Thursday, February 21.
In a Grand Committee. On the Supply.
Col. Birch.] I moved, the other day, to bring in
a Poll-Bill; that people may be registered in the parishes, that walk about the streets in good cloaths, and
may pay something towards this charge, who spend
more in a week, than a farmer can afford to do in a
year. Not two, of thirty of them, are taxed by LandTax All the Money coming up to London, to the head,
I would take some blood from it, by a Tax upon New
Buildings, and that is but an ounce. I would poll this
sort of people.
Sir Thomas Lee.] Pray do not say, "Here I can
have you, and there I can have you." I would not tax
every man in every capacity, as was moved by Wheeler,
to have this Poll, after the other Taxes.
Mr Swynfin.] This Poll Bill was offered you with great
assurance, to leave all your Lands untouched. I would
have Gentlemen consider that you are to raise a sum certain, but those that bring these things in, tell us not how
much they will ease Lands; they tell you with no
manner of certainty what sum this will discharge. Let
us go step by step, and know first what this will amount
to; some think half the Money, and some more, and
thereby we shall lay still as much upon Land, upon
this uncertainty. You have one instance of that of the
New Buildings. I would have the certainty stated, how
much this will ease your Lands.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] What I move you, must
be the result of your Debate. Before that be, can
any man tell you precisely what this will amount to
in the estimate, and what falls short to lay it upon
your Land. I wonder, by this way of reasoning, that you
lay it so hard upon Land first. I know not how the Gentleman comes by that proposition, "That there is no
haste of the Money," by this way of projecting. In the
mean time, whilst that Report of the Buildings is coming from the Committee, 'twill be plain and certain
that it will not make the whole. I take it for granted,
that we must see what these things will bear first, for Land
must but bear what it can. The method I move for is
a short way. And the Poll is a more ready way than
you can lay any thing upon Lands, and I move that
(fn. 1) ***** may be raised on the Poll-Bill.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I doubt that reason given by
Birch, "That we are not in haste," will not hold, &c.
I believe you are in greater pressures now, than when
you shall be in a War. Every day that you lose now,
before you come to a resolution, for ought I know,
you put still more charge on your Land. For as the
War lasts, Land must pay. Whilst we are thus leaping
from twig to twig, how to raise this Money, I fear
most of the considerable places of Flanders will be taken.
[On] this or any other expedient, if the Debate be
long, a post or two may bring you such news as
three Polls will not make amends for. Not one man
believes that the New Buildings will raise a Million, or
the Poll-Bill. The event of this War depends upon
February 22. [Omitted.]
Saturday, February 23.
In a Grand Committee. [On the Supply. Poll-Bill.]
Mr Garroway.] If you tax the East India Company,
you will discourage that trade, and the Hollanders will
get it from you! That trade which you have already is
more worth than their whole Country besides.
Mr Powle.] I would be informed how the East India
Company are taxed in Holland towards the maintaining
the Government. I have heard they are taxed, besides
their Customs, and I doubt much their Patents, how
legal they are.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I know no reason why they
should not be taxable, as they are Corporations, if
their Actions in trade be so great, as they are represented, of so many particular men. Money in the East
India Company is Money; a man must pay it, unless
he swear himself off.
Sir Charles Harbord.] If you take the Company as a
body politic, that's a part; but if you tax their Actions,
'tis an adventure, a casual thing, and a person is not to
be taxed twice over.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] There is a stock in the East India
Company, as men are Members of it, and a supervenient stock, as borrowed. The several Creditors pay
for that, besides the stock the Members of that Company
have of ready Money, whether out or in chest. The
Member of the Company will say he has no Money,
for the Money is the body politic's; and this is a point of
Law that they make use of to their profit. I would have
you tax them.
Sir William Lowther.] That Company does furnish
the King with as many brave Ships, as any body of
men do; and I would not discourage them.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] In Holland, they lay not any
Tax on trading Companies, but on private mens stocks.
The King of France encourages trade, but great Cities,
as Paris and Rouen, pay not a farthing of tallage, any
more than the greatest nobleman. They buy Land
within such a distance of the City, and have it tallagefree. Here Merchants are taxed for their degree, and
their Houses, and now will you tax their stock too?
Their stock is in a body politic, a bundle of polls,
as one person is one poll. How will you distinguish
stocks to make the Tax practicable? Where will you
gather it? The stock is fluctuating. Will not you
tax the Guinea Company, the Turkey, and Eastland
Companies? Must this Company be your mark only?
