the Effect of Contrivance. So that it was not difficult to Interpret what was in his Royal Highness, an ingagement only of Honour, and Affection, as proceeding from the Conspirators Counsels, seeing it made so much to their purpose.
But the business was too far advanced to retreat, as his Majesty with great reason had replyed, to their former Address, the Marriage having been celebrated already, and confirmed by his Royal Authority, and the House of Commons though sitting when the Duke was in a Trea∣ty for the Arch Dutchess of Inspruck, one of the same Religion, yet having taken no notice of it.
Therefore while they pursued the matter thus, by a second Address, it seemed an easier thing, and more de∣cent, to Prorogue the Parliament, than to Dissolve the Marriage. And, which might more incline his Ma∣jesty to this Resolution, the House of Commons had now bound themselves up by a Vote that having considered the present State of the Nation, they would not take intoPage 50Deliberation, nor have any further Debate upon any other Proposals of Aide, or any Surcharge up∣on the Subject, before the payment of the Tvvelve hun∣dred and fifty thousand pounds, in eighteen Months, which was last granted, were expired, or at least till they should evidently see that the Obstinacy of the Hollanders should oblige them to the contrary, nor till after the kingdom should be effectually secured against the dangers of Popery, and Popish Counsellours, and that Order be taken against other present Misdemeanours.
There was yet another thing, the Land-Army, which appearing to them expensive, needless, and terrible to the People, they addressed to his Majesty also, that they might be disbanded. All which things put together, his Majesty was induced to Prorogue the Parliament again for a short time, till the seventh of January, One thousand six hundred seventy three: That in the mean while the Princess of Mo∣dena arriving, the Marriage might be consummated with∣out further interruption.
That Session was opened with a large deduction also, by the new Lord Keeper, this being his first Experiment, in the Lords House of his Eloquence and Veracity, of the Hol∣landers averseness to Peace or Reason, and their uncivil and indirect dealing in all Overtures of Treaty with his Majesty, and a Demand was made therefore and re-inforced as for∣merly, of a proportionable and speedy Supply. But the Hollanders that had found themselves obstructed alwayes hitherto, and in a manner excluded from all Applications, and that whatever means they had used was still mis-interpre∣ted, and ill represented, were so industrious, as by this time (which was perhaps the greatest part of their Crime) to have undeceived the generallity of the Nation in those parti∣culars.
Page 51The House of Commons therefore not doubting, but that if they held their hands in matter of money, a Peace would in due time follow, grew troublesome rather to several of the great Ministers of State, whom they suspected to have been Principal in the late pernicious Counsels. But instead of the way of Impeachment, whereby the Crimes might have been brought to Examination, Proof and Judgment, they pro∣ceeded Summarily within themselves, noting them only with an ill Character, and requesting his Majesty to remove them from his Counsels, his Presence, and their Publick Imploy∣ments. Neither in that way of handling were they Im∣partial.
Of the three which were questioned, the Duke of Buck∣ingham seemed to have muoh the more favourable Cause, but had the severest Fortune. And this whole matter not having been mannaged in the solemn Methods of National Justice, but transmitted to his Majesty, it was easily changed into a Court Intrigue, where though it be a Modern Max∣ime,
That no State Minister ought to be punished, but, espe∣cially not upon Parliamentary Applications.
Yet other Offenders thought it of security to themselves, in a time of Publick Discontent, to have one Man sacrisi∣ced, and so the Duke of Buckingham having worse Ene∣mies, and as it chanced worse Friends, than the rest, was after all his Services abandoned, they having only heard the sound, while he felt all the smart of that Lash from the House of Commons.
But he was so far a Gainer, that with the loss of his Offi∣ces, and dependance, he was restored to the Freedom of his own Spirit, to give thence-forward those admirablePage 52〈◊◊〉 the Vigour, and Vivacity of his better Judgment, 〈◊◊〉, though to his own Imprisonment, the due Li∣•… of the English Nation.
〈◊〉 manner of proceeding in the House of Commons, 〈◊〉 a new way of negotiating the Peace with Holland, but the •…ost effectual; the Conspirators living all the while under continual apprensions of being called to further account for their Actions, and no mony appearing, which would either have prepetuated the War, or might, in case of a Pea•…e, be misapplied, to other uses, then the building of Ships, insinuated by the Lord Keeper.
The Hollanders Proposalls, by this means, therefore, began to be thought more reasonable, and the Marquis del Fresno, the Spanish Minister in this Court, labourd so well, that his Majesty thought fit to Communicate the overture to both Houses, and though their advice had not been asked to the War, yet not to make the Peace without it. There was not much difficulty in their resolutions. For the gene∣rall bent of the Nation was against the War, the French now had by their ill behaviour at Sea, in all the Engagements, raised also the English Indignation, their pernicious Counsels were visible in their book of the Politique Francoise, tending by frequent levyes of men, and mony, to exhaust, and weaken our Kingdome, and by their conjuction with us, on set purpose, to raise, betwixt the King and his People, a rationall Jealousy of Popery, and French Government, till we should insensibly devolve into them by Inclination or Necessity: As men of ill conversation, pin themselves maliciously on persons more sober, that if they can no other∣wise debauch them, they may blast their Reputation by their society, and so oblige them to theirs; being suspected by bet∣ter Company.
Page 53Besides all which the very reason of Traffick which hath been so long neglected by our greater Statesmen was now of some consideration, for as much as by a Peace with the Hollander the greatest part of the Trade and Navigation of Europe as long as the French King disturbed it, would of course fall into the English management. The Houses there∣fore gave their humble advice to his Majesty for a just and honorable Peace with the States Generall, which when it could be no longer resisted, was concluded.
In the seventh Article of this Treaty it is said.
That the Treaty vvhich vvas made at Breda in the yeare 1667, as also all the others vvhich are by this present Treaty con∣firmed, shall by the present be renevved, and shall continue in their full force and vigour, as far as they shall not be contrary unto this said present Treaty.
Which words are the more to be taken notice of, that they may be compared afterwards with the effects that fol∣low, to see how well on the English part that Agreement hath been observed.
The businesse of the Peace thus being once over, and this Parliament still lowring upon the Ministers of State, or bog∣ling at the Land Forces (whereof the eight new raised Re∣giments were upon the request of the Commons at last dis∣banded) or imployed in further Bills against Popery, and for the Education, and Protestant Marriage henceforward of those of the Royal Family; the necessity of their further sit∣ting seemed not so urgent, but that they might have a repose till the tenth of November 1674. following.
The Conspirators had hitherto failed of the accomplish∣ing their design, by prepetual disappointments, and whichPage 54was most grievous to them, foresaw, that the want of mony would still necessitate the frequent sitting of Parliament, which danger they had hop’d long ere this to have conquer’d In this state of their affaires the French King therefore was by no meanes to be further disobliged, he being the Master of their secret, and the only person which if they helped him at this plunge, might yet carry them thorow. They were therefore very diligent to profit themselves of all the advan∣tages to this purpose that their present posture could afford them. They knew that his Majesty being now disengaged from War, would of his Royall Prudence interpose for Peace by his Mediation, it being the most glorious Char∣acter that any Prince can assume; and for which he was the more proper, as being the most Potent, thereby to give the sway, and the most disintressed whereby to give the Equity requisite to such a Negotiation; and the most obliged in Honour, as having been the occasion by an unforeseen con∣sequence of drawing the sword of all this part of Europe. But if they feared any propension in his Majesty to one party it was toward Spaine, as knowing how that Crowne (as it is at large recited, and acknowledged, in the preamble of the last Treaty between England and Holland had been the only instrument of the happy Peace which after that pernicious War we now injoyed.
Therefore they were resolved by all their influence, and industry (though the profit of the War did now wholly, re∣down to the English Nation, and however in case of peace it was our Interest, that if any, France should be depressed to any equality, to labour that by this mediation France might be the onely gainer, and having all quiet about him, might be at perfect leisure to attend their project upon England. And one of these our Statesmen being pressed, solved all Arguments to the contrary with an oraculous French question
Faut il que tout se fasse par Politique, rien par Amitie?
Must all things be done by Maxims or Reasons of State; nothing for Affection?
Therefore that such an absurdity as the ordering of Affairs abroad, according to the Interest of our Nation might be avoided, the English, Sbotch and Irish Regiments, that were already in the French Service, were not only to be kept in their full Complement, but new numbers of Souldiers dai∣ly transported thither, making up in all, as is related, at least a constant Body of Ten thousand Men, of his Majesties Subjects, and which oftentimes turned the Fortune of Battle on the French side by their Valour.
How far this either consisted with the Office of a Media∣tour, or how consonant it was to the seventh Article above mentioned, of the last Treaty with Holland; It is for them to demonstrate who were the Authors. But it was indeed a good way to train up an Army, under the French Discipline and Principles, who might be ready seasoned upon occasion in England, to be called back and execute the same Coun∣sels.
In the mean time, they would be trying yet what they could do at home. For the late proceedings of Parliament, in quashing the Indulgence, in questioning Ministers of State, in Bills against Popery, in not granting Money when∣soever asked, were Crimes not to be forgiven, nor (how∣ever the Conspirators had provided for themselves) named in the Act of General Pardon.
They began therefore after fifteen Years to remember that there were such a sort of men in England as the Old Ca∣valier Party; and reckoned, that by how much the more generous, they were more credulous than others, and so more fit to be a gain abused. These were told, that allPage 65was at Stake, Church and State (How truly said! But meant, how falsly!) That the Nation was running again in∣to Fourty One, That this was the time to refresh their antient merit, and receive the Recompence double of all their Loy∣alty, and that hence-forward the Cavaliers should have the Lottery of all the Great or Small Offices in the Kingdom, and not so much as Sir Joseph Williamson to have a share in it.
By this meanes they indeed designed to have raised a Ci∣vil War, for which they had all along provided, by new Forts, and standing Forces, and to which they had on pur∣pose both in England and Scotland given all provocation if it would have been taken, that so they might have a Rase Campagne of Religion, Government, and Propriety: or they hoped at least by this means to fright the one party, and in∣courage the other, to give hence forward Money at pleasure, and that money on what title soever granted, with what stamp coyned, might be melted down for any other service or uses. But there could not have been a greater affront and indignity offerred to those Gentlemen (and the best did so resent it) then whether these hopes were reall, to think them men that might be hired to any base action, or whether as hitherto but imaginary, that by erecting the late Kings Statue that whole Party might be rewarded in Effigie.
While these things were upon the Anvill the tenth of November was come for the Parliaments sitting, but that was put of till the 13th. of April 1675. And in the mean time, which fell out most opportune for the Conspirators, these Counsells were matured, and something further to be con∣trived, that was yet wanting: The Parliament accordingly meeting, and the House of Lords, as well as that of the Commons, being in deliberation of severall wholesome Bills, such as the, present state of the Nation required the great Design came out in a Bill unexpectedly offered one morn∣ing in the House of Lords, whereby all such as injoyed anyPage 57beneficiall Office, or Imployment, Ecclesiastical, Civill, or Military, to which was added, Privy Counsellours, Justices of the Peace, and Members of Parliament, were under a Penalty to take the Oath, and make the Declaration, and Abhorrence, insuing,
I A. B. Do declare, That it is not Lavvful upon any pretence vvhatsoever to take up Armes against the King, and that I do abhorre that Traiterous position, of taking Armes by his Authority against his Person, or against those that are Commissioned by him in Pursuance of such Commission. And I do svvear, that I vvill not at any time Indeavour the Altera∣tion of the Government either in Church or State. So help me God.
This same Oath had been brought into the House of Commons in the Plague year at Oxford, to have been im∣posed upon the Nation, but there, by the assistance of those very same persons, that now introduce it, twas thrown out, for fear of a General Infection of the Vitales of this King∣dome: And though it passed then in a particular Bill, Known by the name of the Five-mile Act, because it only con∣cerned the Non-conformist Preachers, yet even in that, it was throughly opposed by the late Earle of Southampton, whose Judgement might well have been reckoned for the Standard of Prudence and Loyalty. It was indeed happily said, by the Lord Keeper, in the opening of this Session, No Influences of the Starrs, no Configuration of the Heavens, are to be feared, so long as these tvvo Houses stand in a Good Dispo∣sition to each other, and both of them in a happy Conjunction, vvith their Lord and Soveraign. But if he had so early this Act in his prospect, the same Astrology might have taught him, that there is nothing more portentous, and of worse Omen, then when such an Oath hangs over a Nation, like a New Comet forboding the Alteration of Religion, or Govern∣ment:Page 58Such was the Holy League in France in the Reigne of Henry the third. Such in the time of Philip the second, the Oath in the Netherlands. And so the Oaths in our late Kings time taught the Fanaticks, because they could not swear, yet to Covenant. Such things therefore are, if ever, not need∣lessely thought for good fortune sake only to be attempted, and when was there any thing lesse necessary? No King of England had ever so great a Treasure of this Peoples Af∣fections except what those ill men have, as they have, done, all the rest, consumed; whom but out of an excesse of Love to his Person, the Kingdome would never (for it never did formerly) so long have suffered: The Old Acts of Allegi∣ance, and Supremacy, were still in their full Vigour, unlesse against the Papists, and even against them too of late, when∣soever the way was to be smoothed for a liberall Session of Parliament. And moreover to put the Crown in full securi∣ty, this Parliament had by an Act of theirs determined a Question which the wisdome of their Ancestors had never decided, that the King hath the sole power of the Militia. And therefore my Lord Keeper did by his patronizing this Oath, too grossely prevaricate, against two very good State Maximes, in his Harangue to the Parliament, for which he had consulted not the Astrologer, but the Historian, advising them first, That they should not Quieta movere, that is, said he, vvhen men stirre those things or Questions vvhich are, and ought to be in peace. And secondly, That they should not Res parvas magnis motibus agere: That is, saith he againe, vvhen as much vveight is laid upon a nevv and not alvvays nece∣ssary Proposition as if the vvhole summe of affaires depended upon it.
And this Oath, it seems, was the little thing he meant of, being forsooth but a Moderate Security to the Church and Crovvn, as he called it, but which he and his party layd so much vveight on, as if the vvhole sum of Affaires did depend upon it.
Page 59But as to the Quieta movere, or stirring of those things or Questions which are and ought to be in Peace, was not this so, of taking Armes against the King upon any pretence whatsoever? And was not that also in Peace, of the Trayte∣rous Position of taking Armes by his Authority against his Person? Had not the three Acts of Corporations, of Militia, and the Five Miles, sufficiently quieted it? Why was it fur∣ther stirred? But being stirred, it raises in mens thoughts many things more; some les, others more to the purpose.
Sir Walter Tirrells Arrow grazed upon the Deer it was shot at, but by that chance kill’d King William Rufus; Yet so far was it that Sir Walter should for that chance shot be adjudged of Treason, that we do not perceive he underwent any other Tryal like that of Manslaughter: But which is more to the point, it were difficult to instance a Law either in this or other Country, but that a private Man, if any king in Christendom assault him, may, having retreated to the Wall, stand upon his Guard; and therefore, if this matter as to a particular man be dubious, it was not so prudent to stirre it in the General, being so well setled. And as to all other things, though since Lord Chancellour, he havein his Speech of the 15 of Feb. One thousand six hundred seveny six, said (to testify his own abhorrency) Avvay vvith that ill meant distinsti∣on betvveen the Natural and the Politique Capacity. He is too well read to be ignorant that without that Distinction there would be no Law nor Reason of Law left in England; To which end it was, and to put all out of doubt, that it is also required in this Test, to declare mens abhorrency as of a Traitorous Position, to take Armes against those that are Com∣missioned by him, in pursuance of such Commission; and yet neither is the Tenour, or Rule, of any such Commission specified, nor the Qualification of those that shall be armed with such Commissions, expressed or limited. Never was so much sence contained in so few words. No Conveyan∣cer could ever in more Compendious or binding terms havePage 60drawn a Dissettlement of the whole Birth-right of Eng∣land.
For as to the Commission, if it be to take away any mans Estate, or his Life by force, Yet it is the Kings Commissi∣on: Or if the Person Commissionate, be under never so many Dissabilities by Acts of Parliament, yet his taking this Oath, removes all those Incapacities, or his Commission makes it not Disputable. But if a man stand upon his Defence, a good Judge for the purpose, finding that the Position is Traitorous, will declare that by this Law, he is to be Executed for Treason.
These things are no Nicetyes, or remote Considerations (though in making of Laws, and which must come after∣wards under Construction of Judges, Durante Bene-placito, all Cases are to be put and imagined) but there being an Act in Scotland for Tvventy thousand Men to March into England upon Call, and so great a Body of English Soulde∣ry in France, within Summons, besides what Forainers may be obliged by Treaty to furnish, and it being so fresh in me∣mory, what sort of persons had lately been in Commission among us, to which add the many Bookes, then Printed by Licence, Writ, some by Men of the Black, one of the Green Cloath, wherein the Absoluteness of the English Mo∣narchy is against all Law asserted.
All these Considerations put together, were sufficient to make any honest and well-advised man, to conceive indeed, that upon the passing of this Oath and Declaration, the vvhole sum of Affaires depended.
It grew therefore to the greatest contest, that has perhaps ever been in Parliament, wherein those Lords, that were a∣gainst this Oath, being assured of their own Loyalty and Merit, stood up now for the English Liberties with the same Genius, Virtue and Courage, that their Noble Ancestors had formerly defended the Great Charter of England, but with so much greater Commendation, in that they had here a fairerPage 61Field, and the more Civil way of Decision: They fought it out under all the disadvantages imaginable: They were overlaid by Numbers, the noise of the House, like the VVind was against them, and if not the Sun, the Fire-side was all∣wayes in their Faces; nor being so few, could they, as their Adversaries, withdraw to refresh themselves in a whole days Ingagement: Yet never was there a clearer Demonstration how dull a thing is humane Eloquence, and Greatness, how Little, when the bright Truth discovers all things in their proper Colours and Dimensions, and shining shoots its Beams thorow all their Fallacies, It might be injurious where all of them did so excellently well, to attribute more to any one of those Lords than another, unless because the Duke of Buckingham, and the Earl of Shaftsbury, have been the more reproached for this brave Action, it be requisite by a double proportion of Praise to set them two on equal terms with the rest of their Companions in Honour. The particu∣lar Relation of this Debate, which lasted many dayes with great eagerness on both sides, and the Reasons but on one, was in the next Session burnt by Order of the Lords, but the Sparkes of it will eterually fly in their Adversaries faces.
Now before this Test could in so vigorous an opposition passe the House of Peers, there arose unexpectedly a great Controversy betwixt the two Houses, concerning their Pri∣viledges on this occasion, The Lords according to their un∣doubted Right, being the Supream Court of Judicature in the Nation, had upon Petition of Doctor Shirley, taken cognizance of a Cause between him and Sir John Fagg, a Member of the House of Commons, and of other Ap∣peales from the Court of Chancery, which the Commons, whether in good earnest, which I can hardly believe, or rather some crafty Parliament men among them, having an eye upon the Test, and to prevent the hazard of its coming a∣mong them, presently took hold of, and blew the Coales to such a degree, that there was no quenching them.
Page 62In the House of Peers both Partyes, as in a point of their own Privilege, easily united, and were no lesse inflamed a∣gainst the Commons, and to uphold their own ancient Ju∣risdiction; wherein neverthelesse both the Lords for the Test, and those against it, had their own particular reasons, and might have accused each-other perhaps of some arti∣fice; The matter in conclusion was so husbanded on all sides, that any longer converse betwixt the two Houses grew im∣practicable, and his Majesty Prorogued them therefore till the 13th of October 1675, following: And in this manner that fatall Test which had given so great disturbance to the mindes of our Nation, dyed the second Death which in the language of the Divines, is as much as to say, it was Dam∣ned.
The House of Commons had not in that Session been wanting to Vote 300000 l. towards the building of Ships, and to draw a Bill for appropriating the Ancient Tunnage and Poundage, amounting to 400000 l. yearly to the use of the Navy, as it ought in Law already, and had been granted formerly upon that special Trust and Confidence, but nei∣ther did that 300000 l. although Competent at present, and but an earnest for future meeting, seem consider∣able, and had it been more, yet that Bill of appropriating any thing to its true use, was a sufficient cause to make them both miscarry, but upon pretense of the quarrel between the Lords and Commons in which the Session thus ended.
