Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Monday, January 5,1656–7.
A Bill for the disappropriating of the Rectory appropriate to Preston, in the county of Suffolk, and for the uniting and consolidating of the said rectory, and of the vicarage of the church of Preston aforesaid. Read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time on Saturday.
Colonel Fothergill stood up with purpose, I suppose, to press the tenants of Westminster's petition to be read: but he said nothing; nor would it have availed if he had, for at least five or six stood up with petitions, and could not be heard. I know hot when they shall.
Serjeant Birkhead told me John Musgrave had been at his House on Saturday, railing two hours together against me and Major-General Howard. He showed him a petition of a mile long against me, and a letter to the House, which he intended to present shortly. There he had set forth the whole matter at Haberdasher's Hall, the depositions there, and before the Mayor of Appleby, and all that about Colonel Highmore. He ranted highly what he would do, but the Serjeant defended it as far as he could, and seemed to slight all.
Colonel Sydenham. There is a report upon a petition, which has a long time waited to be presented to you. It does eminently concern the honour of this House to proceed to do justice upon it. It is the report upon the business of Rodney and Cole. (fn. 1) I pray hear it, for there cannot a greater grievance come before you.
Major-General Goffe. This business is a public concernment, and so ought not to come in a private business. It concerns the Parliament, publicly to redress grievances and abuses in courts of justice. It is more proper for another day. I have a short petition. I desire it may be read.
Lord Strickland and Mr. Robinson. Though it doth concern the Parliament, in a public respect, to redress grievances and abuses in courts of justice; yet this is a particular grievance, and proper for a day of private business. I desire the report may be heard.
Mr. Pedley reported the state of the matter of fact, upon the petition and appeal of George Rodney, and Sarah, his wife, plaintiffs, John Cole and others, defendants, from the Committee, to whom the same was referred, with the resolutions of the Committee thereon, which were read.
See their resolves, all agreed to by the House, except one, touching 200l. part of the principal monies, whether paid by Rodney or no; in regard the evidence was something suppository and supplemental, and the House not satisfied, as vide infra, (fn. 2) upon the debate; but in all the rest of the resolves, the House agreed with the Committee, as followeth.
2. And that, shortly after, the defendant John Cole married the said Alice, whereby he had an interest in the said debt. Afterwards, about the 21st of March, 1641, the said George Rodney, by the hands of one Mr. Glover, paid to one Thorne, the sum of 317l. 13s. by the appointment of the said John Cole, and to his use. (fn. 3)
Colonel White. I shall willingly agree to wave the debate and question upon the 200l. whether paid or not, because the House seems unsatisfied in it; but I cannot be of opinion that the judges have done their duty in this business or that it is only error in judgment, and not of affection or corruption.
It is fit for a Parliament to inquire this, and not to pass it by, which is the way to make injustice be done hereafter. If they have done amiss, let them hear of it, and in no place so proper as this. I cannot in conscience sit here, and saynothing, to see such practices palliated in this House.
Mr. Godfrey. You have proceeded to vindicate the party There is another thing which has been moved to you, wherein you ought to do something, both for the vindication of the honourable persons reflected upon, as also for the honour of this House.
It does not appear by the Report, whether this is an irregularity in point of judgment, or in point of corruption. You must either vindicate them in point of honour, or yourselves in point of justice. This is not determined, one way, or other, by the Committee, and you cannot, in honour, pass it by without putting it in a way of inquiry, whether it was in the commissioners an error of judgment, or of corruption, or affection.
Lord Lisle. There cannot a greater mischief come upon your Commissioners than to be had in ill opinion of any one member of this House. It is my desire it may be referred to a Committee, to consider and enquire whether they have done right or wrong; that if they have done well in it, they may be encouraged; if ill they may receive for their demerit, as the wisdom of the House shall think fit.
This question was offered upon the Speaker's offering a question, somewhat short, as was thought, for he was very modest in it, and unwilling, &c., and would have had the Committee to enquire in what parties the fault was, and with what mind it was done.
