The Diary of Thomas Burton: 8 March 1658-9

Pages 76-90

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, at 1, March 8,1658–9.

Mr. Speaker came not till two, and took the chair then. (fn. 1)

Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I move for the addition, for limiting and bounding them first.

Colonel Briscoe moved to bound and approve them first.

Mr. Reynolds. If you save the old Lords' rights, save them to the purpose. They have been faithful, and it is not just to lay them aside. I have seen them at the head of their regiments.

Mr. Annesley. I am glad to hear those persons that were for a Commonwealth, move to save this right. It concerns me now to speak to the restitution of the old Peers.

This addition coming so clearly before you, I hope it will be known, that this House does not intend to trepan, or shoeing-horn, any body, as some say. (fn. 2) I would have you put the question, to restore the old Peers to their rights, that it may be known what you intend for them.

Mr. Knightley. If you do restore the old Peers, there will be no danger of the person beyond the dikes (fn. 3) coming in. You have recognized one that will keep him out. I would have you put the question, that, (as was moved by Mr. Bayles, (fn. 4) ) if one fail, then you may be sure of another House to transact with.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I was bred a Puritan, and am for public liberty. Serjeant Maynard told (fn. 5) you, those that were against this were for no settlement. I shall get little by unsettlement. I am no leveller. (fn. 6) If troubles should come, I should lose as much as another man. I desire to deal plainly with you, and shall ever do, while I live, in this House. (fn. 7)

I am not against a single person, but against that monster prerogative, that we groan under to this day. I am against anarchy and tyranny, any way propounded. To secure against this, my heart and soul shall go along with it. Those persons that now sit, indeed did choose themselves. They chose the single person, and he chose them.

Consider the persons what they are. They have taken away your purse with them, to maintain their forces. They took tonnage and poundage for ever, which is but to destroy the people, and to reduce them to the condition of France. (fn. 8) Did ever the great Lords do so, when they went hence. They left the purse always here.

The King had not, by tonnage and poundage, and all that he had, above 600,000l. (fn. 9) Never king had tonnage and poundage but for life.

The people never in seven years parted with above two subsidies, which is but seven score thousand pounds. If the King had had 1,300,000l. he had had no need of money to feed his hungry flies the courtiers.

I from my soul honour the old Lords. I exceedingly honour Lord Northumberland. (fn. 10) There were Say, (fn. 11) Wharton, (fn. 12) Roberts, Manchester, (fn. 13) and I know not how many with us. I was in the north, and remember them not. I had nought to do with Pride's purge. (fn. 14)

I had rather, with all my soul, those noble Lords were in, to all intents and purposes, than those persons that have two swords; (fn. 15) two strings to their bows; persons that have torn Parliaments out, and pulled your Speaker out of the chair. (fn. 16)

Those sit upon the writ that was in the King's time. (fn. 17) I have it here. (fn. 18)

They cried read it;—said he, I thought so. It is an easy thing to put me out.

This is a plain cutting our purses, and next cutting our throats. The King laboured to bring in excise, and it was distasted.

If this should pass, we shall next vote canvass breeches and wooden shoes (fn. 19) for the free people of England. I think in my soul so.

There was a petition of one Lady Hewet, for the life of her husband. (fn. 20) She appealed to all the lawyers and judges, and told them, if they said he ought to plead by the law, he would, and, for not pleading, he lost his life. They knew not what to do with this petition. The Judges refused to act upon it; but twenty-four that now sit in the other House sat.

They sit upon the old writ, (fn. 21) that one string, (fn. 22) and be Peers to all intents and purposes.

Oh, what would I give to be reduced to where we were before! We are in a worse condition than if our enemies had prevailed. In my heart, I think we had not had 1,300,000l. per annum (fn. 23) for ever and ever upon us.

Let us not mingle questions with subtilty, to deceive one another now; to make it a gilded pill: (fn. 24) This salvo will not do it; God has not put the power out of your hands. You may do it if you please.

I do wish with all my soul we might have those ancient Lords, such as depend upon themselves, so that we might be secured against the old line. In former times, court Lords and country Lords differed. Court Lords were always biassed. Never was such a sad condition, as to have fought ourselves into this sad slavery.

