The Diary of Thomas Burton: 14 April 1659

Pages 424-430

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

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Thursday, April 14,1659.


Colonel Terrill reported from the Grand Committee of the House for Grievances, the state of the case of Margaret, Countess of Worcester.

Resolved, that Margaret Countess of Worcester, shall have the actual possession of Worcester House, in the Strand, delivered up to her on March 25 next; and in the mean time, the rent of 300l. be paid to her for the said House, for this year, out of the receipt of the Exchequer.

That the sum of 400l. be paid to the Countess or her assigns, in recompense of all demands for detaining of Worcester House from her, since her title thereunto by the late Act of Parliament.

That it be referred to Mr. Attorney-general, Serjeant Maynard, Mr. Marvell, Mr. Dixwell, Mr. Scot, Mr. Annesley, Lord Marquis of Argyle, &c. to consider how to remove, and where to place, the conveyances, records, and other writings, now remaining at Worcester House, so as they may be disposed of, for their safety, and the service of the Commonwealth. (fn. 1)

I came late, and found the House in debate about Mr. Grove's going to the other House with the Declaration for the fast. (fn. 2)

Mr. Grove desired directions, whether he might stay for an answer.

Mr. Bodurda. It is not rational that he should come away without an answer. I only know in two cases, where a messenger does not stay for an answer.

1. When a herald goes to proclaim war.

2. When an apparitor comes to serve a citation. He claps it upon the door, and runs away for fear of a beating.

Mr. Salway. I perceive they are not sitting in the other House. Most of them are at Wallingford House.

It seems so they were, and not above four in the House; but they were gathering up their number, while we were debating.

The question was put, that Mr. Grove, when he hath delivered his message to the persons sitting in the other House, shall return to this House, without staying for any answer.

The question was misput. It ought not to have been put with a negative in it.

Mr. Speaker declared for the Noes.

Mr.— (fn. 3) for the Yeas; and that the Yeas go out.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge and others moved that the Noes go out, because it was not new; but the Yeas went out.

Yeas 100. Lord Falkland and Sir Arthur Haslerigge, Tellers.

Noes 144. Mr. Annesley and Sir Coplestone Bampfield, Tellers.

So it passed in the negative.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge said, he had the worst luck in telling of any man; and so it proved.

Mr. Grove, attended by above fifty members, (Quorum myself,) carried the Declaration to the other House, accordingly,

After a little stay at the door, for the Lords were reading a Bill, Mr. Grove was called in. He and all the members stood bare, by the walls, while the Lord Keeper Fiennes, and most of the Lords came down bare to the bar. We made one leg, (fn. 4) and then went up to the high step; and before Mr. Grove ascended, we made another leg. He delivered his message, in hæc verba, without giving them any title, for so was the sense of the House:—

"The Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, assembled in the House of Commons, have commanded me to present this Declaration for a public fast to you, wherein they desire the concurrence of this House."

The Lords were bare all the time, and we withdrew, with two legs.

After a little stay we were again called in, and ascended the step with the same ceremony; all the Lords bare, sitting in their places, except Lord Fiennes, who was covered; but stood up bare, and returned their answer.

"The Lords," and then made a pause, as if it had been mistaken—" This House will return an answer to you by messengers of their own."

Whereupon we withdrew with the same ceremony.

It seems, after we were all gone out, one of the Lords called to Mr. Grove, and told him they desired our excuse for making us stay so long; for they had read half the Declaration before they knew that we stayed. Else they would have dispatched us sooner.

Mr. Grove reported this, in effect, to the House at our return; only he left out that passage that they said "The Lords," while we were delivering the message.

Mr. Lechmere, Attorney of the Duchy, reported from the Committee appointed to prepare and bring in for drawing up a Declaration upon the debate, concerning the Excise, (fn. 5) a Declaration prepared by the said Committee. The which was read, and was in these words.

Whereas it appears to this House, that divers Farmers of Excise are in great arrear of their farm rents; which is occasioned, as they pretend, by the refusal of sundry persons of late times, to pay their Excise. And whereas, this House is very sensible of the great wants and necessities of the army and navy; and no less sensible of the grievances the people are under, in the paying and levying the said Excise, which they have under consideration for a timely redress: this House doth therefore declare and require, that all the people of this Commonwealth herein concerned, shall make present satisfaction of all arrears, and due payment of the growing Excise during the sitting of this present Parliament; unless the House shall in the mean while take other order herein.

