The second parliament of Charles II: First session - begins 8/5/1661

Pages 31-46

The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1660-1680. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.

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The second Parliament.

On the 8th of May the new Parliament met, and the King proceeded to the House of Peers, with unusual Solemnity, being attended by all the great Officers of State, the whole Body of the Nobility in their Robes; Drums, Trumpets, &c. Where being seated on his Throne, he open'd the Session with the following Speech to both Houses.

The King's Speech.

'My Lords, and Gentlemen of the House of Commons,

I Will not spend the Time in telling you why I call'd you hither; I am sure I am glad to see you here. I do value myself much upon keeping my Word, upon making good whatsoever I promise to my Subjects: And I well remember when I was last in this Place, I promis'd that I would call a Parliament as soon as could be reasonably expected or desired; and truly, considering the Season of the Year, and all that has been done since we parted, you could not reasonably expect to meet sooner than now we do. If it might have been a Week sooner, you will confess there was some Reason to defer it to this Day: For, this Day, we may without Superstition love one Day, prefer one Day before another, for the Memory of some Blessings that befel us that Day; and then you will not wonder that the Memory of the great Affection the whole Kingdom shew'd to me this Day Twelve-Month, made me desirous to meet you again this Day, when I dare swear you are full of the same Spirit, and that it will be lasting in you. I think there are not many of you who are not particularly known to me; there are very few of whom I have not heard so much Good, that I am sure, as I can be of any thing that is to come, that you will all concur with me, and that I shall concur with you in all Things which may advance the Peace, Plenty, and Prosperity of the Nation; I shall be exceedingly deceiv'd else.

'My Lords and Gentlemen, you will find what Method I think best for your Proceeding, by two Bills I have caused to be prepar'd for you, which are for Confirmation of all that was enacted at our last Meeting: And above all, I must repeat what I said when I was last here; That next to the miraculous Blessing of God Almighty, and indeed, as an immediate Effect of that Blessing, I do impute the good Disposition and Security we are all in, to the happy Act of Indemnity and Oblivion: That is the principal CornerStone, which supports this excellent Building, that creates Kindness in us to each other, and Confidence in our joint and common Security. I am sure I am still of the same Opinion, and more, if it be possible, of that Opinion, than I was, by the Experience I have of the Benefit of it, and from the Unreasonableness of what some Men say against it, tho' I assure you not in my hearing. In God's Name, provide full Remedies for any future Mischiess; be as severe as you will against new Offenders, especially if they be so upon Old Principles, and pull up those Principles by the Roots. But I shall never think him a wise Man, who would endeavour to undermine or shake that Foundation of our public Peace, by infringing that Act in the least degree; or that he can be my Friend, or wish me well, who would persuade me ever to consent to the Breach of a Promise I so solemnly made when I was abroad, and perform'd with that Solemnity; because, and after I promis'd it, I cannot suspect any Attempts of that kind by any Men of Merit and Virtue.

'I will not conclude without telling you some News; News that I think will be very acceptable to you; and therefore I should think myself unkind and ill-natur'd, if I should not impart it to you. I have been often put in mind by my Friends, That it was now high Time to marry; and I have thought so myself ever since I came into England: But there appeared Difficulties enough in the Choice, tho' many Overtures have been made to me: and if I should never marry till I could make such a Choice, against which there could be no Foresight of any Inconvenience that may ensue, you would live to see me an old Batchelor, which I think you do not desire to do. I can now tell you, not only that I am resolv'd to marry, but to whom I resolve to marry, if God please: And towards my Resolution; I have us'd that Deliberation, and taken that Advice as I ought to do in an Affair of that Importance; and, trust me, with a full Consideration of the Good of my Subjects in general, as of myself: It is with the Daughter of Portugal. When I had, as well as I could, weigh'd all that occur'd to me, the first Resolution I took, was to state the whole Overtures which had been made to me, and, in truth, all that had been said against it to my Privy Council; without hearing whose Advice; I never did, nor ever will, resolve any thing of public Importance. And I tell you with great Satisfaction and Comfort to myself, that after many Hours Debate in a full Council, for I think there was not above one absent; and truly I believe, upon all that can be said upon that Subject, for or against it, my Lords, without one dissenting Vote, yet there were very few sate silent, advis'd me with all imaginable Chearfulness to this Marriage; which I look'd upon as very wonderful, and even as some Instance of the Approbation of God himself; and so took up my own Resolution, and concluded all with the Ambassador of Portugal, who is departing with the whole Treaty sign'd, which you will find to contain many great Advantages to the Kingdom: And I make all the haste I can to fetch you a Queen hither, who, I doubt not, will bring great Blessings with her, to me and you.'

