Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Friday, April 8, 1659.
Colonel Birch and others affirmed that oath would be given that he had boasted in several places that he had sent twentyfour members into this House. (fn. 1)
It seems the report was shuffled in the other morning, (fn. 2) when the Republicans had not opportunity to lay open the foulness of the election; relating to letters from great persons. (fn. 3) A papist reputed, ought not to have such influence, and it was agreed by divers that he had been but too active in this part.
Upon occasion of this debate a Petition was presented touching his eldest brother's being kept by him out of an estate of 17,000l. per annum, which was referred to a Committee. It seems there was a jury summoned in Surrey, about his lunacy, and Commissioners appointed to manage his estate. Some say that they have gelded the earl in Italy, under physicians, pretending the curing him of his distemper.
Resolved, that it be referred to a Committee to examine by whom and by what means, the Earl of Arundel, who (as the House is informed) is a Protestant, is detained in the parts beyond the seas; and by whom, and by what right his inheritance here is withheld from him; and to offer their opinion to this House, how the said Earl may be restored to his estate and liberty.
Resolved, that it be referred to the same Committee to examine the misdemeanours the House hath been this day informed of, to have been committed by Mr. Henry Howard, brother to the Earl of Arundel, at the first election of burgesses to serve in this present Parliament for the Borough of Castle-Rising in the County of Norfolk; and at other elections of Burgesses to serve for other places in this present Parliament.
Sir Walter Earle reported the two votes agreed on at the Committee of Ceremonies, (fn. 4) viz.
He went on, and reported what every one had said as to ceremonies. It was agreed by all that no cap (fn. 5) should be used, more on one side than another. As to the style, some were for lords because there were lords amongst us. Others were for lords and gentlemen; others to give the same style as to Mr. Speaker himself.
Lord Falkland. These two questions make but one question, and they are no more than what your previous vote does, that in all things the like respect, &c. (fn. 6)
Serjeant Maynard. I can neither give yea nor no, unless you divide the questions. It is a constant order, that if any member desire to have a question divided, you cannot deny it; for else, you preclude him of his vote, and may as well exclude him from the House.
Mr. Young. I agree with the Serjeant, but would have the second question first; otherwise, if the first question pass in the affirmative, as no doubt it will, and the second in the negative, how can you maintain your vote to carry equal respect ?
Dr. Clarges. I am for putting the first question first. It is impossible that you should, in all things, use the like respects, and preserve your ancient honour. The Speaker of the other House comes bare to the bar, and receives your message, which you will hardly think fit to do here. The Commons were ever tender of it; and, if the greatest peer in England come in, you must be covered all the time, and keep your chair.
Mr. Hewley. Your Committee exceeded their power in their second resolution. They had only to do with messages from this House, but nothing with messages from the other House. We are not to make laws for them.
Colonel Terrill. The second should precede. There is no danger in putting the second question first. You are bound up by your vote to use the same respect; but there may be danger in the first, preceding.
Mr. Attorney-general. You have voted to transact with them as a House of Peers, and now you are going to make laws for them; as you do clearly in the resolve. How can this be justified without doors. If a breach happen upon this, and the nation be involved in blood and confusion, how can we justify such a punctilio? If they will not send by messengers of their own, first, it was not so, anciently.
Mr. Sadler. The sense of the Committee was grounded upon your former vote, to transact upon equal terms. If you divide these votes, you disagree with your Committee and with your former vote. I would not tie them up.
1. They are not such a full body. (fn. 7) Sometimes they may want two or three members, and so cannot so well send.
Lord Marquis Argyle. Being agreed of the substance, I hope you will not disagree on particulars. First, put the question to agree with the whole Report. I incline to those that moved that the Masters of Chancery may attend.
Colonel Bennet. I would have this resolve agreeable to your previous vote. Put the second, first. There is more danger of corrupting your members by their agents than by themselves. They are persons of more honour; nor can it be presumed that it is an imposing laws upon them to consider and appoint how you will receive them. Do you give laws to ambassadors when you appoint how you will receive them?
Mr. Scot. In the Parliament so much spoken of, you voted you would receive no addresses from abroad, unless directed to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, and refused all that were not so: (fn. 8) and the Queen of Sweden directed here so. This was moved from the same place yesterday.
Either recommit the Report, or else put the latter, first. It is usual for a great many members to run out to the messengers, when they are at the doors. There is no great inconvenience in the Masters of Chancery attending, though privy to your debate. They are persons of honour, and will not discover your secrecy. Sometimes we have shut up the doors, and obliged all the members to secrecy.
Mr. Stephens. I incline rather to have Masters of Chancery attend you, and go on errands on both sides. It will cut off all debates about ceremonies, of your members going up and demeaning themselves, or of their demeaning themselves here.
"The loss of the nail of a horse-shoe may lose a kingdom." He argued, "the nail may lose the shoe, the shoe the horse, the horse a general," so may we, by losing time upon these punctilios, spend what should be spent in providing against the grievances which your army complains of for want of pay. If you please, recommit it.
Mr. Young. Appoint a Committee to meet a Committee of theirs, to agree of all the ceremonies. You may send a letter to the Lord Keeper of that House to appoint a Committee to meet a double number of yours.
