The Diary of Thomas Burton: 10 March 1658-9

Pages 111-119

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Thursday, March 10, 1658–9.

Mr. Speaker took the chair at nine.

Prayers by Mr. Cooper.

A Petition was offered from Mr. John Herbert, (fn. 1) versus Jack Trevor, touching the Custos Brevium (fn. 2) office. It was appointed to be read on Monday.

Mr. Knightley, for Serjeant Waller, reported from the Committee of Privileges, touching the election for Tiverton, that Alderman Warner and Sir Coppleston Bampfield were duly returned, and Colonel Shapcot unduly. (fn. 3)

It was moved to recommit it. Others moved that nought could intervene till the great question, touching the Scotch and Irish members, was determined. This held in debate till eleven, and at last

Resolved to agree with the Committee. My single negative was to it.

Mr. Bethel. I move that the debate upon the Scotch and Irish members be taken up, and that the persons concerned, withdraw.

The order was read touching the adjournment, and he moved that before they withdrew, they might be heard say what they had to say for themselves.

Dr. Clarges. There is nought in this debate but ipsi diximus. I am of opinion that the gentlemen that serve for Scotland have a clearer right than the English. You conquered them throughout. Commissioners were on both sides for an union. (fn. 4) There was a declaration in 51, to that purpose. To subdue a people and offer them the same privilege with yourselves, (fn. 5) and then take it away, is a clear inconsistency.

Some of those parts stood out, and would not unite, but did deliberate (fn. 6) You did not carry arms thither, to make an absolute conquest upon. them.

His Highness did assume the government, by advice of his council. I shall not dispute the title. Two Parliaments were called, where the members from thence came. One Marquess and two or three Earls (fn. 7) have complied so far with you, as to come and sit with you upon this foot.

We have a statute for sending thirty members hither. (fn. 8) You have no statute to call four hundred members for England. You have laws and customs, you will say. There is no law to call one Parliament, nor for a Protector to call Parliaments. He is Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Parliament is so; and he had no power to call a Par liament, but by that title, and by this consequence you are now a Parliament.

It is no new thing for members for Scotland to sit here. All the objection is, that the distribution is not agreed on, the more wrong to the people of Scotland; yet they are content with the distribution.

For Ireland, they have as good a foot as any. They are united to you, and have always had an equal right with you. He that was King of England was King of Ireland, or Lord. If you give not a right to sit here, you must, in justice, let them have a Parliament at home. How safe that will be, I question. Those that sit for them are not Irish Teagues, but faithful persons.

Your writ is your charter of sitting, else you are no Parliament. If you please, put the question whether the members for Ireland and Scotland shall sit in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland; seeing it is the course to end with a question.

Sir Henry Vane. It is truly told you, they are united, and ought to have a right to sit here. That is not the question; but whether the right be derived according to law. The Petition and Advice gives his Highness power to call Parliaments, but, according to law. Query, if that be pursued ?

It is well this is agreed to be a Parliament of the Commonwealth of England. There is no incorporation for Ireland, as was for Scotland. Admit Scotland to have a right of union, they are not duly and warrantably called.

Proceed first upon Ireland, and if any Irish members have aught to offer, they may be heard, and at the question withdraw.

Mr. Lockyer. The dependence of this business is of greater consequence than the concernment of any person; but, the nation of Scotland being concerned so deeply, give me leave to speak my thoughts.

The tie of that nation to England is very great. It cannot be denied that it is now united to England. There is a declaration and manifest engagement from England, to preserve the rights and liberties of that nation.

When the English army came first into that nation, two proclamations were put forth, declaring they had no intention to enslave that nation, but to assert their liberties and privileges.

This union did most acquiesce all interests. The malignants were no sooner suppressed, but you sent to us Commissioners to treat for an union. They had power to tender, not to make an union. In law, reason, justice, and conscience, then, ought to be given all rights and privileges due to that nation.

The privilege of sitting here as expressed in the Act of Union, (fn. 9) and in the Petition and Advice. (fn. 10) Not only de jure, but by possession we have sat here. I conceive it is a maxim in law that no man that is in possession should be debarred, but by a better right. If they be debarred, it will not only annul all that is done this Parliament, but all Parliaments before.

I have been bred in law, though not acquainted with the law of England. If I have no right to sit here, no Act made while I am here, but is void.

All the objection is that there is no distribution of the members. I take the proportions to amount to the number, and there is no distribution in that clause of the Petition and Advice. That clause is no more plain for England than for Scotland and Ireland. If it were disputable, it is determined by order of his Highness and Council, and by former Parliaments, and this Parliament admitting them by a tacit consent, and the consent of the persons that have a right to choose.

