Saturday, April 1.
[Resolved, on the Report from the Committee to whom the
Petition of Sir Edward Thomas against his son was referred, (see
p. 400, &c.) that there is no sufficient cause for the said Petition.]
April 3 omitted.
Tuesday, April 4.
A Bill for building another bridge over the river Thames, from
Putney, was read.
Mr Jones, Member for London.] This Bill will question
the very being of London; next to the pulling down of
the borough of Southwark, nothing can ruin it more.
All the correspondences westward, for fuel, and grain,
and hay, if this bridge be built, cannot be kept up—The
water there is shallow at ebb; the correspondences of
London require free passage at all times; and if a bridge,
a sculler can scarce pass at low water. It will alter the
affairs of watermen, to the King's damage, and the nation's—Thinks the Bill unreasonable and unjust.
Mr Waller.] As for the imposition laid by this Bill, men
may go by water if they please, and not over the bridge,
and so pay nothing. If ill for Southwark, it is good for
this end of the town, where Court and Parliament are.
At Paris there are many bridges—At Venice hundreds—
We are still obstructing public things. The King cannot
hunt, but he must cross the water. He and the whole
nation have convenience by it.
Sir Tho. Lee.] This Bill will make the new buildings at
this end of the town let the better, and fears the Bill is
only for that purpose.
Colonel Birch.] Finds it equal to men, whether it
does them hurt, or they think it does them hurt. Where
a cart carries something to the city, it usually brings
something home; and they that bring provision hither,
will fetch back, but will not go to the city to fetch it.
Mr Secretary Trevor.] No Law can be made, but
will transfer one or other inconvenience somewhere. Passages over rivers are generally convenient; and by the
same reason you argue against this bridge, you may
argue against London bridge and the ferries.
Sir William Thompson.] When a convenience has been
so long possessed, as this has been, it is hard to remove
it. This will make the skirts (though not London) too
big for the whole body; the rents of London bridge, for
the maintenance of it, will be destroyed. This bridge
will cause sands and shelves, and have an effect upon
the low bridge navigation, and cause the ships to lie as
low as Woolwich; it will affect your navigation, your
seamen, and your Western barges, who cannot pass at
low water—Would reject the Bill.
Colonel Stroude.] In no city where bridges are, they
were all built at a time. No city in the world is so long
as ours, and here is but one passage for five miles—In
frosts provisions may stop, and in case of any mutiny
passages may be so stopped by water, as a correspondence
cannot be held any way but by this convenience.
Mr Boscawen.] If a bridge at Putney, why not at Lambeth, and more? And as for Paris, where there are many
bridges, [there is] no use of watermen at all; and the same
reason that serves Paris may serve London. Neither Middlesex nor Surry desire it; at best it is but a new conclusion.
Sir John Bennet.] Says the Lord Mayor and Aldermen did agree to it, if it were for no other reason than to
be secured from a bridge at Lambeth.
Mr Love.] The Lord Mayor of this year is of a different opinion from him of the last year. If carts go over,
the city must be destroyed by it. It is said, "that it encourages but a few ferrymen, though in truth it does many
—He hears that it must be of timber, which must be vast,
and [will] so hinder the tide, that watermen must stay till it
rises. When between the bridges the streams are abated,
in time no boat will pass, and the river will be destroyed
totally for passage, it being already full of shelves.
Sir Henry Herbert.] This looks like a monopoly. Several of these projects were in the late King's time, but
rejected, because the Londoners and the adjacent countries
would be prejudiced by it. It is matter of great concernment, and too thin a House; and now to receive a Bill
of this nature, would be thought strange (fn. 1) .
[The Bill was rejected, 67 to 54.]
Wednesday, April 5.
[The ingrossed Bill to prevent and suppress seditious Conventicles was read the third time.]
Debate on the Clause of Indemnity.
Colonel Birch.] Any man may make over his goods
by Law, and they shall be good against Bill or Bond, if
the Act be precedent; so that this is beyond any other
Law. Now you are about suppressing Conventicles,
take care you suppress not yourselves; for he finds that
the use of a Commons House, the main use, besides
giving of money, is to punish persons that have gone beyond Law, under a pretence of Law, as all impeachments are; so that this looks unjust to condemn at one
time, and impeach at another time—Would have the
thing indemnified for, specially named.
Sir Richard Temple.] Had you enumerated the things
you indemnify for, he should not be against it. What will
the consequence of this be? That every man will make
this construction, that every thing, though ever so exorbitant, shall be justified by this Act; as the 5000l. bond
taken in the city for good behaviour, without assigning
Sir Thomas Meres.] This Clause of Indemnity will not
reach the 5000l. bond; but hopes his Majesty will give
a general indemnity—Would have the Clause, directing
imprisonment, left out—Would still go by way of purses
—This will obstruct it at the Lords House, as it did the
last Bill; you will differ, and therefore would have the
Clause laid aside.
Sir Robert Howard.] It shows that one fort of persons, thus indemnified, do what they will, and the other
is punished—Cares not how large mercy be, so that all
our breasts may equally share of it—Can any terror be
like this?—Whoever offends, never capable of mercy, áand
the over-actors beyond the Law indemnified! It is
against your own judgments, for you would all have an
Act of Grace from the King, and have none yourselves.
Mr Waller.] All Laws made in terrorem have rather
been commended than blamed for acting in mitiorem partem, as in that of the Papists. You in this take part
with the injurious against the injured. If Juries have
been menaced and fined, the precedent will come upon all
the Commons of England; for upon that wheel hang
all our lives and liberties—Revenge makes the bee lose
his sting; and so shall we, if we pass this Bill.
Sir John Duncombe.] Is sorry such a stubborn people
should be thus countenanced. Did not the city tremble
under the menace of these people? And these are the people we must indulge. If you once come to weaken the
hands of the Deputy-Lieutenants, the Government will
be in danger. Nothing but numbers will content this
people; they began the troubles, and will do so again;
expects nothing from them but misery and ruin. No
age, nor government, that ever trusted them, was secure.
