The Diary of Thomas Burton: 6 April 1659

Pages 350-361

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Wednesday, April 6, 1659.


Mr. Hewley reported from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, the state of the case, concerning the election of burgesses for the borough of Castle-Rising in Norfolk. (fn. 1)

Resolved, that this House doth agree with the Committee, that the poll, taken in manner and form, as is contained in the said report, was not legally taken: and that the said election, for and in default of a due poll taken, is void.

Resolved, that a new writ be issued, for the election of two burgesses, to serve in this present Parliament, for the borough of Castle-Rising in the County of Norfolk; the former election being adjudged illegal and void; and that Mr. Speaker do send his warrant to the Clerk of the Commonwealth in Chancery, for the issuing of a new writ, for the election of two burgesses to serve for the said borough of Castle-Rising, accordingly.

Resolved, that, notwithstanding the day appointed for calling over the House, Sir John Northcote shall have leave to go into the country for one month.

Resolved, that Tuesday sevennight be appointed for the House to determine the cause concerning Mr. Henry Neville and Mr. Strowde, late Sheriff of the County of Berks.

The House resumed the debate of the matters under consideration at the adjournment, yesterday.

This out of the Journals. I came late.

It seems the ceremony of address to the other House had been taken up, and divers had spoken to it, (as Mr. Bacon told me;) some to the cap, (fn. 2) others to the tide, whether lords or sirs. Others to have some of the judges attend us, to go on errands for us, as well as for them.

Mr. Neville. Put it in a Grand Committee, to consider of all these things. The case is new. You have not resolved to give them a legislative power. You intend only that they should be, hac vice. I would have their bounds accordingly.

Mr. Trevor. I would have all upon one footing, as to ceremony.

Mr. Scot. I second Mr. Nevill's motion for a Grand Committee. Ceremony is sometimes the essence. The boné is as necessary, as the bonum. (fn. 3) You are, at least, co-ordinate with them. They are rather inferior than superior: but a swarm from you. You are the mother-hive. They are but a rib from your side.

I would have it considered whether you will send by your own members, or have Masters of Chancery attend you to go on errands as they do; and have chairs set for your messengers. I hope you will not restore those that are but two years old to have all the privileges of the old Lords. I would have your honour preserved. This is an untrodden path. You must make the way.

Mr. Chaloner. You are how to treat with another House; different from the former. (He told the manner how it was addressed formerly.) I am against leaving it to the discretion of a member. I would have the honour of this House preserved. Debate it in a Grand Committee.

The two Houses sat anciently in the Court of Wards, together. (fn. 4) Why may not the Masters of Chancery go on your messages as well as theirs. (fn. 5) They have a black rod. Your mace is as good.

Mr. Bacon. You have saved the rights of the old Lords. They will not come in upon other terms than formerly. We are inclining to Quakerism, (fn. 6) I think. If it be heard abroad, they will say, we are very high spirits. It is religion to be civil. Will any go but bare to a court? There is not that in it, that is made of it.

Captain Baynes. There is a difference between us and private persons. Ambassadors are not bare before princes, because they represent their masters; so does any member represent you. Those persons are rather subordinate to you. You are their masters, and pay them salaries.

Make it your first question whether you will receive any messages from them but by members of your own House. If they send by Masters of Chancery, send you also by them; and agree in what manner, and where you will meet in some equal place.

Mr. Charlton. A convocation has been called a Parliament. You have not agreed what you mean by "transact," nor by a "House of Parliament." They may be a convocation, and only designed as a convocation for matters of religion.

These things are of as high concernment as any thing can be. I would have it debated in a Grand Committee. If you send as superiors, or equals, or inferiors, this precedent will be to posterity. Consider whether you will transact with them as Peers.

Mr. Starkey. I cannot believe you ever intended to transact with them, only as to advise and consult with them. We are agreed of the substance. I hope we shall not fall out about the ceremony.

