Wednesday, February 21.
In a Grand Committee [on the Supply.]
Mr James Herbert.] Moves to give the King 800,000l.
Had we given money the last meeting, we had not
been out gone by the French in building of ships now.
And he seconds the motion for that sum made yesterday. (Laughed at.)
Sir Francis Russel.] Would have the Secretary of the
Navy give you an account of the present state of the
Navy. Till you know that, 'tis too early to move for
Mr Leveson Gower.] Has the King invaded any
man's property, or shed any man's blood in vain? You
need not be jealous of property and religion. It goes
hard with the King to retrench his house, and the
pensions, and he has parted with his revenue to pay
the bankers debt. Moves therefore that we may supply the King with 600,000l. for building Ships.
Mr Garroway.] He hopes to come to a regular way
of Debate, that we may come to come thing we may
insist upon—Gower has told you "of the King's retrenchments." Would know whether a sum is demanded for building of ships only. If we give a sum,
actum est—Would restrain the Debate, and then
he will tell you his thoughts. Till then we are not
free to debate.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If the Debate be restrained,
then there is one way; if general, another way. Would
have it clear, without implication.
Sir John Morton.] Would go step by step. Would
know what to do, to give our voices frankly. It may
be for ships, it may be for something more.
Mr Mallet.] Ship-money is a poison and canker,
when raised against law; but when by Act of Parliament, an antidote.
Mr Sacheverell.] If we talk of money for any thing
but ships, he is against it. But would know why we
are now asked more money for ships than we were
the last Session. He was never for a full Exchequer,
since Lord Arlington was here, who told you "there
was money sufficient in the Exchequer, and so no need
of calling the Parliament." And when that last war
was made, 'twas begun without advice of Parliament
—Arlington then told you "that counsel was not secret enough—Counsels not warrantable in their privacy for Parliament, and then the Exchequer was full
and no need of a Parliament"—He finds that the counsellors are not yet removed, and we have the same fears
still. They then called the Parliament, because they could
not be without it. The last Session, we had a Bill
depending to call home the English forces out of
France, and now we have it for an argument, to make
haste with money for the fleet, because of the French,
and yet they tell us that 450,000l. has been spent
yearly upon the Navy. Are not the same Ministers
still at Court, and are not new forces sent over since
the last Session, notwithstanding our Bill? He shall
never expect the Parliament will meet again if the
Exchequer be full of money—How safely to lodge
such a sum of money in those hands, who still manage
the same counsels, he leaves it to you.
Sir Thomas Meres.] He fears we are not richer, but
poorer, than we were—Rents fall since the last Session.
No money in the country; all comes to London—The
King, by the excise, has twice the rents of our corn
—And he will venture to show you that there is no
need of giving now. There is no demonstration like
proof of fact done—He told you the last Session,
"They could live at Whitehall without your money;"
and they have done so since, and may do so fourteen
months more. But it seems 'twas much more easy to
be without us; for we find faults, and see great spots
—But to that he will speak another time. The Wine
Act, and the additional excise, were granted to pay the
King's debts—(Would not have those Acts thought an
additional revenue.) But still finds no debts are paid.
He has by him the particulars of the King's debts,
given in by Sir Robert Long; 1,300,000l. and these
Acts were to pay these debts to the Bankers—And there
was a subsidy granted, over and above. All which
amounted to 2,400,000l. for ships still, but none
built, and these Acts are afterwards called in the King's
Speech "a revenue," though they are not so entered
in your books—The clause of transferring these debts
was proffered, but laid aside. The intention of it was,
that this money should go on to pay the King's debts
—This was afterwards by some called "a revenue."
