Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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PARLIAMENTARY DIARY. &c. &c.
Friday, March 4, 1658–9.
Colonel Terrill reported from "the Grand Committee for Grievances and Courts of Justice," the state of the case con. cerning Mrs. Sarah Rodney, widow, plaintiff, and Mr. John Cole, defendant. (fn. 1)
Mr. Scawen and Mr. Bampfield moved that the Speaker sign protections for such persons as are called before the Committee for inspecting the Treasury and Revenue. (fn. 2)
Mr. Speaker acquainted the House that a prisoner was at the door. It was Mr. Henry Wroth. (fn. 3)
Sir Thomas Wroth. He is my near kinsman, yet I shall not countenance any of his crimes. The gentleman has moved worthily, and like a gentleman. I know the person has so much worth that he will repair to the gentleman, and make a recognition. I pray that he may not be called in.
Mr. Knightley. I move that for your own honour you call him, and let him find your displeasure; for ignorance will not excuse. If that will serve a man's turn to say he knew not he was a Parliament man, every Serjeant that arrests a member may say so.
Mr. Manley. I move that he may not be called in; for it is not clear that this was a crime, or breach of your privilege. It seems it was done in a time when he could not know what the person was, much less that he was a Parliament man.
Major-general Kelsey. If he was drunk, the law punishes him; the like, if he did assault him. He did not know he was a member. If he come to your bar he must come as a delinquent. I would not have him called in at this time; but passed by, seeing the worthy member that informed believes he did not know him.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. I move that he be called in, and neither have his crime, nor his answer repeated; but only be told that, upon the motion of the person that informed, the House had considered of him, and would pass it by.
Colonel Thompson. I move that the Serjeant take his security to appear when you will call for him. Whatever you do in it, it will cost you this morning, and you have a great business in hand. If you call him in, and have nought to say to him, he will go home and say he was sent for as a delinquent, and nought said to him.
Colonel Matthews, Sir John Northcote, and Sir Richard Temple. It was an error in the dark. Call him to the bar, and acquaint him, that, at the motion of the person that informed you are content to pass by his offence, and to discharge him.
Mr. Trevor. I would have him called in; but you may dispense with his kneeling, as you did in the case of Major Audley, who was sent for as a delinquent. (fn. 4) I would have you tell him that, upon the motion of the person that informed, the House had discharged him.
Sir Walter Earle. It is a book-case. Every man, at his peril, is bound to take notice of a member of Parliament, but is not obliged to take notice of his servants, unless he be told. I would have him called in, and his offence told him. Commit him for two or three days to the Serjeant, and then release him upon the gentleman's motion.
I would have him called in, and remain in the Serjeant's custody. The Serjeant has been at great trouble in finding him. He might have rendered himself. It is not for your own honour, nor justice, to pass it by.
I overtook Major-general Packer in the highway, and another with him, one Captain Gladman. I knew neither of them, but I heard afterwards who they were. There were two tracks, and they kept them both. I desired them, as the course is, to put on, or to let me have one of the ruts; whereupon Major-general Packer turned back upon me and drew his sword. I, in my own defence, drew, and disarmed him. Then Captain Gladman drew upon me, and I took his sword from him.
Major-general Packer rid to the next town, and alighted. Captain Gladman and I came after. I gave Captain Gladman his sword again, and came into the House where Majorgeneral Packer was, and delivered him his sword. He alleged he had lost his scabbard four miles before I overtook him. I wished the people of the house to look the next morning, and I appointed them within ten yards, where they found both my scabbard and his, and Captain Gladman's.
I gave them no offence but in my own defence. I have witnesses here at the door, if you please, either to hear them or refer as to law. I am able to make out all this that I say to be truth. (fn. 5)
Major-general Packer. I think now, I am a little concerned to prosecute this business. I shall pray that you would appoint a day to hear it, that I may have Captain Gladman here, who is my only witness.
Sir Thomas Wroth. Justice should have two ears. You have heard both parties. I would have it buried in silence, and let this worthy Commander and the gentleman meet together to make an end of the business, if you please. Your time will not afford for you to examine.
Mr. Knightley. Sir Thomas Wroth has a horror to see his kinsman here. He has made you a very discreet answer. You are not ripe for judgment. I would not have the gentleman continue under restraint; but take his parole to appear, and examine it by a Committee.