Some gentlemen ground their novelties upon antiquities. Anciently I find the magnati (fn. 7) were the Parliament. There are no footsteps of the Commons. The Petition and Advice gives directions in this, though not in terminis, but implied. His Highness is bound there to maintain the preeminence of the Parliament, which implies it must be according to the old form; there being nothing expressed in the law.

It is not reasonable that a punctilio should destroy us in our intendment of transacting with them upon a co-ordinate power.

Appoint a gentleman to carry this up, and leave it to his discretion.

Colonel Bennet. I take transacting to signify a legislative power with us, but cannot consent to the former ceremonies. We have a power of altering former ceremonies. I can remember when it Was debated in this House how we should transact with ambassadors. What they expect from us, let us expect as much from them. We represent the lives, liberties, and estates of three nations: they can represent no more. I would fain have things at an end, and not hang them by the eyelids thus. It is no less than a judgment upon us. Yet I would have it in a Grand Committee.

Sir John Northcote. I was against transacting; but now you have voted them a court, you must pursue the ceremony fit for a court. As to that of calling them Lords, you have not yet agreed.

The reason of the ceremony of the cap, (fn. 8) since Edward III.'s time, was because of the King's children being in that House, which now are not.

Mr. Boscawen. I am against a Grand Committee, for saving time; but would not have you send your own members. If such kind of people as Masters of Chancery come on their messages, send your clerk, Mr. Smith, (fn. 9) who is one of the Long Robe, and a fit person.

Mr. Stephens. I was and am for the old Peers; but not for the old line. If the old Peers were there, I should not be against that ceremony; but if you intend to own these as the old Peers, I cannot consent. There is a great deal in the ceremony. I would have your clerk sent to acquaint them that you desire a Committee of your's may meet a Committee of their's; or else debate it in a Grand Committee.

Mr. Attorney-general. I have known the Speaker leave the Chair, and the whole House to go. The Speaker of that House and several members come down to the bar, and there meet members of your own. Though you appoint but one to go, divers other members go. When you go to them as a court you go uncovered, so do they to you; but when you meet upon conferences, I would have you equal with them, both as to being uncovered and sitting, as they do. I would have this sent up now, and appoint a Committee afterwards, to consider of your manner of transacting.

Colonel White. You go not as private persons; but as one court to another court. I would, therefore, have the same ceremony and respect observed by one as by the other; they being, at best, but co-ordinate.

Mr. Morrice. I should be sorry our's should carry any analogy with what the Apostle says, that we should set up an idol of wood and sacrifice to it; (fn. 10) like as a mistress, who formerly gave commands to her servant, by espousal makes him her master.

When the Carthaginians had delivered up their elephants and galleys, Hannibal told them, they should have considered of the terms before they delivered them up. It had been more seasonable to have observed these. It is too late now It was the sad fate of Cassandra's (fn. 11) prophecies, never to be believed till fate had forestalled them. The die being cast, we cannot alter our chance. We must play our game as well as we can. They may now be employed as a second convention. To give them a consultative, will imp your wings; but to give them a negative, you will be like a bird in a string. You may flutter, but cannot fly higher than they will suffer you.

"Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." (fn. 12) I shall not dispute ceremonies, so you will care for the substance. It is all one to me, a King of Tuscany, or a King in Tuscany. All is one, between Lords "in a House," and "of a House." I would have us, in all things, meet with them in a plain manner, and do as they do.

The stem is of as great an honour as the graft. The Commons supply the graft, they are the root. Transact in all things wherein they may advise and digest it. The fruit receives amelioration by the second concoction.

Either send this by your clerk, or appoint a Grand Committee to consider of your ceremonies.

Mr. Godfrey. I except at what he made use of, as to a Scripture allusion. "Thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." I would not have us lightly to make use of Scripture. The root is Christ.

