Introduction, Part 2
On the 22nd June leave was given by the House for
the introduction of a Bill to settle their Majesties' revenue,
but nothing further had been done thereon when on the
28th June he called both Houses before him and made
a speech in which he plainly hinted his dissatisfaction
and threatened to send the Members home for a recess :
"I must remind you of making an effectual and timely
provision of the money for the States of Holland, and I
doubt not but you will take care to see a fitting revenue
settled for myself. I will add no more but to recommend
earnestly to you to avoid all occasions of dispute or delay."
The debate which followed in the Commons, upon this
Speech from the King, is thus summarised in "Grey's
Debates," Vol. IX, pp. 376-8 :
1689, June 28th.
Sir Robert Howard : The King is pleased to leave the
matter to us ; and, in the first place, let us return
thanks to the King etc., and go into a Committee
to consider the Speech, paragraph by paragraph.
Sir Thomas Clarges : We cannot be able before the recess
to make a judgement of the arrears of the money.
Col. Birch : We all desire a recess, and to me seem to
do a quite contrary thing. The Bill of Oblivion
has held us a month, and, for ought I know, we may
sit till Michaelmas, and not do it. This is a fine
thing to keep you from all business. I would
despatch all Bills relating to money, and when you
have the account you will be satisfied in a day or
two. Tis true some things are contingent in the
Poll money. I remind you that money stands
voted in the House for the Dutch. Their ships
came heartily to our assistance, therefore take the
King's Speech into consideration on Monday.
Sir John Thompson. Let us do our country justice
and the Dutch justice. They came for their own
preservation as well as ours, against the great
preparation of the French King.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : The Dutch have no great
war upon their hands now, but we know who has.
We have the French and Ireland. We shall comply
amply with the King, if we go upon what is before
us, and to-morrow we may go upon the Excise.
If we go on upon the accounts, we shall have no
hopes of a recess; therefore go to-morrow upon the
Mr. Howe : I am willing to go as soon as possible
upon money. I am sensible of the service the
Dutch have done. Many an honourable gentleman
has done you great service, and yet brings you no
bills of account for it. I hope the King will give
us satisfaction in the Irish affairs and save you the
labour of particular accounts. If the Dutch can
fit out more ships than they have already, they may
do it in money. Upon the whole, I am ready to
give money when it is requisite ; but you may see
the accounts mentioned.
Sir Thomas Clarges : In our aids to the King we have
not limited one thing nor another. We hoped that
200,000l. had been paid off of what we had granted
to the Dutch, and the rest supplied. I cannot see
how more money can be expended before we meet
again, and in February next is the last payment
of the subsidy, and we may consider betwixt this
and then. Here in the Poll money and the revenue
altogether are three millions betwixt this and
February. There is no absolute need of falling upon
the revenue to settle it. Till the Book of Rates be
perfected we cannot settle the revenue. Here is the
Excise, and I know not how to put the wheels faster
upon a run than they are before the recess, to
make a judgment of the arrears of the money; by
winter we shall have time to make recompence for
what falls short. Till then we cannot compute
what that will be. The Poll is contingent with
the other taxes ; till then we are not able to give
the King any answer, and then we may make up
what is deficient.
Mr. Howe : I think there is other business upon our
hands, as well as the indemnity. We are not yet
off from Lord Danby's breach of privilege. I
would neither frighten the messenger nor anybody
else in the King's service, but if you will pass this
over I will say no more.
William III.'s remarks to Halifax a few days later are
abbreviated as follows :
"Speaking about the Parliament and [Halifax] persuading
him to let it sit, hee said hee was so weary
of them he could not bear them. There must be
a recess. I argued against it, but could not alter
his opinion in it. Note : Hee was cruelly galled
with their proceedings." (July 10th.)
"Hee spoke of having a Committee of Parliament in
the interval to consider and report what pensions
were fit to be payed : but upon discourse hee went
off from it. Note: Such Committees are nice
[ticklish or dangerous] things to be trusted by the
Government." (July 22nd.)
"Hee said hee saw the designe in the managing the
business of his revenue in the House.
"That they would not have it [to be granted] for the
Queen's life, but hee would have it for both. Said
that the Presbyterians now delayed it for some
dayes that they might have the honour of [being
the arrangers and authors of] it themselves.
"Note: About this time there seemed to be the first
turn in the King's mind about the Dissenters. Said
hee would stay a week and if they did nothing in
the Revenue hee would send them away." (July
"Hee said there was but one reason to make him
accept the revenue upon the termes proposed ;
which was, because the money given to the Dutch
is comprehended in it." (August Ist.)
"He said his own servants obstructed [the settlement
of] his revenue. (August 4th.)
"Hee said the revenue once settled hee would take
"Note : It is to be supposed the Parliament was
apprehensive of it."
The succeeding relative entry is probably either a first
draft or a mere recapitulation of the above disconnected
jottings of the King's conversation :
"The King said he was very ill satisfied with the
behaviour of his Officers of the Revenue in the
House of Commons ; spoke of the Parliament rising
[sic being prorogued] ; had a mind to prorogue it.
I argued against it. He mentioned the dissolving it
afterwards and chusing a new one, but said it was to
be considered whether he might rely on the Church
party. The discourse broke off." (August 11th.) (fn. 1)
Beyond the debate just summarised the effect produced
upon the House of Commons by William's speech of the
28th June was slight and evanescent.
A proposal was made on the same day to add certain
duties to the Customs and Excise and ten days later, on
the 8th July, the House resolved "That the Bill for settling
the revenue upon their Majesties be one of the Bills to be
This vote was followed on the 12th of July by a Resolution
for adding to the Bill for settling the revenue [on their
Majesties] a clause to provide " that the lands, revenues
and all estates granted to or in trust for or belonging to
the Queen Consort of the late King James II. be vested
in the King and Queen's Majesty and for the repealing
all Acts of Parliament made for settling or confirming the
same upon the said late Queen":
and also by a second Resolution, " That the revenue
to be settled on their Majesties be free from any charges
But it is noteworthy that these two Resolutions were
only passed after a message had come from William plainly
expressing his nauseated impatience at the futility of
their proceedings. He told them that he intended they
should adjourn and that he was willing that there should
be no further proceedings upon raising of money till they
re-assembled towards winter, "other than what the House
themselves have now designed."
Spurred or stung into momentary activity, the Commons
three days later introduced a Bill for settling the revenue
[on their Majesties] and read it a first time on the same
day, the 15th July, a second time two days later, and
discussed it in a Committee of the whole House on the
25th of that month. In connection with this discussion
in Grand Committee the House had re-discovered the
elementary fact that at the beginning of the reign of
James II. the Customs and Excise had been collected without
Parliamentary sanction, viz. for the three months between
his accession and the first meeting of his Parliament
(see this subject treated in the Introduction to the preceding
volume of this Calendar, Vol. VIII, Part I, Introduction,
p. x.), and had straight away turned off on the
scent of this side issue, desiring leave of the King for
search to be made in the Privy Council records in order
to ascertain by what authority the same was done.
At the moment of passing such a vote the House of
Commons itself was, whether consciously or not, in exactly
the same dilemma. The first Act for the collection of
the revenue, supra, pp. xxxvi—vii, had authorised the
collecting of the King's revenue only up to June 24th,
and was therefore already three weeks expired and
unrenewed, and yet the revenue collection had continued,
as of course it was bound to do.
The conclusion of this episode is illuminating from the
point of view of constitutional history. The records of
the Privy Council were ransacked, and a report of a very
detailed nature was made on the 25th July on the
occasion of the debate in Grand Committee referred to
above. But if there had been any hope on the part of a
section of the House that blame could thereby be
attached to the late King's Executive for collecting the
revenue of Customs and Excise during the interim period
before the authority of Parliament had been obtained,
such hope was quickly dispelled. The evidence as well
as common sense only proved the practical necessity of
avoiding any break in the collection of the revenue.
On the same day on report from the Grand Committee the
House showed its common sense by recognising the necessity
of such action by itself authorising the introduction
in the Bill for Settling the Revenue of a clause to provide :
"that the Duties settled by the Book of Rates now
in being shall continue and be collected until a new
Book of Rates be settled by the Commons in Parliament
and signed by their Speaker and no longer ;
and to enact that the said new Book of Rates shall
be settled within the space of three years from the
first day of August, 1689." (This clause was reported
on the following day, July 26th, and after being
debated exhaustively on the 29th and 30th July
was referred back.)
It will be at once apparent that such a vote would have been
tantamount to a grant to the Crown for three years of the
Customs and Excise standing in force in the last year of
James II.'s reign.
The conclusion of the incident therefore illustrates the
wavering and indecisive state of opinion in the House as
to constitutional procedure. There were two alternative
procedures possible, viz. either to grant the King's revenue
for life, as had been done in 1660 and 1685, or to grant it
for one year only. The first procedure would have been in
accordance with 17th century practice. The second would
have expressed the modern conception of annual grants.
But the conclusion actually reached embodied neither the
one idea nor the other.
Such an episode combined with the utter aimlessness of
the procedure of the House during nearly six months is
attributable mainly to want of leadership in the Commons.
The King was only represented there by such private members
as happened also to be actual officers of one or other
of the services, civil, military, naval and so forth. In
this respect there is no visible advance in constitutional
practice in these proceedings of William's Parliament as
compared with the proceedings in any of the Parliaments
of Charles II. and in that of James II. William was aware
dimly of the real weakness of the situation and in conversation
with the Marquess of Halifax he expressed agreement
as to the necessity of having a Cabinet Council,
"but said hee did not know of men who would speak
freely before one another." He realised the necessity of
broad substantial agreement between the members of a
Council who should guide his affairs in both the Houses;
and in his judgment of the men around him, his officers,
he concluded that such agreement was not attainable.
Naturally enough William judged and concluded on merely
personal grounds. But in reality the obstacle was more
deeply founded. It was not given to him any more than to
Charles II. to force or anticipate the constitutional development
of the 18th century. The rapid survey which
is here being made of the financial debates and procedure
of the Revolution Parliament shows how closely
identical the constitutional situation was in 1689 with that
of Charles II. in 1660.
Having reached the Committee stage the Bill for Settling
the Revenue was debated in Grand Committee on the 29th
and 30th July and the 5th, 7th and 8th of August, and in connection
with these debates (of which the speeches are not
preserved) the House heard endless petitions from pensioners
and creditors of the State, but beyond adopting a resolution :
"That for the ease of the Plantations a Bill be brought
in for enlarging the time for the Duties granted by
the Act of I James II., c. 5, for the Duties on
linens, silks and brandies,"
no further progress was made. On the 20th August
Parliament was adjourned. On reassembling in October it
was noticeable that the King's Speech made no reference
to this question of his own revenues. He only spoke of
the supply for the war.
But the mere logic of circumstances drove both the
Parliament and the King from this laissez faire attitude.
