The Diary of Thomas Burton: 2 April 1659

Pages 328-333

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.


Saturday, April 2, 1659. (fn. 1)


Mr. Grove reported from the Committee to whom it was referred to prepare a Declaration of the grounds and reasons for setting apart a day of fasting and public humiliation, the draught of a Declaration setting forth the grounds and reasons thereof. (fn. 2)

Colonel Terril. I move against the word "Parliaments" standing in the Declaration. I would have it go alone to the Protector: it being against your vote to do otherwise.

After a little debate the question was put.

Mr. Speaker declared for the Yeas.

Mr. Neville declared for the Noes.

The House was divided. The Yeas went out.

Noes 78. Mr. Grove and Mr. Moore, Tellers.

Yeas 104. Mr. Bishop and — (fn. 3), Tellers.

Mr. Reynell, Mr. Young, and Mr. Poole went out with us.

Mr. Starkey and Major Beake had spoken learnedly to defend the word "Parliament," in the Declaration, and that we were bound by our vote to transact.

Major Beake. If they dissent from this, they are not to be transacted with.

Sir Henry Vane. I doubt this fast will not answer your ends; therefore I am against the fast, upon, the grounds propounded. It will be but an hypocritical fast. We have been but beating the bush all this while; but making essays as to recognizing the Chief Magistrate. This imposition upon consciences is, I fear, the setting up of that which you always. cried out against, and disowned for your cause. I would know what the settlement is.

Rather desire the Protector to put out a Declaration for a fast, and leave it. This is giving away your cause. All is lost. It is a coercing the conscience.

Mr. Onslow. This is but to amuse us, where no fear is. We know whose work it is. There is not a word of coercion in the Declaration. (fn. 4) I wish we could have seen some instance. I hope those that speak against the thing, will be more unanimous in keeping the day. The objection being so general, I can only give a general answer, that there is no such thing. If I had heard of particulars, I should have answered them. I know no reproach that it deserves.

Colonel Briscoe. I am at present against this programme; but not for the reasons offered. The business is good; and the better, the more expedition it ought to have; but you have not agreed about the manner of transacting. It will ask you a great deal of time.

Lord Marquis Argyle. It is a maxim in the Church of Scotland, that ministers shall not meddle in civil affairs. The Constitution of Scotland is against requiring the minister to read the Declaration. If he cause it to be read, as Mr. Swin. fen moved, it is all one.

Mr. Broughton. Qui per alium, per se, fecit. You will have some men that haply will not be so active in reading this, as too many things that we have passed. Finis operis, finis operantis. I leave it to you to judge by what impulse they brought it in. (fn. 5) Peace ought mainly to be aimed at. Impose it not, but leave it to their discretions. Twenty times I beseech you, be tender, and do not impose upon gracious spirits. I know what it is to have peace with God.

Sir Walter Earle. There is no penalty, therefore no danger of requiring.

Colonel Okey. The most part of the godly people are against imposition.

Major-general Kelsey. If it pass as it does, it will dissatisfy the ministers of Scotland; They allow no fast that passes originally from the Chief Magistrate. They own no thing of imposition from the Magistrate. Never was a fast kept in Scotland since the Union. If it go, as thus worded, I question how agreeable it will be to the three nations.

Mr. Godfrey. To make a minister a publisher of laws, is to make him a civil officer. The minister's commission is to "go teach all nations." (fn. 6) To clap any more upon him, is to lay a weight upon him, and expose him to snares.

Let the Sheriff proclaim it. I move to recommit it for. that end.

Mr. Young. His late Highness, that was as tender of consciences as any man, in all his Declarations, required the ministers to publish the Declaration, but did recommend it to others.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge. It was also required by the Chief Magistrate, formerly, to read letters patent by the minister.

Mr. Bodurda. I move that the churchwarden publish it.

Mr. Boscawen was against that choice.

Mr. Charlton. This is not barely a civil thing, but a religious concern; and the minister is the proper officer to publish this.

Sir Henry Vane. Be careful how you oblige the Church of Scotland. I plead for liberty of conscience for Scotland, as well as for England. The Covenant was to care for the liberty of both alike.

Colonel Birch. That gentleman has most reason to know the grounds of the Covenant. (fn. 7) I am content to satisfy all parlies. Instead of "require," I would have "recommend."

Mr. Annesley. The word "require," is all the word of authority that is in the Declaration. Therefore I would have it stand.

Lord Marquis Argyle. I should be glad that this question might be a healing question among us. The end of the Covenant is that we may be one, according to the word of God, and the best reformed churches.

I believe the reading the Declaration will not be much scrupled, so long as the matter pleases. If it be left free, it will prove a loose business. Put in constables, churchwardens, and other officers.

Mr. Charlton. I am against the word "recommend." It is to leave it too much at loose. I would have "will and require."

Colonel Okey. I know divers ministers that will be out town, if the word "require" stands.