Whither will not these men go, and what have they not
done, that will make their own spirits the dictates of
their actions? Sow rebellion, and what not—Cares not
whether the Bill pass or not, but would have the opinion
of the House against them. When they had possessed
the world with the mist of Popery, they go on—Keep
both these down; between these foxes tails we shall be
set on fire. Show the nation you will preserve the peace
of the nation.
Mr Vaughan.] If Murder, nay, possibly Treason, be
done by colour of prosecuting this Act, he is pardoned.
If a Magistrate can alleviate a Law, natural Justice dictates it. Empson and Dudley had the modesty to stay for
a Law before they acted—Such and such men are unjust,
and they would have the House of Commons unjust with
them. This is to proclaim that the people shall have no
use of a House of Commons for grievances, and to take
away præmunire from the King—Who are the persons to
be indemnified? Believes, some amongst ourselves, which
is unreasonable, that they should be judges of. If there
be any virtue, if there be any praise, think of these things
(fn. 2) .
Mr Secretary Trevor.] No larger words [are] to be found
than "under colour of the Law." The consequence of
this is, an indemnity for all things that shall be done for
the future. The consequence of this Bill looks both
ways—It is a stirring world abroad, and [there are]
many reasons to induce us to study moderation.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Every Presbyterian conforms
not to three of the thirty-nine Articles. The Covenant
obliges them to destroy the Church of England, and
therefore they will not renounce it—The King, in his
Coronation oath, swears to maintain the Church; this to
destroy it. What can these men say that will hold no
oath but that, [the Covenant,] though they have taken
Mr Henry Coventry.] "Riot." It will be hard for a Justice of Peace to punish what he knows not.—Would
have it made "a Riot," when any officer is refused, or
opposed to enter, because it obliges the King to send
Sir Charles Herbord]. Would have it "a Riot," but
not "a Conventicle" too. Justices are to be punished
by the Statute of Hen. IV. and this also. People naturally
run from what they are driven to, into the contrary extreme—That the King's debt should be satisfied out of
another man's goods, was never known before.
Mr Cheney.] Temple [is] mistaken—Q. Elizabeth took
care against Conventicles; they were under an abjuration; ours gives them an indulgence — Temple would
have the Church join with them, and not they with our
Sir William Lowther.] Look into the wars of Croatia,
Hungary, and France, in Henry the fourth's time—This
custom, so long habituated, is not easily rooted out. If
we can bring them in, let us; it is so good a work, that
he would have the Committee bring in such a Clause.
And as to "the person standing mute, and not declaring
his goods," suppose a Factor trusted with goods of another man's, to the value of 100,000l. would it be fit
to send him to the House of Correction? Is the Church
nothing but discipline? The Church of Christ is the
doctrine of Christ; the ceremonies are the Church of
men. As great men as the Church has had, have dissented in discipline, though they have not published it.
The Church is built upon the state of England, and the
Commonwealth bears the Church, not the Church the
Commonwealth—A great Prelate, considering how to
recover the honour of the Church, says, "How came
the Church by that honour? By piety and humility,
and by pride and insolence lost it." He was troubled
at it, but says he, "What is to be done? Bring your
Churchmen into good life and good manners, and you
have restored it."—Would have the King's condition
better than it is; but thinks this not the way to do it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] That which stumbles him is, that
the same persons for the same offence shall be punished
by two several Acts; the punishments, being by the two
Laws different, may clain. This Bill was brought in to
supply the defect of the other Bill, in power of distresses,
and those Clauses were crowded into it. As for "standing
mute," if they have not goods, and they tell you so,
shall they be whipped for being no richer than they are?
Mr Henry Coventry.] Will you oblige a Committee to
bring you in a Bill according to the debate of the House,
which has two sides; and must the Committee report
two opinions? It is upon the opinion and sense of the
Sir Edw. Dering.] Fears that Justices may be involved
by the former Law in 100l. penalty for not suppressing
Riot, and in 100l. more for not sending warrants to
suppress Conventicles, &c. The Law commits rioters
to Jail; this Bill to the House of Correction; which
will involve the Justice in many inconveniences.
Mr Boscawen.] Is against the whole Bill—No exception
of ages, and qualities, and persons, and thinks it will be
a reproach upon us abroad, to send a person of quality
to the House of Correction—Physic, of different natures,
is not to be administered at the same time. The world
is not the same as formerly; things of reconciliation
will bring us to a better temper; and why may not
this Bill be forborne now? Matters of Faith are not to
be done by force; we have Laws sufficient already.
Colonel Birch.] If ever was a time, now is, to consider of this Bill—Every man is apt to lay his finger upon
his neighbour's fore place—These people are Protestants,
and agree in the articles of your doctrine. These people
come not to the public [worship,] and the things imposed, that keep them away, the imposers of them do
confess indifferent; and for these you lay punishments—
Fears it may be a sin for you—We are strangely declined
since these Acts; much calamity has been upon us. If
ever a nation had need of union, it is now. Make these
men fight for the King, and you do well. The burden
and weight is great upon the nation, and you may have
need of their hands—You would not have them glaze the
windows that are not to live in the house—Has read and
heard that a supreme Magistrate may better govern three
or four parties than one; for he may set one against another.
The Book of Sports was the beginning of the Rebellion
—Would not have so great an interest twisted against
our own—Is sorry there should be a separation, but you
may unite them—Suppose a man twenty years ago was
ordained by Presbyters, and we will not let him officiate,
unless re-ordained; another scruples the Cross in Baptism;
shall we whip and scourge this man out of the Church?
Is this the way to deal with rational people? What
must these do? One in the house sits, another stands,
leans, or kneels, and must we be indifferent in the solemn worship of God, and enjoyn kneeling at the sacrament? So many men as you compell, so many subjects
you lose the King.
Colonel Williams.] Remembers that, amongst the many
expressions of Birch, in favour of the Church of England, he ever joins Popery and Prelacy together—Speaking of their numbers is threatening.
Colonel Birch.] The vote of "damnable heresy,
Popery, and Prelacy," was voted in 1644 or 1645; he
came not into the Long Parliament till 1646.
Sir Edmund Pooley.] Grant Birch's argument, and you
take away the King's Supremacy, who may impose in
things indifferent. All prefaces to the Liturgy tell you
"ceremonies are indifferent," but cease to be so when
commanded—Does not this carry rebellion in the face?