Theoretically the Customs and Excise were no longer
collectable, for no Parliamentary grant of them had been
made and as the Act of I William and Mary, c. 14, had
expired no Parliamentary authority existed for their
collection. And if this was true as to the Customs
and Excise, it seemed to some problematically true
also of the more purely hereditary portions of the Crown
But although the House had reassembled on the 19th
October it was not until the 2nd December, 1689, that a
Bill was ordered to be brought in to authorise the collecting
of the revenue for one year longer. Two days later it
was introduced and read a first time as a Bill to prevent
Doubts and Disputes in the Collecting of their Majesties'
Revenue. The Bill passed the Commons on the 19th
December and the Lords on the 21st December, and
received the royal assent on the 23rd December, being then
entitled An Act for preventing all Doubts and Questions
concerning the Collecting the public Revenue. The Act
authorised the collecting until the 25th of December, 1690,
"and no longer," of the subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage
and other duties and charges (except Hearthmoney other
than as accrued before 25th March, 1689) enjoyed by the
late Kings, Charles II. and James II., and in force on the
5th November, 1688.
It is unfortunate that for the period December 2-23,
during which this Bill was on the anvil, the only assistance
which we have from Grey's Debates as to the play of party
motive which fashioned the final result is confined to the
debates of the 13th, 17th and 18th December. Such
portions of these debates as concern the Princess of
Denmark are quoted, infra, pp. lxxxv and cx. The remaining
portions which concerned the present Bill were
as follows :
Tuesday, December 17th.
Sir William Pultney : The matter before you is of
great importance. I cannot agree etc. to the amendment
of the Bill, not to be determined by the ordinary
rules of Westminster Hall, but by the Government.
There is a known hereditary revenue, and settled
by Act of Parliament. When King James abdicated
the Government, there was a cessure of the revenue,
and it abated; but when you filled the Throne,
such as had legal grants they were not determined.
I know not whether they can receive the revenue,
but it is all the reason in the world that the Crown
should have a certain subsistence by revenue. I
think such a thing as the revenue is not to be taken
from the Crown by implication. If the chimney
money must be gone by the abdication, you needed
not to have made an Act to take it away. If
you continue the words "and no longer," I fear
they will not only affect the Crown, but the subjects
too, that have grants.
Sir William Williams : To stop the mouths of people
we are providing laws against ill men and for ill
times, and therefore it was thought convenient to
put in the words "and no longer." As to the new
revenue, the Customs and Excise, some part of the
revenue follows the Crown, as the shadow the body,
but to say, therefore, all the revenue does so is no
consequence. Qualify that supposed hereditary
revenue from the other, and I agree to it. Says
Pulteney, "This may shake grants," but if they
be good grants by common law, or statute law, it
shakes no more but what you would have shaken.
Mr. Finch : I rise up to acquaint you how I apprehended
the revenue to be in 1688. When you
come to say "That the revenue shall be collected
for one year, and no longer," you determine the
hereditary revenue. I think we have declaration
upon declaration, and that matter is pretty well at
peace in you. If you put in the words "For one
year and no longer," you determine it. In the
Chimney Bill, if the revenue had determined, you
needed not that Act. If the Court of Wards was an
hereditary revenue, then that [Excise which was]
granted in lieu of the Court of Wards must be an
hereditary revenue. Thompson says, "No man
will say the Court of Wards was part of the King's
revenue," but it is the King's tenure, and he has
the profit of the lands and wards. For taking away
the grants upon the revenue, he is taking away the
revenue wholly to cure them.
Sir Thomas Lee : That which is granted for the
preservation and good of the people, that ceases.
I would willingly have the Long Robe inform us
whether these grants for King Charles II.'s and
King James's life continue for the King's life. I
would have the Long Robe distinguish. If each of
them subsist this Act is wholly unnecessary. As to
what Finch says of the Chimney money, why did
the Parliament 3 Charles I., mention "Quartering
of soldiers" in the Petition of Right? I would
make use of this debate. If any of them be out,
all are out. The Court of Wards, which was exchanged,
was ancient in the Crown, but I question
whether the Crown had a right to dispose of wardships
before they fall.
Mr. Finch : In the Petition of Right, one part is
declaring an old law and another is making a new.
The King grants a wardship cum acciderit, and that
Sir George Treby : To these words "no longer." The
operation of these two words is to take away all
the inheritance of the Crown. To answer Lee's
question, the King might release the tenures of
inheritance of profit, that he had by the tenure, as
he did wardships to the town of Yarmouth. If the
King can grant this, he may grant what is in lieu
of it. In the former Bill, which is the pattern of
this, there was some scruple made whether they
could safely collect it (as if it was a new thing that
Kings have abdicated and given up their crown
before death). All the nicety was upon collecting
the Customs and Excise during King James's life.
Some were for political life, others for the natural
[life] : this had some doubt for the sake of the
[revenue] officers, and therefore the Act was entitled
"for the better collecting the public revenue."
It was said, and with great approbation, "we have
judges for life and salaries etc. : how could that be
if it was not supposed the revenue was not hereditary?"
You go on and say "the King has not
only delivered you from Popery and slavery but
you yielded to give the King thanks for releasing
the chimney money." The appropriating some of
the revenue to pay King Charles II.'s servants
and the money to the States General, by it [by such
appropriation] you [pre-] suppose the subsisting of
the revenue and you applied it to these uses. All
prerogatives and advantages whatsoever follow the
Crown, and if they have the Crown they have all
that belong to the Crown. I think it strange when
a Bill is brought in to satisfy a doubt when indeed
there was none; but to grant a revenue and to charge it
when you have done—will you determine the whole
revenues without hearing counsel for the King?
Sir William Williams : Certainly some part of the
revenue is not alienable, and no doubt on the other
side the King may extinguish his wardships by a
release : but whether the King may alien his inheritance
of wardships is another subject. I doubt
Sir John Trevor : The exception is a good exception,
and I must apply something to the one and to the
other. I do agree that "no longer" extends to
all the revenues, that part Hereditary and Temporary
too : I hope you will not apply the same words
to both. Under favour this is a new Government :
I will not deny my opinion : it was so in all
broken times. In Edward II.'s time etc. Edward III.
took all the revenue, being in possession of the
Crown. Henry IV. and Edward IV. took it, and
the revenue continues when the Crown is upon
any man's head. The opinion has been in Westminster
Hall "that the revenue continues" and
the Customs were paid after the death of Charles II.
Unless you put the words "no longer" in : negative
words and let it go so.
Mr. Solicitor Somers : If Trevor's doctrine be true we
do grant this away for ever by the words of the
Act. In the Customs the grant lasts for life and
no longer, and no doubt of it. Now for the revenue
granted for King James's life, whether it last longer
than his reign? The revenue of the Crown of
England is granted as in the King's public capacity
as to an incorporation. This will be of so terrible
a consequence that I hope you will leave out the
words "no longer."
Sir John Trevor : I did not broach that doctrine. I
use not to broach doctrines. I said "that it was
the opinion in Westminster Hall in King James's
time" and that "unless you put negative words
in the grant it [the revenue] was subsisting." If
the words were necessary then they are as necessary
now. The revenue was collected in King James's
time and after Charles II.'s time.
Mr. Garroway : I think Trevor in the right. There
was a grant of the Customs of the currants in King
Charles I.'s time : several were imprisoned for not
paying the duties, though granted for years only.
The expedient may be [inserted] in the end of the
Bill, viz. "that this shall last for one year and no
longer," and so leave it as you found it and no hurt.
[The amendments were rejected.] (See Commons
Journals, Vol. X, p. 310.)
But as against the ordinary view that this Act enshrines
the principle of yearly voting of supplies there stand the
plain words of the preamble of the Act itself. It was
expressly only a temporary measure to enable the Executive
to carry on and to collect the Customs, dues etc.
until the distracted and ill-guided Parliament could systematically
take up the subject of the definite fixing of the
King's revenue—"for preventing all disputes and questions
concerning the collecting, levying and answering the public
revenue due and payable in the reigns of Charles II. and
James II. whilst the better settling the same is under the
consideration of this present Parliament."
Only one ineffectual step was taken towards such definite
settling of the revenue during the remaining life of the
Convention Parliament. A Bill was introduced on the
21st December, 1689, and passed the Commons on the
18th January, 1689-90, for vesting the estate of the late
Queen Mary [of Modena] in the Crown. But this Bill was
lost when on the 27th January the Parliament was prorogued.
"You will doubtless be surprised," wrote William
to Bentinck, "that I prorogued Parliament yesterday till
the 2nd of April, for reasons which I will tell you when
you return." The prorogation was until April 2nd, 1690,
but on the 6th February, Parliament was dissolved and a
new Parliament assembled on the 21st March.
On the following day, 12th March, 1690, William addressed
both Houses on the subject of his revenue as follows :
"I desire you will forthwith make a settlement of the
revenue : and I cannot doubt but you will therein have
as much regard for the honour and dignity of the monarchy
in my hands as hath been lately shewed to others."
In these words William was referring to the permanent
or standing revenue granted to Charles II. and James II.,
and also to the factious debates about the Princess of
Denmark's income. But in the ensuing sentences of his
speech William went the length of conceding a most important
point and one exceedingly damaging to himself in
this matter of his revenue :
"And I have so great a confidence in you that if no
quicker or more convenient way can be found for
the raising of ready money (without which the
service cannot be performed) I shall be very well
content for the present to have it [my ordinary
revenue] made such a fund of credit as may be
useful to yourselves as well as me in this conjuncture ;
not having the least apprehensions but
that you will provide for the taking off all such
anticipations as it shall happen to fall under."
In such words William almost seemed to be inviting
the Commons to mortgage the ordinary peace revenue
of the country and so much at least must be said in
defence of the perverse vote which passed the House on
the 2nd April, when it was resolved that towards the
extraordinary supply for the war the King's own or the
ordinary peace revenue of the country should be mortgaged
to the extent of one million.