Colonel Sydenham. I understand not how you can examine the matter further than you have done, unless it be to examine men's intentions. You have proceeded to repair the party, and he is satisfied. Who then would prosecute a matter of this nature unless grieved by it.
The petitioner complains not of the Lords Commissioners, but of Cole and his rigorous proceedings. I desire you would do no more in it, unless some complaint or charge come regularly, by such as will follow the same. You have borne your testimony, sufficiently, against the judgment. If you go further, you will but lay a heavy prejudice upon those that have faithfully served you, or otherwise heavily reflect upon yourselves, which must be the issue one way or other.
If you refer it to a Committee, I hope the Commissioners will take care to see the votes put in execution, and the party repaired. He desires not that any should be punished. I would have you proceed no further in it.
Major-General Boteler. It stands upon you, not only in respect of your own honour, but of the honour of the Lords Commissioners, for their vindication, that you should put this business into a way of enquiry.
Mr. Bampfield. There is a great imputation cast upon your Commissioners, both by the remonstrance, and abroad. It is good, both for your own honour and theirs, that you should make further enquiry. The resolve of the Committee about the 200l. remains upon your records, though you do not affirm it. I would have that business heard at the bar.
Colonel Jones. I desire the word "granted" may be added, as moved before. I hope the Lord will keep us all up, to do our judgment in righteousness, without respect of persons. I would have these honourable persons appear at the bar and vindicate themselves.
Mr. Bond and Mr. Rolle informed the same, as see this debate at large, supra, in this business; (fn. 4) but it was so tossed till two, that they came to no question; save only for Mr. Windham to go into the country, and the Speaker, so in haste, forgot to adjourn the House.
Mr. Godfrey reported a clause from a private Committee touching parents, and masters, and mistresses, to educate their children and servants, and endeavour to bring them to understand the English tongue, and to read; and that Bibles should be brought into every family, at the parties' charge, or at the parish charge, if the poor people be not able to buy them.
Judge-Advocate Whalley offered a book again (fn. 5) to the Committee, which he could not call less than diabolical. He read the title of it; it was called 'Ars Notoria, Englished by one Turner, who had the impudence not only to put to it his name, but to dedicate it to one Mr. William Ryves, (fn. 6) and say, "Printed by J. Cottrel; to be sold by Martha Harison, at the Lamb, at the East-end of Paul's, 1657."
He read first the title, which was thus: "Ars Notoria, or the Notory Art of Solomon, showing the Cabalistical key of magical operations, &c., Judicial Astrology, Art of Memory, &c." He read other parts of the book, where a great efficacy was placed in repeating certain words at some hours, and several other odd tricks of conjuration, as that laying one's finger behind the right ear was good for the memory, and abundance of such stuff.
Mr. Bampfield said the title of the book (fn. 7) was sufficient to condemn it, so
Resolved, that this book be referred to a Committee to consider thereof, and report their opinions to this Committee, and that they send for the parties, and take care that the books be not dispersed abroad. (fn. 8)
Captain Baynes questioned whether, unless this Committee had power from the House, they could impower a private Committee to send for persons. It was also doubted by others; but it was thought, unless that power was given, there would be no benefit by appointing a Committee; you would lose the fruits of it.
Major-General Goffe urged that the Committee for Bibles had sent for several persons, from time to time, and it was the usual practice of private Committees, in such cases, who had no other authority than from this Grand Committee.
In the debate about Turner's book, where he had prescribed certain words to be said at certain hours, as very efficacious, Lord Strickland stood up and said that Dr. Cosin (fn. 9) had put forth a book, wherein he had appointed prayers for such and such hours. (fn. 10) I know not to what end. he spoke it, for it was suddenly offered. But presently they fell into a long debate how the papists laboured to delude us and intricate us, by obtruding doctrines of all sizes in their books dispersed abroad; Quakers, and magic, and all devils, &c.