Thursday, April 7, 1659.
Prayers by a Scotch or Yorkshire minister.
Mr. Speaker took the chair at nine.
Resolved, that Mr. Morrice, one of the members of this
House, by reason of his indisposition of health, shall have leave
to go into the country for a month, notwithstanding the order
for calling over of the House.
It had many negatives, they being loth to want him.
Lord Fairfax presented a petition on behalf of lame soldiers
and widows, for the payment of their weekly pensions. (fn. 1)
Sir William Wheeler. See the state of your money first,
and have Mr. Scawen's report from the Committee of Inspections.
Mr. Jenkinson. There is a double portion allowed the
lame soldiers, by the justices at sessions.
A Committee was appointed (T. B. and others (fn. 2) ) to consider of it, and report their opinion therein to the House; to
Mr. Hewley offered a report for Mr. Povey instead of Mr.
Mr. Speaker said it would hold debate. He, therefore,
called for Mr. Scawen's report.
Mr. Scawen reported from the Committee for the Inspections into the Accounts and Public Revenue: (fn. 3)
A brief view of the public revenue, both certain and casual,
with the ordinary expence of the Commonwealth of England,
Scotland, and Ireland, respectively in the three nations, for
one year, together with a state of the public debts, as the
same doth appear to the Committee.
He was called upon to bring it up, but made signs that the
clerk might fetch it, he having not done his report, and the
clerk fetched it. The Report was read. (fn. 4)
Mr. Scawen. Your Committee have not entered upon the
other part of their directions, as to bringing in the revenue and
retrenching your charge.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I never saw any thing done so
exactly and so speedily as this. I have seen the sense of the
House, of their kind acceptance of the report. Let them
have the thanks of the House.
Sir Henry Vane. The best acceptance is, to give directions
about retrenching your charge. The chairman deserves your
thanks with the others that served you there.
Resolved, thanks accordingly. (fn. 5)
The gentlemen of the Committee stood up bare, and
Mr. Speaker gave them thanks, and said they had done it
Mr. Annesley. This is one of the saddest mornings that
ever I had in my life. I see an incurable disease, unless you
apply a cure presently. I beg you will refer it back. I
would have some general resolution, before you commit it.
That the charge of the nation is grown so great, you think
it necessary that such a balance, should be made as it may
not exceed your incomes; else our children shall, in fine, be
A debt increasing 400,000l. per annum must needs undermine all, in conclusion. I will instance in one case. The
charge of ships in dock is almost 50,000l. per annum. (fn. 6) I know
no need of this. I doubt much has gone by in the—. (fn. 7)
I would have but sixpence per pound allowed for discovering;
which haply may pay all your debts. There will be enough
to undertake the search.
Captain Baynes. A great deal of money comes in, not
charged here. Not that the knowledge of it will bring any
thing. The people pay more than you can have account
I would have a self-denial, both here and without doors.
Judges had once but 300l. per annum, now 500l. They
had then fees, and they take them now, notwithstanding.
Officers in Ireland have high salaries. I would not have
your civil charge mixed with your military. Let them be
divided. The civil has eaten it out.
Sir John Northcote. You are in an incurable consumption.
You are not bound to pay the debts that are accrued without
your consent. The modesty of the soldiers is great. I
would have them paid off; but, before you espouse it,
inquire who contracted it; and whatever any Parliament contracted, let us set our shoulders to pay it.
Mr. Trevor. If the proverb be true, "a disease one knows,
is half-cured." I shall not enter into how much we owe:
we are engaged to pay it. I would have it cared for how to
retrench your charge. I would have it referred back to
your Committee, to propound the remedies.
Colonel White. The best way to obviate is to take away
the cause, the great root, foreign war. Preserve the power
of making war in the consultative power, the single person
Consider also, whether it is not for your service to make a
speedy and honourable peace. Trade decays.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. Though you have heard of a
great debt, you have not yet made it yours. It is exceedingly necessary to retrench so as to balance your income
and charge. Refer it back to the Committee. Officers are
multiplied. Consider what it was before: so much in the
pound; now constant salaries.
We have lost at least 1200 ships, and have scarce twenty
merchant ships considerable. Four hundred lie by the walls.
We can get no rents from our tenants. They are exceedingly scarce, both in city and country. I had no hand,
many of us had none, in making war, nor the Dutch peace. (fn. 8)
I would have one added to the Committee for Ireland, and
one for Scotland.
He named Lord Marquis Argyle and Mr. Annesley.
Lord Marquis Argyle. There are two things in this
report, income and out-going. It is a good motion to take
such course as that your debt may not increase. Let your
first step be, a good previous vote.