Mr. Neville. I would not have the Church of Scotland imposed upon, and I desire the like favour for England. Some private congregations would be torn in pieces with wild horses, rather than read this Declaration.

Sir James Mac Dowel. If the word "require" be suitable for England, it will be so for Scotland. If they scruple not the thing, there will be no falling out about the word. I would, to satisfy all, have the word "recommend." I wish all the ministers of the three nations were of one mind.

Mr. Gewen. If there be some that will not own your authority, is that any reason why you should not own your own authority ? To clear it the better, let the chief officers be put in to publish it.

Judge Advocate Whalley. The ministers, in 43, challenged the appointment of fasts to themselves. I doubt it will not pass in Scotland. There are no charchwardens in Scotland.

Colonel Allured. You have passed that which is more strict; therefore it is indifferent whether the word "require," stand or no.

Major Beake. You have a magisterial coercion. Words safer are not suitable to you. These words have been in former Declarations for Scotland, and no complaint has been made. The words have not been impeached. I would have the word "require" stand.

Mr. Reynell moved that the word "require" might stand, and it was resolved accordingly.

Mr. Grove moved an addition, viz. "and also to implore a blessing from God upon the proceedings of this present Parliament."

Sir Henry Vane. I like the clause well. I wonder how it was omitted before. It might have done as well as the clause for imposition. That gentleman might have thought of it.

It was an ill wipe to Mr. Grove who brought in the Declaration; but was a base thing, in that Sir Henry Vane was also of that Committee, (fn. 8) and might as well have looked to that clause to be inserted.

There was added a clause to that purpose.

Mr. Charlton. I would have a clause added, to mourn for the contradictory oaths. A sad thing, if all oaths should be written in a paper, that a man has taken upon every imposition !

Mr. Salway seconded the motion.

Mr. Hewley. Those oaths were but personal and temporal. Let us have no retrospect; but look forward, to prevent it for the future.

Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. This is a matter of that consequence, that it ought not to be passed by without your notification. (fn. 9)


  • 1. Here is a blank in the MS. I have supplied the first paragraph from the Journals.
  • 2. The advantages of "a day of fasting and public humiliation," to complete the machinery of Government, so as to make "the system work well," especially ad captandum vulgus, and as a prelude to additional taxes on a burdened people, have been as well understood, and improved in every age, by the cabinet of a monarchy, as they could have been by the courtiers of a Protector. The Declaration commences with this imposing strain of piety:— "We look upon it, as a duty incumbent upon us, who are set upon the watch-tower, to declare what we see: and, seriously weighing the condition of these three nations, by God's ways towards us, and our ways towards him, and the present posture of affairs among us, we cannot but have sad thoughts and apprehensions of the tokens of God's just displeasure against us." The Declaration proceeds to describe "these nations," as "overspread with many blasphemies and damnable heresies, against God himself and his glorious attributes; against the Lord Jesus Christ, his person, his offices, and his merits; against the Holy Spirit; against the word of God, the only rule of faith and life, by denying the authority thereof, and crying up the light in the hearts of sinful men, as the rule and guide of all their actions." Here was, no doubt, a reference to the doctrine of "inward light," as maintained by the Quakers. Then is denounced, "the growth of gross ignorance, atheism, and profaneness of all sorts; such as are vain swearing and cursing, profanation of the Lord's Day, drunkenness, uncleanness, and other ungodly courses, for which the land mourns." Presently follows a broad hint for persecution, by reminding the magistrate of his pretended cure of souls, and inviting him to become a busy-body in another s matter:— "That which makes these abominations the more national, and gives us the more cause to be humbled for them, is the too much remissness and connivance of the civil magistrates; to whom belong the care of maintaining God's public worship, honour, and purity of doctrine, as well as of punishing all sins against the second table, in permitting the growth of these abominations, by suffering persons, under the abuse of liberty of conscience, to disturb the public ordinances, and to publish their corrupt principles and practices, to the seducing and infecting of others." One of the paragraphs of the Declaration, laments "a great mortality upon man and beast, besides the decay of trade, and the great dearth;" which, "if the Lord be not so merciful as to send seasonable weather, may threaten a famine." Journals.
  • 3. Blank in the MS. There is no account in the Journals of this motion, nor of the division.
  • 4. Yet see supra, p. 328, ad fin.
  • 5. "Some exceptions being taken to some words spoken by Mr. Broughton, in the debate upon this Declaration, "Resolved, that Mr. Broughton explain himself concerning the words spoken by him, to which exceptions were taken by the House. "Mr. Broughton stood up in his place, and explained himself; wherewith the House rested satisfied." Journals.
  • 6. Mat. xxviii. 19.
  • 7. See vol. ii. p. 214, note *.
  • 8. See supra, p. 300, note.
  • 9. "Resolved, that the debate upon this Declaration be adjourned until Monday morning next, at eight of the clock, and that nothing else do then intervene." Journal.