Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, November 1. The sub-Committee, to whom the three articles were referred, brought in a question. Being a long time debated upon, it was generally apprehended more difficult than any thing that had been formerly propounded.
Finding an unlikelihood of drawing to any good agreement about it, it was resolved to appoint a Sub-Committee of ten to attend upon the Lord Protector, and to advise with him about some probable means of reconcilement. Which was done accordingly. (fn. 1)
Friday 3. The Petitions of Sir John Stowell, (fn. 4) the Lord Craven, (fn. 4) and others, who had appeals depending concerning the said fortieth Article were read and debated, and referred to a Committee. (fn. 5)
Saturday 4. The forty-first and forty-second Articles concerning the Lord Protector's, and the Council's oaths were debated, and the drawing up of the oaths referred to a Committee.
A Petition from the Civil Law Doctors for continuance and some encouragement, referred to a Committee, for regulating the law. which was appointed immediately before. (fn. 6)
Resolved, that a report be made, on Tuesday next, from the Grand Committee upon the Government, to the House, of such things as shall have been then resolved upon in that Committee. (fn. 7)
Monday 6. A bill was brought in for the ejecting scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient ministers and school-masters, and read the first time.
It was moved that the first article (fn. 14) be debated in the House, and settled, according to the vote of the Grand Committee. But, it being objected, on the other side, that the twenty-fourth article, concerning the Protector's negative, had not at all been debated; that it had some considerable reference and influence upon the first article; and that, therefore, it was necessary to debate that article first. Thereupon, after a long debate, it was resolved to lay that debate aside, (fn. 15) and to proceed with the twenty-fourth article, the next day.
Wednesday 8. The House (fn. 16) did enter upon the debate of the twenty-fourth article, and could not agree with the negatives, in certain, but passed the article, with this proviso, viz. "that such Bills shall not contain any thing contrary to such negatives as shall be afterwards agreed upon in Parliament, to be given to the Lord Protector."
Thursday 9. Mr. Speaker kept the chair.
The Grand Committee reported the twenty-fourth article.
Then, the House proceeded upon the debate of the first article, as it was reported from the Grand Committee.
Having debated the settling of the legislative power, until past two of the clock, they could come to no resolution. At length, it was resolved to debate this article and the twentyfourth together, and so adjourn the debate until the next day. (fn. 17)
Friday 10. They did strive to have debated the articles apart or single, and much discourse was spent, which of the two articles should have precedency, and whether they should not proceed first of all upon the negatives. But that was rejected, in regard the negatives were like to take up too much of our time; and in truth, the negatives, especially that of religion, were not reported to the House.
For the debating of them singly, it was said that it could not be agreed which should precede, and neither part could yield the precedency, without just jealousy. For, if the first article were voted alone, that might give just jealousy to the Parliament, after they had placed an absolute co-ordination in the legislative power, in the Lord Protector, in all things, that it might be suspected whether he would ever condescend to be after restrained to certain particulars and negatives.
Others, upon other principles, did not think it fit to place any negative voice at all, radically, in the Lord Protector, but only so far forth as he should receive them of the concession of the Parliament. It was said, with reason, that we could never be too jealous of every power that might, at any time, invade or infringe either our liberty or our religion.
On the other side, it was objected, that the Protector had as great cause to be jealous, in case we should first proceed upon the twenty-fourth article; for that did place the legist lative power absolutely in the Parliament, and left it at courtesy, whether the Parliament would after concede any negatives to him. Since there were such jealousies on both sides, it was conceived necessary, to cure them, that there should be some trust and some confidence in one another.
General Disbrowe argued, that the Parliament had no cause to be jealous, to trust the Lord Protector with the half, that not long since had the whole, and might have kept it without any competitor. He had power to have done it, and yet he hath given us some part of it, and in truth, we have not an opportunity to do what we will; but to amend the Government only where (in effect) he would give us leave.
To which it was answered, that, if a trust must be, it was not known where better to place it, than in the Parliament. What reason had the Protector to distrust the Parliament ? They were not like to do him any prejudice in his negatives, especially having before declared their willingness to place those negatives in him, which he himself desired, viz. in those four main points. 1. Of altering the government. 2. Of perpetuating Parliaments. 3. Of the militia. 4. Of imposing upon tender consciences.
If the Protector hath a negative in himself, from whom had he it ? If he derives it from the late government, and as it was in. the late King, certainly the Parliament did then fight with him for it, (fn. 18) and, upon the appeal, God determined the right for the Parliament. And if it were not in the Parliament, we are all the greatest traitors in the world.
If all be devolved upon the Lord Protector, and he hath given us a part of it, truly there may be some reason in what is said. If we sit here, at his courtesy, we may be unseated at his mercy. If we be a mere elemosynary Parliament we are bound to do his drudgery. But then, if he expects it ever from a free people, he had better have taken it, first, to himself, and declared us his slaves, and then we might have been persuaded into such a servile compliance. (fn. 19)
But, since we think ourselves yet free, and have fought as well, and as much as he, for our freedom, either he must take it and hold it by the same power by which he thinks he hath got it, or must never expect that freemen will ever give it. And, upon this account we must break (fn. 20) —, there is no Englishmen but will rather part with his life, his liberty, his estate, and all his loose garments, than with the just rights and freedoms of the people.
But there is no end of this. The Lord Protector hath called, he hath called us a Parliament. In that, he hath called us to that right, and to that privilege which we now claim, and in that, he hath given us the power of it.
For the legislature was ever in the people, represented in Parliament, and Kings had only deliberation, and as mere per interesse suo, in regard of the regalities, which they will be careful not to pass away by any laws. Therefore, they had the survey, and, perhaps, advice in all.
Upon these, and other weighty considerations, it was, at length, about four of the clock, resolved that the question be put upon both the articles joined together, and being joined together it was voted. (fn. 21)
Art. 1. That the Supreme Legislative authority of this Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging, is, and shall reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament.