The government is the case, and there is the root of
iniquity. The same thing of the Cross in Baptism was
before the Pope, in St. Jerom's time. Birch says, "for
aught he knows, re-baptising may as well be as re-ordaining." Nothing of ordination by Presbyters before
Calvin's time, and challenges any man to show the contrary.
Sir Richard Temple.] Asserts that what Birch says of
the Prelacy was in Richard's Convention; by the same
token they would have had "Presbytery" put in—Would
have this Bill look both ways, to unite as well as to punish—Is afraid that you handle all Dissenters alike—
Would have all these sons of Zeruiah handled differently—Queen Elizabeth did all by mildness. Lord Chief
Justice Vaughan, when in this House, would have you
consider that Queen Elizabeth made the saying morning
and evening service be the standard of conformity, by
Act.—The Presbyterians are not capable of toleration,
because they are an army with banners; they draw many
from you; separate them from Independents and Papists,
and they will come into your Church. Let them renounce Presbytery in their practice rather than another
way; Independents are not capable neither of comprehension, but they are not capable of imposing; they
may be allowed Meeting-houses out of towns, under
what security you will. Get your disease into a part,
your gout into your toe, and you may get it sooner away.
The King of France suffers no private meetings, all public; the Catholics get ground by a promiscuous toleration.
[The Bill passed, 74 to 53.]
[April 6, 7, and 8, omitted.]
Monday, April 10.
[The ingrossed Bill for laying impositions on proceedings at
Law was read the third time.]
[Debate on the Proviso to prevent malicious and vexatious
informations and indictments, that the party should be discharged
Sir Richard Temple.] Would have the charge be at the
cost of the informer, and that the officers of the Court
should not pay where they were not in fault.
Sir Thomas Lee.] If you lay it upon the informer, no
man will prosecute. The question is, that whether they
shall be supported but by the charge of the criminal?
people dare seldom traverse; it is better possibly, by the
twentieth part, to confess the indictment. This will
probably prevent the Clerks of Assize and Sessions from
setting up prowlers and informers; they compound with
these, and this makes the mischief.
Mr Attorney Finch.] Would not have this important
Clause, that must pass as an Act, be of three minutes digestion. There are other remedies, as actions on
the case, &c. for malicious prosecutions, which is so
home a Law, that it sometimes makes witnesses swear
too home to condemn a man for fear of the Law, as it
Mr Boscawen.] People are advised by the Clerk of the
Assizes rather to confess than traverse, which is an unnatural thing to justice; you ought rather to mitigate
fees of traverse, or give some such remedy.
Colonel Birch.] Says that this Proviso is natural, and
[will piease] the people, seeing your care in laying money,
and easing them another way. This is a growing thing;
men grow crafty, and though Benson, Clerk of Yorkshire
Assizes, was quit before you, yet fees appeared justly to
be 9 or 10l. This is contrary to the nature of the thing
of an indictment. A man must sacrifice his purse for his
innocence—If you say the informer shall pay, you will
have no information; but if you will mend the fees, and
make them smaller, likes it well.
[The Proviso was rejected, 67 to 60.]
[The Bill passed.]
A Message from the Lords, "to desire a Conference upon the
Bill of imposition on foreign commodities, and also a Conference
touching an Address to be made to his Majesty." Exceptions
were taken that the Lords name not what the Address is.
Mr Waller.] In some things we cannot confer with
the Lords, and thinks this one.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Possibly their Messengers may be
mistaken, as sometimes ours are; but we are now grown
Sir Thomas Lee.] If the thing be about forbidding
wearing of foreign commoditics, and they have mistaken,
let us have their paper, as the Lord Keeper often takes
The two Masters in Chancery, who were the Messengers,
had no paper.
Mr Attorney Finch.] We cannot deliberate upon this
Message, for "sending answer by Messengers of our
own," is like the King's s'avisera—Would agree, for
we have sometimes done so.
Sir Richard Temple.] No man can give a precedent
that a Conference was agreed to, when the subject-matter was not dictated.
Earl of Orrery.] "To send an answer by Messengers of
our own" is a denial in the roughest manner that can be—
Would not have any thing look like a breach.
Sir John Birkenhead.] If the Lords desire a free conference, the subject-matter must be known, because of answering. Possibly the things may not be fit to be told
you now, 'till a day's time.
Sir John Duncombe.] Possibly this may be a communicating of private intelligence, or to open a thing you
cannot otherwise comprehend—Would agree to it.
Mr Waller.] When he was a Manager in Lord Clarendon's business, a Bishop brought a great book (thinks
it was the Lords Journal (fn. 3) ) and told us when they might
deny Conference. Queen Eliz.—A hundred wiser men
than he thought that such a thing as this broke the little
Parliament, and drew after it all the ill consequences—
Would have the commission of the Managers confined
—3 Charles, in the Duke of Buckingham's time, he, and
the rest, who attended a Conference of the Lords, out
of a curiosity to hear the Duke speak (who did it very
well) and it was not to the subject-matter of the Conference, all called out, "Aye, Aye;" and they were chidden when they came to the House for crying, "Aye, Aye."
Sir Rich. Temple.] It is an indisputable rule of Parliament, that you cannot confer upon a thing not depending
between both Houses; and to preserve good correspondency, send to the Lords to know their meaning—It
was so in King James's time, when a discourse happened at
a Conference about the King's power to impose upon foreign commodities by Prerogative—To the first part of
the Message would agree; to the second would send
answer by Messengers of our own, and at the Conference
you may let them know the irregularity; but whether
by Message, or Conference, is the question.
Colonel Titus.] At the first did believe the Messengers
had in their paper the subject-matter—Is against it, for
the novelty of it, not saying any subject-matter, and
for the precedent. The Lords well know the subjectmatter; it may be something they cannot admit, as upon
judicature; then they deny; this may be of money,
which we cannot confer about.
Mr Waller.] Has forgot whether the Conference in
King James's time was declared for what; but since
the Lords were so rigid, as at a Conference to show the
precedents (as the Bishop of Rochester did with a great
book) wherein the Lords denied Conference, has ever
since been careful in the matter.