Colonel Birch. I pray that the order be read, which appointed your Committee. The order was, "in all messages to, and conferences with," &c., but not to impose laws upon the other House. You will destroy utterly what you intend. For, if this go on, you destroy the thing you set up. This debate is clearly lost. You have agreed of directions already. Will you go down to the bar; and the whole House be bare, while their messengers are here ?
Mr. Annesley. If this vote pass, all the use that the old peers shall be of, shall but be to go on messages; for the other lords are able to outvote them. It is not equal, to bind them to what messengers they shall send.
Colonel White. I cannot believe that gentleman will say their constitution is that of the old Peers. It is clear they are not that ancient House. Can you place a legislative power there, without an Act He may be certain the old Peers will never come in while they are there. (fn. 9) I pray to put the question.
2. It imposes upon another House; gives laws of demeanour to their members. You will, by this vote, destroy your transacting wholly; if your votes may tie them up. As to that of foreign ambassadors, you may resolve as to what is intrinsical within you, as to what style and appellation you will be called by; but to confine the King of France to send Earls, Viscounts, or such an order of Knights, is utterly beyond your yea, and extrinsic.
Serjeant Maynard. The ancient privilege in the Petition and Advice (fn. 10) relates to the other House. The law directs what the privilege is, and upon that account are they warranted. The Privy Council advises, but you advise with authority. I do not believe that the saving of the rights of the old peers signifies any thing. They will be brought in, in time.
Consider this question well. There is nothing of disparity in this. I wish there had been some expedient. I will not call any thing that you insist upon, a punctilio; but I think there is not so much in it.
Lord Lambert. You intended to give your Committee some power. If a man cast away his sword, he may keep his scabbard, if nothing else. I doubt you have little else left. It is but a ceremony that you are about. It may be done clearly without offence. For members of the other House to come hither, is no more than it is for you to go to them.
I understand that feather to be, that they must be pleased to a feather. I take that to be the argument. Pardon me if I mistake. I would have us go, hand in hand together. They will think it no dishonour to bring a message hither. I think we ought to have the right hand of fellowship.
Mr. Attorney-general. It is not equal, unless you come bare to the bar to receive their message. It was never known. If you go this way, do what may be maintained at a conference; if upon the old law, then it is against the Petition and Advice; if on a new law, you cannot make it without them.
Mr. Boscawen. The cap at conferences will also be a feather in the clock. The Petition and Advice, excepts not that. Why may not their bar be open as well as ours. Appoint a Committee to consider all this.
Lord Marquis Argyle. I would have nothing done that may destroy what you have done in the previous vote. Appoint a Committee to agree of such a way as may preserve your vote and keep you upon an equality.
Mr. Bulkeley. I offer an addition, "or others sitting by writ in that House." Though it leave them at liberty, they will consider that they are upon equal footing with us. In great matters, send members, however you assert that you are upon equal terms with them.
Mr. Ross. If there be any person here that may sit in the other House, let him. Your Committee too and again offered it as an expedient— (fn. 11).
Mr. Scot. That gentleman (fn. 12) deserves not so ill from you to be employed as a lacquey. (fn. 13) That is English out. I know not what it is in Scotland. It is no less honour, I hope, to him, to sit here than there, and till I see others there I shall think so.
You sent for the Lieutenant of the Tower to your bar, and he came. (fn. 14) It was his duty.
Mr. Sadler. I would have no reflection upon the members of the Scotch nation. The gentleman that spoke here, Mr. Boss, was not understood. It may be, he took notice that there are divers officers of state, as the Attorney-general, the Solicitorgeneral, the Secretary, &c., who haply ought to attend there; and belong to them more, though members here. Why may you not send by them ?
Mr. Trevor. The cap was the most distinguishing ceremony, (fn. 15) and had my most reluctancy. The word "respect," in your previous vote, only relates to general ceremony. As I would not have us imposed on, so I would not so impose on them as to make them ridiculous.
On Mr. Speaker's declaring for the noes, a great debate arose who should go out. Some moved it was a new thing, and the yeas to fetch it: others, contra; for it was a report from the Committee. The case differs, because nothing was upon the books like it.
So it was resolved, that this House doth agree with the Committee, that such messages as shall be sent from the other House to this House, shall not be received, unless brought by members of their own number.
The letter from his Highness was given by the Speaker to the Clerk, sealed. Query, if he ought not first to have opened it ? The contents were, to represent the desires of the officers in their petition, with a copy annexed. The petition is in print. (fn. 16)
It was debated, whether the petition should be read, in regard it was late, and the contents known to all; but it was resolved, by old Parliament-men, that it was always the course, when any message or letter came from the King, to hear it out.
Sir William Wheeler moved, to take off the vote for shutting the doors, which was granted, and I went to dinner; but it was agreed, that a division of the House does take off that order at any time; and the House was twice divided in that time.
A letter from his Highness, the Lord Protector, directed "To our trusty and right well-beloved Thomas Bampfield, Esq., Speaker of our House of Commons, to be communicated to the House," and signed on the head, "Richard, P." and dated "the 8th of April, 1659," was this day read; and by the said letter his Highness represented to the Parliament, the humble representation and petition of the General Council of the Officers of the Armies of England, Scotland, and Ireland, which was read.
The Committee for the servants of the late King's children (fn. 17) met and adjourned.