Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Saturday, April 9, 1659.
Mr. Speaker took the Chair at nine.
Prayers by Mr. Cooper.
Mr. Annesley (fn. 1) moved for leave to Mr. Sadler and Mr. Scot for a month.
Mr. Reynell moved for leave to Mr. Young for a month, notwithstanding the call of the House.
Major-general Kelsey. I move that the wives of those gentlemen be sent for up.
Captain Baynes. Drew and the Keeper of Newgate are at the bar, according to your order. (fn. 2)
They were called in.
The keeper of Newgate, Richard Dike, was asked if he arrested Drew. He answered, that he was committed to him by the High Sheriff. He was asked for his warrant. He produced a copy, and said, he had never seen the original. They always kept it. He never saw the protection. Drew said he showed it the bailiff when he was arrested. Boulron, the bailiff, cannot be taken. The protection was shown to one of the keeper's servants.
Mr. Annesley. You cannot punish the keeper; but set the party at liberty; and punish the bailiff when you can get him. He is only arrested upon a mesne process.
Colonel Birch. This gentleman is able to give us a very good account of public monies concealed; and it is ordinary to — (fn. 3) men up with actions, to prevent their evidence against them.
Sir William Wheeler. Bills of Middlesex are commonly pieces of knavery and feigned actions, usually vexatious.
First, release the prisoner, and then punish the bailiff, when you can get him.
Sir John Coplestone. Ricroft was at the door, at whose suit he was arrested. I pray he may be punished.
Sir Walter Earle. I have precedents to show, wherein the party that set the bailiff at work was punished.
Colonel Allured. Though you cannot find the bailiff, you can find the sheriff, and respondet superior.
Mr. Scot offered a petition from Ricroft, showing his ignorance of the protection.
Mr. Speaker. The under-sheriff was with me this morning, and confessed he saw the protection; but was not satisfied to release him, unless his protection were entered in the office.
It seems Ricroft is bail for the bailiff. I would have Ricroft answer it.
Resolved, that the under sheriff of the County of Middlesex be sent for in safe custody, by the Serjeant-at-arms attending this House; and that Mr. Speaker do sign a warrant for the apprehending and taking the said under-sheriff into custody accordingly.
Ricroft was called in. Upon being questioned, Ricroft confessed he had knowledge of the protection yesterday, and released the action last night. He said the action accrued, partly, for a debt owing, and partly for accounts between them.
Mr. Speaker acquainted the keeper that Drew should be discharged without fees, according to the resolution of the House.
Resolved, that the Sheriff of the county of Middlesex, do bring in Thomas Boulron, his bailiff, who arrested Mr. Joseph Drew, at the suit of Josiah Ricroft, in contempt of the protection granted to the said Mr. Drew from this House, and deliver the said Boulron to the custody of the Serjeant-at-arms attending this House.
It was moved to call in Drew to know the carriage of the bailiff upon the arrest. He was called in, and also another that was present at the arrest.
Drew, and the witness, William Cash, being called in, said he was showed the protection, and he said he had a better warrant in his pocket. He refused that. One Smith was with him, who was under-sheriff last year. Smith said, he believed it was their honours' hand and seal, and he told the bailiff so. Yet, notwithstanding, the bailiff went on, though Smith advised him to beware what he did. Drew further affirmed, that the bailiff said, he cared not for the protection; he had a better in his pocket.
Cash was once under the Comptroller of the prize goods, and was forced to fly beyond sea, for fear of actions of 10,000l. against him; when he began to talk of calling persons to account. Upon the command of the House they withdrew.
Captain Baynes. I move that some remedy be had against the grievances by Bills of Middlesex. No stranger can come to town but he is in danger of arrest, if any have a spleen against him.
Mr. Speaker. This is a new business, and you have a business to be proceeded upon, and nothing to intervene: viz. Mr. Scawen's report. (fn. 4)
The order was read.
Mr. Scot. Seeing Mr. Scawen is not here, direct whether you will proceed, or put it off till Tuesday.
Mr. Annesley. Send up the Declaration by Mr. Grove.
Mr. Secretary. I move not to leave the other business at large, but to take some care about the arrears of the army, and proceed to fetch in money due upon the excise. Nearly 200,000l. is due; and notwithstanding your order, not above 10,000l. came in.
Mr. Scot. There appears, to your Committee, to be in all, 150,704l. out of the Excise. One member of this House owes above 12,000l., viz. Mr. Noell.
Captain Stone. The whole of the new and old debts are 41,000l. growing every day. Of that, 12,000l. are good; so that there appears to be 170,000l. good. This being put in an effectual way, will go a great way.
Colonel Birch. Your Committee are now at work and will give you a further account presently. In the meantime, I shall take leave to speak to the report in general.
I shall not offer to the reduction of any thing. The same officers and garrisons are that were at first. In 1654 I was commanded to attend his Highness to advise about reducing garrisons. In Ireland, the officers do maintain the charge; but in Scotland, and here, it is otherwise. Why may not the soldiers of the army maintain garrisons, without double pay? I shall not take upon me to speak any thing to the officers of the army. They are many of them here, and can tell better what to offer to you in this.
As to your naval charge, I find, upon comparing this with some accounts in my hand, that the charge now is far higher than it was in 1653. When the Dutch war came oh, higher pay was given. Why should it not continue now as it has done formerly. When I say formerly, I speak not of a hundred years since, but since from 35 to 41. Money is so scarce that in the county where I live, you shall go through a parish worth two or three hundred pounds per annum, and not have ten pounds in ready coin. The ships in harbour cost 46,000l. per annum. In war, let them have the pay of the time of war, in peace the pay of peace.
The civil list is a great charge; but I find above half in half difference from what it was formerly. I have been employed in the country and could not understand that.