At this rate, they will have every joint taxed. I am
against the Question.
Mr Garroway.] If you tax those Gentlemen of trade,
you put more upon them than you do upon all England.
The credit of the East India Company is so secured,
that you may call for your Money to-morrow, and
have it; and the Company, before your Act pass, may
have 100,000 l. called in, and you get nothing.
Sir Richard Temple.] If you tax the East India Company barely, you tax but the ancient stock of the Company, which was not near so much as now it is. But
now the Actions are worth 100,000 l. and will you not
tax particular Actions?
Resolved, That part of the 1,000,000 l. to be raised to enable
his Majesty to enter into an actual War against the French King,
shall be raised by a Poll-Bill. And a Bill was ordered in accordingly (fn. 2) .
[The House taking into consideration the way and means of
finding out the Bill that is missing, entitled, "An Act to prevent clandestine and irregular Marriages,"
Resolved, That the Protestation following be made and subscribed by the Members of this House, viz.
"I do protest before Almighty God, and this honourable
House, that neither myself, nor any other, to my knowledge,
have taken away, or do at this present conceal, a Bill, entitled,
"An Act, &c." In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name."]
February 25. [Omitted.]
Tuesday, February 26.
The Poll-Bill was read the first, and ordered to be read a
[Debate on the Alliances, &c
(fn. 3) .]
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The condition of the Confederates is as dangerous now, as I told you formerly it
would be, Ghent is taken (fn. 4) , and how this comes to be,
I know not. The King offered to send men over into
Flanders, but was not permitted to do it, unless he
signed a Treaty, in one Article whereof they desire the
King to set out 90 Ships, and 40,000 l. as the Allies
should think fit. The King of Spain is to set out as
many Ships as he could, to be disposed of as the Allies
should agree, and Galleys. And though the Duke de
Villa Hermesa will not put Ostend into our hands, yet
we may put men into it. The Spanish Minister received
Letters on Sunday, and did not acquaint us with them till
Wednesday. Then he brought a paper of Articles, of
what he would refuse, and what take—If we send not
Men, [there is] no Alliance at all. You have been told,
"That our Ships will be ready by the end of May,
if Money be timely given;" and, without this Money
you are giving, they can do you no good. If the
King of France goes on thus, I know not where it will
end. Saving ourselves is our end—I would have you
but show where the King may have this Money—Else
the Ships cannot go out at all. Allow such Money,
if this cannot be ready, as to make a Fund for Credit;
else, you must be without a Fleet, without Troops, and,
for ought I know, without Allies too.
Lord Cavendish.] You have had a lamentable Account of the condition of the Spanish Netherlands. Had
the advice of this House been taken a year age, they
had not been in so ill a condition now. Coventry
says, "There is a necessity of helping the King, by
Credit, to ready Money." Nothing can be more ready
than the Poll Bill, and, if they know a better Fund, I
desire to hear it.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Though a Poll-Bill be
sudden and near at hand, yet you may allow some
Fund for the King to take up Money upon, whilst the
Bill is passing. You may allow something, in the interim, to enable the King to go on by taking up
Sir Thomas Meres.] We are told, "That for want of
Money, Ships cannot go out till the end of May." Why
met we not then at Michaelmas, to have considered that?
Debates of Parliament must have time; and we have
had crowding in Debates of the manner of raising this
Money, &c. Let the saddle be set upon the right
horse—There is a Clause to raise Money upon interest in the Poll-Bill. If that will not do, let others
show you a way to do it. This should have been thought
of six months ago. If any man can show you a better
thing, let it be offered. It must have its due parliamentary gradations, whatever it is.
Mr Mallet.] Good might have been done at our
last meeting, which cannot be now, Mr Speaker, by
your desertion of the Chair, which I hope will be a warning to you for the future. We are ready now to give
the King assistance to support his Alliances, and I wish
our Counsel had been taken before England was blown
about by the uncertain winds of Proclamations for putting off our meeting. Hereafter, I hope there will be
a regular succession of Parliaments, to prevent these things.