The Lord Chancellor's Speech.

He refer'd the rest to the Lord-Chancellor, who made an elegant Speech, too long to be inserted but by way of Abridgment. He told them, 'That the King had call'd them hither by his Writ, which was the only good and lawful Way to the meeting of a Parliament; and they ought to thank God he had reserv'd them to that Day, a Day that many good Men had died praying for, that after all the Prodigies in Church and State, they had liv'd to see the King at the opening of the Parliament. That his Majesty had caused a Bill or two to be prepared for the Confirmation of all that was enacted in the last Parliament; which, tho' not call'd by the King's Writ, might be reasonably thought to have been call'd by God himself, upon the Prayers of the whole Kingdom, as the only Means to restore the Nation to its Happiness, to itself, to its Honour, and even to its Innocence. That for the King, after so many Injuries and Losses, to have been not only willing to confirm and enact the Act of Oblivion and Indemnity, but to prepare such an Act for them, to conjure them by all that was precious, by their Friendship to him, to dispatch those Acts with Expedition, was such a Fatherly Tenderness and Piety, as could proceed from no Heart, but such a one in which God had treasur'd up a Stock of Mercy, and Justice and Wisdom, to redeem a Nation. That the last Parliament, which had done such Wonders, had still left great Things for them to do: They would find the Revenue the last Parliament intended to raise for the King, very much short of what they promis'd: They would find the public Debts for the Discharge of the Army and the Navy, which the last Parliament thought sufficiently provided for, to be still in Arrear, and unpaid. That they were now the great Physicians of the Kingdom: and, God knows, had many wayward, forward and distemper'd Patients; some who in truth were very sick, others who thought themselves sicker than they were, and some who thought themselves in Health, and were most sick of all: They were therefore to use all the Diligence, Patience and Compassion, which good Physicians have for their Patients; all the Chearfulness, Complacency and Indulgence, their several Habits, Constitutions and Distempers might require. But there were a sort of Patients who deserv'd none of their Lenity; such who were so far from valuing their Prescriptions, that they accounted them not as their Physicians, but as their Patients; These were the seditious Preachers, who could not be contented to be dispens'd with for their full Obedience to some Laws establish'd, without reproaching and inveighing against those Laws how establish'd soever.' After some severe Expressions against these Preachers, he told them, that when the King spoke last in this Place, he said, 'He should not more propose to himself any one Rule in his Actions or Councils, than this; What is a Parliament like to think of this Action, or of that Counsel? And that it should be want of Understanding in him, if it would not bear that Test.' That in a little time after the Dissolution of the last Parliament, while his Majesty accompany'd his Mother to the Sea-side, the most desperate and prodigious Rebellion broke out in this City, that had been heard of in any Age; and by the multitude of intercepted Letters from and to all the Counties of England, in which the Time was set down wherein the Work of the Lord was to be done, by the desperate Carriage of the Traytors themselves, and the bragging of their Friends, it might be concluded the Combination reach'd very far; and, if the indefatigable Industry of the Lord Mayor had not prevented it, probably the Fury would not have been extinguish'd, before this famous City, or a great Part of it, had been burnt to Ashes: And therefore it would become their Wisdoms to provide new Remedies for new Diseases, and to secure the precious Person of their Sovereign from the first Approaches of Villany; and the Peace of the Kingdom from the first Overtures of Sedition.' Then he proceeded to speak of the King's intended Marriage, which he said, 'would be the most grateful News that the whole Kingdom could receive: That it would be judg'd an irrecoverable Error in Policy, if Portugal should be suffer'd again to be swallow'd up by Spain: That the Spanish Ambassador was solicitous to obstruct the Match; and the King had not conceal'd from his Council, what that Ambassador had offer'd against this Marriage; what Proffers he had made of others, what Threats of War in one Case, what Advantage of Dowry in another; nay, that he had pretended to be so solicitous for the Advancement of the Protestant Religion, that he had offer'd several Protestant Princesses, to whom his Master should give a Portion, as with the Infanta of Spain: But he had withal press'd very earnestly the delivering up of Dunkirk and Jamaica; by that it was plain the Spanish King would have that Recompense for the Portion he would give. That there being an unanimous Advice from his Council to make this Marriage, his Majesty had sent for the Portugal Ambassador, had declared his Resolution to him, had writ himself to Portugal, and was preparing his Fleet to fetch home their Queen. In the last place he told them there were some other Particulars of Weight, but he would reserve them till they met again, after they had chosen their Speaker.'