A Committee was appointed accordingly. (fn. 6)
Mr. Goodrick. You took the honour of a Lord the other day. (fn. 7) You may well take the word of a gentleman now.
Colonel Morley. Leave it to the Serjeant to do what he thinks fit. He has heard your debate, haply he will take his word; but it becomes not your gravity to take his word, though there is no danger of breaking it.
Ordered, that Mr. Henry Wroth be discharged of his imprisonment upon his own bond, to be given to the Serjeantat-Arms, to appear from time to time by the Committee's appointment. (fn. 8)
He came off of this business with a great deal of honour, and by his narrative, quite altered Packer's story. It was referred to a Committee, but I believe it will fall asleep in the chair. It will scarce be prosecuted.
They claim it in. equity as hereditary; in regard they have nobody here to represent them. They were formerly held useless. It may be now, they will be held useful. I would have you first make that your question. I con. fess I am for them.
Mr. Annesley. You must keep to your question. To make additions, some offered to the beginning, some to the middle, some to the conclusion: if your debate go thus at large, your debate will hardly come to a question.
Mr. Speaker repeated all the additions that have been offered, and concluded with Mr. Annesley's former motion, (fn. 9) about saving the rights of the ancient Peers.
Colonel Kenrick. I cannot give either year or no to this question. If yea, I doubt we cannot afterwards bound. If no, then I doubt that will be against your former vote. I would have the question so that, as David says, "My tongue and heart might go together."
To the main question of transacting, I move to debate upon what foot of account this other House stands. The ancient Peers (it has been observed to you) have an ancient right. They have claimed from Brute (fn. 10) down to this time. This House are neither those men, nor claim as their sons or any relations to them. The date of their claim is only from 57, on the Petition and Advice; and the more we dispute this right, it is the more difficult.
One worthy Serjeant says all the articles in the Petition and Advice hold forth that his Highness may, by that, call this other House. Another Serjeant is of another opinion; (fn. 11) and the Long Robe much differ, so I have little light from them. It is said, we may compare part with part, and so understand it. The rule is good in explaining Scripture, but I would have the law more clear. Yet there are several articles wherein it cannot be understood of his now Highness; he not then having had a being.
If you add this estate to your House, you and they are all one land. This other House is like ward-land, and will draw on a bad tenure and consequence upon all the rest. If they be unclean, you cannot be clean. No fountain can run sweet in bitter water. Put new wine into new bottles. Bound first.
Mr. Bayles. I see little fruit of what the minister prays for, every morning, and what the minister told us. There is no unity amongst us. What one moves, another crosses presently. Let us come to a question by a side-wind, rather than by no wind. I am sure a contrary wind will never bring it about. The Protector reduced us to a single government. We have now two Houses, and are upon a settled foundation.
You have voted that the Government shall be in a single person. You have voted another House. There are none in this more in love with this government than I am. I never appeared in this House before; but the country knows I have appeared in the field for the Parliament.
I look upon this House as the Representative of the free people of the nation. All here either thus, (fn. 12) or by procuration. If I should give this, (fn. 13) I call all the blood that has been spilt under my command, upon myself.
Mr. Archer. To have transacted with the old Peerage should have had my free concurrence. It was told you (fn. 14) what the old Peers had done formerly, in procuring the Long Parliament, else your cause had perished in embryo.
This new House of Lords consists of swordsmen, colonels, and commanders of armies. (fn. 15) The persons are all either military, or in civil judicature. It is not fit for those that receive public moneys to have a legislature with us. If therefore we should be overruled by the major part, and will needs transact with those men, let us take the self-denying ordinance (fn. 16) to be our rule, and let it go throughout that House. I would have no resolution of ours to bar the right of ancient Peerage, nor to invade the self-denying ordinance.
A part of the Commonwealth has leaped over the door. Libertas is written over the door of some senate-houses, where yet the people live under the greatest servitude. It concerns us to look after that great concernment.
The question now before us is a great-bellied question, (fn. 17) and will not easily go down with me. I am not for laying it aside neither. It is pressed upon us, and necessity is pretended. Many absurd consequences are in that necessity. There was a Spanish Don that burnt his shins by the fire, who could not be satisfied, till he presently sent for a mason to pull down the chimney as a heretic, whereas he might have removed his shins more easily. I doubt we are doing so. I shall offer as an addition to the question, that this House will transact with the other House, when they are bounded and limited by this House, and not before.