It seems, however, to me much more in keeping with
William's firm grasp of realities that what he desired of
the House was (1) the settlement of the fixed or ordinary
revenue, and (2) at least the voting (if nothing more) of
such a sum of supply for the extraordinary occasion of
the war as might be a fund on which to borrow and that
he only conceded the point of mortgaging his own or kingly
revenue because of his exasperation at the interminable
delay in Parliament over the granting of that revenue. In
matter of fact the concession was altogether a regrettable
one and the point conceded was financially vicious and
iniquitous. In extraordinary grants of supply it became
increasingly the custom, as will be seen, for the House of
Commons to insert loan clauses in Acts of Supply, authorising
the pledging of the fund granted by the Act as security
for such loans. Thereby the House of Commons guaranteed
the interest and made itself responsible for the solvency
of the fund. If the supply so granted proved insufficient
to meet the interest the net debit balance was carried
forward and charged on the next grant of supply. But in
the case of the King's "own," the ordinary peace revenue,
every penny of the money was in effect allocated : there
was no room for any interest charge and if the interest
failed to be met there was no intention on the part of the
House of Commons to reinforce the King's own by so much
as would meet the deficit. In effect the Commons first
granted to the King so much for the specific purpose of
the ordinary peace expenditure of the country, and by
granting it to him for a set term if not for the whole of his
reign the House proclaimed that it washed its hands of
such revenue and expenditure and had no further rights
in the matter : then secondly they proposed to mortgage
the fund over which it admittedly had no rights whatever
and put upon the King the sole responsibility for
the interest charge as an extra to an expenditure which
by conditions of the grant had been strictly limited and
allocated, just as the Civil List is limited and allocated
to-day. By such procedure the House of Commons defrauded
In the ensuing debates there is evidence of a more than
ordinary confusion of thought as between the provision
of extraordinary supply for the purpose of the war with
France and the fixing of the permanent peace revenue of
the Crown for the purpose of the ordinary government of
the country. This is particularly apparent in the opening
debates on the 27th and 28th March.
1690, March 27th.
In A Grand Committee On The Supply.
(Mr. Hampden, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in
the chair Grey's Debates, X, p. 8.)
Sir John Lowther : It was your Resolution yesterday
to go into a Grand Committee to consider of supply.
The first paragraph of the King's Speech is about
"settling the revenue," and it is to that I stand
up to move you. For rescuing you from arbitrary
Government and restoring you to your religion and
laws the King has done his part : there remains
our part to be done ... I move "to settle the
revenue on King William and Queen Mary for their
Serjeant Maynard : If the King be necessitous he will
have necessitous counsellors about him. The
revenue of the Crown land is all gone, it is aliened
from him : he can have nothing from his land
but from Parliament. The question is what and
for how long you will give him. A King in want
can never be quiet. As for the revenue, I would
not have it too much—consider quantum, quo modo
et quamdiu. I move "that it may be settled for
three years." As King of England if all were
quiet I would have it [given] for life, that the King
may be a freeholder as well as we. As for the relief
of Ireland, that is a distinct consideration by
Sir John Thompson : You cannot put the question
"for settling the revenue for life" without leave
from the House. The order is "to consider about
Sir Thomas Lee : I always thought that they that
gave the Crown of England a revenue gave supply.
I speak only to order. I think the matter of the
revenue is the only debate before you.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I think you cannot put
that question. Before you come to that you must
go to the particular parts of the revenue. You
must tell us what you mean by revenue. As for
the Excise, part of it is hereditary. It was so
and I know not what has made it otherwise. Before
you put the question I would know whether all
the Customs and Excise be complicated in the
matter. Would you have all the revenue [to wit
such Customs etc. as are granted only] for years
turned into lives? First consider whether any part
be hereditary and whether you will make it all so.
When that is ordered then consider supply. The
first question is whether a supply shall be granted
and then the House may be moved for a Bill.
Mr. Paul Foley : What you are now debating is of
vast consequence to us and England for ever. I
would know what the revenue is and what it is
likely to prove, and not to settle a revenue for life.
... When Charles II. returned it was generally
agreed that 1,200,000l. per an. was a sufficient
revenue to support the Government ; in the next
Parliament it was not pretended that more was
requisite, but that the revenue came not up to so
much. I know not what the revenue is now ; but
I have heard that in Charles II.'s time it was two
millions, and more in King James's time. Therefore
I would have you consider ... if you settle
such a revenue as that the King should have no need
of a Parliament I think we do not our duty to
them that sent us hither. Therefore I would know
what the revenue is.
Sir Edmund Jennings : I remember the method in
King James's Parliament, and why now we should
take other precedents I know not. If you desire
to preserve the Church and State will you not
settle such a revenue as will do it, and why is
not this King to be trusted as well as King James?
... Therefore settle the revenue upon this King
as upon King James.
Sir Robert Cotton : We cannot answer the King's
ends without doing as is moved. ...
Mr. Hutchinson : You have been moved to settle a
revenue upon this King as upon King James. I
would know whether that had so good effect as to
[lead us to] settle it so now, and whether so extravagant
a grant can be good either for a good or a bad
Prince. If you gave this revenue to a bad Prince
you cannot now decently take it away ; if you give
it to a good Prince he may be thrifty and may
have a Bank and may presume upon it to destroy
our liberties. ... I would have the revenue
Mr. Pelham : You are told the revenue came to two
millions in King Charles's and King James's time ;
but as to what is said of the ill effects of it in King
James's time, none of that mischief came by that
revenue, but upon what was given him afterwards,
which enabled him to raise his Army and bring in
Sir Joseph Williamson : ... A revenue for the King
to live with honour and comfort upon, everybody
is for, so as to provide for the monarchy in whose
hands soever it is [and at the same time so] that
Parliaments may be frequent. ... What part of
the revenue can be a fund [to borrow on]? ...
What can be taken up upon that uncertain
revenue? ... I would give such a supply as to
prosecute the war with speed and vigour.
Mr. Harbord : "To supply the King" will be without
contradiction. Therefore I would put that
Sir Christopher Musgrave : You tell us that a question
for "Supply" will answer the first article of the
King's speech. But I would have it answer the
second article "upon the revenue." ... The King
is of opinion that it may be a fund ...
Sir John Lowther : ... As for the revenue the King
cannot live without it ; but for supply for these
wars I hope you will not confine yourselves. After
you have voted a supply you may then take into
consideration the fund of credit and you may make
this addition [that the grant for the Revenue be] for
both their [William's and Mary's] lives and for so
many years after as to be a fund of credit. I am
no lawyer, but believe it may be done.
Mr. Foley : I cannot say anything until we know
what the revenue is nor till we have an account of
what has been spent of what we have already given.
In three-fourths of a year the Treasury has received
1,500,000l. besides what we gave : 6,000,000l. were
received last year and this. Now what account have
we of all this? Therefore I would give no supply
till an account be first brought to us. ...
Sir Henry Goodricke : ... You are upon the question
of "settling the revenue." 'Tis that the King sets
his heart upon. ...
Sir Edward Seymour : ... Your debates are on
several things, of Supply and the Revenue. ...
To settle the revenue must be a work of time.
... Have your allies left you because you did
only settle it for one year? ...
Sir Henry Goodrick : ... You settle it only for the
lives of your deliverers.
Sir John Lowther : ... I would not willingly inflame
this matter. ... I hope [this Prince's] Government
will not be reflected on in this House.
Sir Edward Seymour : ... The safety of England
will be better supported here than by any other
hands. This will appear by the change his Majesty
has made of his counsellors.
Mr. Finch : You have one question framed "to bring
in a Bill for the revenue" ; the other "for a Fund
of Supply and the revenue to be security for it."
Before you put that question there is something
absolutely necessary for you to declare, viz. as you
go to settle the revenue for the honour of the King,
not to pass by one [particular] thing in relation to
the Hereditary Revenue. I remember the progress
that question had in this House last Parliament.
It was a question what did subsist and what not?
They were silent in that ; they went only upon that
for life ... still that point remains undetermined. ...
Mr. Ettrick : As to what is said of "the uncertainty
of a fund for life" you may have a clause for credit
in case the King and Queen die before the debt is
paid. ... I cannot in justice and gratitude do less
for the King than for his predecessors. In King
Charles I.'s time the not settling the revenue upon
him for life drew on us all the mischiefs that followed.
In spite, however, of the extraordinary confusion which
is apparent throughout this particular debate, viz. as
between extraordinary and temporary supply for the war
and ordinary or permanent fixing of revenue for the
ordinary cost of government, the action of the House was
ultimately quite plain and logical. On the 27th it voted
that a supply be given for the prosecution of the war against
France. And then on the following day, March 28th, it
sat down in Grand Committee to "consider of the settling
the revenue upon their Majesties." The Committee
debated and reported instanter and the House adopted its
recommendations as follows : (fn. 2)
"(1) Resolved that the House doth agree with the
Committee that the hereditary revenues which the
late King James II. was the 10th day of December,
1688, intitled unto, became and are vested in their
present Majesties King William and Queen Mary in
right of the Crown of England except the late
revenue arising by Fire-Hearths and Stoves.
(2) Resolved that the House doth agree with the
Committee that a Bill be brought in to declare that
the said revenues are so vested ; and that therein
provision shall be made that they shall not be
aliened from the Crown nor chargeable with any
gift or grant to be made for the future.
(3) Resolved that the House doth agree with the
Committee that a Bill be brought in for the settling
that moiety of the Excise which was granted to the
late King Charles II. and James II. or either of
them for their lives upon their present Majesties
King William and Queen Mary for their lives and
the life of the longest liver of them : with a clause
to enable their Majesties to make the said revenue
a security for raising money towards a supply not
exceeding the sum of ...
(4) Resolved that the House doth agree with the
Committee that a Bill be brought in to grant to
their present Majesties King William and Queen
Mary for the term of four years from Christmas
next the Customs which were granted to the late
King Charles II. and King James II. for their lives :
with a clause to enable their Majesties to make the
said revenue a security for raising money towards a
supply not exceeding the sum of ..."
The debate which culminated in the above four resolutions
was as follows : and it is remarkable in that for once
the mere legal subtleties of the gentlemen of the long
robe were swept away. On the whole it was direct and
to the point, but to understand its bearing on the constitutional
problem of the time it is necessary to reason
backwards from the progress achieved even by the middle
of Anne's reign. When once the idea of the Civil List had
so far crystallised that it could be isolated from the ordinary
peace expenditure of the country and confined in the main
to the items concerned with the maintenance of the royal
state it became a matter of indifference to the Crown what
sort or form of provision was made for the standing Army and
the summer Guard of the Seas, whether by grant of the
Customs and Excise to the King for life or by an annual
Parliamentary grant of supply. But in 1688 amd 1690
the Civil List idea had not so crystallised and sublimated
itself. By common consent William III. was as much
in charge of the executive Government and as much responsible
for the ordinary peace expenditure of the whole
country as Charles II. had been, and therefore in his own
eyes and in the eyes of most of his subjects he was entitled
to expect the same provision of fixed standing revenue
to cover the whole of that expenditure. But that provision
of fixed standing revenue had been a source of danger
under James II., and this consideration alone was sufficient
to account for all the tergiversation and shilly-shallying of
these debates. The solution achieved in 1690 was tentative
and temporary and unsatisfactory but to have expected
more would only be expecting of one age that it should
suddenly realise the standpoint of a succeeding age, or should
instinctively anticipate the developments of a succeeding age.
Friday, 28th March, 1690.
In A Grand Committee On Supply.
