Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Wednesday, April 29,1657.
The House resumed the debate, adjourned yesterday, according to former order. (fn. 1)
Mr. Bond. If the judges would meet at six o'clock in the morning they might do all the business in those three hours, and attend the House at nine. Public business is to be preferred before private. The judges never used to slight the Parliament so much.
Resolved, that an Ordinance intituled an Ordinance for reviving the Court of the Duchy of Lancaster, be continued as aforesaid. (fn. 2)
Mr. Disbrowe also reported from the Committee touching several donatives in Ireland, and so provided that this extend not to make void the order of Parliament touching donatives to Sir Christopher Coote, the relict of Sir Simon Harcourt and others, and concerning officers in Ireland.
Lord Lambert made a long speech on the behalf of the creditors of those persons whose estates are forfeited there. He said addresses had been made to his Highness, who seemed willing to do something in it. He also moved concerning two donatives upon the Lord Lauderdale's estate, and that the whole might be referred to a Committee; else all these debts and the relief of wives and children will all fall to the ground, and the estate will not be able to bear it, if they go this way to work.
Sir Richard Onslow. I move that it may be recommitted, and that Lord Lambert may be added, and to bring it in within an hour, and unless you relate also to the order, you discontent a whole nation, and undo a great many.
Lord Cochrane. If you confirm this ordinance without relating to the order, you cut off all the creditors at one blow; and undo a great many poor families. We have lain out of our monies for seven years, and if you do this, we shall never be satisfied. I would have the donatives first satisfied, and the donors to keep possession till then, and that out of the rest the debts may be paid.
There was a great debate about, the right of Serjeant Dendy against the adventurers; the adventurers would stand to law, and Serjeant Dendy appeals to the Parliament. The matter has been depending before a Committee many months, and it hangs here. The parties complained of are members, and claim their privileges of answering in their seats and not before a Committee. However it is fit the petitioner should be heard, be the complaint just or unjust.
The Master of the Rolls. It is very just that all those settlements should be confirmed. Harcourt died in the service. He was a gallant man, and for Serjeant Dendy's you may say it shall be no prejudice.
Mr. Speaker proceeded to put those acts of the little Parliament (fn. 3) particularly to the question.
Mr. Thistlethwaite moved that the Act for Marriages (fn. 4) might be but temporary, for six months.
The Master of the Rolls. There are other ways for marriages; one in the Long Parliament, which certainly was of equal authority with a vote of the Little Parliament. Now people marry three ways. I desire it may be but for six months.
Mr. Rouse and Lord Howard moved that it might be indefinite as to point of time; lest it be left loose, and no form at all, and desired it might be directed to a Committee to bring in their Bill for both.
Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. I move that it may be but temporary, for six months. It is all penned; you may, if you please, leave it indefinite. The Act you have prepared will not be so speedily brought in.
Mr. Bamgfield. I move that the time of its continuance may not be above six months, or that it may be laid aside. It was made but in a nugation of the ministers, and there is another form in force in the Directory, (fn. 5) which is of equal, if not better authority.
Mr. Attorney for the Duchy. It is the first time that ever I heard an argument for the continuance of. any law drawn from the absurdity or inconvenience of it. There are great inconveniences in the Act, and there is a Bill ready prepared which will rectify it. I desire you would not continue it above six months. It is strange that which has no legislation in itself (fn. 6) should be the foundation of a legitimation to all the families of the nation.
Lord Strickland. If you take away this form, I doubt you will leave none. The Common Prayer way is taken away by Act of Parliament. (fn. 7) It is doubted by some whether the Directory way be not dispensed with by the Ordinance. It were well if a man could marry that way, that he might have his wife by a Directory, and govern her so.
Mr. Speaker. It ought to be considered whether you will continue it at all; for if you give it the stamp of your authority, you confirm it, and the inconvenience, will be great to many families in England. You make void all the marriages otherwise made, by one express clause in this. (fn. 8)
Colonel Holland. You ought not to be a Directory to this House. It might come better from another than myself; but such as this ought not to be. It has not been usual in Parliament. This will work indeed for the lawyers.
Mr. Bond. I agree with your opinion. I would not have it continued for a moment. I have been talked to, sufficiently, for confirming laws by a lump. There are other forms provided. I desire this may be laid aside.
The Master of the Rolls and Colonel White stood up together. Mr. Speaker called to the Master of the Rolls, but Colonel White hotly insisted upon it, to have his privilege, as a member, to be heard, for the Master of the Rolls had spoke This bred a little heat and debate in the House, and Colonel White would be, and was heard, to speak accordingly.
Colonel White. I would not shake the foundation of mar riages. By casting a dislike upon this, you will bastardize a great many families, and make work enough for the lawyers. If you take away this form before you provide another in the room of it, you leave all at a loose.
The Speaker stood up and reported, and said, I am a yea, a no, I should say. This caused an alternate laughter all the House over, and some said he was gone. (fn. 9)
Colonel Jones doubted not but the privilege was equal to one member as to another. He desired, notwithstanding, seeing the providence of God has so ordered it, that, though he was against, it might be passed by.
Mr. Thistlethwaite. Once quit your orders, and you lose all. If you give way to divide again, you put it in the power of any member hereafter, to stand up and say he is mistaken. If a man be of that conscience, as such men may be, it may prove of dangerous consequence.
