Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Tuesday, March 22, 1658–9.
Serjeant Waller presented the report for Colchester. Some moved against it, in regard it was long. It was to void the election of Maidston and Barrington, and to make good the election of Shawe and Johnson; but specially reported.
The Committee made no judgment in it; but the House finding an express judgment formerly in the case, made the election of Maidston and Barrington void, according to the sense of the Committee, and the other good.
After an hour's debate about it, it was read, intituled "the Petition of Thomas Madrin, against the election of Mr. Glyn." It sets forth, that it was by a letter from a great person, by combination of the malignants, and that he is an infant under age. The poll was denied, and great disorder at the election.
Major Burton. I move that Mr. Streete's report (fn. 1) be heard.
Captain Baynes. I would not have you now go on with the debate about the Irish members; but would have you agreed of a question to be stated, whereon to ground your debate. I would have the question worded, before you rise, lest to-morrow be spent in it.
Mr. Annesley. Methinks you should have a little respect to Ireland, that they should, at least, have the same law with Scotland. They are your own flesh. I do not reflect upon Scotland, but Ireland, I hope, has something to say for their right; and though Scotland cost you fourteen days debate, this may haply be done before you rise.
Mr. Disbrowe. I cannot understand why the House of Parliament should bind up their hands against all consideration of equity, and go barely upon the legal. If the same question be put for Ireland, that they shall continue to sit, will any reason judge that the Parliament would admit them to continue, if they had no right? It clearly implies the consideration of a right.
Consider the ingenuity, only to take one part and leave out another. Do you not, in all cases that come before you, consider as well the equitable as legal part ? Some think they have a legal right, others upon equity, yet all agree they shall continue to sit. Equity is as much justice as law, and will hold as well by God's laws, and man's laws, and all laws, as justice. I would have you not to tie up your hands from consideration of either, but consider the whole matter.
Mr. Sadler. If there be a question that we may all agree on, there need no debate. It were for your service, if I could offer it. I differ from every motion that has been made. I am neither for adjourning, nor for stating a question; and yet I can agree to what has been said in this debate. I am against tedious debates. It is easy to propose what might take away the subject of the debate. As God has given me a body made up of contrary principles, so contrary motions are in my mind, hot and cold.
I have read an epitaph, which I have often thought of in this debate. It was, "Wise and valiant dust, huddled up between fit and just." (fn. 2) So huddle up this between fit and just.
They that sat in the last Parliament had a right during the life of a great person; and if he had been alive, none durst have questioned it. I think, that life being gone, that they have a good title by law: Jus occupantis.
I am heartily glad to admit the Irish to a more equitable right than the Scotch, though the Scotch, haply, have a better possessory right than they. Seeing God, in his wisdom, hath determined this in an appeal to God in a battle, I look upon it as so coming into a Parliament House. The Irish are better Englishmen than I; I was against your question yesterday, because I thought it not honourable, but I shall now acquiesce. I heartily desire, for husbanding your time, you would even put the very same question. I hope there will need no debate. I was so unhappy to think the contrary with Mr. Disbrowe, that rather no right was implied.
We marvel you are perplexed in your debate when you are implexed in your results. My short motion is, without any more ado, to put the same question, and debate it not at all. But, if you come to spend days in it, and then wave just, and right, and fit, whether is this for your honour, or no. I think you may justly, for this time, make a standing rule, that a debate shall not last above two or three days; yet it is not your unhappiness that there are different principles. It agrees with the temperamentum and pondus justitiœ.
Mr. Sadler went on and said; he was sorry to make use of that part of Scripture, "Hear some men gladly." Those that would enslave you, to hear them gladly. I am sorry that you have so much impatience to hear me. I would have you make a standing order, that this debate shall not hold you above ten days, if you will not make that your question, which I formerly propounded.
Mr. Godfrey. I move, not to go so fast, to come to a question before you have had any liberty at all to debate the right. Till then, you will find that you will be but hindered in your debate. I would not have it appear on your books, that the question differs; if, upon the debate, it appears to be the same, or alike. I would that your proceedings be uniform, that the debate may be adjourned in general; that your debate shall be, touching the sitting of the members returned to serve for Ireland.
