Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Monday, March 28,1659.
Colonel White. Upon the Petition and Advice, by the clear letter, you are to bound these persons. I desire that any of the Long Robe would answer that objection. Therefore I would have that addition of bounding and approving put first.
Mr. Poole. I am against the bounding and approving, because I am against the question. It is not in your power to bound them, nor need you bound them. There is a constitution of a House of Lords, that is bounded by the laws of the kingdom. It is vain for you to go about to bound some of these men. They are boundless, and have trampled upon all the laws of the nation.
It is but a mock, an image of a House of Lords. There are persons of mean quality, not gentlemen. (fn. 1) You will set up the picture, the representation, the shadow of a House of Lords, and you do wrong to those that are gentlemen and persons of quality amongst them. An ape is the most ridiculous creature in the world, because like a man, and is not. I should think myself at a stage-play, to transact with a sort of men in gay clothes, and when those are off, they signify nought. We must do as the poor counties out at elbows, that got a little money for the dubbing of Lords'. The Commonwealth wants money. Let them pay a little money for dubbing.
Mr. Bulkeley insists still upon his old objection, about the 1,300,000l. (fn. 2)
There is a necessity of transacting. I hear nought rational on the other hand. I know not what they would be at. Tot homines, tot sententiœ. I would gladly have an expedient, and will venture to-offer one: that some members be appointed to treat with some of these persons. This may be before the question for transacting. You appointed members to treat with the Army, (fn. 3) and why may not you appoint members to treat with those, without owning them as another House ? Other defects in the Petition and Advice may also be considered, as the approving them before both Houses.
Keep your money. It answers all things, and will amend at any time what is amiss in your government. I believe they will release that clause about the money, as also that about perpetuating the excise, if you will but put it in a way to make it practicable.
If it pass in the negative, what can you do ? Not that I say but you may sit, but you will sit in one another's light. As the question is, I cannot be for it; and yet I tremble to be against it. Therefore think of some members to treat, not as a Committee. Tell them your difficulties. There is something surmounting them, that you cannot get over it.
Mr. Neville. If you do not transact, no doubt but a good foot may be found for you; but if you do transact, you can do nought. You are in a sea, and see no land. You cannot give them a power, unless they have it already. You can appoint none to make laws for you.
There is no treating with them now, but as a besieged town, that they may march away with all the honour that may be, upon honourable terms. I wish they were well gone, and that we were marched off also. But I would have no treating with them, unless any will, underhand, undertake to discourse with them; but not to acquaint them with it, as from you.
Sir Walter Earle. I move that Mr. White's argument (fn. 4) be answered by some of the Long Robe. He desires to be satisfied in that point.
Mr. Trenchard. If we rightly understand one another, there will be no difficulty in this question, if it be but a previous vote. But if you make it an absolute proposition, you must either speak, or for ever hold your peace; else, you give away all by wholesale. The poor English have nought left, but that of the did Christians, preces et lachrymœ. If you make it a previous vote, I see no danger in it.
Colonel Morley. I desire to put the words "bounding and approving." It is that (fn. 5) which threatens your liberty.
None of the Commons of England have ever sought them, not so much as by one petition. If they own you not, why should you own them ? Let us not admit them in a plump. Whatever you omit, omit not that of bounding and approving; lest, if you bound not, them, they will bound you. As to that of appointing a Committee, I doubt you cannot do it without transacting.
Mr. Sadler. This addition will not do your work. Your approving and bounding will be endless. I confess, I ever thought it safer for the Commonwealth, for them, or the Chief Magistrate, to take it, than for you to give them it. If God call them to it, he will spirit them to it. If from neither, their own fears and wants will bound them. The wise man says; "The robbery of the robbers keeps them in awe. (fn. 6) " I had rather the sword should be taken by them, than that I should give them it. I have heard it said, that the best policy is to maintain the war in your enemy's country; not that I call them our enemies. I would have them talked with, some way or other.