Mr. Young justified the expression. The root there, is not meant Christ, but the Jewish Church. You are a grave assembly, and upon a grave business. He deserved not that reproof.

Mr. Hewley. It is too far stretched to say the magnates had all the power, and it is too low to say they have but a consultative voice. I am absolutely for a co-ordinate power. If a rib, they were taken out of our side, then not out of the head, therefore equal. Par, in parem, non habet potestatem. The old peers were equal, at least, to those that took them away. They pulled them down. Let us set them up. It is said, the Providence of God led us to it. Is God a destroyer, a puller down ?

They took them away upon prudentials, so much now complained on. (fn. 13) I would have us co-ordinate in all things; to use the same posture that they do, and preserve "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, " (fn. 14) Do not the Lords come to the bar, and stand bare, as well as those that you send to them?

Mr. Scawen. Appoint a Committee to examine into the old form of addresses, and present it to you for your directions.

Mr. Jenkinson. Your vote makes it clear that you intend them a legislature; but, as you intend it but for a time, to make them probationers, you purpose not to give them all the ceremonies that were given to the ancient Peers. I would have the persons that you send the Declaration by, tell them that you intend not to transact with them as a House of Lords.

Mr. Bayles. Leave it to the discretion of those that you send up.

Mr. Swinfen. I would not have you appoint a Committee otherwise than as to your posture in conferences. When the message is carried up, all are bare on both sides; only differ in this. When he (fn. 15) goes in again, if they be covered, let him be covered, and those that go with him. You may send up this by a member, and vote that all former ceremony shall be observed, except in that of being bare when they come in to receive their answer, and to observe that posture.

Mr. Scot. I move again for a Grand Committee; or else take care to preserve the honour of those that you represent. Not a knight of the shire but represents a thousand times more than they.

Mr. Sadler. I would have them addressed to in all civility, and heartily. If you be the root and they the branches, the root is always placed lowest. Though they be our child, Henry II. held a basin to his son, after he had made him King. (fn. 16) I would do it gravely, lest they become too familiar. Do it as I do with a stranger: knock at his door. I doubt not but they are true gentlemen. I am against a Grand Committee about those ceremonies. They will but laugh at you. It is but like ordering a child, whether he shall go backward or forward, or make a courtesy. I would tell them plainly we could not do it without them; therefore came to them. If they go the pace of their ancestors, I would tell them plainly they would not sit long; and tell them, if we agree in fasting and prayer, we shall agree in other things.

Send by them that are fide dignus. (fn. 17) I were loth to abuse Scripture; but when I heard that gentleman named, viz. Mr. Grove, I remembered what was said of the priests of old. "They set up high places, and also consecrated a grove." (fn. 18)

Mr. Bodurda. I am for transacting in this, upon equal terms. When you meet one another as a House of Parliament, I would have it upon equal terms; but when you send up but two or three members, will you lay them in the balance with your whole House? How can they represent you, when, haply, you are, at the time, transacting the great affairs of the nations P This is very unequal.

Mr. Steward. To be civil is no dishonour to this House. Your messengers are no co-ordinate power with them, though you be. You will, surely, send a message by such as understand your debate, and not by one that must deliver your message like a parrot: what you tell him.

Serjeant Maynard. It is not fit the House of Commons should be bare, at any place. The judges and masters of Chancery sit not there to go on messages, but to advise. You send up by your own members. The more your messages are, the more your honour. This House has often sent messages to various courts. The Judges are bare, in civility, when they receive them, and then are covered, and so, when one judge of one court comes to another court. I think this, under favour, is not worthy the time spent about it.

Serjeant Seys. If we resolve not to send, till we know by what messengers they will send; this is like him that had a large letter patent and a clause in it, that he should not show it to any. I question how could that clause be known, if not shown. It is not worth the time to spend about this ceremony. As they are but probationers, try them with this message, at this time.

Lieutenant-general Ludlow. You are a very self-denying Parliament. I wish we would more regard the rights of those that sent us here.

