THE DEBATES IN THE
House of Commons, From the Year 1667 to the Year 1694.
Thursday, May 23, 1678.
THE House met according to Prorogation, when the King
was pleased to speak to both Houses to this effect:
"That there was great appearance of Peace abroad, but,
notwithstanding that, he thought it reasonable to keep his land
and maritime force on foot, till it was agreed whether it should be
Peace or no; but yet submitted that to them, whether they
thought it best to continue or disband the army, recommending
it to them to consider how to provide in either case; that men of
quality and bravery, who had offered themselves and fortunes so
freely for their country's service, should not be discouraged.
"He told them of a branch of his revenue (meaning the Duty
on Wine) which was expiring, and of more he was like to lose
by a clause in the Poll Bill;" (which was the prohibition of French
commodities.) He desired "they would not drive him into extremities, as that would end ill both for them, and him, and the
whole nation." And at last he told them, "That he would
never hereafter pass any Bill, be it of ever so great importance,
that had several matters tacked together in it." The rest he left
to the Lord Chancellor (fn. 1) .
[The House being returned, after the Speech had been read by
Sir Winston Churchill.] Complained that we cannot follow the Speaker to the Lords House without hazard of
our lives, the disorder is so great, by reason of crowding.—You, Mr Speaker, tell us many great things, declared
from my Lord Chancellor in his Speech. I desire he
would give you the copy of what he spoke to us.
Mr Powle.] I am one of those that ventured myself
amongst the crowd. I am amazed at my Lord Chancellor's Speech. I take it to be an invective against what
we have done. The highest censures that I ever heard
of! If we are guilty of it, let us lay ourselves at the King's
feet; if not, let us vindicate ourselves from the reflection.
I think he says, "The King commanded him to tell you
&c." I think more than once, the thing is of great moment, and till we see the Chancellor's Speech, we cannot
Sir Thomas Meres.] In a new Session, I would not lose
old Order. Anciently the King's Speech was not read in
this House, nor the Chancellor's. But if they be here, I
would have them read. If that Speech of the Chancellor's be not ready to be had, you may read a Bill, and appoint Committees. I would have no more of that of the
Chancellor's Speech debated upon, left we have it not at
all. I would read a Bill, till the Chancellor's Speech comes.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The House has no power to
send for the Chancellor's Speech. But if the Chancellor
would impart it, it would give great light to the House;
and, in the mean time, I would read a Bill.
Mr Sacheverell.] There is not one Speech of two hundred years but the substance of it is entered in the Lords
Journal. And if the Chancellor be not so kind as to
impart it to you, you may have it in the Lords Books.
And if the Chancellor deny it you, I would send thither
Mr. Mallet.] 'Till you have the Chancellor's Speech,
you would do well, I think, to read a Bill to regulate his
Court and his Conscience.
A Bill for preventing abuses in collecting [the duty of] Hearth
money was read the first time.
A Committee was ordered to inspect the Lords Journal, and
see what Entry is there made of the Lord Chancellor's Speech,
and to report the matter to the House to-morrow morning.
Friday, May 24.
It was moved to take into consideration the King's Speech
and the Chancellor's Speech, but no Order for it.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I hear there's an Order for printing
them, though they are not yet upon record in the Lords
Sir Thomas Littleton.] Till we have that Speech of the
Chancellor's, we have nothing to go upon. I would adjourn now, and I care not how soon we go upon it.
The Bill of Popery of the last Session was called for.
The Speaker.] The Clerk is not answerable for any
copies of Bills of the last Prorogation.
Sir Robert Thomas.] It seems, we must not touch upon
Popery; that must not be meddled with.
Colonel Birch.] Moves for leave to bring in a Bill for
securing the Protestant Religion against the growth of
[Which was ordered accordingly.]
Saturday, May 25.
A Motion was made for an Address to the King, to know
whether we shall have Peace, or War.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I am for seconding the Motion
for an Address, &c. to know whether we shall have
Peace, or War. The Army is called "our Army," and
it may be called "our Peace," too. The common news
is, that Spain has made Peace with the French; I know
not whether it be owned by the Ministers of Spain; I
know not whether the Emperor or the Princes of Germany are come into the Peace yet. If it be a Peace, and
they comply with it, I look upon it as the most dismal
thing that ever was to our nation. If the Confederacy
be dissolved, there's an end of England, and how much
more, if the Dutch go off from us! As for the guarantee
of the Peace, I value it not, for I know no Alliance
England has to depend upon for its security; and I would
have a League with Germany rather than not at all. The
Spaniards may come back again to us. This, and nothing else, will make them think us in earnest. If a Barrier be left for Holland, &c. why do not the French take
it in? The Dutch are as forward as they for Peace, and
if the French take in that Barrier betwixt Flanders and
Holland, possibly they will be as forward for War as they
are now for Peace, and may knock their Governors on
the head, if they will not make War. But if this Alliance be not made, you'll have no support from them at
all. If a War goes on, and we are allied with the Emperor, though Holland look on for a time, yet they will run
into the Alliance at last, when they see it hopeful. It is
a mistake that the Prince of Orange is so low as is said.
He is Stadtholder, and in good power among them; and
I hope in six months they will be convinced of their error with the Prince. And though for a time they may
stand neuters in the Alliance, &c. yet they will come in.