The Conspirators had this interval to reflect upon their own affaires. They saw that the King of France (as they called him) was so busy abroad, that he could not be of far∣ther use, yet, to them here, then by his directions, while his Armyes were by assistance of the English Forces, severall times saved from ruines. They considered that the Test was defeated, by which the Papists hoped to have had Repri∣salls for that of Transubstantiation, and the ConspiratorsPage 63to have gained Commission, as extensive and arbitrary, as the malice of their own hearts could dictate: That herewith they had missed of a Legality to have raised mony without Consent of Parliament, or to imprison or execute whosoever should oppose them in pursuance of such their Commission. They knew it was in vaine to expect that his Majesty in that want, or rather opinion of want, which they had reduced him to, should be diverted from holding this Session of Par∣liament: nor were they themselves for this once wholy a∣verse to it, For they presumed either way to find their own account, that if mony were granted it should be attributed to their influence, and remaine much within their disposal, but if not granted, that by joyning this with other accidents of Parliament, they might so represent things to his Majesty as to incense him against them, and distrusting all Parliamen∣tary Advice to take Counsel from themselves, from France, and from Necessity.
And in the meane time they fomented all the Jealousies which they caused. They continued to inculcate Forty and One in Court, and Country.
Those that refused all the mony they demanded, were to be the onely Recusants, and all that asserted the Libertyes of the Nation, were to be reckoned in the Classis of Presby∣terians.
The 13th. of October came, and his Majesty now asked not only a Supply for his building of Ships, as formerly, but further, to take off the Anticipation upon his Reve∣nue.
The House of Commons took up again such Publick Bills as they had on foot in their former sitting, and others that might either Remedy Present, or Prevent Future Mis∣chiefs.
The Bill for Habeas Corpus.
That against sending men Prisoners beyond Sea.
Page 64That against raising Mony without Consent of Parlia∣ment;
That against Papists sitting in either House.
Another Act for speedier convicting of Papists.
That for recalling his Mejestys Subjects out of the French service, &c: And as to his Majestys supply, they proceeded in their former Method of the two Bills, One for raising 300000 l. and the other for Appropriating the Tunnage and Poundage to the use of the Navy.
And in the Lords House there was a good disposition to∣ward things of Publick Interest: But 300000 l. was so insipid a thing, to those who had been continually regaled with Millions, and that Act of Appropriation, with some others, went so much against stomack that there wanted only an opportunity to reject them, and that which was readiest at hand was the late quarrel betwixt the House of Lords and the Commons. The house of Commons did now more peremptorily then ever, oppose the Lords Jurisdiction in Appeals: The Lords on the otherside were resolved not to depart from so essentiall a Priviledge and Authority, but to proceed in the Exercise of it: So that this Dispute was raised to a greater Ardure and Contention then ever, and there appeared no way of accomodation. Hereupon the Lords were in consultation for an Addresse to his Majesty con∣teining many weighty Reasons for his Majestyes dissolving this Parliament, deduced from the nature and behaviour of the present House of Commons: But his Majesty, although the transaction between the two Houses was at present be∣come impracticable, Judging that this House might at some other time be of use to him, chose only to Prorogue the Parliament; The blame of it was not onely laid, but aggra∣vated, upon those in both Houses, but especially on the Lords-House, who had most vigorously opposed the French and Popish-Jnterest. But those who were present at the Lords, and observed the conduct of the Great MinistersPage 65there, conceived of it otherwise; And as to the House of Commons, who in the heat of the Contest, had Voted,
That vvhosoever shall Sollicity or prosecute any Appeal a∣gainst any Commoner of England, from any Court of Equity be∣fore the House of Lords, shall be deemed and taken abetrayer of the Rights and Liberties of the Commons of England, and shall be proceeded against accordingly.
Their Speaker, going thorow VVestminster Hall to the House, and looking down upon some of those Lawyers, commanded his Mace to seize them and led them up Priso∣ners with him, which it is presumed, that he being of his Majesties Privie Councill, would not have done, but for what some men call his Majesties Service; And yet it was the highest, this, of all the Provocations which the Lords had received in this Controversie. But however, this fault ought to be divided, there was a greater committed in Pro∣roguing the Parliament, from the 22th. of November 1675, unto the 15th, of February 1676. And holding it after that dismission, there being no Record of any such thing done since the being of Parliaments in England, and the whole Reason of Law no lesse then the Practise and Custome hold∣ing Contrary.
This vast space betwixt the meetings of Parliament can∣not more properly be filled up, then with the coherence of those things abroad and at home, that those that are intel∣ligent may observe whether the Conspirators found any in∣terruption, or did not rather sute this event also to the Con∣tinuance of their Counsells. The Earl of Northampton is not to be esteemed as one engaged in those Counsells, be∣ing a person of too great Honour, though the advanceing of him to be Constable of the Tovver, was the first of our Do∣mestick occurrents. But if they could have any hand in it,Page 66’tis more probable that lest he might perceive their Contri∣vances, they apparelled him in so much Wall to have made him insensible. However men conjectured even then by the Quality of the Keeper, that he was not to be disparaged with any mean and vulgar Prisoners. But another thing was all along very remarkable, That during this Inter-Parlia∣ment, there were five Judges places either fell, or were made vacant, (for it was some while before that Sir. Francis North had been created Lord Cheif Justice of the Common Pleas) the five that succeeded, were Sir Richard Rainsford, Lord Chief Justice of the Kings Bench. Mountagne, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Vere Bartie, Barrister at Law, one of the Barrons of the Exchequer. Sir William Scroggs, one of the Justices of the Common Pleas. And Sir Thomas Jones, one of the Justices of the Kings Bench. Concerning all whom there it somthing too much to be said; and it is not out of a figure of speech, but for meer reverence of their Profession that I thus passe it over, considering also humane infirmity, and that they are all by their Pattens, Durante Bene Placito, bound as it were to the Good Behaviour. And it is a shame to think what triviall, and to say the best of them, obscure persons have and do stand next in prospect, to come and sit by them. Justice Atknis also by Warping too far towards the Laws, was in danger upon another pretense to have made way for some of them, but upon true Repentance and Contrition, with some Almes Deeds, was admitted to Mercy; And all the rest of the Benches will doubtlesse have profited much by his, and some other example. Alas the Wisdom and Probity of the Law went of for the most part with good Sir Mathevv Hales, and Justice is made a meere property. This poysonous Arrow strikes to the very heart of Government, and could come from no Quiver but that of the Conspirators. What French Counsell, what standing Forces, what Parliamentary Bribes, what National Oaths, and all the other Machinations of wicked men have not yetPage 67been able to effect, may be more compendiously Acted by twelve Judges in Scarlet.
The next thing considerable that appeared preparatory for the next session, was a Book that came out by publick Authority, Intitled, Considerations touching the true vvay to suppresse Popery, &c. A very good design, and writ, I be∣leive, by a very good man, but under some mistakes, which are not to be passed over. One in the Preface, wherein he saith, The Favour here proposed in behalf of the Romanists, is not more than they injoy among Protestants abroad at this day. This I take not to be true either in Denmark, or Svveden and some other Countrys were Popery is wholly suppressed; and therefore if that have been effected there, in ways of prudence and consisting with Christianity, it ought not to have been in so general words misrepresented.
Another is, P. 59, and 60. a thing ill and dangerous∣ly said, concluding; I knovv but one Instance, that of David in Gath, of a man that vvas put to all these straits, and yet not Cor∣rupted in his principles. When there was a more Illustrious Example near him, and more obious.
What else I have to say in passing, is, as to the Ground∣work of his whole design; which is to bring men nearer, as by a distinction betwixt the Church and Court of Rome, a thing long attempted, but ineffectually, it being the same thing as to distinguish betwixt the Church of England, and the English Bishops, which cannot be seperated. But the intention of the Author, was doubtlesse very honest, and the English of that Profession, are certainly of all Papiest the most sincere and most worthy of favour; but this seemed no proper time to negotiate further then the Publick Con∣venience.
There was another Book likewise that came out by Au∣thority, towards the Approach of the Session, Intitled, A Packet of Advise to the men of Shaftsbury, &c.But the name of the Author was concealed, not out of any sparke of mo∣Modesty,Page 68but that he might with more security excercise his Impudence, not so much against those Noble Lords, as a∣gainst all Publick Truth and Honesty. The whole composi∣tion is nothing else but an Infusion of Malice, in the Froath of the Town, and the Scum of the University, by the Prescription of the Conspirators. Nor, therefore did the Book deserve naming, no more then the Author, but that they should rot together in their own Infamy, had not the first events of the following Session made it remarkable, that the Wizard dealt with some Superior Intelligence.
And on the other side, some Scattering papers straggled out in Print, as is usuall for the information of Parliament men, in the matter of Law concerning Prorogation, which all of them, it is to be presumed, understood not, but was like to prove therefore a great Question.
As to matters abroad from the Year 1674, That the Peace was concluded betwixt England and Holland; the French King, as a mark of his displeasure, and to humble the English Nation, let Loose his Privateers among our Mer∣chant men: There was thenceforth no security of Com∣merce or Navigation notwithstanding the publick Amity betwixt the two Crowns, but at Sea they Murthered Plun∣dred, made Prize and Confiscated those they met with. Their Picaroons laid before the Mouth of our Rivers, hoverd all along the Coast, took our Ships in the very Ports, that we were in a manner blocked up by Water. And if any made application at his Soveraign Port for Justice, they were in∣solently bassled, except some sew, that by Sir, Ellis Leightous Interest, who made a second prize of them, were redeemed upon easier Composition. In this manner it continued from 1674, till the latter end of 1676 without remedy, even till the time of the Parliaments Sitting: so that men doubted whether even the Conspirators were not Complices also in the matter, and sound partly their own account in it. For evidence of what is said, formerly, the Paper at the endPage 69of this Treatise annexed may serve, returned by some Members of the Privy Council to his Majesties Order, to which was also adjoyned a Register of so many of the English Ships as then came to notice which the French had taken, (and to this day cease not to treat our Merchants at the same rate.) And yet all this while that they made these intolerable and barbarous Piracyes, and depredations upon his Majestyes Subjects, from hence they were more deligent∣ly then ever supplied with Recruits, and those that would go voluntarily into the French service were incouraged, others that would not, pressed, imprisoned, and carried over by maine force, and constraint, even as the Parliament here was ready to sit down; notwithstanding all their former frequent applications to the Contrary. And his Majesties Magazins were daily emptied, to furnish the French with all sorts of Ammunition, of which the following note containes but a small parcell, in comparison of what was daily convey∣ed away, under colour of Cockets for Jarsy, and other places.
A short account of some Amunition, &c. Exported from the Port of London to France, from June, 1675. to June 1677.
Granadoes without number, Shipt off under the colour of unwroght Iron.
18 Tun, 600 Weight.
88 Tun, 1900 Weight.
- Quantity, 292 Tuns, 900 Weight.
Carriages, Bandileirs, Pikes, &c. uncertain.
Thus was the French King, to be gratified for undoing us by Sea with contributing all that we could rap and rend of Men, or Amunition at Land, to make him more potent against us, and more formidable.
Thus are we at length arrived at this much controverted, and as much expected Session. And though the way to it hath proved much longer then was intended in the entry of this discourse, yet is it very short of what the matter would have afforded, but is past over to keep within bounds of this Volumn. The 15th of February 1676 came, and that very same day, the French King appointed his March for Flanders. It seemed that his motions were in Just Cadence, and that as in a Grand Balet, he kept time with those that were tuned here to his measure. And he thought it a becoming Galant∣trie, to take the rest of Flanders our natural out work in the very face of the King of England and his Petites Maisons of Parliament.
His Majesty demanded of the Parliament in his Speech at the opening of the Sessions, a Supply for building of Ships, and the further continuance of the Additional Excise upon Beer and Ale, which was to expire the 24th. of June 1677, and recommended earnestly a good correspondence betvveen the tvvo Houses, representing their last Differences as the reason of so long a Prorogation, to allay them. The Lord Chancellor, as is usuall with him, spoiled all, which the King had said so well, with straining to do it better; For indeed the mischan∣ces of all the Sessions since he had the Seales, may in great part be ascribed to his indiscreet and unlucky Eloquence. And had not the Lord Treasure a farre more effectual way of Perswasion with the Commons, there had been the same danger of the ill successe of this Meeting, as of those former∣ly. Each House being now seated, the case of this long Pro∣rogation had taken place so farre without doores, and was of that consequence to the Constitution of all Parliaments, and the Ualidity of all proceedings in this Session, that even the Commons, though sore against their inclination, could not passe it over. But they handled it so tenderly, as if they were afraid to touch it.
The first day, insteed of the Question, Whether the Par∣liamentPage 71were by this unpresidented Prorogation indeed Dissolved; it was proposed, something ridiculously, Whe∣ther this Prorogation were not an Adjournment? And this Debate too, they Adjourned till the next day, and from thence they put it off till the Munday morning. Then those that had proposed it, yet before they would enter upon the Debate, asked, Whether they might have liberty? as if that had not been more then implied before, by Adjourning the Debate, and as if Freedome of speech, were not a Con∣cession of Right, which the King grants at the first opening of all Parliaments. But by this faintnesse, and halfe-counsell, they taught the House to deny them it. And so all that mat∣ter was wrapped up in a cleanly Question, Whether their grand Committees should sit, which involving the Legitima∣cy of the Houses Sitting, was carried in the Affirmative, as well as their own hearts could wish: But in the Lords House it went otherwise. For the first day, as soon as the Houses were seperate, the Duke of Buckingham, who usually saith what he thinks, argued by all the Laws of Parliament, and with great strength of Reason, that this Prorogation was Null and this Parliament consequently Dissolved, offering more∣over to maintaine it to all the Judges, and desiring as had been usuall in such Cases, but would not here be admitted, that even they might give their opinions. But my Lord Frechvvell as a better Judge of so weighty a point in Law, did of his great Courtship move, That the Duke of Buck∣ingham might be called to the Barre, which being opposed by the Lord Salisbury, as an extravagant motion, but the Duke of Buckinghams proposal asserted, with all the Cecilian height of Courage and Reason, the Lord Arundell of Trerise a Peere of no lesse consideration, and Authority, then my Lord Frechvvell, and as much out of order, as if the Salt had been thrown down, or an Hare had crossed his way, Opening, renewed the motion for calling the Duke to the Barre; But there were yet too many Lords between,Page 72and the Couriers of the Honse of Commons brought up ad∣vice every moment, that the matter was yet in agitation a∣mong them, So that the Earl of Shaftsbury, had opportu∣nity to appear with such extraordinary vigour, in what con∣cerned both the Duke of Buckingham’s person and his Pro∣posal, that as the Duke of Buckingham might have stood single in any rational contest, so the Earl of Shaftsbury was more properly another Principal, than his Second. The Lord Chancellour therefore in answer undertook, on the con∣trary, to make the Prorogation look very formal, laying the best colours upon it, after his manner when Advocate, that the Cause would bear (and the worst upon his Oppo∣nents) but such as could never yet endure the Day-light. Thus for five or six hours it grew a fixed Debate, many ar∣guing it in the regular method, till the expected news came, that the Commons were rose without doing any thing; whereupon the greater number called for the Question, and had it in the Affirmative, that the Debate should be laid aside.
And being thus flushed, but not satisfied with their Victo∣ry, they fell upon their Adversaries in cool blood, question∣ing such as they thought fit, that same night, and the mor∣row after, sentencing them, the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Shaftsbury, and the Lord Whar∣ton to be committed to the Tower, under the notion of Contempt, during his Majestyes, and the Houses pleasure. That Contempt, was their refusing to recant their Opinion, and aske pardon, of the King, and the House of Lords. Thus a Prorogation without President, was to be warranted by an Imprisonment without Example. A sad Instance and whereby the Dignity of Parliamens, and especially of the House of Peers, did at present much suffer, and may pro∣bably more for the future; For nothing but Parliament can destroy Parliament, If a House shall once be Felon of it selfe and stop its own breath, taking away that Liberty of speech,Page 73which the King verbally, and of course, allows them, (as now they had done in both Houses) to what purpose is it comming thither? But it was now over, and by the weak∣nesse, in the House of Commons, and the Force in the House of Lords, this Presumptuous Session, was thus farre settled, and confirmed; so that henceforward men begun to wipe their Mouths, as if nothing had been, and to enter upon the Publick Businesse.
And yet it is remarkable that shortly after, upon occasion of a discourse among the Commons concerning Libells and Pamphlets, first one Member of them stood up, and in the face of their House, said, That it vvas affirmed to him, by a person that might be spoke vvith, that there vvere among them, thirty, forty, fifty, God knovvs hovv many, Outlavved. Another thereupon rose, and told them, It vvas reported too, that there vvere diverse of the Members Papists; A third, That a multitude of them vvere Bribed, and Pensioners. And yet all this was patiently hushed up by their House, and digessed, being it seems, a thing of that Nature, which there is no Re∣ply to; which may very well administer, and deserve a serious Reflexion, how great an opportunity this House of Commons lost, of ingratiating themselves, with the Nation, by acknowledging in this Convention their invalidity to proceed in Parliament, and by addressing to his Majesty as being Dissolved, for a Dismission. For were it so, that all the Laws of England require, and the very Constitution of our Government, as well as Experience, teaches the necessity of the frequent Meeting, and change of Parliaments, and suppose that the Question Concerning this Prorogation, were by the Custom of Parliaments to be justified, (which hath not been done hitherto) yet who that desires to maintaine the reputation of an honest man, would not have layed hold upon so plausible an occasion, to breake company when it was grown so Scandalous. For it is too notorious to be concealed, that near a third part of the House have bene∣ficiallPage 74Offices under his Majesty, in the Privy Councill, the Army, the Navy, the Law, the Houshold, the Revenue both in England and Ireland, or in attendance on his Majesties person. These are all of them indeed to be esteemed Gen∣tlemen of Honor, but more or lesse according to the quality of their severall imployments under his Majesty, and it is to be presumed that they brought along with them some Ho∣nour of their own into his service at first to set up with. Nor is it sit that such an Assembly should be destitute of them to informe the Commons of his Majesties affaires, and com∣municate his Counsells, so that they do not by irregular procureing of Elections in place where they have no proper interest, thrust out the Gentelmen that have, and thereby dis∣turbe the severall Countreys; Nor that they croude into the House in numbers beyond modesty, and which instead of giving a Temper to their deliberations, may seem to affect the Predominance. For although the House of Peers, be∣sides their supream and sole Judicature, have an equal power in the Legislature with the House of Commons, and at the second Thoughts in the Government have often cor∣rected their errours: yet it is to be confessed, that the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses there assembled, are the Representers of the People of England, and are more peculi∣arly impowred by them to transact concerning the Religion, Lives, Liberties, and the Propriety of the Nation. And therefore no Honorable person, related to his Majesties more particular service, but will in that place and opportuni∣ty suspect himself, least his Gratitude to his Master, with his self-interest should tempt him beyond his obligation there to the Publick. The same excludes him that may next in∣herit from being Guardian to an Infant, not but there may the same affection and integritie be found in those of the Fathers side as those on the Mothers, but out of decent and humane caution, and in like manner however his Majesties Officers may be of as, sound and untainted reputation, as thePage 75best, yet common Discretion would teach them not to seek after and ingrosse such different Trusts in those bordering Intrests of the King and Contrey, where from the People they have no Legall advantage, but so much may be gained by betraying them. How improper would it seem for a Privy Counsellour if in the House of Commons he should not justify the most arbytrary Proceedings of the Councill Table, represent affaires of State with another face, defend any misgovernment, patronize the greatest Offenders a∣gainst the Kingdome, even though they were too his own particular enemies, and extend the supposed Prerogative on all occasions, to the detriment of the Subjects certaine and due Libertyes! What self denyall were it in the Learned Counsell at Law, did they not vindicate the Misdemeanours of the Judges, perplex all Remedies against the Corruptions and Incroachment of Courts of Judicature, Word all Acts towards the Advantage of their own Profession, palliate un∣lawfull Elections, extenuate and advocate Publick Crimes, where the Criminall may prove considerable; step into the chaire of a Money Bill’ and pen the Clauses so dubiously, that they may be interpret•… in Westminister-Hall beyond the Houses intention, mislead the House, not only in point of Law, but even in matter of Fact, without any respect to Ve∣racity, but all to his own further Promotion! What Soldier in Pay, but might think himself sit to be cashiered, should he oppose the increase of Standing Forces, the Depression of Civill Authority, or the Levying of Mony by whatsoever means or in what Quantity? Or who of them ought not to abhorre that Traiterous Position, of taking Armes by the Kings Authority against those that are Commissionated by him in pursuance of such Commission? What Officer of the Navy, but takes himself under Obligation to magnify the expence, extoll the mannagment, conceal the neglect, in∣crease the Debts and presse the Necessity, ringging and un∣ringging it to the House in the same moment, and repre∣sentingPage 76it all at once in a good and a bad condition? should any Member of Parliament and of the Exchequer omit to transform the Accounts, conceal the Issues, highten the An∣ticipations, and in despight of himself oblidge whosoever chance to be the Lord Treasurer; might not his Reversioner justly expect to be put into present Posession of the Office? Who that is either concerned in the Customes, or of their Brethren of the Excise, can with any decency refuse, if they do not invent, all further Impositions upon Merchandise, Navigation, or our own domestick Growth and Consump∣tion; and if the Charge be but Temporary, to perpetuate it? Hence it shall come that insteed of relieving the Crown by the good old and certain way of Subsidyes, wherein no∣thing was to be got by the House of Commons, they de∣vised this Foraine course of Revenue, to the great Grei∣vance and double charg of the People, that so many of the Members might be gratified in the Farmes or Commissi∣ons.
