Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 3, January - March 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Wednesday, February 9, 1658–9.
Sir Henry Vane. The people were never denied to petition. I leave it with you if Whitehall give any discouragement to petition. The addresses, (fn. 1) I suppose, are received.
Mr. Knightley. The gentleman has moved for reading it; yet the sense of the House being against it, I would have two or three gentlemen go out and acquaint the petitioners, that as soon as ever this debate is over, they shall be called in.
Mr. Disbrowe. Nothing can be of greater concernment than what is before you. The eyes of all nations are upon you, to see what you will do concerning the owning your Chief Magistrate. I would have nothing come in the balance with it. Because three or four are waiting at the door, should you put off a business of this nature, of greatest concernment ?
Lord Falkland. I move, that two or three members be sent out to acquaint them that the petition shall be read, as soon as the great business is over. Mr. Danby. I move, that it be referred to the Committee of Grievances, which sits this day.
Sir Walter Earle. I have no skill in physiognomy. It matters not to me that they are old faces. (fn. 4) I second Mr. Knightley's motion.
Ordered, that Sir Walter Earle, Mr. Enightley, and Colonel Gorges acquaint the petitioners, that as soon as ever the great business is over, their petition shall be read, and the said members went out accordingly. It seems they were well satisfied.
2. It is told us, that we have taken an oath at the door; by which we cannot clearly understand the Chief Magistrate's power, whether he assume it, as his father did, or has it from the Instrument, or that this Parliament should give it him. It is fit our oath should be understood. I see no reason, but as those gentlemen took away the Government from the Instrument, so we may take it away now from the Petition and Advice.
It is said, that the Petition and Advice came in by better authority. But whoso considers the last Protector's speech, will find he thought he had as good authority, by the Instrument of Government, and as many witnesses for it, as this can have. I am sure he said, no prince in Christendom had a better title than he had. Therefore, I hope we shall not be hurried on, to take us off, before we know where we are.
The matter is, the investing of a power in the Chief Magistrate. I would gladly know, what the office of this Chief Magistrate doth imply; what is involved in it. I would have it understood, whether the House of Lords shall be appurtenances to this Chief Magistrate; whether the militia, negative voice, and an uncontrolable power, shall go along with it. Your learned counsel were taken from the bar, when pleading for your liberties. (fn. 5) If the power of thus sending gentlemen to prison, or the prerogative of these things go along with the office, then I look upon it as the King's cause, and the maintenance of his quarrel.
It is between you and the Chief Magistrate now, as between a widow and her servant that go to be married. The man will offer all things very fair; but unless she make all things sure before marriage, when he is married, he will tell her then, that all is his by virtue of his office.
If Hannibal be ad portas, (fn. 6) it is not to fright you but to excise you. It is an ill doctrine that promissory oaths bind, as that gentleman says. If promissory oaths cannot be dispensed with, we are in a sad condition. Oaths are assertory, or promissory. If I swear I see you in the chair, and do not, I swear amiss; but if I swear I will see you there to-morrow, that is subject to a condition and limitation, that is, if it please God to send me strength, or the like.
I shall give my ready consent to the single person and a House of Lords. The more checks, the better the Constitu tion. You are not ripe to determine what you will have the other House. What the Long Parliament was, for reasons of state I shall not say. It was for interest. I would have no reflexions on the Lord Protector. I would have them quietly to lie in their graves. I hope they shall never rise again.
I never read of a Commonwealth able to stand without war. A general may make himself chief, when he pleases. Venice (fn. 7) is beholden for their quiet to their situation. It was ill said of a sober person: "a French parasite." (fn. 8) Those that are for Commonwealth, are but to bring us into confusion.
I know not what is meant by your restrictions. I would not give away a tittle of your right. If thus you qualify it, the question will be whether the Protector shall be Protector, till you have agreed on the limitations. The militia naturally goes with the legislature. Every sheriff and county has it. Our ancestors never disputed it. The negative voice was never denied the Chief Magistrate, only he was bound to deny no law that was offered from the people. (fn. 9) What is exorbitant in the Petition and Advice, I would have it amended.
Mr. Stephens. Here has been much said on a Parliament that was too much on the part of pulling down. They were at last pulled down themselves. I was of that Parliament. I hope I am now of a Parliament that will be as much for building up. I was never of that opinion, that a minor part should supplant a major part by force or fraud. Non necesse est, vivere, est, bene vivere, and via recta est via tuta. I have observed that a packing of Parliament, or a packing in Parliament, can never have good success. De malo quaritis, non gaudet tertio Hœres. The Act of the Parliament, 21 Rich. II. was repealed by 1 Hen. IV. The Parliament 1 Mariœ, established the Pope's power and authority, as a string when strained too high at last breaks. It did so in the hands of all kings. It did so in a Parliament. So it may be in a Protector. I am for the constitution we lived under; for building up the ancient fabric.
The noble person that we find in the Government, I know him not; but the character of him, abroad, and here. He has much gained the affection of the people. Not such an one to be had, none so deserving. Not that I am ready to give away my liberty.