In a general Peace Holland will run away with general
Trade; but in time of War they can have little Trade.
If it be Peace, we shall be wormed out of our Trade.
They will grow rich, and France will support them.
Pardon my rude meditations and indigested thoughts in
this matter, which deserved more consideration, &c. being a matter of great weight. I would have this business
easy to the King, and would take away all occasions of
picking quarrels. You were told, "the best way to
support the Confederacy was auxiliaries." I propose to
put a greater body of men into the Duke of Lorrain's
hands. I look upon him not as a soldier of fortune, but
as one that fights for his own country, and may do honourably by them. I would not have this brave body of
men dispersed, but kept up by subsidies from Germany.
But it is objected, "How shall we come at this body of
the Confederates?" I take it for granted that this little
slip of a country that's left, may be a passage for our
men by the way of Embden, from thence to Munster by
land, and so to Cologn. No man thinks the French
King can pass below Cologn, for the Germans will have
him upon the lock there. He has no towns on the
Rbine that way. If they under the Duke of Lorrain be
not paid, the fault will lie upon the House, if we continue not the Subsidies. If this be done by land, no man
will doubt but we are superior to the French at sea, and
our management, I hope, will be better, and we are not
so mean as to think the French can vye with us at sea.
They have not so many men as we, and our coast is' a
great help to us; for in the unfortunate Chatham summer, had it not been for that unlucky counsel of setting
out no fleet (what we suffered was by that;) our very
coast makes war against any nation. Therefore I would
apply to the King to make War with France, with what
Confederates he can get together, and we'll stand by
him in it.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] I am as much for War with
the French as any body—You have had as much said as
can be in the matter; but I doubt that some things are
not thoroughly thought of. The Duke of Lorrain is a
generous Prince, and a great soldier. But you go upon
one supposition, that the French King will not conquer all
Flanders, before you can join, &c. If you resolve upon
a War with him, he will have all Flanders before you
can have your army over, and join forces with the Duke,
and that way spoken of will be stopped. The Germans have
as brave men as the King of France, but the Confederacy
disagreeing on their quotas, they have already been in disorder. Brandenburg, Denmark, Holland, and Spain have
failed them, and now will you go about to supply all
this defect? I would have it well computed what sum
must do all this. Holland, when he treats with you, tells
you of several quotas for the Indies and the Mediterranean. But when you consider our Plantations, rich in
stock, though not in money, how can they be preserved?
And if you leave out Holland, how will you support this?
These are things of great consideration, and I hope you
will consider before you resolve.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] The Question, as I proposed it,
was thus: "If the King would enter into a War with the
French, with such Confederates as he could get to support
him, this House will support him: But if the King, in his
judgment, think fit to have Peace, we are content. But if
he enter into War, we will assist him."—But for Peace, I
shall not think it arises from the House of Commons till I
see it. But I would leave all these considerations to the
King and Council. Leave it there, and in two days it may
be done, and leave it entirely to him.
Colonel Birch.] I would very willingly hear from the
honourable Gentlemen the inconvenience of this motion,
before I give my consent. Though this army was raised in
the dark, I would not part with them but in the light.
This House has, for several years, as by spirit of prophecy, foreseen these things, and been of the same mind
as now it is, and so am I. The danger of the Army,
&c. has been mentioned; yet when I look them in the
face, I would never give consent that they should be disbanded without doing something. But if any man can
propose (who stands on higher ground than I) and can
tell me that we shall be in a better condition by Peace than
by War, I'll be of his mind. The fatalness of this Peace
is no new thing, but how it has been driven on by our
Ministers, you know. But what shall we do when this
Peace is made, and the Confederacy at an end? What
shall we be secured from? The great man (the French King)
who keeps his word with no man, except our King ?—But when this Peace is made, let the Commons of England know what's next. And if this Peace be more
chargeable than this War, certainly it is reasonable to address the King to know in what condition we are in, as
to Peace or War.
Sir George Downing.] Every porter that walks the
streets can tell our condition. But the part of generous
men is not to lament over the misfortune, but to go
about to remedy it. Every post brings us new things.
Spain is treating with the French King, but the question
is, what shall we do ? He that can tell you is an Oracle.
If Peace be, I look upon the Kingdom as undone, and
Holland ruined. God can remedy it, and can say to the
proud waves, Stand still at the bank. Then what shall
we do ? We are moved to make another Address to the
King. I am never forward in Addresses, as improper.
The variety of the thing is not opened, and we are in the
dark, and it is not proper for us to meddle with Peace
and War, and I am sure money is only proper for us,
and no man but, ourselves can put his hand into our
pockets. I know not how to speak to this. Though Holland and Spain go not out, this may prompt them to go
out; unless you supply what support they are deficient
in, in Germany and Spain, &c. Now what would you
do, in this matter, proper and honourable for the nation ?
Let all jealousies be laid aside, and let common safety be
looked upon only. Our house is on fire, let us quench it.
This will recall the Hollander to the War, and encourage
Spain and Germany, when they see we are upon the common business of France. That, and that, and nothing
else. The King says not, part with these forces till it be
Peace or War with France. The not disbanding these
forces you have raised will make them think you are in
earnest, if provision be made for paying and keeping
Mr Garroway.] In this Debate we must consider our
condition. We are required by the King to give our
advice in the Chancellor's Speech. I submit Peace and
War to the King; but when we are called to give our advice, I would know to what. The King of France has
fourteen millions sterling revenue; and leave him in
Peace, what will become of us ? Pray let us not give advice upon nothing. We are told of Peace making with
Holland and Spain by the French, but not a word of the
Confederates. What hand have we had in the Peace, is
a sad reflection. I will not go back—But address the
King, that we may have light to give advice upon.