(fn. 3) Sir Christopher Musgrave : I move that you would
take the revenue by parts and consider what is
annexed to the Crown and what for lives. I speak
frankly : what hereditary revenue is to be settled
upon the Crown : and then come to the other parts
of the revenue. For instance, half the Excise is
hereditary. Declare that annexed to the Crown,
and then come to the other parts of the revenue :
likewise the Post Office, the First Fruits and Tenths,
something of the old Customs, with the Wine
Sir John Lowther : No man is more of Musgrave's
opinion than myself. The motion I will make shall
not preclude that. I renew the motion to take into
consideration again what you have done yesterday.
Yesterday's arguments are a fresh obligation to the
King : if anything relates to our properties and
religion all are relative to this. I know no arguments
of distrust of the King ; nothing can prevail
against it. There were jealousies of the last reign
but no instance can be given of a Prince who has
done so much for his people for so short a time as
he has been here. I move that the revenue may
be settled for life.
Mr. Ettrick : 'Tis very plain that what is to be raised
is for your service. The King's revenue is 240,000l.
less than his predecessor's. As if only this question
is, whether you will show that countenance to the
Government as to support the King or keep him as
it were at board wages : as if only by this question
to fetter it with forms to surprize gentlemen.
(He was taken down to order by Sir William
Mr. Hampden : "The House to be shackled with
forms" is a strange expression. I know that forms
must be kept.
Sir John Goodrick : I know of no "shackles" but
what keeps us to order and decency.
Mr. Ettrick : What I said was not reflecting upon
anything to-day, but what happened formerly. The
question is very plain, whether you will give as
formerly for life or for three years?
Sir John Thompson : We have been told of "putting
the King to board wages." I do not aggravate the
thing. But certainly we should know what we do
when we give away our money. But that we may
speak our minds freely I think the liberties of
England are in that question. You were told
yesterday "what you shall give on the revenue
cannot answer your end." Certainly nothing is
more prejudicial to the King when it is demonstrable
it cannot answer the end for which you give it.
When you give this supply [chargeable as a loan
upon the fund of the revenue] it must be wiped
off by you. The standing revenue is so great that
it is your danger in time of peace. Either you
must keep a standing Army [says one] or the
frugality will ruin you [says another] The revenue
will keep 30,000 men. I should be 10th to see so
many foreigners in England in time of peace.
Earl of Ranelagh : The Order is "to consider the
revenue" : the motion is "to consider the revenue
granted to King Charles and King James, that it
may be granted to King William and Queen Mary
for their lives." I find some gentlemen would know
what this revenue is, and what part to be granted
to the King and Queen. There is a revenue for
lives and [one] for years. The temporary revenue
is the imposition upon wines and brandy etc. which
determines in 1693 : sugars etc., French and East
India commodities determine at Midsummer. I
would have it declared " that the revenue vested in
the two last Kings is the revenue of inheritance"
and have leave given to bring in a Bill to settle it
[? the other part on their Majesties].
Sir John Lowther : As near as I can I will agree with
the sense of every gentleman. If you will proceed
in the method proposed I am very well contented.
I move "that the revenue may be for the King
and Queen's lives and the longest liver of them."
Mr. Sacheverell : I move "that a revenue may be
settled on the Crown for the time to come," and I
move "that what is now vested in the Crown may
not be alienated from the Crown." Whenever it is
granted away always the subject must pay for it. ...
Sir Christopher Musgrave : The question is now what
the revenue of the Crown is to be in time of war.
'Tis otherwise in time of peace. Now we must
make use of all the branches of the revenue now
we are in war. I hope the King will not take it ill
if we settle the revenue for years : otherwise if it
is not for years as well as for lives it cannot be good
security. If you settle it for lives only and not
for years it cannot be a fund [to charge a loan upon] :
if for both pray declare your sense. I know not if
three years, the number moved for, will be security
or not. ... That you may not be [fixing it] for a
time uncertain I move you to grant the revenue for
Mr. Ettrick : 'Tis something of a harsh proposition,
the revenue for lives and years too. I look upon
the Hereditary Revenue to be so far a fund as [to
base loans upon] for a present supply of money. If
we know what money is wanting we may the better
form the sum. I have heard of a million wanting.
You may make, in a clause of credit, that no
contingency may be in their [Majesties'] lives
to the lender of the money. I think we ought
to have as much respect for their present Majesties
as the last Parliament had. They proceeded so far
as to move the revenue to be settled for their lives.
Sir John Guise : Upon a supposition of what was
done last Session I would have your books searched
before you go on. I find this King and Queen
extremely beholden to some people that would
settle the revenue for lives. In the King's speech
there is such a proposition that if we can find no
other way the revenue then is to be a fund [for loans].
I should think the revenue a very ordinary [poor]
present to the King so incumbered [and all this
done] by advices from other persons, not from
hence. I would take time to present the King
with a free gift and worthy of him to receive. Then
your business is to support the war. Do you intend
this shall be out of the [King's] revenue? [If they
intend no other supply than the revenue for the
present or any other [time] let them speak. ... I
would not dispose of the revenues further than
becomes a prudent man. ... I would not have all
ill management laid on the King which ought to
be laid on the Ministers. Here have been particular
grumblings against persons' ill management ;
and since, now the revenue is in your hands, you
cannot know these persons, how will you know
them that have done amiss when the revenue is out
of your hands? I think it ought not to reflect on
any particular Prince when others have the keeping
of his ears. I would have a fund of credit for four
years and no longer.
Col. Austin : There has been so much said that I
have the less to say. I am against the question,
for the King and Queen's sake. I am against
granting the revenue for lives for what the King,
that now is, has declared in his Declaration when
Prince. One of his businesses was to secure us
that no successor was able to bring us again into
our misfortunes. The great mischief being the
revenue for lives, you will never do good in an ill
Prince's time. I am sure you will never tell him
that he is an ill one. A Parliament will secure you
against other ill persons as well as ill Kings. I mean
the Ministers. Granting it for life will prevent any
ill Ministers from being called in question, and you
can never reach them. I hope the King will be as
rich at the end of this time four years as if he had
the revenue for life.
Sir Joseph Williamson : It will certainly be for the
King's service that people may see themselves out
of fear of not meeting the King frequently in Parliament.
In the close I shall agree that the remaining
part of the Excise be settled for life. ... You were
told yesterday "that the revenue was clogged and
can bear nothing [in the way of loan or
anticipation]." And what you must now give will
still necessitate Parliaments. As on the one hand
I would not give all for life so I am for a reasonable
security. If half the Excise be for life there
will remain still a fund for credit and yet be secured
from the common fear of wants of Parliament.
Mr. Sacheverell : Before this question be put, of lives,
I desire a little satisfaction whether you intend to
have any fund of credit if you take away all indubitable
security. What fund can you have in
the Customs in time of war? They that had no
regard to the last Parliament will have as little
regard to you when you are gone. You have
settled the Hereditary Revenue : now what fund
have you on contingency of the Customs? Plainly
will you have a fund of credit or not? What can
be borrowed on the Customs? Suppose them
400,000l. this year and the next, what sum can you
propound upon this credit? Can any man believe
that they will lend? 400,000l. is all you can borrow
in a year, and scarce that : few will lend upon the
utmost value. I know no way of certainty but to
leave the King 600,000l., an entire fund of credit
to borrow upon. But if you leave the thing indefinite
you will have, I believe, little or no use of a
Parliament for the future.
In their totality the above quoted Resolutions of March
28th, supra, pp. lxxi-ii, practically affirmed the right
of William and Mary to all the fixed revenue enjoyed
either by Charles II. and James II.
Burnet's summary of the result thus achieved is incorrect
in several details, most of all of course in the inference
which he draws that these Resolutions were equivalent
to a Parliamentary grant, but on its personal side it is
reliable as well as illuminating.
"The House of Commons gave the King the Customs
for five [four] years, which they said made it a surer
fund for borrowing money upon than if they had given
it for life ; the one was subject to accidents, but
the other was more certain. They also continued
the other branches of the revenue for the same
number of years [wrong]. It was much pressed to have
it settled for life, but it was taken up as a general
maxim that a revenue for a certain and short term
was the best security that the nation could have for
frequent Parliaments. The King did not like this.
He said to myself why should they entertain a
jealousy of him who came to save their religion and
liberties, when they trusted King James so much,
who intended to destroy both. I answered they
were not jealous of him, but of those who might
succeed him : and if he would accept of the gift
for a term of years and settle the precedent he
would be reckoned the deliverer of succeeding ages
as well as of the present, and it was certain that
King James would never have run into those counsels
that ruined him if he had obtained the revenue only
for a short term : which probably would have been
done if Argyle's and Monmouth's invasions had not
so overawed the House that it would then have
looked like being in a conspiracy with them to have
opposed the King's demand : I saw the King was
not pleased, though he was persuaded to accept of
the grant thus made him." (Burnet IV., p. 77.)
It is possible and it will be advantageous to outline more
succinctly the story of the later proceedings of William's
Parliaments in this matter of the King's standing revenue.
On the 8th April, 1690, the Solicitor General presented
to the House the Bills intended to carry into effect the
above votes of March 28th. He presented two Bills for
settling the revenue upon their Majesties, viz. one for
settling the [Temporary] Excise for their lives and the life
of the longer liver of them and the other for settling the
Customs of Tonnage and Poundage for four years.
Of these Solicitor General's Bills the one 2 Wm. and Mary,
Sess. 1, c. 3, granting to the King for life the Temporary
Excise ("certain impositions upon beer, ale and other
liquors," with power to borrow 250,000l. thereon) passed the
Commons on the 21st April and received the royal assent
on the 23rd April, 1690.
The Act for granting the Customs for four years, 2 Wm. and
Mary, Sess. 1, c. 4, was sent up on the 28th April and passed
the Lords on the 30th April and received the royal assent
on the 2nd May as an Act for granting to their Majesties a
Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage and other sums of Money
upon Merchandises Exported and Imported : with power
to borrow 500,000l. thereon.
On the 21st April, 1690, a totally separate Bill was
introduced into the Commons for declaring the hereditary
revenue of the Crown to be vested in their Majesties.
This latter Bill passed the Commons on the 17th May and
was sent up to the Lords. Its passage in the Upper House
was very expeditious. No amendments were made and
on the 23rd May it was ready to be read a third or
final time, when William came down to the House and
adjourned Parliament to the following 7th July.
The Bill was therefore sacrificed. In the ordinary
course of events the King's action would appear mysterious,
for he was eager to have the hereditary revenue settled.
But a glance at the abortive measure itself amply justifies
him. The text of the Bill is preserved in the House of
Lords MSS. It only concerned the hereditary Excise (that
portion of the Excise which had been settled on the Crown
at the Restoration in 1660 as an equivalent for the Crown's
surrender of the feudal tenures), the Post Office, Wine
Licences and Crown Lands. It therefore omitted from its
purview all the additional revenue which had been granted
to James II. and all the miscellaneous small branches of
the revenue which still inhered in the Crown as of inheritance.