But I would have the honourable Counsellors, here by
me, know, that Counsels have been ill.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] I would have the honourable
person a little explain what he means by "our Ships
in this business." If there be an Alliance, the thing is
already done. But I would know whether the King is
pleased to have the advice of this House about the Alliance that has been made—4 Henry V. He was a great
Prince, and had War with France, and always exposed
his intentions to Parliament. If it may be so now, I
move that we may go into a Grand Committee presently.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] 'Tis not my fault, for the
King has made Alliances.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I humbly beg you to
value the two Bills before you, and let the account
be called for, how the New Buildings are stated.
The Speaker.] I have sent to the Parishes thirty seven
Orders, to make speedy returns (fn. 5) , and that is all I can
say to it.
Col. Birch.] I agree with Clarges, "not now to be
finding faults." I would do as much as any man that
sees no more than I see. If the thing had been done
(Alliances) as clearly as our Address was made for them,
this had never been. The Spaniard, it seems, you are
told, will not be saved. You were told so a fortnight
ago. I know not this Ghent, but 'tis said to be a
great place, and all the rest will fall as fast as Ghent.
The French made no line of circumvallation; and all
the rest will follow. If this be gone, I know not how
the United Provinces can stand. If they be in jealousies
and finding faults, as is said, what is now to be done?
I am glad to hear there is any way to save them. It
is said by some, send them present Money; and if any
man would think to move a thing afar off, it must be
the New Buildings. No Committee can go so fast in
the valuation of them as the Parishes, and that will be
the last. If Money will save Flanders, I would borrow
Money myself to do it. I am for quick doing it. Gentlemen know what comes in by Customs weekly. If
we are in this streight, all manner of charges upon the
Customs for three months must be stopped, and that
will do it. There are vast sums in pension upon them;
suspend them for two or three months, and when the
Bill is finished there may be a Clause for reimbursing the
King the Money. If we are in extremity, 'tis just to
take our neighbour's bread and eat it, rather than starve,
and not to run about the town for Money. I have
known a worse House of Commons than this draw a
short note, upon an extraordinary occasion, to secure
such as would advance Money (fn. 6) , and it was reputed an
acceptable service, and they were reimbursed their Money
by Bill. I would know what that sum is that will do this
work. I could never believe but that the Customs
may pay a fourth part of the Navy-charge, and victuals.
And for stores, I believe, we are provided, having given
Money for them already. And for Hulls, wear and
tear, they are paid for—But if this will not do, I would
know what they require to thrust the Fleet out; whether 150,000l. will do what is absolutely necessary for
our safety? And we know what will do the rest of the
Mr Secretary Williamson.] 'Tis a strange and monstrous thing, that Spain will not be saved, by what men
we can send them. The King might have sent 6000
foot, by this time, and Spain would not accept of them.
The Ratification of the Treaty is come back to Holland;
and I hope that, the several districts of the Provinces
being returned, you may, upon that, take resolutions.
Mr Garroway.] This is so great a riddle, that I
know nothing at all of it. You are told now of great
dangers that Flanders is in, butthey are no more than we
saw the first day we came here; only the French King
is not so complimental a Gentleman as we thought.
I would know, Is it a League, or not a League? War,
or no War? To tell us of "a League" and a "Ratification!"— I see nothing of it, and know nothing of
it, and can say nothing to it.
Sir Henry Capel.] I fear we are not ripe for a Question,
but I would not have you go off without some sort of
resolution. Faults appear, and we are told of the
danger; and Motions are made for Supply for the
present occasion. Here is no answer given to what Sum
is requisite. Therefore I move to adjourn the Debate
till to-morrow, and let the honourable persons, by that
time, prepare a Proposal for a Sum.
Mr Sacheverell.] I would gladly know what our Ministers expect from Spain, more than is already offered.
We boggle at what they proffer, which is all they can
do, and we having brought them so low, what can we
require of them more?
Mr Secretary Coventry.] A man that wants Money,
and will not be bound to pay it again, is our case with
Spain. If the French make a descent into Ireland, or
Jersey, or Guernsey, they will not suffer our Ships to go
out of the Mediterranean, as they must be employed as
they think fit!
Mr Garroway.] If Gentlemen will speak out, 'tis we
that have put the Spaniards into this condition, by our
sending so many men over into France. Spain, in reason,
will not keep that always; that is a burden to him, which
was formerly their own Nursery for Arms Coventry
says, "'tis our concern"—and we are told of a League
in the dark, to make us ridiculous to all people. When
I see the League, I will do as much as any man. But
as yet I know not where we are.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Something I said, "That
I believed the Spaniard was not willing to be saved."
