Page images
PDF
EPUB

trust the king, and that we have been deceived so often that we see plainly the apprehensions of discontent in the people, is no argument at court. And, though our prince be in himself an excellent person, that the people have the greatest inclination imaginable to love ; yet we may say, he is such a one, as no story affords us a parallel of. How plain, and how many are the proofs of , the designs to murder him! How little is he apprehensive of it! The transactions between him and his brother are admirable and incomprehensible. His brother's being early known to aim at the crown, before his majesty's restoration to this kingdom : this match with the Portugal lady, not like to have children, contrived by the duke's father-in-law; and no sooner effected, but the duke and his party made proclamations to the world, that we are like to have no children; but that he must be the certain heir. He takes his seat in parliament as prince of Wales, his guards about him ; the prince's lodging at Whitehall, his guards upon the same floor, without any interposition between him and the king ; so that the king was in his hands, and in his power every night : all offices and preferments being bestowed by him, not a bishop made without him. This prince changes his religion to make himself a party ; and such a party, that his brother must be sure to die, and be made away, to make room for him. Nothing could preserve him, but that which I hope he will never do; give greater earnest to that wicked party than his brother could : and, after all, the plot breaks out plainly headed by the duke, his interest, and his design. How the king has behaved himself ever since the breaking out of it, the world knows; we have expected every hour, that the court should join with the duke against us : and it is evident, more has been done to make the plot a presbyterian plot, than to discover it. The prorogations, the dissolutions, the cutting short of parliaments, not suffering them to have time or opportunity to look into any thing; have shewed what reason we have to confide in this court. We are now come to a parliament again ; but by what fate or council, for my part, I cannot guess ; neither do I understand the riddle of it. The duke is quitted and sent away ; the house of commons have brought up a bill to disable him of the crown ; and I think they are so far extremely in the right; but your lordships are wiser than I, and have rejected it ; yet you have thought fit, and the king himself hath made the proposition, to make such expedients as shall render him but a nominal prince. In the mean while, where is this

, duke, that the king and both houses have declared unanimously thus dangerous ? Why, he is in Scotland raising forces upon the terra firma, that can enter dry foot upon us, without hazard of wind or seas ; the very place he should be in to raise a party to be ready, when from hence he shall have notice. So that this being the case, where is the trust? We all think the business is so ripe, that they have the garrisons, the arms, ammunition, the seas, and soldiery, all in their hands; they want but one good sum of money to set up and crown the work, and then they have no farther need of the people ; and, I believe, whether they are pleased or no, will be no great trouble to them. My lords, I hear of a bargain in the house of commons, an address made; and must boldly say it, and plainly, that the nation is betrayed, if, upon any terms, we part with our money, till we are sure the king is ours; have what laws you will, and what conditions you will, they will be of no use but waste paper, before Easter, if the court has money to set up for popery and arbitrary designs in the mean time. On the other hand, give me leave to tell your lordships, the king has no reason to distrust his people ; no man can go home and say, that if the king complies with his people, they will do nothing for him, but tear all up from him. We want a government, and we want a prince that we may trust, even with the spending half our annual revenues for some time, for the preservation of these nations. The growing great- . Vol. 1.

27

ness of the French cannot be stopped with a little ex. pence, nor without a real and hearty union of the king and his people.

It was never known in England, that our princes wanted supplies, either for their foreign designs or their pleasures; nothing ever shut our English purses, but the fears of having our money used against us. The hour that the king shall satisfy the people, that what we give is not to make us slaves and papists, he may have whatever he will ; and this your lordships know, and all mankind that know us ; therefore, let me plainly tell your lordships, the arguments the present ministers use are to destroy the king, not to preserve him : for, if the king will first see what we will do for him, it is impossible, if we are in our senses, we should do any thing. But, if he will first shew that he is entirely ours, that he weds the interest and religion of the nation, it is absolutely impossible he should want any thing he can ask, or we can give. But I plainly see how the argument will be used: Sir, they will do nothing for you ; what should you do with these men ? But, on the other hand, I am bold to say, Sir, you may have any thing of this parliament; put away these men, change your principles, change your court, and be yourself again ; for the king himself may have any thing of us. My lords, if I have been too plain, I beg your pardons; I thought it the duty of a true-born Englishman, at this time, to speak plainly or never. I am sure I mean well ; and if any man can answer and oppose reason to what I alledge, I beg that he would do it ; for I do not desire or propose any question merely for talking sake. I beg this debate may last some days, and that we may go to the very bottom of the matter, and see whether these things are so or no, and what cure there is for the evil that we are in ; and then the result of our debates may produce some proper question. However, we know who hears; and I am glad of this, that your lordships have dealt so honour. ably and so clearly in the king's presence and hearing.

that he cannot say he wants a right state of things : he liath it before him, and may take council as he thinks fit.

SIR FRANCIS WINNINGTON.

His Speech on the Pension Bill.

Mr. Speaker,

Sre, the last house of commons being sensible how narrowly this nation escaped being ruined by a sort of monsters, called pensioners, which sate in the late long parliament, had entered into a consideration how to prevent the like from coming into future parliaments; and in order thereto, resolved, that they would severely chastise some of those that had been guilty, and make the best laws they could to prevent the like for the fu. ture ; and for that purpose a committee was appointed, of which Mr. Serjeant Gregory, now judge Gregory, was chairman, by which many papers relating to that affair came to his hands. Sir, I think it a business of so great importance, that it never ought to be forgotten, nor the prosecution of it deferred. I have often heard that England can never be destroyed but by itself: to have such parliaments was the most likely way that ever yet was invented. I remember a great lawyer said in this house, when it was debated in the last parliament, that it was treason; and he gave many learned arguments to make it out. Whether it be so or no, I will not now offer to debate; but I think, that for those that are the legislators of the nation to take bribes, to undermine the laws and government of this nation, that they ought to be chastised as traitors. It was my fortune to sit here a little while in the long parliament

[ocr errors]

I did observe that all those that had pensions, and most of those that had offices, voted all of a side, as they were directed by some great officer, as exactly as if their business in this house had been to preserve their pensions and offices, and not to make laws for the good of them that sent them here. How such persons could any way be useful for the support of the government, by preserving a fair understanding between the king and his people; but on the contrary, how dangerous to bring in arbitrary power and popery, I leave to every man's judgment; they were so far from being the true representatives of the people, that they were a distinct middle interest between the king and the people, and their chief business was to serve the end of some great minis. ter of state, though never so opposite to the true inte. rest of the nation. Sir, this business ought never to fall, though there should be never so many prorogations and dissolutions of parliaments, before any thing be done in it. I think it is the interest of the nation, that it should be prosecuted from parliament to parliament, as if there were an impeachment against them; and therefore, sir, I would humbly move you to send some members of this house to judge Gregory, for the papers he hath taken in his custody relating to this affair, that so you may, in convenient time, proceed farther herein, as you shall think good : and, sir, hearing there is a report that some of this house have now made a bargain at court for great offices, in order to vitiate and corrupt their votes in this house ; which, though but a project to cast a reflection on such members ; however, to satisfy the world, I pray, sir, let there be a vote past, that no member of this house shall accept of any office under the crown, during such time as he continues a member of this house,

« PreviousContinue »