Further, the Bill contained a provision for anticipating or
borrowing on the Hereditary Excise and the Post Office up
to 250,000l. towards the war in Ireland. Finally the Bill
contained a rider to the effect that grants out of the
revenue should determine at the death of the Sovereign.
It will be seen therefore that the clause for anticipations
in this abortive Bill extended to the purely hereditary
revenue the borrowing principle or pledging principle which
William had only grudgingly conceded for the temporary
revenue, i.e. for the Customs and the Temporary Excise.
It was probably this which William objected to, primarily
as a matter of principle but also as a matter of financial
expediency. In view of the debts already resting on the civil
list the proposal was unfair to that part of his expenditure.
We know so little as to the inner workings of William's
mind that it is difficult to assert why he should have intervened
at the precise moment when he did. But it is
difficult to believe that he would ever have accepted such
a Bill if it had been presented to him, and it is more than
probable that he prorogued Parliament in order to avoid
having to veto the measure.
To sum up. The net legislative result achieved up to
May, 1690, was as follows :
William and Mary had been granted
(1) Temporary Excise for life.
(2) Customs for four years.
They had not yet been granted (save as by the declaratory
votes of March 28)
(3) The Hereditary Excise, Post Office and Wine
(4) The Crown Lands.
(5) The small branches.
(6) The additional Duties of James II.'s reign.
And, secondly, the idea of the coordination of all these
sources of revenues and of their levelling up or down to
any fixed modicum (whether 1,200,000l. or any other) had
not even been attempted or simulated.
And, thirdly, the Customs and Temporary Excise which
constituted the main branches of the hereditary revenue
of the Crown, the Civil or ordinary governmental revenue
of the State, had been mortgaged for extraordinary war
As regards this last-named point, it is to my mind
possible to argue that William had been not so much
intentionally deceived as ignorantly misled by the chief
managers in the House of Commons. There had been
much talk of using the Excise and the Customs as a fund
for anticipations or loans, and William had agreed to the
idea (see supra, p. lxv seq.), but I feel convinced that he
contemplated that such loans would be applied to meet
the pressing needs of the Civil Government and not
that they should be diverted to war purposes. Such
diversion was contrary to the whole trend of English
financial history, not merely in the 17th century, but
for so many prior centuries, that it could be looked
upon as distinctly unconstitutional. So great was the
confusion in the debates in the House that the constitutional
point would appear to have been overlooked.
But the practical effect upon William's own Civil revenue
was instantly appreciated.
The only insight into his mind which we possess on this
point is a single sentence preserved in the jottings of his
conversation with the Marquess of Halifax :
"speaking of the Bill of Revenue, he said it would bring
him no credit : he spoke against the rider put to it."
By this phrase credit William meant that the loans on the
funds so appropriated would not go into his pocket, that
is to say, would not be available to supply the needs
and pay the debts of the Civil Government. Nor did he
forget the subject when Parliament re-assembled. After
several prorogations the House met on the 2nd October,
1690, when William addressed them pointedly as
I recommend to your care the clearing of my revenue
so as to enable me to subsist and to maintain the
charge of the Civil List, the [my own] revenue
being so engaged that it must be wholly applied after
the 1st of November next to pay off the debts already
charged upon it, (fn. 4)
and after waiting patiently or impatiently for nearly
two months he came down to the Peers on the 25th November,
1690, and addressed both Houses in a short speech
which concluded with a fresh reference to this
"It is high time to put you in mind of making some
provision for the expense of the Civil Government,
which has no funds for its support since the Excise,
which was designed for that service, and also the
other branches of the [civil or ordinary or royal]
revenue have been applied to other public uses [to
wit to war purposes] : and therefore I earnestly
recommend it to your speedy consideration." (fn. 5)
This portion of the King's Speech was debated in Grand
Committee on the 26th and 27th November, but with the
exception of ordering a Bill to annex the Duchy of Lancaster
to the Crown and with the further exception of an
order calling for a particular state of the revenue and a
computation of the Civil List and a further order that the
salaries, fees and perquisites of all officers under the Crown
shall be applied to the use of the war, nothing was done
during the remainder of 1690 and 1691 and the whole of
1692 (constituting the third Session of this Parliament)
towards meeting Civil List debts or towards settling a livingwage
revenue on the Crown. In the following Session, 1692-3,
still less was done, for even the motion for the continuance
of Tonnage and Poundage "for some time longer"
was negatived the 23rd February, 1692-3. (fn. 6)
The culpability of the House in regard to this latter vote
is particularly glaring, seeing that the Customs had only
been granted to the Crown for four years, and if the grant
was not renewed the main bulk of the Customs Duties
would be uncollectible as from Christmas, 1694.
In the following Session, 1693-4—the fifth Session of
his second Parliament—again nothing was done. Consequently
when on the 12th November, 1694, he addressed
the Houses at the opening of the sixth Session, 1694-5,
William was obliged to bring the matter home to them :
"I must likewise put you in mind that the Act of
Tonnage and Poundage expires at Christmas : and
I hope you will think fit to continue that revenue to
the Crown, which is the more necessary at this time
in regard the several branches of the [my] revenue
are under great anticipations for extraordinary
expenses of the war and subject to many demands
upon other accounts." (fn. 7)
On the 12th and 14th December the House resolved that
the Subsidy of Tonnage and Poundage be granted to their
Majesties as from 26th December, 1694, for five years and
no longer. The Bill passed on the 21st December, was
rushed through the Lords in two sittings and received the
royal assent on the 22nd December, two days before the
existing grant would have expired. The new grant (6
William and Mary, c. 1), was for five years from 26th
At the end of 1694, therefore, the ultimate position was
that the Grand Revolution of 1688 had made a hopeless
muddle of the country's finance as far as concerned the
fixed peace revenue or King's revenue of the country. It
had neither granted that revenue for life, nor adopted the
alternative principle of yearly grants. It had not considered
the peace revenue as a whole, one part it had
granted for life, other parts it had granted for term of years,
other parts it had not considered or granted at all save
by mere inoperative resolutions. And in the whole
of this tangled, unguided, purposeless endeavour no
estimate of the full civil or peace revenue and expenditure
had been made, no attempt at the correlation of the
two had been attempted, no guiding plan or principle had
been adopted. To represent the ultimate outcome as the
triumph of a Whig or constitutional or republican idea of
starving the Crown in order to make it dependent on the
Parliament is simply moonshine.
The ultimate outcome was due only to the complete
want of guidance in the House, to the utter and deplorable
disorder of its debates and to the lack of any financial
sense in the bulk of the members irrespective of party.
The utmost that can be said in defence of the Commons
is that the war with France overshadowed every other
issue and was exhausting the country. But to say this
is simply to admit that the Parliamentary control of
finance at the Revolution of 1688 was a signal and pitiable
failure as compared with the management by Charles II.'s
executive in 1665 when the strain was certainly as great.
The Provision For The Prince And Princess Of
Denmark, And The Quarrel Between Queen
Mary And Princess Anne
The vote of the 27th April, 1689, quoted supra, p. lx,
viz.: "that the provision for the Prince and Princess of
Denmark be part of the charge of the Civil Government"
was the outcome of a motion which had been made as
early as March 26th (Commons Journals, Vol. X, p. 66)
and which on that occasion had ended in a resolution
that "when the matter of the revenue shall
come under consideration the House will then consider
of settling a revenue upon the Princess Anne of
Denmark." Now according to the accepted constitutional
conceptions of the time it was an impertinence
and could only be justified if the Commons had the
intention of making special provision for the Prince and
Princess as an addition to the King's own revenue.
Further, it is instructive to note that these votes had passed
as early as March 26th and April 27th, whereas the estrangement
between Queen Mary and her sister Anne over this
question is clearly of later date, being connected with the
Commons' votes of Dec. 13th. The action of the House of
Commons in passing this vote of April 27th was certainly a
constitutional innovation and could only have been justified
if it had been intended to tabulate the whole of the annual
peace expenditure and thereupon to provide supply sufficient
to cover it. Even so the wording of the vote was
indelicate. Not only was it equivalent to saying to William
"We, your faithful Commons, have no intention of making
special Parliamentary provision for the Prince and Princess
of Denmark. You must maintain them out of your own
income" ; but it was also an act of intrusion into what
was purely a domestic matter. On the occasion of the
marriage of Ann with the Prince of Denmark James, as
then Duke of York, had settled on them jointly in accordance
with the terms of the marriage treaty, 10,000l. a year
out of his own private income, viz., 5,000l. out of his interest
in the Post Office and 5,000l. out of his interest in the
Excise. Charles II. at the same time supplemented this
by a grant of 10,000l. a year out of his own pocket, viz.
out of the Excise. Both these settlements were purely
private and were in the form of letters patent. Parliament
had nothing to do with them. Subsequently when he
came to the throne James II. in February, 1686, granted a
further 10,000l. a year out of the Post Office thus making
up a total income of 30,000l. per an., half thereof out of
the Excise and half out of the Post Office. As before this
grant by King James was a private domestic act of his
own by patent and out of his own pocket or revenue.
The usual procedure would have been for Parliament to
renew the grant of the King's revenue and thereupon
to leave the King to renew the private domestic arrangements
which Charles II. and James II. had made,
and further to add thereto what he felt disposed. This
was certainly the accepted etiquette and usage of the
age, and it was clearly and most justifiably the attitude
which William took up in the quarrel which followed
between the two sisters. The provision for the Prince
and Princess was entirely a matter for the King's
decision because he was dealing with his own. It was
to come entirely out of his own pocket.
This was more than a punctilio and was the real cause
of the estrangement between the Queen and the Princess
Anne. Instigated by the Marlboroughs some steps were
made in Parliament towards settling a revenue on the
Prince and Princess. In her 'Memoirs' Queen Mary
details the affair as follows : "I had a very sensible affliction
also at this time, which was to see how my sister was
making parties to get a revenue settled and said nothing
of it to me. The King did not think fit I should say anything
of it to her ; and indeed she avoided carefully ever
since I came from Hampton Court all occasions of being
alone with me. This business as a mere matter of faction
went on until there were great heats in the House about it.
At last in a Committee it was carried against the Princess ;
upon which the King next morning sent her a message by
Lord Shrewsbury to desire she would put an end to all this
and that he would for this year give her 50,000l. and when
his own revenue was settled would take care that the [said]
sum should be settled on her and, being sensible she must
be in debt, he offered to pay her debts besides. This the
Lord Shrewsbury first proposed to the Lord Marlborough,
who begged he would not own he found him, his wife
would by no means hear of it, but was like a mad woman
and said the Princess would retire if her friends would
not assist her : and when he [Shrewsbury] spoke to my
sister [Anne] herself the answer was she had met with so
little encouragement from the King that she could expect
no kindness from him, and therefore would stick to her
friends. When I heard this I thought it no longer time
to be silent, but upon her coming to me next night I spoke
to her. She could tell me no one thing in which the King
had not been kind to her, and would not own herself in
the wrong for not speaking to either of us so that I found
as I told her she had shewed as much want of kindness to
me as respect to the King and I both. Upon this we
parted ill friends and she will make no advance to me,
not having once been to Kensington since. So I came
hither the day before Christmas Eve and 'tis now the last
day of the old year. But the King thought it an ungenerous
thing to fall out with a woman, and therefore
went to her and told her so : upon which she said he should
find by her behaviour she would never give him cause.