Pass but this vote, and all is gone. I tell you my heart clearly; let us deal ingenuously and plainly with one another.

Put the question without any addition. I will vote for the Peers with all my heart.

Mr. Trenchard. I have been forty years a Parliamentman, and never saw us in a worse condition. You are, by this vote, giving away all. It would grie ve a man's heart to hear it. We shall be but as a Grand Jury. If you now obtain not some good for the Commons, you can never do it.

Unless you repeal that Act about the money, the 1,300,000l. now, you will never be able to do it. I would have some previous vote to put your money into the condition that it was before.

I never knew the House of Commons unwilling to supply emergencies. I would have them enjoy all the rights of Lords, so we might but enjoy all our rights. Otherwise I cannot consent to this question.

Captain Jones. The old Lords have most seasonably, successfully, and faithfully served you. It appears to me that it is most reasonable their rights should be restored. You are now upon peace. I wish it may be such a peace as the Long Parliament aimed at, a well-grounded peace. Righteousness is the effect of peace. The meanness of governors makes the government mean. Every tendency to that end of righteousness and peace ought not to be obstructed. I find this to be the great block in your way. It is a great sense, to do right to them and to the nation.

Therefore, I move that the question be put, that these ancient Lords that have not forfeited their rights may be restored to sit in that other House.

Mr. Gewen. If you will put the question to restore them, without delusion, I shall not be against it. If you intend good for them, or but words, to bid men warm them and eat, and give them nothing, let us show it.

Put it clearly and I will give my affirmative.

Captain Baynes. This vote or saving will be out of doors, when you pass the vote to transact. The properest question is, to limit and bound them.

Admit you provide all in one Bill that has been moved, your sending up that Bill is an owning them, and they may reject your Bill or your addition. If this pass in the negative, then you may bound them.

If you please to put whether you will have any addition to this question.

Mr. Speaker repeated the debate, and offered an independent question, for saving the rights of the old Peers. The others were illusory additions. He offered the addition in writing.

Mr. Swinfen stood up to speak to the addition, but was taken down.

Lord Lambert and others said he had spoken the same things to this debate.

Mr. Swinfen. To my remembrance, I have not spoken to this question.

It is said, the additions are illusory, as to the saving. I doubt the other addition. This latter question is delusory.

A people there was, that offered to help another people to build a building, seeing they could not pull down. I doubt, those that move these additions, desire to build with us, seeing they cannot destroy. This is but putting of mists before the question. Put the first question, i. e. saving the rights of the old Peers; or put, if it shall be put.

Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. It is impossible to save the rights of. others, if you own these upon that foot that they are. You cannot alter one bit of it without their consent. Their number is to be but seventy. If sixty already, how can that clause of yours be practised or put in execution? True, this may be mended, but when you have once owned them, you must stay their leisure.

If these would give their places to old Lords, there is one negative upon you still; so you put two bars before their rights. To bring in the old Lords upon the Petition and Advice, upon that foot, I should for ever abhor them and myself for doing it. Upon this new foot, you cannot restore them; though I honour them as much as any man, and wish they were restored, but rather never see a Lord, than have them on such a foot; I would have the question put singly, that we may not be surprised in our votes.

Serjeant Maynard. That noble knight spoke the very same yesterday, and concluded so.

Lord Lambert. I think the rights and liberties so long and much contended for, may with as much safety be placed in these old Peers as in these new ones. I would have you put the question without any addition.

Mr. Boscawen. I am against all additions. It is the greatest affront you can put upon the old Lords. This is but making them the horse for the new Lords to get into the saddle. The addition is but a chimera, a fancy to draw poor men by the way. They will not be satisfied at all by it. This is but fallacy. They call themselves Lords; much good may it do them. Let us not call them Lords.

Serjeant Dendy. If this question had been put yesterday, I should have given my affirmative, but I have received such light since, that I cannot in conscience give my affirmative. I am against both the additions and the question. I would have you apply to his Highness, and so far transact with the other, that if they understand the obstructions, they will come down to you. One objection which this House cannot answer, and that is the 1,300,000l. per annum. Unless that were mended, I could not give my affirmative.

