Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Tuesday, June 9, 1657.
The Bill for Three Months' Assessments in Ireland (fn. 1) was read the third time, and passed.
After two hours' debate upon the third reading of the Post Bill, (fn. 2) it was also passed.
Dr. Clarges offered three or four provisos, which had but ill success. He was against the whole Bill, and called it a monopoly. He said that he was advised by a friend, on Saturday last, not to meddle against this Bill, for that an honourable and eminent person was concerned in it; but, rather than forfeit his conscience to the House, he would forfeit all friendship from any person whatsoever.
Major Beake moved, that the carrying up the Bill for setting prices of wines might be suspended, for some time, in regard it has a retrospect, and it is not just to punish persons ex post facto. A thousand families will be undone by it, and the vintners have bought in their wines at full prices.
After debate awhile upon this, when some moved for a longer time, till 15th November; others, to commence now; and others said, that after the Bill was passed, we could not alter it, but must either repeat it, or set forth a declaration.
Major-General Kelsey. I know it, that many godly ministers are discontented at it, and do mourn for it. If it pass without further consideration, I doubt we may grieve at it, and repent it when it will be too late. I desire it may be suspended.
Mr. Vincent and Colonel Briscoe. I hope, if it were laid in the balance, more godly men rejoice at it than any that are against it. I do beg it on my knees that you would not forbear this Bill. You have but one Bill that concerns religion, and to leave it behind is very strange. I beseech you do not neglect such a duty.
Major-General Goffe. I second that motion, that the Bill be left behind. It does grieve the souls of a great many godly ministers. I am as willing to beg it on my knees as any man, you would not now carry it up.
Sir John Thorowgood and Mr. Godfrey made a very earnest motion that the Bill might not be left behind. They despaired of ever doing any thing upon it after this, and hoped that such a Bill as this, which was worth them all, should not stop, and humbly moved that no such question be put.
Noes 7. Captain Blackwell, and Major Beake, Tellers. (fn. 3)
Major-General Goffe. Now the House is so full, (fn. 4) you could intimate to the members what public business you have, and how you are to sit, forenoon and afternoon, and desire they would attend.
Major-General Goffe. Observing the House at a stand, having nothing to do until his Highness give us notice of his being in the Painted Chamber, I move that a short bill for Mrs. Bastwick (fn. 5) may be read.
Captain Hatsel. If petitions can prevail, I have two or three petitions for the bill. It does so concern your greatest trade, that is fishing, and your navigation, that you cannot suspend it without great prejudice.
So this bill was also ordered to be presented; and another question put, both upon this and the other bills, as to passing of it, and deferring his Highness's consent, notwithstanding the former votes to that purpose when the bill first passed.
Serjeant Middleton came into the House, and (fn. 6) acquainted the House that his Highness was in the room next to the end lately called the Lords' House, and that he expected the Parliament, in the Painted Chamber, and so withdrew.
Hereupon Mr. Speaker, with the whole House, went thither, (fn. 7) (nobody leading Mr. Speaker, which was an omission,) and there (fn. 8) a short speech (fn. 9) was made by Mr. Speaker to his Highness, relating to the slowness of great bodies moving, and how our fruits were like that of the harvest, not all ripe at a time, but every thing in its season, and how he hoped that this was but the vintage, to the autumn the Parliament were preparing, (fn. 10) and that it was not with their productions as with Rebecca's births, where one had another by the heel, but that their generation of laws was like that of natural generation, and that his Highness was the sun in the firmament of this Commonwealth, and he must give the ultimate life and breath to our laws.
Then, after the titles of thirty-eight bills were read, and the bills consented to, the thirty-ninth was offered, to wit, the bill for catechising, to which, after a little pause, his Highness returned this answer, "I am desirous to advise of this bill;" which was entered by the clerk in these words. "The Lord Protector will advise of this bill."
See a particular of these bills, infra, (fn. 11) and his Highness's speech.
Mr. Scobell (fn. 12) told him he ought not to say so; but he said he would say it anywhere.
Mr. Godfrey questioned the clerk for postponing (fn. 13) the Bill for catechising, who answered he had warrant for what he did. Being asked, who could give him warrant but the Parliament? he answered, he could well justify what he did.
The bill for Three Years Assessment was read the first time. After the Report made of his Highness's speech, (fn. 14) upon passing of the bills,
Mr. Pedley took occasion to reflect highly upon my Lord Clare, and said he was one of those that had forsworn building of churches. He had built a house for the flesh, (meaning the shambles in new market (fn. 15)) but he doubted he would hard ly do as David did, build a house for the spirit; and a great deal of this kind of language.
Mr. Speaker and Lord Whitlock took him down, and said, such scurrilous language did not become this place, and that if we would not do this person, who was an honourable person and well deserving, a favour upon his petition, we ought not to do him a displeasure by such reflections. We were servants to the people, and every freeholder as free in his estate and reputation as any man, and it is not our part nor duty to meddle with persons while we are debating of things.
See the Journal for the result of this debate. (fn. 16)
I went to the post-house to meet Mr. Noel, (fn. 17) and stayed till past nine, and he came not.