Answer to the Lords, "The House agrees to a Conference
about the Bill of foreign commodities; but as to the Address to
the King, will send an answer by Messengers of our own (fn. 4) ."
The House [then] taking into consideration the Message sent
down from the Lords for a Conference, touching an Address
to be made to his Majesty, which not mentioning the subjectmatter of the said Address,
Ordered, That it be referred to a Committee named to search
the books for precedents, concerning Messages between both
Houses, and to report the same to-morrow morning.
Tuesday, April 11.
A Message from the Lords, by the same Messengers, "That the
Lords think our answer unparliamentary, and desire a Conference
at five of the clock in the afternoon, upon the subject-matter of
our answer, and they will be sitting accordingly (fn. 5) ."
Sir Thomas Meres.] All these goings to the Lords are
lessening you—You have not affirmed any thing. "To
be unparliamentary," and to send it you in the face of
the House, by their Messengers, looks high. The second Conference, about the Address to the King, has
neither time nor place mentioned—This word "unparliamentary," in the face of the House, ought not to
have been said; it was never so before.
Sir Robert Howard.] The Lords do not recite our answer by their Messengers, but say it is unparliamentary;
we cannot tell what to make of this Message, nor which
Conference they mean, whether unparliamentary that we
sent an answer, or whether delivered right or wrong, or
whether our sending answer by Messengers of our own.
Mr Waller.] Verbera, sed cudi—Wonders that before
the Lords hear us at Conference, they, being a Court of
Justice, should call it unparliamentary.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The Lords made you stay an hour
and a half, in order to a Conference, and came not, and
then send you a Message to the House—You have granted them their Conference, and you can do nothing but
hear—It is not usual to confound two different matters
at the same Conference.
Sir Charles Harbord.] Attend the Conference, and then
consider what to do.
[The Messengers being called in, Mr Speaker acquaints them,
that the House had considered of their Message, and did agree
with the Lords to the Conference, at five of the clock this afternoon.]
[In the Afternoon.] A Conference.
Earl of Anglesea.] The Lords have desired this Conference, to preserve a good correspondence with the House
of Commons—Takes notice of an unusual answer sent
by their Messengers (and then repeats the Message.) The
Lords took great care to satisfy themselves in the way
their and your ancestors usually walked, and find it different from the usual ways of answers from the House of
Lord Holles.] To grant a Conference for one part of
the Message, and not the other, [is] unusual.
Sir Robert Howard reports from the Conference.] "That
they [the Lords] had received an unusual answer, and that
caused the Lords to call it unparliamentary, which they
look upon as strange, to agree to one part, and dissent to
the other. Upon search they find this way was wholly
strange to refuse Conferences, especially part agreed to,
and part refused."
Sir Thomas Meres.] Lord Anglesea hinted in the end
of his discourse, as if there was a mistake.
Sir William Coventry.] Conferences were not all to that
purpose, but sometimes for communications.
Sir Richard Temple.] To possess either House of a
matter new to them.
Sir Robert Holt.] In Lord Mordaunt's business, Conference was denied; but is glad to hear from the Lords
that it is unparliamentary to deny Conferences.
Sir Richard Temple.] It has been usual to mind you of
things at Conference; but the novelty is to demand one
Conference upon more things; the one is explicit, the
other implicit—Can show you where the Lords have denied Conference at first. A Bill signed by Queen Eliz.
of particular grace to a Lord. The Commons would
not so perfectly restore him, but they would have a saving to other persons interest. He complained to the
Lords; but the Commons passed the Bill, and denied
Conference, because the Bill was not returned to the
Lords, and therefore they could take no notice of the
thing—You excepted against Lord Mordaunt's sitting, as
a delinquent. The Lords told you it was in their power
not to grant Conference. In King James's time, the
Lords refused Conference about impositions on commodities, because the subject-matter was not before them.
The Bishop of Lincoln called it a noli me tangere. The
Lords mistake themselves in saying "it is a refusal in part;"
when we say "we will send an answer by Messengers of
our own," it is as much as to say, "we will not send
you an answer without thinking." There is an occasion
sought by the Lords rather than given by us.
Mr Henry Coventry.] Never saw a business made shorter
by over-leaping it; it is done best by gradation. In their
Journal, one Conference upon different things; in ours,
two Conferences, as we understand it—You should, in
his opinion, send a Message to know what their Lordships meant by the whole Message—Thinks if they put
any thing into the Conference, you ought not to receive
it; you are to deny the whole Conference; we say the
Message was two, and we did right to accept the one,
and not the other.
Sir Robert Howard.] Would not stumble upon the
threshold; their own Messengers returned it to the Lords
as two. If the mistake was in the Messengers, it is easily rectified—(Precedent brought)—You are upon things
known, as impositions and judicatures; but to send us
an adjudication upon a Message, is strange—In all the
hot votes in Skinner's business, you had but one such
Message, and would have those that go up tell the
Lords, that the Message was too hasty.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Whatever is of mistake, he would
have forgotten—Takes that only for clear that is upon
our books, and that is the right; but in a matter liable
to a mistake, it was very early, in the middle of the
House, to tell us "it was unparliamentary," at the first
chop. Surely the Lords staid long for their dinner; it
was too angry, and should have been said last. For
aught we know, this address might be about money, or
the Militia—Would therefore have a hint in the Conference, that we would have some word, as relating to the
same Bill, to give us some light into what they mean,
being, as they are now, two things of different natures;
and would touch them upon making our Managers stay
an hour and an half, and not coming to us.
The Speaker.] Whether the Peers can demand Conference, without declaring the subject-matter, is the debate—The case of Parry, 4 Henry IV.—Stroude's case,
the Judges said, in Lord Holles's, Mr Selden's, &c.
and it was Lord Chief Justice Vaughan's opinion, that it
was a general case—You sent Mr Cheney for a Conference
barely; they consented to Conference, without the subject-matter.
Mr Cheney.] Desired to know for what, when sent.
