EXTRACT FROM THE SPEECH OF LORD
HAVERSHAM, Dec., 1703
Against the Bill to prevent occasional conformity
I shall not, my Lords, enter into the Consideration of the Justice or Injustice of this Bill, whether a Man may be depriv’d of what he has a Legal Right to, without any Forfeiture on his Part. Tho’ in my Opinion he may, because private Right is always to give Way to publick Safety; and nothing else can justifie one of the Best Bills that ever was made for the Security of the Protestant Religion I mean to the Test Act. But this is not the Case here; the persons affected by this Bill are such as have been always serviceable to the Government, and are some of the best Friends to it…..
But, my Lords that which I shall strictly speak to, is the Point of Time in which this Bill visits you, and in my Opinion it could never have come in a more unseasonable and more dangerous Juncture ….
First, my Lords, if we consider what a Potent, what a Vigilant Adversary we have to struggle with, of the French King, a Prince whose Designs are laid upon the greatest Secrecy, and executed with the greatest Dispatch …. He can bring his Armies sooner into the Field, and keep them longer than we can …. Sure, my Lords, all Heads, all Hearts are little enough against such an Enemy.
In the next Place, my Lords, what heavy Taxes lie upon us here at Home, without any Hope of Ease, and very little Expectation of Advantage. The Reason why Men cheerfully undergo such Burthens is, because they expect some publick Advantage by them, or at least, that they may enjoy the Remainder with Security: …. We have my Lords, given great Sums the last Year for the Army; but what a vast and fruitless Expence we have been at? I confess to your Lordships when I consider these two Heads, it puts me in mind of Old Jacob’s Prophesy of his Son Issachar, in the 49th Chapter of Genesis;
Issachar is a strong Ass, couching under two Burthens; he bowed his Shoulders to bear, and became a Servant to Tribute. I believe this Prophesy has been fulfilled elsewhere…. ‘Tis very well known the Leading Part of the Nation are most concern’d in it (that is, the Bill); and if this Bill should pas, the sad Effects of it would soon be found in the Exchequer. Besides all this …. The Parliament may vote Money, and Money may build Ships, but ‘tis impossible to recover our Seaman, nor is there any Encouragement to them, or Nursery for them.
There is one Thing more, my Lords, which I will at present but Name; …. It is the extraordinary Favour of one or two Persons: A thing that has been very fatal to the Royal Family, and what has been, may be. I will only in short say, when all the Favour is bestowed upon one or two Persons, when all the Power by Sea and Land is either virtually or openly in one Hand …. I pray God, it will never again prove fatal both to Crown and Country.
Give me leave only to recapitulate and say, whether your Lordships consider the present Posture of Affairs, either at Home or Abroad, in a court or Camp, I can never think this a proper time for such a Bill.
Memoirs of Lord Haversham, 1711, p. 2-5.
Extracts from the speech “upon the State of the Nation,” by Lord Haversham in Nov., 1705, in which he appealed for the sending of an invitation to the Heir-Presumptive;
Her Majesty, Queen Anne, being present.
My Lords, …
Being conscious to my self of a Heart full of Loyalty and Duty to her Majesty, and Zeal for her service, as is possible for any Subject to have; and knowing that the best way of preserving Liberty of Speech in Parliament is to make use of it, I will mention Three or Four General Heads to your Lordships and speak to them with a great deal of Freedom and Plainness ….
(he then spoke at length of “the present Confederate War in which we are engaged,” and of the “decaying condition of trade.”)
There is one Thing more, which I take to be of the greatest Importance to us All …. ‘Tis the Happiness of England, and that which ever did, and ever will keep the greatest Ministers in Awe; that by the Law and Customs of Parliament, the meanest Member of either House has undoubted Right to debate on any Subject, and to speak his Thoughts with all Freedom, without being liable to be call’d in Question by any Person whatever, till the Parliament itself hath taken Notice of them. This is grounded on the greatest Equity and Reason, because that which concerns All, should be debated by All: Nor is it possible for a Parliament to Debate, or come to a clear Resolution on any Question, or to give Advice to Her Majesty as they ought, without this Freedom ….
As we enjoy many Blessings under Her Majesty’s happy Government, so I hope we shall have this too, That Her Majesty will never give Ear to any secret or private Information; but as it comes to Her in a Parliamentary way, by the Houses Themselves.
The last Thing, my Lords, is that which I take to be of the greatest Concernment to us All, both Queen and People …. I think there can be nothing more for the safety of the Queen, for the Presumptive Heir to the Crown, according to the Act of Settlement, in the Protestant Line, should be here amongst us. ‘Tis very plain, that nothing can be more for the Security of any Throne, than to have a Number of Successors round about it, whose Interest is always to defend the Possessor from any Danger, and prevent any attempt against Him ….
And would it not be a great Advantage to the Church for the Presumptive Heir to be personally acquainted with the Right Reverend the Prelates? Nay, would it not be an Advantage to all England, that whenever the Successor comes over, He should not bring a Flood of Foreigners along with Him to eat up and devour the Good of the Land?
Memoirs of Lord Haversham, 1711, pp. 12-17