Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Saturday, April 16, 1659.
Colonel Grosvenor. I took notice of a great number of people called Quakers, in the Hall yesterday and to-day. (fn. 1) I wish you would take some course with the Petition that has laid a long time before you; and that they be dispersed.
He instanced what Mr. Bulkeley and Dr. Reynolds (fn. 2) had overheard some of them say: "the priests and lawyers are bloody men, give them blood to drink."
Sir Walter Earle. I except against the title "friends," and "the Parliament so called," in the Petition. (fn. 3)
The petition was read. It was directed for "The Speaker of the Commons assembled in Parliament; these are for him to be read to the House of Commons." (fn. 4)
Major-general Kelsey. No reasoning by scripture will convince them; (fn. 5) for they make that but a nose of wax. (fn. 6) They call miscalling the ministers speaking the truth. The justices of the peace do well to imprison them. (fn. 7) I cannot be a pleader for them. Disturbers of the peace, they deserve it. They will not conform to the law.
Call two or three of them to come in, and advise them to return to their homes, and you will command by your members, that if any be illegally imprisoned, which does not yet appear, they may be released.
Colonel West. I cannot justify them in their affronts to the ministers. Refer it to a Committee to hear their grievances, which is the right of the commoners of England, and that gentleman (fn. 8) was mistaken who moved to whip the commoners of England.
Mr. Lechmere. You are not, as a Christian Magistracy, bound to bend your laws to every Pretender's conscience. I am against referring it to a Committee. Who dare attend it, unless the gentleman who spoke last? I dare not. They refuse to answer upon oath, which is juramentum purgationis. All that were imprisoned at the time of the Protector's death for contempt of court, were, of course, then delivered by law if they looked after it.
Their language is as little justifiable as the— (fn. 9) of Rome. For their railings against the ministers, see their books. The question will be, whether you will dispense with that cast of the hat. I have known when you could not bear some petitioners coming hither. You have sent out members to receive their address. To rid your hands of this business, do as Mr. Swinfen moved.
Mr. Steward. They complain not of any thing done contrary to law, but according to law. Though they seem but a small number, yet lesser beginnings have grown to great heights. In their books I find a denunciation of judgment. They will easily believe they are the persons appointed by God to execute this judgment. They are not of that simplicity as is moved, but wolves under sheep's clothing.
Mr. Stephens. Some I look on as persons seduced. Those I pity. Others, as seducers; those I pity not. The Jesuits have too great a stroke amongst them. (fn. 10) Let them repair to the Committee of Grievances. It will fall out that most are imprisoned for transgressing a fundamental law. I hope you will not dispense with their contempt.
Mr. Annesley. Now I have read the Petition I am against either committing the Petition or calling them in. The Petition is unreasonable, and declares their desire that is neither consonant to the laws of God or man. Declare also the petitioning tumultuous. Unless you declare against the thing itself, you will be troubled next week with as many.
They say they are imprisoned for meeting together in the fear of God, for not swearing, for visiting their friends, and speaking the truth; all which are in themselves good, and it is a strong reflection.
Some moved for a Committee to go out to them; others to send the Serjeant; others to call them in. Others moved for declaring that this House doth take notice of their tumultuous assembling themselves together, and their contempt of magistracy.
Mr. Gewen. This minds me of what Solomon says, (fn. 11) "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." I would have the word "tumultuous," for they are so in petitioning against the magistracy.
Lieutenant-general Ludlow in favour. (fn. 12)
Resolved, that the answer to be given to the persons that presented this paper is, that this House hath read their paper, and the paper thereby referred to; and doth declare their dislike of the scandals thereby cast upon magistracy and ministry; and doth therefore order, that they and other persons concerned, do forthwith resort to their respective habitations, and there apply themselves to their callings, and submit themselves to the laws of the nation, and the magistracy they live under.
Colonel Eyre. For your bearing public testimony against them, I would have them called in; and their hats taken off before they come in. (fn. 13)
Mr. Poole moved, that this vote be printed. (fn. 14)
Mr. Reynolds. I second it; but first give a little light to your Committee by a debate in this House, as was usual; that you may not tumultuate your debate. If this be done, which is in the bottom of the bag, and must be done, we shall, I hope, be able to buoy up our reputation, so as to be a nation again.
He further reported a claim of Lord Marquis Argyle for 12,000l., charged by order of the Protector and Council, upon the excise in Scotland, part paid. (fn. 17)