He was answered, "nothing but barely Conference." The
Lords, after some debate, called him in, and answered,
"That the Lords would send an answer by Messengers of
their own;" but your book is, "That the Lords, being
not acquainted with the subject-matter, would send answer
by Messengers of their own." Your book is marked in the
margin as wrong entered. The Lords, having granted
it, ought not now to deny you; here is nothing but
mistake in the way.
The Speaker.] Nothing remains but that you take it
unkindly they should send us a Message that the thing
Mr Harwood.] If your Money-Bill had not been sent
up, possibly they would not have told you it was unparliamentary.
Sir Richard Temple.] You have more reason now to
debate; if you can deny a Conference to what you know,
surely you may to what you do not — Possibly we
might have attended them at the Conference (when they
made us stay so long) the whole Session; let us mind
them when they halt.
Mr Henry Coventry.] We are fond, he fears, of things
we are informed of, and know not in the manner we
ought. They say they sent for one Conference, we say
for two; you may possibly instruct your Members to say
we may deny a Conference, but no farther.—Would
have you limit your Members, before you come to a
Earl of Orrery.] It is granted on all sides, that either
House may send for Conference—Does not believe that
the Lords sent the Message as we take it, though it was
so delivered. When you justify your proceedings by
your Journals, the fault will remain upon the Messengers,
and so it remains a drawn battle.
Sir Tho. Meres.] Remembers, this Session, two Conferences demanded, one after the other, suddenly, upon
two different matters.
Sir John Birkenhead.] 1 Queen Eliz. They sent, by the
Sollicitor, for a Conference in the Painted Chamber,
where they acquainted you that Queen Mary was dead;
but, except that, knows of no precedent. But at that
time the Queen was dead, and they [were] dissolved;
though the Lords then usually met with the Privy-Council, to consult the quiet of the Realm.
Mr Waller.] We cannot say a time when we desire a
Conference; the Lords may call, and we not [be] ready—
We may find the Lords mistake, but they not ours—In
the beginning of the Long Parliament, some Lords, as
they thought, spoke in favour of the Irish rebellion—
We can see their books, they not ours (being open for
us) which will rectify the mistake—Has seen our Conference upon divers occasions, and can instance several
particulars—We did not deny them Conference, as the
Lords accuse us of; but let us tell the Lords where the
mistake began, and desire Conference.
Mr Vaughan.] We did not reject the Conference, and
there lies the mistake—Whether two Conferences, or two
things in the same Conference?—We have retained the
Conference in the intelligible part, and considered of it
in the unintelligible part; but the "unparliamentary"
expression in the Message is a reproaching us.
The Speaker.] In Queen Mary's time the Lords sent
a Message, "that they had matter of great consequence to
impart to us," and required a Conference with us; but
the Lords did it not as a Parliament, it being dissolved
by the Queen's death.
Mr Attorney Finch.] All the matter is to know how
to get out of this—We may raise bug-bears to such an
elevation as will trouble us.
The Speaker.] Vide Hackwell's book.—Some angry
words, in the case of the Restoration in blood of a young
Sir Richard Temple.] 3 Charles—Sir Francis Goodwin's
case of purveyance—The Commons would not proceed
to Conference about it, having disapproved the thing.
He can show many more such.
[Resolved, That a Conference be desired with the Lords, on
the subject-matter of the last Conference; and that Sir Robert
Carr do go up to the Lords to desire a Conference; which was
agreed to by the Lord.]
Wednesday, April 12.
[Sir Robert Howard opened, and read to the House, the Message to be presented at the Conference, which is as follows.]
"My Lords, The House of Commons have commanded us to acquaint your Lordships, that they desired
this Conference for the preservation of a good correspondence between both Houses, by representing to your
Lordships the mistake that had happened. In order to
which, they have commanded us to read to your Lordships the Message and Answer, as they are entered in their
Journals. [Message and Answer read.] By these your
Lordships may perceive, that, by the Message, two distinct
Conferences were desired. To one the Commons agreed;
to the other they replied, "they would send an answer by
Messengers of their own; so that there was no Conference
denied. The Commons therefore conceive, that your
Lordships were very sudden, by a Message, to term it
"unparliamentary," before reasons on either side were
heard; and they conceive there is hardly a precedent to
be found, where, by a Message, before any Conference,
the Lords or Commons have called any thing "unparliamentary."
[This Message being allowed by the House, a Conference was
desired with the Lords.
Sir Robert Howard reports, That, according to the commands of the House, they had attended; and read, and delivered
the Message of this House to the Lords.
A Message from the Lords, by Mr Baron Turner and Mr
Baron Littleton; "Mr Speaker, The Lords have sent us to desire
a Conference with this House, presently, in the Painted Chamber, upon the Bill for an additional imposition on foreign commodities, and concerning an Address to be presented to his Majesty; and to let the House know, that this is the same Message
which was then directed by the House of Peers, and delivered to
their Messengers in writing, all but the time (fn. 6) ." The Messengers being withdrawn, and called in again, Mr Speaker acquainted them, "That the House had considered of the Message, and
did agree to a present Conference;" which the House then went
up to attend accordingly.]
At the Conference.
Earl of Anglesea.] The Lords have had long consideration of this Bill, and have made amendments, some
literal, some verbal. In the sugar, the Lords have made
sugars from " one penny per £b." to "halfpenny half
farthing." The Lords have heard the Merchants and
Planters; the price agrees with the Refiners.
Earl of Essex.] The King's revenue will not be prejudiced by it—[As for the] Salmon trade at Berwick, they
must buy French salt of the Scotch, for our own spoils the
colour of the fish—That of " Coals" the Lords disagree
to; a particular advantage for a general disadvantage, as to
London, and it will divert your own vessels, and make other
things dearer, and it did not appear to the Lords that any
considerable quantities are exported, but for Smiths forges
—[As for] Brandy, it is not orderly that whilst a Bill is
depending of the same thing, without letting the Lords
know any thing, the same should be returned verbatim to
the Lords, in another Bill. In this Bill, therefore, the Lords
have left out the whole Clause—Precedent, 23 Eliz. about
fort fying the borders of Scotland. The Lords rejected the
Bill without reading it, (which they have not done this,)
[as] unparliamentary, and of dangerous consequence—
Lord Stourton's attainder, 29 Eliz. March 22. The Lords
having passed a Bill for Thomas Handford's lands, and the
Commons rejecting the Bill without Conference, and
another Bill sent up, the Lords would not read it. If the
same thing [is] done once, then twice, and so ad infinitum—
Those two Bills are contradictory to one another—Upon
the whole, they find several things charged, not relating to
the Bill. That a Bill of money shall come, like a great
charter, to put in all that the subject desires to be granted,
though ever so foreign to the Bill. Money-Bills may be
new charters; a new precedent. Less temptation to the
breaking this Law, by desiring the King to wear the
manufactures of this Kingdom, and discountenance the
wearing them in men and women.