But yet ships are not built, and debts not paid, since
1670. He esteems the revenue, besides these two Acts,
to be between 1,100,000l. and 1,200,000l.—And
after the Parliament was prorogued, the Dutch war
was made, and the league with France, the Triple
League broken. And the reason of all this was plain;
they needed not the Parliament—The Exchequer was
stopped, though sacredly promised to be opened again—
The Declaration was put out, by which thirty laws
were suspended at one breakfast, and cut off. And it
may be as many at another time—And people were
thereby so let loose in Religion as never to be reclaimed,
and it was bought off with 700,000l.—But still they
have money in the Treasury—And therefore no Parliament. Then the Dutch war was made, and we were
called—But did ever any age know such a war made
without advice of Parliament? 'Twas not prudent to
make such a war, as an equal neighbour to be maintained with our money—If we do prudently, 'twill be
a mighty mischief to give an additional revenue. Your
Parliament by it is of no effect nor use; and he shall
never expect good, till this additional revenue goes
off. It is so great they will need no Parliament, and
you will be turned off at least six years. 'Tis money
that makes a Parliament considerable, and nothing
else. Now for the sum, show him the good of giving
it, and he will give. But with locks and bolts—For
will never trust "that steward (as a gentleman [Titus]
said the last Session,) who has once cheated him."
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Wonders you should be told
"that the Declaration was brought off with 700,000l."
He never knew that the King sold his laws, to buy
merchandize, and pay wages with the same money.
But 'tis said, "why should we be asked more money
now than the last Session?" 'Tis because the French
have built twenty ships more since last year—And since
Whitehall has been put to such streights, that it has
been near dying. And told a story "about starving a
Sir Thomas Lee.] Enquire, if the horse be almost
starved, what great gifts have been given since we met
last, and you will find that the starving case is not much
in the way—Whether the Triple League be broken, or
not, he knows not how to make it whole—The effect
of that buying off the Declaration for 700,000l.
was that we were but restored to our own—Would
know what number of ships we have for our safety,
to know the better what to do—'Tis every man's interest that the King should defend us—Now, whether
by comparative interest, France grows richer, and we
poorer—If by raising more money in time of peace
than war, we be so disabled, when there is a real occasion by war, consider it.
Mr Pepys.] He should be an ill servant both to the
King and you, if he should not tell you all the truth.
Finds it industriously spread that great sums have been
given the King—That's a great mistake—From the
year 1670 there have been built from the stocks, six
ships, great and small. His head shall be at stake for
every syllable he shall say in matter of fact. He will
go backward, as other gentlemen have done. The
King's expending on the Navy has been much greater
than we think—Take this retrospect. The condition
the King found the Navy in, at his Restoration, was,
in number and size, beyond any before. 151 sail the
King took possession of, but should be sorry it were
now in so foul a pickle. The debt then upon the
Navy was 780,000l. he has Col. Birch's hand for it;
350,000l. due for seamens wages, for the ships that
were abroad; some had been 50, 40, 30, weeks at
Cadiz—which had been at Jamaica. For wear and tear,
for four years continued, they were unpaid. For stores
they had occasion, for sitting forth Algiers war, which is
now made but a little matter. After a fresh debt for
stores in the Admiralty-Office, he declares there were
not then to be had commanding stores for six ships
more—There were then seventeen ships, and upon inquisition they were unserviceable and unworthy repair.
Sixteen of them were rebuilt from the bottom, and
thirty-four rebuilt from the waist upwards, and this is
the picture of the fleet, as the King found it. Two
parts of this debt upon the Navy were taken care of
by this House, as wages and debts for stores, but not
one farthing given upon the head of "wear and tear;"
and in that condition the fleet was. To set it in
some order, all was disbursed out of the King's purse.
