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part of his reign, a pensioned and conse
ment permit the adviser of so infamous a deed to talk thus, with impunity, in its presence. But we shall find the reason in the following notes. The bankers remained, however, in the same wretched condition. The king himself had no honesty; and the parliament thought itself under no obligation to make good his frauds. To'amuse the creditors a little longer, he recommended them once more to the care of his parliament; and his chancellor tried to move compassion by the following strains a: “ There is one word more I am commanded to say concerning that debt is owing to the goldsmiths. The king holds himself in honour and conscience obliged to see them satisfied. Besides, you all know how many widows, orphans, and particulàr persons, this publick calamity hath overtaken ; and how hard it is that so disproportionable a burden should fall upon them, even to their atter ruin. The whole case is so well and generally known, that I need say no more. Your great wisdoms hath not done it at the first; peradventure that the trade of the banker might be suppressed, which end is now attained. So that now your great goodness may restore to those poor people, and the many innocent ones that are concerned with them, some life and assurance of payment in a competent time.” tromThis was mere talking: for nothing was done by parliament, towards the payment of it, until the 12th of king William ; when it was enacted,“ that, in discharge of certain annual perpetual payments and arrears thereof, granted by king Charles II. to several patentees, out of the hereditary excise, the same excise should, from the 26th of December, 1705, stand charged for ever with the payment of three
a Oct. 27, 1673. See Burnet,.vol. I. p. 306.
quently an obsequious, corrupt 9. parlia
pounds per annum, for the principal sums of the owners, their heirs and assigns, for ever, nevertheless redeemable upon payment of a moiety of the principal sums; by which means the nation became charged with a debt of 664,2631. being the moiety of 1,328,526l. which these principal sums amounted to, and which is the only debt we are now charged with that had any part of its rise before the Revolution.” .
27 His majesty had, for a long time, a pensioned parliament.] “ England can never be undone but by a parliament," said lord Burleigh : and Montesquieu, in an oracular manner, pronounces, that “ England will lose its liberty, will perish-when the legislative power shall be more corrupt than the executiveb.”-How corrupt the executive power was, we have already, in part, seen: how corrupt the legislative, I shall now shew.--I shall say little of the house of lords, where Charles was known to have great influence. Those who consider the popish peers, the persecuting bishops, the court lords of the time, who sat together, and deliberated for the good of their master, will not wonder to find him capable of accelerating or impeding almost any thing that came before them. The house of commons, as chosen by a free people, and as a numerous body, was with much more difficulty managed: and yet the management of them was necessary, as they alone were capable of supplying those wants which the vices and villanies of his majesty's ministers occasioned. Former kings of the. Stuart race had attempted to terrify the most illustrious members of the house of commons, and they had foolishly dared even to maltreat and imprison
* History of Customs, Aids, &c. part I. p. 30.8vo. Lond. 1761. b Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, vol. I. p. 230.
ment, destitute of the spirit, the true spi.
them; but they at length found that they were in the wrong box, by, smarting severely for their arbitrary and illegal commitments. The foolish prodigality and waste made of the crown revenues by James and Charles; together with their pride, weakness, and obstinacy; rendered them incapable of and indisposed to make use of methods which, as by experiments hath appeared, are more apt to render the members of these assemblies conformable to the royal or ministerial pleasure. Charles saw the error of his family, and for some time avoided it. When measures were to be approved, or actions justified, which common sense contemned and honesty abhorred, then were men bribed to stifle or vote contrary to their sentiments. “The chief men that promoted the enquiry into the accounts of the money that was given during the first Dutch war, were taken off (as the word then was for corrupting mem- , bers); in which the court made so great a progress, that it was thought the king could never have been prevailed on to fpart with a parliament so much practised on, and where every mans, price was known; for as a man rose in his credit in the house, he raised his price, and expected to be treated accordinglya.” “ During the second war, the court desired, at least, 1,200,000l. for the carrying it on. The great body of those that opposed the court, had resolved to give only 600,0001. which was enough to procure a peace, but not to continue the war. Garroway and Lee had led the opposition to the court all this session in the house of commons; so they were thought the properest to name the sum. · Above eighty of the chief of the party had
* Burnet, vol. I. p. 268.
rit of freedom and patriotism. And lest
met over night, and had agreed to name 600,000l. But Garroway named 1,200,0001. and was seconded in it by Lee. So this surprize gained that great sum, which enabled the court to carry on the war. When their party reproached these persons for it, they said, they had tried some of the court as to the sum intended to: be named, who had assured them, the whole agreement would be broke if they offered so small a sum: and this made them venture on the double of it. They had good rewards from the court: and yet they continued still voting on the other sidea."- Such was the shameless corruption of the legislative and executive powers ! such the abandoned impudence of false patriots in these evil times! Are we to wonder that such infamous actions, as the attempt on the Dutch Smyrna fleet; the second Dutch war; and the breach of faith with the bankers, and the consequent ruin of them, and their creditors; passed unimpeached,'uncensured ? In preceding times, the authors of them would have met with due vengeance. Not but there were men of sense, virtue, and integrity, in this assembly: men who had spirit and resolution enough to point out and expose the base measures of this reign. By them the eyes of the nation, the eyes of many members, were opened. But they had not strength to carry their motions; but were over-ruled, over-borne, by a pensioned majority. In the matters of the declaration against the dispensing power, and the bills against popery, they were successful: but when their numbers increased, and they became troublesome, by observing and censuring the wicked deeds of those in power; the
2. Burnet, vol. I. p. 351.
the nation, sensible of their manifold op
parliament, this pensioned parliament, which began
« Four knights and a knave, who were burgesses made,
The same gentleman (an independent member of this house, and a man of strict honour), in a letter to a friend, speaking of some court transactions with the parliament, observes, “ Nevertheless, such was the number of the constant courtiers, increased by the apostate patriots, who were bought off, for that turn, some at six, others ten, one at fifteen thousand pounds in money, besides what offices, lands, and reversions to others, that it is a mercy they gave not away the whole land and liberty of England. The house of com. mons," says he, soon afterwards, “ has run almost to the end of their line; and are grown extreamly charge