I am one among many others, that were guilty of the errors of these latter times, and of the irruptions of the privileges of this House; for which I humbly ask you forgiveness. I was led into this mistake upon a double consideration.
1. Being made to believe that the great work of reformation was not likely to be carried on in this House; or otherwise than by contracting the power into one hand, especially such an one as we had fixed upon. I confess, like a sick man, I have been driven and tossed from bed to board; but now I am heartily glad we are returned into this way; that necessity has brought us back to the same opportunity of reformation.
2. An apprehension I had, never to get liberty or freedom of conscience from this House; but I have been ready to check myself often since, considering all liberty of this kind hath originally flown from hence. I confess, I have a little need of some indulgence in that point. I hope I am on the great foundation of religion, the same with all. I have seen, of late, that those good people of this nation, that are desirous of liberty of conscience, are now more willing to ask liberty at your doors than any where else. I am one of those. The good people that have feared your severity in that point, are now willing to seek it here. I hope the two great interests of religious and civil liberty shall never be parted. It has been an observation in this election, to bring those good men in here again, that were for good men's liberty. I say it to my shame, I have been one of those that have opposed some of those liberties. But to the point in hand:—
This is a Bill of very great weight. I admire that the persons that brought it in, being men of integrity, should be so pressing, to have it pass so speedily. I have exceptions to the particulars of the Bill.
I. To recognize his right and title. This implies an establishment, a right already. I am afraid that word carried too much in the late Petition and Advice. I beg your pardon if I say amiss. I am sorry it should be driven on in so preposterous a manner. It hath been said, that it (fn. 10) is next the Gospel, a thing inviolable; and so, unnecessary to subject it to the approbation of this House. There could nothing be said more of a Government, than was said of the Instrument. I was of that House; and, by reason of my relation, I had such an obligation to that person, who, I hope, is now in heaven, that it was expected I was bound to be thorough-paced in every thing.
There was a clause in the Instrument of Government, at which I could not but rejoice; a clause to qualify the members, which the last Parliament did rather enlarge than straiten. The qualifications in the Petition and Advice, were very considerable: "men fearing God, and of integrity." When persons speak words in one sense now, and after interpret them in another, it should make us cautious what we should do. Those very words were interpreted, that those only were men of integrity that should comply with that Government. One hundred were kept out, (fn. 11) upon straining that word.
This Parliament went on very successfully: as many good men and good things on the whole, as ever were in any Parliament. Suddenly and unexpectedly, one that is now dead, Major-General Jephson, (fn. 12) made a motion to break in upon this. After this, a gentleman came with a paper in his hand. (fn. 13) He is now in the other House, and well deserved to be. He said he had found by Providence, a paper; I know not where. The poor gentleman was tossed from place to place, down almost as far as the bar, and then he was brought up again. Providence ordered it so, as brought him to his place, near the chair.
Some gentlemen spoke twenty times a day, posting all, like the formality of a Bill. At length, it must be done. It could not be done by way of Act. That expects too great deliberation. Therefore, it must be done by the readiest way, by way of Petition and Advice. Necessity drives it on. It must pass. I saw the Bill before it came in. It was for making King, Lords, and Commons; and it prayed the Protector to assume kingly government. It was an ill precedent, that it was not in the power of the Parliament to give, but he must assume.
II. As to the body of the Bill, "Whereas his Highness became Protector by the death of his father." A strange expression, Sir. He did not do so. He became so, if he be so at all, by the Petition and Advice, by the declaration or nomination of his father, or a proclamation from the Council. He became so "by the death of his father!" This is, tacitly, to admit his title hereditary. Why so did King Charles on the death of King James; and this brings in hereditary government by a side wind. I believe, for all that, he would be glad of your sanction or establishment.
Oh! but he had many addresses, and he would magnify his office. I would not lay much stress on the addresses. If the King of Scots had landed at Dover, and had a force, he might have had as many addresses, and by another sort of people. Such are easily obtained. (fn. 14) The people are like a lock of sheep. I shall not here insist upon the horrid and intolerable flatteries in most of them. I commend the dis cretion of the Intelligencer, that has husbanded them so well as to have our allowance for every week, and not yet to have done with them. But the blasphemies in them are intolerable. Naylor was committed and whipped for lesser blasphemies than those in the book. I shall for example sake propound them to the Committee for Religion, that there they may receive discountenance and a check. (fn. 15)
I perceive there is a great design to settle things in a hurry. To that end we are affrighted with dangers from Holland. But, thanks be to God! London Bridge is between us. You may sit here two or three months without danger of the Dutch. I wonder that was not used as an argument when the Long Parliament was dissolved. I ask your pardon for it. The seamen minded not who was at their backs, but who went before. A more honourable war was never undertaken than that with the Dutch, and yet, in the midst of that war, that House was broken. (fn. 16)
After, the little Parliament was dissolved, when that very affair was in hand. Yet that Parliament then was dissolved, and the war went on. I wish that peace, when it was concluded, had not been made upon very carnal and bad grounds. There was an interregnum for a month.