Major-general Kelsey. There is a further attendance upon
that vote than you are aware of; that is, to call home your
fleet. Your readiest way to make peace with Spain, is to de
clare to prosecute the war with effect. I would have it referred back to a Committee.
Sir Henry Vane. To send it back to the Committee, will
not give a remedy. Let it be debated in a Grand Committee,
some days in the week; every member to lay it to heart.
Let the report be fully debated. You take it up upon
The very 1,300,000l. will sink us. It was weak, ever to
think otherwise. The blessing of God will never go along
with it. It is impossible for the Committee to serve you
there. (fn. 9) This is your very blood, and ought to be as precious
as blood. It is a bad time to set up with a debt of two millions and a half. (fn. 10) A rot has got amongst the merchants.
They break every day, ten at a time.
1. Ascertain the three months' pay to the army, till you
can debate this fully. Be sure of that; else you may be in
destruction before you are aware.
2. Sit upon the whole report in a Grand Committee.
I wish all gentlemen would come out of the country. They
cannot attend a better service. I would have you set seriously to it.
Mr. Secretary. This account is fully stated. It is the
first full account that has, come in, these eighteen years. I
am glad you will take this into consideration. It is well said,
"it is your life and blood."
It is happy, that after so many great things passed, and so
many millions lost, you come now to understand the state of
your affairs fully. I dare not oppose any thing of my own
knowledge to the report. My business never was to meddle
I find not the debt so great; nor all risen since his Highness had to do with the Government. A great part of the
debt was upon the old footing. The officers brought it into
the Commonwealth; otherwise, how the mistake comes I
There is not above 5 or 600,000l. since 1653. Such re
ductions have since been made, as have saved you many millions; upon the new buildings, 23,000l. (fn. 11) Those warrants I
saw. I only speak by what I hear.
The Report makes Ireland 70,000l. more than it is. The
debts of Scotland and the navy are dear, as is the debt upon
Jamaica. (fn. 12) Care is taken to pay the soldiers' arrears and
growing pay. Less than half, there, will defray it. They
must have acres. The debt of Flanders, as it is reported; (fn. 13)
the Excise debt the same. There is due from the Excise
100,000l. So that, by these defalcations, the whole debt
will be but 1,384,000l. or thereabouts.
There was, in December 1652, a debt upon the navy of
50,000l.; in April 1653, of 600,000l. and odd; so it is not
much more increased than 400,000l.
For the revenue, they make it 1,800,000l. It appears by
my particulars, but 1,700,000l.
The Committee have estimated the summer ships at 50,
and the winter ships at 35. There are upwards of 16,000
men now at sea; so that the charge will be more as the ships
are more. There was nothing undertaken but for your safety.
Your officers have not increased- your charge. They have
been good husbands.
The Long Parliament had great actions. The armies in
England, Scotland, and Ireland, in 1652, came to thrice the
sum. It is hard to make it good that 1200 ships are lost. (fn. 14)
Your charge then, was upwards of seven millions; now, four
Customs and Excise were not so much as now, by 120,000l.
per annum; so that your incomes then fell short, two millions
almost. I say not that it was not necessary. I cannot find
that, in any case, we have been in the whole above 800,000l.
besides the Spanish war. There are revenues of Dunkirk, as
Excise and customs and contributions. That, in a short
time, may go a great way in the charge.
Every man will, no doubt, set his hand and heart to it to
bring your charge down to your revenue. About a year
since, a reducement was agreed on, which would have saved a
great deal, and have brought the yearly charge to near
600,000l.; but we could not do it without money to pay off,
nor was it so proper for the Council as for the Parliament.
Another consideration was, to abate the charge of collecting
the Excise, which in farming has much lessened it.
If the debt be no more than we understand, a less sum will
serve. Before the year go about, you may think of a considerable retrenchment. All your revenue is charged already
I hope we are all clear of misemploying your money. I
would have it sifted to the bottom. If any be faulty, let
them be punished. I would have this considered, and some
present course taken to raise some money.
I went to dinner. The debate continued till after one.
Resolved, that the debate upon this report be adjourned
until Saturday morning next, and then taken up again; and
that nothing else do then intervene. (fn. 15)
Complaint was made against Thomas Boulron, a bailiff, for
arresting one Joseph Drew, who had the protection of the
House, (fn. 16) and he was ordered to be sent for in safe custody. (fn. 17)
The House rose at past one.
The Committee of Privileges sat in the Star-Chamber upon
the business of Newcastle, and heard counsel on both sides.
Mr. Lilburne prayed longer time, for want of witnesses;
but the Committee was sensible it was but delay, and would
not grant it, but appointed to proceed on Saturday next.
The Committee of Grievances sat, but I could not attend
it, in regard of Blackiston's business.