I know not by what law you can take notice of their number. They may be all Lords by patents; Barons, Earls, for aught I know. I would also know what power they intend to have. We may know it from the Chief Magistrate. I would make no reflections, as those did that said, canis festinans cœcos parit catulos. The last Parliament travailed of them. They are their children, and for aught I know, brought forth them that will bound themselves.
Mr. Scot. We are making expedients rather than laws. We are in travail. I wish we bring not forth the east wind, as the woman did. You cannot send your members to them, but you must own them. There is a rock on every hand.
Our Government, at this day, is the strongest creature that ever was. The Chief Magistrate stands by a possessory right. They are like something. It may, without straining, be said, they neither sit upon Petition and Advice, nor by laws, nor by law of prudence or policy. You are now windbound. You are now a lawful legislature, with a Chief Magistrate, in exercitio.
Consider what another House shall be constituted for, and then calculate the persons suitable to your constitution. Appoint a Committee to consider of the necessity of another House; and that done, acquaint your Chief Magistrate with the reasons why you cannot transact with this constitution.
Sir George Booth. I hope we all mean the same thing, though we differ in the way. It is right that all things be secured for the good of the nation. Some think that question may be so finely painted, that it may have a good face. Others are for the thing itself; and those by their silence, discover that all the additions you offer, will signify nought. Some are right against the thing. I am one of these.
You do say you will bound them; but you must bring these bounds to them, and they will tell you, we will not agree to these bounds; we will bound you. These are but vain things. Make what additions you will, at the very moment of your transacting, you put your bounding out of doors. If your body politic be mishapen at the making, the widening, or straightening of it, will not help it. It will be still uneasy.
Serjeant Maynard. I am of the gentleman's opinion. Those additions will either be a remora, or insignificant to your proceeding. Some that are for transacting, will not be for it, if some bounds are to go along with it. The privileges of the one House and of the other are different. If one wrong another, you must appeal to each House.
You are in a great straight. If you transact not, your business is at a stand. The Chief Magistrate cannot transact with you. He has no foot for succession but the Petition and Advice. But, for that of money, (fn. 7) I should not agree to the question, if I thought it might not be altered. I would not have us lay our hands on our eyes. It matters not to me whether there be any additions or none.
Captain Baynes. Put the additions one after another, and then the main question; and spend no more time about it, now the House is full. I think you cannot speak to the additions, nor to the main question neither.
Mr. Thomas. I move another bound; that for such bills as you send up, touching the bounding the Chief Magistrate's power, they may have no negative in them; and especially in that bill of recognition by you. (fn. 8)
Mr. Goodrick. I confess I am against bounding, but for approving. I am not satisfied that those are the persons that his Highness did approve of. It appears not judicially before us. I would have a list of them; otherwise, I can neither give negative nor affirmative to the question.
Mr. Hobart. I am both for approving and bounding. It is now a month since this question of transacting was moved. (fn. 9) The other month was spent to your honour, being wary in your foundations.
You owned his Highness, rather because he did not come in by the Petition and Advice. You did prudently, not to rip up the imperfections of the last Parliament; but now you are dashed upon the rock, that you must question these things in justice to yourselves, that you may appear to be a Parliament. That does constare tibi. You must have bounding in the question, and valerat quantum. I hope you will never transact, till they receive the bounds.
As you will not transact with one you do not know, so you will not with them that you know too well. Some persons are not fit to sit there. You have been told of major-generals, such as will do what the single person will have them, and of one, that in the head of his regiment, endeavoured to blow up the soldiers against this House. (fn. 10) Not that I except against them as soldiers. That noble lord near your chair (fn. 11) would not have one negative upon him.
Mr. Bayles. You see the inconveniency of a long parenthesis; we have forgot the sense that went before, and now we cannot agree of the sense that should follow. Let us therefore go to the sense, where we left, and put that to the question.
Mr. Boscawen. Bounding is but as cobwebs. I am, therefore, rather for the approving of them. If it should be carried by a few votes, that will not do it. The country will take notice of your unanimity. The persons of the other House have no such interest in the country.