Art. 2. And that all Bills agreed unto by the Parliament shall be presented to the said single person for his consent. And, in case he shall not give his consent thereunto, within twenty days after they shall be presented to him, or give satisfaction to the Parliament within the time limited, that then such bills shall pass into, and become laws, although he shall not give his consent thereunto. Provided such Bills contain nothing in them contrary to such matters wherein the Parliament shall think fit to give a negative to the Lord Protector.
Which vote being so passed, (fn. 22) it was presently moved by that party who carried the vote, that, to avoid all jealousies and fears, it be put to the question, that this vote shall not in any thing be prejudicial or binding at all, until the whole government be passed into a Bill. But the Court-party, against whom the vote was carried, were so much dissatisfied, and, indeed, so impatient, that the subsequent question, which they would have been contented, and did strive to have previous, would not how content them.
It was said by them, that this vote had destroyed the Government. The very foundation upon which we rest would receive so great a wound by it, as nothing now that we could do, subsequently, could cure it. We had, as much as a vote could do, unmade the Protector. So fatal, and so mortal was this wound to the Government, in the opinion of some, that one, a person of honour and nobility, (fn. 23) did wish he could have redeemed that wound with a pound of the best blood in his body.
It was often and soberly pressed by the other side, that they saw no cause for such tragical apprehensions, that the fears seemed panic, and the wound they spake of, invisible; or if there were a wound indeed, yet the same hand that gave it might cure it, by this subsequent vote, which was again offered. Yet nothing would satisfy the court-party, but in great confusion and discontent, they cried out for an adjournment, giving the whole business lost, and presaging an ominous and sudden dissolution.
But, after some heats were over, the more moderate of either side fell to expedients. Amongst which, some were inconsequent things, and destructive wholly to the former vote. But, in fine, the words in the last part of that vote, which was the proviso, were those which they took most offence at, namely, wherein the Parliament shall think to give a negative, &c. Instead of which, it was proposed,
1. To change the word "give" into "declare."
2. Whereas the Parliament is named alone, in the proviso; to declare the negatives, it was desired that the single person might be joined with them.
But these propositions being new matter, and seeming contrary to the former vote, and it being then near seven o'clock, and many were fasting all day, and very impatient, and the business seeming to be of some difficulty and weight, it was therefore moved by the anti-court party, to adjourn the debate. Which, afterwards, with difficulty was obtained, until the next morning.
Saturday 11. It was moved, that the former amendments be added to the former vote of yesterday. Some; to further the motion, pretended that they themselves had beep, the night before, surprised in the question, and did not think it had carried such a consequence in the manner of it Others talked of fears and imminent dangers. To both which, a member replied, something earnestly, saying, as to the first, he conceived it not Parliamentary, to retract a vote upon a non putarem; for such as sate there were all supposed to be wise men, et incipientis est, dicere non putarem, and for the other arguments, of fears and jealousies, he conceived they were but bugbears and brain-squirts, things not to affright such an assembly into any change in their councils; which gave such offence and scandal to the court-party, as they questioned the gentleman for it.
Some ado there was to have had him to the bar; but some excused him, and one especially, tartly enough, upon that old ground of nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit, which was, a Rowland for an Oliver. Others desired that he might but explain himself. To which it was answered, that that needed not. The gentleman that spoke before, had done it for him.
After they had made themselves a little merry with these puns, at length they fell into a more serious consideration of the point. Some conceived, that such amendment took away, in effect, the whole force and intention of the former vote, and thereupon they launched into the very merits of the thing, discoursing over again the very right of the legislature. Wherein one argument more than was formerly used, was urged, namely, not to question where the legislature was, in time of kingship, whether in the King alone, or Parliament alone, or in both, co-ordinately.
This was plain, that the government by kingship was, and is, and stands dissolved. After which, we either fell into the government of a Commonwealth, by Parliaments, or, if no government at all, this right of legislature will clearly be determined. For, in the first case, it was, de facto, in the Parliament, and if it were not also de jure, then it could be nowhere but in the people. In kingship it could not be; for that, on all sides, is agreed to be dissolved.
Then if it were de facto et dejure both, in the Parliament, at that time, there seems no reason but that it should be so still. But if, de jure, it be devolved upon the people, as much reason might be shown for it, it would then gladly be known how they lost it. They have neither forfeited it, nor hath it been taken from them by any just power.
To say that my Lord Protector, by power, hath obtained it for himself, (fn. 24) that cannot be; for he was but engaged with the people, and by the people, for the redeeming this very right out of the hands of the late King. He hath been so far from conquering this right from the people, as he did but fight in their company, and by their command, for the recovery of it.
To say, that now he hath it by Providence; that argument is but like to a two-edged sword, and a thief may lay as good a tide to every purse he takes upon the highway. Besides, it is a rule, even in divinity, that Providence alone may settle possessions; but not confer rights.
However, the Lord Protector hath no cause to quarrel at the word, "give," since nothing can be so quietly and honourably enjoyed, as that which is given by the Parliament. And certainly, unless it be given by the Parliament, he cannot justly have it; for, without doubt, the right of legislature is naturally, inherently, and inseparably in the people, and consequently, in their representatives in Parliament.
To say that there was one before there were many, and consequently, that the legislative power was first in that one, is vain, and of no great value. To instance in Adam is as impertinent, since Adam's right was paternal, and not despotical. But when the world increased, and government, more general than that of a family, was thought necessary, the people chose that Government. (fn. 25)
Thus it was in the Jewish Government, (fn. 26) and in the Roman too; for it is clear in reason, that no man can, de jure, obtain a dominion over another man's person, without his own consent. Men arc not like sheep under a shepherd, where the dignity of the kind may justly challenge superiority and dominion over the inferior kind, in regard of the great difference of the species. But we are all rational, all equal, all made of the same mould, and in that respect, no man, in puris naturalibus, can be preferred before another, nor one man's person be more excellent than another.
But, whilst these discourses were carried on with some earnestness, by some persons, that were tender and jealous of the people's interest, they minded not how little that was concerned in the point in question. For, in truth, the people's rights were sufficiently asserted in what they had already voted.