Sir John Northcote. I move an expedient, which I hope will answer all, viz. "that Mr. Grove deliver the message, and return to this House immediately, without an answer."

Mr. Attorney-general. I second it. This is usual; not to let your members wait, but that they come away immediately.

Sir Walter Earle. Your member is to stay at the bar, and not to say any thing till they come down to. the bar. Nor ought there be any more than two legs. (fn. 19) It is not proper that your member should come away without an answer.

Mr. Solicitor-general. In conferences the same posture that they use may be used by you; but in case of messages it cannot be practicable to use the same respect. You would be loth to have any member of their House stand covered in your House; no less ought we to do: but I am against your messenger's coming away without an answer.

Sir Walter Earle. I have known six peers at a time come into this House, and six chairs set for them; and they have not been covered till your Chair has wished them to take their ease. I hope you intend not to lay aside the old peers. See, you have voted to save their rights.

After an hour's longer debate, while I was at dinner (fn. 20),

The question was proposed, that a Committee be appointed, upon this debate, to consider of the manner of transacting with the other House, and to report their opinion therein. The question was put if the question shall now be put. It passed in the affirmative, and the main question was put and resolved ut supra, viz. Mr. Attorney-general, Sir Walter Earle, and fifty-eight more. To meet in the Speaker's Chamber this day, and report on Friday morning.

Resolved, that in all messages unto, and conferences with, the other House, the like respect, and no other, be observed by the members of this House, that is observed by the persons sitting in the other House. It was first put, if the question shall be put.

Resolved, that the Report from the Committee for inspections of the Treasuries and Revenue, be made to-morrow morning the first business, and that nothing else do then intervene.

Resolved, that Mr. Henry Neville, one of the members of this House, have leave to go into the country for one week.

The House rose at one.

The Committee of Grievances sat.

Colonel Terrill was in the chair.

Mr. Cartwright and Colonel Bennet presented a petition against Chadwick, Peverell Court, to which he is ordered to give his answer before the 1st of May. Whereupon several questions and resolutions arose.

1. Serjeant Maynard and all the Long Robe.

That a quo warranto would remedy it, as in all cases where a subject claims a court; but it seems it is a leet, and in his Highness's name, which is only relievable by a legislative power.

2. That the Chief Magistrate by letters patent could erect no such court. The stanneries were taken down by Act of Parliament.

8. Serjeant Maynard, Sir Walter Earle, and others. That a Grand Committee cannot delegate their power of hearing causes; viz. as to send for persons, papers, &c. For potestas delegata non potest delegari. A trust cannot be transmitted.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge and others, contra, per legem Parliamenti.

The Committee of Ceremonies sat in the Speaker's Chamber.

Sir Walter Earle was in the chair.

Resolved, that all messages from this House, shall be sent by our own members.

Resolved, that no message shall be received from the other House, but what comes by members of that House.

Query, what more was resolved ? Several things were offered.

The Committee for Maintenance of Ministers, (fn. 21) sat in the Court of Wards,

T. B. was in the chair.

Received the accounts from the trustees, &c. read them, and referred it to the members of the several counties, to inquire into, &c.

Mr. Baldwin. Seeing I was in the chair at a Committee where you had given power to send for papers, &c. and now doubted it, in pursuance of your order I had sent for considerable persons. He was desired not to proceed further till the pleasure of the House was known. It was agreed unless the House give power to delegate, it cannot be done. (fn. 22)