Sir John Ernly.] As to Spain's making Peace, I fear it
is not in our power to make it better, or worse. Spain
has been offered supply from England and Holland, and
has not accepted it, which makes me stumble at it, and
what France parts with to Spain, he will have again, first
or last. But I would gladly know how the King can tell
you, whether it will be Peace, or War; for I cannot tell
you. The King tells you, "he had rather have War,"
and so would I. If the Spaniards deliver up to the French
this great town, then our men are lost, and I fear we
shall give them opportunity to break the League, for they
(Holland) will say, "France can protect us, and you cannot." And that will be a Commonwealth's principle,
to take him that can best protect them. In my reading,
when the King has asked advice of this House, they have
referred it to the King and his Council; but now the
King asks it, with expectation of an answer. Therefore
I conceive now, that the King has War and Peace in his
power, and so have the States, &c. and I think it not
adviseable to do any thing to put the Dutch upon going
out of the league; and as we desire to be farther enlightened, so must the King, before he can give you an
Mr Vaughan.] It seems, sparing to over-run the remainder of Flanders is merely a compliment from the
French King; if so, it had been well that we had not
been deluded. Now you are trusted, because you are
supposed to be the collective Wisdom of the nation. You
have passed a Bill, upon the sense of the nation, for a
War with the French King, and a confluence of people
in arms thereupon shows you the sense of the nation.
When we go home into the country, we shall be asked,
"Is the Army disbanded? why had we not a War? and
why gave you our Money?" In Henry VIIIth's time
it was considered, upon the dissolution of the monasteries, that the ends of their foundation were piety, abstinence, continence, &c. Those who would dissolve them
found out the contrary, luxury, impiety, and incontinence. If you make yourselves unfit to sit here now,
you'll make yourselves unfit ever to sit here, or any other
Parliament more. What good Bills have we done since
we met? They have been all stifled by a Prorogation.
Next we have given the people's money, and they expected some good laws. I speak this, that you may leave
yourselves under some good character, to be acceptable
to the nation. Rather than have this baffle put upon
the nation, I would go to War upon myself, if I could
Sir Robert Sawyer.] I think the House will never go
back from their opinion of a War with the French; but
if such a Confederacy may be made to bring France to
its bounds, I am for it; but if such a one as must leave
England to shift for itself, it is the most dismal thing that
ever was done. Unless there be a perfect unanimity in
this Vote, as it were with one soul, it will be the most
unhappy thing imaginable. There are many jealousies
in the management of affairs, and I hope very false—The King, in his Speech, offers something towards what
you are upon; and I know not what better method you
can take. It will be a difficult point to give advice, till
you know whether it will be Peace, to provide for keeping up these forces—Unless the Confederates be taken in,
if we resolve on War, or such a Peace as England may be
safe from France—In order to that, I would consider the
Sir Thomas Lee.] You are told of "fears, and jealousies of a Peace, and the ruin of the kingdom;" and all
this is, England cannot be safe without a War, and with
a Peace with France. Sawyer tells you, "not to disband
the Army till there be Peace;" and so England is to keep
an Army here, and ship the Parliament out of town, and
make a Peace. I see not how we can do that, nor make
any provision for the Army, till we know what's to be
done with the Army. I would have them employed now,
lest, when there is occasion for them another time, no
men will come in. There's great danger to baffle them.
This is not an ordinary proceeding. You voted the King
money, at the King's desire, for a War, and did appropriate it for an actual War with France; and if there be
no War, there's a perfect breach of both your words.
And how will the kingdom trust either of you hereafter?
But there's another difficulty sticks with me. At the beginning of the Session all was War: At the latter end of
the Session, when we should only declare War, and when
a prohibition of French commodities was made, and an
appropriation of the money to a French War, which angered the French King, then we were prorogued. If this
had been before, the Lords might justly have said, "we
are not ready to enter into it." This might have been
told you, before passing that Bill, that we are standing
in this condition; that the War could not be proclaimed, and the Dutch would not stand to it, only the Germans. And now we are come to it, the Spaniards are
going out of it: And if you vote another sum for the
Confederates, I know not whose turn it is to go out of it
next. We have not seen the Alliances, and I wish that
those have that should have seen them. I see no harm
therefore in this Address moved for, to the intent we
should pay this Army. I would gladly know what the
King's pleasure is (that we may not invade his royal
Power) how he stands in this matter of Alliance with the
Empire alone, whether it is the King's pleasure to enter into the War alone? I think, is a seasonable question. But how wise and how safe to do it, lies in the
King and the Council. And when once 'tis told you
that it is a War, there will be as few fears and jealousies
as ever; but if it be Peace, I know not how you can
smother them. Such an Address moved for may be for
your service; and such a one I am for.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] The States have agreed on
a deputation to the French King at Ghent, from Nimeguen. The errand is only to ask a Cessation of Arms for
six weeks, to consult their allies, not to treat a word of
Peace. If that be granted, Peace or War will still be
uncertain. If you make your application upon that
point, I see not how the King can give you any farther
answer. If the King should say "yes, he's for the War,
&c." that's the high way for Holland to go out of it,
against his obligation. In either case, if you go to the
King with that question, you can have no other account
of it, but that 'tis uncertain in the whole. Now since
you are in a strait and difficulty what to advise the King,
you may think of some support for these men that have
been raised, in the interim. They are still on this side
the water, because there is not money to send them over,
and Spain has said, "whatever Holland shall propose, they
will consent to."