Lord Ashley.] This will invert the course of Parliaments; by the same nature, freedom of debate, and all
parliamentary things, fall; and by the same reason, any
thing of any foreign nature whatsoever may be added.
Earl of Manchester.] The Lords have considered the
great damage the Kingdom has by wearing foreign commodities, and not our own; and, in pursuance and confirmation of the Bill, have thought fit to make this Address, viz. " We your Majesty's most loyal and dutiful
subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal (and Commons) in Parliament assembled, do humbly beseech your
Majesty, that you would be graciously pleased, by your
own example, to encourage the constant wearing of the
manufactures of your own Kingdoms and Dominions;
and discountenance such persons (men or women) in your
Court, as shall wear any manufactures made by foreign
[Mr Attorney-General reports, from the Conference, That
the Managers had attended the Conference with the Lords, where
their Lordships opened the material Amendments that they had
made to the Bill of impositions on foreign commodities, and expressed their reasons for the same. As to their Lordships Amendments to that part of the Bill concerning impositions on sugars,
their Lordships gave their reasons for the same in writing, which he
read in his place. And farther reports the Address to be made
to his Majesty, (which see above) which Bill, with the Amendments and Address, being delivered in at the Clerk's Table,
Resolved, That the House do proceed on the aforesaid Amendments to-morrow morning; and that this House doth agree with
the Lords, in the Address aforesaid, to be made to his Majesty.]
Thursday, April 13.
Debate on the Lords Amendments to the Bill for an imposition on foreign commodities (fn. 7) .
Mr Attorney Finch.] Shall be the last man in this
House that ever shall yield that the Lords have power
to lower impositions, as well as lay impositions—Peruse
the Lords paper, not with admitting they have power to
lower any thing, but in order to convince the Lords.
The Speaker.] In the Lords Amendment there is a
lowering of English, and raising of foreign commodities.
Sir Robert Atkins.] If the Lords have power to lower,
they might have had just occasion in passing the book of
Rates; but they did not so much as read the book, but
took it pro confesso, that they had no power to lower.
Sir Thomas Clifford.] In cases where there is not one
affirmative precedent, debates are the shorter; put the
case a man says, Pay me my money; one reason is said, I
have no money, and that silences all—First, would assert
your Right, and then, considering the Bill to be of trade,
agreeing with the Lords will be destructive to your Plantations, viz. Whether you should have your Resiners in
the Plantations, or in England? Five ships go for the
Blacks, and not above two, if refined in the Plantations;
and so you destroy shipping, and all that belongs to it;
and if you lose this advantage to England, you lose all.
The materials are there dearer, and so the capital stock
of the nation will be impaired; the current and standard
money of the Plantations, by this means, will be in a
few hands, to the destruction of your Plantations.
Mr Henry Coventry.] The Bill has two heads, imposition on foreign commodities, and encouraging your own
trade. If the Lords had not said so much particularly,
and sent to us for a Conference, without naming the quantum, the thing might have been fairly argued; but you
must never come to debate their power of quantum; they
have a negative voice, and may reject the whole. If
we parley, it looks like yielding. If you yield this point
of the quantum, the next will be to yield the power of
Sir George Downing.] If you give not the Lords reasons for not lowering, and that they ought to agree with
you, they may totally reject the Bill. In your Calcule
you reckoned two of brown sugar to one of white, and
the navigation rateably. Taken down to Order by
Mr Hampden.] If this be clearly an imposing, would
not have it put to the question, which is out of all
doubt—Would have that stated—Would have the Lords
keep their hands out of our purses, and at a Conference
plainly to tell the Lords, that it is a raising they have
no power to do; but as to the lowering, by debate we
may clear that.
Sir John Birkenhead.] If the Lords would ease the
people, and we will not let them, it is the way to make
the people fall upon us. We dare not depart from the
power of lowering and heightening—When a SubsidyTax comes from the Convocation, you cannot alter any
tittle, no more than a general pardon; so it is with the
Lords in these taxes upon the people. The Lords have
given money without the Commons, but only from themselves; the Commons would not join with them; they
called it a device.
Sir Edward Dering.] Is very well pleased to see the
House assert our Rights and the people's, but would
not enter into the debate, at the latter end of a Session, about Privileges. This is as clear an imposition as
can be expressed; we tax all foreign sugars at such a
rate. The new Clause the Lords add to it of the Portugal sugars, which by the former clause they must pay,
and by this new one also—Would not agree with the
Sir Richard Temple.] In the silks they have taken off
the charge also, and thinks they have power to do neither—The business of the Customs, tonnage and poundage, is purely our grant—"Your poor Commons, (or
loyal subjects) considering the defence of the sea, at your
great charges, do give and grant, &c." though the Lords,
for form's sake, do legislatively pass it—The Commons
usually brought a schedule of charge, and the Lords
consent is only to the power of levying it. They have
granted by themselves, and so have the Clergy, but
[there is] no coertion in the gathering it; but they put
themselves into our grants, by reason the King should not
overtax them, and we have recourse to them for ways
only of levying it—The Lords may say "that we agree
pro tanto, and that is a concurrence;" but they may as
well say, "that if they lay 8d. it is a concurring, &c.
to 6d." The consequence will be, the Lords tell the
world they are fitter judges what the people may give
than we—Would advise you to assert your Right; that
the Lords taking upon them to alter any rate, after it is
adjusted by the House of Commons, is a breach of Privilege, and that you have not made use of this Right to
prejudice the King, but to induce the Lords to concur
with the whole Bill; and you may assert these to be the
weighty reasons. Had we not been tied up with these
reasons, the Lords would go away with the credit of
easing the people; and then would give our reasons for
our charge. But—
The Speaker.] This debate is disorderly, for it looks
like instructions to Managers, before you have agreed, or
Mr Vaughan.] That which must move you to agree,
or disagree, must be debate, and not do it ex post facto.