Those things being reduced, it may come within your compass to undergo. The charge of bringing it in is very great. Officers pay their own salaries. The Committee of the Army is kept a foot still, at salaries. Receivers-general and auditors are kept a-foot at the same height; though it is but now 50,000l. and was formerly 60 or 70,000l. per annum. In general, the salaries eat out all your revenue. Your revenue falls, and they stand.
The levying the Excise, is very chargeable. It may be brought into the Exchequer. The salaries are near upon 40,000l.per annum. Merchants are losers, and knaves gainers. All inland commodities are in farm.
He went on to propound ways of retrenchment, and moved for a Self-denying Ordinance. (fn. 5)
Colonel Clark. It is impossible to retrench. Not above two or three garrisons, but are maritime. You cannot gain by that. Your navy cannot be retrenched. Soldiers abroad have their pay heightened. How can you lessen it ? As to ships in harbour, it is but like keeping a stable of horses: they must be kept, whether they be ridden or not. That of the Excise and Customs, is not so clear in case of retrenchment, as is offered. I have known some things of this kind debated in former Parliaments; and whenever you come to make them practical, you will find it otherwise than is offered. The self-denying Ordinance thrust some out of trust, and put others in; but it saved you no money. It was but change of hands in places of trust and profit.
Sir William D'Oyly. You have heard something of your disease, and something of your cure. I wish I could offer you an expedient. There was a Commission for the discovery of false Bills and Debentures: 1,200,000l. was discovered. I would that the Chief Magistrate inquire into this, and make discovery how that has been employed.
Sir Henry Vane. This business was before you; but till we have done other matters, we cannot examine it fully. To my knowledge, under the Self-denying Ordinance was brought in 5000l. per annum.
Serjeant Maynard and Mr. Fowell moved not to clog this commission with this business; but to appoint a Commission on purpose.
Colonel Gorges. His Highness had appointed a Commission to this purpose. They discovered great sums. It was offered by some 1,200,000l.; by others, 1,500,000l., and in a very fair way. And if that power given us by his Highness, had had the legislative power, we had gone on with better speed.
Resolved, that a Committee be appointed to examine the deceits and abuses done to the Commonwealth by false and fraudulent Bills and Debentures, and Bills and Bonds for the public faith; and how to prevent such deceits and abuses for the future, and to report their opinions thereupon to the House.
Colonel Birch moved to appoint a small Committee that will attend the business throughout.
Mr. Cartwright moved to examine what lands have been bought by the officers, trustees, &c., either in their own or other's names, contrary to their trusts.
Mr. Goodrick seconded it.
Colonel Birch. I intended to move this; but it will be too great a business for this Committee. I am against referring all to one Committee.
Mr. Reynolds. I hope to find money in purses, where they ought to refund as much as will pay for that hard breakfast, which was brought in the other morning. (fn. 6)
I move that this Committee be not named, promiscuously; but let every man that moves for any, stand up in his place and lay his hand on his heart, and say in his conscience he thinks such a person fit. I am a purchaser myself, so desire I may not be one.
Mr. Swinfen. I move that a Committee withdraw, and appoint this Committee, or else refer it to your Committee of Inspections.
Resolved, that the number of the Committee to be appointed to this service shall be seven.
Colonel Gorges, Sir William D'Oyley, Mr. Swinfen, Mr. Jenkinson, Mr. Minors, Mr. Foley, Mr. Sedgewick, are appointed to be the said Committee.
Resolved, that no purchaser of any of the lands from the Commonwealth, nor any other person concerned in this business shall be of this Committee.
The names of the seven several persons appointed to be the said Committee were read, and every one of them, except Mr. Sedgewick, who was absent, stood up in his place and gave satisfaction to the House that they were none of them purchasers, or otherwise concerned in the matters referred to the said Committee.
Resolved, that the said Committee for the better carrying on of this service be attended by the auditors and other officers and accomptants who have salaries granted to them from the Commonwealth; and that they do observe such directions from time to time, as they shall receive from the said Committee.
Resolved, that Mr. Speaker do sign such protections, and for such persons as shall be desired by this Committee for the safe coming unto, attending on, and returning from the said Committee, and for the safe continuance here of such persons, for such a time as the said Committee shall desire.
Resolved, that the Committee of Accompts and trustees at Worcester-house do forbear to give any bonds or bills for debentures, till farther orders from this House.
Mr. Scawen reported from the Committee for inspecting into the accounts and revenue of the Commonwealth; that in the accompt reported, and delivered in to the House, and read on Thursday last, some particulars might be further cleared and stated, for the service and satisfaction of the House.
Resolved, that the accompt, brought in and reported by Mr. Scawen on Thursday last, be delivered by the clerk to the Committee by whom the same was stated, for the service and satisfaction of the House.
Mr. Scawen further reported, a state of an accompt for three months' pay, to be forthwith paid to the army, for their present supply, out of the monthly assessments and excise: the which was read. (fn. 7)
Resolved, that the farmers of the excise of beer and ale, and other inland commodities, that live or are in London, or within five miles thereof, do attend this House on Monday morning next; and that they do then show cause, why they have not paid in the arrears in their hands, and due from them respectively to this Commonwealth, on the five-andtwentieth day of March last: and that it be referred to Captain Stone, and the rest of the Commissioners of Appeals for excise, to give the respective farmers notice of this order.
Resolved, that this debate be adjourned till Monday morning next. (fn. 8)
The Committee of Privileges sat in the House, upon the business of Newcastle.
Mr. Hewley was in the chair.
Mr. Lilburne endeavoured to set straight; about twenty of his electors, but it was faintly proved in many points, yet gave them great encouragement. The business was adjourned till Tuesday.
The Committee for Lord Arundel met, and the Committee of seven for discovery of false bills and debentures also. Question, what was done ?