Sir Thomas Meres.] It is difficult to form this Question, therefore bold in me to offer a Question. But I
will propose that which was firsted and seconded, and is
now become a Question, viz. "That an humble Address be made to his Majesty, to know from his Majesty
the state of affairs as to Peace and War; and that if his
Majesty will enter into a War with the French King, with
the assistance of the Emperor, and such other of the
States and Confederates as his Majesty shall think fit,
this House will support him in it: But that if his Majesty shall not think fit to enter into a War with the French
King, that his Majesty would be pleased to disband the
Mr Sacheverell.] It is a sad thing to me to consider,
that, after a Parliament has done all they can, and so
often invited the King to support him in this War, all
negotiations are contrary to it; but what sticks most
with me is, that the King should pass a Bill for money
for an actual War, and yet treat for Peace. Those persons hindered a Declaration of War that put us upon a
Cessation, and would have you keep up your Army without end, and pay them. I would have them paid to the
full; and I believe them to be too much Gentlemen to
desire to stand in the nation, without employment. But
for a Cessation of Arms only for Spain, and Holland, and
not the Empire, it seems to me to be prepared in this
House, that the King can give you no answer. And
yet you must give money to support this Army, who
have oppressed the nation. Shall we be kept six or eight
weeks longer together in suspense? What effect can we
have of it? and hope that the Parliament will put up
that now from the Ministers which, the last Session, they
would have scorned? Let it not be forgotten that they
have exposed this House, who have given money even
in the dark. Therefore I am for putting it upon the truth,
to know whether we shall have Peace, or War. We invade not the King's Prerogative when we desire to know
it, for the good of him, and his people. And I desire to know how we stand, as to Peace, and War. Before that, we can give no advice.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] If the Address run, "That the
King should take such Confederates as he can get, and
we stand by him, &c." it will be said, "Let him (it
may be) with what petty Princes of Germany he can get."
But the word "Empire" I look not well upon. If with
Bavaria, Holstein, and Gottorp, &c. this the Empire is
not in. "The Emperor" is a good word "and such
other Confederates as can be got." Allow fitting liberty
to those that are to form the Address, and they may
Mr Swynfin.] It may be my ignorance, but I confess
I have but a dark understanding of the Question proposed; for I confess I understand no effect of it, whether you'll disband, or not disband, the Army. If you
cannot make a War, you must go into Peace, but 'tis
none of your Peace. And I would not have it of your
making, as I fear you'll do by this Question. Why
should you desire to know what this Peace is? Therefore
I would let the point of Peace alone, and ask no Question about it, for fear of making it your Peace. But I
fear we overlook what the King has told us in his Speech.
Lay that, and what he has formerly said, together. He
opened to you a League offensive and defensive with the
States General, but nothing towards War in it. You
are told, "that since, the Dutch are gone upon other
terms, and that Spain is come into them." And on Tuesday you were told by the King "they are violently going
into Peace." What can be more plain to you than
Peace? I would never else have you disband this Army.
That's plainly before you, and I believe you will be told
no farther of Peace, or War. We know sufficient, unless you will run yourselves into farther snares. You cannot expect an answer from those States and Princes till
some time, and till then the Army must be in being.
Our Addresses have brought this Army upon us. But
what most reflects on the honour of this House is, that
these men were raised for an actual War with France by
us, and here is no War, and we sit still. Upon the whole,
going to the King will entangle us yet more about Alliances with the Confederates. Disbanding the Army presses us, though raised contrary to our desires. All the rise
you gave it was for an actual War; but now 'tis raised,
you sit still, and make no step forward towards War
with the French. Unless you will make yourselves a party, are you not obliged to consider the disbanding them?
If not, you make them yours. You must either give
money to pay them, or disband them. I move therefore to adjourn the Debate till Monday next, and then
consider whether you'll disband, or keep them up.
Mr Sacheverell.] I fear we shall have no War effectual,
and therefore I would have no obligatory thing in the
Sir Thomas Littleton.] I would never go into any advice to the King, but oblige ourselves to support him in
it. If the thing be of that nature as to send to Vienna for
it, I am against it. But all agree that the Ambassadors
here have full power to treat, and a few-hours will tell us
of it. And it is pernicious to disband the Army till that
Sir William Coventry.] I should have been glad if the
House would have inclined to adjourn the Debate. No
man knows how much light a day would give, when every
post from Spain, Holland, Germany, and France, may give
new lights to this matter. I confess, I cannot come up
now to matter of War, though formerly I was as much for
it as any man. My lights, that I go by, are these: Holland is
going out of the War, and Spain is so much towards it,
that he has sent his resignation to Holland. Germany remains
only in the War; and shall we rely upon a people of so
dull a temper, whom we see doing nothing towards a
Peace for themselves? I acknowlege the truth, that the
Emperor's Ministers here may have power to treat, &c.