Sir Edward Turner chosen Speaker.

After the Chancellor had ended, and his Majesty was withdrawn, the House proceeded to the Choice of a Speaker. And, in complaisance to a Recommendation from Court, fix'd on Sir Edward Turner, (fn. 1) Solicitor to the Duke of York; who being return'd to the King for, and having received his Approbation, made a Speech to his Majesty, in which were the following Expressions.

The Speaker's Speech to the King.

'That as the former Spirit of Reformation at first brought us into this Misery; so the Spirit of Giddiness which God sent among our Reformers, at length cured us.' Then applying himself to the King, he said, 'As we have Cause at all times to bless God, that he hath thus brought your Majesty to your People; so we have just Cause at this Time to return our hearty Thanks unto your Majesty, that you have thus brought your People to yourself. The Sun exhales the Vapours from the Earth, and then sends them down in Showers of Plenty; so we joyfully find that our Obedience and Affection to your Majesty, are return'd upon our Heads in Plenty, Peace and Protection. The last Meeting here in Parliament was happy in healing the bleeding Wounds of this Nation; they were bless'd also, even for their Works sake, your sacred Majesty did bless them, and therefore they shall be blessed to all Posterity. But, Sir, we hope you have a Blessing left for us too: That was your Parliament by Adoption, but this is yours by Birth-Right: This Parliament is Free-born; I hope this Honour will beget in us an Emulation to exceed the Actions of our Predecessors, and not only to meet your Majesty as our Sovereign, with the Duty of Subjects, but with the Love of Sons to a most indulgent Father.— If the Affections of all Englishmen can make you happy; if the Riches of this Nation can make you Great; if the Strength of this warlike People can make you considerable at Home and Abroad, be assured you are the greatest Monarch in the World. Give me leave to double my Words and say it again, I wish my Voice could reach to Spain, and to the Indies too, You are the greatest Monarch in the World!' Then he concluded with the usual Request for the Commons wonted Privileges, Freedom of Speech, Protection from Arrests, and Access to his Majesty upon all Occasions.

The Chancellor's second Speech to the Commons.

Upon the finishing of this, the Lord-Chancellor made a second Speech by way of Supplement to his former; in which he told the Speaker and the Commons, 'That the King had done his Part, by publishing the very Day he intended the Parliament should meet, a good Time before the Writs were seal'd, that the Country might not be surpriz'd in their Elections; but that they might send up such a Representative to him as he might make a clear View and Prospect of the Affections and Desires of his People: And he is persuaded that the Commons of England were never more exactly represented than they were in the present Knights, Citizens and Burgesses.' After that he took notice 'of the great Privilege of the common People of England to be represented by the greatest, and learnedest, and wealthiest and wisest Persons that could be chosen out of the Nation: But, added he, the compounding the Commons of England, that noble Representative, with the common People of England, was the first Ingredient of that accursed Dose which intoxicated the Brains of Men with that Imagination of a Commonwealth; a Government as impossible for the Spirit and Genius of the English Nation to submit to, as it is to persuade them to give their Cattle and their Corn to other Men, and to live themselves upon Herbs and Roots.' He told them there was not a Commonwealth in Europe, where every Man that was worth one thousand Pounds, did not pay more to the Government, than a Man of a thousand Pounds a Year ever did to the Crown here before the late Troubles; and he was persuaded that that Monster Commonwealth cost this Nation more in the few Years she was begot, born and brought up, and in her Funeral, than the Monarchy had done these six hundred Years.' Then he proceeded to other Heads, and particularly urg'd them to provide against the excessive Drinking and Expences that prov'd inconvenient in Elections; and recommended to them the great Improvements to he made by draining of Fens, and the like. Lastly, he desired them, 'That they would use such Expedition in their Counsels of most Importance, that the rest may be left to a Recess in the Winter, after an Adjournment, that his Majesty might have Time to bestow himself upon his Subjects in a Progress which he would be glad to begin before the End of July. That his Majesty desired again to see his good City of Worcester, and to thank God for his Deliverance there; and to thank God even in those Cottages, and Barns, and Hay-Lofts, wherein he was shelter'd, and feasted, and preserved: And in the Close of that Progress he hopes he shall find his Queen in his Arms: and so return to meet them there the Beginning of Winter.

