Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Monday, April 11, 1659.
Serjeant Wylde offered a petition in his own behalf, touching taking away his place from him. He set forth, that he was placed, quam diu se bene gesserit, and displaced by his Highness without a hearing. (fn. 3) He called it his freehold.
Mr. Annesley moved that it be referred to the Grand Committee for Grievances; (fn. 4) which was done accordingly.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I am for his coming over; for he cannot say so much for himself, as is said for him in this House. Let the business be fully examined, and let him answer those things that are laid to his charge. There is more clamour made by those that solicit for him, than he can make for himself.
Colonel Allured. If you give him leave, it is fit you should take security of him, while he is here. His petition sets forth, that he has got leave of the States-general to leave his charge for six months.
Mr. Reynolds. Be not so hasty to do justice to this man, and to do injustice to three nations. There is too great a confluence of that party here. If he come over, let him give security, as the Duke of Buckingham did; (fn. 7) both personal and other security.
Resolved, that leave be given to William Lord Craven to come into England for six months from this day, for the prosecution of his Petition concerning his estate; and that Mr. Speaker do sign a protection for his coming over accordingly: provided that he do, within six days after his landing in England, attend this House; and give such security as this House shall think fit, to act nothing prejudicial to the Commonwealth during his abode there.
The order of the day was read touching the farmers of the excise attending the House this day. (fn. 8)
Captain Stone presented a paper of the persons that are in arrear; and to whom notice of their attendance here this day was given according to that order. (fn. 9)
Mr. Baker. (fn. 12) The amount was 128,400l. per annum, by the original contract; but, upon addresses to his Highness and the Council, they brought it down to 120,000l. per annum.
We confess we owe, at this time, 15,000l; but, in truth, 25,000l. whereof 10,000l. is already advanced in his Highness's hands. The reason why the arrears are not paid, is the perpetual disturbances in levying the duty. All possible means are used to dispute the laws. We have advanced it to 80,000l. more than ever was made. Many have never entered, according to the law. Others, if entered, never paid, who were to pay weekly or monthly. They disputed every part of the law, from point to point. The Brewers called a Common-hall, and resolved not to brew for some time, and so to break us. The necessity of the nation could not forbear, though many of them put this in execution.
They preferred a petition of grievance to his Highness. This was referred to the Commissioners of Appeals. They can testify it was but scandal, in most part of it. They can justify us, how well we acquitted ourselves.
The state sent for us to know the reasons why it was not paid. Our credits being somewhat, we advanced money in October to pay all that was due in September. We used all acts of indulgency to them. We admitted them to compound with us. Some of them did, and this had like to have broken us. Now, they have put in a petition of grievances, which we doubt not but to make it appear, is full stuffed with scandal.
There is due to us from the city, 20,000l. We cannot get it in, for attending this Committee. They give us dilatory answers. If we can have but some encouragement from this honourable assembly, we do doubt not, but in a very short time to pay all.
One Home, a brewer, has made a complaint against us. He made no entry for thirty-two weeks together. If all had done so, it would have ruined us, indeed. We were surprised in a trial. There was a verdict at law against us, for 800l. which we have paid. Home was never worth 100l. He is now set up to arrest every man of us for 10,000l. which is hard to find bail for. Our credit being such to get bail for that, now they arrested Mr. Abbot for a greater sum. For these reasons, we could not call in our money to make payment to your honours.
The weakness of the law is the cause why we have not paid. They will pay but what they please. One Captain Pride, of Kingston, we know not what title to give him, owes us 1000l. One Master Gates, his pretence is that he is willing to pay. To defeat us, he enters into a judgment of 4000l. to his maltster. All Master Gates' goods are seized for this judgment. We did any thing, for his father's sake, that he would have us do. His mother confesses that nothing is owing her, yet she keeps possession.
We entered. Mr. Gulston and Mr. Wilcocks, two justices, have restored her to possession, upon pretence of forcible entry. We pray your favour and assistance to help us to levy the arrears, and then we doubt not, in a short time to pay all.
Mr. Stephen Kirk. (fn. 13) I add further reasons why we cannot pay your demands. There are recognisances of 40,000l. upon our estates.
Again, your order for the sequestration of our estates, coming in that nick of time, dissolved our credits. We could have borrowed 10,000l., where we cannot now borrow a penny. We cannot satisfy the deficiency of the one for the unhappiness of the other. The country and city, on Saturday last, were near 15,000l. in arrear, which is all we two owe, but 5000l. We have cleared all hitherto a month after the year.
It is their table discourse that we shall be ruined. It is well known, that some of us have been engaged, from the beginning, as the encouragers of an Act of the last Parliament. We pray, that the unhappiness that attends first undertakers may not fall upon us, by the favour of this House.
This is the first time that ever London was on farm. We have persons of estates and parts to deal with. Our undertakings are attended with a reproach. We can make it out we shall be losers by the contract; yet we intend to make it good, and our estates must answer it: so that our reputation and our estates being gone, we have nothing else left but our lives, and those are threatened daily. We pray indemnity.
