Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Monday, June 8, 1657.
Mr. Bampfield stood up. This is the first precedent that ever the House went to business without prayer. (fn. 1) You are now going upon public business. So I hope you are not in such haste but you will take a blessing along with you.
Mr. Downing acknowledged he was once a minister. (fn. 2)
A long Bill for naturalizing was read the third time, notwithstanding the late express order to exclude all private business; but the House grumbled. (fn. 3)
Mr. Godfrey, Major-General Whalley, Captain Baynes and Colonel Shapcott, were against it. They said, none are naturalized but such as come hither for their religion, and for being sufferers for you, and we have more need of friends now than ever, and there will not be any loss of customs by it. The merchants can colour goods as well as strangers, and it is to that end, that they may wholly colour them. It is not just nor honourable to give them a privilege, and take it away again.
Sir Christopher Pack offered another proviso, to preserve the rights and duties payable to the City. Though you give away your own customs, you will not give away the City's. They have deserved not so ill from you.
Mr. Noel. I was against the other proviso, because, in my judgment, it was not for your service. All places in the world favour strangers. You pay less in the Indies, Portugal, and else, where you trade, three per cent. less than the natives. I know it is no loss to your customs, if all were freely admitted to trade.
Mr. Recorder. It is the first time that ever I heard a question put upon a proviso, till it was first read. The House is not possessed of it. Of sixty provisos tendered to the Act of Oblivion, (fn. 4) all were read the first time.
Another proviso was offered, not to exempt any person from paying strangers' or aliens' duties until the rising of the next Parliament, and no longer (fn. 5)
Mr. Godfrey. It is neither sense nor reason. It will ap pear ill upon your journals, that you vote and unvote. Just now you said, they should pay no custom, and now you lay it upon them for their lives; for seven years is no less.
Colonel Stewart. This contention is de lanâ caprinâ. (fn. 6) You have declared the proviso is not sense; and how can they be satisfied, that either spoke for, or against it, in the debate?
Lord Lambert and Colonel Sydenham. Though it was a little missed sense, that might be mended. The justice and equity remain. Will you lay, and continue burthens upon your friends, and wholly excuse strangers. Truly this will not be for your honour nor service. You discourage your own merchants.
Major-General Disbrowe. You encourage trade, though you discourage, haply, some other persons. I would wholly lay aside the Bill, rather than take away their privileges. It is useless to your customs.
Mr. Bond. I wonder any man dare bring in such a nonsensical proviso. I know you are misinformed in that loss of your customs. There were never above 2000l. made of strangers' customs. There is not passed three or four men, in all this Bill, that are merchants: if those have crept in, will you reject all your friends for it ?
Major Aston. The proviso stands as much in need of being naturalized, as any person in the Bill. It is as much alien as any part of the Bill. I understand not the language of it, so would have it rejected.
Dr. Clarges. I am against the proviso, both for the nonsense and unreasonableness of it. Your customs and excise will increase by the Bill. They will now trade openly, and not secretly, as they have done. It is an Act of your grace and favour, and let them have the real effects of it.
He acquainted the House that he had a letter touching the Irish officers, (fn. 7) from his Highness.
Lord Lambert moved, and it was so resolved, that the same day be appointed for the debate upon the other letter, "touching the Lancashire forces." (fn. 8)
Sir James Mac Dowell made a Report upon the Bill for the Assessments in Scotland, (fn. 9) which held two hours.
Mr. Bampfield offered another proviso to save the estates of Sir John Barrington, Mr. Turner, and other adventurers, "by virtue of the Act made in the 17th year of the late King Charles," (fn. 10) which passed.
Major Morgan and Major Aston. As a mark of your favour, and as a memorial to posterity, that the Lord Deputy (fn. 11) has done you service, or has been there, sell out some lands for him in Ireland.
Mr. Bampfield. I move, that for your honour you would not give such large rewards to one another: it was the blame of the Long Parliament. You have most need to pay your debts to the poor souls that daily cry at your doors. I honour that person beyond any man; but it is not for your honour to do it at this time. Again, it is worth 30,000l. and that is money, and you stand in need of it.
Dr. Clarges. He is Lord Deputy, and one of the Privy Council, and has several other great places of trust. They used, in former times, to give gratuities ad sustentandum honoremt onus, et nomen, and he well deserves a great deal more at your hands, than the sum propounded.