The Thanks of both Houses given to his Majesty.

These Ceremonies being over, the Parliament proceeded to the great Affairs of the Kingdom; and within three Days both Houses came to a Vote and Resolution concerning the King's intended Marriage, and accordingly attended his Majesty at Whitehall with their humble Acknowledgment and Thanks for the free and gracious Communication of his Resolution to marry with the Infanta of Portugal; which they conceiv'd to be of so high a Concernment to this Nation, that they receiv'd it with great Joy and Satisfaction, and did with all Earnestness beg a Blessing upon, and a speedy Accomplishment of it; and they could not but express their own unanimous Resolutions, which they were confident would have a general Influence upon the Hearts of all his Subjects: That they should upon all Occasions be ready to assist his Majesty in the Pursuance of these his Intentions against all Oppositions whatsoever. To which the King return'd his particular Thanks, declaring, 'That he did, in the matter of the intended Marriage, as much study their Good, as his own.'

The Commons oblige themselves to take the Sacrament, and order the Covenant to be burnt. ; As likewise the Act for erecting the high Court of Justice, &c.

While this was transacting, the House, first, order'd all their Members to take the Sacrament according to the prescribed Liturgy, on pain of Expulsion; and then, in conjunction with the Lords, on the 20th of May, order'd that the Instrument of Writing, that had caus'd so much Mischief, call'd, The solemn League and Covenant, should he burt by the Hand of the common Hangman, in the Palace-Yard at Westminster, in Cheapside, and before the Old-Excharge, on the 22d of May; and be forthwith taken off the Record in the House of Peers, and all other Courts and Places where the same is recorded; and that all Copies thereof be taken down out of all Churches, Chapels, and all other public Places in England and Wales. A few days after, May 28, they likewise order'd, the Act for erecting a High Court of justice, for Trying and Judging Charles Stuart, the Act for Subscribing the Engagement against a King and House of Peers; the Act for declaring the People of England to be a Commonwealth and Free-State; the Act for Renouncing the Title of Charles Stuart, and also the Act for the Security of the Lord Protector's Person, to be burnt by the hands of the common Hangman, in the midst of Westminster-Hall, while the Courts were sitting.

About this time, Mr Prynne (a Member) narrowly escaped the Censure of the House, for publishing certain Reasons against an intended Bill for regulating Corporations, as contrary to Magna Charta: And, the Republican Party apprehending the late Act of Oblivion to be insufficient, unless confirm'd by the present Parliament, his Majesty sent the following Letter to the House of Commons.

The King's Letter for confirming the Act of Indemnity.

'At the Opening our Parliament you were told, That we had a great Desire this Summer to make a Progress through some Parts of our Kingdom, which we resolve to begin in Devotion to our City of Worcester, that we may pour out our Thanks to God for our Deliverance there; and the Season of the Year quickens us in that Inclination, as we presume it disposes you to a Desire to withdraw from this City, and to visit your Countries. But you may remember we told you then, That we had caus'd some Bills to be prepared for you, for Confirmation of what we enacted in our last Meeting; and we said all we could to you of the Value we set upon the Act of Indemnity (as we have great reason to do) and if we could have used stronger Expressions to have conjur'd you speedily to have dispatch'd it, we assure you we would have done it. And we did think what we said would have made an Impression on all who profess a Desire to serve us; and therefore we expected every Day, that the same Bill would have been presented to us for another Assent. We must confess, we hear you have shewed great Affection to us, since your coming together, and that you have already prepared and pass'd some very good Bills (for which we heartily thank you) that are ready for the Royal Assent: Yet we cannot but tell you, That tho' we are enough concern'd to expedite those Bills, we have no mind to pass them till the Act of Indemnity be likewise presented to us, upon which, if you take our Word, most of our Quiet and Good depends, and in which we are sure our Honour is concern'd. Therefore we must again, and as earnestly as is possible, conjure you to use all possible Expedition in passing that Act in the same Terms we already pass'd it (to which we take Ourself oblig'd) and that you will for the present lay aside all private Business, that so betaking yourselves only to the Public, you may be ready to adjourn by the middle of the next Month, which will best suit with all our Occasions.'