I wish your Bill had been a Bill of Recognition for the Army; forty weeks pay behind, as I am informed. This had been a good argument, if it had been to recognize the soldiers, and to move for something of relief for them. I do not think the recognizing the Protector will sink one Holland ship, or affright one enemy. Your men and monies must do it.
There is no need of a previous vote. This previous vote will hereafter come into the Bill, and will work in time. Let us not, as we have done, play an after game. The importunity of passing it so hastily, makes me jealous. Experience tells me it is contrary to what wise men do. Oh! but the Protector is a good man ! What should we fear ? Give us good laws rather than good men. I will trust more to good laws than to the best men. These are snares. We had a good man before; we all thought so: but he had his temptations. God hath left it upon record that he did not answer all the trust that was put in him.
A good man had a loving child, and this good man would settle all upon this loving child. A year after we find this good man sitting in the chimney corner. Every thing then sets off the love of the child; if he give him but a pittance for a pound, he is a good child. But when I settle my estate upon, my child, though never so good, he shall take my estate with a schedule; a plain bargain annexed unto it.
In the last Parliament there was a thing called the "other House." Never was any thing brought in with more sugarsweet and plausible words. It shall be a. check upon restraint of liberty of conscience. There shall be no bringing in of the old nobility. This makes me suspect we are going to the same things. I thank God I was none of those that gave it my vote. It died at first and was buried; but in the next session it rose up again, as I have good cause to know. Then, it seems, it was judged a Lord's House, except for some limitations. I thought it was not a Lord's House, but another House. But for my undertaking to judge this, I was sent for, accused of perjury, and outed of a place of 600l. per annum. I would not give it up. He told me I was not apt: I, that had served him fourteen years, ever since he was captain of a troop of horse, (fn. 17) till he came to this power; and had commanded a regiment seven years: without any trial or appeal, with the breath of his nostrils I was outed; and lost not only my place, but a dear friend to boot. Five captains under my command, all of integrity, courage, and valour, were outed with me, (fn. 18) because they could not comply; they could not say that was a House of Lords. Divers in this House are sufferers of the same kind. When you come to settle the militia, I shall make use of it, that you may consider your old servants, and not leave the single person the judge; not place it where the army and officers may all be blown away by the puff and breath of one man.
Who then shall be judge of this important matter. Westminster Hall knows it as well as A. B. C. that the judges were of different opinions lately, both in the North and in the West, and perhaps they will be doubtful whether a Chief Magistrate in a state be the same with a King upon his throne. One jury may find for the Protector, another not.
I think you have as able and learned judges as ever sat upon the benches; yet they are men: interest has swayed them, as it has swayed me. I am ashamed to tell you how far fear, respect, and hope of preferment have made me swerve from what my conscience thought just. Perhaps others may be subject to the like infirmities. Coney's case I will not judge. Learned men were carried to the Tower, as it was told you. A gentleman imprisoned could not get a lawyer to plead for him. (fn. 19)
The Judges in the King's time, I will not say they were perjured, but there are great temptations where the sword and where the money lie. Has not a single person power to put out or in those that will not judge for him ? If a judge will not judge to-day, he shall be no judge to-morrow.
But how shall the judge determine what is the power of the Chief Magistrate ? Is the law so dear in that point ? I own the law, and hold all that I have by it; but do the laws determine where the militia and the negative voice shall be ? If determined, what was the reason of all the late wars ? Either the law is not dear, or interpreters have been biassed. Latter ages have smarted for what it is said our ancestors did, in not meddling with a debate on the negative voice.
If they do not judge according to the old law, they must judge by the Petition and Advice, and should they so judge, that will go a great way indeed; for by deductions and consequences, merely from the oath, he would make us to swallow the whole Petition and Advice, even the Lords' House to boot, and for not doing that I was esteemed perjured.
I shall not say the Petition and Advice was unduly, but unseasonably and importunatdy obtained. I would rather choose my habitation under the most arbitrary Government in the world, than under this Petition and Advice without its being amended.
He hath 130,000l. per annum settled upon him, besides 60,000l. more. This is at his disposal. (fn. 20) He is sworn, indeed, to follow advice of his council; but I will speak nothing how easy a council may be swayed. He hath an army of forty or fifty thousand soldiers to assist him, besides a navy. Was the King's militia ever to be compared to this ? to a standing army, (fn. 21) all depending upon the breath of his nostrils, and with 1,900,000l. per annum to gratify them, be sides their pay ? The militia in old times was nothing to this. Those were men of interest and estates, that would not be easily biassed; gentlemen of quality, who had not any pay; not to be compared to a standing army, which may be swayed. Besides all this, he hath power also to confer what honours or powers he pleases, places, monies, and what not. I hear a rumour that the army thought they should have a General. They made some address. It was ill resented.
Ay, but you have the purse. But, indeed, he may live without you, for all that. If he be a little straitened, it is but making a peace with Spain, or retrenching his army a little, and he may. make a pretty chest, to live without your purse.
Power may alter good men. He has a negative upon you, you may be dissolved to-morrow. What power have you ? Ah! a Chief Magistrate with such a power and a negative voice, who would have ever thought to have seen this?