Mr. Scot. Though you see your former evils, yet you will shipwreck upon the same mischief. What variety of debate were we led into? You were pleased to say yesterday, that, but that you were tied up to the first question, yet you were free to propound another question. As to the right, ubi eadem ratio, eadem lex. No question but the Irish members have a natural right. They skin off your skin, and if once the legal right were over, the other right would be admitted in an hour's debate. Jure dato. that granted, the business is at an end, as to all future debate. For men to think to carry it by vote, and not by reason, is no good foundation for a right. To huddle up just and fit together. Do that which may justify you before the world. I would have the Parliament of England speak plain English, and not go by implication, that the Chief Magistrate may know what he has to do. Dark foundations leave things dangerous. If your militia and negative voice had not been upon such a foundation, laid in the dark, you had had no war. The same question will be revived next Parliament. I owe more honour to the Parliament of England, than to any single, or other person whatsoever. Let the Parliament be thanked for it, and not the single person.
Colonel Birch. It is against the order of the House to refleet upon your debates; to say. they are carried by votes, and not by reason. I think all your results are carried by reason. I would not have you proceed upon the legality, which is but one reason; not the tenth part of the reason. Let your debate be upon the sitting of the members. For the other part, I leave it to you.
Mr. Weaver. 1 did not reflect upon your results, but advised that they might be carried by reason, and not by vote; and so do I advise. For the other part of the motion, I would have you go upon the legal part. It was moved yesterday and to-day. You know what debate the word "concerning," cost you.
Mr. Attorney-general. If you engage yourselves in this debate, to carry it on thus in parts, I know not when you will end. I would have it go as general as may be. I expected some healing question from Mr. Sadler. We are brethren. I would have us (as was moved) agree together in unity. We all agree there is some lameness and defect in the law. Let it be amended. 1 would have all these debates ended in one Bill, that we may go on to the settlement of the Commonwealth; and would that you have the honour of it. If you admit it upon the legality, you go but upon one reason. I would have it go in the general.
Sir Henry Vane. If it be carried in the negative, that they have no right, I question whether any vote of yours can make them members. If they be not legally sent, you cannot make them legal. Let it be admitted that they have no right, and none will oppose bringing in a Bill.
Ireland was but a province. They had power then to have a Parliament, (fn. 3) and the royal assent came from hence. They are still in the state of a province, and you make them a power, not only to make laws for themselves, but for this nation; nay, to have a casting vote, for aught I know, in all your laws. Such a high breach of Parliament never was, like this of the Chief Magistrate imposing members upon you. It changes the very constitution of a Parliament of England. You make yourselves a General Council, and cease to be a Parliament. How, then, can you carry on the settlement intended? There will still be a worm at the root.
Mr. Trevor. I rise not to speak to the matter of the debate. Ireland is not now a province, as it was when it was conquered. They are all Englishmen there. (fn. 4) Will you have Scotland to impose laws upon Ireland, and they have no power in the legislature in themselves? I would have you go upon the debate in general, and not debate any particular.
Mr. Reynolds. Seeing you are an English Parliament, let us speak plain English. It was told you, that the Chief Magistrate had a prerogative right to send for three hundred members from Scotland and Ireland. I say it is a fundamental right of an English Parliament not to be imposed on. I cannot consent to put it upon the sitting; but upon the legal right, I shall.
Lieutenant-general Ludlow. That gentleman is mistaken. If you adjourn generally, you are as much bound to put the question concerning the right as you were to put it upon the continuance; for this was first moved.
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon. I move to debate upon the general, and not to go upon the right. How many questions will rise if you go by these steps. Every man will take a liberty to speak over again. I would advise it, together, in the same manner as formerly, in the case of Scotland.
Mr. Bodurda. I have not that faculty, (fn. 5) as Sir Henry Vane, to speak to the order, and go into the whole matter, and say whatever can be said to it. I would have the debate adjourned, generally, upon the sitting.
Mr. Sadler. I am against the word "right." If, in the affirmative, it pass, you wrong the Scotch. If in the ne gative, then you wrong yourselves; that though they have no right you will admit them to sit, be it upon prudence or otherwise, it is not honourable for you.
I move to change your question quite; and instead of "concerning," insert "about," because it is the way about; and instead of "right" put in "wrong;" and so make it "about the wrong sitting of the Irish members."
Mr. — (fn. 6). I move that the question be, whether they have a legal right or no. I hope it will not be admitted to be in the power of the Chief Magistrate to impose members upon you, as he pleases.
Major Ashton. You are, yourself, under favour, mistaken in the orders of the House. You can raise nought out of the former debate when Scotch and Irish went together, but what rises out of the debate to-day.
Mr. Reynolds. You did very justly and truly state it. That which was first and second, and twentieth, was upon the legal right. You cannot but do the House that right as to put it upon the right, or, at least, whether it shall be put or no, and so let us rise.
The House was but thin, rose at two. Sir Arthur Haslerigge was not at the House to-day. The Chair's severity was much noted. He answers almost every body. (fn. 7)