Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Saturday, December 27,1656.
A petition touching the salt trade at Newcastle, (fn. 1) referred to the Committee of trade.
A petition from York and Hull, (fn. 2) touching wines, referred to the same Committee.
A Bill, touching dividing of a common, (fn. 3) for Sir Cornelius Vermeudon, with the consent of the freeholders and Commoners.
Lord Whitlock offered a rider to this Bill, to settle the house of Portumna, Park, manor, and lands, four thousand acres of land, (excepted in the Bill) upon Lord Henry Cromwell, in lieu of his good service, and arrears due to him, to be holden of the castle of Dublin, of his Highness in free soccage, to him and his heirs for ever.
Nobody spoke against the rider. The question put to pass it and not one No. Some said in the gallery it was a good rider. The word Develyn for Dublin . (fn. 4)
Mr. Downing. I rise up more for ceremony's sake than any thing else; but it is upon the foot of his good service, and others, that we sit. What you have given here, is too little for his good service. I desire it may pass.
Mr. Bodurda. Suspend the debate, in regard of your unfitness to sit, who have taken great pains in that chair. It will be no recession from our judgment, nor dishonour to us, to put off the debate for some time. I was as much against the judgment as any man, yet none shall assert it higher than myself, now that it is passed. I shall not recede from it; but in the interim I would have the punishment suspended for a week.
Majors-General Whalley. I know his Highness's principles are far from countenancing any such wicked practices. I am confident he is not against the sentence, but would go hand in hand with us in bearing witness against such horrid things. I am further satisfied that he intends not by his letter to offer the least invasion upon the power of Parliament. I should desire you would give leave that the jurisdiction of this House might be spoken to. I doubt not but it may be fully made out that what we have done is warrantable by former precedents. If the House of Lords and Star-chamber might pass greater sentences, surely we may.
I was for punishing him by death: I am not ashamed to own it, it was my conscience. I am no advocate for him. I see no cause to abate any thing of his punishment. This will bring the shame upon you, and clear and own him. But I desire, till there be a satisfaction, to every man's conscience, as to the jurisdiction, that you will suspend the punishment till Tuesday, and connect my desires with that, that liberty might also be given to speak to the jurisdiction.
Sir Gilbert Pickering. The punishment should be suspended. Otherwise, while debating the legality of the sentence, the greatest part will be performed. I cannot see any such inconveniency by reprieving for two or three days. I am confident it will give all parties satisfaction.
Mr. Robinson. I shall be pulled out of this House, before I shall condescend to speak to this jurisdiction. If you preserve not that, which is salus populi, the privilege of Parliament, you overthrow all the people's liberties. I shall be loth to part with this privilege. I cannot haply, if I would. We cannot give away the fountain. The streams cannot give away the head. I would have this business seriously debated. His Highness and we must be mild one to another. The letter is very modest. The supreme judicatory is originally in the people. The Instrument says, that the legislative power shall be in a Parliament and a single person, but it says not the supreme judicatory of the nation. The further such debates are entered into, the worse.
Colonel Purefoy, Mr. Puller, and Mr. Moody. If you reprieve this person, you must do it of yourselves. His Highness does not desire it. We see the inconvenience of reprieving him. Before, he was let out of Exeter goal, (fn. 5) and what was the issue ? He rode in triumph, presently after, into Bristol, (fn. 6) and this very week's reprieve has brought the mischief of people coming to worship him.
Mr. Downing. I am confident it is not in his heart to give the least countenance to such persons. I know it is not his intentions to have this punishment respited, and this, by the importunity of such as are afraid of the consequence. I would have us return this short answer to the letter, that we take ourselves to be a Parliament, with all appurtenances; and, therefore, we did it by our judicatory power, being the supreme judicatory of the nation. When the letter came in from the excluded members, the council was desired to show the grounds and reasons why they were kept out. Their short answer was this: they did it in pursuance of the Instrument of Government. (fn. 7) I desire the punishment may go on, and you not recede from your judgment.
Mr. Waller. If you will not do it upon his Highness's letter, do it for the petitioners On his behalf, (fn. 8) who were honest men. Neither his Highness, nor they, did plead any thing for the crime, but only to abate the punishment. It was Christ's rule. He remitted the punishment, with owning the crime. I shall not presume to know so much of his Highness's intentions as that gentleman speaks of, but I believe he thinks himself concerned in the punishment, as tied up by the Instrument. I shall not detain you, lest the sentence be executed while we are debating against, it.
Major-General Howard. Suspend the punishment, till you have further debated it, and put the question to reprieve the sentence. I believe that may give his Highness a present satisfaction, and agree with your health, by coming soon to a question.
Lord Fiennes. I am not to reprieve the punishment upon the account of the petitioners. That petition was of dangerous contents, to debar the civil magistrate in matters of religion. I hope we shall all bear our witness against such principles and practices. That is too much liberty. Nor need we suspend it upon the account of his Highness's letter; for it is not there desired of us. But, in regard we have had no return from the ministers, (fn. 9) it may well be suspended upon that single account, and your health ought to be respected, which will be best, by determining this question. You have mixed mercy already with justice, and this is but an enlarging of that mercy. It has been usual to demur, after judgments of this nature passed, and provided that they should not be drawn into precedent. It is safest for the people when least use is made of the legislative power.
Mr. Bampfield. It is not for your honour to suspend the execution, for you were misinformed before; and it was a shame to affirm any such thing, as was openly spoken here, that such severity was exercised upon him. (fn. 10) I desire you would breed yourselves no more inconvenience, as to suffer the people to worship him another week. That was all that was gained by the reprieve. You hear no return of any good answer from the ministers, but rather railing language, I believe.
Colonel Markham. If this should pass in the affirmative, you will do my Lord Protector the greatest dishonour that ever was. He does abhor the crime. I am confident he does not desire a reprieve. If he did not abhor it, for my part, I would never serve him. It will be ill news through all the three nations, to say that a letter came to us on the behalf of a blasphemer. It is an abominable thing to hear such unjust things informed to this House, as that of his whipping so hard, or his being sick. I would have the merchant's wife that reported it (fn. 11) sent for, and whipped. I am informed it was quite otherwise. I tremble to consider it. I am confident the letter is mistaken. I desire you would be so tender of your honour as to put that question.
Colonel Markham stood up to justify himself, and said he reflected upon no member, but only upon the merchant's wife. He believed he that told the House of it was so informed. He honoured the Parliament, and every member, &c.
Colonel Rouse reported amendments to the Bill for Elizabeth and Judith Terry to join with their father to let leases of lands for twenty-one years, &c. (fn. 12)
The Committee for Mr. Scot and his wicked wife sat in the painted chamber. Mr. Godfrey had the chair (who once intended to have hanged her in the country.) (fn. 13) Both parties appeared: she said, "How do you do, Mr. Scot ?" He answered little: no sweetheart, dear, nor angel. This Committee adjourned till this day se'nnight.
This day B. (fn. 14) and I were to see Nayler's tongue bored through, and him marked in the forehead. He put out his tongue very willingly, but shrinked a little when the iron came upon his forehead. He was pale when he came out of the pillory, but high-coloured after tongue-boring. He was bound with a cord by both arms to the pillory. Rich, the mad merchant, sat bare at Nayler's feet all the time. Sometimes he sang and cried, and stroked his hair and face, and kissed his hand, and sucked the fire out of his forehead. (fn. 15) Nayler embraced his executioner, and behaved himself very handsomely and patiently. A great crowd of people there; the sheriff present, cum multis, at the Old Exchange, near the conduit.