but it is not what his Ministers do here, must make a
League. It must be ratified by the Emperor. Is it reasonable to think that the Emperor will go out? He has
resolved to go into Peace. Now all his Allies have left
him, shall not we, by joining with him, help him to
make his conditions more speedily? I am afraid that the
other supports the Emperor had, have left him, as Holland, Spain, &c. and he believes us not so steady as to be
willing to take us by the hand. These things induce me
to believe, that we are not fit for such a War. When
the thing was plain, then we were, without doubt, ready
for advice; but in the darkness we are in, we must be
wholly led by the King. To have an Army here, when
of no use for what it was designed, creates such jealousy,
that it is a means to rob the King of the hearts of his people; and may make him lose that support, when really
there is occasion for it. The King may see lights for a
War, which we see not. Therefore I would address the
King, "That, if he see no cause to pursue the War
against the French, he may please to disband the Army."
Mr Boscawen.] I am one of those that dislike the Peace,
but yet I would not take it upon our backs, because our
backs are broader than others. I take not the Spaniards
nor Hollanders to bemad men to make Peace without us.
I am not for putting it off for a day longer. I would
make an end of the thing now. If it be Peace, we shall
see it, and the Army may be disbanded, and we sent
home, after a chargeable attendance here.
Mr William Harbord.] When I reflect upon what this
House has done to prevent the greatness of the French
King, and yet that he has almost over-run Flanders, and
almost overcome Sicily, I admire how we can engage this
kingdom in a War with France. As for the Army, I
would use them like Gentlemen, and would use them
honourably; you may soon enough have occasion to use
them again against France. But I do not expect it, as
long as these Gentlemen are at the helm. Spain did offer prohibition of French commodities, and so has Holland. And if War could not then be made, I expect it
not now. Therefore, I would add the words to the
Question, of "disbanding the Army."
Mr Secretary Williamson.] You are told of a Memorial, "That the Hollanders and the Spaniards would join
with us in a prohibition of French commodities." Every
tree in St James's Park has echoed it. 'Tis certain, that
for months and years the Dutch Ministers have preached
up the poverty of their nation. I came to them to wash
my hands of the success; as a private person I told him,
"I was amazed to find his masters so changed in their
opinions, and his masters must pardon me if I spoke it,
that for years together they have spoken of prohibition
of the French trade, and now they make a difficulty to
enter into it."
Colonel Birch.] I would show that this very money
you have given has been used towards Peace. I would
let the world see that you are unchangeable; and would
therefore have that addition to the Question.
[The Question for adjourning the Debate was carried in the
affirmative, 195 to 176.]
Monday, May 27.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] A Gentleman (Mr Mallet)
has told you "that I should say "I had rather be guilty
of forty murders, than that the War should not go on."
(See vol. v. p. 9.) I said no such thing. I am of the same
opinion still that I was of then, that it is the happiest
thing, and most necessary for the nation, that the War
should go on with France, that can be. I look upon it
as the direct interest of our country; only this I did say,
"I had rather be guilty of an hundred murders, than
be guilty of not entering into the War." And I conceived myself guilty of all the murders of Alsace, rather
than that I would not willingly enter into the War, without being fortified with Alliances. We cannot tell you
whether it will be Peace, or War; but the French King
has accepted a Cessation of Arms, but not such a one as
Holland would have. The French would not accept of six
weeks Cessation; but only from the middle of July to the
beginning of August, and they are likely to agree. But
hitherto, or whatever is done underhand, I know not.
You have been told, "that the Duke of Villa Hermosa
will not sever from Holland." The Envoy of Spain hath
given in a Memorial this morning, which I have in my
pocket, desiring us not to disband the troops of England,
for his Master is utterly undone if we do. This is all
we know; but the Allies have not imparted to the Public Ministers any resolution to accept of a Cessation. The
King of Spain has accepted so many English forces; now
whether you will have him part with them, when the honour and reputation of the nation will be exposed in doing it, I leave it to you.
Colonel Birch.] I am almost afraid to speak, when I
see the House in such a silence. I am one of those that
earnestly pressed, on Saturday, not to adjourn the Debate.
Now what has fallen from Coventry makes a far greater
necessity for the Question; now the matter is abundantly
clearer. He told you of "a Memorial from the Spanish
Envoy not to disband, &c." It would not else be sense,
if the Confederates do not continue the War. The Spaniard has given up the Treaty to the Dutch, and the
Dutch will do nothing without their Allies; and I do not
hear of this cessation by the Emperor. If the Dutch
agree to it, and Spain consents to it, I do not see how
England is secured all this while by guarantee, from being
attacked by the French, when they have made their Peace,
and see us not provided for. I would have nothing to
do with the Peace; but I would engage with the Emperor rather than sit down with Peace. Therefore now
is a seasonable time, and consistent with our duty, to
make an humble Address to the King (for this is a new
Parliament by Prorogation) "to join with the Emperor
against France." That we may do it like persons that did
with reason before, and with the same reason still we pursue it. I intend only this, "That the King may be humbly addressed unto, to signify to us the state of affairs as
to War, and whether he will enter into confederacy with
the Emperor, &c. which if the King see not fit to do, to
desire him to disband the Army;" knowing how foul a
life it is, for any man to command a regiment in time of
Peace. Had France been stopped in its greatness four
years since, according to our advice, these bitter papers
had never been pinned upon us. Therefore I move "for
an Address, &c."