Therefore, it being sufficiently settled in the Parliament, it could be no diminution to them to part, at this time, with that which, in no time, was fit for them to exercise. And yet, they needed not, in truth, to part with any thing, but only declare, or rather seem that something might be declared by them, wherein the Protector might have a negative.
Which, being observed by some of the slighter sort of patriots, and the amendment being pressed upon the House again, as that which was thought would give satisfaction, at length the question was put for the amendment. It was agreed unto, nemine contradicente, so as the proviso then amended, ran thus:—
Provided that such Bills contain nothing in them contrary to such matters, wherein the said single person and the Parliament shall think-fit to declare a negative to be in the said single person. (fn. 27)
Monday 13. The Grand Committee did sit to receive reports.
The Committee, to whom the form of the writ of summons to future Parliaments was referred, made their report, and brought in the form of the writ.
There were some alterations agreed in it. Amongst the rest, that clause which excludes the election of the Sheriff, was altered. Whereas, before, the Sheriff, and all other Sheriffs, were incapable of being chosen in any place, the clause was altered so, as he might be chosen any where, but as a knight for his own county. In any other county, he might be chosen knight, and a burgess in his own county.
For heretofore, it was a practice of the Court, when they did foresee that a Parliament was to be called, and that there were some eminent persons that were patriots in their several counties, that those persons should be sure to be made Sheriffs, to prevent their election. And being capable to be chosen sheriffs every third year, there was one Sir Thomas Read was chosen Sheriff three times in nine years, to prevent him, lest he might have been chosen into the Parliament.
Sir Edward Coke was likewise so chosen Sheriff for Norfolk; (fn. 28) but at the same time, was also chosen a Parliament man, and a Knight of the Shire for Buckinghamshire. But, query, whether he then served. (fn. 29)
But one Mr. Long, at the same time, being made High Sheriff of Wiltshire, was chosen a burgess for Bath, in another county, and served in Parliament. But, after the Parliament was done, a Bill was exhibited against him in the Star-Chamber, for not residing in his own county, during the time of his Shrievalty. To which Mr. Long did demur, but it was overruled, and a great fine set upon him, and levied. Which sentence of the Star-Chamber, (fn. 30) it is true, was afterwards reversed in Parliament, and reparations given to Mr. Long for his damage, (fn. 31) and this very case, was one of the principal inducements for the pulling down of that Court.
The case of Sir Simon D'Ewes, was likewise quoted; who, being Sheriff of Suffolk, was in his Shrievalty, chosen a burgess for the town of Sudbury, in the same county, and, as it was affirmed, he did sit even while be was Sheriff. (fn. 32)
And in this very Parliament, Mr. Charles Howard himself moved in the question for some opinion of the House, because himself and some others, as he affirmed, were Sheriffs; but I think it was in Scotland. (fn. 33)
And it was affirmed also, that some Shrievalties, (as of Westmoreland) were so by inheritance, and such persons, by such a clause, would be made incapable for ever. Besides, mayors of corporations are eligible, and yet they are the only judges, upon the view, and make the immediate return to the sheriff.
For all these reasons, it was voted and resolved to alter the clause, as to the sheriffs, to the same purpose as before, viz., that they may be chosen any where; but only as Knights for their own county.
Tuesday 14. The Speaker being in the Chair, the House fell to debate such negatives as they should think fit to declare to be in the single person, and voted
1. That if any Bill be tendered at any time, hereafter, to alter the foundation and the constitution of the government of this Commonwealth from a single person and a Parliament, that to such Bills the single person shall have a negative.
It was then moved that the effect of this vote be inserted into the Lord Protector's oath, and the thing partly agreed unto. But, in regard that the oath was reported from the Committee, and this might occasion some debate and so divert the present business, which was the settling of the negatives, this thing was put off, and laid aside, until the oath itself should come to be considered of. (fn. 34)
The next thing that was entered upon, was the debate of perpetuity of Parliaments, in which the House seemed very unanimous that Parliaments should not be perpetual, that is, should not have power to perpetuate themselves, or not to be dissolved without their own consent.
Whereupon, the question was put, that if any Bill shall be tendered, at any time hereafter for the continuance of any Parliament, for any longer time than for six months after the first meeting, to such Bills the Parliament doth declare a negative shall be in the single person.
To which question, exception being taken at the word "shall," it was moved that, instead of those words, "shall be," it be thus altered, "to be," that is, "to such bills the Parliament doth declare a negative to be in the single person."
But, that seeming to imply an inherency of right as to such a negative to be in the Lord Protector, which all along hath been denied and carefully declined, and the thing being, without question, a new thing, and a new right, which was never before settled in the single person, for these reasons that alteration was much opposed, and being put to the question, was carried in the negative. (fn. 35)
After which, the first question being endeavoured to be put, it was much opposed by the Court-party, upon that very account, because they would not be satisfied with the thing, unless they might be declared by the Parliament as an inherent right in the Lord Protector. They insisted upon it with as much earnestness, as they did upon the vote on Friday night, (fn. 36) putting all the weight and stress of the whole interest of the Lord Protector, upon the difference of these two little words, "to be," and, "shall be."
Which being understood by the House, which seemed, generally, unsatisfied with it, and striving on both sides, the one to have the question, the other, the alteration, at length the House adjourned, without coming to any question. (fn. 37)
Wednesday 15. The House being early met, and the Speaker in the chair, the debate, which was adjourned over night, was again resumed, and presently an expedient was proposed, which was thus, that, instead of the latter part of the question, viz., To such Bill the Parliament doth declare that a negative shall be in the single person, it was proposed thus, viz., That such Bill shall not pass into nor become law without the consent of the single person, so as the whole question, with this expedient, was thus propounded and resolved, viz.,
That if any Bill shall be tendered, at any time hereafter, for the continuance of any Parliament, for any longer time than for six months after the first meeting, such Bills shall not pass into nor become laws, without the consent of the single person. Which was voted accordingly.