When the gentleman said we did not know yea or no, surely he meant not that we could speak nought else, (fn. 11) but that I leave to the judgment of the House.

The nation of Scotland have been so tenderly cared for by this House, when they had exasperated this nation, that I dare well repose now that this House will do nought to take away the rights and liberties of our nation.

Colonel Kirkley. I shall offer an expedient.

It were a sad thing that this House should rise and do nought. Our enemies would rejoice. To reconcile this, I shall be of a worthy knight's opinion, (fn. 12) to make addresses to his Highness, expressing how willing you are to receive him, and to establish another House; so you may secure the rights of the people.

If his Highness refuse it, you are but where you were. It is no dishonour. I never saw his person, though well known to his father. I and all people have great hope of him.

It is not safety to disengage these nations. If the family of Stuart should make any stir, as they will, then it becomes a national quarrel. I should be sorry to see it a quarrel between two families.

My motion is, to consider in what way you will address to his Highness, to acquaint him clearly what has been your stick.

Captain Baynes moved to the order of proceedings, and was called down by the chair, unless he speak to the orders of the House.

Sir Thomas Wroth, who stood up first, moved to hear all they could say, and then that they would please to withdraw.

Mr. Fowell. The case of Scotland differs from that of Ireland. Go on with that of Scotland first, and, if you please, they may withdraw.

Major Knight for Scotland. (fn. 13)

If you will not admit them to sit, why were they called ? Put the question whether they have a right or no.

As to withdrawing, I cannot, till by your vote I am com manded. I cannot discharge my trust if I withdraw till you command one. If you please, put that question first, whether we shall sit and vote ?

He said, we should turn him out when he went out.

Sir Charles Coote. I could offer you something to the service of this House. We are entered upon a debate which was not agreed on, when the House rose, to be matter of the debate. If you please, go on upon the debate about transacting, which is the natural question. The merit has been well spoken to.

Mr. Hewley. This debate came in irregularly, to divide us from a question, and, now, to divide the Commonwealth. I would have you put the natural question.

Mr. Knightley. I cannot sit still and hear the word irregular used in this House. It is not parliamentary. It was a little too peremptory.

Mr. Speaker told him, under the favour of his worthy countryman, the word "peremptory" ought not to be used in this House.

Mr. Trevor. Seeing the Scotch and Irish members themselves desire it, put it off your hands, though the debate come in irregularly.

Sir William Wheeler for Scotland.

There is no complaint before you from those parts, touching the distribution. We are united, and have equal right with England to sit by the Petition and Advice. They are one body with you.

Fourteen several Acts, passed last Parliament, granted or confirmed pardon, while they sat. I understand not why any should now find a starting hole. I believe we shall do you no disservice. Some of us have spent, and will be ready to spend our time, our blood, our treasure, for you.

Colonel Birch. I was against this debate coming in at first; but now, I would have you proceed. Therefore I would have you put a clear question, that we may freely give our votes; not put both nations together, but Scotland first. I shall speak to that.

It rejoices my heart to hear so much said upon such good grounds. This Union is a return of prayers, put up many years ago. The north parts always prayed this prayer.

I shall say no more to the legal part, but to the prudential. If you turn out the members, think of the consequences after such an union, to subdivide. I hope this House is generally satisfied in it. There is more to God's glory in this thing. than in any thing that is done this war. If they have a Parliament of their own, it is a question whether they will agree to vote with us.

I shall propound a question, if you please, whether you will reject the members for Scotland from sitting in Parliament. Then they may withdraw, if they think fit; though I could offer authority, that they ought not to withdraw.

Sir Henry Vane. There is no such question before you, of rejecting; but questioning whether the Chief Magistrate have power to bring in members here, without a foundation of law.

If you please, adjourn for an hour, and let your Clerk, in the mean time, gather up all that on your books may relate to this question.

Mr Jenkinson seconded that motion.

Mr. Annesley. This of the Clerk gathering out of your books, is a new question. I move to divide your question. You cannot carry on Scotland and Ireland together. The cases differ. I never see you carry on two boroughs together.

Mr. Attorney-general. I was always of opinion that this question came in irregularly. I doubt this cannot be determined, before you proceed upon your first question, and debate it in a full and free house. It tends neither to villanage nor slavery, but to peace and unity.