Mr. Disbrowe. I doubt we are pulling down those foundations that God has provided for us; I dread the consequence. It might, I am confident, be for our great good and settlement to build upon this foundation.

I think every man offers what is in his heart to say. I have most reason to suspect my own heart rather than another's.

There is no delusion (fn. 25) in it to bring those Lords that have not forfeited, to have their rights to sit among those Lords or gentlemen,—what you will call them, that sit there. (fn. 26)

That about the money is nought but a promise of a Parliament then in being, for and towards the want of Army and Navy (1,000,000l. per annum will not do it now.) It is not absolutely settled. When you think fit to retrench the Army and Navy, no doubt this House shall do rationally in that, the reason ceasing. The charge may be taken away. The reason of the promise ceasing, the promise ceases.

Again, those laws will stand, whether you transact or not. Goodness, not greatness, is your surest foundation. As to the persons, why may you not expect as much from them as from any other ? You never experienced it yet, how useful they will be for you.

If the Lord would give us a settlement on this foundation, I doubt not but our civil and religious liberties may be as well hedged and cared for as ever they were.

I would have the addition first put as to the saving of the rights of the old Peers, being legally summoned.

Sir Walter, Earle. That gentleman's advice is to deal plainly. I would deal so. The addition is not plainly. The best way is to address to his Highness, either by remonstrance or by your Speaker, and lay down these obstructions. Take in your money and the constitution, and represent all plainly.

Mr. Hewley. I know no way to do this but by a Bill, and then you must take in the three estates. If you take in the old Lords, I question whether they will sit upon that foundation. I would have the question put nakedly. I will give my affirmative; but first I. will give my reasons for it.

I acknowledge myself to sit on that foundation, else we are no Parliament. We are under an oath.

Colonel White took him down; and said, to this debate he spoke the same things not long since.

Colonel Morley agreed, and said he spoke it before, as we shall all do. Nil dictum, quod non dictum prius. If you please put the question.

Sir Thomas Wroth. Apply to his Highness by remonstrance, as was moved.

Captain Baynes took him down.

Mr. Speaker. I am not able to stand.

Sir William Wheeler. I move that before the question be put, all members be called out of the Chamber.

The single question (fn. 27) was put in the affirmative.

Mr. Trevor interrupted, and moved the addition to be first put. And the addition being put for saving the rights of the ancient Peers, (fn. 28)

Mr. Speaker declared for the Noes.

Mr. Hungerford and Colonel Morley moved, seeing they were so fond of the question, to put it. Every body is able to see the fallacy of it.

A great debate arose whether the Yeas or Noes should go out.

Mr. Speaker. I said Yeas, because it was an addition to a question, and not a natural question.

The Noes went out.

Noes, 184. Sir Arthur Haslerigge, and Sir Horatio Townsend, Tellers.

Yeas, 203. Sir John Coppleston and Colonel Cromwell, Tellers.

So it was resolved, that the question for this addition to the question be now put.

The main question was put.

Mr. Speaker declared for the Noes.

The Yeas went out.

Noes, 188. Mr. John Herbert, and Mr. Annesly, Tellers.

Yeas, 195. Colonel Birch and Mr. Redding, Tellers.

So it was resolved that these words; viz. "and that it is not hereby intended to exclude such Peers as have been faithful to the Parliament from their privilege of being duly summoned to be members of that House," be part of the question.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge. Divers gentlemen are withdrawn that have been at your nine days' debate. I desire they may be called down to give their negative or affirmative, which is to the orders of the House.

Mr. Weaver seconded it.

Colonel Allured. The Scotch and Irish members sit upon no foot of law.

Mr. Howe. I second it. Take notice we lay our claim to it. (fn. 29)

Sir Arthur Haslerigge. This concerns life and death. It is time to make our claims.

Sir Richard Temple. I move that Scotch and Irish members withdraw before you put this question.

Mr. Hungerford. I second that motion.

Mr. Attorney-general. No question ought to be put but the main question. No new debate ought to be admitted; but I see what this savours of.

