The Diary of Thomas Burton: 12 March 1658-9

Pages 139-148

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. Speaker took the chair, half hour after nine. Prayers per Mr. Cooper.

Mr. Weaver. I move that the pay of the army be considered. Otherwise, sad consequences may ensue. (fn. 1)

Colonel West and Colonel Okey seconded it.

Colonel Clark. I move, that it be considered on Tuesday morning next.

It was moved that 60,000l., raised out of the excise, might be paid over to the Commissioners of the army.

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 John Northcote. There can be no greater matter than this, which is now offered you. It is a strange doctrine, that if our being and safety be concerned, all other things must not stay.

Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper seconded.

Mr. Knightley. Appoint it on Monday; for on Tuesday divers members are invited to the council.

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. Scawen. I move to let it alone, till the Report from your Committee come in.

Lieutenant-general Ludlow. It is the endeavour abroad, to put the soldiers upon free quarter, and to levy money some other way. I doubt they cannot stay till the report come in.

Captain Baynes. If you will but assign the 60,000l. due from the Farmers of Excise in London, it will serve for the present.

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.

Colonel Clark. Your Farmers of Excise are best part of 100,000l. behind, and, if you drive it long, they will make it their advantage to break with you.

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.

Colonel Birch. If you put them upon sequestration of persons and estates, it will be the readiest way.

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.

Mr. Turner and Mr. Trevor. This sequestration extends not to those that pay the duty, but to them that are farmers.

They will spare none. I would have no delay in it.

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. Raleigh. I second that motion. Many of them are pitiful fellows, and deserve all extremity.

Mr. Bampfield. I move against the word "sequestration."

Mr. Bodurda. I move that this be added: "to the end the same may be employed for the speedy pay of the army."

Captain Baynes. I move that the word "sequestration" be in, but make your order that they be severely punished, and proceeded against according to law.

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.

Mr. Scawen. This is no new remedy. Sequestration was the ordinary course, and a law for it; which the Commissioners of Appeals ought to enforce.

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.

Mr. Bodurda and Captain Baynes moved that this order be printed and published.

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.

Mr, Annesley and Mr. Neville moved to add, the Commissioners appointed by law, or by Act of Parliament. To other Commissioners they could not consent.

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.

Mr. Wharton. I believe there is a quorum of these Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament.

Mr. Neville. Some were added by the Little Parliament. There is only alive Moyer, Bernard, and Molins. There were eight.

Colonel White. I move to leave out the word "sequestration," and put in some other word of terror.

Mr. Speaker. It is ordered, already, that they be sequestered. That which is now in debate is the additional order, and what Commissioners shall execute this.

Mr. Godfrey and Lord Lambert. The first order was never put to the question.

Colonel Birch, Mr. Speaker, and others. The question was put.

Colonel Salmon moved that it be printed and published.

Colonel White. I move to enter this: that it should not be put in execution by any Commissioners, but such as are appointed by law.

Sir Henry Vane moved, and it was.

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.

This debate held till almost eleven.

The order of the day was read.

Serjeant Waller. The question is, whether the members for Scotland sit by law.

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.

Again, it is said, the Union determined with the Commonwealth. I suppose the Commonwealth continues while his Highness continues, for he is Protector of the Commonwealth.

Sir James Harrington. You are upon a great business. The magnalia of your constitution is, to admit members here upon right grounds. Your structure must be built upon good materials.

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 political reasons. If these gentlemen should not be admitted, it may look abroad like a breach. I hope it will be rather to strengthen them than to dimmish the Union.

Again, it is but just and equal that they should be represented, some way or other, if it be not equal. I wish it were done more equal; but let it be upon just and equal grounds.

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.

I doubt not, I hear well of him, that he will be a protector indeed to the Commonwealth.

Suffer no such precedent as may make a flaw in your foundation. That is dangerous.

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.

I see no grounds from prudence, policy, equity, nor law, for their sitting, neither by the Long Parliament nor by any other Parliament; not but that there is an Union.