Major-General Disbrowe. I am sorry to hear such a question called for. If I were desirous to bring a reproach upon this honourable person, I would move this question. It is neither for his honour nor yours, at this season, to give gratuities of this nature. You are in debt to many poor people that want bread, whose cries ascend high; many poor soldiers' unsatisfied, and great occasion for monies, as ever you had.
If I did not honour and love that person, as myself, I should not move you to lay aside this question. God has owned him, and he has a competent fortune, and is no worse that he has had no such mark of favour upon him.
Colonel Shapcott. This question comes in against the orders of the House; for you have resolved no private business shall intrude. I honour the person as much as any man, but I think it is not for your honour to give any such gratuities at this season, till your Public Faith, and other debts be paid. By the computation of those worthy members, who say that they pass assessments at seventy per cent, by this rule you give this person the seventieth part of Ireland.
Lord Lambert. I would not have it said the nation is in that weak condition that this will undo them. The honourable person deserves a great deal more; and my reason why I move it is, because I know it will not please him. (fn. 12)
I wish it had not been mentioned; but to lay it aside, will be a great discouragement to many good men. That gentleman speaks too late to the orders of the House, because the House is possessed now of it. That gentleman is mistaken in the computation, for it is not the 7000th part, nor another cypher.
Sir Richard Onslow. Now the question is moved, you cannot well part from it. It is no private business, but a public compensation out of the certificate-lands which were always given to honourable persons, that had so well merited.
Colonel White. I move, that for justifying yourselves, and that honourable person, you would insert it in your question that it is in compensation for all his arrears. I could wish it had not come in: but, as it is moved, you cannot, without reflection, lay it aside.
Major-General Whalley. We have as little need to be lavish of the public purse as ever; but, in such a case as this, I wonder it should abide any debate, knowing the eminency of this person, who has served you faithfully in both nations. I was an eye-witness of his merit. You have set him up as a beacon upon a hill, put him in high place; and I know he has not at all sought himself; has not improved, but rather impaired, his estate. He is a just man, and one that serves God. I desire you will put the question for this 1500l. per annum.
Colonel Briscoe. This person does eminently deserve as any man; but, for the censure abroad, and your present condition, it is not for your honour to do it at this season. I speak not this of myself, but by special commission from him. He, with great passion, and, I am confident, ex. animo, did desire me that I would move against it.
Colonel Holland. It is not only an act of justice, but of mercy to the nation. It is your duty; and it would prejudice and dishonour the nation, if you should lay it aside. I have known him, when all were rewarded, refuse that positively; and if you stay till he consent to accept a gratuity, he will never accept it. You may keep your gratuity.
Major Beake. Lay aside this question. God knows upon what account I do it. We cannot cloister up this vote within these walls. It will appear without doors. You have followed the very worst path and track that the Long Parliament trod in; but if you will deliver yourselves and this person from the scourge of the tongue, keep your own honour and his too. It is hitherto unspotted. Your debts are insuperable upon you. Either you do it as an act of favour, or of justice: if of favour, you may choose a better season for it; if of justice, then justice ought to be equally distributed, and one may expect it as well as another. If I should move for another person, you could not deny it, according to the measure of his merit, for justice is alike; and how you will open a gap and stop it again, to such an inconvenience, I leave it to you to judge. The poor people's cries are a load upon you, and such gratuities as these are ill-timed. I desire you would lay it aside.
So it passed in the affirmative. (fn. 13)
Major-General Disbrowe. I move, that you will let no business break in upon you; but only matter of raising monies, and the settlement of the nations; which was resolved. (fn. 14)
Major Aston reported amendments to the Bill for Assessments on Ireland, (fn. 15) which were twice read, and agreed to in the gross, and ordered to be ingrossed.
Mr. Bampfield excepted against the amendments, for that the title says, it is for three months' assessments; whereas the vote was to lay 20,000l. upon Ireland in a gross sum. He also excepted to the word "land," and that personal estate was not in the enacting part, but only in the directing part, for the way of levying it; but without an enacting power they could not. To solve this mistake, the words "the land of" was left out, and it stood only "Ireland."
Major Morgan. I hope you will put no greater burden upon Ireland than it is able to bear. You may do what you please with it; but though this gentleman is angry, and ready to lay such a tax upon Ireland, I hope the Parliament will not do it. Then I presume he will not. We look for abatement rather than increase, otherwise we shall not be able to undergo it.