As idle and useless as the care of the officers of the
Navy has been represented, yet the fleet was able to
meet the Dutch in 1664, 1666, 1667, and 'twas followed with breaches with Algiers, and Sallee too. From
the King's coming to 1664, not one year was entirely
free from war. Yet the King has built more ships from
the stocks, than all his predecessors from the conquest;
ninety, great and small, from the year 1660 to this
day. As to the ill disposal of money alleged, in the
year 1670, he answers, fifty ships were launched in 1667,
and there was not one month that the docks in the yards
were empty, without either ships built, or repaired. If
you ask then, what condition the Navy is now in, at this
day? He answers, the King has not 157 ships. The
whole number is but 150. But if the fleet was the
strongest that was known before in 1660, yet at this day
'tis better than then; more in tonnage, men, and
guns. 'Tis indeed out of repair, but yet not so low
as when the King came in. In short, you may judge of
the condition of the fleet, by the sum that will enable
the whole to go to sea, with magazines for recruits;
300,000l. for this. If the King's occasions would
have permitted him, in 1668, to have spared 200,000l.
for the Navy, it would not have been in this condition now—The King has not spent this year on the
Navy less than 400,000l. He will give it under his
hand, that that hand may be witness against his head,
if it be not so. Take peace alone, without war, and
this is the charge—And could the King's occasions
honourably have drawn him into it, he would have
spent more. It cost the King to repair what he may
call yours 400,000l. What then do you so much deplore? That we have not been so anxious as to equality of ships with our neighbours? You must either
be above or under balance; you are never equal with
them. But how then this disproportion under the
Dutch and French? It cannot be imputed to the
King, nor his time; you must go more early than the
King's return. In 1652, and 1653, we hired above
90 merchants ships. The Dutch never fought us,
generally, speaking, under that number. 'Twas the
great old ships that did the service against the Dutch,
built by our royal master's father, Charles I. Old Trump
left it as his dying lesson to the States, always to have
ready 36 capital ships; and for want of that they
have overtaken us. As for the French fleet, it is
not to be wondered at; for besides the great odds
of that King's revenue, there has been no interruption of his growth at sea—And 'tis to be wondered
that his ministers saw it not sooner upon England, that
has scarce had one entire peaceable year, since the King's
Restoration. The King found the nation in a war with
Spain, he fought, and he built ships again, as he lost
them; and 'tis a wonder, our losses considered, that
he has not more overtaken us in his building—And yet
more ships have been built in these sixteen years of the
King's return, than in eighteen of rebellion. In his conscience he thinks this to be truth, and therefore says
it; though it has gone through as many difficulties
as any other management in any age whatsoever. By
the King's personal application to building ships, skill
has been advanced, beyond any memory of man, and,
perhaps, beyond any improvement. More docks
have been built—No age, at one time, had so many
encouragements for navigation. Has any time produced better encouragements for building ships, and
provisions for flag officers? Most august is the King's
seminary for seamen. From a little hospital, no charitable foundation is endowed like it. But hears it
said, "why do you ask more for the Navy than in the
last Session?" He would be tender of straining the number we want, but cannot depart from thirty ships more.
The French and Dutch are daily building. The
number is not new, and "that our neighbours will be
yet more than we," he does not think, because we
were over swayed before, rather by the length of the
Debate than by reasons, and not one proof was made
last Session, of his over-measuring either tons, or rates.
He closes, and moves for 30 ships, the same number
he formerly proposed.
Col. Birch.] Pepys's opportunities of knowing are as
good as his abilities. He said "he had Birch's hand
to something;" he knows not what it was till he sees
it. He remembers not one penny unpaid, when the
King took the fleet into his charge—Look in the years
1653, 1654, and 1657; for then he came to understand something of the Navy—But Pepys has not gone
by his measures. In those days, the measures for wear
and tear, and all other things relating to the Navy,
were managed completely at 4l. a head, and 3l. 15s.
and looked upon as a lavish allowance then—If Pepys
will tell you what number of ships were employed for
summer-guard, and what for winter-guard, he can tell
how to judge of the charge; but not till then. That
is the way to see whether there has been good, or bad
husbandry. In 1653, when money was called for (in
a Convention) for the navy security, 'twas then offered
to set the fleet out, in war, as well as in peace, and
warranted for 4l. a head, and he himself would have
offered a good price, to have been the manager of it,
at that rate. In the Dutch war, in 1653, the Navy
had not the strength it has now; but they fought yardarm and yard-arm, which is not the fashion now.
