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| the constitution of parliaments useless, and the crown wholly independent upon the people in parliament for Supplies and Aids. Such were the inventions of Loan-money, Privy-Seal-money, Knighthood-money, Coat and Conduct-money, arbitrary Fines without Juries for encroachments upon the King's Wastes, Ship-money, Billet-money, oppressing Monopolies, and illegal Patents upon trades, almost without number. Such also was the commission passed the great seal, to impose, by pretence of royal authority, an Excise, though the illegality and oppression of it were so manifest, that a sufficient number of persons could not be suddenly found to put it in execution. All projects were embraced that had but an appearance of supplying the crown, that they might avoid the necessary settlement of successive parliaments.
The last most dangerous and desperate of their designs of that kind was, upon some pretence from Ireland or Scotland, to get an Army, and settle Martial Law, that might raise such Money as a council should think fit, and make Proclamations and Orders of State to be as binding to the subject as acts of parliament. Yet even that was embraced, as appears by the Journals of the Commons in parliament: Mons. Burlemach there openly confessing, that he had received 30,000l. which was sent over seas, to hire German horse to be the foundation of a Standing Army here.-I could tell you, neighbour, that during all these transactions, which lasted divers years, their counsels and endeavours were to divert the king from admitting the legal course of parliaments. The petitions and cries of the subjects to restore them, could not be heard; and agreements were made between the king and several persons of greatest abililies and influence, in order to the arriving at absolute power, that there should be no more parliaments during his life. Nevertheless about the year 1639, the king's want of money being extremely pressing, they resolved to make use of a Parliament for Supply, but without a thought of doing the kingdom right, in restoring the due succession of parliaments, and the exercise of their legal authorities: and therefore as soon as they were met, they procured the king to demand of them their giving up their legal fundamental privilege, of considering in the first place, and redressing the peoples grievances; and the king so positively insisted in denying them their Right and Privilege therein, that within 20 days they were dissolved, contrary to the known intention and ends of our constitution.-The failure of the peoples expectation at that time, and the long interruption of the legal course of parliaments, raised great discontents, and loud and general cries of the people for parliaments; the consequences whereof were such, as I dread and abhor to remember: yet it was universally agreed, That the want of the legal course of successive parliaments, and the designs of interrupting and preventing their meeting and sitting, were the great occasions of all the confusion, blood
to be our masters under king Charles and king James, grievously oppressed us then, and have now again got such powers and preferments, as if they had brought about the late Revolution, and are so able to plague, vex and crush us as they did formerly, that the country dares not speak their minds of them or their proceedings. But pray, Sir, help me to shew my neighbours how this sort of men, in their designs of Arbitrary Power, always sought to prevent an absolute Settlement of the legal course of successive parliaments.
Knt. It would require greater abilities than I have to shew what you desire, by reflections upon our whole history of the contests with the kings for our liberties; but I will tell you the practice in our times, and those just before us. This sort of men under James I. made him afraid of the sitting of parliaments, as an eclipse of his power; and insinuated to him, that the calling, adjourning, proroguing and dissolving of parliaments, ought to be absolutely at his will. They also raised disputes, Whether parliaments were of right, masters of the methods of their own proceedings? or were bound first to consider and resolve upon what the king propounded for Money, or otherwise? By these means they made the sitting of parliaments uneasy to him, so that he was always glad to be rid of them before the necessary business of the kingdom was done.-But that sort of men appeared more boldly upon the accession of Charles I. to the crown. They attempted then to invade the great Fundamental of all Liberty and Property, the power of the people of England alone to impose Money upon themselves. They had the confidence to maintain a power in the kings to take Tonnage and Poundage, and other monies without act of parliament. They cannot deny that these were their traitorous practices and designs, so long as the great Petition of Right remains upon record.-Neither ought it to be forgotten how parliaments were then browbeaten, and their authority questioned and slighted, and the method of their proceedings controlled, contrary to their fundamental rights and privileges, nor how they were tossed up and down by sudden adjournments, prorogations and dissolutions. The houses, studies, and pockets of divers of their members were searched, their persons against the express laws imprisoned, and the free debates in parliament made subject to the restraining power and censure of inferior courts and judges. The king's special command and pleasure were declared cause sufficient to detain some of them in prison till death, without trial, or being legally accused of any offence. Yet this sort of men thought all these practices could not secure them, till they brought that king to resolve to have no more parliaments, and to forbid the people, by proclamation, to make mention of parliaments. We ought to call to mind, that for ten or twelve years after, all the counsels of those designers against our legal government, were employed to invent ways to make
and mischief that afterwards happened. And no doubt but the parliament then took the only wise and necessary course to prevent all the impending mischiefs and dangers, both to the king and people, when they laboured, with the help of the best lawyers of England, to declare and secure the observance of the antient laws for annual successive Parliaments; and to provide for their certain meeting, and holding them, notwithstanding all possible designs and contrivances against them: which was done to the great satisfaction of the people, by that notable Act of the 16th of Charles I.