Mr Attorney Finch.] Wonders that in a point where
there is no negative in the House, we should have such
circumstantial doubts—Sees no man for the amendments,
but thinks the question for agreeing, regular.
Mr Cheney.] The Lords sent you down an Amendment upon the imposition of Beer and Mum, and you
agreed to it in matter of fact.
Mr Attorney Finch.] We must never depart from our
power of raising and lowering. If the Lords can show a
precedent that they ever added, or took, a mite of what
the Commons have given the King, they may impose
now; and they may exempt themselves, by the same reason, from paying their proportion. The Lords will, by
this, introduce a popularity, at the price of the reputation of the House of Commons. It will diminish our
power, and not establish the right of the Crown—Proposes that the question shall be put, to demand a Conference upon the subject-matter of the last Conference,
and assert our reasons for our judicature, in point of imposition, when that shall be exposed to the world, as if
we knew not what we did—As the Lords have denied us
a free Conference as to some supposed jurisdiction of
theirs, so we may deny any Conference as to the point
of our jurisdiction.
Mr Coleman.] If you dispute the power now, the next
time you will grant it them; therefore would not have
any debate at the Conference about it. After the question of not agreeing, &c. is over, would enter it into your
Journal, without any touch upon our jurisdiction.
Mr Vaughan.] If they can be popular lawfully, let
them. The Lords have right, as well as we, to debate
a Bill, paragraph by paragraph, as to the tantum, so the
totum—3 Hen. VI. The Lords were debating a Bill, and
expressly said, "that if the Commons grant four subsidies,
the Lords may lower them to two."
The Speaker.] It was said by a Judge, but never allowed
in Parliament—But of Fitzherbert, 13 Edw. III. The
Commons would not treat with the Lords, unless they
came down to treat, and if the Lords agree not with
them, they told them they might defend themselves—
Two Parliaments in that year—The Commons called
the Lords ordinance a new device—What a case shall
the poor King be in, if the Lords can stop, and give
more or less?—We have enough to do to give already.
Sir Robert Howard.] The balance of all these things
is the right of both Houses; whether the Lords lower,
or not, it is their rate, and the Commons give it not.
We, the Commons give, and the Lords make it less;
then we give not.—If the Commons cannot say they
give, their title will be yielded.
Sir Robert Steward.] Would not debate the Lords
power, for we have not agreed to their Amendments—
No man can be imposed upon without his own consent—
The Book of Rates was signed by Sir Harbottle Grimstone,
the last Convention, and the Lords disputed it not.
Sir Thomas Strickland.] Thinks the consequence of lowering worse than raising; should the Lords have the
power of lowering, we lose our reputation in the country,
and let the emergency be ever so great, we shall be
afraid to give the King money—The King can lower it,
we may lower it, but the Lords have no power, and
would not have the Lords go away with the popularity
of the thing.
Sir Thomas Lee.] In this Bill you have provided against
the King's lowering.—No man denies you the sole right.
The Lords cannot propound money, but must the Lords
pay whatever you send them up? The Lords were taxed
in the Poll-Bill; you began it, and might not the Lords
dispute themselves? Because the Commons are so liberal,
may not the Lords say they cannot give so much? The
Lords may be of opinion to tax, and yet they may
not be able to pay what you say they can. They never
hurt the people by lowering the rate, but in necessity of
its defence, and for the popularity of the Lords: it is
very well that one part of the Government be well in
the eyes of the people. Whoever is of opinion they
cannot lower the rates, gives you ill advice; if you give
the Lords reasons, you draw yourselves into a Conference,
in point of honour, to justify your balance of trade—
Would willingly disagree, if you could maintain it—In
the Ale and Mum the Lords desired a lessening of what
was formerly granted. They only rebated as to so much
before granted—The sale of the fee-farm [rents] came
Colonel Birch.] Why do you subject a thing to the
Lords debate, which is not debatable? If you examine
it, you will never find the Lords have done it. This
Bill being an aid by customs, and that in things of this
nature the Lords never altered rates—You may say, at
the Conference, you will give reasons for the whole.
Mr Harwood.] If ever he hoped to go to the Lords
House, he would be of his opinion—We shall go off
with a fear at the best—If we admit a debate, we admit
some reason on the other side. If we come to debate it,
we go yet farther back. We say "one penny," the Lords
say, "a halfpenny and half farthing," Portugal and
Sir Thomas Meres.] Would have it upon your books,
"that the Lords ought not to alter any sum of money
given by us," to remain to posterity—In Aids given by
the Commons, rates are not to be altered.
Mr Powle, to the Clauses of Corn.] Deductions were
made in tenths and fifteenths, to be seen in all printed
Acts since Henry VIII. to King James, for decayed towns.
This House has always made public deductions for public uses; and this of Corn, which the Lords would leave
out, is a public help to the Kingdom, and would have
us agree not to leave it out.
Mr Attor. Finch.] This Proviso of yours which the Lords
would leave out, is as if, to help a woollen manufacture,
you should take off the King's duty, and so of the rest.
Sir Thomas Doleman.] The time in the Bill was lengthened for the sake of this Clause, to help us the better to
pay the King's Duty; and therefore would keep the
Clause in, and not agree with the Lords.
On the Amendment of the Lords, "of determination of two
Mr Attorney Finch.] This Clause will erect as many
Courts of Justice as there are Justices; and there may be
a formal seizure, and as formal a delivery, and so the
King be defrauded.
Mr Powle.] People may be vexed with suits that live
an hundred miles off, in the Exchequer, where there is
no damage against the King.
On the Lords leaving out "the exportation of Coals."
Mr Henry Coventry.] This way is as improper to us as
the other to the Lords; it is to crowd whatever you
would have into a Money-Bill.