Though they had great ships, yet mettled men did it.
But the thing is now, what is to be done? He wishes
the King may have his delight in the fleet, fully to his
satisfaction; especially when 'tis so much for the safety
of the Kingdom—So many ships, he believes, are built
as you have been told, but whether so much money
has been spent upon them as you have been told,
that he must farther examine—Pepys tells you, "he
asks no more than thirty ships now"—He would have
neither the French nor the Dutch named, but would
do the business quietly. What dangers we are in he
knows not, but he has observed that when the officers
are merry, the soldiers are not in danger; and he believes so of our Counsellors—'Tis now so ordered, but he
knows not how. 'Tis said "there was a difference between the Lords, and us; and therefore the last Prorogation was to end it." But two days Prorogation
would have done that, without such a length of time.
If the danger be so extraordinary as represented, all
hands and docks would have been employed these
sixteen months. Will by-standers believe us to be in
such danger? If the last time we had been prorogued
to September, then we might have had time, but we
were called now not till February—It seems an effect
of a treaty rather than any thing else. But he would now
give so much money as may serve till we, or somebody
else, [come hither again.] For 600,000l. to make a
provision for three years! Pepys might as well told
him nothing. There can be no good shot made without
a mark—But he hears that "nothing but plain necessity
brings us hither." He knows why the Excise-bill, and
Law-bill, and Wine-bill were not appropriated. The
danger was they should pay debts—He would shut the
hall door first. The greatest defence of the nation is a
good understanding between the King and Parliament
—After fifteen months Prorogation, the people are a
little afraid of us—But he would show you how we may
build these ships betwixt this and the 25th of March
twelve-month — Ninety-five thousand pounds formerly set out the fleet, and he would give that money
which may build it in that time, and no more.
Mr Garroway.] Pepys told you "that the last Session
we had no motion for the fleet worth remembrance,"
and now a great sum is moved for, and we know not
for what—No debts have been paid, and therefore it
concerns us that no more money should be given, but
what may be employed in one year. The last Session you
enquired into the docks, slips, and launches, and then
you agreed you could build but twenty ships in one
year. In the value of 4l. a head, stores were paid
for; and they that undertake that rate, will venture the
ships or pay for them, at that rate, wear and tear, and
all. He observes one thing, he knows not whether
there be a Lord Admiral to have recourse to, that,
in these great emergencies, we may trust and know
whom to call upon. Though little people make overtures, we cannot rest upon them. We are under no
other obligation than to the King, for else we make,
by giving money, a supplement to neglect and waste—
Not to hide their faults, but for fear of more mischief.
Whatever presumptions or hopes we have, he believes
all treaty with France will be like the Pyrenean treaty;
to invade Flanders the next year—Would grant no
more money than we may build with in one year.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The sum proposed for twenty
ships he offers double—Would have the Question, for
expedition, to be "for a supply of 400,000l. for building ships." Formerly 300,000l. was thought sufficient, but proposes this sum for the present building
twenty ships, and providing stores.
Sir John Ernly.] He hears proposed "400,000l. for
building twenty ships;" this is positively to say but
ten shall be built; so many provisions depend on wind
and weather—We are not safe under thirty sail, and
would not say positively they shall be built in a year;
for no man can say it. The spring comes on, and you
must look out for materials. To have it said abroad "you
will build but twenty ships." 'Twill be laughed at!
Therefore pass no vote under thirty ships.
Mr Pepys.] If any one ask him, how long thirty
ships will be building, he must look over several necessaries, as docks, men, hands, master builders, materials, and money—He knows not a fifth thing. He
submits the rates as he proposed them the last Session (fn. 1) ,
and places of building. Materials are not doubted to
be had, but from abroad; as canvass, and the rest. If
there be provision of money, all the rest will not fail you.