This Letter did not fail of being receiv'd with due Respect, and the House resolv'd to bring in a Bill accordingly: But, as a new Instance of their Loyalty and Duty, proceeded, first, to settle the Revenue on such a footing as might more effectually maintain the Splendor and Grandeur of the Kingly Office. Accordingly this capital Point was referr'd to the Consideration of a Committee, of which Sir Philip Warwick was Chairman; who reported, that on a thorough Examination, there was a Deficiency of full 265,000 l. on the different Funds, already appointed to answer that end: Upon which it was order'd, 'That forthwith be provided a plentiful Supply for his Majesty's present unavoidable great Occasions, as well as a Settlement of a constant, and standing Revenue:' And accordingly a Bill was brought in 'To enable his Majesty to send out Commissions to receive the free and voluntary Contributions of his People, towards the present Supply of his Majesty's Affairs, &c.'

The Speaker's Speech to the King.

Having finish'd this, and the Bill for Confirmation of the Act of Oblivion and Indemnity, on the 8th Day of July the King came to the House of Peers, where being seated on his Throne, the Speaker of the House of Commons, among other things, spoke thus to his Majesty: 'Your Majesty was pleased, at the Opening of the Parliament, to recommend to us two Bills; one for Confirmation of public Acts, another for the private Acts that passed the last Parliament: They were so many in Number, and great in Weight, that hitherto we could not consider of them all: but some we have perused, as the Act for Confirmation of Judicial Proceedings, that for taking away the Court of Wards and Liveries, and also all those that relate to your Majesty's Customs and Excise. And that we might with some Chearfulness see your Majesty's Face, we have brought our Brother Benjamin with us, I mean your Act of Oblivion. I take the Boldness to call it yours, for so it is by many Titles: Your Majesty first conceiv'd it at Breda, you help'd to contrive and form it here in England, and we must all bear you witness, you labour'd and travell'd till it was brought forth: And since it had a Being, some question being made of its Legitimation, your Royal Heart is not at case until it be confirm'd. And now, Sir, give me leave to say, By the Suffrage of a full, ä free, and legal Parliament, it is presented to your Majesty to be naturaliz'd. Your Majesty's Desires are fully answer'd by all the Representatives of the People; and their hearty Prayer to God is, That all your Subjects may be truly thankful to you, and that your Majesty may long live to enjoy the Fruitts of the unparallel'd Mercy. Your Majesty was pleased lately to intimate to us, That you so valu'd the Quiet and Satisfaction of your People, and the keeping of your royal Word, that tho' divers other Bills were made ready for you, you would vouchsafe the Honour to this Bill alone, your Favourite, to come and pass it. Sir, hereby you have made this a great Holiday, and we shall observe it with Joy and Thanksgiving. Upon such solemn Festivals, there used to be a second Service, and Anthem, and a Collect, or at least an Offering: My Anthem shall be, Quid tibi retribuam, Domine? And my Collect, a short Report of your Revenue.' Then mentioning the King's Patience, Providence, and Frugality abroad, in not bringing home any Debts for the Nation to pay, &c. he thus concluded: 'The Commons of England do by me their Servant humbly present you with this Bill, intitled, An Act for a free and voluntary Present, and wish it a Success answerable to your Royal Heart's Desire.'

In the passing of the two Bills mentioned in the Speaker's Speech, the King himself spoke as follows:

