Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Tuesday, May 26, 1657.
Being the first day upon the new footing of the constitution, I came in and found the House debating about Captain Arthur's Bill, (fn. 1) which was committed, and all the members for Ireland to be added.
Colonel Sankey and Major-General Bridge moved, that Colonel Louthian's petition might be read, which was done and referred to the Committee at Worcester House; therein to be done as in cases of the like nature.
The Master of the Rolls. I move that all private business may be laid aside. The weather grows hot. I hope we shall not sit all summer. I would have public business, as monies and the like, and the clamours for the public faith (fn. 2) attended to.
Major Morgan and Major Aston moved that the business of Ireland might be taken into consideration; which was of great consideration: otherwise, all the expense of blood and treasure spent there will be lost.
Sir Thomas Wroth. I second the wise motion by the Master of the Rolls, that all private business be laid aside for a fortnight, and that we go to those that are most public. It is all that the people are like to have for their monies. They are likely to pay well for it.
I would have you take the courage which belongs to your place, that you would not gratify every man, which is a hard thing for you to do, by receiving private business; as if we should perpetuate this Parliament.
Colonel Gorges moved for the privilege of a member, viz. Mr. Denn, (fn. 3) but it was put off till to-morrow morn.
He made the report of his Highness's speech, and read the speech verbatim. (fn. 4)
Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. I move that this debate be put off till to-morrow; and to the end you may be an example to other Courts of Justice, that you would not delay that business of Lord Craven's; but go on with it now, seeing the counsel are waiting at the door, and it is at the parties' great charge.
This motion was seconded. (fn. 5)
Mr. Speaker. I move, that for the gravity of the House, while this cause is hearing, you, being as a Court of Justice, would not talk to one another, nor move out of your seats, nor stay in the gallery, in regard the House is thin.
Mr. Finch. This is a supplication of the saddest petitioner that ever came before you, and it is the best entrance that ever was to have right in this business, to be admitted into this honourable assembly, where there ought not be trifling. It is not only a petition of grace, but of right.
Mr. Finch. An endeavour, I may say a practice, to bring Lord Craven under sequestration. I will not perplex my evidence by setting forth the place where, and the like circumstances. Our greatest evidence is out of your Journals. We desire they may be read.
Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. I move that any member may stand up and move for the parties to withdraw; otherwise, all the burthen will lie upon you. But another thing is considerable, whether you will not hear all parties, both the AttorneyGeneral and the parties who are purchasers; for if you proceed to hear ex parte, you must hear it over again. At least let the parties have notice, and leave it to them to appear or not.
Mr. Speaker. I move that it may be known whether the purchasers have had notice. It falls out so that the AttorneyGeneral and solicitors are both members, and so cannot, in person, plead at the bar. It is fit some counsel should be assigned in their place.
Colonel White moved, as from the purchasers, that counsel might be heard on their parts. (Some were named to me, as Serjeant Maynard, Newdigate, Dr. Turner, Mr. Walker, &c.) and likewise that counsel might be assigned for the Commonwealth.
Dr. Clarges. It is not proper to hear counsel for the purchasers, but only for the Commonwealth; for the dispute lies between the Commonwealth and Lord Craven, who prays that a part of an Act of Parliament may be repealed.
Mr. Finch. I cannot say that the parties had notice, but the Attorney-General being a member of the House, could not but know it; and, for the purchasers, I am informed they took a copy of the order that we have.
The Master of the Rolls. A case of 21 King James, touching one Nichols, who had a patent about customs, was heard here, where it was moved by Lord Coke that every member here was of counsel for the Commonwealth. So I would not have you assign any counsel for the Commonwealth.
In the case of a reversal of an attainder, a scire facias must go out. Here the purchasers are mediately, and the Commonweath immediately concerned. For that case of Nichols, that was a grievance, a monopoly; so needed no notice to the patentee. But if you hear it, altera parle, you must, of necessity, hear it over again. Though the AttorneyGeneral be a member, yet he is not excluded from caring and giving directions about the business.