But to conclude this digression whatsoever other Offices have been set up for the use of the Members, or have been extinguished upon occasion, should they have failed at a Question, did not they deserve to be turned out? Were not all the Votes as it were in Fee Farme, of those that were intrusted with the sale? Must not Surinam be a sufficient cause of quarrel with Holland, to any Commissioner of the Plantations? Or who would have denyed Mony to continue the War with Holland, when he were a Commissioner of Prizes, of Sick and Wounded, of Transporting the English, or of Starving the Dutch Prisoners? How much greater then would the hardship be for those of his Majesties Houshold, or who attend upon his Royall Person, to forget by any chance Vote, or in being absent from the House, that they are his Domestick servants? Or that all those of the capacity abovementioned are to be look upon as a distinct BodyPage 77under another Discipline; and whatsoever they may com∣mit in the House of Commons against the National Inter∣est, they take themselves to be justified by their Circum∣stances, their hearts indeed are, they say, with the Coun∣try, and one of them had the boldness to tell his Majesty, That he was come from Voting in the House Against his Conscience.
And yet these Gentlemen being full, and already in Im∣ployment, are more good natured and less dangerous to the Publick, than those that are hungry and out of Office, who may by probable computation, make another Third part of this House of Commons. Those are such as having obser∣ved by what steps, or rather leaps and strides, others of their House have ascended into the highest Places of the King∣dom, do upon measuring their own Birth, Estates, Parts, and Merit, think themselves as well and better qualified in all respects as their former Companions. They are gene∣rally men, who by speaking against the French; inveighing against the Debauches of Court, talking of the ill manage∣ment of the Revenue, and such Popular flourishes, have cheated the Countrys into Electing them, and when they come up, if they can speak in the House, they make a faint attaque or two upon some great Minister of State, and per∣haps relieve some other that is in danger of Parliament, to make themselves either way considerable.
In matters of money they seem at first difficult, but ha∣ving been discourst with in private, they are set right, and begin to understand it better themselves, and to convert their Brethren: For they are all of them to be bought and sold, only their Number makes them cheaper, and each of them doth so overvalue himself; that sometimes they outstand or let slip their own Market.
Page 78It is not to be imagined, how small things in this case, even Members of great Estates will stoop at, and most of them will do as much for Hopes, as others for Fruition, but if their patience be tired out, they grow at last mutinous, and revolt to the Country, till some better occasion offer.
Among these are somemen of the best understanding, were they of equal integrity, who affect to ingrosse all busi∣nesse, to be able to quash any good motion by Parliamentary skill, unlesse themselves be the Authors, and to be the lead∣ing men of the House, and for their naturall Lives to Con∣tinue so. But these are men that have been once fooled, most of them, and discovered, and slighted at Court, so that till some turn of State shall set them in their Adversaryes Place, in the mean time they look Sullen, make big Moti∣ons, and contrive specious Bills for the Subject, yet onely wait the opportunity to be the Instruments of the same Counsells, which they oppose in others.
There is a Third Part still remaining, but as contrary in themselves as Light and Darknesse; Those are either the worst, or the best of Men; The first are most profligate per∣sons, that have neither Estates, Consciences, nor good Man∣ners, yet are therefore picked out as the necessary men, and whose Votes will go furthest; The charges of their Elections are defraied, whatever they amount to, Tables are kept for them at White Hall, and through Westminster, that they may be ready at hand, within Call of a Question: All of them are received into Pension, and know their Pay-day, which they never faile of: Insomuch that a great Officer was pleased to say, That they came about him like so many Jack davvs for Cheese, at the end of every Session. If they be not in Parliament, they must be in Prison, and as they are Protect∣ed themselves, by Priviledge, so they sell their Protections to others, to the obstrnction so many years together of the Law of the Land, and the publick Justice; For these it is, that the long and frequent Adjournments are calculated,Page 79but all whether the Court, or the Monopolizers of the Country Party, or these that profane the title of Old Cava∣liers, do equally, though upon differing reasons, like Death apprehend a Dissolution. But notwithstanding these, there is an hanfull of Salt, a sparkle of Soul, that hath hitherto pre∣served this grosse Body from Putrefaction, some Gentle∣men that are constant, invariable, indeed English men, such as are above hopes, or fears, or dissimulation, that can neither flatter, nor betray their King, or Country: But be∣ing conscious of their own Loyalty, and Integrity, proceed throw good and bad report, to acquit themselves in their Duty to God, their Prince, and their Nation; Although so small a Scantling in number, that men can scarse reckon of them more then a Quorum; Insomuch that it is lesse difficult to conceive, how Fire was first brought to light in the World then how any good thing could ever be produced out of an House of Commons so constituted, unlesse as that is imagi∣ned to have come from the rushing of Trees, or batterring of Rocks together, by accident, so these by their clashing with one another, have struck out, an usefull effect from so unlikely causes. But whatsoever casuall good hath been wrought at any time by the assimilation of ambitious, fact∣ious, and disappointed Members, to the little, but solid, and unbyassed Party, the more frequent ill effects, and conse∣quences of so unequall a mixture, so long continued, are de∣monstrable and apparent. For while scarse any man comes thither with respect to the publick service, but in design to make, and raiso his fortune, it is not to be exprest, the De∣bauchery, and Lewdnesse, which upon occasion of Electi∣on to Parliaments, are now grown habitual thorow the Nation. So that the Vice, and the Expence, are risen to such a prodigious height, that few sober men can indure to stand to be chosen on such conditious. From whence also arise Feuids, and perpetuall Animosityes, over most of the Countyes, and Corporations, while Gentlemen of Worth,Page 80Spirit, and ancient Estates, and Dependances, see themselves overpowered in their own neighbourhood by the Drunk∣nesse, and Bribery, of their Competitors. But if neverthe∣lesse any worthy person chance to carry the Election, some mercenary or corrupt Sheriffe makes a double Return, and so the Cause is handed to the Committee of Elections, who aske no better, but are ready to adopt his Adversary into the House if he be not Legitimate. And if the Gentleman a∣grieved seek his Remedy against the Sheriffe in Westminster-Hall, and the proofes be so palpable, that the Kings Bench cannot invent how to do him injustice, yet the major part of the twelve Judges, shall upon better consideration vacate the Sheriffs Fine, and reverse the Judgement; but those of them that dare dissent from their Brethren are in danger to be turned off the Bench without any cause assigned. While men therefore care not thus, how they get into the House of Commons, neither can it be expected that they should make any conscience of what they do there, but they are onely intent how to reimburse themselves (if their Elections were at their own charge) or how to bargine their Votes for a Place, or a Pension. They list themselves streightways into some Court faction, and it is as well known among them, to what Lord each of them retaine, as when formerly they wore Coates, and Badges. By this long haunting so together they are grown too so familiar among themselves, that all reverence of their own Assembly is lost, that they live to∣gether not like Parliament men, but like so many Good fe∣lows, met together in a Publick House to make merry. And which is yet worse, by being so throughly acquainted, they understand their Number and Party, so that the use of so publick a Counsel is frustrated, there is no place for delibe∣ration, no perswading by reason, but they can see one ano∣thers Votes through both Throats and Cravats before they hear them.
Where the Cards are so well known, they are only fit forPage 81a Cheat and no fair Gamster, but would throw them under the Table.
Hereby it is that their House hath lost all the antient weight and authority, and being conscious of their own guilt and weakness, dare not adventure, as heretofore, the Im∣peaching of any man before the Lords, for the most hainous Crimes of State, and the most Publick Misdemeanours; up∣on which confidence it is, that the Conspirators have so long presumed, and gone unpunished. For although the Con∣spirators have sometimes (that this House might appear still necessary to the People, and to make the money more glib) yeelded that even their own Names should be tossed among them, and Grievances be talked of, yet at the same time they have been so prevalent as to hinder any Effect, and if the House has Emancipated itself beyond Instructions, then by Chastizing them with Proro∣gations, frighting them with Dissolution, comforting them with long, frequent, and seasonable Adjournments, now by suspending, or diminishing their pensions, then again by increasing them, sometimes by a scorn, and otherwhiles by a favour, there hath a way been found to reduce them again under discipline. All these things and more being considered and how doubtful a foot this Long Parliament now stood up∣on by this long Prorogation, there could not have been a more Legal, or however no more wise and honest a thing done, then for both the Lords and Commons to have separated themselves, or have besought his Majesty to that purpose, left the Conspirators should any longer shelter and carry on their design against the Government and Religion, under this sha∣dow of Parliamentary Authority. But it was otherwise order∣ed, of which it is now time to relate the Consequences.
The four Lords having thus been committed, it cannot properly be said that the House of Peers was thence forward under the Government of the Lord Frechvvel, and the Lord Arundel of Trerise but those two noble Peers had of ne∣cessityPage 82no small Influence upon the Counsels of that House, (having hoped ere this to have made their way also into his Majesties Privy Council) and all things fell out as they could have wished, if under their own direction. For most of them, who had been the most active formerly in the Publick Interest, sate mute in the House, whether, as is probable out of reverence to their two Persons, and confidence in their wisdom, they left all to their Conduct, and gave them a general Proxy, or whether, as some would have it, they were sullen at the Commitment of of the four Lords, and by reason of that, or the Prorogation, began now to think the Parliament, or their House to be Non Compos. But now therefore Doctor Cary, a Commner, was brought to the Barre before them, and questioned concerning a written Book which it seems he had carried to be printed, treating of the Illegality of this Prorogation, and because he satisfyed them not in some Interrogatories, which no man would in Common honour to others, or in self preservation, as neither was he in Law bound to have answered, they therefore Fined him a thousand pounds, under that new Notion of Contempt, when no other Crime would do it, and senten∣ced him to continue close Prisoner in the Tovver until pay∣ment. Yet the Commons were in so admirable good tem∣per (having been conjured by the charming Eloquence of the Lord Chancellor, to avoid all misunderstanding between the two Houses) that their could no Member, or time, be found in all the session, to offer their House his Petition; much lesse would that breach upon the whole Parliament; by imprisoning the Lords, for using their liberty of speech, be entertained by them upon motion, for fear of entrench∣ing upon the priviledge of the House of Peers, which it had been well for them if they had been as tender of formerly.
One further Instance of the Completion of their House, at that season, may be sufficient. One Master Harrington, had before the Session been Committed Close Prisoner (forPage 83that was now the mode, as though the Earl of Norhampton, would not otherwise have kept him Close enough) by Or∣der of the King and Councill, the Warrant bearing for sub∣ornation of Perjury, tending to the Defamation of his Majesty, and his Government, and for Contemptuously Declaring, he vvould not ansvver his Majesty any Question, vvhich his Majesty, or his Privy Councill should aske him. As this Gen∣tleman was hurried along to the Tovver, he was so dexterous as to convey into a friends hand passing by, a Blanke Paper onely with his name, that a Petition might be written above it, to be presented to the House of Commons, without reject∣ing for want of his own hand in the subscription. His Case notwithstanding the Warrant was thus.
He had met with two Scotch souldiers in Town returned from Flanders, who complained that many of their Countrey men had in Scotland been seised by force, to be carried over into the French service, had been detained in the Publick prisons till an oportunity to transport them: were heaved on board fast tyed and bound like malefactors, some of them struggling and contesting it, were cast into the Sea, or maimed, in conclusion an intolerable violence and barbarity used to compell them and this near the present session of Parliament. Hereupon this Gentleman considering how oft the House of Commons had addressed to his Majesty and framed an Act for recalling his Majesties Subjects out of the French service, as also that his Majesty had i•…ued his Procla∣mation to the same purpose, thought he might do a good and acceptable thing in giving information of it to the House as time served, But withall knowing how witnesses might possibly be taken off, he for his own greater security took them before a Master of Chancery, where they comfirmed by Oath the same things they had told him. But hereupon he was brought before his Majesty, and the Privy Councill, where he declared this matter but being here asked by the Lord Chancellour some insnaring and improper questions,Page 84he modestly, as those that were by affirmed, desired to be ex∣•…ised from answering him further, but after this, answered 〈◊〉 Majesty with great humility and respect to divers quest∣•…us. This was the subornation of Perjury, and this the Con∣tempt to his Majesty, for which he was made Close Prisoner. •…pon his Petition to the House of Commons he was sent for, and called in, where he is reported to have given a very clear account of the whole matter, and of his behaviour at the Council board. But of the two Scotch soldiers the one made himself perjured without being suborned by Harring∣ton, denying or misrepresenting to the House what he had sworn formerly. And the other, the honester fellow it •…ms of the two, only was absented. But however divers honourable Members of that House attested voluntarily, that the soldiers had affirmed the same thing to them, and in∣•…ed the Truth of that matter is notorious, by several other 〈◊〉 that since came over, and by further account from 〈◊〉. Master Harrington also carryed himself towards 〈◊〉•…ouse with that modesty, that it seemed inseparable 〈◊〉 him, and much more in his Majesties presence, so that 〈◊〉 House was inclined, and ready to have concerned them∣selves for his Liberty. But Master Secretary Williamson stood 〈◊〉 having been a Principal Instrument in commiting him, and because the other crimes rather deserved Thanks and Commendation, and the Warrant would not Justify it self, he insisted upon his strange demeanour toward his Majesty, decipherd his very looks, how truly it matters not, and but that his Majesty and the House remained still living Flesh and Blood, it might have been imagined by his discourse that Master Harrington had the Head of a Gorgon. But this story so wrought with, and amazed the Commons, that Mr. Harrington found no redresse; but might thank God that he escaped again into Close Prison. It was thought notwith∣standing by most men that his looks might have past any where but with a man of Sir Josephs delicacy. For neither indeed had Master Harrington ever the same oportunitiesPage 85that others of practiting the Hocus Pocus of the Face, of Play∣ing the French Scaramuccie or of living abroad to learn how to make the Plenipotentiary Grimass for his Majestys service.
And now to proceed, rather according to the Coherence of the matters, then to the particular Date of every days action. By this good humour, and the House being so free of the Liberty of their fellow Commoners, it might be guessed that they would not be lesse liberal of their Monythis Session.
The Bill therefore for 600000 l. Tax for eighteen month towards the building and furnishing of Ships easily passed without once dreaming any more of appropriating the Cust∣omes. For the Nation being generally possessed by the Members with the defects of the Navy, and not consider∣ing at all from what neglect it proceeded, the House of Commons were very willing, and glad to take this occasion, of confirming the Authority of their sitting, and to pay double the summe that in the former Sessions they had thought necessary towards the Fleet; hereby to hedg in, and purchase their own continuance. And for the same purpose they ingrossed the Act with so numerous a list of Commissi∣oners, that it seemed rather a Register or Muster-roll of the Nation, and that they raised the whole kingdom to raise the mony. For who could doubt that they were still a lawful Par∣liament, when they saw so many gentlemens names (though by the Clerks hand onely) subscribed to an Act of their ma∣king? Onely Mr. Seymour the speaker, would have dimini∣shed the number in his own Country. For he had entred in∣to a Combination, that none should serve the King or their Country thorow Devonshire, in any capacity but under his approbation, and therefore he highly inveighed against ma∣ny Gentlemen of the best rank there, that ought him no ho∣mage, as persons disaffected, oppossing their names at a Committe of the whole House, before he heard them. But being checked in his careere, he let fall the contest, with as much judgment and modesty, as he had begun it with bold∣nesse and indescretion.
Page 86This Bill was not enough, but though the Nation had hoped to be relieved from the Additionall Excise upon Beer and Ale, which the Tripple League had foold them into, but was now of course to expire the 24th of June, 1677. Yet a Bill for the continuing of it for three years more passed them likewise with little Difficulty. For the late fear of Disso∣lution was still so fresh upon them, that they would continue any thing to buy their own Continuance; and this Bill might considering their present want of Legality, have been pro∣perly intituled, An Act for the Extraor dinary Occasion of the House of Commons. But that they might seem with∣in this tendernesse to themselvs not to have cast of all toward the People, they sunk all former Grievances into a Bill of Chancery, knowing well that a sute in that Court would be sooner ended, then a Reformation of it be effected; and that thereby they might gain work enough to direct the whole Session. And of their usuall Bills for the Liberty of the Subjects, they sent up only that of Habeas Corpus; pretend∣ing, and perhaps truly, that they durst not adventure them either in their own or the Lords House as they were now governed, lest they should be further ensnared by strug∣ing for freedome. But least they should trouble themselves too much with Religion, the Lords presented them with two Bills of a very good name, but of a strange and unheard of nature. The one intituled An Ast for securing the Protestant Religion by educating the Children of the Royall Family, and providing for the continuance of a Protestant Clergy. The other, An Act for the more effectuall Conviction and Prosecu∣tion of Popish Recusants. And with these they sent down a∣nother for the further regulation of the Presses and sup∣pressing all unlicensed Books, with clauses most severe and generall upon the subject, whereof one for breaking all Houses whatsoever on suspicion of any such Pamphlet where by Master L’ Estranges Authority was much amplifyed toPage 87search any other House with the same liberty as he had Sir Thomas Dolemans.
But as to those two Bills of Religion, although they were of the highest consequence that ever were offered in Parliament since Protestancy came in (and went out of fashion) yet it is not to be imagined, how indisputable and easy a passage they found thorow the House of Peers, to the House of Commons; which must be ascribed to the great unanimity among them, after the committing of the four Lords, and to the Power of those two noble Peers, their Adversaries, which was now so established, that their sense being once declared, the rest seemed to yeild them an Implicite Faith and Obedience; and they were now in such Vogue, that whatsoever was spoken or done any where abroad in perfection, with great weight and judge∣ment, men said it was A la Fraischeville. But if gentily and acutely, A la Trerise.
That Intituled, An Act for the more effectual Convicti∣on and Prosecution of Popish Recusants, is too long to be here inserted, and the Fate it met with, makes it unnecessary, for as soon as it was first read a Gentle-man of great worth and apprehension spake short but roundly and thorow against it.
A second immediately moved that it might not onely be thrown out, but with a particular mark of infamy. And it being without any more ado ready to be put to the Questi∣on, a third demanded that they should stay a while to see whether there were any one so hardy as to speak a word for it. Which no man offerring at, it was forthwith rejected with this censure added to the Journal.
Page 88And because the Body of the Bill was contrary to the Title, This unusual sentence of the House of Commons, though excusable by the Crimes of the Bill, yet was not to be justified by the Rules of entercourse between the two Houses. But because all men have hence taken occasion to accuse the Lords Spiritual, as the Authours both of this Bill and the other, it is necessary to insert here the true Fact in their just vindication. It was above two years ago that a select Ca∣ball of great Ministers, had been consulting about Church matters, tho it seldom happens (nor did it in this instance) that the Statesmen are more fortunate in meddling with Re∣ligion, then the Churchmen with Government, but each marrs them with tampering out of their Provinces. This on∣ly difference, that what Ecclesiastical persons may do by chance or consequence, that harm the others commit on set purpose. For it was by these politicians, that these two Coc∣katrice Eggs were layd & by their assiduous incubation hatch∣ed. It is true indeed afterwards they took some few of the Bishops into Communication, and as it were for advice, upon what was before resolved. And to make this Bill go the better down, they flatterd them with the other, as wholy calculated forsooth to the Churches Interest. And by this means possibly they prevailed so far, that the Bishops both there and in the House, lesse vigorously opposed. But that the Bishopes were either the Contrivers or Promoters of the Bill, is a scandalous falshood, and devised by the Au∣thors to throw the Odium off from themselvs upon the Cler∣gy and (the Bills that aimed at the ruine of the Church of England having miscarried) to compasse the same end by this defamation. A sufficient warning to the Clargy, how to be intrigued with the Statesmen for the future.
The second Bill follows.
An Act for further securing the Protestant Religion, by Edu∣cating the Children of the Royal Family therein; and for the providing for the continuance of a Protestant Clergy.