After this vote, it was next debated whether they should not, in the next place, proceed upon the other negatives, viz., of the militia and religion. (fn. 38) It was thought fit, in regard the reports of them were not perfect, and because this day had been before designed for the assessments, to lay the negatives aside, for this day, and to fall upon the assessments, which accordingly was done.
At first, some little overtures were made, as if, perhaps, there might not be any necessity at all for an assessment. In consequence of that, it was desired that some scrutiny might be made, and some consideration had of what forces were necessary to be continued, and an inspection to be had of the revenue and the public treasury, that so, by reducing our charge and improving our stock, we might, if possible, make the one to answer the other, without an assessment. (fn. 39)
These things being thus considered, it was hoped that England might pass without any assessment; or, at least, with as little as possible might be.
30,000l. per mensem, was at first proposed for England; but upon their consideration, it was hoped it might be less.
These things had been formerly committed to the consideration of a Committee, who were likewise to repair to the Protector for his advice, as they saw occasion. Therefore, it was thought fit to call for that Report. Which being not perfected, in regard much of it still rested in the breast of the Lord Protector, who had given no answer; so much as they had done was called for, and the Report of that being made, (fn. 40) they gave this short account.
1. That as to the sea-forces, some part of the sea-forces were already struck off, and the winter-guard reduced.
2. That upon consideration of the land forces, they fell first upon the garrisons in England; and considered what garrisons were fit to be demolished and dismantled, and what fit to be continued.*
Thursday 16. Something was debated, in relation to the voting of the style of the single person, which was to be Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging.
It was voted, that such of the forces as should be agreed to be continued, should, sitting the Parliament, be disposed by the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of Parliament, for the peace and good of this Commonwealth.
Friday 17. It was voted that such of the standing forces of this Commonwealth, as shall be agreed to be continued, upon the charge of the Commonwealth, in the intervals of Parliament, shall be ordered and disposed of for the ends aforesaid, (the good of the Commonwealth,) in the intervals of Parliament, by this present Lord Protector, during his life, by and with the advice and consent of his Council, and not otherwise.
In the next place, it was moved to debate, how and where the forces so to be continued should be ordered and disposed of, in case the Protector should happen to die in the intervals of Parliament.
But, this was thought a point of some difficulty, and also that other point of the militia, by which was meant the intrinsic force of the nation. (fn. 41)
This was heretofore, under trained bands, and commissions of array, and the like; and consisted sometimes, in the general tenures of the nation. How to settle this was a difficulty, as well as the standing forces, by which was meant only such forces, as upon extraordinary emergencies, and to supply the other, were raised, or to be raised by authority of Parliament, and to be maintained at the public charge.
Therefore, it was resolved to adjourn this debate, until tomorrow morning; against which time, the members of the Long Robe, that are Commissioners of the Seal, and Judges, that are members, may have notice to give their attendance. (fn. 42)
After which a Report was made from the Committee which was appointed (fn. 43) to advise with the Protector, about an expedient upon those articles of Religion which refer to indemnity and toleration.
The substance whereof was to this purpose, that the Lord Protector was wholly dissatisfied with the thing, and had no propensity or inclination to it; and that the Parliament had already taken the Government abroad, (in pieces was meant,) and had altered and changed it, in the other articles, as they pleased, without his advice; and therefore, it would not become him to give any advice at all, singly and apart, as to this article. But he commended the work, wished well to it, and told them that the sooner they could despatch the whole, it would be the better for the service, or to that effect (fn. 44)
Saturday 18. The debate concerning the settling of the standing forces, in the intervals of Parliament, in case that the Lord Protector should then happen to die, and how they should be settled after his death, was again resumed, according to the order yesterday. Thereupon the question was thus framed.
That the said standing forces, after the death of the present Lord Protector, in the interval of Parliament, shall be, in the disposition, and ordering of the Council for the ends aforesaid, until a Parliament be assembled; and then the disposal of the said forces to be made by the Parliament, as they shall think fit.
This question being thus framed, there did seem to be a general concurrence, and the sense of the House was almost unanimous in it; and the long-robe men did none of them seem to oppose it, so as the question was generally called for.
But the courtiers and soldiers were not pleased with it. Some pretended that it referred to a Council, and to a Lord Protector after the death of this, neither of which were yet voted in the House. Therefore, they pretended they were not yet ready for it, although they had been both voted before in the Grand Committee.
Others of them confounded the standing forces with the militia, and would not understand any difference between them. Others argued, that to place the disposition of the standing forces in the Council alone, until the Parliament were called, although they should choose a Lord Protector, and when the Parliament was chosen, to place the disposing of them wholly in the Parliament, in both excluding the co-ordination of the Lord Protector, would be, in effect, to pull down the Government which we were going about to build, and to render the Protector a most insignificant nothing.
On the contrary, it was answered, very clearly, that there was a plain difference between these forces and the militia. These were raised, at first, by the Parliament alone.
Therefore, although for many reasons, (namely, for the great and eminent desert of the present Lord Protector, whom we have had great experience of; and likewise, in regard of the present juncture of affairs, being yet in an unsettled condition, and a pretender yet fresh in being,) this Parliament thinks it fit and necessary to give an equal share in the disposing of the forces to the Lord Protector with the Parliament; yet, when this Protector is dead, and perhaps another shall not be so deserving, and of whom we have not had like experience whereupon to ground a confidence and trust; and when, perhaps, it will not be needful to continue any standing forces at all, in being, then there will be all the reason in the world for the Parliament to disband, if they shall think fit, those forces which they themselves had raised, or otherwise to dispose of them.
Otherwise, if we shall, by this law, place and state the standing forces, either in the next Protector and Council, or in him and the Parliament, what do we else do, but entail a standing force upon them, to all posterity ? For it will be left in the will of the Protector, whether he will ever let them down again or no.