But neither after this did she say anything to me."
In this account of the interview Mary is naturally more
reticent, but the Duchess of Marlborough's account is more
specific : "Taking her sister one night to task for it, the
Queen asked her what was the meaning of these proceedings,
to which the Princess replied she heard her friends
[in the House] had a mind to make her some settlement.
The Queen hastily replied with a very imperious air, Pray
what friends have you but the King and me?"
Curt as the words were, and unkind, they express
succinctly the accepted constitutional idea of the time and
ultimately, as will be seen, Anne was obliged to desist
from negotiating with a party in the Commons and to
accept a settlement at William's hand. But this conclusion
was not reached until after much party manœuvring
and heated debates in the House. Although a personal
matter, the episode possesses a constitutional importance
and it is convenient to complete the account of it here.
The account in Grey's Debates, Vol. IX., pp. 198-9, on
the initial discussion of this subject in the House during
the debate of 26th March, 1689, is as follows :
Tuesday, March 26th, 1689.
On Settling A Revenue On Princess Anne.
Sir Thomas Clarges : You cannot settle a revenue upon
anybody. I remember at Oxford there was a Bill to
enable the King to settle a revenue upon the Duke of
York. I would have the King's revenue inspected.
Sir William Williams : There was a revenue of 60,000l.
for the Duke of York settled and the Post Office.
He had power to appoint a Postmaster-General by
patent, and that is a certain revenue worth 100,000l.
per annum, and the Wine Licenses. These were
vested in the Duke of York. There was care then
taken for the maintenance of his dignity. It is fit
to consider the Princess, who did more than women
in their ordinary course. She forsook her father for
the sake of the Protestant religion, and ought to
be made exemplary by us, and a monument for
her for ever. I would refer it to a Committee.
Mr. Hampden : I move very tenderly. In motions of
this nature, that are acceptable, we are most subject
to errors in the management of it. She may be in
want of money, but you cannot refer money to a
private Committee. But if there be any way to
propose, I would hear it. When the way of raising
the money is found out, that is the proper time to
have it moved. I remember at Oxford when the
money was granted for the Duke of York, there
Mr. Harbord : Something has been said that reflects
upon the King, as if the Princess was in want.
When the King was at the Treasury he said "he
would have the money all go for public uses." For
the Fleet, the Queen Dowager, and the Princess Anne,
these were the uses, and they are taken care for.
Sir Henry Capel : You do two great things in taking
care for this Princess, of great honour and virtue,
and support to the Protestant religion. Though
there be no precedent for a private Committee to
consider of money, I would not have this debate
go off without some words in your question, viz.,
"That when the revenue is stated, the Princess may
Mr. Boscawen : I would have the Princess have the
revenue of the Post Office, but not the Office ;
that ought to be in the Crown, for the inspection
and management of letters.
[Resolved that when the matter of the revenue shall
come under consideration, the House will then consider
of settling a revenue upon the Princess Anne of
Denmark. (fn. 8) ]
This vote of the 26th March, followed by that of the
27th April, as above, were the only allusions to the subject
of the Princess Anne until the 17th July. On that date
the Commons resolved that the order of 26th March last
relating to the Princess Anne of Denmark be referred to
the Committee of the whole House which is to consider
the Bill for settling the revenue (Commons Journals, X,
p. 225, 17th July, 1689). But again nothing was done
thereon for nearly a month, until the 9th August, 1689,
when the Commons Journals give the following account
of the further proceedings in this matter :
Mr. Hamden reports from the Committee of the whole
House to whom was referred the consideration of
the order of March 26th last for considering of
settling a revenue for the Princess Anne of Denmark,
that the Committee had come to a resolution
thereupon as follows : That it is the opinion of
this Committee that there be an additional provision
for a revenue for the Princess Anne of Denmark
for her life only of 40,000l. per an. And the
question being proposed that the House do agree
with the Committee, a debate arose thereupon.
Resolved that the debate be adjourned until the
settling of the [King's] revenue comes under the
further consideration of the House.
After a two months' adjournment, the Parliament reassembled
late in October, and with some little wavering
returned to the subject of the Princess Anne in connection
with the Bill for authorising the collection of the public
revenue for a year. On the 5th December, 1689, the House
of Commons agreed that the Committee for that Bill should
be instructed to take care that there be a provision made
therein for the Prince and Princess Anne for the said
year. (fn. 9) Eight days later in Committee the following debate
took place (Grey's Debates, IX, p. 477) :
Friday, December 13th.
Debate On Princess Anne's Revenue, Etc.
Mr. Hawles : Pensions in Henry VII.'s time were
granted to the Judges out of the Customs. They
were not well paid, and at Black-Fryars they all
consulted upon it, and agreed, "That an action at
law did lie against the Customers." In Queen
Elizabeth's time there was a case of a pension
granted to a physician in Edward VI.'s time.
They agreed, "That it had a continuance for the
doctor's life." When Charles II. was on his death
bed, he made grants of settlements of the revenue.
I was against such disposal then, and am so now.
Let the Princess have her 30,000l. per an. by her
patent, not by virtue of that patent, but by gift by
Act of Parliament.
Sir John Trevor : As to Sacheverell's opinion, "That the
King cannot grant away Aids given in Parliament,"
I wish it were so, but it has not been so these 4 or
500 years. The Judges of Westminster Hall have still
judged it, as in the case of Prizes [Prizage] and
Aulnage. Nay, the King has granted Demesnes
[Decimas] and Quinzes after the Parliament had
granted them to him. By ancient law, the King cannot
part with the patrimony of the Crown. Complaint
was made in Edward III.'s time that by several Acts
lands have been settled in the Crown, yet opinions
were strong in Westminster Hall that the King
could grant [? such lands]. 1,200,000l. per annum
was granted away with a non obstante. It has been
complained of in Parliament formerly. I wish it
had been considered in the Bill of Rights. Except
the Judges will declare, "That the Act of Parliament
does bind the King," 'tis but hedging the cuckow.
I wish with all my heart you would make it so.
Sir Thomas Lee : I wish the clause singly for the
Princess and her only. The same reason for this
saving for her is the like for all persons concerned.
That which saves her grant, with a great many
others, makes her case only for a colour.
Mr. Garroway : Our case is now settling a revenue
for the first year. Let the letters patent be what
they will, we weaken them not. According to order,
the Princess is to be provided for, and if I live so
long as to settle the revenue, I would make her's
as firm as may be ; but this is only a revenue for
her till the King's revenue be settled. Let it be
40,000l. for this year.
Sir Thomas Clarges : I see great matter is made of
the consequence of settling this upon the Princess,
that it may be a precedent in another place, but
when the same case is, I would never deny it. In
Parliament it is a constant rule to favour grants
from the Crown. In Henry VI. and Edward VI.,
etc., as before, there were several Acts of Parliament
confirming letters patent, and they have
always favoured and indulged such grants, and now
you will make the Princess the first example of
annulling these grants! This grant is but for a
year, but if you let this have no continuance it will
be hard. The Aulnage is an imposition, so is the
Butlerage. But what troubles me most is that this
should be made the first step.
Col. Birch : I have waited all this day to see what
this debate would tend to. For this noble Princess
all agree to a comfortable and noble subsistence.
This is neither seasonable nor puts strength to that
patent etc. If it be as to the second part, an
augmentation, you must time it. I hope the King
may be in a better condition (I will not call it
"good luck"). Upon the whole, I agree that, as
has been moved, we may make such a noble allowance
as the times will bear ; but the King's allowance
is cut, and cut soundly ; and, though this is
the worst timed business that ever was, yet I am
for carrying it on. But if you name this patent,
as is moved, you will prejudice thousands. Lay
aside naming it, and you must do it, and have the
patent before you. Name not the patent at all,
for you will do more hurt than good by it.
Mr. Finch : I perceive that gentlemen apprehend that
a saving of the right of this patent is saving the
right of all others ; it is quite contrary, for saving
this patent by name leaves all others loose. I must
say it is a new question, because it is the first time
that it was made a question. If it was never
questioned, I hope it is according to law. I
remember you have been told of the dismal consequences,
"That this would be a leading precedent
to provide for all the King's children." The Judges
resolved it in the Bankers' case, "That one grant
was good, and another naught." It is the first
time I have ever heard that case reproached. I
remember the whole debate of the Hereditary
revenue, Whether that for life ceased? But nobody
made a question, Whether the Hereditary revenue
ceased? Do you mean to determine a question
that no man ever made? In the meantime do no
hurt to the patents. Leave them as they were.
Sir Thomas Lee : I remember I heard a learned
gentleman, upon occasion of the Bill for Sale of the
Fee-Farm Rents, of the King's Council, say, "That
the King held them as his Crown, in fee, and could sell
them, but purchasers would not come up to the price,
without an Act of Parliament." When they come to
say how judgments of law have been, let them tell me
how long Kings have lived upon their subjects' grants.
Mr. Finch : Lee does refresh my memory. I do
remember there was some private opinion that the
Hereditary revenue was gone, but it was not the
opinion of this House. As for the fee-farm rents,
the King could sell them without Act of Parliament,
but if the Hereditary revenue ceased, why did you
think it a necessity of an Act of Parliament? I think
the argument is alike with that and the fee-farm rents.
Four days later, December 17th, the Committee reported
its proposal for the suggested provision in the following
form as a clause to be appended to the Bill for collecting
the public revenue :—
"Provided always and be it enacted that nothing in
the said Act shall extend to the patent made by
King James II. giving to the Prince and Princess of
Denmark 30,000l. per an. : but enacts that they
are to have 40,000l. more out of the revenue arising
by Excise of ale, beer etc., to be paid at the four
most usual and quarterly days of payment and
their receipt to be a sufficient discharge." (fn. 10)
The debate of the 17th December which led to this report
still turned on the same significant constitutional
On The Clause For Saving Princess Anne's
Patent Or Grant, Etc. (Grey's Debates, IX, p. 493.)
Mr. Boscawen : I have as high an esteem for the
Prince and Princess of Denmark as any man, and
I would be understood not to speak with reflection.
For the first part of the clause the Committee had
no power to confirm the patent. To confirm this,
implies a diffidence in the King and Queen. If the
Hereditary revenue be not fallen, it is still in being.
Mr. Hampden : Your instruction to the Committee
was nothing but "to provide a pension for Princess
Anne for a whole year," and this clause is not
brought in according to that instruction.