TO the Intent that the Protestant Religion, which through the blessing of God hath been happily Esta∣blished in this Realm, and is at present sufficiently secured by his Majestys known Piety and Zeal for the preservation thereof, may remain secure in all future times.
Be it Enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and Commons in this Parliament Assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That upon the demise of his Majesty that now is, to whom God grant a long and pros∣perous Reign, and upon the demise of any other King or Queen Regnant, that shall hereafter bear the Imperial Crown of this Realme, the Arch-Bishops, and all and every the Bishops of England and Wales, for the time being, as shall not be disabled by Sicknesse or other Infirmity, shall within fourty dayes next after such Demise, repaire to Lam∣beth House, and being there assembled, to the number of nine at least, shall cause to be fairely ingrosed in Parchment the Oath and Declaration following.
- 〈◊〉King or Queen of England, do declare and Svvear, that I do beleive that there is not any Transubstan∣tiation in the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, or in the Elements of Bread and Wine, at or after the Consecration, thereof by any person vvhatsoever. So help me God.
Which blanck shall be filled up with the Christian Name of such King or Queen, And thereupon the Prelates soPage 90bled, shall without delay repaire to the persons of such suc∣ceeding King or Queen Regnant, and in humble manner tender 〈◊〉 said Oath or Declaraiton, to be taken by such succeeding King or Queen Regnant, which they are hereby Authorised to Administer, and shall abide in or near the Court by the space of fourteen dayes, and at convenient 〈◊〉, as often as conveniently they may, they shall appear in the presence of such King and Queen ready to receive Com∣mands for Administring the said Oath and Declaration, which if such succeeding King and Queen shall make and subscribe in presence of them, or any nine or more of them, they shall attest the doing thereof, by subscribing their Names to a Certificate, Indorsed upon the said Indorsment, and carry the same into the high Court of Chancery there to be safely deposited amongst the Records of the said Court. And if such King or Queen Regnant, shall refuse or omit to make and subscribe the said Oath, and Decalration, for the space of fourteen dayes after such humble tender made in manner aforesaid, the said Prelates may depart from the Court without any further attendance on this occasion. But if at any time afterward such King or Queen shall be pleased to take and subcribe the said Oath, and Declaration, and shall signifie such pleasure to the Arch-Bishops and Bishops or any nine or more of them, the said Arch-Bishops and Bishops, or such nine or more of them, are here∣by Authorised and required forthwith to Administer the same, and to attest and certify the same in manner afore∣said.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any succeeding King or Queen Regnant, shall re∣fuse or Omit to make such Oath and Declaration, within the time therefore limitted, the same having been tendered in manner aforesaid, or there shall be any Let, Obstructi∣on, or hindrance whatsoever, to their making the said tenderPage 91in manner aforesaid, they are hereby enjoyned and requi∣red to endorse upon the said Engrosement such refusall or omission, or any obstruction, let or hinderance, that shall happen to them, whereby they are not able to make the said tender, according to the Act, and attest the same by subscribing their names thereunto, and carry the same into the high Court of Chancery, there to be safely deposited in manner aforesaid. And if any the said persons, hereby ap∣pointed to make the said tender, shall neglect or refuse to do the same, or in case of any refusal, or omission of making the said Oath and Declaration, or in case of any Obstruction or hindrance to the making of the said tender, shall refuse or neglect to make certificate thereof in manner aforesaid, that the Arch-Bishoprick or Bishoprick of the Person or Persons so refusing, shall be Ipso Facto, voide, as if he or they were naturally Dead, and the said Person or Persons shall be incapable, during his or their Life or Lifes, of that, or any other Ecclesiastical perferment.
And be it further Enacted, That if any King or Queen Regnant, at the time when the Imprial Crown of this Realme shall devolve, shall he under the age of fourteen years, and that upon his or her attaining the said age of fourteen years, the Arch-Bishops and Bishops shall, and are upon the like penalties hereby enjoyned, within fourteen dayes next after such attaining to the said Age, to assemble at the said place, and thereupon to do and perform all things in proparing and tendring the said Oath and Declaration, and making certificate of the taking or omission thereof, that are required by this Act to be done, upon the demise of any King or Queen Regnant.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That untill any succeeding King or Queen Regnant shall make the said Oath and Declaration, in manner aforesaid, such respective King or Queen shall not grant, confer, or dispose of any Arch-Bishoprick or any Bishoprick, in Eng∣landPage 92or Wales, otherwise than in manner following, that is to say, within seven dayes after the Vacancy of any Biship-prick or See, shall be known to the Arch-Bishop of Canter∣bury for the time being, he shall and is hereby required to send forth a Summons in Writing to all the Prelates in Eng∣land and Wales, requiring them to meet at a certain conveni∣ent time and place, to be appointed by the summons, to con∣sult concerning the nomination of sit persons for the supply of that Vacancy. And in case of vacancy of the Arch Bishop-prick of Canterbury, the Arch Bishop of York, for the time being. And if that See shall be also vacant, such Prelate of the Realm, as by the Statute of 31 H. 8. ought to have place before the rest in Parliament, shall and are hereby re∣quired to issue forth the said Summons, and at the said time and place, so appointed, in manner aforesaid, the Prelates then assembled, being seven at the least, or the major part of them, shall by writing under their Hands and Seals, nomi∣nate three persons, natural born subjects of the King, and in holy Orders, for the supplying of the said Vacancy, and to be placed in such Order as the said Prelates so assembled or the major part of them shall think fit, without regard to dignity, antiquity, or any other form, which Writing shall be presented to the King who may thereupon appoint one of the three persous so to be named, to succeed in the said Va∣cancy. And the person so appointed or chosen, shall by due form of Law, according to the course now used, be made Bishop of that See. But if in 30 days after such presentment, of such Names, the King or Queen Regnant shall not Elect or appoint, which of the said three persons shall succeed in the said vacant See; or if after such Election or appointment there shall be any obstruction in pressing of the usual Instru∣ments and formalities of Law, in order to his Consecration, then such person, whose Name shall be first written in the said Instrument of nomination, if there be no Election or appointment made by the King, within the time aforesaid, shal be the Bishop of the vacant See. And if there be an Electi∣onPage 93or appointment made, then the person so appointed shall be the Bishop of the vacant See. And the Arch-bishop of the Province wherein the said vacancy shall be, or such other person or persons, who ought by his Majesties Ecclesiastical Laws to Consecrate the said Bishop, shall upon reasonable demand, and are hereby required to make Consecration ac∣cordingly upon pain of forfeiting trebble damages and costs to the party grieved, to be recovered in any of his Majesties Courts at Westminster. And immediately after such Conse∣cration, the person so consecrated, shall be, and is hereby Enacted to be compleat Bishop of the said vacant See, and is hereby vested in the Temporalties of the said Bishop-prick and in actual possession thereof, to all intents and purposes, and shall have a Seat and Place in Parliament, as if he had by due forms of Law been made Bishop, and had the Tempo∣ralities restored unto him; And in case the person so first named in the said Instrument of nomination, or the person so Elected by the King or Queen Regnant, shall then be a Bishop, so that no Consecration be requisite, then immedi∣ately after default of Election or appointment by the King, or immediately after such Election or appointment, if any shall be made within the said time, and any Obstructions in pressing the Instruments and Formalities in Law, in such cases used, the Bishop so first Named or Elected and appoint∣ed, shall thereupon, ipso facto, be translated, and become Bi∣shop of that See, to which he was so nominated and appoint∣ed, and shall be, and is hereby vested in the Temporalties and actual possession thereof to all intents and purposes, and shall have his Seat and Place in Parliament accordingly, and his former See shall become vacant, as if he had been by due Forms of Law chosen and confirmed into the same, and had the Temporalities restored unto him.
And be it further Enacted, That until the making the said Oath and Declaration in manner aforesaid, the respe∣ctive succeeding Kings and Queens that shall not have made and subscribed the same, shall not grant or dispose of anyPage 94Denary, or Arch-Deconary, Prebendary, Mastership of any Colledge, Parsonage, Viccarage or any Ecclesiastical Bene∣fice or Promotion whatsoever, to any other person, but such person as shall be nominated for the same, unto the said King or Queen Regnant, by the Arch-bishop of Canterbury, or Guardians of the Spiritualities of the said Arch-bishop-prick, for the time being, if the same be within the Province of Canterbury, and by the Arch-bishop-prick of York, or Guar∣dians of the spiritualities of the said Arch-bishop-prick for the time being, if the same be within the Province of York, by writing under their respective Hands and Seals, and in case any such as shall be accordingly nominated, shall not be able to obtein Presentation or grant thereof within 30 dayes, next after such nomination, then the said person shall and may, and is hereby enabled, by force of the said nomi∣nation, to require Institution and Induction from such per∣son and persons unto whom it shall belong to grant the same, who shall accordingly make Institution and Induction, as if the said person were lawfully presented by the said King or Queen Regnant, upon pain to forfeit to the party grieved, trebble damages and costs, to be recovered in any of his Ma∣jesties Courts at VVestminster; and in cases where no Insti∣tution or Induction is requisite the said person so nominated, from and after the end of the said 30 dayes, shall be and is hereby actually vested in the possession of such Denary, Arch-Deaconary, Prebendary, Mastership, Rectory, Parsonage or, Vicarage, Donative, or other Ecclefiastical Benefice or Promotion and shall be full and absolute propri∣etor and Incumbent thereof, to all Intents and Purposes as if he had obteyned possession therof upon a legall grant by the said King or Queen Regnant, and proceeding thereupon in due form of Law.
Provided always and be it Enacted by the Authority afore∣said, That it shall and may be lawful for the Lord High Chan∣cellor of England, or the Lord Keeper of the great Seal ofPage 95England, for the time being, to pass presentations or grants, to any Ecclesiastical Benefice, under value in the Kings Gift, in such manner as hath been accustomed, any thing in this present Act to the contrary notwithstanding.
And be it further Enacted, That during such time as any King or Queen Regnant, shall be under the said fourteen yeares, no person that shall be Lord Protector, or Regent of this Realme, During such minority, shall in any wise, either in the name of the King or Queen Regnant, or in his own name grant, confer or dispose, of any Arch-Bishop-prick, Bishoprik, Deanary, Prebendary, Master-ship of any Colledge, Personage, Vicarage, or other Ecclesiastical Bene∣fice or Promotion whatsoever, but the same shall be disposed of in manner above mentioned, during such miniority, untill such Lord Protector or Regent, shall make and subscribe the said Oath and Declaration, (mutatis mutandis) before such nine or more of the said Prelates, as he shall call to Ad∣minister the same unto him, which Oath and Declaration they are hereby Authorized and required to Administer, un∣der the penaltyes aforesaid, when they shall be called there∣unto, by such Lord Protector or Regent, for the time be∣ing.
And be it further Enacted, That the Children of such suc∣ceeding King or Queen Regnant, that shall not have made and subscribed the Oath and Declaration in manner aforsaid, shall from their respective Ages of seven years, untill the respective Ages of fourteen yeares, to be under the care and goverment of the Arch-Bishops of Canterbury and York, and Bishop of London, Durham and VVinchester, for the time being, who are hereby enjoyned and required to take care, that they be well instructed and Educated in the true Protestant Religion, as it is now Established by Law, and to the Intent that the Arch-Bishops and Bishops, for the time being, may effectally have the Care and Government of such Children, according to the true intent of this Law; Be itPage 96Enected, That after any such Children shall have attained their respective Ages of fourteen years, no person shall have enjoy, bear and execute any office, service, imployment or place of attendment relateing to their persons, but such as shall be approved of in writing under the Hands and Seals of the said Arch-Bishops and Bishops in being, or the Major part of such of them as are there in being. And if any person shall take upon him to Execute any such Office, Service, Imployment or place of Attendance, contrary to the true intent and meaning of this Act, he shall forfeit the sum of 100 l. for every moneth he shall so Execute the same, to be recovered by any person that will sue for the same, in any Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint or Information’ in any of his Majesties Courts at VVestminister, shall also suf∣fer Imprisonment for the space of six months without Bayle or Manieprize.
And be it further Enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no Person born within this Realme or any other of his Majesties Dominions, being a Popish Preist, Deacon or Ecclesiiastical Person, made, or deemed, or professed by any Authority or Jurisdiction derived, challenged, or pretend∣ed from the See of Rome, or any Jesuite whatsoever shall be allowed to attend the person of the Queens Majesty that now is, or any Quen Consort, or Queen Dowager, that shall be hereafter, whilst they are within this Realme, •…or by pretence of such service, or any other matter, shall be Exempted from the penall Laws already made against such persons coming into being or remaining in this Kingdom, but shall be, and are hereby lyable to the utmost severity thereof.
Provided alwayes, That it shall and may be lawfull for Master John Huddleston being one of the Queens Majesties Domestique servant, to attend her said Majesties service, any thing in this Act or any other Law to the contrary not∣withstanding.
Page 97And be it further Enacted, That after the Death of the Queens Majesty, to whom God grant a long and happy life, all lay persons whatsoever, born within this Realme, or any other of his Majesties Dominions, that shall be of the Hous∣hold, or in the service or Employment of any succeeding Queen Consort, or Queen Dowager, shall do and performe all things, in a late Act of this Parliament, Entituled, An Act for preventing Dangers vvhich may happen from Popish Recusants: required to be done and performed by any person, that shall be admitted into the service or Employ∣ment of his Majesty, or his Royal Highnesse the Duke of York, which if they shall neglect or refuse to do and per∣form, and neverthelesse, after such Refusall and execute any Office, Service, or Employment under any succeeding Queen Consort, or Queen Dowager, every person so offend∣ing, shall be lyable to the same penalties and disabilities, as by the said Act are may be inflicted upon the breakers of that Law Provided alwayes, That all and every person or persons, that shallby vertue of this Act, have or claym any Arch-Bishoprick, Bishoprick, Deanry, Prebendary, Parsonage, Vicarage, or other Ecclesiastical Benefits, with Cure or with∣out Cure, shall be and is hereby, enjoyned, under the like penalties and disabilitys, to do and perform all things what∣soever, which by Law they ought to have done if they had obteyned the same, and by the usuall course and form of Law, without the help and benefit of this Act.
And be it further Enacted, That all and every Arch-Bishops, Bishops, appointed by this Act to Assemble upon the Demise of his Majesty, or any other King or Queen Reg∣nant, in order to repaire and make humble tender of the Oath and Declaration aforementioned, to any succeeding King or Queen, be bound by this Act to Administer the same, shall before such tender and Administration thereof, and are hereby required to Administer the same Oath and Declaration, to one another, with such of the Arch-Bishops and Bishops, at any time assembled as by the statute 31. H. 8. ought to have precedence of all the rest of them,Page 98that shall be so assembled, is hereby Authorized and re∣quired, to administer to the rest of them, and the next in order to such Prelates, is hereby Authorized and required to administer the same to him, and the same Oath and De∣claration being Engrossed in other peice of Parchment, they and every of them are hereby enjoyned to subscribe their names to the same, and to return the same into the high Court of Chancery, hereafter with their Certificate, which they are before by this Act appointed to make. And if any of the said Arch-Bishops or Bishops, shall be under 〈◊〉 same penalties, forfeiture, and disabilities, as are hereby, •…ointed for such Arch-Bishops and Bishops, as neglect or refuse to make any tender of the said Oath and Declaration, to any succeeding King or Queen Regnant.
And be it further Enacted, That the Arch-Bishop of Can∣terbury, or Arch-Bishop of York, or such other Bishop to whom it shall belong to issue forth summons to all the Bishops of England and Wales, requiring to meet and consult concern∣ing the Nomination of fit persons, for the supply of any Arch-Bishopprick, or Bishopprick, according to this Act, shall make the said summons in such manner that the time therein mentioned for the meeting the said Arch-Bishops and Bishops, shall not be more then forty days, distinct from the time of the Date, and Issuing out of the said summons.
And be it further Enacted, That in case any person in∣tituled by this Act, doth demand Consecration, in order to make him Bishop of any vacant See, in manner aforesaid, shall demand the same of the Arch-Bishop of the Province, and such Arch Bishop that shall neglect or refuse to do the same, either by himself or by others Commissioned by him, by the space of thirty days, that then such Arch Bishop shall over and besides the trebble Dammages, to the party before appointed, forfeit the summe of 1000 l. to any person that will sue for the same, in any of his Majesties Courts at Westminster by Action of Debt, Bill, Plaint, orPage 99Information, wherein no Essoyn, Protection, or Wager of Law, shall be allowed. And being thereof lawfully convicted, his Arch-Bishopprick shall thereby become, Ipso Facto, voyd as if he were naturally Dead, and he shall be and is hereby made uncapable and disabled to hold, have, re∣ceive the same, or any other Bishopprick, or Ecclesiastical Benefice whatsoever.
And be it further Enacted That after such neglect or re∣fusall by the space of thirty dayes after Demand, to make such Consecration, or in case of the vacancy of the Arch-Bishopprick, such Bishop of the said Province, for time be∣ing, who by the Statute of 31. H. 8. ought to have presidents of all the rest, calling to his Assistance, a sufficient number of Bishops, who are likewise required to assist, at such time and place, as he shall thereunto appoint, shall and is hereby required, upon reasonable Demands, to make such Consecration which shall be good and effectual in Law, as if the said Bishops were thereunto authorized, and em∣powred by Commission from such Arch-Bishop, or any other person, or persons, having authority to grant Com∣mission for the doing the same.
And be it further Enacted, That the said Bishops and every of them, are hereby enjoyned and required to perform the same, upon pain of forfeiting, upon any neglect or refu∣sal, trebble dammages to the party grieved, to be recovered with Costs, in any of his Majesties Courts of Record, at Westminster, as also the sum of 1000 l. to any person that will sue for the same, in any of his Majesties Courts at West∣minster, by any action of Debt, Bill, Plaint or Information, wherein no Essoyn, Protection, or Wager of Law shall be allowed; and being lawfully convicted of any such neg∣lect or refusal, his or their Bishopprick that shall be so con∣victed, shall become, ipso facto, void, as if he or they were naturally dead, and he or they are hereby made incapable, and disabled to have, hold, or receive the same, or any otherPage 100Bishopprick or any other Ecclesiastical Benefice whatso∣ever.
Yet this Notorious Bill had not the same accident with the first, but was read a second time, and committed; where∣in their Houses curiousity seemes to have led them, rather than any satisfaction they had in the matter, or hope of amending it, For it died away, the Committee disdaining, or not daring publickly to enter upon it, some indeed ha∣ving, as is said, once attempted it in private, and provided R, S. a fit Lawyer for the Chairman, but were discovered. And thus let these two Bills perish like unseasonable and monstrous Births, but the Legitimate issue of the Conspi∣rators, and upon the hopes of whose growth they had built the succession of their Projects.
Hence-forward another Scene opens: The House of Commons thorow the whole remainder of this Session, falling in with some unanimity, and great Vigor against the French Counsels. Of which their Proceedings it were easy to assigne the more intimate Causes; but they having there∣in also acted according to the Publick Interest, we will be glad to suppose it to have been their only Motive. That business having occasioned many weighty Debates in their House, and frequent Addresses to his Majesty, deserves a more particular account, Nor hath it been difficult to re∣cever it, most of them being unwilling to forget any thing they have said to the purpose, but rather seeking to divulge what they think was bravely spoken; and that they may be thought some-body, often arrogating where they cannot be disproved, another mans Conception to their own ho∣nour.
March the 6th. 1676, the House being resolved into a Com∣mittee of the whole House to consider of Grievances, Resolved.
That a Commitee be appointed to prepare an Addrsse, to repre∣sent unto his Majesty the danger of the Povver of France, and to desire that his Majesty by such Alliances as he shall think fit, do secure his Kingdomes, and quiet the feares of his People, and for preservation of the Spanish Netherlands.
May it please your Majesty.
WE your Majesties most Loyal Subjects, the Knights, Citizens and Burgesses, in Parliament Assembled, find our selves Obliged in duty and faithfulnesse to your Majesty, and in discharge of the Trust reposed in us, by those vvhomvve represent, Most bumbly to Offer to your Majesties consideration, that the mindes of your People are much disquieted, vvith the Manifest dangers arising to your Majesty, by the Grovvth and Povver of the French King; Especially by the acquisition already made and the further progresse like to be made by him, in the Spanish Nether-lands, in the preservation and security vvhereof, vve humbly Conceive the Intrest of your Majesty, and the safety of your People, are highly concerned; and therefore vve most humbly beseech your Majesty, to take the same into your Royall care, and to strengthen your selfe vvith such strictter Al∣liances, as may secure your Majesties Kingdomes and secure and preserve the said Spanish Nether-lands and thereby quiet the Mindes of your Majesties People.