Sir, why should we, by such a vote as this, give away that in gross, and by wholesale, which we must expect to beg again by piecemeal ? We shall have to go and say, "We beseech you, as an act of grace, give the poor Commons a little of their own." We gave him a talent, and perhaps after much and humble entreating, he will return us a farthing; and when we get any thing, we must still pay dearly for it.
I am sorry to transgress, by my long speech, the wholesome rules you gave us at your chair. (fn. 22) Upon the whole matter, I humbly move, that you refer the whole to a Committee of the whole House, to consider of such qualifications as are fit to be added to it; and be not entangled with a vote. If this may not be, then make the. previous vote, as was said before.
Mr. Cartwright. To add any qualifications will not be for the Protector's advantage; because then it may be taken away again; nor for the people's advantage, because, before, the Protector governed by his own will. Then comes the Petition and Advice, and limits him to govern according to the laws. This question says he shall not govern but as this House shall agree. Now, suppose, before you have qualified him, he should dissolve us. Then he will be left to govern us by will as before, therefore, it were better to let him stand as he does. I would have a previous vote, that nothing shall be of force that you now pass, till all shall be agreed on.
Colonel Fielder. It is a mistake to say we are not now governed by law. As to the objection that it was not a free Parliament; if this be void, then others are also void. I hope this Petition and Advice will hold as a law, though in some things imperfect. If it be a law, it must have the formalities of repealing it. Add to it what you please. I would part with none of that.
There is nothing clear in the Petition and Advice to limit the negative voice, but that of money; which your Chief Magistrate will stand more need of than you will do of laws; having the old laws. I move to have the words added, "according to the Petition and Advice."
Mr. Knightley. I am sorry to hear that doctrine, that the Petition and Advice is the foundation of your rights, rather than Magna Charta, (fn. 23) the statute De Tallagio, (fn. 24) and the Pe tition of Right. (fn. 25) I would not have it named. Haply you will think it fitter to pass it in silence than to arrange it here. I would have those words left out.
Sir Henry Vane. (fn. 26) I know very well the great disadvantage that any person suffers, that in this great and grave assembly shall, at this time a day, offer you any thing. You have spent three, days in the debate, and it is not unsuitable to your wisdom to be yet on the threshold. The more time you have taken, the more successful, probably, it may be.
That which called me up at this time was what the last gentleman said, that is, to do things with unity. At least we shall be at greater unity, if not greater amity, by having patience to hear one another, and admitting the variety of reasons and judgments which are offered by all men. Though a large field has been led into, the thing is very short. Consider what it is we are upon, a Protector in the office of Chief Magistrate. But the office of right is in yourselves. It is in your hands, that you may have the honour of giving or not giving, as best likes you. You may confer it, if you please, for any law to the contrary brought now into your House. I shall advise you to this, as was moved: give not by wholesale, so as to beg again by retail. (fn. 27) To give, will, at any time, get you many friends. It therefore concerns you in this business, to have your eyes in your heads, to look well about you, that it slip not from you without considering what is your right, and the right of the people.
It hath pleased God, by well-known steps, to put a period, and to bring that Government to a dissolution. All the three Parliaments in the late King's time, found the state of things in slavery. I have had some experience since the two Parliaments in 1640, and remember when the Parliament considered the state of the nations, that they found them in a grand thraldom of oppression and tyranny, endeavouring to carry us up even into Popery. God made us see the state and condition we were then in. The consideration of these things would have made us make long sweeps to redress it; but Providence led us on step by step. Therefore, having the legislative power, God saw it good that we should change the Government: but we found great difficulties in the work, as most men were willing rather to sit down by slavery, than to buy themselves out of it at so great a price.
The first thing expected was, that justice should be done upon delinquents; who had so much the ear of that Prince, that they told him he had power enough to protect himself and them too. He had the power of the militia. These grievances brought us to consider where the right of the militia lay; and when we saw it was in ourselves, we thought to make use of it with moderation; choosing rather to use it to reduce the King by fair means, than otherwise.
So well satisfied was this House then with the principles of that Government, that there was then a declaration (fn. 28) drawn in favour of it. I was one of that Committee. I hear reflections as if I changed from that. I think it now my duty to change with better reason. They did think fit to publish that which was to preserve that ancient fabrick of Government; according to such qualifications as might be for the public service. I am well satisfied it was the clear intent of their hearts.
But this encouraged the King, and brought it to that issue at last, that he hardened his heart; till it was resolved to make no more addresses, but to bring him to judgment. But, in the meantime, applications were made to him, still imploring him to be reconciled; and nothing was wanting in the House, that if possible, he might have saved the Government and himself with it; but God would not have it so.
This House then thought fit to apply themselves to the Lords, against the Scots' invasion, and in the great case of justice upon the King. The Lords refused both. (fn. 29) In this juncture, they were reduced to the necessity of doing that which is now the foundation of that building upon which you must stand, if you expect to be prosperous.
When they came to look upon the delinquency of the King, and considered him as an object of justice, it was then declared by them that the taking away of kingship was the only happy way of returning to their own freedom. Their meaning thereby was, that the original of all just power was in the people, and was reserved wholly to them, the representatives.