Colonel Mildmay. I move that the Scotch and Irish members be dismissed, till they sit upon a foot of law. It is the most serious business that ever was; our lives and liberties. The cry of all people without doors is upon us. We know not whether they understand our debate. If they be Scotch or Irish, we know not that they understand any thing but yea or no. We have heard none of them speak. It is prudence in some not to speak.

Colonel Morley. I move to put the addition for bounding and approving these members.

Mr. Trenchard. By the same rule that you called down your members, may you command those persons to withdraw that do not sit upon a foot of law. They have no right.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge and Colonel White. Adjourn till to-morrow morning, and then take up this debate.

Colonel Birch. By the rules of Parliament, you cannot wave the main question, nor is it ingenuity to do it.

Colonel Fielder. No other debate can properly come on foot, but what is additional to the question.

Sir Thomas Wroth. I move to adjourn: This debate being stirred, it deserves your consideration.

Mr. Neville. The debate is properly before you, and you must determine. It is not fit to leave so many worthy members out, that may help you in it.

Mr. Trevor moved against this debate.

Colonel Morley moved for the addition of approving, &c. and that was as proper an addition as any that could be offered.

Thus was it struggled till nine o'clock; and the bone thrown in, touching the Scotch and Irish members, prevailed so far, that it obstructed the question, and though it was strongly laboured to bring it, yet the House rose without a question. (fn. 30)

It was moved to agree what should be matter of debate tomorrow; but it was ruled that no question could be put till that of the Scotch and Irish members was determined. Again the Speaker was ready to die in the chair. He could scarce speak.