This Addresse was presented to his Majesty the 16. of March, and his Majesties Answer was Reported to the House of Commons, by Mr. Speaker, the 17, of March, which was thus.
Page 102That his Majesty was of the Opinion of his two Houses of Parliament; That the Preservation of Flanders was of great consequence; And that he would use all meanes in his power for the Safety of his Kingdoms.
A motion was therefore made for a second Address upon the same subject, on Monday March, 26th. which here followeth.
May it please your Majesty,
WE your Majesties most loyal Subjects, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses in Parliament Assembled, do vvith unspeakable joy and Comfort, present our humble thanks to your Majesty, for your Majesties gratious acceptance of our late Address, and that your Majesty vvas pleased in your Princely Wisdom to express your Concurrance and Opinion vvith your tvvo Houses in reference to the Preservation of the Spanish Netherlands.
And vve do vvith most carnest and repeated desires implore your Majesty, That you vvould be pleased to take timely care to prevent those dangers that may arise to these Kingdoms by the great Povver of the French King, and the Progress he daily makes in those Netherlands and other places.
And therefore that your Majesty vvould not defer the entring into such Allyances as may obtain those ends, and in case it shall happen, that in pursuance of such Alliances, your Ma∣jesty should be engaged in a War vvith the French King, vve do hold our solves obliged, and do vvith all humility and chearful∣ness assure your Majesty, That vve your most loyal Subject, shall alvvayes be ready upon your signification thereof in Parlia∣ment, fully, and from time to time, to assist your Majesty vvith such Aydes and Supplies as; by the Divine assillance, may enable your Majesty to prosecute the same vvith Success.
Page 103All vvhich vve do most humbly offer to your Majesty as the unanimous sence and desire of the vvhole Kingdom.
March 30th. 1677.
IT was alledged against this Address, that to press the King to make further Alliances with the Confederates against the French King, was in effect to press him to a War, that being the direct and unavoidable Consequence there∣of.
That the Consideration of War was most proper for the King, who had the intelligence of Forraine Affaires, and knew the Arcana Imperii.
That it was a dangerous thing hastily to Incite the King to a War.
That our Merchant-Ships and Effects would be present∣ly seised by the French King within his Dominions, and thereby he would acquire the value of, it may be near, a mil∣lion to enable him to maintain the War against us.
That he would fall upon our Plantations and take Plunder and annoy them.
That he would send out abundance of Capers, and take and disturbe all our Trading Ships in these Seas, and the Mediterranean.
That we had not so many Ships of War as he, and those thirty which were to be built with the 600000 l. now given, could not be finished in two years.
That we had not Naval Stores and Ammunition, &c. sufficient for such a Purpose, and if we had, yet the season of the Year was too far advanced to set out a considerable Fleet: and we could not now lay in Beef, Pork, &c.
That when we were ingaged in a War, the Dutch would likely slip Collar, leave us in the War, and so Gain to them∣selves the singular advantage of sole trading in Peace, whichPage 104is the Priviledge we now injoy, and should not be weary of.
That it was next to Impossible, to make Alliances with the several parties as might be expected, such and so various were the severall Interests, and crosse-biasses, of and a∣mongst the Emperour, the Spaniard, the Dane, the Dutch, the Brandenburgh, and the severall lesser Princes of Germa∣ny, and others.
That we might easily enter into a War, but it would be hard to find the way out of it, and a long War would be destructive to us; for though the Emperour, French, Spaniard, &c. use to maintain War for many years, yet a Trading Nation as England is, could not endure a long-winded War.
On the other side, it vvas said;
That they did not Addresse for making War but making Leagues, which might be a means ro prevent War.
That the best way to preserve Peace, was to be in a pre∣pration for War
That admitting a War should ensue thereupon, as was not unlikely, yet that would tend to our peace, and safety in con∣clusion; for it must be agreeded, that if the Power of France were not reduced, and brought to a more equal Ballance with its neighbours, we must fight or submit, first or last.
That it was Commonly the Fate of those that kept them∣selves Neutral, when their Neighbours were at VVar, to become a prey to the Conquerour.
That now or never was the Crititall season to make VVar upon the French, whilst we may haveso great auxiliary conjun∣ction; and if it were a dangerous and formidable thing to Encounter him now, how much more would it be so when this Opportunity was lost, the Consederacy disbanded, a Peace made on the otherside the water, and we left alone to withstand him single.
Page 105That as to his seizing our Merchants Effects, the Case was 〈◊〉 the same and) no other now than it would be three years hence, or at any time when ever the War should commence.
That as to our Plantations and our Traders, we must con∣sider, though the French was Powerful, he was not Omnipo∣tent, and we might as well defend them as the Dutch do theirs by Guards, Convoys, &c. and chiefly when the French have so many Enemies, and we shall have so many Friends, as no other time is like to afford.
That they were sorry to hear we had not Ships, Stores, &c. equal to the French, and to our Occasions, and hoped it would appear to be otherwise.
That the Season was not so far spent, but that a Compe∣tent Fleet might be set out this Summer, and that however Deficient we might be in this kind, the Dutch were forward and ready to make an effectuall Supplement in that behalf.
That howsoever ill and false some men might esteem the Dutch, yet Interest vvill not lie, and it is so much their Inter∣est to confine and bring down the French, that it is not to be apprehended, but they will steadily adhere to every Friend and every Alliance they shall joyn with for that purpose.
That however cross and divers the several Confederates and their Interests were, yet a common Alliance may be made with them against the French, and aswell as they have Allyed themselves together, aswell may the Allyance be ex∣tended to another, to be added to them, viz. the King of England.
That a Numerous and Vigorous conjunction against him is the way to shorten the work, whereas if he should hereafter attaque us singly, he would continue the War on us as long as he pleased, till he pleased to make an end of it and us together, by our final destruction.
Page 106That if now we should neglect to make Alliances, we had no cause to expect to have one Friend, when the French should make Peace beyond Sea, and single us out for Con∣quest; for all that are conjoyned against the French, are provoked and disobliged, by reason of the Great Number of English, Scotch and Irish, which have served, and do still serve the French, and it was proved at the Bar of this House within this fortnight, That 1000 men were levyed in Scot∣land, and sent to the French service in January last, and some of them by force and pressing.
Also that it was understood and resented, that we had mainely contributed to this over grown Greatnesse of the French, by selling Dunkirk, that speciall Key and Inlet of Flanders, by making War on the Dutch, in 1665. Where∣upon the French Joyned with the Dutch, under which shel∣ter, and opportunity, the French lying layd the foundation of this Great Fleet he now hath, buying then many Great Ships of the Dutch, and obuilding many others: as to which, but for that occasion, the Dutch would have denyed and hindred him, by not observing the Tripple League, and by our making a Joynt War with the French against the Dutch, in which, the French yet proceeds and Tryumphs. So that in this respect we have much to redeem and retreive.
That enmnity against the French, was the thing where∣in this divided Nation did unite, and this occasion was to be laid hold on, as an opportunity of moment amongst our selves.
That the bent and weight of the Nation, did lean this way, and that was a strong Inducement and Argument to Incline their Representatives.
That it had been made appear, and that in Parliament, that upon the Ballance of the French Trade, this Nation was detrimented yearly, 900000 l. Or a Million, the value of the Goods Imported from France, annually so much exceeding that of the Goods Exported hence thither, where∣byPage 107it is evident, that such a sum of the Treasure and money of the Nation was yearly Exhausted and carryed into France, and all this by unnecessary Wines, Silks, Ribbons, Feathers, &c. The saving and retrenching of which Expence, and Exhaustion, will in a Great Degree serve to maintaine the Charg of a War.
That the present, was the best time for the purpose, and that this would give Reputation to the Confederates, and Comfort and Courradge to our bestfriends Imediately, and safety to our selves in futurity, against the Old perpetuall Ene∣my of England.
The second Addresse was presented to his Majesty, March the 30. and till the 11 of Aprill they received no Answer. Insomuch that it became doubtfull, whether the mony Bill, would be accepted or 10 and if the Commons made any difficulty in passing them, unlesse they were first secured against the Frenuh intrest, it seemed that the supply would be rejected, by the Conspirators good will; And that even the building of Ships, how necessary soever, might rather have been respited again, as it had in former Sessions, and for the whole long Prorogation. But their House was farr from such Obstinacy. And the news being come of the taking both of Valenciennes and St. Omar, with the defeate of the Prince of Orange at Mont-Cassel, so that now there was no further danger of preventing or Interrupting the successes of the French-King, this Campagn, at last therefore upon the 11, of Aprill, this following answer was offerred to their House, from his Majesty by Master Secretary Coventry.
HIs Majesty having considered your last, Addresse, and finding some late alteration in affaires abroad, thinks it necessary to put you in mind, That the only vvay to prevent the dangers vvhich may arise to these Kingdoms, must be by putting his Majesty timely in a Condition to make such fitting prepara∣tion, as may enable him to do vvhat may be most for the security of them▪ And if for this reason you shall desire to fit any longer time, his Majesty is content you may Adjourn novv be∣fore Easter, and meet again suddenly after, to ripen this matter, and to perfect some of the most necessary Bills novv depending.
Given at our Court at White-Hall, the 11. of April. 1677.
Somewhat was said on both these matters, but the Great∣er debate of them, was Adjorned till next day, and then reassumed.
Then it was moved that the House should Adjorn till after Easter, and then meet again, with a Resolution to enable the King to make such preprations as should be thought neces∣sary, and also passe some necessary Bills for the Kingdome, which if they did not, the blame of the neglect, must rest upon themselves, and it would be observed, they had not sat to any effect this four yeares; and that now they had a session, and had given a Million, they did take little care to redresse Greviances, or passe Good Laws, for the People, and that they should not be able to give any account of them∣selvesPage 109to their Neighbours in the Country, unlesse they should face them down, that there was no Greviance or Mischeife in the Nation to be Redressed, and that the King had stopped their mouths, and laid it to them by offering to them to sit longer.
Others said, they should perfect the two money Bills, and give the King Ease, and take another time to consider further of Religion, Liberty, and Property, especially see∣ing all Bills now depending, would be kept on foot, the Intended Recesse, being to be but an Adjournment, that they had very good Laws already, and would give their shares in any new ones, they were making, to be in the Country at the present time, that it was necessary for them to be there the 10th. of May, to Execute the Act for 600000 l. &c. And some time was to be allowed for their Journyes, and rest after it, that the passing some necessary Bills, came in the end of the Kings Message, and by the by; For his Ma∣jesty saith, That if for this Reason, that is, for making of pre∣parations, &c, they should desire to sit longer, and if so, then also take the opportunity of passing such Bills. So the sence and inclination of the House was to rise before Easter, as had been before intimated and expected.
Then they fell upon the main consideration of the Mes∣sage, and to make a present Answer.
The Secretary and other Ministers of State, said, that the Alteration of Affaires which his Majesty took notice of, was the successe of the French against the Prince of Orange, in the Battel, and their proceeding to take Cambray, and St. Omars.
Thus by Inches or rather great measures they were taking inPage 110Flanders, which was reckoned the Out-work of England, as well as Holland) and they said plainely, nothing could put his Majesty in a condition to make fitting preparations to preserve the Kingdom, but ready money.
To this it was answered, that it was not proper nor usuall to aske money at the end of a Session, and it was fit that Alliances should be first made, and that they should Adjourn rather till that were done, for they ought not to give money till they knew for what, and it was clearely spoken and made out to them, that if there were no Summers War, there was money enough given already.
It was replyed, That they had not direction from his Ma∣jesty as to what he had resolved, and it might be not conve∣nient to discover and publish such things, but they would offer their Guesse and Ayme at some things, if there were any Approaches towards War, though they ought to consi∣der and compute like him in the Gospel, whether with such a force they could encounter a King that came against them with such a force, they should think of providing a Guard for the Isle of Wight, sersey, Carnsey and Ireland, and secure our Coasts, and be in a defensive posture on the Land, we might be Attaqued in a night.
Also there would be a necessity of an extraordinary Sum∣mer Guard at Sea, his Majesty did use to apply 400000 l. vearly out of the Customes upon his Fleets, (the very har∣bour Expence) which in Anchorage, Mooring, Docks, and Repaires, &c. was 110000 l. per annum, and he was now set∣ting forth 40 Ships for the Summer Gard, but if there were a disposition towards War, there must be more Shipps or at least those must be more fully manned, and more strong∣ly appoynted, and furnished the more, especially if the Breach were sudden, for otherwise, our Trading Ships at Sea, as well as those Ships and Goods in the French Ports, would be exposed. Now it is reasonable that the remander which was above and beyond the Kings ordinary Allowance,Page 111should be supplyed by the Parliament, and the Extraordi∣nary preparations of this kind for the present, could not a∣mount to lesse than 200000 l.
It was answered, that it was a Mealancholy thing to think Jersey, &c. Were not well enough secured, at least as well as in the year 1665, when we alone had War with the French and Dutch too, and yet the Kings Revenue was lesse then than now: That the Revenue of Ireland was 50000 l. per annum, beyond the Establishment (that is, the Civill, Military; and all payments of the Government) which if not sent over hither, but disposed there, would suffice to defend that Kingdom, and they remember that about a moneth ago, they were told by some of these Gentlemen, that the French King would not take more Townes in Flanders if he might have them, but was drawing off to meet the Ger∣mans, who would be in the field in May, and therefore it was strang, he should be represented now as ready to Invade us, and that we must have an Army raised and kept on our Islands and Land. No they would not have that, it would be a Great matter in the Ballance, if the Kings Subjects were withdrawn from the French service, and applyed on the other side, and tell that were done, that we did continue to be Contributary to the Greatnesse of France. But a Fleet would protect our whole. Ships are the defence of an Island and thereby we may hope to keep at a distance, and not ap∣prehend, or prepare to meet him at our Dores, he Learns by Sicily what it is to Invade an Island, he is not like to attempt an Invasion of us, till he hath some Masterie at Sea, which is Impossible for him to have so long as he is diverted and im∣ployed at Land in the Mediterranean, and in the West Indies, as he is.
And as to our Merchants Ships and Goods, they are in no more danger now then they were in any War when∣soever. Nay, there was more expectation of this, then there was of the last VVar, for the first notice we or the DutchPage 112had of that Breach, was the Attempt upon their Smyrna Fleet.
Also it is observed, that what was said a fortnight ago (that the season was too far advanced to lay in Be•…f, and it would stink) was admitted to be a mistake, for that now it was ur∣ged, that a greater and better appointed Fleet must be fur∣nished out, but still it was insisted on, that they were in the dark, his Majesty did not speak out, that he would make the desired Alliances against the growth of France, and resolve with his Parliament to maintain them, and so long as there was any coldness or reservedness of this kind, they had no clear grounds to grant money for preparations. His Majesty was a Prince of that Goodness and •…are, towards his People, that none did distrust him, but there was a distrust of some of his Ministers, and a Jealousie that they were un∣der French Influences; and Complaints and Addresses had been made against them; and upon the discourse of pro∣viding for the safety of the Nation, it being said we might be secured by the Guarranty of the General Peace, it was re∣flected on as a thing most pernitious to us, and that our mo∣ney and endeavours could not be worse applied, than to pro∣cure that Peace. Articles are not to be relied on. All that they desired was, that his Majesty and his People Una∣nimously, Truly, Sincerely and Throughly declare and en∣gage in this business, with a mutual confidence speaking out on both sides, and this, and nothing but this, would discharge and extinguish all jealousies.
But it was Objected, It was not convenient to discover his Majesties secret purposes in a Publick Assembly, it might be too soon known abroad, and there was no reason to dis∣trust his Majesty, but that being enabled, he would prepare and do all things expedient for the Kingdom.
It was answered, That it was usual for Forraine Ministers to get notice of the Councils of Princes, as the Earl of Bristol Ambassador in Spain, in the last part of King James‘s Reign,Page 113procured Coppies, and often the sight of the Originals of of Dispatches, and Cabinet papers of the King of Spain. But acknowledging that his Majesties Councels cannot be penetrated by the French, yet the things would in a short time discover themselves: besides they said, they did not much desire secresy, for let the King take a great Resolution, and put himself at the Head of his Parliament and People in this weighty and worthy Cause of England, and let a flying Post carry the news to Paris, and let the French King do his worst.
His Majesty never had nor never will have cause to dis∣trust his People. In 1667, in confidence of our Aid, he made a League without advice of Parliament (commonly called the Tripple League) which was for the Interest of England, and whereby his Majesty became the Arbiter of Cristendom, and in the Name and upon the Account of that, the Parliament gave him several Supplies.
In 1672, He made War without the Advice, of Parlia∣ment, whith War the Parliament thought not for the Interest of England to continue, yet even therein they would not leave him, but gave him 1200000 l. to carry himself on & out of it.
How much more are they concerned and obliged to sup∣ply and assist him in these Alliances (and War if it ensue) which are so much for the Interest of England, and entered into by the pressing Advice of Parliament.
We hope his Majesty will declare himself in earnest, and we are in earnest, having his Majesties heart with us, Let his hand Rot off that is not stretcht out for this Affair, we will not stick at this or that sum or thing, but we will go with his Majesty to all Extremities.
We are now affraid of the French King, because he has great force, and extraordinary thinking men about him, which mannage his affaires to a wonder, but we trust his Majesty will have his Business mannaged by thinking men, that will be provident and careful of his Interest, and notPage 114suffer him to pay, Cent. per Cent. more than the things are worth, that are taken up and used, and if the work be entred upon in this manner, we hope England will have English suc∣cess with France, as it is in Bowling, if your Bowl be well set out, you may think, and it will go to the Mark.
Were the thing clear and throughly undertaken, there would be less reason to dispute of time; there never was a Council but would sit on Sunday, or any day for such Pub∣lick Work.
In fine, they said, the business must lye at one door or another, and they would not for any thing, that it should flat in their hands.
And although they should hope in an Exigence his Ma∣jesty would lend to his People, who had given so much to him, yet they said they could not leave him without pro∣viding him a sum of money, as much as he could use between this and some convenient time after Easter, when he might, if he please command their full attendance, by some publick Notification, and this was the mentioned sum of 200000 l. The Expedient they provided for doing this, was adding a Borrowing Clause to the Bill for almost 600000 l. (such an one as was in the Poll Bill) the Effect of which is to enable his Majesty presently to take up, on the Credit of this Bill 200000 l. ready money at 7 l. per Cent. per annum In∣terest.
And this they said might now be done, though the Bill were passed by them, and also (save that they had made the above mentioned amendment) by the Lords, for that Poll Bill was explained by another Act passed a few days after, in the same session. But in Hackvvells Modus tenendi Parli. pag. 173, was a more remarkable President, and exact in the Point.
But after some Discourse of setting loose part of this 600000 l. &c. they reflected that this 600000 l. &c. was appropriate for the building of Ships, and they would notPage 115have this appropriation unhinged by any means, and there∣upon resolved to annex the borrowing Clause to the Bill for continuing the additional duty of Excise, for three years, which was not yet passed; against which it was Objected, That it was given for other purposes, viz. to give the King ease to pay Interest for his Debts, &c. But on the contrary it was answered, that the Preamble speakes not of his Debts, but His extraordinary Occasions; But besides, they did not intend to withdraw so much of their Gift, but did resolve to re-emburse his Majesty the 200000 l. so much of it as he should lay out in extraordinary Preparations.
But then it was Objected, that this would be a kind of de∣nouncing of War, and that 200000 l. was a miserable, mean and incompetent sum to defend us against those whom we should provoke.
But it was Answered, That it was but an Earnest of what they intended, and that they were willing to meet again and give further Supplies; Besides the French King was not For∣midable for any great hurt that he could do us during the Confederacy, there were several Princes of Germany, as the Arch-Bishop of Metz and Triers, the Palsgrave, the Duke of Nevvburgh, &c. which are at War with him and are safe; and yet they are much more weak and inconsiderable than we; but they are defended not by their own strength, but by the whole Confederacy.
The Debate concluded in Voting the following Answer, which was presented to his Majesty by the Speaker of the whole House, Friday April the 13th.
May it Please your Majesty.