When the Parliament, in questions as to what was just and right, had gathered up all into themselves, it was disputed in what way the King should be tried. They counted themselves then prepared to grant out a commission to, try the King. (fn. 30) I confess I was then exceedingly to seek, in the clearness of my judgment, as to the trial of the King. I was for six weeks absent from my seat here, out of my tenderness of blood. Yet, all power being thus in the people originally, I myself was afterward in the business. (fn. 31)
The King, upon his trial, denies this power to be in the Parliament: they try it, and they seal it with the blood of the King This action of theirs, was commanded by this House to be recorded in all the courts of Westminster Hall and in the Tower.
If you be not now satisfied with this business, you will put a strange construction upon that action, and upon all that has been done by the General and soldiers. If you, here, will now doubt this right to be in you, you draw the guilt upon the body of the whole nation. You join issue with him upon that point. It will be questioned whether that was an act of justice or murder. (fn. 32)
Brought, step by step, unto your natural right, by an unavoidable necessity, that little remnant of the Parliament were now the representative of the nation, springing up from another root. This had a more clear foundation, being thus the supreme judicature, to comprehend all government in itself. Whether the death of the King caused not a dissolution of that Parliament, as to that doing it then had, and as it was taken to be, I know not. I leave that to the long robe.
It was then necessary, as the first act, to have resort to the foundation of all just power, and to create and establish a free state; to bring the people out of bondage, from all pretence of superiority over them. It seemed plain to me, that all offices had their rise from the people, and that all should be accountable to them. If this be monstrous, then it is monstrous to be safe and rational, and to bear your own good.
It is objected, that this nation could not bear that government; but Holland bears it against the power of Orange. They keep the office of Stadholder vacant to this day. (fn. 33) So do other places. This is a principle, that we may bear it, if we can bear our own liberties, or that we have not the impatience of the people of Israel: unless with the Israelites, we will return to Egypt, weary of our journey to Canaan.
This being the case, we were declared a free state. We were after tossed upon all those billows that sunk us in the sands. Though we miscarried then; though this free state was shipwrecked, yet you have got a liberty left to say it is now again in your possession; else I am mistaken. If it be so, I hope you will not part with it, but upon grounds of wisdom and fidelity. If you were but arbitrating in the cause of a private friend, you would make the best bargain for him that you could; you would so do as not to give away the right of him by whom you were intrusted, but upon good grounds. That which you give, give it freely on grounds of justice. Understand well your terms.
This brings me to the consideration of another thing, which is, that the first government being dissolved, another is brought into the room. Though not perfect, yet, it is said, the foundations are laid, upon which we may build a superstructure of which we need not be ashamed. Now shall we be under-builders to supreme Stuart ? We have no need, no obligation upon us, to return to that old government. I have a vote.
For the covenant with the Scots, (fn. 34) their invasion did render that covenant invalid. They would have repossessed a King and imposed him upon this nation, by virtue of that covenant which they had broken. The Parliament showed that their shackles were broken; it did not oblige any further. That it was famous and had power: that was the Israelites' argument for worshipping the sun and moon. If we return to an obligation, by virtue of the covenant, by the same reason we may return to worship the sun and moon. I hope those shall not sway here.
Lastly, at the dissolution of the Long Parliament, you lost your possession, not your right. The Chief Magistrate's place was assumed without a law. There was assumed with it, not only the power of the crown on the terms of former kings, which hath its foundation and regulation by the laws, but the possession was assumed. You were then under various forms of administration: some that had not the characters of trust upon them, some too limited. Still you were kept out of possession. Parliaments have been called, and as often broken.
This Petition and Advice, which is now so much insisted upon, was never intended to be the settled government, but only to be a pair of stairs to ascend the throne; a step to King, Lords, and Commons. It pleases God to let you see you have not been ill-counselled to wait upon him a first day, and a second, and a third day, to see what he will hold out for your peace and safety; for asserting the liberties of the people. This Bill huddles up, in wholesale, what you have fought for, and is hasted on, lest you should see it.
We have now a Petition and Advice that comes in place of the ancient Government, the Instrument, and all other forms. Yet, if this were the case, you are, notwithstanding the Petition and Advice, in the clear rightful possession of this Government, which cannot be disposed of but by your consent. The old Protector thought it fit to have it given him from you, and had it by your pleasure invested upon him. But, although it was acknowledged that he bad power to get it, yet he thought fit to make it your free gift. It will not be denied now: a presenting this office by that Parliament, and the open investiture of him in your chair, prove it. Yet as to this gift of yours, I dare be bold to say, the thing given was hardly understood. By giving of this office, they gave, in the 16th Article, the power of their own dissolution.
The Commonwealth would not put the executive power Out of their hands. For this reason, they set up those shadows, the Keepers of the liberties of England, as an executive power, to distinguish it from the legislative.
The power of the purse indeed is left us, because they know not how to take it from us. There is no dispute but you have a right to open the people's purse; because Kings knew they could not well take it: but the Chief Magistrate; they would not allow you that to give.