Sir Henry Capel : I hear there is a patent for this
pension, but to take notice of it here is an extraordinary
thing, and the improperest thing to be
joined with this Bill ; it is joining brass to clay,
and not justifiable in the nature of it. There is an
expression in the paper which is an interdictive to
the second clause of the Bill. What authority that
honourable Lord (Cornbury) has to bring it in, I
know not ; but I am sure he ought to have good
warrants. If your hands are tied up to such a
clause, where is the money to be received? In the
Excise Office? I do not know more Exchequers
than one. Have a care : by the course of the government
of the Exchequer any man may know what
the receipts are, and see how money goes out. At
the Excise Office they will not show their books.
This may be a countenance to other grants of King
James, which, I hope, you will not allow. Upon
the whole, I think it much better to lay this aside
wholly. I would do that which should express
respect and bounty, but this is not a proper time.
In this great revolution, this Prince and Princess
were great instruments in delivering us from popery
and slavery. 'Tis true, we are delivered from
popery and slavery here, but there is another
kingdom that lies under it. Now everybody, the
very farmer, retrenches in his family, and trade is
grown low, but when it is a proper time no man
shall be more ready to increase the Princess's
revenue than myself ; but I do say there may be
a time when the hearts of people will go more
with such a thing, and, I believe, it will be more
acceptable to this Prince and Princess. This is
very surprising. As to our constitution of the
Exchequer, I would have it be more consonant to
the Government, that there may be no gift of money
here but to the Crown. Let the preamble mention
all respect imaginable, that the arrears may be paid,
and address the King for a revenue for the Prince
and Princess for this year, such as the King shall
judge necessary, this exigency of affairs of the kingdom
considered, and hereafter it may be thought of ; and
in the meantime address to the King to this purpose.
Mr. Foley : I think here are two exceptions not to be
answered. The first is, I think this clause was not
brought in according to order. This clause confirms
the letters patent to the Princess and the heirs
of her body, and that is against the order, the Bill
being but temporary. Next, I hope, though the
merits of this Princess be great, yet that you will
not break orders of Parliament, when the letters
patent were never read, which, by this clause, you
confirm, whether good or no, and you know nothing
that is contained in them.
Sir Thomas Clarges : There is little difference betwixt
this Grand Committee and the House, only that in
this the Speaker is not in the chair. Your order is
"to provide for the Prince and Princess for one
whole year," and the patents are confirmed but for
a year and no more. I take it this patent was
possessed and legally invested in her. But "that,
without reading the patents, you cannot confirm
them," that is a mistake. In the Parliament of
Henry VIII. and Edward VI., where letters patent
were granted from such and such a Prince, it is
impossible they should be all read. By the Statute
for confirmation of all Cathedrals and Colleges, from
Henry III.'s time to Henry VIII., they were all
confirmed. It is said "that now it is not a seasonable
time," but is it not seasonable that the Prince
and Princess and the Duke of Gloucester should
have meat, drink and cloaths. This revenue is not
very extraordinary, considering their quality. We
are not to say here "that the King was not consulted
in this." I hope it will never be admitted that we
should take instructions from the King to pass Bills
here. There was 24,000l. a year charged on the Post
Office for the Duke of York in lieu of the charge
upon the Excise, and the Exchequer never took fee
of it. I think this is so just and so honourable to
their merits, who forsook all their pomp, father and
mother, for our laws and liberties, with their lives too,
in this Revolution, that I would agree to the clause.
Mr. Hampden : I think this very hard to pay this
70,000l. this year. In the state you are in it is a
very great hardship to the King and kingdom. I
shall deal as generously in the offices I am in as any
man that would be in office. I meddle not with
this patent ; I think it is a good patent, but not
regular to confirm it here. You charge this branch
of the revenue with this ; will you say the King
shall receive for his Civil List the other part? The
Queen then has not received this 70,000l. If it be
looked into, you shall see what is done. You have
granted two shillings per pound etc., and the King
has liberty by that Act to take up 300,000l. He
has but betwixt this and Saturday next to take it
up, and I guess very largely if there be 100,000l.,
and that is to pay Ireland and Holland and the
Army here. How much will be left of your two
shillings per pound? The Excise that goes out,
suppose, 14,000l. per week, that must go towards
paying this. The Customs are 200,000l. per an.
less this year than formerly, and here is all to
maintain what I have told you. This is a melancholy
prospect. I move to have the letters patent
recited, and this clause re-committed, and so much as
they have by the patent to be received, and no more.
Mr. Ettrick : I know not that the methods of the
Exchequer are more broken by this than by privy
seals, but the most weighty objection is want of
money. As for Capel's joining "brass with clay,"
I am sorry Capel's opinion is that no part of it is
hereditary. We should have gone a little farther
had it not been for the necessity, viz., the whole
revenue that was formerly the Duke of York's.
Col. Birch : My affections at that time did, in a great
measure, captivate my reason. Since that we have
had time to sleep, and my affections stand as high
as ever they did. As to this patent, the question
is whether this debate, as the case stands, is seasonable?
I cannot but admire at my own weakness
when they all agree (and something gives them
cause that I do not see). I would do no prejudice
to this patent, but I would augment the Princess's
revenue. But can anybody say this is seasonable?
Now our condition is low, will this turn to sense,
to be so lavish to throw away 40,000l. per an. when
the King wants for his and our protection? Is this
like to create a good understanding with the King?
Give me leave to go a little farther. I would lay
aside the whole clause and represent to the King
the condition of the Princess. The Duchess of
Cleveland had a pension on the Excise. I [as
Auditor of the Excise] told her "It could not
be, for it was contrary to law, and she must
go to the Exchequer." I never made up any
account from the Excise but to the Exchequer,
neither can I. Our necessities are beyond
expression. I cannot answer it but to lay aside this
clause, and go to the King etc.
Sir Robert Cotten : This debate is as if 30,000l. would
save or lose the kingdom. The Duke of Schomberg
was taken notice of in particular, and had 20,000l.
paid him for his great generosity in coming
over. King James withdrew the Princess's Exhibition
[sic? provision] for some time, and now it
would be hard to lessen it.
Mr. Hampden, Jun. : For want of union in Royal
Families ill men have made use of it, and have
either ruined or given a great shake to them. There
was a good understanding betwixt Lewis XIII. and
his brother, the Duke of Orleans, who had a great
appanage. One Abbot Rivier was about the Duke
of Orleans. What use made they of this? It
proved the effusion of a great deal of blood in France.
This King of France (a great politician) never gave
his brother such a revenue, but a dependent revenue,
and he has lived well and easily with him, but
dependent upon him. I know no other way but
to compare the past with the present. We know
how in England the contest was kept up between
the Houses of York and Lancaster. The Princess
has contributed very much to this Revolution ;
therefore I would put no difference in the Royal
Family. There was a motion, "That the Queen
might have 100,000l. per an. distinct from the
King," but the Queen was willing to be without it.
This Queen's revenue is anticipated, and yet she
sits still without this. The Duke of Schomberg
had a considerable sum given him, and do you
think that the King and the Queen will not have
more affection for their sister than for Duke
Schomberg? I would lay aside the clause.
Mr. Solicitor Somers : The proviso is of two parts,
one to confirm letters patent, and the other for an
additional revenue for the Princess. It is said, "It
was never the intention of the House that the letters
patent should be declared good, and therefore not
to be considered." If they were not referred to the
Committee, no notice can be taken of them. I have
heard of an attaint and men never answered to it,
condemned unheard, and so of patents. I have
heard the patents read, and I believe if they had
been settled in the name of another man they would
have been much more for their advantage and satisfaction.
Therefore that is one reason why I would
not read them. It has been said, "We are not to
ask the King's mind what to do here," but if any
man take upon him to say, "It is the King's mind,"
we ought to enquire whether it be true. We have
messages from the King on other occasions, and why
not on this? In the case of the Duke of York's
grant etc., there was a contract brought into the
House betwixt the King and the Duke. No man
can more honour the Prince and Princess, or is more
highly sensible of her quitting her King and father
than I, when I consider she had heard so much of
Divine right from the clergy. Granting a revenue,
by Act of Parliament, to a subject is always dangerous
in this House. Though that of the King
and the Duke was a contract expressly recited,
"such letters patent as the King should hereafter
grant," yet it gave power in the Act to the King
to make that settlement, and, I hope, it will be always
done with the same security to the King and satisfaction
to the people. Here is a necessity of providing
for the Royal Family. The Crown has always taken
care of the several branches of it, by offices etc., and
nothing can make all the Royal branches depend upon
the Royal Family more. The King must retrench,
and [yet here is] so large a proportion to one
of the Royal Family. I hope the Princess may
have many Dukes, a large and a numerous issue,
and that a revenue may be provided for them, but
for so large a revenue to be granted now, by the
precedent of the Duke of York, is of dangerous
consequence, and was the beginning of our miseries
that we afterwards felt.
Sir Edward Seymour : I wonder now, and it is matter
of surprise to me, not to agree with the Committee.
The objection is the irregularity of the proviso. I
say it is regular, and, if it was otherwise, it is
irregular. How can we provide for the Princess and
leave the patent doubtful? It is objected "It was
never known that a patent was confirmed and never
read." It was offered to be read, and now made
use of as if he had an Act of Parliament for it, and
it tumbled down the stairs. If you will lay the
Act of Parliament, in the Excise, a good payment,
without the Exchequer, it is good, and they dare
not deny the payment. Having gone thus far, I
have one argument that if those who have done and
suffered so much for the Protestant religion shall
not have marks of your favour, I hope they shall
of your justice.
Mr. Hampden, Jun. : I think Seymour has spent so
much time in the West (he had been long absent),
and as Speaker of the House, that he has not had
time to read history.
Sir Edward Seymour : At least, I hope to make better
use of what I have read than that gentleman.
Mr. Finch : If the Duke of York, the Heir Presumptive
of the Crown, engaged in an interest
against the kingdom, should have such a grant,
sure that has greater force when persons support
your laws and liberties. Which way should the
provision have been brought in? Will you include
or exclude these patents? If you exclude the
patent, you must mention the patent. It was said,
"If they are not good, you ought to make them
good by law," and I desire this law may do it. It
is said to be "of dangerous consequence to provide
for the King's children." If the Parliament will not,
and the King cannot, how shall they be provided
Mr. Hawles : When Charles V. in his will gave great
portions to his children, Cardinal Guimeni said, "If
you provide thus, your son may set up for himself."
Mr. Godolphin : I am agreeing for the proviso. It is
said, "This is not agreeable to your order." By
rule when you grant money you are to go into a
Committee of the whole House ; and that is an
objection against the whole Bill. The method proposed
the last Session was part of the revenue for
life and part for years. I am sorry that was not
then complied with, which will be looked on oddly
abroad by your Allies. Will they be with you for
your revenue for a year, and no longer? The
greatest part of disturbance is usually for persons
not at their ease. Let the Princess be at ease.