WE your Majesties most dutifull and Loyall subjects the Com∣mons in this present Parliament Assembled, do vvith, Great satisfaction of mind, Observe the regard your Majestie is pleased to Expresse to our former Addresses, by Intimating to us the late alterations of Affaires abroad, and do return our most humble thanks, for your Majesties most Gratious Offer made to us thereupon in your late message: and having taken a serious deliberation of the same, and of the preparation your Majesty hath therein Intimated to us vvere fitting to be made, in order to those publick ends, vve have for the present provided a security in a Bill for the Additional duty of Excise, upon vvhich your Ma∣jesty may raise the sum of 200000 l. And if your Majesty shall think fit to call us together again for this purpose, in some short time after Easter, by any publick signification of your pleasure, commanding our Attendance; vve shall at our next meetting not only be ready to re-imburse your Majesty vvhat Sums of money shall be expended upon such Extraordinary preparations as shall be made in pursuance of our former Ad∣dresses; but shall likevvise vvith thankfull hearts proceed then, and at all other times, to furnish your Majesty vvith so large proportion of assistance and supplyes upon this Occasion, as may give your Majesty and the vvhole vvorld, an ample Testi∣mony of our Loyalty’ and affection to your Majesties service and as may enable your Majesty by the help of Almighty God, to maintain sucbstricter Alliances as you shall have entred into against all Opposition vvhatsoever.
Easter Mondy, Aprill 19th.
Another Message in writing from his Majesty, was delivered by Secreatary VVilliamson to the House of Commons (Viz.)
HIS Majesty having considered the Answer of this House to the last message about enabling him to make fitting preparations for the security of these King∣doms, finds by it that they have only enabled him to borrow 200000 l. upon a Fond given him for other uses. His Majesty desires therefore this House should know, and he hopes they will alwayes believe of him, that not only that Fond, but any other within his Power shall be engaged to the utmost of his power for the preservation of his King∣doms; but as his Majesties condition is (which his Ma∣jesty doubts not but is as well known to this House as him∣self) he must tell them plainly, that without the summe Six hundred thousand pounds, or Credit for such a summe, upon new Fonds, it will not be possible for him to speak or act those things which should answer the ends of their severall Addresses, without exposing the Kingdom to much Grearer danger: His Majstyes doth further ac∣quaint you that having done his part, and laid the true state of things before you, he will not be wanting to use the best meanes for the safety of his People, which his presen Condition is Capable off.
Given at our Court at White-Hall,April. 16. 1677.
There upon the House fell into present Consideration of an Answer, and in the first place, it was Agreed to return Great thanks to his Majesty for his Zeal for the safety of the Kingdome, and the hopes he had given them thatPage 118he was convinced and satisfied, so as he would speak and act according to what they had desired, and they resolved to give him the utmost assurance, that they would stand by him and said no man could be unwilling to give a fourth or third part to save the residue. But they said they ought to consider that now they were a very thine House, many of their Members being gone home, and that upon such a Ground as they could not well blame them; for it was upon a presumption that the Parliament should rise before Easter, as had been intimated from his Majesty within this fortnight, and universally expected since, and it would be un-Parlia∣mentary, and very ill taken by their Fellow-members, if in this their absence they should steal the Priviledge of granting money, and the Thanks which are given for it; That this was a National business if ever any were, and therefore fit to be handled in a full National Representative, and if it had hitherto seemed to go up-hill, there was a greater cause to put the whole shoulder to it, and this would be assuring, animating, and satisfactory to the whole Nation. But they said it was not their mind to give or suffer any delay, they would desire a Recess but for three weeks or a moneth at most.
And the 200000 l. which they had provided for present use, was as much as could be laid out in the mean time, tho his Majesty had 600000 l. more ready told upon the Table.
And therefore they thought it most reasonable and ad∣visable that his Majesty should suffer them to Adjorn for such a time; in the Interim of which his Majesty might if he pleased, make use of the 200000 l. and might also com∣pleat the desired Alliances, and give notice by Proclamation to all Members to attend at the time appointed.
The Answer is as followeth.
May it please your Majesty.
WE your Majesties most Loyal Subjects the Commons in this present Parliament Assembled, having considered your Majesties last Message, and the gratious expressions there∣•…n contained, for imploying your Majesties vvhole Revenue at any time to raise money for the preservation of your Majesties Kingdoms; find great cause to return our most humble thanks to your Majesty for the same, and to desire your Majesty to rest assured, that you shall find as much duty and affection in us, as can be expected from a most Loyal People, to their most gratious Soveraign, and vvhereas your Majesty is pleased to signify to us, that the sum of 200000 l. is not sufficient vvithout a further Supply, to enable your Majesty to Speak or Act those things vvhich are desired by your People; We humbly take leave to ac∣quaint your Majesty, that many of our Members (being upon an expectation of an Adjournment before Easter) are gone in∣to their several Countries, vve cannot think it Parliamentary in their absence to take upon us the granting of money, but do therefore desire your Majesty to be pleased that this House may Adjourn it self for such short time, before the sum of 200000 l. can be expended, as your Majesty shall think sit, and by your Roy∣al Proclamation to command the attendance of all our Members at the day of Meeting; by vvhich time vve hope your Majesty may have so formed your Affaires, and fixed your Alliances, in pursuance of our former Addresses, that your Majesty may be gratiously pleased to Impart them to us in Parliament; and vve no vvayes doubt but at our next Assembling, your Majesty vvill not only meet vvith a Complyance in the Supply your Majesty desires, but vvithall such farther Assistance as the posture of your Majesties Affaires shall require; in confidence vvhereof vve hope your Majesty vvill be encouraged in the mean time to speak and act such things as your Majesty shall judge necessary for attaining those great ends, as ye have formerly represented to your Majesty.
Page 120And now the money Bill being Passed both Houses, and the French having by the surrender of Cambray also to them, perfected the Conquest of this Campagne, as was project∣ed, and the mony for further preparations having been asked, onely to gain a pretence for refusing their Addresses, the Houses were adjourned April the 16th, till the 21 of May next. And the rather, becuase at the same moment of their rising, a Grand French Ambassador was coming over. For all things betwixt France and England moved with that punctual Regularity, that it was like the Harmony of the Spheres, so Consonant with themselves, although we cannot hear the musick.
There landed immediately after the Recesse, the Duke of Crequy, the Arch-Bishop of Rheims, Monsieur Barrillon, and a Traine of three or four hundred persons of all Qual∣ities, so that the Lords Spirituall and Temporall of France, with so many of their Commons, meeting the King at Nevv-market, it looked like another Parliament, And that the English had been Adjourned, in order to their better Recep∣tion. But what Addresse they made to his Majesty, or what Acts they passed, hath not yet been Published. But those that have been in discourse were,
An Act for continuing his Majesties subjests in the service of France.
An Act of abolition of all Claymes and demandes from the subjests of France, on Account of all Prizes made of the Eng∣lish at Sea, since the year 1674 till that day, and for the future.
An Act for marring the Children of the Royal Family to Protestants Princes.
An Act for a further supply of French mony.
But because it appears not that all these, and many others of more secret nature, passed the Royall Assent, it sufficeth thus far to have mentioned them. Onely it is most certain, that although the English Parliament was kept aloofe fromPage 121the businesse of War, Peace, and Alliance, as Improper for their Intermedling, & Presumptuous. Yet with these 3 Estates of France all these things were Negotiated and transacted in the Greatest confidence. And so they were Adjourned from Nevv-Market to London, and there continued till the return of the English Parliament, when they were dismissed home with all the signes and demonstrations of mutuall 〈◊〉.
And for better Preparations at home, before the Parliament met, there was Printed a second Packet of Advice to the men of Shaftsbury, the first had been sold up and down the Nation, and Transmitted to Scotland, where 300 of them were Printed at Edenburgh: and 40 Copyes sent from thence to England fariely bound up and Guilded, to shew in what great Estmiation it was in that kingdome; But this, the sale growing heavy, was dispersed as a Donative all over England, and it was an Incivilty to have enquired from whence they had it, but it was a Book though it came from Hell, that seemed as if it dropped from Heaven, a∣mong men, some Imagined by the weight and the wit of it, that it proceeded from the Two Lords, the Black and the White, who when their care of the late Sitting was over, had given themselves Caviere, and after the Triumphs of the Tongue, had Establish those Trophes of the Pen, over their Imprisoned Adversaries. But that had been a thing unworthy of the Frechvvellian Generosity, or Trerisian Magnanimity; And rather besits the mean malice of the same Vulgar Scribler, hired by the Conspirators at so much a sh•…t, or for day wages; and when that is spent, he shall for lesse mony Blaspheme his God, Revile his Prince, and Belye his Country, if his former Books have Omitted any thing of those Arguments; and shall Curse his own Father into the Bargain.
Monday, May 21. 1677.
The Parliament met according to their late Adjorn∣ment, on, and from April 16th. to May, 21, 1677.
There was no speech from the King to the Parliament, but in the House of Commons.
This Meeting was opened with a verball message from his Majesty, delivered by Secretary Coventry, wherein his Majesty acquainted the House, that having according to their desire in their Answer to his late Message April 16th. driected their Adjournment to this time, because they did alledge it to be unparliamentary to grant Supplyes when the House was so thin, in expectation of a speedy Adjourn∣ment; and having also Issued out his Proclamation of sum∣mons to the end there might be a full House, he did now expect they would forthwith enter upon the consideration of his last message, and the rather, because he did intend there should be a Recesse very quickly.
Upon this it was moved, That the Kings last Message (of April 16.) And the Answer thereto should be Read and they were read accordingly.
Thereupon, after a long silence, a discourse began a∣bout their expectation, and necessity of Alliances.
And particularly, it was intimated that an Alliance with Holland was most expedient, for that we should deceive our selves if we thought we could be defended otherwise, we alone could not withstand the French, his purse and power was too great. Nor could the Dutch withstand him. But both together might.
The general discourse was, that they came with an ex∣pectation to have Allyances declared, and if they were not made so as to be imparted, they were not called or come to that purpose they desired, and hoped to meet upon, and ifPage 123some few dayes might ripen them, they would be content to Adjorn for the mean time.
The Secretary and others said, these Allyances were things of great weight, and 〈◊〉, and the time had been short, but if they were finisht, yet it was not convenient to publish them, till the King was in a readinesse and posture to pro∣secute and maintain them, till when his Majesty could not so much as speak out, insisting on his words, That vvithout 600000 l. it vvould not be possible for him to speak or Act those things vvhich should ansvver the ends of their several Ad∣dresses, vvithout exposing the Kingdom to much greater dang∣ers.
By others it was observed and said, That they met now upon a publick notice by Proclamation, which Proclamation was in pursuance of their last Addresse, in which Addresse they desire the King they may Adjourn for such time, as with in which (they hoped) Allyances might be fixed, so as to be imparted, they mentioned not any particular day, If his Majesty had not thought this time long enough for the pur∣pose, he might have appointed the Adjournment for a long∣er time; or he might have given notice by Proclamation that upon this account they should re-adjourn to a yet long∣er time.
But surely, the time has been sufficient, especially con∣sidering the readiness of the Parties to be Allyed with; it is five weeks since our 〈◊〉. He that was a minister chief∣ly imployed in making the Tripple •…ague, has since published in print that, that League was made in sive dayes, and yet that might well be thought a matter more tedious and long then this; For when people are in profound peace (as the Dutch then were) it was not easy to embark them present∣ly into Leagues. They had time and might take it for great∣er deliberation. But here the people are in the distresse of War, and need our Allyance, and therefore it might be con∣tractedPage 124with ease and expidition, were we as forward as they.
Neither is five weeks the limit of the time, that has been for this purpose, for it is about ten weeks since we first Ad∣dressed for these Allyances.
And as to the Objection, That it was not fit to make them known before preparation were made, they said, the force of that lay in this, that the French would be allarmed. But they answered that the asking and giving money for this purpose would be no lesse an Allarm. For the French could not be ignorant of what Addresses and Answers have passed; and if mony be granted to make warlike preperations, for the end therein specified, it is rather a greater discovery and denouncing of what we intended against the French.
Grot•…us (de jure Belli & Pacis) saies, If a Prince make extraordinary preparations, a neighbour Prince who may be affected by them may expostulate, and demand an ac∣count of the purpose for which they are intended, and if he receive not satisfaction, that they are not to be used against him, it is a cause of War on his part, so as that Neighbour may begin if he think fit, and is not bound to stay till the first preparer first begin actuall Hostility, and this is agree∣able to reason, and the nature of Government.
Now the French King, is a vigilant Prince, and has wise Ministers about him, upon which general account (tho we had not as we have seen an extraordinary French Embassy here dureing our Recesse) we should suppose that the French King has demanded an account of our Kings purpose, and whether the extraordinary preparations that are begun and to be made are designed against him or not. In which case his Majesty could give but one of three answers.
- To say, They are not designed against him, and then his Majesty may acquaint us with the same, and then there is no occasion of our giving money,
Page 1252. To say, They are designed against him, in which case his Majesty may very well impart the same to us. For it were in vain to conceal it from us, to the end that the French might not be allarmd, when it is before expresly told the French, that the design was against him.
- To give a doubtfull answer. But that resolves into the second. For when a Prince out of an apprehension that ex∣traordinary preparations may be used against him, desires a clear categoricall and satifactory answer concerning the matter (as the manner of Princes is) a dubious answer does not at all satisfie his inquiry, nor allay his jealousy; But, in that case it is, and is used, to be taken and understood, that the forces are desined against him.
And if his Majesty have given no answer at all (which is not probable) it is the same with the last.
So that this being so, by one meanes or other the French have the knowledge of the Kings purpose, and if it be known to, or but guessed at by hem, why is it concealed from his Parliament? Why this darknesse towards us?
Besides we expect not so much good as we would, so long as we are afraid the French should know what we are a doing.
In this state of uncertainty, and un•…ipeness the House Adjourned to Wednesday Morning nine a clo•…k, 〈◊〉 first ordred the Committe for the Bill for recalling his Majesties Subjects out of the service of the French King, to sit this after-noon, which did sit accordingly, and went thorough the Bill,
Wednesday, May 23d. 1677.
His Majesty sent a Message for the House to attend him presently at the Banqueting House in White-Hall, where he made the following Speech to them.
I Have sent for you hither, that I might prevent those mistakes and distrusts vvhich I find some are ready to make, as if I had called you together, only to get money from you, for other uses than you vvould have it imployed. I do assure you on the Word of a King, that you shall not repent any trust you repose in me, for the safety of my Kingdoms; and I desire you to be∣lieve I vvould not break my Credit vvith you, but as I have al∣ready told you, that it vvill not be possible for me to speak or act those things vvhich should ansvver the ends of your several Ad∣dresses, vvithout exposing my kingdoms to much greater dangers, so I declare to you again, I vvill neither hazard my ovvn safety, nor yours, until I be in a better condition than I am able to put my self, both to defend my Subjects and offend my Enemies.
I do further assure you, I have not lost one day since your last meeting, in doing all I could for your desence; and I tell you plainly, it shall be your fault and not mine if your Security be not sufficiently provided for.
The Commons returning to their House, and the Speech being there read, they presently resolved to consider it, and after a little while resolved into a Committee of the whole House, for the more full, free, and regular debate
The Secretary and others propounded the supplying the King, wherein they said they did not press the House, but they might do as they pleased. But if it be expected that Allyances be made, and made known, there must be 600000 l▪Page 108raised to make preperation before, for the king had declared that without it, it could not be possible for him to speak or Act; he could not safely move a step further. The king had the right of making Peace, War, and Leagues, as this House has of giving money, he could not have money with∣out them, nor they Allyance without him. The king had considered this matter, and this was his Judgment, That he ought by such a summe to be put into a posture to maintain and prosecute his Allyance, before they could or should be declared, and truely otherwise our nakednesse and weak∣nesse would be exposed.
Tis true as has been Objected, the asking and giving mo∣ney for this purpose, would allarm as much as the declar∣ing Alliance, but then it would defend too. A Whip will all∣arm a wild Beast, but it will not defend the man, a Sword will allarm the Beast too, but then it will also defend the man.
We know the King would strip himself to his shirt rather then hazard the Nation. He has done much already, he has set out, and made ready to set out, 44 Ships, but they must be distributed to several places for Convoys, &c. Their would need, it may be 40 more in a body. And it is difficult to get Seamen, many are gon into the service of the French, Dutch, &c, The King is fain to presse now.
The King has not had any fruit of the 200000 l. credit provided him upon the three years Excise, he has tryed the City to borrow money of them, thereupon, and my Lord Mayor returned answer, that he had endeavoured but could not encourage his Majesty to depend upon the City for it.
Several others, somewhat different, spake to this effect. We should consider in this case, as in the case of the Kings Letters, Pattents, Proclamations, &c. If any thing in them be against Law and Reason, Lawyers and Courts, Judge is void, and reckon it not to be said or doneby the King. For the King can do no vvrong, tho his Counsel may. So wePage 128must look upon the Kings Speeches and Messages as the pro∣duct of Counsel, and therefore if any mistake be therein, it must be imputed to the error of his Counsel, and it must be taken that the king never said it. Now to apply certainly the treating and concluding of Alliances, requirs, not a previous summe of mony, however the kings Counsel may misin∣form. They may be propounded and accepted, by the meanes of the Forraign Ministers, even without an Embassy to be sent hence, and yet if that were requisite, it were not an extraordinary charg.
Allyances may be made forthwith, and then mony would be granted forthwith; If they were declared to day, the 600000 l. should be given to morrow, and as occasion should require.
And there is no fear but money would be found for this purpose, our own Extravagancies would maintaine a War.
The mony which has been provided the King already this Session, is sufficient for all Preparations that can possibly be made before these Allyances may be made.
Forty Ships of ours with the help of the Dutch, are a good Defence against the French at Sea, now he is so entangled with 〈◊〉, the West Indies, &c, In the Tripple League, it was stipulated, that forty of our Ships, and forty of the Dutch, should be provided, and they were thought suffici∣ent for the purpose.
If it were required that 40 more Ships should be s•…t out, 600000 l is enough to maintain and pay a whole year clear for the Carpenters work, and such like as should presently be required, for the fitting them to go out a little money will serve.
And surely this is the only preparation that can be meant, for if it should be meant, that we •…ould fortisie the Land with 〈◊〉, Garrisons, 〈◊〉 Towns, &c. it is not 6 milli∣ons will do it. But our strength, force and defence, is ourPage 129Ships, for the debate of this day it is as great and weighty as ever was any in England it concerns our very being, and in∣cludes our Religion, Liberty and Property; The doore to∣vvards France must be shut and Garded, for so long as it is open our Treasure and Trade vvill creep out and their Religon creep in at it, and this time is ou•… season, some mischief will be done us, and so there will at any time when the War is begun, but now the least.
The French is not very dangerous to us, no•… to be much feared by us at this present, but we ought to advise and act so now, as we may not fear or despair hereafter when the French shall make peace beyond Sea, and likely he will make Al∣lyances with those People with whom we deferr to make them; How ripe and great is ou•… Misery then?
The power and policy of the French is extraordinary, and his money Influences round about him.
We are glad to observe upon what is said by & of the King, that his Majesty agrees with us in the end, and we hope he will be convinced of the reasonableness of the means, which is to make and follow these Allyances, without which plainly we can give no account to our selves, or those we represent, of giving money.
We have made severall Addresses about some of the Kings Ministers, their management, &c. Of which we have seen little fruit, Their have continually almost to this hour gone out of England succours to France, of Men, Powder, Am∣munition, Ordnance, &c. Not to take into the matter, how far the Ministers have been active or passive in this, nor to mention any other particulars, we must say that unless the Ministers, or their minds are altred, we have no reason to trust money in their hands, Though we declare we have no pur∣pose to arrign or attempt upon them, but would rather pro∣pose to them an easy way how they might have Oblivion, nay, and the thanks of the People viz. That they should en∣deavourPage 130and contend, who could do most to dispose the king to Comply with this advice of his Parliament.
We think the prosecuting these Alliances, the only good use for which our money can be imployed, and therefore before we give, we would be secure it should be applyed to this purpose, and not by 〈◊〉•…lls be diverted to others.
This 〈◊◊◊〉 Counsel of the Parliament, and no Cros•… other counsel is to be 〈◊〉 or Trusted, for at∣taining these great advices which the King and Parliament are 〈◊◊〉.
To part with money before Allyances are made, is need∣lesse and to no purpose, at best it would be the way to spend that money before hand, in vaine, which we shall need here∣after, when we shal be forced to enter into this defence against France.
It would be like an errour committed in the late Kings time, and which lookes as if men had given Counsel on pur∣pose to destroy that Good King, he had by the care and faithfullnesse of Bishop Juxton and others, Collected and preserved a good summe of mony before the Scottish Re∣bellion, in One thousand Six hundred Thirty nine, upon that Rebellion he was advised to raise an Army at Land, which indeed was necessary, But he was likewise advised to set out severall of his great Rate 〈◊〉, this appeared in the papers of Sir Robert 〈◊〉 Office, and may there be seen still, if the Papers are not 〈◊〉. A ma•…〈◊〉 not tell to what end this advise was given, unlesse to spend the Kings money, for the Admiralty of Scotland is not now, and much lesse then was so considerable, as to require any such force against it. And if the design were to hinder thei•… Co•…erce and succours by Sea, the charg of one of those great Ships might have been divided and applied to the setting out five or six lesse Ships, each of which was capable of doing as much for that service, as such a great one, and could keep out at Sea longer.