Seeing then, it is for your safety, and that all be satisfied with your ingenuity, let there be an act brought in to confirm them. Let a Committee do it with all speed.

Another part of my motion is, that they be suspended, in the mean time, from sitting; not but the persons are honourable and worthy, and fit persons.

Mr. Hewley. The gentleman that spoke last, has spoke against their sitting, upon four grounds.

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.

Wales was only a dominion, and not as Scotland.

We are now all one body; Irish are natives here, and have all one soul. Lex est anima Reipublicœ.

It is not prudent nor safe to turn them out of this House.

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.

One argument was, that we are laying the foundation of slavery. I hope we are doing no such thing. They have lives and estates to lose, as well as we.

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.

My motion is, that you do nought to break this union. Put the question for their continuing with us, and I shall give my hearty yea to it.

Major Horseman. All ordinances not confirmed by that act were void. This distribution is made according to an ordinance that is not confirmed.

He ended with a motion, that he would have no question put. He was very short, trembling, and to no great purpose.

Mr. Jenkinson. The question before you is, whether those persons have a law to sit here.

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.

If this nation intend to bear part in your legislature, certainly they will be judged by your law; so that the distribution, or aught else, cannot be ruled by their law.

Here was a law intended for their distribution, but we cannot call it a law, till it be perfect.

Appoint a Committee to bring in a Bill, with all speed. In the mean time, I cannot consent that they should sit, upon the point of conveniency only.

Major Beake. As by your vote you may suspend a law; so you may make a law, no law.

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.

I have met with charges against the King for sending letters to get persons chosen, but his power to send his writ into any part of his dominions, was never disputed.

Mr. Bayles. I have observed a great attention, formerly, to this debate, and this day a great noise that we cannot hear one another. It is a sign either men are well satisfied with it.—

Mr. Disbrowe moved to adjourn for an hour.

Sir Henry Vane. If you put such a question to adjourn, say that you will not sit in that confusion, not beyond six o'clock.

Serjeant Maynard. It is not parliamentary to limit yourselves to an hour.

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.

Mr. Knightley. I hope those gentlemen will, in modesty, withdraw. They ought to withdraw. My motion is now that they may withdraw.

Mr. Lockyer. I shall not now dip into the merits of this business. You report what is represented. If you please, adjourn for an hour; otherwise I shall reply to the new question.

Mr. Chaloner moved to adjourn till Monday.

Colonel Birch. The first question is to adjourn for an hour.

Sir Henry Vane. The question for the greater time should be first put. Those that are for Monday are for an hour. The greater includes the lesser.

Resolved, that this debate be adjourned until Monday morning next, and that nothing else do then intervene.

Mr. Bodurda. There is a thin House. I would have all the members in town to attend.

Sir Henry Vane. No question can be put after that for adjournment.

The House rose, at almost one.

The Committee of Privileges sat upon Packer and Cooper's election. It went against Packer by almost twenty votes. I was not there.

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)


  • 1. See vol. ii. p. 366, note.
  • 2. " Whitehall, Mar. 12. This day, the most noble Lord, Edward Lord Montague, went hence by water to the Hope, where the Naseby frigate waited to receive him; and from thence his Lordship intends to set sail with the first wind, to the place appointed for the rendezvous of the fleet, with which he will shortly put forth to sea." Mercurius Politicus, No. 558, p. 295. Lord Montague was soon to proceed, in the Naseby, on another expedition, and to return with a precious freight. (See vol. ii. p. 450 note*.) "Unhappy Dryden," that "tuneful spendthrift," who lavished, as Mason remarks, the "courtly dew" of his adulation "On titled Rhymers, and inglorious Kings," and, as directed by "fear or interest," whose venal laurels "Now grace a Cromwell's, now a Charles's brows," has celebrated, in Astræa Reaux, the auspicious event; when "The Naseby, now no longer England's shame, But better to be lost in Charles his name, Receives her Lord."