Mr Garroway.] The great thing is money; all the
rest is confessed—Else if not all built in a year, timber may be immediately bought, and no need at present for cordage, and sails, &c.—And take convenient
time—He would be glad to see, a twelve month hence,
eighteen of these twenty ships built. Let us once
come to see the thing done, and an earnest-penny, and
not be put off with words any more. The last
time we met, it may be if we had given money for
twelve ships, we might have made them up now thirty
Mr Pepys.] When twenty ships are built, would
you stand still, and send for more materials? Timber
to day, and plank to-morrow, and sunshine must tell
you what it is. Thirty ships are not moved for the
money's sake, but that hands may not stand idle.
Lord Cavendish.] Pepys said, "Will you have the
Navy stand still?" But he hopes that before a year the
Parliament may meet again, unless this money we give
shall enable the Ministers to govern without a Parliament. The King, he believes, is far from it, but they
are to be suspected.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] He hopes there are no
such Ministers as are spoken of; he knows none such—
The Question is fair before you, to proportion our
strength with our neighbours. Any sum he has heard
yet named, will come far short of the whole work.
He hopes you will supply the rest. But would have
no jealousies—The rest must be made up, and the
other occasions of the government will call for you
again—There is nothing asked for now, but what is necessary, and to be laid out for no other purpose.
Mr Vaughan.] We are voting our ruin in giving
more than will built twenty ships, when tis said to be
impossible to build above twenty ships in one year.
It may be there is a necessity of disposing of the rest
as well as the over-plus. Jealousies, tis said, fly
about the House—Are you jealous of our return again?
Therefore he must join with those that think that sum
is enough, 400,000l. If we give more, he doubts it
will be ill employed.
Sir William Coventry.] What calls him up is what
fell from Temple, viz. "If the King heard you he
would give you no thanks"—The thing is of too much
importance to let go. He calls them "the Parliamentships"—Hopes we shall have no more of that here.
Temple said, "what we give, we give not to the
King, but for our own defence. "He hopes there will
be no such distinctions made here any more betwixt
the King and his people—'Twill be of ill renown to
the Parliament to say they will build thirty ships, and
build but twenty. These ships are not to be built in a
closet. The money, number, names, and dimensions
will be all known, and the money now sacred in
the Exchequer—And what condition are the rest in!
One is a judge of your will, the other of your impotency—Then we shall be under the contempt of the
world, and hardly ever able to recover that; (the saying
more, and doing less)—But would not declare you cannot
do more—Would take the same measures you did the
last Session, and then no man said, there wanted above
twenty ships—For the justification of the undertakers,
he would not impose that which cannot be perfected.
'Tis honour in councils, as well as in fight, to keep
steady. He would not rise upon a Session, without
cause, to give invitation to a new Prorogation, to cut
off all those hopes we have before us, by refusing a less
sum that a greater may be obtained—He wishes the
business dispatched, and at so much a ton, as was rated,
last Session, when you voted 300,000l. which, 'twas
objected then, would not only build, but fit and prepare the fleet for sea. He will not put you back to
new calculations; but owns not that to be a fund for
furnishing out—'Tis said "that five years ago, there
was a war entered into, because it might be done without Parliament." But if rules had been taken out of
Parliament for the last war, we should not have greatened France by it—The groans of the people are for it,
and he wishes that their fears and terrors are not too—
But that war has greatened France—Docks and havens,
that merchants affairs may go on, (as those sort of men
must be supplied) being in hazard. If we are not
called to fitting up these in another Session, he hopes
some of this money may be spared. If 300,000l. will
build twenty ships, 100,000l. will provide stores, and
those things—Above all things, would not speak bigger than we can perform, and would have 400,000l. &c.