There is no sufficient law to levy the duty, in London, and ho punishment for the frauds. We can only punish them for a short entry, but for no frauds. We never levied 300l. of all the fines. The highest was but 15l., upon one brewer, who had defrauded us for many weeks. Some fines are but five or ten shillings.
We have lately paid 5000l., as soon as ever we received your order. We borrowed 2000l. of it; but that was no part of what is now demanded. As soon as ever we are in a condition of quiet, we shall apply ourselves to pay it.
Mr. Reynolds. It appears by their own showing, that they are in arrears by their own fault. They are persons of no such great quality as to be farmers. This Kirk was the other day but a clerk in the navy, &c.
Mr. Lloyd. I was one of the Committee appointed to contract. We did not depend so much upon these persons as upon the security of one Holt, a goldsmith, (fn. 14) in Lombardstreet, (fn. 15) worth 2000. (fn. 16) We clothed them with all the powers that possibly could be. Your money should not be paid by complaints. I would not have the brewers called in; but keep them (fn. 17) to their contracts. They tell you they have got abatement from his Highness and the Council, when they had contracted. It was said that some of them were so strict that they would flea a flint.
Mr. Raleigh. I would have the brewers called in; but not so as to take satisfaction by their complaints; but cause them to make good their contracts., The best of the contractors is this clerk. (fn. 18) One is a broken bookbinder, another a broken hatter, &c. &c. One of them has built houses and bought lands to 2000l.
Mr. Scot. I can add nothing to what is said. They are not wanting to themselves in levying it in London. You are wanting to yourselves in not calling on them. They take it for granted that they have 8000l. abated. Nothing appears to the Committee of it, but a marginal note. They levy it with all severity. The officers swear the brewers into a debt, and let them swear it off as they can. I would have the brewers called in.
Colonel Banier (in the head of them.) I am glad we have the opportunity to speak in this presence. We are a Committee appointed by the company of the brewers to attend the business concerning the Farmers of the Excise.
Mr. Speaker acquainted them, that the Farmers of the Excise had offered it to this House, this day, as one reason why they had not paid their rent, due for the. excise of beer and ale, according to their contract, that the brewers are in arrears to them; and that the monies remain unpaid to them, in the brewers' hands.
Colonel Banier. We are not a week behind, till to-morrow. We used to be troubled with their spirits every week. We have a note under a person's hand, one of them, who said they would not call for any of this duty till they have a better power to levy this, which we hope you will never grant.
There may be an arrear of 60,000l. or thereabouts, in the hands of the brewers; but it is through their remissness not to demand it. They may have it when they will, this afternoon; being the day it is due. Some of us they have made poor, and they complain now that they are poor. We cannot answer for all of a hundred men; but the brewers are generally ready to pay their arrears.
Resolved, that the farmers of the Excise of Beer and Ale, within London, Middlesex, and Surrey, be required to pay into the receipt of the Exchequer the sum of 15,700l. on Saturday next; and the further sum of 20,000l., on or before the first day of next term.
Mr. Speaker informed them of the aforesaid resolution. He farther minded them of their contempt and neglect; that having had notice, as they themselves had acknowledged, of order of this House, of March 12, last, they had not hi. therto paid in the monies due and owing by them, according to the directions of that order; that they well knew, before they took the farm, what powers they had; and they had acknowledged they had sufficient powers for London; and that they knew, that if they did transgress the law, they would be liable to actions; and that there is much more due from themselves, than is pretended by them to be owing by the brewers; which they might forthwith call for; and that, therefore, the House did expect that they should pay in their rent according to the contract.
Mr. Speaker. The House have given order to the Farmers, to pay in their rent in arrear, within a very short time; and what shall afterwards grow due from them, according to their contract. The House expect that yourselves, and the rest of your company, that owe any monies to the Farmers, should pay the same to them upon demand, that it be not an excuse to the Farmers, for not paying their rent, to allege that the money was owing them by the brewers.
Colonel Mackworth, Farmer of the Excise of beer and ale in the County of Lancaster, taking notice, upon reading the account of the monies in arrear, and unpaid, by the Farmers of the Excise, a debt of 822l. 10s., was stated upon himself, did stand up in his place, and informed the House, that above 200l. of the said arrear was paid into the receipt this day, and that the rest should all be paid in within one fortnight.
Resolved, that the rest of the Farmers of the Excise of ale and beer, and other inland commodities, who attended the House this day to have been heard concerning the monies due and owing by any of them, do attend again to-morrow morning, to give the House an account why they have not, according to their several contracts, paid in the said monies.
Resolved, that a new writ be issued for the election of a burgess to serve in this present Parliament, for the borough of Malmsbury, in the county of Wilts, in the place of Sir Henry Lee, Baronet, deceased.
The House rose at one o'clock. (fn. 19)
The Committee of Religion (fn. 20) sat in the afternoon.
They finished the Assembly's Creed, (fn. 21) and ordered it to be ingrossed, and held forth as the public profession of the nation.
The Committee for lame soldiers, &c. (fn. 22) sat in the Star Chamber.
The Committee for Mariners (fn. 23) sat in the Treasury Chamber.
The Committee for Excisemen (fn. 24) sat in the Queen's Court.