Yeom. Sir, let me be so bold as to ask you, whether that Act for ascertaining Parliaments did not occasion, or some way promote the tumults and wars that ensued?
squandered away in the two preceding reigns. It was therefore resolved to attempt that by fraud, which they could not compass by force; and in order thereunto they took the advantage of the present temper of the people, which carried thein, without considering what the consequences might be, to every thing that was agreeable to the court. They recommended such to be chosen members of the house of commons, whose fortunes had been most impaired in the late wars, and whose dependance upon the court might incline them to compliance with whatever should be demanded of them; and these good-natured loyal gentlemen repealed the Act of the 16th of Charles I. for Triennial Parliaments, whilst a few worthy patriots laboured in vain to defend it. It is true, they pretended in the act, by which this statute was repealed, to ascertain the frequent holding of parliaments; yet it left the king at liberty to continue the same parliament as long as he pleased, and that king accordingly continued that same parliament near 18 years: all which time they could not be said truly to represent the people of England, many of those who chose them being dead, and others were either grown up, or had purchased estates, whose opinions both of persons and things might be much changed from what the sense of the nation was when that parliament was first called. But having got a considerable party in the house of commons, they laboured to confirm and increase it. Places and pensions were liberally bestowed on all that could be brought over to them and it is no wonder they gave such prodigious sums of money out of the poor peoples purses, when a great part was again to be refunded into their own. This scandalous proceeding was manifest, and confirmed by the open confession of a gentleman (through whose hands much public money then passed) in the house of commons the next succeeding parliament, who there acknowledged his paying annually many and great Pensions to members of parliament.-Besides thus corrupting those already in the house, there was neither pains nor money spared to get their friends chosen where any vacancy happened; insomuch that the court spent 14,000l. at one election of a burgess for Northampton.
Knt. You may casily be satisfied from what was written in those times, of the falshood of such suggestions, and that the king, lords and commons passed that Act with great unanimity; and that king often gloried in having passed that Act for the Security of his people: but I believe you confound the Act for Triennial Parliaments, with another act for making the parliament then in being, in a manner perpetual; for they were not to be dissolved or prorogued, but by their own consent, declared by act of parliament. That Act did in truth derogate from the king's prerogative in dissolving parliaments; and whatsoever mischiefs might, or did thereupon ensue, ought to be imputed to the alteration made thereby of our constitution, or monarchy, not to the just and strict observance of our laws and statutes, for which the Act of Triennial Parliaments made provision.
Yeom. Sir, I know there is a common mistake about those acts of parliament, and that occasion is taken by some from the confusions in government that soon after happened, to impose upon the people false notions about the authority of parliaments, and to frighten them from demanding and insisting upon their constant successive elections, as the laws appoint. It is notorious, that those who design arbitrary power are always busy in such matters, and in unworthy reflections upon parliaments. But pray, sir, let us pass by that dark time of the Civil Wars, and see what the same sort of men have done about Parliaments, after the Return of king Charles II.
Yeom. Sir, you have fully satisfied me that the ministers in that reign were as bitter ene
Knt. They pursued the same designs of sub-mies to the English constitution, about Parverting our constitution as to Parliaments, but liaments, as those in the two former that went took measures quite different from those before before it; but their measures are more danused to effect it. They remembered the ill gerous and likely to succeed, and it was God's success of all Projects and Monopolies, and great mercy that these hirelings did not enpretences of prerogative to supply the govern- slave us, as it were, by our own consent, and ment with Money. They had found and felt by colour of the authority we had given them by experience, that a free Parliament could for our preservation.-But pray, sir, what was not be awed, and that the people in the inter- the meaning of the great bustle all over Eugvals of parliament would not be forced to pay land about Charters? What made the court so taxes, that were not legally imposed upon mightily labour to persuade all corporations to them yet there was an absolute necessity for surrender their old Charters, and take new the crown to be supplied with Aids from the ones from the king? Was not that done with people, without which it could not subsist, a design to influence the elections of members great part of the crown lands being wasted and to parliament? VoL. V.-Appendix.