Now, this power and the office were given, it seems, by the regulation of the Petition and Advice; the whole executive power of the late King was all given, at one clap, to the late Protector for life. This being given to him, was not given absolutely to any other for life. Nothing was given him more, only the nomination and declaration of a successor; which must be according to law. So says the Petition and Advice. This nomination must first appear, before we can say this gentleman is the undoubted Protector. Had I thought this had been said before, I should have spared both you and myself.
That which is now brought in, the Bill of Recognition, takes it for granted, that there is one in the possession of the Protectorship; for it requires that you acknowledge his right and title, not that we shall acknowledge his person, and then inquire, what is this right and title ? It is hard we should be put upon that, Let us know what this right and title is that we must recognize. But it seems the Parliament that made the Petition and Advice, they gave it, and we must acknowledge it.
3. Or lastly, by the Petition and Advice. But that cannot be urged, until it doth appear that he hath it according to that. Yet that is only a nomination, which hath nothing of constitution until you have made it. He must come to you for that. I appeal then, if this has not deserved three days' debate. Deserves it not more, to set nails upon it ? May it not deserve a Grand Committee, to convince one another in love and unity ?
It is not a sudden recognition, a sudden obtaining of the first steps that will direct us fairly into the room. It must be on such an unshaken foundation, you will maintain it against the old line. If you be minded to resort to the old Government, you are not many steps from the old family. They will be too hard for you, if that Government be restored.
Instead of the son of a conqueror by nature, make him a son by adoption. Take him into your own family, and make him such an one as the Great One shall direct you. When the army see they are yours, they will be protectored by you.
I would have all names of sectaries laid aside, and righteousness go forward. Let fees and extortions be looked into, which make the laws themselves your oppressors. I have discharged my conscience, and look on it as a special testimony of God's Providence that I am here to speak this before you.
Mr. Gewen. I take it for granted, that nothing shall bind this nation, that is not done in a full and free Parliament. I am not for the humble Petition and Advice; yet the carriage in that Parliament, compared with the old Parliament, is very innocent.
The latter end of the Long Parliament was assumed. They took a thing which neither God nor the people ever gave. It was in the collective, not in the representative. All was null and void which they did. Never was such violation of the rights of Parliament as in that Parliament. They were but splendida peccata, felix scelus. This, in truth, is the fifth Act of meeting in Parliament since that time.
Nolumus hunc regnare. I hear divers gentlemen speak against the Bill; not what they would have, but what they would not have. They would return to a Commonwealth again; to former irregularities. It is. impossible for them to bring that to pass, unless, with an army they take out all the members that are against returning. My opinion always was, and is, that a well regulated monarchy is best. Fieri nan debet, factum valet. For my part, I had no hand in it. I pray God, deliver me from bood-guiltiness. We are like the needle that is touched, wading still till we come to the old foundation. There must be some exceptions to the Bill, else it cannot be committed. I would not have it that the people should be indefinite in their obedience. I would have it limited to the law. I am against a Grand Committee; but would have the question, with the additions, moved.
Serjeant Maynard. A large time has been spent in the debate; the consequence of it requires it. I shall use no preamble. We have had stories by gentlemen of the late troubles, quorum pars magna fuerunt. It is not pertinent to our question to tell those stories. There were great oppressions; delinquents protected.
This was not the quarrel for blood. God deliver me from that. We must go to Mariana (fn. 35) for grounds to prove that the sword could be taken up other than to defend.
The first cause of the quarrel, was not to assert to ourselves a right which was no right before. But justice upon delinquents being denied, it is true, in process of time, these things came on; the militia, negative voice, and tender consciences. You looked upon such things as those without which you could not lay down arms. Such, then, was the cause of carrying on the war, not of taking up arms. God forbid ! I would rather have been a Cavalier a thousand times. As to arms raised to protect delinquents, that could not be the King's act, (fn. 36) only his evil counsels.
It it said force was upon them; the House was then under a fear, and so not obliging. Look back and you will find a greater force upon the face of the greatest affairs. Was there not a force when they sent men to demand their members, eleven of them. (fn. 37)
Our members were carried to the gaol; one from behind me, another before me. I asked if they would take me. They said, they knew not what to make me. I came again, and before I spoke, it was cried I spoke. A Committee was appointed to inquire of it. We had all been voted traitors but for some worthy gentlemen that stood against it. Never was a greater force than on that Parliament. If that nullifies an Act of Parliament, this will be overruled when we are in dust and ashes. All your sales will be void; an ill bargain for your monies, on Bishops and Dean and Chapters' lands.