  • 1. "The House resumed, and proceeded in the debate, that this House will transact with the persons now sitting in the other House, as an House of Parliament." Journals.
  • 2. Sir A. A. Cooper, supra, p. 52.
  • 3. Charles Stuart now "returned to Brussels," after his fruitless journey to the Pyrennees. See vol. iii. p. 294, note; Lord Clarendon's History, p. 689.
  • 4. Supra, p. 9.
  • 5. Ibid. p. 74.
  • 6. See vol. i. p. 49, note‡.
  • 7. Alluding, probably, to his right of sitting in the Other House.
  • 8. See supra, vol. iii. p. 569, ad fin.
  • 9. See vol. iii. p. 286, note *.
  • 10. He was "High Admiral," at the commencement of the war, and "staid with the Parliament." According to Ludlow," the Earl of Northumberland," in 1660, "was heard to say, that though he had no part in the death of the King, he was against questioning those who had been concerned in that affair; that the example might be more useful and profitable to future kings, by deterring them from such exorbitances." Memoirs, i. 41, iii. 10.
  • 11. See vol. iii. p. 536, note.
  • 12. See vol. i. p. 367,note *.
  • 13. See vol. iii. p. 516, note§.
  • 14. See vol. ii. p. 85, note
  • 15. See vol. iii. p. 557.
  • 16. See vol. iii. p. 209.
  • 17. See vol. ii. p. 410, note.
  • 18. See supra, p. 22.
  • 19. "The base and low estate of the French paisant, "to which this speaker alludes, has been described by contemporary near observers. "For their apparel," says Dr. Herlin, "it is well if they can allow themselves canvass, or an outside of that nature. As for death, it is above their purse equally, and their ambition. If they can aspire unto fustian, they are as happy as their wishes; and he that is so arrayed, will not spare to aim at the best place in the parish, even unto that of Churchwarden. When they go to plow, or to the church, they have shoes and stockings. At other times they make bold with nature, and wear their skins." See "France painted to the life," (1656,) p. 231. See also, vol. iii. pp. 142,143 note. A traveller to Paris, in 1691, describes "the rattling of the wooden shoes about the streets;" in connexion with "the mean and dejected aspect of the inhabitants," and "their contemptible and sordid way of living in their houses." Having made these discoveries at Calais, he thus proceeds to describe, and probably to exaggerate, under the influence of Protestant and Antigallican prejudices. "From hence, travelling to Paris, there was opportunity enough to observe what a prodigious state of poverty the ambition and absoluteness of a tyrant can reduce an opulent and fertile country to. There were visible all the marks and signs of a growing misfortune, all the dismal indications of an overwhehning calamity. The fields were uncultivated, the villages unpeopled, the houses dropping to decay; the inhabitants that remained, peeped out at doors and crevices, as if the King's booted apostles had been coming to plant the faith among them, by plundering the little that was left. The country looked no more like what it was represented to be in Louis XIII's time, than an apple is like an oyster." See "Six Weeks' Observations on the Present state of the Court and Country of France, (1691,) pp. 5, 8, 9." See also Monthly Repository, (1822,) xvii. 201. Such was the condition of the French peasantry. Thus, at least, it continued to be described long after this period, even till Burke and his humble imitators, with an obvious design, invited "the free people of England," to look back upon the royal regime of France, almost "with a lover's eye," and even to lament, (as I once heard Burke, in the House of Commons,) the destruction of the Bastille, that" abode of broken hearts," as an unwarranted demolition of "the King's Castle." It was a different spirit which dictated the "Verses written at Mont auban in France, 1750, by the Revd. Mr. Joseph Warton." The poet exclaims: (See Dodsley,) (1755,) iv. 207. "Tarn, how delightful wind thy willow'd waves, But ah! they fructify a land of slaves! In vain, thy bare-foot, sunburnt peasants hide, With luscious grapes, yon hill's romantic side; No cups nectareous shall their toils repay, The priest's, the soldier's, and the fermier's prey." The Earl of Cork and Orrery, writing from Lyons, October 2, 1754, to his friend Mr. Duncombe, says:—" In France, the poverty of the people and the fruitfulness of the soil are circumstances that excite wonder and compassion. All the great cities and the districts belonging to them, at once proclaim the power and the shame of this arbitrary Government. The French nobles are dad in purple; the French peasants have scarcely sackcloth to cover them. There is no medium between laced clothes and rags. The equipages and number of horses seem to answer the wealth of the Indies. The persons who make those equipages, and who provide food for those horses, have not bread to eat." Letters, (1774,) pp. 9,10. It is scarcely possible for an Englishman to read this passage, and not to recollect a country, under a Government vaunted as "the envy of surrounding nations, and the wonder of the world," where splendid "equipages" and sordid "rags" too often appear in contrast, and where the abundant "food" of pampered horses is far more certain than the scanty "bread" of toiling peasants. A later tourist, Sir Neale Wraxall, writing from Blois, May 13, 1776, says: "No language can describe the beauty of the Loire, or the fertility of the country through which it flows. The extreme poverty and misery of the peasants, in the midst of a delicious paradise, producing in the greatest abundance all the necessaries and elegancies of life, impresses me with pity, wonder, and indignation. I see much magnificence, but still more distress: one princely château, surrounded with a thousand wretched hamlets; the most studied and enervate luxury among the higher orders of society, contrasted with beggary and nakedness among the people." See "A Tour through the Western, Southern, and Interior Provinces of France," (1784,) pp. 176, 177. Burke, in his Reflections, represents the Government of Louis XVI. as constantly tending to reform. He had