Sir William Coventry, upon Temple's explanation of
himself, jestingly.] Because it will tend to the shortening
your time, and quieting the House, that he should be
in the wrong rather than Temple, he will confess himself so.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Because his Majesty says so,
Temple may well say so too. But be the sum 3, or
400,000l. would have the words "not exceeding."
He never saw so dispassionate a proceeding, that whole
week we were upon this of the Navy, the last Session, and 'twas then also voted, "no other tax should
be granted that Session."
Sir Henry Capel.] France's building these great number of ships is not for trade, but conquest—Would go
therefore on, but like sober men, not to give money in
a lump, without asking questions, and making enquiry.
He agrees to the motion of 400,000l. that we may have
occasion to come hither again, in some reasonable
time, to see how that is expended, and then supply
Mr Neale.] Is glad to see the opinion of the House,
that 400,000l. will do this work. He moved for
600,000l. for stores; considering the hazard in carrying out the Gottenburgh fleet ten months, and many have been taken.—
Mr Finch.] The necessity is so great, that he thinks
we are bound to do something. As for ships, &c. he
thinks it agreed what number we should build, and
would not restrain it to too narrow terms. Thirty
ships have been proposed, and they reduced to twenty.
If ever trade was, 'tis now, at stake. 'Tis by the
grace of the King, and the providence of God, that we
are in peace, and meet here now. You have been
told by persons that understand the condition of the
Navy better than he, "that 600,000l. will be requisite to put us in some equality with our neighbours," and, "that 'tis impossible the money should
be embezzelled."—Let no formal suggestion cool you
in the matter.—Let us not lie down and sink under
the weight, now the science is represented. But the
country is not obliged to them that raised these jealousies. Our liberties, and all we have, depend much
upon the greatness of our neighbours, and if care be
not taken, we may have just such a dominion of the
sea, as we have of France; and all may become tenants to
England, by courtesy of France. You are told of ships,
"that they are nothing to unity at home."—We
have had several Sessions without any public Bills, and
of the Prorogations he'll say nothing—Moves that we
may give a demonstration to the King that he has the
hearts of his people, and that we may do to him what
he has done to us. He has generously and spontaneously delivered himself up to this Parliament—
Moves for 600,000l.
Sir George Downing.] Whatever is bestowed on building ships makes a Parliament still more necessary.
For the King must have supply to support them, and
so there is no danger of our not meeting. Here is not
one that says, thirty ships are not necessary. This
great fleet of France can intend no other neighbour
than we. Now for him to build ships in the great
occasion he has for land-armies, this must be against us
—But neither twenty, nor ten, nor five ships can be
built by us this year. No merchant will put one plank
into the outside of a ship that has not lain twelve
months. A proposition was made to the States of
Holland to build them a frigate in six weeks, and so
on; but the planks were all found, laid dry, and prepared. There are thirty ships necessary to go in hand
with, and now is the cheapest time to buy timber.
Therefore moves for 600,000l. for present going in
hand with thirty ships.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Downing said, "Now is the cheapest
time to buy timber, because now ships are least used."
He knows not how Sicily, Sweden, Denmark, Holland,
and France have employment for so many ships, if
that be so—If so great a sum be raised, as is mentioned,
and we can build so few ships in a year, what will become of all that money we are to give now? Shall it
lie dead? Shall so great a sum be locked up in a
chest? We are told, "No public Bill passed, the last
Session." The consequence is, without money we shall
never have one. 'Tis said, "the difference between the
Lords and us occasioned the Prorogation." Which,
if we hear nothing of difference, might have been
as well hindered then as now if we had given money.
If 300,000l. the last time, was thought enough, and
now 400,000l. is demanded, this, he thinks, will
build more ships than is proposed—He hopes that
temper, and difference, betwixt the Lords and us,
will be no reason for money, or no money—He would
not have the temptation of breaking an Act of Parliament again, by giving too big a sum, which caused
the shutting of the Exchequer, and the employing
the money to other uses.