Besides, it will not seem so reasonable when, as it is intended, the succeeding Protector, though chosen by the Council, yet shall be approved by the Parliament. If it shall so fall out, that such a person be chosen, who may, perhaps, not be altogether so fit or so deserving of it, and then to back him, and presently to state him in the right of disposing of the forces, how will it be in the power of the Parliament to disapprove such an election, though never so unworthy, when, as the Protector shall have both de facto and de jure, an army at his back, ready raised and formed, to countenance and establish his election ?
But if it shall please God that such a person be chosen, whom the Parliament shall approve of, and in whom they shall have cause to confide, no doubt, but that Parliament, having the disposing of those forces in their hands, will do the same thing by such a Protector as they have done by this; that is, give him the disposing of them with their advice, and, in the interval of Parliament, by the advice of his Council. But to do this now by a law, before we know whom that person will be, or will be like to prove, is neither suitable to justice or reason.
Therefore the question is not, whether the succeeding Protector shall have the militia or the forces, if there shall be cause to continue them so long; but whether he shall have them by the Parliament, as a trust derived from them and reposed in them, for the good of the nation, or whether or no he shall have them by a right of inherency, and by a law that hath fundamentally so settled them in him.
These arguments being thus tossed up and down, to the great dissatisfaction of the Court, and the House being very strong and desirous to have the question put, the Court-party moved that this debate be adjourned until Monday morning Which, to satisfy their importunity, was granted.
Monday 20. It was debated, whether these words, viz. "until a Parliament be assembled and then the disposal of the said forces to be made by the Parliament as they shall think fit," be part of the question, which had been debated the Saturday before.
1. It was objected against this, that we had already trusted the present Protector, and given him the co-ordination with us, and that it was not fit to give the Protector more than what we would give to another Protector.
To which it was answered, that it was great reason to trust a person of whom we have had so great experience, one whom we know so well, and one that had engaged in the same cause and quarrel with us, for the defence of our liberties, especially considering the posture of our affairs we are now in, the nation being yet unsettled, and an old title on foot ready to take hold of every opportunity to re-establish itself.
But there cannot be the same reason to trust a person whom we know not, of whom we yet have had no experience, and in a time when perhaps our affairs win not be in the same condition they now are in. Because we have done it to this Protector, therefore we must do it to the rest, is no reason at all; unless it be reason, because a man had done an action upon consideration had of persons and times, therefore he is always bound to do the same actions, although the same circumstances of persons and times be never so much varied from what they were before.
2. It was objected, that to strip the next Protector of the command of the standing forces, were but to make him an insignificant nothing, a mere man of straw.
To which it was answered, that the standing forces were never meant to be in the single person, otherwise than by the consent of Parliament. It was the manner and custom of this nation, and of our ancestors, not to put our King in the head of an army, especially of a standing army, but in the head of their laws.
And, certainly, to place the command of the standing forces alone in the single person, or co-ordinately in him and the Parliament, would be to make the Parliament a mere Jack-a-Lent, and as insignificant a nothing as the single person, in case it should be placed only in the Parliament. For, give any single person in the world but power, and you give him a temptation to continue and engross that power wholly to himself, and an opportunity to effect it For, as, wheresoever there is a co-ordination, of power, there is a right, mutually, on both sides, to defend their interest, the one against the other; so, whensoever any advantage offers itself, the one will usurp on the other, and; in fine, strive totally to subvert it.
3. It was objected, that to exclude the Protector from the command of the standing forces, would be to give up the cause, that eminent and glorious cause, which had been so much and so long contended; for such Parliaments might hereafter be chosen as would betray the glorious cause of the people of God, &c.
To which it was answered, that if any cause were more glorious and more precious than another, the Parliament was the most worthy to be intrusted with it. We had adventured our lives and liberties for the cause. We are not bound now to give away lives and liberties for an imaginary cause.
Therefore, as the question is framed, it seems fair enough to leave the trust in the Council, until the Parliament, and then to leave it in the Parliament. They who would have it otherwise, would state the future Protector in an absolute title, whether he will disband any part of the standing forces, yea or not.
Besides, it was said with a great deal of reason, that standing armies, at best, were dangerous; (fn. 45) but, if they be necessary, let us temper them with what allays we can.
For these, and several other great and weighty reasons, after the debate had continued until seven of the clock, at night, it was resolved that the clause should be added to the question. Afterwards, the whole question being put, it was:
Resolved, that the standing forces, after the death of the present Lord Protector, in the intervals of Parliament, shall be in the disposition and ordering of the Council, for the ends aforesaid, until a Parliament be assembled, and then the disposal of the said forces to be made by the Parliament as they shall think fit.
Tuesday 21. The House resumed the debate concerning the assessments. Some proposed, that for the ease of the nation in taxes, there might be some scrutiny into the ancient treasures, and that all persons that have had any hand in the public receipts, might be brought to give a good account, it being generally believed that much treasure would that way be discovered, which is yet swallowed up. To that end, they desired, that a Committee be appointed to call such persons before them, and to examine the accounts.
Others conceived this would be too tedious a course, in respect of the shortness of the time, and the speediness which was required in settling these assessments, because the former assessments would expire and be run out the 25th of Decem ber next, and free quarter would then infallibly fall upon us. Therefore, although it were true that the other business would be a very good work, especially in the discovery of such as had dealt unfaithfully with the state. For, it is certain, many have cleaved and adhered to the cause and to the public, but it hath been, as the ivy cleaves to the oak, which is to the end to climb up by it, and to suck from it Yet it was necessary to fall more closely and immediately to the work.
It was every man's sense, to go as low as possibly could consist with our safety; for certainly, this was that which was so much desired and expected by. the people from us. This was that which would render our government acceptable and amicable. This alone would sweeten the alteration and change which was intended amongst us. Let us make what laws we pleased for the good and welfare of the people, yet if we did not ease them in their purses, we should never think to oblige them ever to us.
Besides, in truth, this business would not admit of much deliberation. The countries are, generally, exhausted of all the monies. Men are forced to mortgage their lands, and to sell, in some places, their very beds from under them, to pay the taxes; and the cheapness of commodities (fn. 46) is not so much from the plenty, as from the scarcity of money, which is drained so continually from the country by their monthly taxes, as it never returns again in such plenty. And if this drain should run long, it would, nay, it is to be feared, that it will make the poor tenant and farmer to run too; and ere long, the very landlord himself.