Knt. Yes, most certainly, and this was a more pernicious and dangerous design than any put in practice in the former reigns. This struck at the very root of all the Liberties of England, that the people should never again have a free Parliament chosen according to the constitution; but such men imposed upon them, as would servilely comply with the court in all their measures to enslave us. They corrupted some in every corporation to persuade the rest to surrender their Charters: and where they could not prevail by intreaties, these wicked instruments in several towns, broke open the trunks wherein their Charters were kept, and stole them away to deliver them up. Where this could not be done, they brought Quo Warrantos against the Charters of almost every town in England, that has a right to send members to parliament; and by means of corrupt judges, declared them void, upon some pretence or other, that the present magistrates had acted beyond, or contrary to the powers granted in them, and thereby forfeited all their rights and privileges. New magistrates were placed thereupon in those towns, such as they could most confide in; and such clauses were inserted into their new Charters, as put the choice of their representatives in parliament absolutely for the future into the power of the
Yeom. Sir, I am infinitely obliged to you for your pains and kindness, in shewing these things to me; but I stand amazed to think, that there could be so many English-men found in every reign, to join in carrying on this continued design to subvert our consti
A Short State of our Condition, with Relation to the present Par-
tution, and enslave us. What present advan-
Knt. I will only tell you one thing more, neighbour, before we part, That those kings, who endeavoured to subvert the constitution as to Parliaments, were always embroiled with their people about Rights and Privileges; and that when once the people had discovered these designs in them, though they called many parliaments, yet the same jealousies continued, and they never after came to a good understanding, or had a mutual confidence in one another.-Our Histories declare the truth of this observation in many former princes reigns, so that I hope the king will avoid a rock that hath been fatal to all who have struck upon it; and I am confident that his majesty will do all that a good king and honest man can do, to restore to us our Constitution, having in his Declaration called God and man to witness, That was the Design of his coming hither.'
No greater Happiness to England, than the parliament, of which he thinks so many of the
IT is too sad a subject to admit of raillery, otherwise a man might say that we may defy all the plots of the Jacobites, and the machinations of Republicans, since there is so good an understanding between the king and his people, since the people have chosen him a
State Tracts published during the Reign of William 3. vol. 2. p. 369.
and popery at another, they will first cheat
bribes to others, and turns out of his place the gallant lord Bellamount, merely for giving his vote in the house of commons according to his conscience, and thereby intends to terrify others; when I find the money the nation gives to defend our liberties from foreigners abroad, is like to undermine them at home: in a word, when I see neither the one nor the other house can withstand the power of gold; I say, when I perceive all this, it is time to give warning, it is time to look about us.—I once thought to have affixed to this paper a list of those that are in office; which if I had, it would not only have shewn how many members are bought off, but would have pointed out many amongst the number of favourites and pensioners, who we expected should rather have been punished. Had we intended to have justified what we have done to aftertimes; had any thing but personal grandeur been the real intention of him, who we intended to have been, and valued himself most upon being our deliverer; these men must have been marked down as betrayers of their country, who are now made the chief supporters of his throne. I thought we called over the prince of Orange to get or give us all the laws we wanted; to have made the elections of parliament secure and frequent, trials impartial, the militia our standing force, and the navy our strength. I thought we had called him over to call ministers to an account, and to have put it out of their power impunibly to abuse us hereafter. If any spirit of liberty remains, if we are not destined to destruction, sure the nation will take some way to let the king and both houses know that they expect they should not only provide for a campaign in influ-Flanders, but (if we should yet have our wishedfor success) for our security even against our own victories, and such laws as may make it worth while at this time to defend our country: I say worth while to defend it; for if we are to be slaves, it is no matter to whom we are so. I would not embarrass the government, but I would have those that are in it understand that it is for our good, and not to gratify their ambition, that they are put into those posts. It was the custom formerly for the people to pay their members, and those members were trusted by the people to keep the balance between their liberties and the king's prerogative. But since they are retained by him with such overgrown-fees (such places and preferments) to be council on b's side, how can the people hope they will be just in their arbitration? But after all I would not be thought to insinuate, that all that are in places give up the interest of England: there are some, and those in great places too, of whom I cannot allow myself to have one hard thought; though there are others of whom the world had a very good opinion, who since they have had preferment, have taken care to convince us, that we were mistaken in their characters. Lest the good should not be distinguished from the bad I forbear making a list, which most members, if