Mr. Stephens. I cannot give my assent, to include all the members that sit there in a lump (fn. 18) to transact, nor in a lump to exclude all that have a right to sit there.
I can very well confide in his Highness, and am glad to find one in possession who will rule according to the law, and not by the sword. If I could have the same confidence in those that sit in the other House, I should willingly consent. But I would have a government by law, and not by the sword; and I should fear it much if those men should sit. Losers must have leave to speak.
1. They are many of them military persons. Thus they would have a military and civil sword. There are nineteen regiments of horse and foot, and divers garrisons, besides the Tower of London, all in that House; and a great part of the fleet besides. Lord Lieutenants were always chosen by the country laws, (fn. 19) by the good laws of Edward the Confessor. The great commanders, both by sea and land, and privy counselors, were chosen by the people anciently, in pleno foro. (fn. 20) This is no new doctrine. They that sit there, ought to be by your election.
Many of the old nobility have been faithful and real to you, that you could not have maintained your cause without them. I cannot agree to lay them aside, Salvâ conscientiâ. I can neither transact with the one, nor exclude the other in a lump. Arguments of force, or fighting over again, (fn. 21) or the like, do not at all sway with me.
There is an Act, (fn. 22) by you, to take away the House of Peers. I shall not dispute the legality of it; but it was made with reference to the present government of a Commonwealth, which was then setting up. There was a clause in it, that the old nobility that continued faithful, and their posterities, shall not be excluded out of the councils of these nations. (fn. 23) When here was a Commonwealth, there was no need of them. Now it is suitable to your constitution. Cessante ratione legis, cessat lex.
I move, therefore, for a previous vote, that the House declare that the Act for taking away the House of Peers be repealed, and then vote that such Lords as have been faithful, and demeaned themselves honourably, and have a right to sit there, may be summoned by writ.
Colonel West. I am rather for the other question, than for what was last moved. I would not have the Act of Parliament taken away by a vote. As the question is complicated, I cannot consent. You must transact with all. T cannot ex cept against any of them, but I cannot pass them by the lump.
If any thing make them capable, it is being soldiers. That is the greatest trial of faithfulness. I am not for passing them upon that account neither, but would have them bounded. If you bring in ancient lords, you must bring them by entail; you may as well entail the places of judicature upon all judges in Westminster-hall.
They must come by constitution, and not by restitution; by way of bounding. You have spoken to the nation, you will bound them; you have left rational men behind you (fn. 24) that will expect you shall perform your words.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I am for another House, if you, as the Commons of England, may bound them and approve them. I would have it examined, upon what foot they are called, whether by the old law, or by the Petition and Advice.
The last Parliament would never transact with them as Lords. We were turned out for it. (fn. 25)
They had voted themselves thither, I crave your pardon. I mean brought themselves up, or were brought up. They were intended, doubtless, only to survey laws. (fn. 26)
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. I would not have things misrepresented to the House. I was here last Parliament, and the constitution of the other House was disputed all along, and their co-ordinate power denied still, else we had not been so soon dissolved. (fn. 27)
Mr. Hewley. I am against the addition, especially for approving. I was before for bounding, but that was not relished. It is not for our honour to recede to what we have waved. If we go on to approve, when shall we end ? As was moved, admit you should approve none of them, then you must transact with the walls. They may be bounded as to hereditary, or swearing upon their honours, or voting by proxies.
As to the persons. No less can be said but that they are the best army and best officers in the world. Their swords, it appears, are made of what Hercules' club (fn. 28) was made of. Our olive is an emblem of peace. (fn. 29) Many men's tongues are sharper than their swords. If they had not been good, arrears of pay and other temptations would have wrought upon them. The Judges being there, is no inconveniency. There is but one judge of one bench. If all that have salaries for their faithfulness should be excluded, there may be care taken about that, of the. Lords' Commissioners; or any other inconveniency may be provided for in the bounds.
Colonel Matthews. I wonder that the bounding and approving should be so much disputed. I shall make it out, that by the Petition and Advice the approbation of those in the other House ought to be in this House. (fn. 30) That article was never repealed. His Highness was only to nominate. Clauses ought to be repealed in the express words that they are expressed in the law.
The clause touching trying the members of the House is, in terminis, repealed. This is not so. I would have it well understood if that clause be repealed. Not a word expressed to take away the power of approbation from this House, and it is not only clear by the Petition and Advice, but by an ordinance sent to the King to the Isle of Wight. I have the law here. (fn. 31) It is of force still.