I believe the King will not give so great a sum
as this, but at the recommendation of this
Mr. Attorney Treby : I would leave this to farther
consideration, and recommit it. I find gentlemen
in the fashion, making confession of their faith.
When the rights of Monarchy are invaded, and the
rights of the people, I think not fit for this company.
If I call the Princess's virtues apostolical, I am
not amiss. She left her father, her beloved mother,
and dear half brother for the Protestant religion.
This may tend to lay a foundation of distrust
between the King and the Princess, and then that
shakes what we must all be safe in. Under colour
of a year's revenue by this you bring in a clause of
perpetuity. I think the patent not invalidated by
leaving out this clause.
Mr. Comptroller Wharton : What is orderly is not
against the order of the House, but the orders of
the Court! (said by Lord Falkland). I was never
ordered by the Court, and never will be.
Lord Falkland : I did not say "anybody was ordered
by the Court," but "If as agreeable to the orders
of the House, as to the orders of the Court, you had
not had this debate." I meant the order of "the
Mr. Garroway : If it were possible, I would have no
question. The King will hear what we do. I fear
a question may make divisions. Hereafter the King
will take care of the Princess, and pray adjourn the
As the suggested clause did not please the House it was
referred back to the Grand Committee, and on the following
day, December 18th, quite a different attitude was
adopted. The patent of James II. was declared to remain
in full force, nothing in the Act extending either to confirming
or the invalidating thereof, and accordingly a new
form of proviso as follows was adopted in place of the first
draft clause above, and at the same time it was ordered
that an humble address be made to the King that he be
pleased to make a provision for the Prince and Princess
Anne of Denmark of 50,000l. in the whole for the year
beginning at Christmas next :
"Provided always and be it enacted that nothing in
this Act contained shall extend or be construed any
way to extend to the confirming or invalidating
certain letters patents bearing date the 20th day of
February in the second year of the reign of the
late King James II. and granted by the said late
King to the Right Honourable Henry, Earl of
Clarendon, Laurence, Earl of Rochester, and others
in trust for the Prince and Princess of Denmark
containing a grant of the yearly sum of 30,000l.
issuing out of certain revenues therein mentioned :
but that the same shall be continued and remain
in as full force and in the same state and
condition as they were before the making of this
Act and no other ; anything herein to the contrary
"Resolved that an humble address be made to his
Majesty that he will be pleased to make a provision
for the Prince and Princess Ann of Denmark of
50,000l. in the whole for the year beginning at
Christmas next." (Commons Journals, Vol. X, p.
The debate which preceded this resolution was as
follows, Grey's Debates, IX, p. 500 :—
Wednesday, December 18th.
In A Grand Committee. On The Recommitment
Of The Bill For The Revenue.
Col. Birch : I conceive you have order to debate, or
lay aside, the whole clause relating to the Princess.
I think it is far better to debate the whole clause.
It will prevent loss of time and misunderstanding.
There may be honour to the Princess and no benefit.
Let gentlemen consider the scope of the debate
yesterday, viz. "That it may be with honour to
the King, and a noble subsistence for the Princess."
I would rather lay it aside or make an humble address
to the King that her arrears may be paid, and a
continuation of her pension.
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I think Birch has misled
you ; to debate it paragraph by paragraph is the
usual method. Two have relation to one another,
the others are distinct and have none. Debates
move regular if they are kept to the strict proposition.
For that which relates to other patents it
does not strengthen them, but rather weakens them,
this patent being directly named, and no more
confirmed. In private Bills, you admit of saving
rights, and much more should in this.
Sir William Leveson Gower : I move that you will
confirm the patent, in consideration of the treaty
between the two Crowns of England and Denmark,
for provision of younger children. Here is but
30,000l. per an. on this consideration. The Duke
of Schomberg is General and General of the Ordnance,
the best places in England. I grudge them
not the Duke, but shall we not confirm, now we
have 10,000 Danes sent over to fight for us? I
would know whether it was agreed that this patent
should be confirmed by Act of Parliament? I
suppose when the Articles of Marriage were made
they intended to rely upon the King and the patent ;
and I think it is as much reason now to do it, and
they may have as good effect of it. It cannot be
supposed but that the Princess may have better
effect of this patent, now she is of the same religion
with her sister than when she was of a different
religion from her father. When you settle the
King's revenue it will be the proper consideration
that she have subsistence for a year. I desire that
it may run plain, free and clear that it may last
no longer than that term ; it is in proportion what
you intend for either King or Queen. I move,
"That you will order the Committee to draw up a
clause, or by address to the King, that this allowance
to the Princess may be free and clear in such
proportion as large as it can go, for this year, the
condition of the kingdom considered."
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I am not for putting the
patent in better condition than it was before nor
worse. If it be the same as it was before I am
not against it.
Mr. Garroway : I am one of those that would have
the patent no better and no worse. I desire only
a saving the patent, and I shall offer some words
to it, viz. "that the patent remain in as full force
as it was before notwithstanding this Act."
Sir Thomas Clarges : Since the Treasury may be
streightened by this proviso, as it is apprehended,
I do not believe this revenue was in the Crown in
1688 ; and since it is said not to be in the [marriage]
treaty I hope they may provide for themselves by
proviso as in Private Acts. These are letters patent
upon valuable considerations. I know a clause in
an Act of Parliament may take away the benefit
of any [patent under the] great seal. These patents
are said to be "a perpetuity" and I think this
clause offered is a reasonable clause. Though the
King has taken great care of the Princess, yet others
have not. She has not yet had Michaelmas quarter
and now it is within ten days of Christmas.
Mr. Sacheverell : I am surprised at what I heard
this morning. Here are words offered neither to
confirm nor invalidate the patent. It is said by
another "he would confirm the patent," but that
is more than you intend ; therefore it is necessary
to know the next clause, what this is that gentlemen
talk of a saving. If there be a good title to
these patents I cannot agree to confirming them
and there is no need of that nor the other. Let
me know whether we shall confirm or not confirm
Sir Henry Goodricke : I am against the salvo of marriage
consideration, but if to be left in the state
you found it in what is the meaning of the saving?
There is something in the grass. There are certain
persons put in [as] trustees for this patent that are
under illegal capacities, not qualified by the Test ;
there is one that is abroad (Lord Sunderland)
especially. Will you put them in a capacity of
this trust? I am not willing they should be taken
notice of. If this contract of marriage be allowed
by you every Prince that treats marriage with you
will have it, as at Paris, registered in the Court of
Parliament. By this you will put the Crown upon
Mr. Finch : I perceive it is everybody's opinion to
do no advantage or disadvantage to the patents.
All men are of opinion that this clause will do no
hurt. If any of these trustees are in an incapacity,
the others being not, you confirm such only as are
capable by law. If trustees are attainted it voids
their trust, but it invalidates not the rest.
Sir William Williams : I am clearly for saving the
right of the patents : and let them stand or fall
upon their own bottom. There may be a jealousy,
but I suppose the design is that the collection of
the revenue shall not hinder the patent from its
vigour and strength. I would postpone this clause.
Sir Thomas Lee : According to the true rules of order
you are out of the way. I take it when it is recommitted
it is as when first brought to the Committee.
After all of it is gone over gentlemen may present
Sir Christopher Musgrave : I think you have nothing
committed to you but the clause. I move to have
Sir Thomas Lee : I will only justify point of order.
Why was it recommitted? It was because it went
farther than the House ordered.
Sir William Williams : The clause provides more for
the Princess than for the King. Therefore I would
lay it aside.
Sir William Leveson Gower : I offer these words [as an
addition] to the clause "that whereas the Prince
and Princess have been highly instrumental in this
happy Revolution the sum of ... be given
Sir Thomas Lee : I think an address to the King as
strong as anything you have had proposed, but to
enact this clause is not leaving it to the King. He
must do it or part with the Bill. In the case of
the Duke of York that was mentioned, the Commons
did not grant it to him, but desired the King
to confirm such letters patent. Pray look over
that grant and make it so as that the King makes
Mr. Garroway : I would have the clause run in this
Bill "that the King would order so much money
as we shall name in this House." Such a clause
I think as obligatory as an enacting clause. Again
I would name a sum that the Prince and Princess
may have so much for this year, that the King may
be enabled to appoint that sum you shall name,
by quarterly payments.
Mr. Comptroller Wharton : I am sorry for the debates
and heats yesterday. I feared an ill consequence :
but I hope there will be none to-day. As for the
motion I made I have not been at the Court of
Exchequer nor Court at Kensington for it, but I
heard the King say "he would be content the
Prince and Princess should have an allowance for
their subsistence." And I move for an address
accordingly. I have no orders to propose it ; but
as from myself I move "that they may have the
addition of 20,000l. per an."
Resolved that an humble address be made to his
Majesty that he will be pleased to make a provision
for the Prince and Princess Anne of Denmark of
50,000l. [in the whole for the year] beginning at
The Act here referred to (1 William and Mary, Sess. 2,
c. 3, for preventing all doubts and questions concerning the
collecting the public revenue) will be found discussed, supra,
p. lix, in its bearing on the larger constitutional question
of annual voting of supply. In the present connection
it is only necessary to note that when the Act finally passed
all reference to this proposed increase of the Princess Anne's
dowry disappeared, and all that survived was a proviso
that nothing in the Act should invalidate the patent of
James II. in favour of the Princess, but that same should
remain in force. The address itself (desiring the King to
make a provision of 50,000l. a year in the whole) was
voted separately on the 21st December and the full text
of it is entered in the Journals. It was presented on the
23rd December. (fn. 11)
Thus the House had in the finish returned not merely
to a proper sense of good taste and decorum, but to the
only possible constitutional procedure as known or conceived
at the end of the 17th century. The matter was
recognised as one of the royal prerogative and was left
to the will of the King. And it was in this spirit that the
King concluded the transaction. Treating it as a private
or domestic matter within his own disposition, he signed a
warrant on the 11th February following, 1689-90, for a
privy seal for an additional 20,000l. per an. to the Prince
and Princess, making their total income 50,000l. per an.
as from Christmas, 1689. It is noticeable by the way
that the King took this action two months and more before
the passing of the Bill on April 23rd following (2 William
and Mary, Sess. 2, c. 3), which conferred upon the Crown
the Temporary Excise—which was the fund to be charged
for the said annuity. William's procedure is entirely that
of a royal grant made purely as a matter of prerogative.
The only concession which he made was that in the preamble
of the privy seal he inserted a clause declaring that
the grant was pursuant to an address of the late House
of Commons. Further than this, the King reserved to
himself the right of deciding how the grant should be paid.
For it will be found that some six years later on the occasion
of the deliberations as to a list of reductions of the Civil
List, the King directed that "the 50,000l. for the
Princess must not be in this list, for she must be paid
out of the Excise itself (and not loans) according to her