Page 131It is a plain case, unless the power of France be lowred we cannot be safe, without Conjunction with other Con∣federates, it cannot be done. The question is, whether the present be the proper time for th•… work. Certainly it is, there is a happy Confederation against the French, which we cannot so well hope to have continued without our coming into it, much less can we hope to recover or recruite it, if once broken. The very season of the year favours the businesse. It is proper and safe to begin with the French in the summer, now he is engaged and not at Leisure, whereas in Winter when the Armies are •…wn out of the Field he will be able to apply himself to us.
As to the Citizens not advancing mony upon the late cer∣dit, we are informed they were never regularly or effect∣ually asked, my Lord Major indeed was spoken to, and per∣haps some of the Aldermen, but all they are not the City, he sent about curiously to some of the Citizens, to know if they would lend, of which they took little or no notice, it being not agreeable to their way and usage, for the custom in such cases has always been, that some Lord of the Council did go down 〈◊〉•…he Common Counsell, which is the Repre∣sentative body of the City, and there propound the matter.
Besides in this particular case the Citizens generally ask∣ed the same question we do: are the Alliances made, and said if they were made they would lend money, but if not, they saw no cause for it.
Philip the second of Spaine made an observation in his Will, or some last Memorial, and ’tis since published in Print by Monsieur, he observes the vanity of any Princes aspiring at the universal Monarchy, for that it naturally made the rest of the world joyntly his enemies, but ambition blinds men, suffers them not to look back on such Experiences. But this observation shews what is natural for others to do in such a case, and that the way to repell and break such a design, is by their universall confederation.
Page 132Philip the Second was most capable of making this Obser∣vation, for in his hands p•…ed the Spanish Design of the Universal Monarchy, and that chiefly by reason of the Con∣junction of the English and Dutch against him.
In the process of this debate, Gentlemen did more parti∣cularly explain themselves, and propound to Address their design to the King, for a League offensive and defensive, with the Dutch against the French power.
Against which a specious Objection was made, That the Dutch, were already treating with the French, and ’twas like they would slip Collar, make a separate Peace for themselves and leave us engaged in a War with France.
To which was Answered, That there was no just fear of that, the Dutch were Interessed in repressing the Power of France as well as we, and they knew their Interest; It was reasonable for them to say, If England, which is as much concerned in this danger, will not assist us, we will make the best terms we can for our selves, there is yet a Seam of Land between the French and us, we may Trade by or under them, &c.
But if England will joyn with the Dutch, they cannot find one syllable of reason to desert the Common Cause.
They have observed a propensity in the People of England to help them, but not in the Couurt of England. If they can find that the Court does heartily joyn, it will above all things oblige and confirm them.
In One thousand six hundred sixty seven, when the Dutch were in Peace and Plenty, when Flanders was a greater Bull∣work to them, for the French had not pierced so far into it, and when the direction of their affaires was in a hand of in∣•… enmity to the Crown of England (John de Witt) yet 〈◊〉 th•… Interest did so far Govern him and them, as to en∣•…〈◊〉Tripple League, against the growth and power of 〈◊◊〉 more, and most certainly therefore now 〈◊◊〉 and weakened by a War, and stand inPage 133need of our help, now the French have approached nearer the b•…ink of their Country, and are encreased in Naval force to the danger of their Trade and Navigation, and now their affaires are chiefly directed by a kinsman of the Crown of England, the Prince of Orange, they cannot deflect or start from a League they make with us against our Common Enemy.
It was moved, that there might be a League Offensive and Defensive with Spain and the Dutch, and other convenient Allyances with the rest of the Confederates, but the particu∣lar concerning Spain, was retracted and laid aside by the ge∣neral Discourse of the Members to this purpose, We do covet an Allyance with Spain above others, for that they are Owners of the Netherlands, for whose preservation we have Addressed, that it is with Spain that we have the most, if not the only profitable Trade, and the Spaniards are good, gal∣lant and sure Friends. But they are remote, and we know not whether there are full powers here or at Brussels for this matter, and to wait for their coming from Madrid would make Church-work, whereas we need the swiftest expedi∣tion.
Therefore they Voted their Address to be particular and expresly for such a League with the Dutch, and as to the Spaniards together with the other Confederates in general.
This passed with very general consent, there was an ex∣traordinary full House, and upon putting the question, there were but two negative Voices to it.
There were more ordinary particulars appointed to be in the Address, but no contest or debate about them.
The Vote was as followeth;
THat an Addresse be made to the King, That his Majesty vvould be pleased to enter into a League, offensive and defensive, vvith the Sates General of the Vinited Provinces, and to make such other Alliances vvith others of the Confederates,Page 134as his Majesty shall think •…it, against the grovvth and povver of the French King, and for the preservation of the Spanish Nether-Lands, and that a Committe be appointed to dravv up the Ad∣dresse, vvith reasons vvhy this House cannot comply vvith his Majestics Speech, until such Alliances be 〈◊〉 into, and fur∣ther shevving the necessity of the speedy making such Alliances, and vvhen such Alliances are made, giving his Majesty As∣surance of speedy and chearfull supplyes, from time to time, for supporting and maintaining such Alliances.
To which (the Speaker re-assuming the Chair, and this being reported) the House agreed, and appointed the Committee.
And Adjourned over As•…nsion day till Friday,
In the interim, the Committee appointed, met and drew the Address according to the above mentioned Order, a true Coppy of which is here annexed.
May it please your Most excellent Majesty.
YOur Majesties most Loyal and Dutiful Subjects, 〈◊〉 Commons in Parliament assembled, have taken into their serious consideration, your Majesties gracious Speech and do beseech your Majesty, to believe it is a great afflicti∣on to them, to find themselves obleiged (at present) to decline the granting your Majesty the supply your Majesty is pleased to demand, conceiving it is not agreeable to the usage of Parliament, to grant Supplyes for mainteance of Wars, and Alliances, before they are signified in Parlia∣ment (which the too Wars against the States of the Vnited Provinces, since your Majesties happy Restoration, and the League made in January 1668, for preservation of the Spanish Nether Lands, sufficiently proved, withoutPage 135ling your Majesty with Instances of greater antiquity) from which usage if we might depart, the president might be of dangerous consequence in future times, though your Majesties Goodnesse gives us great security during your Majesties Raign, which we beseech God long to con∣tinue
This Consideration prompted us in our last Addresse to your Majesty, before our last Recesse, humbly to men∣tion to your Majesty, our hopes, that before our meeting again your Majesties Alliances might be so fixed, as that your Majesty might begraciously pleased to impart them to us in Parliament, that so our earnest desires of supplying your Majesty, for prosecuting those great ends, we had humbly laid before your Majesty, might meet with no impediment or obstruction; being highly sensible of the necessity of supporting, as well as making the Alliances, humbly desired in our former Addresses, and which we still conceive so important to the safety of your Majesty, and your Kingdomes, That we cannot (without unfaith∣fulnesse to your Majesty and those we Represent) omit up∣on all occasions, humbly to beseech your Majesty, as we now do, To enter into a League offensive and defensive vvith the States General of the United Provinces, against the grovvth and povver of the French King, and for the preservation of the Spanish Nether-Lands, and to make such other Alliances, vvith such other of the Confiderates, as your Majesty shall think fit and usefull to that end; in doing which (That no time may be lost) we humbly offer to his Majesty these Rea∣sons for the expediting of it.
- That if the entering into such Alliances, should draw on a War with the FrenchKing, it would be lest detri∣mental to your Majesties Subjects at this time of the year, they having now fewest effects, within the Dominion of that King.
- That though we have great reason to believe thePage 136power of the FrenchKing to be dangerous, to your Maje∣sty and your 〈◊〉, when he shall be at more leisure to molest us; yet we conceive the many Enemies he has to deal with at present, together with the scituation of your Majesties Kingdoms, the Unanimity of the People in the Cause,the care your Majesty hath been pleased to take of your ordinary Guards of the Sea, together with the Credit pro∣vided by the late Act for an additional Excise for three years make the entering into, and declaring Alliances very safe, until we may in a regular way give your Majesty such fur∣ther Supplies, as may enable your Majesty to support your Allyances, and defend your kingdoms.
And because of the great danger and charge which must necessarily fall upon your Majesties kingdomes, if through want of that timely encouragement and assistance, which your Majesties joyning with the States General of the Uni∣ted Provinces, and other the Confederates would give them, The said States or any other considerable part of the Con∣federates, should this next Winter, or sooner, make a Peace or Truce with the French King (the prevention vvhereof must 〈◊〉 be acknovvledged a singular effect of Gods good∣ness to us) which if it should happen, your Majesty would be afterwards necessitated with fewer, perhaps with no Al∣liances or Assistance to withstand the power of the French king, which hath so long and so succesfully contended with so many, and so potent Adversaries, and whilest he conti∣nues his over-ballancing greatness, must alwayes be dange∣rous to his Neighbours, since he would be able to oppress any one Confederate, before the rest could get together, and be in so good a posture of offending him as they novv are, being joyntly engaged in a War. And if he should be so successful as to make a Peace, or 〈◊〉 the present Confederation against him, it is much to be feared, whether 〈◊〉 would be possible ever to reunite it, at least it would be work of so much time and difficulty, as would leavePage 137your Majesties Kingdomes exposed to much misery and danger.
Having thus discharged our duty, in laying before your Majesty the Dangers threatning your Majesty, and your Kingdomes, and the onely Remedyes we can think of, for the preventing, securing, and queting the minds of your Majesties People, with some few of those Reasons which have moved us to this, and our former Addresses. On these Subjects; We most humbly beseech your Ma∣jesty to take the matter to your serious Consideration, and to take such Resolutions, as may not leave it in the power of any neighbouring Prince, to rob your People of that happinesse which they enjoy, under your Majesties graci∣ous Governement; beseeching your Majesty to •…∣fident and assured, that when your Majesty shall be 〈◊〉 to declare such Alliances in Parliament, We shall hold our selves obliged, not only by our promises, and assurances given, and now which great Unaninity revived in a full House, but by the Zeal and desires of those whom we re∣present, and by the Interests of all our safetyes, most chearfully to give your Majesty from time to time such speedy Supplyes, and Assistances, as may fully and plenti∣fully answer the Occasions, and by Gods blessing preserve your Majesty Honour, and the safty of the People.
All which is most humbly submitted to your Majesties great Wisdome.
Friday May 25th. 1677
Sir John Trevor reported from the said Committee the Addresse, as ’twas drawn by them, which was read.
Whereupon it was moved to agree with the Committee, but before it was agreed to, there was a debate and division of the House.
Page 138It was observed and objected that there was but one re∣son given herein for declining the granting money and that is the Unpresidentednesse, and as to one of the Instances to this purpose mentioned, Viz. the Kings first Dutch War, it was said to be mistaken for that the 2500000 l. was voted be∣fore the War declared.
But it was answred, that if the Declaration was not before the grant of the money (which Quaere) yet ’twas certain that the War it self, and great Hostilites were before the money, and some said there might be other reasons Assigned against giving money before the Alliances, but they rather desired to spare them, onely in general said, twas not re∣sonable to grant money before there was a Change (they 〈◊〉 not say of Counsellors but of Counsells) and an har∣•…•…dertaking these Alliances would be the best demon∣stration of that Change. For the swerving from this Interest and part, was the step by which we went awry, and the re∣turning thereto would restore us to our right place and way.
And a Gentleman produced and read the Kings Speech made Monday the 10th. of February 1667. wherein he speak chiefly of the League which afterwards when the Svvede came into it, was called the Tripple League.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I Am glad to see you hear again to tell you what I have done in this Intervall, which I am consident you will be pleased with, since it is so much to the Honour and security of the Nation. I have made a League Offensive and Defensive with the States of the United Provinces, and likewise a League for an efficacious mediation of Peace between the two Crowns, into which League that of Svve∣den by its Ambassador hath offered to enter as a principal, I did not at our last Meeting move you for any Aid,Page 139though I lye under great Debts contracted by the last War but now the posture of our Neighbours abroad, and the consequence of this new Alliance will oblige me for our se∣curity to set out a considerable fleet to Sea this Summer, and besides I must build more great Ships, and tis as ne∣cessary that I do something in order to the fortifying some of our Ports. I have begun my self in order to these ends, but if I have not your speedy assistance, I shall not be able to go thorow with it, wherefore I do earnestly desire you to take it into your speedy consideration, &c.
Which shews the proper course and practice, That Kings first communicate their Alliances made, before they demand Supplies upon the account of them.
So the Exception was let fall.
But the grand Objection mannaged against it, was upon the main point of the Address, wherein they desired his Ma∣jesty to make a League Offensive and Defensive with the Dutch, and such other Alliances with the rest as he should think sit.
Those who were against this particular (or particularize∣ing) in the Address, spoke to this effect.
This is an Invasion upon his Majesties Prerogative of making Peace, War and Leagues, and it is the worse for the Distinction that is used; in respect of the Dutch and the rest; by which you giving him express directions as to the Dutch, and referring to his discretion as to the others, it looks and gives an Umbrage as if what he was to do was by your leave.
The Antient Land-mark, the Boundaries between King and People must not be removed; This power is one of the few things reserved entirely to the Crown. Parliaments are summoned to treat de Arduis, but He, de quibusdam Arduis, this is unpresidented.
Page 140The Marriages of the Royal Family is such a peculiar thing reserved to the King, and the matter of the Lady Arrabella is an Instance. Queen Elizabeth resented it high, that the Parliament should propound her marrying, and she said that however it is well they did not name the person, if they had named the person, it had been intolerable, now here you name the person whom you would have the King Ally.
If you may go so far, you may come to draw a Treaty, and propose to the King to sign it, By this you would put a great Indecorum upon the King, he is now concerned as a Mediator at Nimmegen, and it would be an indecent thing for him at the same time to declare himself a party. It is be∣lieved the House of Austria (though they sent full powers to Nimmegen, for the purpose, yet) never intended to con∣clude a Peace. But it was an absurd thing for them to de∣clare so in Publick; There must be publick decorum.
This is the way for the King to have the worse bargain with the Confederates, for they observing how he is im∣portuned, and as it were driven to make these Alliances, will slacken and lessen those advantagious offers, which other wise they would be forced to make.
And again and again, they said his Majesty did agree with this House in the End, and they did not doubt but he would prosecute it by the same means as was desired. But his Pre∣rogative was not to be incroacht upon. This manner of pro∣ceeding would never obtain with the King, nay, it would make the Address miscarry with the King.
On the other Side, several spoke to this effect.
We ought to consider, we are upon the Question of agreeing an Address drawn by our Committee, by our Order.
If they have not in matter and manner corresponded with our direction or intention, we have cause to disagree. But here the Exception taken, and cause pressed why we should not agree with them is, because they have observed the veryPage 141words and substance of our Order, which exactly justifieth this Draught.
This passed on Wednesday, upon a full Debate, in a very full House, two only contradicting, but not one speaking or thinking the Kings Prerogative was toucht: and there∣fore its strange it should be made the great Objection and Question of this day.
But the Prerogative is not at all intrenc•…d upon, we do not, nor do pretend to Treat or make Alliances, we only offer our advice about them, and leave it with the King he may do as he pleaseth, either make or not make them. It is no more than other persons may do to the King, or doubtless the Privy Council may Advise him in this particular, and why not his Great Council? This rate of discourse would make the Kings Prerogative consist meerly in not being advised by his Parliament (of all People.)
There are manifold Presidents of such Advices: Leagues have been made by Advice of Parliament, and have been ratified in Parliament: In Edvv. 3. R•…ch. 2. and especially in Henry the Fifths time, and particularly with 〈◊〉 the Emperour and king of the Romans, and Henry the fifth was a Magnanimous Prince and not to be •…mposed upon.
- Jac.The Parliament Advised the King about making and mannaging a War, Rushvv. Coll. 36, 41, 42, 45, 46. And we may well remember our own advising the first Dutch War; and making Leagues is less than War.
But if there was no President in this particular Case, it was no Objection; for matter of Advice is not to be circums•…ri∣bed by President. If there be a 〈◊〉 case that a Prince should joyn in a War, together with another Prince, when that Prince was too potent before and that when this was discerned, and a Peace made, yet Succors should continual∣ly go out of the first Princes Dominions to the service of the other Prince (and that notwithstanding several Addresses and advices to the contrary.
Page 142Tis true (as Objected) that the Commons have sometimes declined advising in the matter of War, &c. proposed to them. But that shews not their want of right to meddle therewith, but rather the contrary. The very truth is, it has been the desire and endeavour of kings in all Ages, to engage their Parliaments in advising War, &c. That so they might be obliged to supply the King to the utmost for and through it, but they out of a prudent caution have some times waved the matter, lest they should engage further or deeper than they were aware or willing.
Since his Majesty is treating as Mediator at Nimmegen, about the general Peace, it is a great reason why he should specifi•… the Alliances desired as we have done, that we might make it known, we are far from desiring such Alliances as might be made by and with a general Peace; but on the con∣trary coveting such as might prevent and secure us against that dangerous and formidable Peace.
Doubtless the Confederates will offer honourable and worthy Terms; Their necessity is too great to boggle or take advantages, nor will they think this League the less worth because we advise it, but rather value it the more, be∣cause it is done unanimously by the King with the Advise and applause of his People in Parliament.
We cannot suppose that our proceeding thus to his Ma∣jesty will pejudice our Address or en∣danger its miscarriage since it is for his * Majesties advantage, in that it obliges us to supply him to all degrees through this Affaire, and the more particular it is, the more still for the Kings advantage, for if it had been more general, and the King thereupon had made Alliances, whatever they were, men might have thought and said they were not the Alliances intended, and it might be used as an excuse or reason for their not giving money to supply his Majesty here∣after,Page 143but this as it is now, doth most expresly, strictly and particularly bind us up.
We reflect that a great deal of time (and precious time) has been spent since and in our Addresse on this Subject, and finding no effectual fruit, especially of our last Addresse, we have cause to apprehend we are not clearly understood in what we mean. Now it is the ordinary way of pursuing discourse in such Case, and it is Proper and naturall for us to speak (out) more explicitely and particularly, and tell 〈◊〉 Majesty, That what we have meant is a League offensive and defensive, And to perswad us again to Addresse on, in more general Terms, as before, is to perswade us, that as we have done nothing this ten weeks, so we should do no∣thing still.
And said his Majesty in his late Message and last Speech, has been pleased to demand 600000 l. for answering the purpose of our Addresses, and assures us that the money shall not be imployed to other uses than we would have it imploy∣ed, it is most seasonable for us to declare plainly the use and purpose we intend, that so it may be concerted and clearly understood of all hands, and therefore it is well done to mention to his Majesty these express Alliances, we thinking no other Alliances, worth the said Sum, and we withal pro∣mising and undertaking that his Majesty shall have this and and more for these ends.
Nor have we any cause to apprehend that his Majesty will take amisse our advising Leagues in this manner. We have presented more than one Addresse for Alliances against the growth and power of the French King, and his Majesty has received, admitted and answered them without any exception, and if we may Addresse for Alliances against a particular Prince or state, Why not for Alliances with a par∣ticular Prince or state? It cannot be lesse regular or Parli∣amentary then the former.
And moreover (though we know that punctuall presi∣dentsPage 144are on our side, besides our Commissions by our Writts. to treat de arduis, & urgentibus Regem, Statum, & Defensionem Reg•…, & 〈◊〉 Anglicanae, concernentibus. And besides the Kings General intimations in his Printed Speech, yet) if it •…e said to be a decent and proper thing to have his Majestys 〈◊〉 and consent, before we proceed on such a matter, in such a manner, as we now do, we say, that that in effect is with us too; for consider all our former Addresses, and his Majestyes Answers, and Messages thereupon, and it will appear that his Majesty has engaged and encouraged us to upon this Subject; and that which he expects and would have, is not to limit or check our advise, but to open and en∣•… our 〈◊〉. His Majesty appears content to be through∣ly advised, provided he be proportionably furnished and en∣abled with money, which we being now ready to do, we clearly and conclusively present him our advice, for the ap∣plication of it. To prevent those mistakes and distrusts vvhich his Majesty sayes he findes some are so ready to make, as if he had called us together only to get money from us, for other uses then vve vvould have it imployed.
