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.
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 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.— (fn. 3) for the Yeas; and that the Yeas go out.
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:—
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.
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. 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.
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)
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.
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 for Maimed Soldiers (fn. 8) sat in the Inner Court of Wards.
The counsel were Finch and others for Brooks, the Recorder Green (fn. 9) for Bradshaw.
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.
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.