Lord Strickland. I would not have you surprised in your vote. It is certain the other gentleman cannot recall his vote, but you may recall yours. The precedent is ordinary. In the Long Parliament, the Tellers were mistaken in their report, and were rectified by those that sat within. At least eight or nine were over reckoned, and it was recalled before the order was entered.
Lord Chief-Justice. First it was moved for six months; for they may as well move for five hundred years, as for five. There is a Bill ready to pass, to this purpose, which surely may be done in six months' time.
Colonel Jones. I am neither for the one nor for the other. It will not be for the honour of the Parliament to have the nation under two or three forms, and it will but entangle the ignorant, and quite null what you are going to confirm. I desire it may be put for six months.
Mr. Attorney-General. I do not know any precedent for it, that ever there was a law made to make marriages void. The parties that stole marriages, or the like, were otherwise punished. Wise men thought before, that the authority would fall of itself, and so the law will fall; but now you confirm it. You make it a law, which was never de jure a law before, and so lay a foundation for suits all England over.
Lord Broghill. If you confirm this, which was never looked upon as a law, you punish those who, in asserting the rights of the people to make laws, would never submit to this, and you encourage those who would observe no other, because they were by another authority than the people usually intrust.
Mr. Bodurda. I have given my consent to seventy-five laws (fn. 10) since yesterday at this time of the day; but, if you continue this Act hut for a moment, you must take out the clause.
Mr. Speaker put the question whether this clause should be part of the question; Yea and No was given, and the question was mistaken, as some thought, which was very intricate, and the Speaker was at a loss to explain his meaning. And he was called to declare, which led us into a confused debate.
Sir Charles Wolseley. You can put no other question till the House divide upon this. The question was rightly put, for those that were Noes would have the clause left out, and be no part of the question. Those that were Yeas would have it stand; and if men were mistaken in their Yeas or Noes they may help it upon the division.
Lord Whitlock. It does not become the gravity of this House to be in this confusion. It is a matter of high consequence; but, in my opinion, you cannot divide, for that men were mistaken in their votes. Besides, many members are gone out, and then you cannot divide.
Mr. Attorney-General and Mr. Godfrey. You cannot divide now, for divers members are gone up, (fn. 11) and some come down, and you cannot do it.
Mr. Tymbes excepted for the Yeas, but yielded it afterwards. So it was resolved (fn. 12)
Sir John Reynolds. I move that you would adjourn for two hours. I know not how soon I may be called away, (fn. 13) and I would fain see an end of it before I go. I moved it not only for my particular good, but for the public.
Post Meridiem, at Five.
Sir Richard Onslow offered a proviso to the Act for mar riages, touching making all marriages void, when the woman, under twenty-one, shall have married without consent of parents or guardians; but, after an hour's debate, it was thrown out by the question, whereupon the House was divided. (fn. 14)
Mr. Swinton offered a proviso, that nothing in that Ordi nance shall be understood to impeach the Articles made by the Commander-in-Chief, with any of the persons therein named, which have been confirmed by his Highness and the Council.
Lord Broghill. I second that motion. It was very fit that you should confirm the articles of war, and you are safe enough in this proviso; for you ratify none but such as his Highness and the Council have approved.
Mr. Secretary. I doubt that Cranstone hath not done such good service as is moved. It is true, he raised some men in Scotland for the king of Sweden, (fn. 15) but I hear they are since gone to Middleton, (fn. 16) whether by his consent or no, I cannot yet say.
Lord Howard. There are but two persons presented to you for pardon in this case, and you are told how they have done good service. If there be but two hard cases offered to you, you may very well pass it.
Major-General Disbrowe. I moved that you would explain from what time the Act of Marriages shall commence; for it seems it is expired: for it is six months since the Parliament began, and those six months, are to begin then, unless you express the time when those months shall commence.
Mr. Bampfield. There are laws ready prepared both for the Excise and Customs, which will supply all those that, you are going to confirm at a lump. Certainly there are very grievous clauses in those laws. This is like King James making knights, where, in a room full of men, women, and children, he declared them all to be knights.
Captain Lilburn. I am sorry to see all those laws brought in to be confirmed at a lump, which are so grievous to the nation. If you will not lay this aside, I desire you would, leave out those words, &c. (fn. 17)
Colonel Philip Jones. Though there may be grievous clauses in those Ordinances, yet free quarter, and your seamen coming amongst you, (fn. 18) is more grievous. You are no further from providing other laws to supply them, though you do confirm the former.
Mr. Godfrey. It may not be convenient, rebus sic stantibus, wholly to take them away, but they may be continued for three years. Though it is likely that this must raise the greatest part of your revenue, yet such occasion may be, that you may diminish or increase the duty of excise, or you may alter the way of bringing it in. Haply you may do it by the exchequer way. I shall, therefore, move that it may be temporary, and not made perpetual; which would never have been thought proper in Parliament, to move to perpetuate a charge upon the people.
Major-General Disbrowe (fn. 19) excepted against the vote of the Committee, touching the right of the commoners to the forests, that it was too large, and that the soldiers have been long enough without their arrears.
Yet it was passed to agree with the Committee, and the Committee was appointed to bring in a Bill to preserve the right of the commoners, &C. (fn. 20)
After a little debate, the debate and the House were adjourned at past seven. (fn. 22)