And truly the advising these Allyances, together with as∣suring his Majesty thereupon to assist and supply him pre∣sently, and plentifully to prosecute the same, is our only way of complying and corresponding with his last speech: For those Leagues followed and supported by these Sup∣plyes are the only means and methodes to put his Majestie in the best condition, both to defend his Subjects, and offend his Enemies: and so there will be no sault in his Majesty nor Us, but His and Our security vvill sufficiently provide for.
Besides it will be worse, it will be a very bad thing indeed not to make the Addresse for this particular League, now, since we have resolved it already. Our intention being to have the Dutch, &c. comforted, encouraged and assured, we did order this on Wednesday, and there is publick notice taken of it abroad, and beyond Sea. If we should now up∣uponPage 145solemn debate set the same aside, it would beget a great doubt, discomfort, and discouragment to them; It is one thing never to have ordered it; another, to retract it.
Also it was said, that this was necessary, but was not all that was necessary, for suppose (which was not credible) that France should be prevailed with to deliver up all Lorraine, Flanders, Alsatia, and other Conquered places; Are we safe? No, He has too many hands, too much Money, and this money is in great measure (a Million Sterling yearly at least) supplyed him from hence. We must depress him by force as far as may be, but further we must have Leagues and Laws to impoverish him, We must destroy the French Trade. This would quiet and secure us, this would make our Lands rise, and this would enable us to set the king at ease.
After this long debate the House came to the Question, Whether this particular of a League Offensive and Defensive vvith the Dutch should be left out of the Address, upon which Question, the House divided,
Yeas 142, Noes 182.
So that it was carried by Forty that it should stand.
Then the main Question was put for agreeing, with their Committee, this Address: which passed in the Affirmative without Division of the House.
Then it was Ordered, That those Members of the House who were of his Majestys Privy Counsel, should move his Majesty to know his pleasure, when the House might wait upon him with their Address.
Mr. Povvle reported from the Committee, Amendments to the Bill for Recalling his Majestys Subjects out of the French Kings Service, which were Read and Agreed to by the House and the Bill with the Amendments Ordered to be Ingrossed.
And then the House Adjourned to the morrow.
Saturday, May 26 1677, in the morn.
The House being sate had notice by Secretary Coventry That the King would receive their Address at three in the afternoon.
The Bill for Recalling his Majesties Subjects, &c. being then Ingrossed, was Read the Third time and Passed; The effect of the Bill in short was this.
That all and every of the Natural born Subjects of his Majesty who should continue or be, after the first of August next, in the Military Service of the French King, should be disabled to inherit any Lands, Tenements or Hereditaments, and be uncapable of any Gift, Grant or Legacy, or to be Executor or Administrator, and being convicted, should be adjudged guilty of Felony, without benefit of the Clergy, and not pardonable by his Majesty, his Heirs or Successors, except only by Act of Parliament, wherein such Offenders should be particularly named.
The like appointment for such as should continue in the Sea-service, of the French King, after the first of May, 1678.
This Act as to the prohibiting the offence, and incurring the penalties, to continue but for two years, but the execute∣ing and proceeding upon it for Offences against the Act, might be at any time, aswell after as within the two years.
Then it was Ordered, that Mr. Povvle should carry up this Bill to the Lords, and withall should put the Lords in mind, of a Bill for The better suppressing the grovvth of Popery, which they had sent up to their Lordships before Easter, which was forth with done accordingly.
As soon as this was ordered, several other Bills were mo∣ved for to be Read, &c. But the Members generally said, No. They vvould proceed on nothing but the French and Popery. So they Adjourned to the afternoon, when they attended the King with their Address, at the Banqueting House in White-Hall.Which being presented, The King Answered,Page 147That it was long and of great importance, that he would consider of it, and give them an Answer as soon as he could.
The House did nothing else but Adjourn till Monday morn.
Monday, May 28, 1677.
The House being sate, they received notice by Secretary Coventry, that the King expected them immediately at the Banqueting-House.
Whether being come, The King made a Speech to them on the Subject of their Address. Which Speech to pre∣vent mistakes, his Majesty read out of his Paper, and then delivered the same to the Speaker. And his Majesty added a few words about their Adjournment.
The Kings Speech is as followeth;
Could I have been Silent, I vvould rather have chosen to be so then to call to mind things so unfit for you to meddle vvith, as are contained in some parts of your last Addresses, vvherein you have entrenched upon so undoubted a Right of the Crovvn, that I am confident it vvill appear in no Age (vvhen the Svvord vvas not dravvn) that the Prerogative of making Peace and War hath been so dangerously invaded.
You do not content your selves vvith desiring Me to enter into such Leagues, as may be for the safety of the Kingdome, but you tell Me vvhat sort of Leagues they must be, and vvith vvhom, (and as your Addresse is vvorded) it is more liable to be un∣derstood to be by your Leave, then at your Request, that I should make such other Alliances, as I please vvith other of the Confederates.
Should I suffer this fundamental Povver of making Peace and War to be so far invaded (though but once) as to have the man∣nerPage 148and circumstances of Leagues prescribed to Me by Parliament it’s plain that no Prince or State vvould any longer believe that the Soveraignty of England rests in the Crovvn, Nor could I think My Self to signifie any more to Foreign Princes, then the empty Sound of a King. Wherefore you may rest assured, that no Condition shall make Me depart from, or lessen so essential a part of the Monarchy. And I am vvilling to believe so vvell of this House of Commons, that I am confident these ill Conse∣quences are not intended by you.
These are in short the Reasons, vvhy I can by no means approve of your Address; and yet though you have declined to grans Me that Supply vvhich is necessary to the Ends of it, I do again declare to you, That as I have done all that lay in my povver since your last Meeting, so I vvill still apply my self by all the means I •…an, to let the World see my Care both for the Security and Satis∣faction of my People, although it may not be vvith those Ad∣vantages to them, vvhich by your Assistances I might have procured.
And having said this, he signified to them that they should Adjourn till the 16th. of July.
Upon hearing of this Speech read, their House is said to have been greatly appalled, both in that they were so severe∣ly Checked in his Majesties name, from whom they had been used to receive so constant Testimones of his Royal Bounty and Affection, which they thought they had deserv∣ed, as also, because there are so many Old and fresh Pre∣sidents, of the same Nature; and if there had not, yet they were led into this by all the stepps of Necessity, in duty to his Majesty and the Nation. And several of them offering therefore modestly to have spoken, they were interrupted continually by the Speaker, contesting that after the Kings pleasure signified for Adjornment, there was no further Li∣berty of speaking. And yet it is certain, that at the same time in the Lords House, the Adjournment was in the 〈◊〉 forme, and upon the Question first propounded to thatPage 149House, and allowed by them; All Adjournments (unlesse made by speciall Commission under his Majesties Broad Seal) being and having alwaies been so, an Act of the Houses by their own Authority. Neverthelesse, several of their Members requiring to be heard, the Speaker had the confidence, without any Question put, and of his own motion, to pronounce the House Adjourned till the 16th. of July, and s•…pt down in the middle of the floor, all the House being astonished at so unheard of a violation of their inherent Priviledge and Constitution. And that which more amazed them afterwards was, that while none of their own transacti∣ons or Addresses for the Publick Good are suffered to be Printed, but even all Written Coppies of them with the same care as Libells suppressed; Yet they found this severe speech published in 〈◊〉 next days News Book, to mark them out to their own, and all other Nations, as refractory disobe∣dient Persons, that had lost all respect to his Majesty. Thus were they well rewarded for their Itch of Perpetual Sitting, and of Acting; the Parliament being grown to that height of Contempt, as to be Gazetted among Run-away Servants, Lost Doggs, Strayed Horses, and High-way Robbers.
In this manner was the second meeting of this, whether Convention or Parliament, concluded; But by what Name soever it is lawfull to call them, or how irregular they were in other things, yet it must be confessed, That this House or Barn of Commons, deserved commendations for have∣ing so far prevented the establishment of Popery, by reject∣ing the Conspiratours two Bills; Intituled.
An Act for further securing the Protestant Religion by educating the Children of the Royal family therein; And for the providing for the Continuance of a Protestant Clergy.
An Act for the more effectual conviction and Prosecu∣tion of Popish Recusants.
And for having in so many Ad∣dresses applyed against the French power and 〈◊〉. And their Debates before recited upon this latter subject, doPage 152〈1 page duplicate〉Page 153〈1 page duplicate〉Page 150sufficently show, that there are men of great parts among them, who understand the Intrest of the Nation, and as long as it is for their purpose, can prosecute it.
For who would not commend Chastity, and raile against Whoreing, while his Rival injoyes their Mistresse?
But on the other side, that poor desire of Perpetuating themselves those advantages which they have swallowed, or do yet gape for, renders them so •…bject, that they are be∣come a meer property to the Conspiratours, and must, in order to their continuance, do and suffer such things, so much below and contrary to the spirit of the Nation, that any honest man would swear that they were no more an English House of Parliament. And by this weaknesse of theirs it was, that the House of Peers also (as it is in contigu∣ous Buildings) yeelded and gave way so far even to the shaking of the Government. For had the Commons stood firme, it had been impossible that ever two men, such as the Black and White Lords, Trerise and Frechvvel, though of so vast fortunes, extraordinary understanding, and so proporti∣onable Courage, should but for speaking against their sense have committed the Four Lords (not much their inferi∣ours) and thereby brought the whole Peerage of England under their vassalage.
They met again at the Day appointed, the 16 of July, The supposed House of Commons were so well appayed, and found themselves at such ease, under the Protection of these frequent Adjournments, which seemed also further to confirme their Title to Parliament, that they quite forgot how they had been out-lawed in the Gazette, or if any sense or it remaind, there was no opportunity to discover it. For his Majesty having signified by Mr. Secretary Coventry his pleasure; that there should be a further Adjournment, their Mr. Seymour (the speaker deceased) would not suffer any man to proceed, But an honourable Member requiring modestly to have the Order Read, by which they were be∣forePage 151Adjourned, he Interrupted him and the Seconder of that motion. For he had at the last Meeting gained one President of his own making for Adjourning the House with∣out question, by his own Authority, and was loath to have it discontinued, so that without more ado, like an infallible Judge, and who had the power over Counsels, he declared, Ex Cathedra, that they were Adjourned till the third of De∣cember next. And in the same moment stampt down on the floor, and went forth (trampling upon, and treading under foot, I had almost said, the Priviledges and usage of Parlia∣ment, but however) without shewing that decent respect which is due to a multitude in Order, and to whom he was a Menial servant.
In the mean time the four Lords lay all this while in the Tower, looking perhaps to have been set free, at least of Course by Prorogation. And there was the more reason to have expected one, because the Corn Clause which de∣ducted Communibus Annis, 55000 I. out of the Kings Cus∣tomes, was by the Act of Parliament to have expired.
But those frequent Adjournments left no place for Divi∣nation, but that they must rather have been calculated to give the French more scope for perfecting their Conquests, or to keep the Lords closer, till the Conspirators Designes were accomplished; and it is less probable that one of these was false, than that both were the true Causes So that the Lords, if they had been taken in War, might have been ran∣somed cheaper than they were Imprisoned. When there∣fore after so long patience, they saw no end of their Captivi∣ty, they began to think that the procuring of their Liberty deserved almost the same care which others took to conti∣nue them in Durance; and each of them chose the Me∣thod he thought most advisable.
The Earl of Shaftsbury having addressed in vain for his Majesties favour resorted by Habeas Corpus to the Kings Bench, the constant Residence of his Justice. But thePage 152Judges were more true to their Pattents then their Jurisdicti∣on and remanded him, Sir Thomas Jones having done him double Justice, answering both for himself and his Brother Tvvisden, that was absent and had never hard any Argument in the case.
The Duke of Buckingham, the Earle of Salisbury, and the Lord Wharton, had better Fortune then he in recurring to his Majesty by a Petition, upon which they were enlarged, making use of an honorable Evasion, where no Legal Re∣paration could be hoped for. Ingratefull Persons may cen∣sure them for enduring no more, not considering how much they had suffered. But it is Honour enough for them to have been Confessors, nor as yet is the Earl of Shaftsbury a Mar∣tyr, for the English Liberties and the Protestant Religion, but may still live to the Envy of those that maligne him for his Constancy.
There remaines now only to relate that before the meet∣ing appointed for the third of December, his Majesties Pro∣clamation was Issued, signifying that he expected not the Members attendance, but that those of them about Town may Adjourn themselves till the fourth of April 1678. Wherein it seemed not so strange, because often done be∣fore, as unfortunate that the French should still have so much further leisure allowed him to compleat his design upon Flanders, before the Nation should have the last opportuni∣ty of interposing their Counsells with his Majesty (it cannot now be said) to prevent it. But these words that the House may Adjourn themselves were very well received by those of the Commons who imagined themselves thereby restored to their Right, after Master Seymours Invasion; When in re∣versal of this, he probably desiring to retain a Jurisdiction, that he had twice usurped, and to adde this Flower to the Crown, of his own planting, Mr. Secretary Coventry deli∣vered a written Message from his Majesty on the 3d. of De∣cember, of a contrary effect, though not of the same vali∣dityPage 153with the Proclamation, to wit, That the Houses should be Adjourned only to the 15. of January 1677. Which as soon as read, Mr. Seymour would not give leave to a worthy Member offerring to speak, but abruptly, now the third time of his own authority, Adjourned them, without putting the Question, although Sr. J. Finch, for once doing so in Tertio Charoli, was accused of high Treason; This only can be said, perhaps in his excuse, That whereas that in tertio Car. was a Parliament Legally constituted, Mr. Seymour did here do as a Sheriff that disperses a Riotous assembly. In this man∣ner they were kickt from Adjourment to Adjournment, as from one stair down to another, and when they were at the bottom kickt up again, having no mind yet to Go out of Doors.
And here it is time to fix a period, if not to them, yet to this Narrative. But if neither one Prorogation, against all the Laws in being, nor three Vitious Adjournments, against all Presidents, can Dissolve them, this Parliament then is Im∣mortal, they can subsist without his Majesties Authority, and it is less dangerous to say with Captain Elsdon, so lately, Si Rebellio evenerit in Regno, & non accideret fore, contra omnes tres Status, Non est Rebellio.
Thus far hath the Conspiracy against our Religion and Government been laid open, which if true, it was more than time that it should be discovered, but if any thing therein have been falsly suggested the disproving of it in any particular will be a courtesy both to the Publick and to the Relator; who would be glad to have the world convinced of the con∣trary, tho to the prejudice of his own reputation. But so far is it from this, that it is rather impossible for any observing man to read without making his own farther remarkes of the same nature, and adding a supplement of most passages which are here but imperfectly toucht. Yet some perhaps may Ob∣ject, as if the Assistance given to France were all along invidi∣ously aggravated, whereas there have been and are, conside∣rable numbers likewise of his Majesties Subjects in the Ser∣vice of Holland, which hath not been mentioned. But inPage 154Answer to that, it is well known through what difficulty and hardship they passed thither, escaping hence over, like so many Malefactors; and since they are there, such care hath been taken to make them as serviceable as others to the De∣sign, that of those three Regiments, two, if not the third also, have been new modelled under Popish Officers, and the Pro∣testants displaced. Yet had the Relator made that volunta∣ry Omission in partiality to his Argument, he hath abundant∣ly recompenced in sparing so many Instances on the other∣side which made to his purpose; The abandoning his Ma∣jesties own Nephevv for so many years in compliance with His and our Nations Enemies, the further particulars of the French Depradations and Cruelties exercised at Sea upon his Majesties Subjects, and to this day continued and tollerated without reparation; Their notorious Treacheries and Inso∣lencies, more especially relating to his Majesties Affairs. These things abroad, which were capable of being illustrated by many former and fresh Examples. At home, the constant irregularities and injustice from Term to Term, of those that administer the Judicature betwixt his Majesty and his People. The Scrutiny all over the Kingdom, to find out men of Arbitrary Principles, that will Bovv the knee to Baal, in order to their Promotion to all Publick Commissions and Imployments; and the Disgracing on the contrary and Dis∣placing of such as yet dare in so universal a depravation be honest and faithful in their Trust and Offices. The defecti∣on of considerable persons both Male and Female to the Po∣pish Religion, as if they entred by Couples clean and unclean into the Ark of that Church, not more in order to their salvation, than for their temporal safety. The state of the Kingdom of Ireland, which would require a whole Volume to represent it. The tendency of all Affairs and Counsels in this Nation towards a Revolution. And (by the great Civility and Foresight of his Holyness) an English Cardinal now for several years prepared like Cardinal Poole to give us Absolu∣tion, Benediction, and receive us into Apostolical Obedience.
Page 155It is now come to the fourth Act, and the next Scene that opens may be Rome or Paris, yet men sit by, like idle Spectators, and still give money towards their own Tragedy. It is true, that by his Majesty and the Churches care, under Gods Speciall providence, the Conspiracy hath received frequent disappointments. But it is here as in Gaming, where, tho the Cheat may lose for a while, to the Skill or good fortune of a fairer Player, and sometimes on purpose to draw him in deeper, yet the false Dice must at the long run Carry it, unless discovered, and when it comes once to a great Stake, will Infallibly Sweep the Table.
If the Relator had extended all these Articles in their par∣ticular Instances, with severall other Heads, which out of Respect he forbore to enumerate, it is evident there was matter sufficient to have further accused his Subjects. And nevertheless, he foresees that he shall on both hands be blam∣ed for pursuing this method. Some on the one side will ex∣pect, that the very Persons should have been named, where∣as he onely gives evidence to the Fact, and leaves the male∣factors to those who have the power of inquiry. It was his design indeed to give Information, but not to turn •…or∣mer. That these to whom he hath onely a puplick enmity, no private animosity, might have the priviledige of States∣men, to repent at the last hour, and by one signall Action to expiate all their former misdemeanours. But if any one de∣light in the Chase, he is an ill Woodman that knows not the size of the Beast by the proportion of his Excrement.
On the other hand, some will represent this discourse (as they do all Books that tend to detect their Conspiracy) a∣gainst his Majesty and the Kingdome, as if it too were writ∣ten against the Government. For now of late, as soon as any man is gotten into publick imployment by ill Acts and by worse continues it, he, if it please the Fates, is thence forward the Government, and by being Criminal, pretends to be sa∣cred. These are, themselves, the men who are the Living Libells against the Government, and who (whereas thePage 156Law discharges the Prince upon his Ministers) do if in dang∣er of being Questioned, plead or rather Impeach his Autho∣rity in their own Justification. Yea, so impudent is their in∣gratitude, that as they intitle him to their Crimes, so they ar∣rogate to themselves his Virtues, chalenging whatsoever is well done, and is the pure emanation of his Royal Goodness, to have proceeded from their Influence. Objecting thereby his Majesty, if it were possible, to the hatred and interposing as far as in them lies, betwixt the love of his People. For be∣ing conscious to themselves how inconsiderable they would be under any good Government, but for their notorious wickedness, they have no other way of subsisting, but by nourishing suspitions betwixt a most loyal People, and most gracious Soveraign. But this Book, though of an extra•…∣dinary nature, as the case required, and however it may 〈◊〉 calu•…iated by interessed persons, was written with no 〈◊〉 intent than of meer Fidelity and Service to his Majesty,〈◊〉 God forbid that it should have any other effect, than 〈◊〉the mouth of all Iniquity and of Flatterers may be stopped, and that his Majesty having discerned the Disease, may with his Healing Touch apply the Remedy. For so far is the Relator himself from any Sinister surmise of his Majesty, or from sug∣gesting it to others, that he acknowledges, if it were fit for Caesars Wife to be free, much more is Caesar himself from all Crime and Suspition. Let us therefore conclude with our own Common Devotions, From all Privy Conspiracy, &c.
Good Lord deliver us.
Errata. Pag. 6 line 5 read, at the same time. p. 8 l 6 r. clave non erranie. p. 8 l. 25 dele still. p. 17 l. 〈◊〉 r. Feb. 15. 1676. p. 27 l. 20. r. 1800000. p. 30 l. 1 r. deference. p. 43 l. 34 r. Eng. Declaration p. 48 l. 〈◊〉 r. claimed a povver. p. 67 l. 20 r. obvious. p. 74 l. 20 r. as. p. 75 l. 34; 35 r. rigging and unrigging. p. 79 l. 2 r. these. p. 85 l. 〈◊◊〉that others had of practising. p. 114 l. 5 r. vvink. p. 115 l. 27, 28 r. and the vvhole house. p. 120 l. 8 r. French Embassade. p. •…21 l. 23. 〈◊〉car•…re. p. 133 l. 28 r. more then ordinary.
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