But if Flanders be lost, they lose that which brought
500,000 l. Revenue, and maintained the War, and
that which is as equal to us as to Holland, the neighbourhood of the French; and 'tis one of the fatallest
Counsels that ever came from Spain—If an Angel gave
light, I could have no more satisfaction; and more, man
cannot give man.
Mr Garroway.] What I say is, that still we are more
in the dark; we never had any thing of Alliances communicated to us, but in general. I will submit my fortune
to God, and, if I am in an error, I will ask your pardon for it.
Mr Powle.] The honourable persons are now run
aground, and must come to the House, to help them off.
They are now past remedy. I cannot hastily look forward,
till I look backward. I find our Ministers have the same
inclinations and Counsels towards France. We have made
several Addresses to the King, with assurances of our standing by him in supporting Alliances, when communicated
to us. But the conditions of these Addresses have not
been performed, no Alliances have been imparted to
us, and we are absolved from our promises of supporting them. We are told, "There is a Ratification of
a Treaty from the States General." They are as large
a body as we; and it must be communicated to their
principals. If this Treaty be known in Holland, why
must it be a secret here, unless there be something in
it, that we must not know? The Spaniards have just cause
to hold back, seeing so much partiality in us towards
the French, and will not put themselves into our power.
There is no remedy in this case, but to address the
King to enquire from whence all these ill Counsels come;
and to beseech him to remove the Conduct of his Affairs
from them and put them into other hands. And this
would remedy things for the future. I did say, "the
States General were a small number," but when they
consult Leagues, their particular Provinces must be
made acquainted with them.
Sir Tho. Meres.] 'Tis usual, when men cannot answer
the Substance of a Gentleman's Speech, to find fault
with the Circumstances. They that find fault with our
greatening France, are not Privy Counsellors for Spain;
we are for ourselves. But we are told we must not look
back. But why will Spain be hurting himself, and not
accept of our assistance? I cannot imagine the reason;
unless it be, that you have helped to make him desperate. A man must want tongue and sense that sees it
not. Some years since, we might have seen Spain declining—The Triple League, who broke it? When
great sums were got from us in Parliament, then our
Ministers destroyed that League, and sent men into
France, and the Netherlands were lost. And then we
said, "Pray leave War with Holland" (in our Address to
the King) and can nothing work upon a House of Commons but necessity. 'Tis strange that we mind not affairs
of premeditated Counsels, but always upon necessity.
We gave 1,200,000l. upon necessity, and we gave it
unwillingly, for we destroyed Spain by it—And now
must we not see who gave those Counsels? With much
labour we had an inclination of Peace towards Holland;
but we went on still to hurt Spain, by assisting France.
This House, from time to time, has foreseen this, and
addressed the King to remedy it; and thus it is that
Spain is so low, and we have contributed to our own
ruin. Little Counsels on your table will not remedy this;
they will not do it. But I see nothing of light, though
you address the King, and have no Negative in the
House. I have much more to say, but pray give me
more time to speak of it.
Sir William Hickman.] I move that we may adjourn
till to-morrow, to think of this great affair; and we
must go backwards to review things; and God give us
Sir Eliab Harvey.] Does any man think that giving
the King interest-money, to take up a present sum
upon, will make the French King give up Flanders?
(fn. 7) .] I think that Flanders is in a manner
lost, and, if not timely thought of, England may be lost
too. I would adjourn the Debate, to consider how we
got into this Misfortune, and how we may get out of it.
Wednesday, February 27.
The Poll Bill was read a second time, and was committed to
the Grand Committee.
Mr Sacheverell.] Excepts against several things in
the draft of the Bill.
Sir Tho. Clarges.] Here is no appropriating Clause in
the Bill. In the Dutch War there was 1,200,000l.
for the Fleet, and that year the Land was invaded, for
want of a Fleet.
Sir Thomas Lee.] The borrowing Clause has yet no
direction. By the drawing the Bill they are very careful that the Money may be spent, but there is not one
Clause of Appropriation to the French War. The best
appropriating Clause you can put in is, "that all French
Manufactures brought into England may be burnt, and
the growth of that Kingdom, &c. and they that bring
any in, to forfeit the value."
Mr Sacheverell.] On the Bill for forbidding French
Commodities, which you ordered the beginning of
February, the Committee scarce ever sat. If we have
War, we shall have no Commodities come over; but
if we have no War, I would have no French Manufactures come in for three years. And that will be
some recompence for this Bill. I would have the goods
destroyed, wherever they are found in England, and
the person that brings them in to pay the value. I
desire a Clause may be to that purpose.