Gold never refuses to come to the touchstone. It is baser metal that does it. If they be unwilling to this, they take themselves to be your betters. It is known they cannot come to it by descent. Those that are of worth amongst them, (not that I say any of them are not,) it is likely they would be content that some of them should be taken out. The greatest part of them are of the Council, and officers, so that that will make your work easy. There will be but a few, for you to approve of them. I hope it will never be admitted that his Highness may bring in a whole House at a time. I would have you first agree what you will transact upon, before you vote to transact.
Mr. Annesley. I would have nought to pass this House that may imply a contradiction. That will clash with your addition as to the old Peers, to put any approving or bounding upon them. They are in by ancient law; but as to the approving those persons, I am for it.
Sir John Northcote. I would not have that go for a doctrine, that we cannot bound the old Peers. I would have that objection answered, whether these be not the persons that are to be approved by this House. I would have the question put for approving. I am for the question.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. I have observed the fortune of the old Peers, that the saving of their rights is the asserting of the rights of these; which is the most destructive to them that can be. It is clearly a putting others in their place, and is setting up a thing that is quite contrary. The saving of their rights is the clear proscription of their rights.
You are upon the greatest piece of prerogative that ever was. At once you give him a whole negative in this other House. You give him the greatest prerogative that ever prince had. While you have an eye to the other House, you overlook one whole negative, and reserve but half a negative to yourself.
The question was put, that this House will transact with the persons now sitting in the other House, as an House of Parliament; not intending hereby to exclude such ancient Peers as have been faithful to the Parliament, from their privilege of being duly summoned to serve as members in that House.
Sir Walter Earle. I move for a remonstrance to be made to his Highness, of our difficulties touching the money (fn. 12) and the like.
Mr. Trevor. We have been two months wind-bound, and till we agree of this— (fn. 13)
Mr. Scot. I move an addition. Seeing you will not bound nor approve them. See now how they will bound them selves. Therefore make it only during this present Parliament. I would have them no longer than needs must. You do not right else to his Highness; for you bounded him, and you have bounded yourselves; and you will have these persons boundless. They cannot take it ill from you, if you make them but probationers. It is naturally known, when men have but a short time they act best; because it will not be long till they must be accountable.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper made a long speech (fn. 14) till the House was fuller of those of his party, and moved to second the motion that they be but for this Parliament, and would have them bounded in time.
Colonel White. It is against a fundamental order to exclude yourselves from additions. I would not have us so much in love with them, (fn. 15) as at first to make them perpetual.
Mr. Annesley. It has been your wisdom hitherto to wave going upon the Petition and Advice. If you admit these to sit, without limitation of time, your saving of the right of the old Peers is clearly out of doors.
Captain Whalley. I move against the addition, because the question against all additions is in order first to be put. It is also a tacit implying that you do not concur with them, but only de bene esse.
Mr. Disbrowe. I move against the addition. I would not have you always tumbling, but come to settlement, and build upon this foundation. If ever you expect your money back again, you must transact. (fn. 16)
Mr. Morrice. We have paid a boon to prudence; let us not leave it now. I dare not say terras Astrea reliquit. Let us not rebel now against prudence, to transact with them, unbound, unapproved, &c. and that everlastingly.
If you must needs transact, let it be but hac vice. Let their patents be only quam diu se bene gesserint; only if they discharge their frust, &c. We shall have no temptation to remove them. It is a hell of hell, that the torments are perpetual. Let them do what they will, if we may have hopes that we may once be quit of them. An evil past, is equal to a good thing present.
Major Beake. It is to be supposed, that by this transacting, you do but transact with them during this present Parliament. Again, if you vote that you will transact with them during the sitting of this present Parliament, be they never such an inconveniency, you cannot then remedy it, nor apply to his Highness, or retire to your own council. I had rather have this House, than none at all. You are not to examine the right of the old Peers, so many as are faithful.
Mr. Raleigh. I am for this addition. I cannot understand why you should pass this vote, without any reservation. It is strange that we should be put upon these extremities. If we must transact, why for ever; why without bounds; why bind up the reasons of those that shall come after us?