Therefore, to come to the matter, some propounded, as they had formerly done, in regard they had not yet any certain prospect into the state of the revenue, and not knowing the certain number of the standing forces, which were intended to be continued, that therefore, we might make as reasonable an estimate as we could for the present, and proportion the tax but for three months, at 30,000l. per mensem, as hoping that that might be sufficient to effect the work, and to carry on the charge. Some proposed 40,000l. and some 50,000l.: but at length it rose unto 60,000l. per mensem. And, that we might be the better able to give a rationable estimate of this proportion, it was said, that there were several things to be taken care of, and provided for, and to be considered in this debate. (fn. 47)
These reasons and computations being largely discussed on both sides, it was at length proposed by the court and sol diery party, that the resolutions of the House be deferred until we might, possibly, receive an account from the Committee which was appointed to attend his Highness, what forces might be thought necessary to be continued, and what abated, and that then we might better ascertain the assessment.
But, the former reasons prevailing, and some, even of that party, ingenuously confessing themselves satisfied, and some, even at Whitehall, declaring that it was their sense that 60,000l. would be the highest they did expect. It was thereupon
Resolved, that an assessment of 60,000l. a month, for three months, be laid upon England, towards the discharge of the army and navy; and that a Bill be brought in to that purpose, and the Committee for the Army do prepare and bring in the same. (fn. 48)
Only the Scots and Irish moved, that those nations might be involved in the same Bill of charge, with England, and not to be rated by themselves; but that was not yielded unto, (fn. 49) in regard their nations were not at present in such a condition of peace and improvement as ours was, and therefore could not be laid at a full proportion. But they moved it upon another account; for they did fear that 60,000l. would be so low a charge, as would nothing near satisfy, and therefore they were jealous that all the rest that fell short, would be laid upon them.
Wednesday 22. The Bill for ejecting scandalous ministers was again read the second time, and committed back to the same Committee to be amended, upon some exceptions.
In the afternoon, the House sat again. (fn. 50) It was
Resolved, that it be referred to a Committee to consider what may be fit to be done, that the accompts of the public monies of the nation received, both for the time past and present, may be discovered and perfected, and the accompts brought to an account; and how the same may be put into such a way for the future, as may be for the advantage of the Commonwealth, and report their opinion therein to the House.
Resolved, that it be referred to the same Committee, to consider of all debentures and bills of public faith, though allowed upon the sales of any of the Commonwealth revenues, and to examine whether or no they were procured by fraud, or whether they be real and not forged, as many are informed to be, and to consider which way, and how such frauds and counterfeits may best be discovered, and what they think fit to be done therein, for the reparation of the Commonwealth, and to report their opinion therein to the House. (fn. 51)
After which, they fell upon the sixth article of the Instrument. Resolved, upon the question, (fn. 52) that the laws of this Commonwealth shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in Parliament. Provided, that this vote shall not extend to invalidate or prejudice any Ordinances or Provisions made by the Lord Protector and his Council, before the Parliament, for the maintaining of the forces of this Commonwealth, by sea and land, in England, Scotland and Ireland, and for the necessary charges of the government, until order shall be taken in Parliament concerning the same. (fn. 53)
To which proviso, some exceptions were taken, as being unwilling to own them Ordinances, so far as to give them any countenance. And then, if we confirm them, until the Parliament take farther order, and perhaps we shall not sit to take any further order, then we have given it our stamp and our impression, which is more than did become us to do. (fn. 54)
Thursday 23. The questions upon the sixth article were not voted until this day; and then, instead of the proviso before-mentioned, there was a vote passed by itself to this purpose, viz:
That such Ordinances heretofore made by the Lord Protector and his Council, before this Parliament, for the raising, bringing in, and disposing of monies for the maintaining the forces of this Commonwealth, by sea and land, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and for the necessary charges of the government, shall remain and continue to the end of this Parliament and no longer, unless the Parliament take further order to the contrary; or unless the said Ordinances shall expire before that time. (fn. 55) And then they voted the sixth article in words as it is in the article. (fn. 56)
After this, they would have proceeded further, upon the debate of the seventh article, in course, concerning the summoning of Parliaments. But some not agreeing whether they shall be biennial or triennial, and the report concerning the elections and qualifications not being made, this debate was therefore put off until another time. (fn. 57)
A report was read from the Committee, which was appointed (fn. 58) to advise with the Protector, concerning the lessening and reducing the forces, both by land and sea, and to receive his opinion, touching those garrisons which the Parliament thought fit to be demolished, and touching the forces in Scotland and Ireland, and the garrison there.
His Highness's answer was, that there had been a Committee before to wait upon him, to the same purpose. That, as to the garrisons which the Committee of Parliament thought fit to be demolished, to some of them he gave no answer at all. To the rest he answered thus:—
1. As to Warwick Castle, it did not signify much, nor was it very considerable, and therefore he conceived, it might be of no great use to be continued.
2. For Chester, it was a place of strength, and had cost a great deal of blood. (fn. 59) And, although the Committee of Parliament had resolved to make it untenable, yet some members of Parliament had been with him, and had desired to be heard in it. They had also proposed that Liverpool might rather be dismantled, and the forces translated from thence to Chester, and, therefore, that might be thought fit for further consideration.
3. For Shrewsbury, which indeed was not positively resolved upon by the Committee, he was of opinion that it was a place of strength: that if any enemy should get into it, and possess it, all the forces of England and Scotland could not be able to force them out: that it might be kept with small charge, and therefore this also was fit for further consideration.
4. For Bristol Castle, it was a place of no great strength, yet it was convenient for a citadel, and might be made use of to that purpose. For Bristol Fort, it was very regular, and might be kept with a small number. That it was the practice of all nations, and he mentioned that of France, that in all populous cities, there used to be citadels, and therefore, he thought this also might deserve farther consideration.