Mr Powle.] We have little time for this Session. Our
own affairs, at this time of the year, will call us home,
and 'tis like to be a short Session; but we are still in the
dark. You are told of "a Cessation of Arms, desired by
the Dutch, for ten weeks, last Christmas." But by all
this, I know of neither War nor Peace; Cessation, or none.
And I believe no man would desire an Army, and no
War; no, not the Gentlemen that command. Therefore
I would have the King's Speech read, that we may
consider what to do.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] You are well put in mind
to save time, and husband it. And I would to God we
could bring this matter to some issue speedily! I'll speak
to the most material point, what to do with these troops
you have raised, to remove all jealousies; and Gentlemen are not clear to judge, because the matter is not certain. The difficulty of the choice is this; if we have no
War, why should we keep up these men? If we have
War, then to prosecute it. All the Confederates will still
continue in a mind, not to make Peace without consent of
their Allies. The terms of "six weeks Cessation, &c." are
not accepted, yet another term, from the 21st of July,
our style, to the 27th of July, for Cessation. There is by
this, as between a state of War, but an assurance that the
French King shall not act, &c. I speak this by way of information, as I have it by way of news; but it looks oddly
that the King of France should voluntarily give a still
stand to all his forces; and though none of the Allies accept it, Holland shall. It appears not yet that Holland
has accepted it, but 'tis much to be suspected they will.
It may be justly suspected that they have some ground
from Holland for proposing it. I am persuaded, that both
the affairs of Holland are such, and of France likewise,
that they have but a narrow time to give a resolution in.
The King of France is gone back to Paris, which looks
as if matters were pretty sure. So that the disposing of
the Army seems to be the matter of your Debate; and I
shall never wish it to be kept one moment longer than
you shall think fit. The disbanding it must cost some
time. My meaning is only this, not to make any offer
to you, the matter being very nice.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] This hour of Peace is more
critically observed by England than any time of the War;
for we knew in War, &c. what the French King's great
Armies were upon, but now they have nothing to do.
But I believe the French money does not boil so high in
their coffers as to keep up all these men; therefore I
would consider of it, &c.
Sir Thomas Lee.] I remember that, the winter before
he began action, the French King was a long time disciplining his army, which makes me fear we shall be doing
so. This day's Debate has stirred in my thoughts that
something more lies in the way to be done. For my part,
I am very unwilling to take any share of the Peace upon
me. I remember that, when we met in January, when
all these forces were raised, we spoke of reducing things
to the Pyrenean Treaty, because that was such a Peace as
might do Holland's business, but not England's. But this
Peace looks to me, as if this great charge of raising an
Army had been to get Holland a Peace, and not England.
Those Gentlemen that sometimes give you what little light
they please, have not told you of any Alliances made with
the Emperor. If the King tells you that it is fit to disband the Army, I am willing to pay for it; but if it be
to do Holland's business, &c. it looks to me plainly and
really, that there's nobody in the Cessation but Holland.
It seems to me to be truly as Williamson said, "a still
stand." This is mighty news, and I am sorry to know that
these things "stand still" till we proceed. I must needs
return to this, that I know not what condition we are in,
if it be Peace, still to make us barriers, and have no Alliance with the Emperor! And then when a Peace is
made, what will the French King do with his army? And
we must keep up our Army so long as he keeps his. Still
you may have this advantage, that whilst this "still stand"
must be, we may not have our Army at a "still stand,"
and eat us up.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] Upon occasion, several times,
the King has endeavoured to enlarge that Treaty for the
Confederates. Some Gentlemen seemed to ask, "Whether any other of the Allies were concerned in the Cessation, &c.?" I answer, that some of the Allies are forward, as Holland; and the King's ministers inform you,
that Spain is expressly, and the Imperialists allowed the
proposition for six weeks; so that the Emperor is in
some degree of a mind with the States. The Lunenburg
and Brandenburg ministers must hear farther from their
masters, and therefore sat, as it were, silent. And this is
Sir John Ernly.] What to do with our men, is the
Question. I have not seen such an appearance of brave
men, and I would not discourage them. I would make
some provision for their disbanding.
Lord Cavendish.] I hope, that, by applying to the King,
we shall have a clear answer, whether Peace or War, which
is more than we have had from the Gentlemen at the Bar;
and till we have some answer of that kind, I know not
what to say. Therefore I would make application to the
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King has not yet had any
Memorials of those things, nor any counsel upon it. I
would willingly know from Lee, from what Ambassador,
&c. he has had his knowledge?
Sir Thomas Lee.] I find that accidents do help us. We
should not have known else that the Emperor was in the
Mr Vaughan.] I wonder that we should know nothing,
after so many applications of foreign Ministers. I am
loth to differ, &c. but I am for the Address. We stand
still because we have no light. If we have War, 'tis
a madness to disband the Army, and if we have none, as
much to keep them. The Lord Chancellor's Speech tells
you "of a Cessation, &c. like to be;" and "that they
are towards Peace." But I cannot but take notice there
is a fault somewhere. Spain will give Holland no supply
of men and money. Why could not we supply Spain's
Mr Secretary Coventry.] If these things you ask were
things the King could resolve, you might have some light;
but they are in another man's power.