they please, can make for themselves and there is a certain secret that has stole out of their neighbours, and more exactly than I can our Cabinet, that one there, immediately on the do it; and I think the best ought to suspect king's refusing the Triennial Bill last sessions, and examine their own consciences, whether undertook that it should be thrown out the their employments do not bias their votes. If next time they sat, with as much scorn and men are to make fortunes by being of our contempt as was the Judges Bill. It is time to senate-house, we had better ourselves pay the bave annual parliaments instead of triennial, disbursements of those we send, we had better since privy counsellors and lords of the treaourselves allow them plentiful salaries for sit-sury (both which stations this person enjoys) can so perfectly feel the pulse of a parliament, during an interval. I could name a certain gentleman who exactly resembles Harry Guy, that the last sessions when the house was a little out of humour, disposed of no less than 16,000l. in three days time for secret service. Who are in places we may find out, but God knows who have pensions; yet every man that made the least observation can remember that some who opened loudly at the beginning of the last sessions, who came up as eager as is possible for reformation, had their mouths soon stopped with Hush-money. It has been of some time whispered, that if this will not at first pre-engage to do what will be exacted at their hands, we shall have a new parliament. I cannot tell whether a new parliament will not be practised upon by the Carmarthen Art; however it is our last and best remedy: for if this continues, God have mercy upon poor England; for hitherto we have been, and we are like still, for ought I see, to be re-paid for all our expence of blood and treasure, with a mere smoke that Boccaline mentions in his advices from Parnassus, whereby the enemies of the government have great advantage given them to ridicule us for our foolish credulity.
ting there; each particular county would save by it in the public assessments, and find their account in it, whilst they preserve their members from the temptation of being hired out of their interest, and consequently get good laws for what they give. We can scarce pay too much for good laws and if we have not some that we have not yet, we shall not when the war is over (let it end which way it will) be able to call what we have our own. If the members of parliament are to overlook all the ill-husbandry of the government, that they may share in the profuseness and bribery of it; if our rights are set to sale by some, and neglected by others, when the very being of the government depends upon our being pleased; what amendment, what confirmation shall we have of our constitution when all our dangers are over? This is a thought deserves our most serious reflections. In the late times the city of London often petitioned for passing of laws; will they always lend money now, and never expect a thorough alteration of the ministry, and securities for the future against courtprojectors? In king James the 1st's time there were certain sparks that undertook for parliaments, that were called undertakers; and
An Account of the ACRES and HOUSES, with the PROPORTIONAL TAX, &c. of each County in England and Wales. Humbly presented to the Lords and Commons, 1693.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
OF the proportional tax in decimals, an arithmetician, in two or three hours, may proportion each county's share of any number of thousand pounds, whatsoever shall be laid; and if it should be laid wholly on acres or houses, it would prove nearly as in the table in which I remark, that London, or the lord mayor's jurisdiction only, without the suburbs in Middlesex and Southwark, bears near the sixteenth part of the tax; that Middlesex, abstracted from Londou (the lord mayor's jurisdiction) bears near the two and twentieth and half part of the tax; and both together, abstracted from Southwark, bear the ninth and half part of the tax; that Cumberland bears but one penny the acre towards the tax; but Middlesex, including London, bears five shillings and eleven pence the acre; that Yorkshire has about the tenth and half part of the acres of the whole kingdom, the eleventh part of the houses (much about the same number with the bills of mortality) and bears about a twentieth part of the tax. It seems to me, that the places over-charged have about 150 parliament men; those under-charged, about 130 men; those that have no reason to complain, about 220 men. Whether this table may shew reason for alteration of the method of taxing, I submit to proper judges. The matter of fact I here endeavour to demonstrate, and am,
My Lords and Gentlemen, your most obedient Servant,