Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Saturday, March 12,1658–9.
Mr. Weaver. I move that the pay of the army be considered. Otherwise, sad consequences may ensue. (fn. 1)
Colonel Fielder. If it be a matter of never such necessity, it. is against the order of your House to interpose aught. You have declared, in what concerns your constitution, you will let nought thrust it out.
Sir Henry Vane. Your army are not able to move from quarter to quarter for want of money. How they are paid, I know not. Their pay is provided till Ladyday. You sit so late, that your Committee of Inspections cannot attend. They will be ready for you by the latter end of next week.
Mr. Neville. I wonder how so much money being every way levied, should not be employed upon the most necessary work in the world. The army are your children, and the people are your children. You ought to take care of them. If you please, order three months pay beforehand. It cannot be better employed.
Captain Stone. I know this to be true. It is not your vote, to order them forthwith to pay, will do it. The Commissioners have proceeded so far, and have given orders to sequester their estates. If you do not this, nought will do it. Some farmers, especially in the country, are 10,000l. behind.
Mr. Bulkeley. You render them but legem talionis if you put them to the greatest extremity. They spare nobody. To seize both persons and estates is little enough for them. They take advantage of your unsettled condition.
Lord Lambert. I would lash any man that drives his own ends and looks only on that, and would do any thing for it. I look upon an exciseman to be one of those; but I doubt, instead of lashing the farmers, you will lash those that pay the duty, the brewers, &c. I would not be too hasty in sequestration, nor to confirm those Commissioners that are not settled by Act of Parliament.
Sir Henry Vane. Make an order that those in London pay in their arrears by Wednesday next, and those in the country within fourteen days at farthest, under pain of sequestration. By this means they are not surprised.
Mr. Annesley. I am against any new word or new way. Instead of the word "sequestration," which is a new word, yet well known, I would have the word "seizure," which the law knows; the Exchequer knows. I am against all extraordinary ways of bringing in money. It is ordinary to be in debt to the Commonwealth.
Ordered, that the respective Commissioners, Sub-Commissioners, and Farmers of the Excise, for the cities of London, and counties of Middlesex and Surrey, and within twenty miles of London, that have any monies in their hands, belonging to the Commonwealth, or due and owing by them, or any of them, by contract or otherwise, do pay in all such monies into the respective Treasuries, where the same ought to be paid, by Wednesday next: and that all other, the said Sub-Commissioners and Farmers, in the several counties above twenty miles distant from London, do pay in all such monies as aforesaid, as are due and owing from them or any of them, respectively, by the end of fourteen days, from this day, upon pain of sequestration, and seizure of the respective estates, real and personal, of them, and every of them, and of their securities, respectively, making default, and of such other proceedings as this House shall appoint, to the end the same may be employed for the more speedy supply of the present necessities of the Army and Navy.
Ordered farther, that the Commissioners for Sequestration should, upon certificate from the Commissioners of Appeals, proceed, upon their default, to sequestration of the Farmers, &c. and their security.
Sir James Harrington. I would have you tender of the properties of the people. Upon any pretence soever, let no man's property be touched, but by a law of this House. I perceive there is a Commission under the Great Seal to sequester men's properties. I would not have us to countenance this, or aught against law.
Ordered, that it be referred to the Commissioners of Appeals for the excise to take care that the respective Commissioners, Sub-Commissioners, and Farmers of the Excise may have notice of this order: and the care hereof is more especially referred to Captain Stone.
It was said the Act of Union was only by an order, and no record of it here. It is agreed on all hands, that if the order were here, it were good enough. The order was notoriously enough published when the Act was made. I suppose it was seen here. An Act of Parliament may confirm a deed of feoffment by a copy. Statutes confirm the customs of London, whereof divers are not so much as in writing.
Here are arguments prudential, political, equitable, and legal. That of prudence is from the excellency of union. All that is argued from that order of the council, confirmed here, is not solemn enough without an additional act.
As to the legal argument. There is nought urged but what arises by implication. It is said they have a being by a law, and the law appoints a mean to that end. The Petition and Advice did not think so, for they intended there should have been a distribution. If that House had sat, those worthy gentlemen had had no dispute at all.
If it be so, that there be no law; if the Chief Magistrate and Commissioners of the Seal may send what members they please, how just this balance is, let any judge. The Commonwealth will not bear this.
As to that of their faithfulness. When your general went into Scotland, there was not a regiment nor a brigade to join with you. All joined against you. I may say they were then your enemies. The poor Long Parliament were instruments that God pleased to honour. Their army brought them to that Union that they now are under. They might have made them tributary provinces; but they gave them their swords again, to the honour of that Parliament be it spoken.
That the Petition and Advice is a law, is sufficiently answered; nor is the Act of Union much disputed. I shall say something to the distribution, which has not been observed. Now if this distribution had been agreed on, the number had not been questioned.
The distribution concerns us not. There is no complaint to us. The people of Scotland seem satisfied with it. What has been urged has been fully answered. I agree that the word Highness is personal in the first article, but not so in the other paragraphs. That extends to succession.
We are one clod of earth. Neptune kisses our shore on every side. We are as in a cock-boat. We swim securely while we do not divide. This will be such a division as that of Polinus. He would divide the ships by cutting them in halves, and made them useless.
True, we have an army with them, and so we have here, and cannot be without it. If we have debates here, we may well believe, that we have enemies abroad and at home; Hannibal ad portas, Charles Stuart. If the sword be sheathed, we had need keep our hands on the hilt.
Put the case. If burgesses that sit for Edinburgh should be questioned by what law, prescription, custom, or charter, they claim, but by the Act of Union; that is, for Scotland to send thirty, but no law for Edinburgh to send two. If you should grant the city of London to send four members, can they agree so many wards to send so many, and such wards so many ? They cannot. No more can Scotland distribute.
It is inconvenient for Scotland to meet together to do this; but It is not impossible. The like is for Yorkshire; so that they have a means to attain that end. You have adjudged that if a whole borough have a right to choose, no new incorporation can come in for a share.
It is said, that they sat by this distribution, two Parliaments. Granted. That was by an Instrument of Government, and they pursued that distribution. It is clear that was not confirmed nor allowed of, last Parliament; because they intended another distribution.
The enumeration is lame. There is a law for the distribution, thirty members. In the law for the sabbath, to levy the penalty, the law supplies the means, viz. by indictment, and so the penalty shall be levied.
The best thing that I have to offer is, the right of the single person. Wherever he sends his writ, the persons ought to come. I take this to be a solid reason. When had we, any of us, this foundation ? Where is the stipulation or contract between him and the people, that a county shall send two, and a borough so many.
Mr. Disbrowe. You have been three days upon it. It hears ill abroad. It is gone almost all England over, and by this night's post It will be in Scotland. What consequence it may be of, that their members are called in question, I leave it to you to judge.
It seems Colonel Fielder's election was questioned, and also Colonel Thompson's for Surrey. That was argued by six council at the bar. It will go hard with Thompson. It is touching the election for Southwark.
Query, what more was done. I had only intimation from Colonel Hacker. (fn. 2)