Lord Cavendish.] I will make it good, if required, that
applications have been made to the King by the Confederates, to enter into alliance with them.
Sir Trevor Williams.] I am informed, from very good
hands, that Count Wallestein gave in a Memorial, this
morning, to desire the King to enter into the alliance with
Mr Secretary Williamson.] I know of no Memorial he
has given in, nor any power he has to enter into any
such thing; and the Emperor has agreed to the Cessation. And how his Ministers should be furnished with
such a power here, I leave it to you to consider.
Sir Thomas Littleton.] As for the Memorial, I cannot make it good, but Coventry says, "That the Memorial for a Cessation of Arms was from the Spanish Ambassadors." There is no great weight or stress to be laid
upon their (the Secretaries) words, for nothing is done,
but by consent, amongst the Ambassadors of the Confederates.
Mr Swynfin.] To dispose of the Army is the matter before us. All information given us without doors, or any
others, tend principally to that. I would ask any body
here, whether we have actual War with France, or any
thing like it? I have heard nothing of it these two months.
Every day informs us of something still of Peace, and
take but that one thing, that the Dutch have gone towards
it and the Cessation, that they and the Emperor would
agree to, for most part of this summer, can any man
believe a probability of any thing of a War this summer? This Cessation is in the very heart of action; and
no history does mention but that such a Cessation tends towards a final Peace. And I am afraid we shall find more
difficulty to resolve to-morrow than to-day. Therefore
I would consider what the King has offered you in his
Speech. Plainly, 'tis not needful to ask the premises,
when you are plainly told the conclusion. 'Tis not such
a War as we advised, plainly. If it be a War, the King
leaves it to you; which plainly convinces me, there is
no want of this Army, to be employed. The King offers you to disband the Army; when that is, 'tis when
there is an universal Peace, or towards it. I would close
with the King in it, in taking into consideration the disbanding this whole Army. If you disband them against
winter, it will be hard with the common soldiers; there is
employment for them, now in summer; and I move that
the Army, both horse and foot, may be forthwith disbanded.
Mr Powle.] I would not make more Addresses to the
King, till things are in a better temper. I would not
address in this, nor give any advice in this. We have
already backed our advice with support, but they have
forgotten the conditions upon which we promised our
Supply, viz. "for an actual War with France." And
now we are going into a Peace, and are called upon to
support the Army. This makes me not fond of Addresses. I fear, that, notwithstanding all our Addresses
for War, we shall have Peace, and those persons that intended a Peace, brought the Dutch out of the Confederacy. Our League offensive and defensive with the
Dutch was to loosen them from all other Confederacy.
And next we must make a show for War, and be
asked such conditions from the Dutch, as we cannot
perform, and that gave them opportunity to do this
Cessation; and now, we must disband this Army, and
sue for such a peace as, with all this expence we have
been at, we might have had for asking. And do not these
men that have brought us into this posture deserve the
panegyric I have given them? The Chancellor, in his
Speech, charges you so as malice itself could not have
said more, viz. "That we were the occasion of the loss
of Flanders." I would vindicate ourselves from this. I
see the Army must be disbanded, but I would not have
that laid upon us, and we have the reproach of that from
so many gallant men. Therefore I move that we may
presently address the King, &c.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] The King has offered, that,
if the States will come in, he would carry it to the Emperor to join in a league to reduce things as far as the
Pyrenean Treaty, &c. They made answer again, "That
the King of Spain had broken with them his promises
over and over again, and Spain had laid the fault on the
Dutch, and the Dutch on Spain, and the Emperor on
both, and they all upon the King and Parliament."
Mr Vaughan.] Many of us here are ill represented abroad. (I speak to Order.) And as long as persons can
fully their King's robes with their own stains, they think
all well enough. The King can do no wrong, and I
would have the blame laid where it ought to be. The
Parliament starts not miscarriages on the King, to reflect them there, but on his Ministers, where they ought
Mr Secretary Coventry.] Call it what you will, have not
the Treaties the King's sign, &c.? And they are ratified in
Holland, &c. In all places, 'tis the King's act. His Ministers make no body of men, for 'tis the King's Treaty,
and none of his Council's. If there be a fault, and if
Holland suffers, it is upon the King, and not his Ministers.
(One said privately, "That's doctrine abroad, not here.")
For your dissatisfaction in matters of religion, your fears
of Popery, and your disbanding the Army, as 'tis a jealousy to you it should be a standing Army, so it is to the
Council. Sure you'll have an indifferent answer from
the King, about the Army, untill he have a certainty, &c.
Cromwell, though he had a standing army, had enough
to do to keep you quiet.
Sir Thomas Lee.] When the Duke of Buckingham was
disobliged in Spain, by the Conde Olivares, then the Spanish match was broken, and the Ministers were then of
a mind with the Parliament; it may be so now.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] Faults there are amongst themselves, but the principal fault was, our advice was not
followed. I would not have those things we are told of,
mislead and blind us. I move, "That an Address be
made to the King, that he would let us know the state of
Peace, and War; that if there be no War, the Army
may be disbanded."
The Speaker.] The Debate this day has been rather
for information than resolution; but not in that form that
I could collect a Question out of it. But it seems to tend
to this: "That in consideration of the charge and burden of the Army to the nation, his Majesty would please
to employ them in a War against the French King, and
you will support him in it; if not, that the House
will proceed to the disbanding of the Army, &c."