Sir John Hanmer.] In any loyal country no man
would mention less for this purpose than 600,000l,
Exception was taken at it, but it passed over.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] It was agreed that the
proportion of 300,000l. was for building twenty
ships, and 400,000l. for thirty, but not what could
be done in one year for building. To-day is to-day,
to-morrow is to-morrow. The Hollonders, if they compliment you to day, will question you, perhaps
shortly, if they make peace. They have materials
ready for ships to a pin, as Venice had for galleys,
when they made and launched one while Henry III,
of France was at dinner. What will the difference of
stores be, fetched in time of peace, in their prices?
And perhaps they will not let them go at all. If
the King has any Ministers that advise him to raise
money without a Parliament, 'tis more than he knows,
—And there are none, and he is assured the King has
no such thoughts; and that he has more understanding than to rule so.—If any man knows such Ministers, let them be named. Moves for 600,000l. as
Mr Powle.] He is convinced, by this day's Debate,
that a supply is best to be given, when grievances are
redressed; and thinks we have great reason for diftrust of the mismanagement of money, and that 'tis
not laid out for the purpose it was given. Hears it
said, "that the King has built more ships than all
his predecessors." If that be true, 'tis as true that
the subject has given more money than has been given
since the conquest, things standing thus, and grievances not redressed, and the Prorogation frustrating us.
Since 1670, we have had but one Session, and things
were then towards a good conclusion.—Has heard it
said, "That 400,000l. has been yearly spent upon
the Navy." And yet there is hardly a man of war to
carry the flag in the Downs; and such depredations
have been made upon our merchant-men, that it
seems almost impossible that 400,000l. should have
been yearly spent. At the beginning of the last war
there was invading of properties, and not above
400,000l. in the Exchequer; and that being surprized
made more clamour—And now 600,000l. may turn the
whole scale; to trust such sums in the Exchequer,
and have no prospect to stand better at home, and abroad!—Looking to alliances abroad is worth a hundred
ships.—'Twas said formerly, "We could not look
the Dutch in the face, without help of the French."
He fears now, we cannot look the French in the face,
without help of the Dutch; and yet we assist the
French with our levies.—Should we have an unfortunate war, all next winter, to supply the defects in
winter (ships will be else without convoy) that may
be considered. Has heard it said "that the workmanship of the Navy will come to half the charge." Would
have the lesser sum, mentioned first, put to the Question—The greater cannot be without danger.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Would have it considered,
whether they will not heighten the value of their alliances, whom you seem to favour here.
Mr Powle.] 'Twould not become him, nor you
that hear him,—to debate war and peace here—But
war and peace were debated here, in King James's
time, in the business of the Palatinate, and therefore
it may be now.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The Address was altered
in this Parliament upon that subject.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The Question is now, Whether a greater sum or a less.—He observes only, that
400,000l. may be better appropriated than a greater
—As to foreign affairs, they are the great Grievance, and
perhaps the greatest. A man in his house finds it
amiss, and he finds fault with the sweeping it, when
his house is falling. This alliance with France carries the Pope in the belly of it; and there is great
jealousy that this money to be raised is in aid of the
King of France. He was taken down to Order.
The Speaker.] Littleton ought to go on, for
probably what he said he may explain, before he ends
Sir Thomas Littleton goes on.] There have been great
jealousies of the rise and aggrandizing of the King of
France, lately. It increases our jealousies, that, at
least, by connivance, so many men are going over to
his service—Another thing is behind; you are told of
"no breach of the Triple League." He will not say
there was, or was not, nor that a person at the Bar
justified the taking the Smyrna fleet—The Triple League
is restrained, he will not say 'tis broken, nor kept,
but at the same time there was a mutual league of
defence, and after that a guarantee of mutual defence; Holland to assist England with 40 ships and
6000 men, and England to do the same for Holland.