reigned more than ten years when the tourist wrote these remarks. What, then, must have been the unreformed government of the Bourbons ? But, audi alterant partem. That justly esteemed classical tourist, the late Mr. Eustace, appears never to have suspected that the French peasant, under the feudal domination of the noblesse, might see with painful dissatisfaction, "— the contiguous mansion rear its head, To scorn the meanness of his humble shed." On the contrary, while describing, without saying where he discovered it, "the hereditary benevolence of the Bourbons," as having descended to Louis XVIII. he thus complains:— "The chateaus have, in many places, shared the fate of their contemporary abbeys, and like them have been destroyed, or left to moulder in gradual decay. The villages, formerly enlivened by the presence of their Lords, whether laymen Or monks, and enriched by their expenditure, now pine in want and silence." Letter from, Paris, (1814,) pp. 7, 91. From several passages in this Letter, the accomplished tourist appears occasionally to have fallen into error. Thus, like a zealous son of the Roman Church, he persuades himself that, "if a Frenchman be a Christian, he must naturally be a Catholic;" among other reasons, "because the Catholic religion combines its influence with the glory of the French arms, the fame of French heroes." Ibid. p. 76. Had Mr. Eustace forgotten the religion professed by the first Condé and by Marshal Saxe; or that Henry IV. and Turenne, though dying in the bosom of the Catholic Church, had acquired all their military renown, while professed Protestants ?
  • 20. See infra.
  • 21. See supra, p. 78.
  • 22. Ibid.
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. Ibid. p. 59.
  • 25. See supra, p. 82. ad fin. 83.
  • 26. See supra, p. 84.
  • 27. See supra, p. 76, note.
  • 28. "For which see infra," MS.
  • 29. To their exclusion.
  • 30. "Lord Fauconberg to Lord H. Cromwell, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. March 8, 1658–9. My Lord. The owning the Lords' House, as now constituted, has long hung doubtfully; but it is, at last, brought to some ripenesse; so that most beleeve this night's debate will make us capable of a regular settlement, or tell us wee must not hope it. I intended your Lordship some more particulars, but am surprised with a sudden indisposition; and Count Broghill has assured me your Lordship shall have all from his pen, which will bee as empty as matters will bear." See "Thurloe State Papers," (1742,) vii. 628. "1658. March 8. Dr. Thomas Clarges to H. Cromwell, Lord Lieutenant:— "I am very doubtfull whether I shall be able this evening to tell your Excellency wee have decided a great question we have been in debate of ever since Wednesday last, which was, whether this House shall transact with the other House as a House df Parliament. Yesterday, wee sat from eight in the morning, till one this morning; and this day we have bin together since two in the afternoone, and it is now past eight at night; and all that is done, in order to a resolution in this great affaire, is the carrieing an addition to the question in the affirmative, viz. saving to such of the old Lords their rights, as shall be duly summoned to that House. "And now, as the maine question is putting, the House is moved to command the Scotch and Irish members to withdraw, which has now engaged them in a sharp debate, and given me thereby opportunity to doe this duty to your Excellency. From Copenhagen, our agent writes, that the Swedes were repulsed at a general assault, and they had 600 of their men killed, and 800 wounded; and amongst others, Colonel Vavasor is killed. "Just as I was sealing my letter, by the indisposition of the Speaker, the debate is adjourned till to-morrow, at ten in the morning; and before the adjournment, the debate about Scotch and Irish members was declined." Ibid.p. 630. "The House," says Mr. Bethel, "was again put in mind of their duty to the people, and urged to fall upon bounding of the power of the Chief Magistrate; but the courtiers, commanding all by the strength of their members, waved the Chief Magistrate, and fell upon the constitution of the other House, in which some days were spent in disputes betwixt the new and old Royalists, the Commonwealth-men remaining silent, to see what the strength of the others' brains would produce. "The first were for the new created Lords, with a mixture of the old, upon such limitations as they might not overtop the new. The other were for the old Lords, with a mixture of the new, and with the full privileges of the ancient House of Peers. "After it appeared that they could not make any thing of the debate, neither of the parties daring to trust the other, the third party fell in, and showed that where the cause is taken away the effect must cease; and that, as the House of Lords had anciently a natural right to a superior jurisdiction, in that dominion will naturally follow propriety, and their propriety was then three parts of four, if not more, of the whole nation; so it is now more natural for the Commons to have that superiority, their proportion of propriety being now near ninety parts of a hundred: that if they would have another House, it might be so bounded, as might suit with the people's interest. "But, notwithstanding many excellent arguments, incomparably pressed by persons of great virtue and abilities, the servile and mercenary court-party would not be prevailed with to bound and approve the members sitting in the other House, before they put it to the vote for transacting with them; which made the country-party, immediately as the question was coming on, to except against the constitution of the House, as having sixty persons in it, sent by Scotland and Ireland, which had no right nor title to sit; which they brought in debate to gain time, as being afraid to adventure the question for transacting with the other House, without first bounding and approving the members of that House. "With this new started exception, (which afterwards held fourteen days' debate,) the House rise." Brief Narrative, pp. 344, 345, 347.