Sir Thomas Littleton.] You are told by the Privy Counsellors, they have not power sufficient shown them to give
an answer to our meaning. I would have the word
"immediate" added to the Question; that if the King
think it not fit and convenient to be done, we may then
go to other thoughts.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] As it is a Question whether
the word shall be added, so it is a Question whereabout
it shall be placed. The Cessation is actually, and the
Spaniards are comprehended in it. And would you have
the word "immediately" refer to that?
Colonel Birch.] Lord Cavendish has put the word in
the right place, "that if this be so, to "immediately"
ally with the Emperor."
Sir John Ernly.] I do not know whether it will be well
taken by the King, that you put him upon it "immediately," or whether the thing can be done; therefore I
would adjourn it till to-morrow.
Mr Secretary Coventry.] A Memorial was given in today, in Spanish, and is not yet translated. And will the
House have the King to enter into a Treaty, without
any obligation whatsoever on the other part?
Sir Thomas Lee.] You are not going to ask the King
to go into a more immediate War, nor going into Debate about disbanding the Army; but you are going to
ask the King to enter into an immediate Alliance. For
War against the French King, if the King is fit, or not
fit for it, you may resolve accordingly. If it be a Cessation, &c, you may send your men; but if you stay till
the Cessation be ended, it will perhaps be too late.
This is a desire, not an advice.
Mr Secretary Williamson.] If the King answers, "he
can, or cannot," you have your desire. But suppose the
King answers, "he cannot, till he knows from his Ministers beyond sea, give any answer," then your Forces
must be kept up. Since Saturday the King has enquired
into the Imperial Minister's power. When we have seen
the Nimeguen Ministers go into the business of Cessation,
I cannot see how the Ministers here can go upon such a
contradictory foot, as to enter into a Negotiation of War.
I see not what issue there can be of it.
Mr Garroway.] Now that it is a doubt whether the
foreign Ministers have power, &c. what have they been
for here, all this while, and done nothing? If they have
no power, let us look to ourselves, without them. And
pray let us put in the word "immediately," &c. And
if they give no answer to you, you know what you have
Sir John Trevor.] I think you are not ripe for the word
"immediately." I will give my reason for it, and then
I hope I shall be excused. I take it not to be a parliamentary word. It takes away freedom of Debate here,
the essence of Parliament, and I would not take it away
in another place. The Ministers tell you, "the King
cannot do it immediately." Why should you force the
King, since it cannot bring you that end you desire? And
it being not parliamentary, I am against it.
Mr Powle.] This is the only word that can give you
light into this matter. If the King does it not "immediately," I conclude the King cannot do it at all.
Sir Robert Sawyer.] I would not divide the House upon
the word "immediately." It will imply as much as not
to assist the King, if he does it not "immediately."
'Tis not tanti. Unanimity is worth a thousand "immediatelies."
Mr Williams.] "As soon as may be." That's the
meaning of the word "immediately." Every thing
must have the sense of the reasonable understanding of
the word, with all the circumstances of the word; 'tis
not to be understood eo instante, &c.
The Question was stated by the Speaker thus:
Resolved, That the House, in consideration of his Majesty's
affairs, and the great charge and burden of the Army upon the
nation, are humbly of opinion, that if his Majesty pleases to employ them in a War against the French King, this House will
support him in it: If not, that this House will proceed immediately to disbanding the Army.
It was moved that the Debate might be adjourned to Thursday; to which
Sir William Coventry said,] I cannot sit still and hear it
called "an irregular Motion." 'Tis not whether it be
a good, or a bad Motion, regular, or irregular; but
whether we are free to make Motions, or no. Otherwise
we are wholly in the power of the Chair, to dispose of us
as he pleases.
The Speaker.] This is a new Motion, and you go
against a standing Order of the House.
Sir Thomas Clarges.] The Speaker ought not to debate and discuss things. It has been debated an hour;
but to be confined as the Chair directs, is such an imposition and confinement as is not to be endured.
The Speaker.] I speak nothing but to point of Order, and what I say is Order, and must stand till the
House orders otherwise. What is an extraordinary Motion is a new one, and is out of Order.
Sir Thomas Lee.] As the Chair has a right to declare
Order, so it has a right to be convicted of a mistake.
Both the hour and day must arise from a Motion.
The Speaker taking notice of Col. Birch's changing his
seat to another side of the House,
Colonel Birch said,] I wonder the Speaker should take
notice of my changing sides, when I never took notice
of the Speaker's changing the Chair. (Alluding to Mr
Seymour's pretending to be sick, whereas the Court, being
displeased at him, put Sir Robert Sawyer in the Chair.
(See Vol. V.)
The Question was carried for adjournment till to-morrow.
The Vote, as it was sent to the King by the Members of the
Privy Council, was as follows:
Resolved, That this House, taking into consideration the state of
his Majesty's affairs, and the great charge and burden that his
Majesty and the nation lies under by the Army now in being, are
humbly of opinion, that if his Majesty pleases to enter into a
War against the French King, this House is, and always will be,
ready to support and assist him in that War: But if otherwise, then
they will proceed to the consideration of providing for [the speedy] disbanding of the Army.