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. 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Major Knight for Scotland. (fn. 13)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.