Mr. Knightley. I am sorry to hear a gentleman that, sat so long in this House for England, should now be serving for a borough in Scotland; and should, insist that he sits upon as good a foundation as England. (fn. 14) And I may well call that peremptory, (fn. 15) when a whole House is charged with doing that which is irregular.

There was a great debate whether the Irish or Scotch members should be first taken into debate. Some moved to adjourn. I came away at almost one. The House sat till almost three, and at last,

Resolved to proceed in the debate concerning the rights of the Scotch members to-morrow morning.

The Committee of Grievances sat in the afternoon.

Colonel Terrill in the chair.

Mr. Wharton offered Sir William Huddleston's Petition versus Dale.

Mr. Annesley offered a Petition touching the excise from Dublin.

Both were appointed to be read on Wednesday next.

I seconded pro Sir William Huddleston.

Mr. Raleigh offered the Petition of Lady Worcester touching Worcester House, (fn. 16) which was read, and referred to a Committee, quorum unus T. B.

It was referred to the same Committee to consider of unnecessary courts, viz. Drury House and Worcester House Committee, obstructions, &c. This was occasioned by this Petition.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I repent from my heart, and ask forgiveness of the Committee, that I was guilty of setting them up.

Lady Hewett's Petition, (fn. 17) it seems, was delivered to the clerk, and by some legerdemain got off the file. It was moved to be produced.

The case of Longe and Edwards was heard by counsel at bar. The Committee of Privileges sat touching Packer and Cooper's election.


  • 1. See supra, p. 20, note †.
  • 2. "Principal clerk belonging to the Court of Common Fleas." Dict. Anglo-Brit.
  • 3. See supra, p. 42.
  • 4. "October, 1652. A deputation of twenty-one Commissioners, from Scotland, came up to London about this time, to treat with the Parliament about the intended Union between the two nations. Parl. Hist. (1763,) xx. 101. "October 8, 1652. Resolved, that a Committee of Parliament, of the number of twelve, whereof seven to be of the quorum, be appointed to meet with the deputies come from Scotland; and that they do peruse their commission, and see that it be in pursuance of, and according to the Declaration of Parliament." Journals. "March 25, 1652. Sir Henry Vane, Junior, reports from the Council of State, a Declaration of the Parliament of England, in order to the uniting of Scotland into one Commonwealth with England. And the said Declaration being put to the question, was assented unto. "Ordered, that the said Declaration be printed; and that all the printed copies be delivered into the hands of the Clerk of the Parliament; and that there be no. publication thereof, until the Parliament take further order." Ibid. See vol. i. p. 12, note†.
  • 5. "This proposition of Union," says Ludlow, "was cheerfully accepted by the most judicious among the Scots, who well understood how great a condescension it was, in the Parliament of England, to permit a people they had conquered to have a part in the legislative power." Memoirs, (1698,) i. 388.
  • 6. According to the resolves, "March 18, 1651–2," these are concluded by "the shires and boroughs, who Accept the tender of Union." Such are "authorized to elect a certain number of persons, with power to the deputies to elect a fewer number of persons, to represent all the shires, and a lesser number of persons to represent all the said boroughs. Which persons are to repair to such place as the Parliament shall appoint, by a certain day, with full power, on the behalf of Scotland, to effect the premises." Journals.
  • 7. In 1664, the Earl of Linlithgow. In 1656, Lord Cochrane and the Earl of Tweedale. In 1658, the Marquis of Argyle and the Earl of Tweedale.
  • 8. "April 12, 1654." It was "ordained by the Lord Protector, by and with the advice and consent of his Council," that "in every Parliament, thirty persons shall be called from and serve for Scotland." Scobell, (1658,) pt. ii. 294. This ordinance was confirmed, 1657. See vol. ii. p. 248.
  • 9. See supra, p. 112, note §.
  • 10. Probably referring to the design expressed in the following conclusion of Art. 4, and which was frustrated by the abrupt dissolution of the Parliament:— "And that the number of persona to be elected and chosen to sit and serve in Parliament for England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the distribution of the persons so chosen, within the counties, cities, and boroughs of them respectively, may be according to such proportions as shall be agreed upon and declared in this present Parliament." Parl. Hist. (1760,) xxi. 134.
  • 11. See supra, pp. 87, 95, 98.
  • 12. See supra, p. 41.
  • 13. See vol. iii. p. 325, note †.
  • 14. See Dr. Clarges, supra, p. 112.
  • 15. See supra, p. 117.
  • 16. See vol. ii. p. 102.
  • 17. See supra, p. 80.