  • 1. "It appeared to the Committee, that Guibon Goddard, Esquire, Colonel John Fielder, and Colonel Robert Jennie, did all stand to be elected burgesses of the said borough; that the place for choosing of the said burgesses had used to be in the chancel of the parish church of Rising aforesaid. "The Mayor, having given due notice of the time and place prefixed for the election of burgesses as aforesaid, did, about nine of the clock of the day appointed for the said election, repair to the chancel of the said Church. Soon after, the said Guibon Goddard and Robert Jennie, or some in their behalf, with a drum, and other loud instruments, came to the aforesaid Church, with about 400 persons, some of which were soldiers, armed with swords and pistols, and forced open the doors of the said Church, and entered into the body of the said Church. "The Mayor, being in the chancel, caused the precept to be read, and appointed one Owen Barnes to take the poll for Mr. Fielder. Mr. Jennie, and those who came in his behalf, and for Mr. Goddard, without the direction of the Mayor, caused certain persons to take the poll for Mr. Goddard and Mr. Jennie, and hindered divers persons which were going up for Mr. Fielder, from giving of their votes; and caused five of voters for Mr. Fielder, to be written down in the poll for Colonel Jermie; so as there was great disorder and confusion in the said poll, by reason of the force, noise, and multitude aforesaid. "The Mayor declared the said Guibon Goddard and Colonel Fielder, to be duly chosen burgesses to serve in Parliament for the said borough, and returned them to the Sheriff accordingly." Journals. See vol. iii. p. 11, note†.
  • 2. "A reverence made by uncovering the head." Johnson, who gives the following examples:— "They, more or less, came in with cap and knee, Met him in boroughs, cities, villages." Shakspeare's Henry IV. "Should the want of a cap or a cringe so mortally discompose him, as we find, afterwards, it did."—L'Estrange.
  • 3. See supra, pp. 263, 298.
  • 4. See supra, p. 100.
  • 5. The modern practice of the House of Peers is to send messages to the Commons by Masters in Chancery, unless the message respect the royal family, in which case judges are employed.
  • 6. Refusing the customary forms of obeisance.
  • 7. "It was a great mistake in Starkey to call magnates, magnati twice, which Bennet took up." MS. See vol. iii. p. 511, note.
  • 8. See supra, p. 351, note.
  • 9. See vol. iii. p. 5.
  • 10. Referring, probably, to Acts vii. 41.
  • 11. The daughter of Priam. See Æneid, ii. 403.
  • 12. Rom. xi. 18.
  • 13. See supra, p. 23.
  • 14. Ephes. iv. 3.
  • 15. The member who carries the message.
  • 16. In 1170. "Dans le festin," says Rapin, "qui se fit À cette occasion, le Roi voulut porter lui-même le premier plat sur la table. Ensuite, s'adressant À son fils, il lui dit, 'qu'il pouvoit se venter, qu'il n'y avoit point de monarque qui fût servi plus honorablement que lui.' Au lieu de répondre À ce compliment, le jeune Roi, qui étoit extrémement fier, se tournant vers l'Archevêque d'York, qui étoit près de lui, lui dit, tous bas, 'que ce n'étoit pas une chose trop surprenante de voir le fils d'un Comte servir le file d'un Roi.'" Histoire (1724), ii. 202.
  • 17. Query, if Mr. Smith was not fide dignus" MS.
  • 18. 2 Kings xxi. 3.
  • 19. See vol. iii. p. 21.
  • 20. At twelve, as the House, rose at one, infra.
  • 21. See supra, p. 20.
  • 22. "Whitehall, April 6. This evening an address was made to his Highness, in one of the public rooms of audience, intituled, 'The humble representation and petition of the officers of the armies of England, Scotland, and Ireland.' In general, it tended to set forth the present state of the army, in reference to their concernments as an army, and in respect to the public interest of the Commonwealth. "This address was entertained by his Highness, with a very great affection and respect to the whole body of officers which presented it, using many expressions of tenderness and endearment to them, as the old friends of his renowned father, and the faithful servants of the public interest of these nations, in the maintenance whereof he resolved to live and die with them. In a word, so great a satisfaction appeared on either side, at this meeting, as that it speaks nothing less than a vigorous asserting of the present government, to the terror and confusion of the common enemy." Mercurius Politicus. No. 561, p. 352.