WILLIAM III - HOUSE OF COMMONS. A List of One Unanimous Club of Members of the Late Parliament, Nov. II. 1701. that met at the Vine-Tavern in Long-Acre. Printed in the Year 1701.

$ 100.00

WILLIAM III - HOUSE OF COMMONS. A List of One Unanimous Club of Members of the Late Parliament, Nov. II. 1701. that met at the Vine-Tavern in Long-Acre. Printed in the Year 1701.

4to., (7 6/8 x 6 inches). 4-pages. (Disbound).

Whig propaganda leaflet exposing the names of Tory members of parliament gathering at the Vine Tavern in Long-Acre London "Who ought to be Opposed in the ensuing elections, by all that intend to Save their native Country from being made a Province of France: by Reason of their Constant Voting with Davenant, Hamond and Tredenham, who were caught with Monsieur Poussin the French Agent". 167 men are named, and represent a House of Commons division list, according to Henry Horwitz in "Parliament, Policy, and Politics in the Reign of William III", page 338, of those who opposed making preparations for war in 1701.

During the "spring and summer of 1701 public opinion crystallized in favour of war against France. The French King’s provocations made clear his expansionist aims in Europe and their threat to English interests. The 1701-2 Parliament – which like its predecessor lasted for only a single session – was largely concerned with the preparations for war, and made rapid progress with necessary measures. But the death of William III on 8 Mar. 1702 halted expectations of a return of the Junto lords to power to manage war as they had done in the 1690s. The accession of his sister-in-law Princess Anne initiated instead a revival of Tory prospects.

"At the general election in November and December 1701 contests took place in 91 (34 per cent) of the 269 English and Welsh constituencies. Prolonged attack on the Tories had filled the press for months beforehand, much of it centring on a published ‘black list’ of MPs who had lately opposed the preparations for war. The widely publicized discovery, too, of three Tory MPs ensconced in a Westminster tavern with the French charge d’affairs Poussin gave Whig propagandists a field day in denouncing as ‘Poussineers’ those Tories suspected of Jacobite sympathies. But though the Whigs inflicted heavy blows in some constituencies, they did not achieve the overwhelming majority expected. The new House consisted of 248 Whigs and 240 Tories, with a further 24 MPs unclassified. Out of the 515 MPs who sat during this Parliament, 82 (16 per cent) had no previous parliamentary experience, while 91 more had sat in one earlier Parliament. Among the latter were Sir Christopher Wren and Isaac Newton" (The History of Parliament Trust online).  

Upon the death of James II in September of 1701, Louis XIV of France proclaimed his son, Louis of France, or Le Grand Dauphin, King of England, Holland, and Ireland, and prevailed upon the King of Spain, the Pope, and the Duke of Savoy support him in that claim. Quite naturally William III, then King of England, Ireland and Scotland, was indignant at this and so ordered his ambassador, the Earl of Manchester, to leave France, and also the removal of the French King's agent, Monsieur Poussin, from England.

Daniel Defoe took a keen interest in these proceedings, and Walter Wilson's "Memoirs of the Life and Times of Daniel De Foe", 1830 explains a bit more about the mysterious Monsieur Poussin and his role in influencing the House of Commons in favour of the French court: "The fifth parliament of King William, in the composition of which De Foe took so deep an interest, assembled February 6, 1700-1, when Mr. Robert Harley, who made so distinguished a figure in the next reign, and was the future patron of De Foe, was chosen Speaker. The Tories had abundant reason to congratulate themselves upon their ascendancy in the Commons, and it would have been well if they had used their triumph with moderation. The little regard they showed for so useful a commodity, was early manifested in the partial decisions upon contested elections, in which much bribery appears to have been resorted to by both parties. But, whilst the unfortunate Whigs were branded with corruption, similar acts of the Tories, were voted deeds of charity! From the influx of French gold that appeared at this time, and from the strong party which that nation had in the Commons, it was strongly suspected that Louis had been practising the same arts in England, which he had used so successfully in other countries. This fact is more than hinted at by De Foe, in one of his pamphlets lately mentioned; and it is rendered credible by the frequent communications of Monsieur Poussin, the French agent, with some members of the late parliament. The bare-faced proceedings in the city of London, so lately denounced by De Foe, formed one of the earliest topics of inquiry in the new parliament; and, if much party-spirit was mixed up with its management, the nation eventually profited by the measure" (page 357). ESTC T5351. Catalogued by Kate Hunter