Who dare say this out of this House, that this law (fn. 38) is void. This is a law as well as all done in 48, 49, and 50, and since. There is greater force to turn out, than keep out. I have had ill luck. No man can say a Parliament is under force, but to a Parliament itself. It must be. put to the question whether this law is law. You will make a conclusion out of a proposition, and not affirm the proposition. If every man should speak it, yet, if not voted, it is not good. It is said, not pursued. It is a great deal more wisdom to submit than to inquire. Some have spoken of the great seal. I know not whether they believed themselves when they said so. It was a rhetorical expression. I suppose it may be verbal, but shall not now debate it. God's will has been done in taking — (fn. 39)
1. It is said by the grace of God, &c. he must be in. I will say to none of these; but I find him in. It is said he did not come in lawfully to be Protector; lawfully, or unlawfully, he came to be Protector. He did become, that is English. Recognize, or agnize, acknowledge, all one. Recognoscere no more, but severally to acknowledge. Huge force told of; but nobody says who did it; the soldiery I suppose. They did desire, indeed, that they might not be removed without their own consent. You did swear to obey the Protector, and yet you will not obey him. I cannot distinguish between myself as a burgess and as a Christian. I cannot distinguish myself out of my conscience. In the Covenant, we swore to God, not to the Scots. You gave me power to put my own interpretation. I would not have gone three strides back if I had thought of that interpretation. Myself and three more gentlemen had that privilege of interpretation. If a mutual stipulation, another thing. What had the Scots to do with the English church ?
I am afraid of delay. It will breed a great mischief; I desire you would pass the vote with limitations. A suspension is not a temporary denial. That objection is weighty, give by wholesale. You are but directing a Committee, not making a law. The objection is clearly mistaken.
Lord Lambert. There is a weighty business before you, of large extent, and of great concernment. The peace and settlement of three nations, meum and tuum, equal distribution of justice, are all concerned in the things before you.
I shall take leave to make some observations on the narratives that have been given you of transactions in these fourteen years. We have heard many relations of particular concerns, wherein, of things openly done, we have several differing opinions. Every man tells that part best which concerns himself most. I am afraid, if I tell you any thing of my own accounts, I shall fall into the same infirmity; but I shall only from this observe the baseness of man's nature. Let us wave any thing which may concern ourselves.
Many things have been disputed, whether this or that Parliament be good. One tells you, all sales of lands are void; (fn. 40) another tells you, another part is void. Many things have been said, but I think we all are guilty, even to our lives, if things should be scanned with the strictest justice.
One proposition hath been made, as to Government itself, that it is all from God. We find it expressed so in Scripture, by that dream of Nebuchadnezzar. He was a great tyrant, with no reason but his will. After him, was another monarchy, with limitations, the monarchy of the Medes and Persians; then the Grecians; lastly, the Romans. All these governments were set up by God. Monarchy is the worst Government; yet, of that, God would not have them to recede from it. Some people are more fit to be governed by a tyrant, tban by themselves; (fn. 41) as, among others, the wild Irish, who provided in a treaty; that they should carry the vermin in their heads, and tie their horses' tails together. Some people, that are more discreet, are governed by a popular Government.
For the transactions these fourteen years, it is no matter whether the militia, negative voice, or delinquency, were the first occasion of the quarrel; or which had the van. It was certainly a complicated quarrel, under all the united prerogatives and exorbitances of an old monarchy, and the defence of the people to reduce it to its just limits. The prerogative began too great, and continued too great.
Therefore, it is not amiss to look back into the parties concerned, on both sides: what party was the King's; what were the Parliament's dependencies; and what engagements either side had to bring such great bodies for their defence into the field.
The King and Parliament were, as it were, the two great general heads of this difference. The universality of their quarrel engaged almost all the world on one side or the other; especially in England, Scotland, and Ireland, scarce a family but was divided. All had their angry divisions, and something of interest, too, bound up in this quarrel.
For the King, it is plain that Papists, prelates, and delinquents, all such as had places or titles, pluralists of honour or profit, and generally all debauched people, (fn. 42) ran with that stream.
For the Parliament's party, an honest, sober, grave people, that groaned under oppressions, thirsted after grace, the reformed party of the nation, that owned their country's service, that had no by-ends, and expected no advantage from the King or from the court.
1. The Papist had his toleration, and prerogative was that strength and source from whence that was to proceed. He had a toleration for his person for the present, and for his religion, it was hopeful.
4. Debauched people expected liberty, or rather license, to exercise their lusts and villanies without control. If any cooling for a man's tongue, it was there. I hope the villanies that party daily acted shall never have encouragement from your chair.
On the other side, there was only a sober, quiet, reformed people, generally thought, perhaps not universally so neither. I will not ask who had the justice of the cause. I will not judge it myself, when God himself seems to have determined the cause. I observed once, from a minister, that the Parliament had got the prayers of a fanatic people, which had got together an army, fit for God Almighty to do miracles withal.
In this great matter every man should lay aside self, relations, and persons, and study to have a Government so settled as may have strength, and a dependance upon the reformed interest and party of the nation. That it may not depend upon such supporters as the King had, nor give encouragement to that party that ran along with the Bang's Government. If that had taken its swing, where had we been?
No man sits here but he adviseth for posterity. Let us not lay a foundation again that may be subject to such exceptions. I do not fear that any man here would willingly advance those old ends, but I see alterations, even farther than ever I expected, not as concerning myself.
Too much dependency upon the Chief Magistrates, will strive to come in here; and when it doth come, it will have its bias. I shall always speak ingenuously. It will not be fit to hide our diseases from you. I hope you will be careful to cure them.