Resolved, that the words "manner of," after the words "in the," and before the words "paying and levying," be inserted.

We found the House divided upon the words "paying and," before the word "levying" in the Declaration, which was carried by 82 against 79. (fn. 6)

There was a very thin House. That was their advantage.

They were going to put the question upon the whole Declaration to pass so amended.

Mr. Solicitor-general took exception to several parts of it; and affirmed that it was implicitly laying aside the duty, and an assuming the sole power to ourselves, of altering that law whereby it was established, and that that law was good and firm, which he would make out against all objectors. By this, it appeared that it would abide some debate; so it was adjourned until to-morrow morning.

The House rose at almost one.

Mr. Serjeant Wylde moved to have a Petition read which he had in his hand. It was on behalf of a worthy member. He was bid to name him. It proved to be himself, and he was desired to offer the Petition; but he left that to the reader.

There was another petition against Major-general Boteler, (fn. 7) for his misdemeanour in Northamptonshire, and taking away a gentleman's possession, and imprisoning him, &c. It was moved that the House might be moved to refer this Petition to the Committee appointed to draw up the impeachment against others. Moved that you would appoint a day of hearing, and let Major-general Boteler have notice.

The Committee of Grievances sat.

Colonel Terrill was in the chair, and heard counsel.

The Committee for Maimed Soldiers (fn. 8) sat in the Inner Court of Wards.

T. B. was in the chair.

Ordered, that the Commissioners of Ely House attend this Committee on Monday next, to give an account of the pensioners, and pensions, and salaries, and Acts and Ordinance, whereupon they act.

The Committee of Privileges sat in the Star Chamber, about the election of knights for Cheshire, between Brooks and Bradshaw.

The counsel were Finch and others for Brooks, the Recorder Green (fn. 9) for Bradshaw.

Mr. Hewley was in the chair.

The stress of the debate was, that the sheriff, after the poll had begun and continued at Chester, and was almost at an end, and Brooks had the major part of the votes, did adjourn the poll for five days to Congleton.

Mr. Solicitor-general and Mr. Shaftoe offered that he might by law adjourn the poll.

Others said he might not, for, if so, it would be in the power of any sheriff to make what knights he pleased; for, by the same rule, he might have adjourned to Nantwich, and so from place to place, till he had gathered up a majority of votes for which person he had most mind to.

Out of the debate, upon the whole, the opinion was that the whole election was void, in respect of the adjournment of the poll, whereunto Mr. Lee was present.

The question being put that the election was good of Bradshaw and Lee, it was carried by seventeen yeas against ten noes.

Sir Henry Vane went away while they were polling, and would give no vote. He did hesitate, and refused to give his vote because he was not called.

Query, if he ought not to give his vote notwithstanding. I believe it will abide debate in the House.

The Committee sat till past ten, and arose in confusion.


  • 1. Journals. Lord Clarendon, after the Restoration, occupied Worcester House, while he was erecting the mansion whose cost and magnificence contributed to his fall and banishment, in 1667. See his Continuation, (1759,) pp. 971, 972. "1664, Oct. 15. After dinner," says Mr. Evelyn, "my Lord Chancellor and his Lady, carried me in their coach to see their palace, (for he now lived at Worcester House, in the Strand,) building at the upper end of St. James's Street, and to project the garden." Diary, (1827,) ii. 221.
  • 2. It had been "Resolved, that a member of this House be appointed to carry the Declaration concerning the public fast, to the persons sitting in the other House," and "that Mr. Grove be the person." Journals.
  • 3. Blank in the MS.
  • 4. See vol. iii. p. 21, note ‡.
  • 5. See supra, p. 421.
  • 6. Colonel Mildmay and Mr. Jenkinson, tellers for the Yeas; Colonel Cooke and Mr. Higgons, tellers for the Noes. Journals.
  • 7. See supra, p. 406.
  • 8. Ibid. p. 421.
  • 9. Elected on the decease of Sir Lislebone Long, (see supra, p. 160.) Mr. Guibon Goddard mentions him in his MS. as his "brother Green," and that he was chosen by the Aldermen to succeed Mr. Green in the Sheriff's Court.