I am for all those persons to be of this House that have been faithful; not that I would admit them (it may be, they will not ask it) to have an hereditary negative upon the people. I doubt we forget where we are.
There is a story of the Bishop of Lincoln, (fn. 32) that when he was committed to the Tower, being in his chamber, he got into a little closet, and his keeper cried, "Where are you ?" He said, "I am here." He cried, "Where ?" "I am just got into a little closet. I am reduced to my first principles, where I was when first at the University, a little door." I doubt we are going up to that little door, the lobby door. We may lose our purse there, in the crowd. I have known parts of cloaks lost. We are going up to our first—
The Instrument of Government (fn. 33) was much played upon, till it was out of tune. We were free, when the people sent us hither.
Sir Richard Temple. At this rate, we shall be reduced to our first principles, all of us. The sum of what he (fn. 34) moved, though he concluded otherwise, was, to reduce us to the first principles that all along he has aimed at.
Sir Thomas Wroth. I had rather sit till to-morrow morning, than retard the great affairs of this nation. I would go out of the House, and say my prayers, and come hither again, to have this question come to a resolution.
It is said, the soldiers have ventured their lives. They were well paid for it. I had a sword once. (fn. 35) I never had a penny. It cost me 10,000l.
Serjeant Maynard, Mr. Knightley, and Sir Lislebone. Long. There is no such order. Any gentleman may, before the negative is put, speak against the question; and it is all one as if the affirmative had never been put.
Mr. Swinfen. The addition takes away the question itself. You are now in debate about constituting another House, and your order is, only, to transact with another House. Other additions were offered, and they must be put in order.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I appeal to all, whether this, being so long and so often insisted on, ought not to be the proper question. Let the question, as it is stated, be put in your books. This question, with this bounding and approving, will not have one negative.
Colonel Morley. I would have none surprised by the question. Therefore, adjourn till to-morrow, and let this be the subject of your debate, with the additions. I am against adjourning for an hour. You will lose all your members. You were but two hundred and ninety (fn. 36) upon the last division.
Mr. Annesley. If men will not be satisfied without this question, put it if it shall be put, and I hope the House will so understand it as that it pass in the negative; and then all your debate is lost. I understand not what this addition will operate. I would have the first additions put first.
Mr. Reynolds. This Bill has had ill fortune. It came in irregularly at first; brought in by a privileged person, (fn. 37) without order. You cannot bring in a Bill to pass a subsidy without an order, and yet, to pass away three nations at once.
I am not against a single person, nor this single person, nor against another House. I am for the laws having another digesting, but I would have these bounded. I would have the question well understood and stated.
Mr. Reynolds. We are now about transacting or trafficking. I would have us first understand upon what foot we are. Similitude is best to beget affections. If those that sit in another House have revenues and salaries out of the public, we sit at our own charge. Either go you up to them, or they to you: so much for the word "transact."
If we rise without doing aught, I doubt it will be the last Parliament that ever we shall have. Make the vote as passable as you can, at the peril of the vote that you pass it singly. Make it as pleasing as you will, it will hardly go down.
Mr. Attorney-general. According to a man's constitution, will be the digestion. That gentleman says he has been sick. It will not well digest with him. It was never known in any age that leave was asked to bring in a Bill to recognise the Chief Magistrate. We are not in love with this nor that, nor with any other question, but only with rules.
Mr. Neville. Your whole debate has gone to-day upon the bounds. If you put a question for adding or not adding, then you are barred from speaking against the question. I would, therefore, have you adjourn till to-morrow; else you will spoil the Committee of Trade, which is a great part of settlement, and much expected.
Serjeant Maynard. By your bounding, you do not say that the Protector shall concur in it. You will also bound the rights of the ancient Peers, which you have nought to do with. All this winding to me, in plainness, seems an aiming at no House. You turn out the old nobility, clearly.
Mr. Knightley. I am for approving, but against bounding. It concludes the rights of the ancient Peers. It was meant in the constitution of the other House, that they should only be for a second digestion of laws. I conceive it is a fair question. I desire it may. be put with the additions offered.
Sir George Booth and others moved to adjourn, and the House was adjourned accordingly; and rose at past one, and the debate adjourned till to-morrow morning at eight of the clock, to be then proceeded in, and that nothing else do then intervene.
The Committee for approving Ministers, (fn. 38) sat in the Speaker's chamber.