Sir Eliab Harvey.] By suffering French Commodities
to come, in that abundance, we do maintain his Army
to fight against us to doomsday. I see there is no
likelihood to preserve Flanders, therefore I would now
do something for the good of England. We see that
our men in France are not yet come back. By this
Prohibition, we shall see whether we are in jest, or
earnest, for a War. And I would have such a Clause
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The Prohibition of the
importation of French Commodities to be by a Law,
is very just and necessary. 'Tis now moved that it should
be part of this Bill, but I thought it would have been
by a Bill apart. As it is moved now for a Clause in
this Bill, it seems, that whether War, or no War, here is
to be a Prohibition universally, in all state of things,
and all times. This will not consist with the state of
neighbourhood, nor Laws of intercourse of the whole
World—That is not consistent with any other state of
things, but the state of War. As to the manner of
doing it, how far you will make it necessary to this
Bill—'Tis of dangerous consequence, and may be very
unfortunate. Possibly there may be one precedent of
it, but I beg this may not be the second, and may not
be part of this Bill.
Mr Sacheverell.] I think Williamson did not take my
Motion right. I made it not with intention to have the
Prohibition perpetual, but temporary only for three
years. We have had three, and three, and three years,
and no Articles of Commerce with France, which is a
Million of Money detriment to the Nation yearly. We
are going into a War with France, and yet, it seems, we
fear giving them offence. Williamson says, "This may
be of evil consequence, and may be unfortunate, &c."
But I say, 'tis the only good thing to put into this Bill,
else you will never have the Prohibition at all. 'Twill
go with the Money-Bill, and I pray we may have this
little thing with the Money, which is the only compensation for our Money.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Williamson said, "'Twas not
usual in Peace to banish all Commerce with a Neighbour." To have no Wine, Salt, Linnen, Silk worked,
or unworked, nor Brandy—'Tis plain that Trade will
ruin us, as now it is with France, as much as any War
Col. Birch.] I like this Debate, for many reasons;
especially that this House of Commons is not afraid of
the French King. I think with Coventry, 'tis better to
express in the Bill in particular words than in generals.
'Twas said by Williamson, "That this is unneighbourly."
Was not the imposing of 80 per Cent upon our Commodities in France unneighbourly? And the French King
did it before I told you of "a Crab-tree Cudgel," or
that we had any thought of the War. I would have
all French goods imported after such a day, destroyed.
In this Bill it will be better than in a Bill by itself. More
of these Commodities are come in, since we talked of
prohibiting them, than can be spent in three years. I
would name those Commodities you would prohibit,
and put them in this Bill. I am for so doing, because
since he has been so unneighbourly, in natural reason
we are not to trade with him. If it be Peace, this Prohibition, &c. is just between Prince and Prince, and
not unneighbourly. It only makes a balance between
Kingdom and Kingdom—The Clause for Credit to take
up Money upon this Bill, for present Service, may
be at the latter end of the Bill—If the French King be
in earnest, the next news will be his taking Ostend and
Nieuport. I would not therefore let the French King
see we are not able to enter into War with him, without the charge of Land-tax, and all. I take this opportunity, because we may have credit to purpose to
put in New Buildings too, and have but one Bill—
And as for all Commodities now here, I would, in the
same Clause, enumerate sellers of all such Commodities.
If this Poll-Bill be executed as former Bills were, there
will not be above 400,000 l. raised by it. If by such
Commissioners as will go through with it, it will make
twice as much—That the World may see you charge
not your Land, but keep that for the last.
Mr Sacheverell.] I find my Motion is mistaken. I
named "Linnen, Wine, Salt, Paper, [Brandy,] and
Silk." My meaning was, that the Merchant might have
time to sell what are upon his hands, abroad, and not
here; and to have time given him.
The Question [for annexing a Clause to the Bill] for Prohibition of the said French Goods, &c. for three years, &c. [and
also for an appropriating Clause, passed in the Affirmative, and
was agreed to by the House.]
Sir Eliab Harvey.] I move, as a Merchant, that what
the Merchants vend here you may rate what you please,
but lay nothing upon those French Commodities that
go out of England to be vended. They will raise Brandy
from 35 l. per ton, to 60 l. per ton, and so of other
[February 28. omitted.]