Lord Whitlock. There are five hundred purchasers, and it is impossible to give them all notice; yet if some of them have notice it is enough; for though they have taken a copy of your order, yet they cannot come to plead before you without your order.
Several persons of the Commonwealth are counsel besides the Attorney-General and Solicitor; as those that attend your Treasury. I would have the orders general, that counsel may be heard on behalf of all parties; and that in the meantime it may be committed to Mr. Attorney and Mr. SolicitorGeneral.
Sir Gilbert Pickering. The purchasers have nothing to do, as to the confiscation, whether right or wrong. They have not an immediate, but only a consequential right to be heard in this. I move that the counsel for the Commonwealth may take care in it.
Colonel Shapcott. I move to have Mr. Attorney-general and Mr. Solicitor-general called in; (they were in the Court of Wards,) and that they may be heard now, and all the parties concerned as purchasers, to withdraw.
Sir John Barkstead. I am no purchaser of Lord Craven's estate; but, as the case is, either the Commonwealth, the purchasers, or Lord Craven, must be losers, and it is as reasonable that one should be heard as another. I believe the other parties will produce as many records and proofs as Lord Craven's counsel do. I shall desire you, Mr. Speaker, that a day may be appointed to hear all parties.
If this business thrive, it is likely you may hear more of this kind. I would have you to assign counsel on both sides, and not give more favour to a traitor, a delinquent, an enemy, than you do to your friends; for your enemies cannot be concerned as purchasers.
Sir Richard Onslow. It is clear that men may be both judges and counsel. The judge uses in criminal cases to tell the prisoner that he is of counsel for him. All that the purchasers could say is, they have an Act of Parliament. There may be precedents found for reversal in such cases, upon an appeal. I am of opinion with that honourable person, that we are all of counsel for the Commonwealth.
Mr. Highland. An Act of Parliament is the greatest security under Heaven. I wonder to hear it said the purchasers are not concerned. They are most concerned of all. I have none of those lands: I bought some of them, but sold them again, being suspicious, lest the tide should turn.
The Parliament were the only judges who were traitors, &c. I find Craven and Stowell in the very front of the Bill of traitors. Certainly those purchasers have the best title under Heaven. Certainly, they ought to be heard. Lord Craven is but accidentally concerned: and so it seems it was accidental; for there was but one vote, and a false witness carried it.
Mr. Bodurda. I am sorry to see so little attention to this business. If you think fit to relieve Lord Craven, there will be cause of attention. It may concern the Commonwealth & or 300,000l. I would have two or three solicitors appointed to prepare the business. Counsel can but do the work of counsel.
Mr. Highland offered a petition in the case of Rodney and Cole. (fn. 6)
Sir Gilbert Pickering. I move on behalf of that reckless person Nayler. (fn. 7) If you care not for him, so as to let him have a keeper, he will die in your hands. His Highness has recommended it to us (fn. 8) to move you in it.
Major-General Skippon. I am not against sending a mi nister to him, and would be glad to hear any thing fro him that might encourage you finally to release him. I am against having a Quaker go to him, or any favour at all, till you know something more of his application to you. I fear too much indulgence to him has hardened him in his way; so I cannot consent to show him any favour till I find him deserve it.
Resolved, that a keeper be assigned him. (I neg. (fn. 9) )
Mr. Godfrey moved, that you were fittest to appoint a minister, and named Mr. Caryl. (fn. 10)
Major-General Whalley. I second the motion, that all private business may be excluded for fourteen days; or a month, rather: that you would meddle with none for a month, but what you are already possessed of.
Mr. Disbrowe. I am sorry that private business should be the only reason of the House coming together. I have known private business hinder men from coming. I mean, by excluding private business, such as have not a day fixed.
Sir Gilbert Pickering. I move that you would not exclude private business at all, because of the difficulty to distinguish, and you are makers of your own judgments. It is equal that poor people that cry to you should be relieved, &c.
Resolved, that no new private business be received for fourteen days. (fn. 11)
In the Speaker's chamber sate Lady Worcester's Committee. Colonel Gorges in the chair. Adjourned till Thursday morning, and dispatched all but a proviso for saving the purchasers' and other estates. (fn. 12)