Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 4, March - April 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Tuesday, at 1, March 8,1658–9.
Mr. Speaker came not till two, and took the chair then. (fn. 1)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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. Howe. I second it. Take notice we lay our claim to it. (fn. 29)
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.
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.