This, strictly speaking, is not the Triple League, but
a necessary concomitant to it. How far taking the
Smyrna fleet was assisting the Hollander, leaves you to
judge; or the assisting France with the Duke of Monmouth's forces, at the taking Maestricht. The thing was
so, but God forgive them that were the occasion of it!
But he hopes we shall not give money now to do the
same thing again—France is less formidable if it has
no influence upon our counsels—He must not ravel into treaties, but may say 'tis an easy matter to cure this
formidableness of the French—But because 'tis not done
occasions the jealousy. For we place our security
under his greatness rather than in our own. He speaks
with a good mind of service to his King and country.
Therefore would give such a sum as may endanger nothing of this nature.
Sir Harbottle Grimstone.] Considering the poverty of
the nation, this money cannot be raised here on the
country, and fears that it is not to be found in specie.
Sir Thomas Meres.] Anciently, the effects of the sea
maintained the sea, but not the land. But if it must
be so now, 400,000l. is enough in conscience, considering that the Customs, which ought to build ships, and
were given for that purpose, are 600,000l. per ann.
Mr Pepys.] He has not named a sum yet, and he avoids it. And would speak of no more than will build
thirty ships. Building of ships in a great measure is as
other things are done; thirty ships are much sooner
gone through than fewer. The greatest difficulty is
want of materials, without which he cannot give himself up to the security of building—When all lies at
stake for a little supply of money, would you not give it?
Mr Papillon.] There may very well be spared 50,000l.
for stores, out of this sum, by former calculations.
Sir William Coventry.] After the rates given in the
last Session, twenty ships may be ready built to put
into the water for 280,000l. and hopes, by Downing's
speaking of "the Holland methods of building," ten sail
more may be done for 200,000l. But would know
what has been confuted to day of the resolution of the
last Session about these ships? But people would be
glad to hear for, or against, whom they must go to sea.
If our ancestors consulted their ability and their country before they granted money, 'tis reasonable we should
give them that sent us hither a reason why we granted
so much money, and carry our justification home with
us to tell them the reason. The last Session we were
asked, why we gave the King but twenty ships? And
we answered, because no more could be built in a year.
The last Session we gave 300,000l. for twenty ships,
and now 400,000l. &c. This is but an indifferent account—The people may be satisfied with the ships,
but not with the increase of the money. He never heard
that above twenty ships were needful, and few were
positive in that assertion—He moves, that if the calculation be right of twenty ships; we may give 400,000l.
and that will build thirty ships.
The Speaker.] He'll speak to money applied to the
service of the Navy—He has served the King three
years, as Treasurer of the Navy, and, in a year and
a half, he has received for that use 1,500,000l. and
the next year 700,000l. And will make no difficulty
to prove it at two hours warning. We are brought
now to the Question of giving 4 or 600,000l. Coventry is cautious in giving his country an account of the
money, and we all agree that thirty sail is requisite;
but the Question is, whether they can be built in a
year, and we can provide materials? Would now
certainly provide materials, and it may be, if Coventry
have so intelligent a Borough as to catechize him, he
may thus answer: "If these supplies are not applied
to the use they are given, you have as much security
almost as an Act of Parliament can give for it." He
believes no man is of opinion that the giving 600,000l.
now, will delay our meeting again here—The Order
of putting the lesser sum first to the Question, is not
violated by putting the previous Question.
Sir Wm Coventry.] He serves for a maritime Borough
[Great Yarmouth] and Seymour for an inland [Hindon.]
In maritime Boroughs they know accounts, and so he
may be put to it. This account given in here (Seymour's
account of the ships) being beyond his way of calculation, he knows not what to say to it, when 300,000l will do
for twenty ships, and 400,000l. will not do for thirty.
Resolved, That it is the opinion of the Committee, that a
supply be given to his Majesty for the building of ships not exceeding 600,000l. [Agreed to by the House.]
The Previous Question being put, was carried in the affirmative, 199 to 165 (fn. 2) . [To proceed on Tuesday.]