Sir Richard Temple.] What was said at the Conference
was, "that it might divert your ships from better employments." The Farmers told the Lords, that there is a necessity of such a proportion of Coals to be exported for
Smiths, and such work abroad, who must be supplied,
and they were willing that you rate it as high as you will;
an argument they will not give much.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Lord Townshend (who has the
Patent for Coals exported) not being heard, and you grant
away his Patent; would have us return what Patents or
Grants we have from the King, and then we shall be
even, and he will begin with his.
Colonel Birch.] If no more Coals can be imported than
already, what became of 3000 chaldrons extraordinary,
exported out of Scotland, upon bating of the Custom
one year? It is true you take some little from the King,
but the return into the nation will be of great advantage.
Whatever more Coals you carry, you have the more money, and the more you get, the more you have. In
King's ships and Merchants you must have seamen; in
Coal-ships country fellows, who are made seamen quickly, and it is the greatest nursery of seamen we have in
Mr Attorney Finch.] " We want seamen, and therefore the imposition hinders," is Birch's argument; upon
that occasion seamen have not been wanting, for it is
but two or three years since we wanted. We may adorn
a thing by national epithets, but we must not forget common honesty; when the Lords plainly see it is the King's
duty, and Lord Townshend, that has it from the King, is
not heard—You may give it otherwise than by ways of
Sir Robert Howard.] If ever any thing looked partial,
the Attorney's arguments do—Your want of paying the
seamen is that which has lost them from you—Would
consider public good before the particular interest of any
Mr Secretary Trevor.] Doubts we shall be deceived in
this business. The Farmers say, that the rent of it is to
be governed by the importation abroad. You are told,
by Birch, of Scotland.—He will not affirm any thing against fact, but if he encounters that argument with the
smallness of the rent of Newcastle Coal, the argument is
equal. If you can find vent, you will increase the rates
here double; and if no vent, wholly useless—Is against
the Clause, take it which way you will.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Whatever you send abroad you are
a gainer by it, for by impoverishing one you enrich two;
you have so much wealth, no one thing you vend but brings
you either ready money, or that which you must buy
for ready money—Has heard that in case of murder the
King cannot pardon, because against his coronation oath,
unless the person is expressed in the general pardon; so
this Patent, by the same reason, would be void, if the
use be not expressed, viz. for defence of the nation. If
the poor Commons grant to support the Kingdom, and
things be granted away to support great persons, it will
hinder grants for the future from the Commons.
Mr Powle.] The compensation of Corn and Coal was
his greatest inducement to pass the Bill for nine years;
if these had not helped out, would never have consented
to the time.
Sir Thomas Meres.] This very thing of Coal has run in
our stomachs these eight or nine years; if it will employ
so many more hands, we shall have so many more seamen, and if ever we are ruined, it will be by want of
Mr Coleman.] Was lately at Ipswich, which has near
1000 seamen, and gentlemen are owners; that town is
almost desolate, and merely by the imposition of Coals
for London, they getting not three per cent.—Now it is so
high, foreigners carry.
Mr Waller.] Never more plenty of any thing than
what is carried most away. The more sheep, for exportation of woollen cloth—At Calais, when a ship of Coals
comes in, the people run to fetch it, as if it was bullion. If this be cheaper than their own fuel, they will
use it in the midland of France, as on the coasts.—If
this Patent lies in our way, this may hinder all the Laws
you make (if any bar or grant.) Tonnage and Poundage
never granted, but for the life of Kings, not to save the
purse of the nation, but the life of the nation, because
no grants should be of it, being for defence—It is a
hard thing, we being called by writ here, that a Patent
or Grant should stop an Act of King, Lords, and Commons, given by chance, no man knows how; the King
may make him right, and thither let him go for it.
Sir Solomon Swale.] The King was deceived in his Grant,
and therefore the Patent is void in itself—Would have
national things considered before private.
[Resolved, nem. con. That in all aids given to the King by
the Commons, the Rate or Tax ought not to be altered by the
Friday, April 14.
[On Sir Robert Howard's Report from the Committee appointed to consider of Reasons to be used at the Conference
to be had with the Lords.]
Instructions to the Managers.
Mr Attorney Finch.] Confine your Conference with
the Lords to the rates of merchandize, as in all former
precedents we have done, without the interposing of the
Lords, and not engage into the universal proposition of
all aids whatsoever. To the former the Lords can have
no precedent, nor reason against it—Cannot agree with
Birch's agreement with him; if he does, he cannot agree
with himself; he would not split upon that rock of offence, of engaging into our reasons into particulars [without saying, eo nomine.]—Would not engage into a general negative, but confine it to this of Merchants rates,
and therefore, eo nomine, cannot agree.
Sir William Coventry.] You have put it into the general proposition of aids, but will take the substance of
that particular for use—It is said the Lords cannot find
a precedent—He has looked, from Henry VIII's time,
given as the gift of the Commons in terminis, to 7th of
King James—In the Customs you are pretty strong. In
other things the Lords have given, as well as you. In
Queen Elizabeth's time, the Lords have in subsidy given
them, as well as in act with you.
Sir John Birkenhead.] Thinks it your prudence to make
yourselves as small a mark for the Lords to hit as you
can. Why should we hold a flag to fight in all propositions, whereas we have but one to maintain? The last
Statutes, in the Parliament of Elizabeth, they will urge
Sir Thomas Littleton.] It is a usual thing in Conference
to assign several parts to several persons—Would have
Mr Attorney manage this.
Sir Richard Temple.] You assert "that in such aids as do
proceed from the Commons the Lords cannot answer."
If you only allege it as a reason of those that manage
the Conference, and leave a vote for the after-game, you
will be too late; therefore moves to pass a vote, and restrain your former vote, if you think it too general.—
To go to Conference by halves, and the Managers to
give it as the sense of the House only, without being
armed by a vote, you invite the Lords to give you reasons again by a free Conference, in answer to yours;
and lay your vote for a rule.
The Speaker.] Your vote goes thus far, that "no
aid given to the King by the Commons ought to be altered by the Lords." At a Conference, says one, your
latter part of the vote may be made use of as to the alteration of rates imposed by the House of Commons.