5. For Chepstow, because it was his own house, he would not have a garrison there at the Commonwealth's charge.
6. As to Hereford, it lay near unto, if not in the very centre of, North and South Wales, those mountainous countries, which he feared had not forgot their mountainous qualities, and for religion and other things not so well qualified as would be desired. The countries and people there, were not so well affected as he could wish, and therefore this also was fit for further consideration.
These are all the garrisons he spake unto, the rest voted by the Committee he never so much as mentioned.
As to the field forces, he said he was willing to disband so many of them as could be disbanded with the public safety; and he conceived it was both his and our meaning, to prefer safety before any manner of charge.
As to Ireland, he said, he had received a packet lately from the Commander-in- Chief there, of the affairs in relation to that nation; but he had not yet perused it. When he had, the Parliament should receive an account of it.
As to Scotland, he said he did not know of any one man, meaning company, of horse or foot, that would be disbanded there. He had received intelligence from the Commander-in-Chief there, and from the officers in the several parts of it. In general, the country was wholly very much disaffected to the present government. The Presbyterian and Cavalier interest were so complicated, as he did not see how any forces there could be lessened with any safety, until these two interests could be satisfied, and which way to do that he did not find, they being constantly blown up by the enemies beyond the seas, and the distempers there, were so great, as the Commanders there did call for more forces, so far it was from abating any; and some gentlemen of that nation, who sate amongst us, knew these things to be true, and could present them to us.
As to the forces in England, the numbers were but few, the condition of the people such, as the major part a great deal are persons disaffected and engaged against us. (fn. 60)
Notwithstanding all this, he would not say there could be no lessening, and therefore he would be willing to entertain a conference to that purpose, and to do therein whatsoever might stand with the public interest and safety. (fn. 61)
Friday 24. This day the House took into consideration those articles of the Government which relate to the calling of future Parliaments, and resolved upon the question:—
1. That a Parliament be summoned, to meet and sit at Westminster, the third Monday of October, 1656.
2. That a Parliament shall be summoned to meet and sit at Westminster, upon the third Monday in October, 1659; and so likewise on the third Monday of October in every third year successively.
3. That neither this present Parliament, nor the Parliament which shall be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1656, nor the Parliament to be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1659, nor any succeeding Triennial Parliament, shall, during the time of six months, to be accounted from the day of their first meeting, be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent.
4. That neither this present Parliament, nor the Parliament which shall be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1656, nor the Parliament that shall be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1659, nor any successive Triennial Parliament, shall have power to continue to sit above six months, without the Lord Protector's consent, to be by Act of Parliament; in which Act there shall be a limited time for their sitting, not exceeding three months.
5. That the Lord Protector, with the advice of the major part of the Council, shall, at any other time than is before expressed, when the necessity of the State shall require it, summon a Parliament, in a manner hereby expressed, which shall not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their own consent, during the first three months of their sitting; nor shall have power to continue to sit beyond that time without the consent of the Lord Protector, to be by Act of Parliament; in which Act there shall be a limited time for their sitting, not exceeding one month; provided, that such Parliament shall end, and be determined, before the summoning such Parliaments as are before hereby appointed.
6. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ, under the Great Seal of England, directed to the sheriffs and other officers, according to laws of the several and respective counties and places. (fn. 62)
7. They voted the form of the writ of summons, in which was some variation from the old form. (fn. 63)
8. (fn. 64) That, in case the Lord Protector shall not, before the 1st day of July, 1656, give warrant for issuing writs of summons, for a Parliament to meet the third Monday in October, 1656; and before the 1st day of July, 1659, give warrant for issuing writs of summons, for a Parliament to meet on the third Monday in October, 1659; and before the 1st day of July, in every third year, after that time, give warrant for issuing writs of summons, for a Parliament to meet on the third Monday in October, in every third year successively.
That, then, the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of the Great Seal, for the time being, shall without any warrant or direction, within seven days after the respective times aforesaid, seal, issue, and send abroad, writs of summons, to the several and respective Sheriffs of England, Scotland, and Ireland, for summoning the Parliament, to meet at Westminster, the third Monday in October, 1656; and for summoning one other Parliament, to meet at Westminster, the third Monday in October, 1659; and for other Parliaments to meet at Westminster, on the third Monday in October in every third year, successively." (fn. 65)
So much was voted. But then, we came to the last clause of the article, viz. wherein (that is, in which indenture) shall be contained, that the persons elected shall not have power to alter the Government, as it is hereby settled in one single person and a Parliament.
To some part of this clause exception was taken. They would have had this alteration, "that the persons elected shall not have power to alter the government from a single person and a Parliament;" the other exception, (as it is now settled, in a single person and. a Parliament,) being too comprehensive, and taking in the whole system of the Government; implying that it should not be in the power of future Parliaments to alter any part of it. Which had been otherwise declared by this Parliament, and seemed still to be the general sense of us all.
Besides, "is settled," cannot be, the thing being yet but in fieri, and the alterations do include the sense of our subscription, (fn. 66) as fully in that single point as might be. Herein, the House being divided (fn. 67) and growing late, they arose without doing any thing. (fn. 68)
Saturday 25. After the suspending the Act or Ordinance of the Lord Protector, concerning the Cbancery, (fn. 69) the former debate concerning the alteration of the last clause in the twelfth article of the Government, was again considered.
Some moved for a postponing of this question, until the rest of the Government might be finished. Some moved, wholly, for the total laying it aside.
1. As needless, because the thing was taken to be a fundamental constitution, and naturalized with us.
2. Because, if it were put as it is in the article, it would seem to take away Parliamentary freedom, and not leave future Parliaments as free as we have been.