There is a great necessity, for the present, to transact, but I see no reason for doing so hereafter. If there were any body else to transact with, I should not transact with these. If we go away, and do not transact, I shall expect nought but confusion, &c.; but to perpetuate them, and make them and their heirs Lords over us, I can never agree.
Sir Henry Vane. You admit by this, that you will have this Parliament to be constituted on prudence. You intend to have some fruit by this addition, and unless you put in the words "and no longer," &c., you do nought. (fn. 17) Either make this addition, or say you have done nought.
Serjeant Maynard. You repeal all laws made last Parliament, and since 48, if you vote this addition. Look into the bottom of it. You exclude the old Peers from coming in, clearly, by these negatives. It clearly determines the Petition and Advice to be no law. How then shall your minister act, that those that act may know what to act, and those that obey what to obey ? By other means you leave things to a right Parliament as you found them. Abundance of laws are under them, one hundred and twelve laws you cut off at once. You will make half one hundred thousand bastards, by the act of marriages, (fn. 18) and many inconveniences. While you leave it thus, (fn. 19) you may save the nation by this means from confusion, and deliver it from its burthens.
Mr. Neville. Your orders ought to be universal reasons: Your question signifies nought, without the addition. Except you put in "and no longer," you will lose by it, for you bind yourselves up for this Parliament. Whereas you are now free to call it back in a week's time. This vote, when you pass it, will be the best title they have. They sit not by the Petition and Advice.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. I find many additions to help this question forward, but none to explain it. I see no danger in the addition, "and no longer." It shakes not yourselves, unless you distrust your senses. I could as ill venture as any man, without an indemnity. Without this addition, what you have done is but like that reservation for the Lords.
Mr. Attorney-general. You cannot put an addition to an addition. I crave it as a privilege of the House, that before any other addition be put, the question be put, if you will have any more additions.
Lord Marquis Argyle. I shall not presume to speak to the orders of this House. This last addition was intended to take away the Petition and Advice. I reckon it, the end of it will be obtained, if you leave it entirely as you now find it. In case, in the meantime, you hit not of another settlement, then you leave the next Parliament to go on in this way that you are now entered upon.
Mr. Broughton. I never thought it worth my while to study the Petition and Advice. I would have these persons (fn. 20) to lay themselves low down before the Commons. It will make them little kings. I would have you use that spirit amongst you, to explain yourselves by these words: "and no longer."
Mr. Reynolds. I like it very well, what we have already got, and tremble at any other addition. I am glad that the House is so sensible; but I would have this remembered, that you may retrench what you have done. I hear they have many good bills. Let us see what they will do; but let us give no ground. I find them called by old laws, and not upon the Petition and Advice; so that there will be no shaking of the hundred and twelve laws. (fn. 21) I would therefore have this addition laid aside, and put the main question.
I think you have got this by addition to bind yourselves to transact with them all this Parliament; but what care have you taken for the liberties of the people, as to the militia, and negative voice.
This very day, by a possessory right, the militia by sea and land is disposed of, sitting the Parliament, without a Parliament. Also there are several members (fn. 22) brought in upon you, so that this is clearly out of your hands, and you can call nought back but what the Petition and Advice gives. You have not the leave to do the least good for the people, without the other two negatives.
Of all things, I would not have this House to seem to have that they have not. By doing this, you bind yourselves, hand and foot, and deliver yourselves up, unable for ever to do aught for the good of the people.
The main question was put; That this House will transact with the persons now sitting in the other House, as an House of Parliament, during this present Parliament. And that it is not hereby intended to exclude such Peers as have been faithful to the Parliament, from their privilege of being duly summoned to serve as members of that House.
Mr. Weaver. I move that a bill be brought in for selfdenying. (fn. 23) That as well members in this House, as in the other, may bring their salaries into the public treasury, or else lay down their offices for that time, at least, while they sit. It will be for your honour.
Sir Thomas Whitgrave. I move that the Mayor of Hertford be called in, to mend the indenture for a member that has been two months kept out; but the Speaker slipped out of the Chair, and would not endure a new motion, and the House rose at half-hour past four.