2. According to the laws of the nation. It seems to be a mist over what you may challenge as your own due, the militia and the negative voice. To give from you, what was duly placed in you; after a possession to reject it, is worse than to lay a long claim to it, and never possess it. Consider them well, before you put them away.
There is objected unto us, dangers from abroad, great preparations made by the Dutch. Those things may be pressed too far. Danger from abroad is no argument; yet it ought to be some spur. The loss of time may be ill for the whole nation; so it may urge us to go on with what expedition conveniently may be.
As to the other House, I shall speak to that. It was heretofore frenum imperii, to restrain the extravagancies of the King in those elder times. To balance, was the good that naturally brought them in. They had great interest, and something of dominion. As to that which gave them any thing of interest, and, by consequence, power to protect the Commons of England, I have always approved very well of them; but as to that which gave them dominion, I like not that. In reference to the people, they have done many good offices.
They were heretofore frena imperii. They are now many of them good men indeed, and for some of them, I know, wherever their persons are, their hearts are here with us; their interest (I hope in the opinion of most of them) being more for the safety of this House, than of that where they do sit. Yet they have a negative upon all your proceedings, and may be debarred of their places of trust. Their interest is not so considerable, but they must always have a dependency upon the Chief Magistrate, and be forced to close in with him. Thus they will be rather stimula, than frena imperii. It is in yourselves chiefly to make such a settlement as may encourage a reformed interest, peace, and quiet.
Sir, it is confessed by all, that there is a Government in possession, and by law: but be it never so perfect a law, I am sure it is but an imperfect Government. Providence hath put a prize into your hands, that you may have the ordering of all, to be improved for the good of the whole.
Another flaw in the Government is, that the distributions and elections shall be as this power shall agree upon; another House, settled on another foundation than the Petition and Advice. So that you are now upon three foundations. The law you are upon, requires a King and a House of Lords. It is hard to serve a Government depending upon so many laws; so inconsistent. It will not be a perfect Government.
Upon the whole matter, I think the proper question before you is the commitment of this Bill. Now how shall you commit it ? Several particulars are offered to be added; to divide the question; to put in, according to the Petition and Advice; to be with such limitations, &c. This resolve will stand on your books, and it should not be entered without the equity that it ought to take along with it.
If I should speak in favour of the Protector, I would here say, make not that vote at all. I would have the vote be, that you will be ready to join with him against all that shall oppose the Government, and you will give a good testimony. Whatever you say to him, let the people's liberties be on the backside of the bond. Let them go hand-in-hand. Commit it to a Grand Committee.
Sir Lislebone Long. I will not go far back, as that noble lord. I agree with him in the facts, and his observations, but not that the consequence shall be the same, now that we are delivered into that condition wherein the people acquiesce in most things.
I shall not reflect upon any laws nor settlements that have been. This stands upon as good a bottom. There has been peace and tranquillity under this Government. The vote obliges not till the Bill be passed. That which Lord Lambert moved, did more oblige than the vote propounded. Do as much as you may, without concluding yourselves as to the Government that is a foot. You may debate it again.
Commines saith, after the death of the Duke of Burgundy, a Parliament met, and the debate about the Government lasted so long, that a common enemy (fn. 43) had got half the land. You cannot prevent this better, than by putting this question; but I would have it without limitations.
Mr. Reynolds. We came hither to make this a healing Parliament. You have spent three days upon it, and if you spend three days more, you will not repent it. I would, to prevent treason at home and abroad, make a vote before we rise, to acknowledge him to be Protector, in fact, and that you will assist him against all competitions.
Mr. Scot. There is not a word in the question but what is controverted, every iota. We are not ripe for any question. I hope provision is taken against your common enemy. Your Army are fixed against that interest, at least.
Mr. Swinfen. The chair ought to keep us up to the things debated upon. The previous vote was first, and always moved as a direction to the Committee, be it grand or select. You ought to propose that first.
Mr. Solicitor-General. Every man agrees that it shall be committed. So that your proper question is the previous vote. The debate has been upon it, three days. If this House be in possession of the power, I wonder who is out of the possession. You are ready for a question. It is natural to put that question first.
Sir Henry Vane. I suppose you will have no Committee. If you pass this question, what do you leave for your Committee? This is begging the question. It is seldom but the House will trust itself. You need no preliminary vote. From a Grand Committee you refer it to yourself. This is not ingenuity; to surprise in this question. The whole depends upon the Recognition.
Serjeant Maynard. There is no rule that the question which is firsted and seconded shall be the question. Then it would be easy for two or three members to lead the whole House; but the question must be put upon what was debated.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. The proper question is, that it be committed. You were exceedingly in the right, as you are always. You put us in that way. I believe other gentlemen have not spoken, and will speak yet. I see it is late. Three days have not been ill spent. This is not the way to your own safety, to sit so late. Peradventure, forty or fifty more would speak. I would have this debate adjourned till to-morrow.
Colonel White. I find many members remember the first, and not the last part of the oath. (fn. 44) I hope we shall remember all. I would have the question propounded, and adjourned till to-morrow.