Yet, in the end, upon the reasons formerly given, and the rather, because the very words in the indenture by which we are returned, are agreeable to the alteration propounded, it was voted thus:
That, at the day and place of elections, the Sheriff of each county, and the mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, and other head officer and officers, within their cities, town, boroughs, and places respectively, shall take view of the said elections, and shall make return into the Chancery, within twenty days after the said elections, of the persons elected by the greater number of electors, under the hands and seals of twelve or more of the said electors, on the behalf of himself of the one part, and on the behalf of the electors on the other part; wherein shall be contained, that the persons elected shall not have power to alter the Government from one single person and a Parliament. (fn. 70)
After this, a long debate was had, whether or no the Declaration upon the subscriptions should not be altered, according to the preceding vote. But, that Declaration being in effect the same, upon consideration had of it, it was laid aside.
Upon reading the Report upon the thirteenth article, it was voted thus:
That the Sheriff, who shall wittingly or willingly make any false return, or wittingly or willingly neglect his duty in execution of the premises, shall incur the penalty of 200l. of lawful English money. And that every Mayor, Sheriff, Bailiff, or other head-officer, of any eity, town, borough, or place aforesaid, who shall wittingly or willingly make any false return, or wittingly or willingly. neglect his duty, in execution of the premises, shall incur the penalty of 200l. of lawful English money; the one moiety of all and every the penalties aforesaid, to go to the Lord Protector, and the other moiety to such party grieved, as shall sue for the same, in any of the Courts of Record at Westminster. Which suit shall not be commenced until the Parliament hath adjudged the same to be such offence, as aforesaid. (fn. 71)
Monday 27. The House entered upon the consideration of such qualifications as should be requisite in persons elected, and in the electors, including the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th articles of the. Government.
Resolved, that the persons who shall be elected to serve in Parliament, shall be such, and none other than such, as are persons of known integrity, fearing God, and of good conversation, and being of the age of twenty-one years; and not such as are disabled by the Act of the 17th of King Charles, (fn. 72) entituled, "An Act for disenabling all persons in holy orders to exercise any temporal jurisdiction or authority; nor such as are public ministers, or public preachers of the Gospel; nor such as are guilty of any of the offences mentioned in an Act of Parliament, bearing date August 9, 1650, entituled, "An Act against several Atheistical, blasphemous, and execrable opinions, derogatory to the honour of God, and destructive of human society (fn. 73) " nor common scoffer, nor reviler of religion; or of any person or persons for professing thereof: no person that hath married, or shall marry a wife of the Popish religion; or hath trained, or shall train up his child or children, or any other child or children under his tuition or government, in the Popish religion; or that shall permit or suffer such child or children to be trained up in the said religion; or that hath given, or shall give his consent, that his son or daughter shall marry any of that religion: no person that shall deny the Scriptures to be the word of God, or the sacraments, prayer, magistracy, and ministry, to be the ordinances of God; no common profaner of the Lord's day, nor profane swearer or curser; no drunkard, or haunter of taverns, ale-houses, or brothel-houses; none that shall hereafter drink healths, (fn. 74) or be guilty of adultery, fornication, or extortion, perjury, forgery, or bribery.
For the incapacities of the electors, it was Resolved, (fn. 75) that all and every person and persons, who do or shall profess the Popish religion in Ireland, or who have advised, assisted, or abetted, in the rebellion of Ireland, before September 1, 1643, shall, during their lives, be disabled, and be uncapable to be elected, or to give any vote in the election of any member to serve in any Parliament. And likewise, that all and every person, who have advised, voluntarily assisted or abetted, in the rebellion of Ireland, since September 1, 1643, or have at any time advised, voluntarily assisted or abetted the war in England or Scotland against the Parliament, shall, during their lives, be disabled, and be uncapable to be elected, or to give any vote in the election of any member to serve in any Parliament; provided that this extend not to disable or make uncapable such persons, constantly professing the Protestant religion, who, before December 25, 1649, did submit, and have ever since continued faithful to the Parliament, and given signal testimony of their good affection thereunto. (fn. 76)
That all votes and elections given or made contrary, or not according, to these qualifications, shall be null and void; but the penalty or forfeiture was wholly omitted. (fn. 77)
That all and every person and persons, not within the aforesaid exceptions, being resident for the space of three months, or more, before the time of election of members to Parliament, in such county where election is to be made, having an estate in freehold, to the yearly value of forty shillings, within any county, riding, limit, or place; or having an estate, real or personal, to the full and clear value of 200l. to be declared upon oath, by such person or persons, if required; and which said oath, the sheriffs or their deputies are hereby impowered to give; shall be capable to give his or her vote, for the election of members for such county, riding, limit, or place, where such land or estate doth lie.
Provided, this extend not to alter any ancient customs, charters, or privileges, of any cities, boroughs, towns, or corporations, who have hereby right to elect members to Parliament, but the same continue as formerly. (fn. 78)
But here was a vote that such 200l. men, as had votes in boroughs, and had freehold lands to the value of 40s. in the said boroughs only, and not within the body of the county, should not, either for their 200l. or for such freehold only, have voices for choosing of knights in the county, unless they had freehold also in the county to the value of 40s., and out of the precincts of the said borough. (fn. 79)
Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29. Were spent in the debate of the duties respectively, of the Chancellor, Keeper, and Commissioners of the Seal, and likewise of the Sheriffs, Mayors, Bailiffs, officers, and clerks, that shall fail, or be found negligent in sending abroad writs, precepts, or warrants, for summoning or calling of Parliaments, and their several and respective duties therein contained, in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first articles. Only, upon the twenty-first article, there was a long debate, where the judgment ought to be, of the qualifications required in the persons to be elected.
The article proposed it in the Council; but that was held dangerous to place a judicatory out of the House, of such as were to be members of the Parliament. For so, the Parliament might be pinned at the girdle of other men. Others thought, that the best way might be, to do as they do in Scotland. That is, that after all the members are returned, the first work be to appoint a Committee to try those members, before they entered upon any other work.
And, as I heard, it was settled, afterwards, with the Council. (fn. 80)
Thursday 30. The Bill for assessment was read, and the old proportions upon the counties ordered to stand, in regard the time was so short as could not admit of any long debate upon the alterations of the proportions. (fn. 81)