The King's Speech at his passing two Bills

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

'It is a good time since I heard of your passing this Bill of Money, and I am sure you would have presented it to me sooner, if you had thought I had desired it; but the truth is, tho' I had need enough of it, I had no mind to receive it from you, till I might at the same time give my Assent to this other very good Bill that accompanies it, for which I long'd very impatiently. I thank you for both with all my heart; and tho' there are other good Bills ready, with which you will easily believe I am very well-pleas'd, and in which I am indeed enough concern'd, yet I chose rather to pass these two Bills together, and to pass them by themselves without any other, that you may all see, and in you the whole Kingdom, that I am at least equally concern'd for you and them, as for myself: And in truth it will be want of Judgment in me, if ever I desire any thing for myself, that is not equally good for you and them. I am confident you will believe that my WellBeing is of some Use and Benefit to you, and I am sure your Well-Being, and being well pleas'd, is the greatest Comfort and Blessing I can receive in the World. I hope you will be ready within a few Days to dispatch those other public Bills which are still depending before you, that I may come hither and pass all together, and then adjourn till Winter, when what remains may be provided for. The last Parliament by God's Blessing laid the Foundation of the Happiness we all enjoy; therefore I thought it but Justice to the Memory of it, to send you Bills for the Confirmation of what was then enacted; and I cannot doubt but you will dispatch what remains of that kind with all convenient Speed; and that you will think, that what was then thought necessary for the public Peace, ought not to be shaken now, or any good Man less secure of what he possesses, than he was when you came together. It is to put myself in mind, as well as you, that I so often mention to you my Declaration from Breda: And let me put you in mind of another Declaration publish'd by yourselves about the same time, and which I am persuaded made mine the more effectual, an honest, generous, and christian Declaration, sign'd by the most eminent Persons, who had been the most eminent Sufferers, in which you renounc'd all former Animosities, all Memory of former Unkindnesses, vow'd all imaginable Good will to, and all Confidence in each other. Therefore let it be in no Man's power to charge me or you with breach of our Word or Promise: Let us look forwards, and not backwards; and never think of what is pass'd, except Men put us in mind of it by repeated faults we had forgot, and then let us remember no more than what concerns those very Persons. God hath wrought a wonderful Miracle in settling us as he hath done; I pray let us do all we can to get the Reputation at home and abroad of being well-settled We have Enemies and Envyers enough, who labour to have it thought otherwise; and if we would indeed have our Enemies fear us, and our Neighbours love and respect us, and fear us enough to love us, let us take all the Ways we can, that as the World cannot but take notice of your extraordinary Affection to me, and of the Comfort I take in that Affection, so that it may likewise take notice of your Affection to, and Confidence in each other; which will disappoint all Designs against the public Peace, and fully establish our joint Security.'

Proceedings against the Regicides.

As the King seem'd on one hand to make it a Point to perfect the Act of Indemnity, the Commons, on the other, appear'd as zealous to offer up Victims, to the Memory of his Father. Accordingly they proceeded to the Confiscation of the Estates of twenty one Regicides deceased, viz. Pelham, Skippon, Edwards, Constable, Dean, Danvers, Moore, Alured, Stapeley, Frye, Allen, Maleverer, Blakestone, Hammond, Bourchier, Horton, Purefoy, Norton, Ewer, Ven, and Andrews. They likewise order'd the Lord Mounson, Sir Henry Mildmay, and Mr. Robert Wallop, who had been favour'd, as the others had been, reserv'd in the Act of Indemnity, to be brought to the Bar of the House of Commons; where confessing their Crimes, a Bill was order'd to be brought in to confiscate their Estates, as also Sir James Harrington and John Phelps, not yet apprehended: and it was farther order'd, 'That the Lord Mounson, Sir James Harrington, and Sir Henry Mildmay should be degraded of their several Honours and Titles; and that those now in Custody, and the other two, when apprehended, should all be drawn upon Sledges with Ropes about their Necks, from the Tower of London to, and under the Gallows at Tyburn, and thence convey'd back to the Tower, there to remain Prisoners during their Lives.' Which Sentences were solemnly executed upon the 30th of January following.

The Speaker's Speech at the breaking up of the Session.

As much Business being effected, and as many Acts prepared as cou'd well be complcated in a limited Time, the King came to the House of Peers on the 30th Day of July, when he thought a Recess very necessary. Being seated on his Throne, the Speaker of the House of Commons presented the several Bills for the Royal Assent, the Nature of which will be best understood by giving the Substance of his Speech to his Majesty: 'Your loyal House of Commons have with unwearied Labour consulted for the Service of your Majesty, and the Good of this Nation; and now the Fields grow white to Harvest. In the great Field of Nature all Fruits do not grow ripe together, but some in one Month, some in another; So it is in the Course of our Proceedings: some of our Fruits are in the Blossom, when others are in the Bud; some are near ripe, and others fit to be presented to your Majesty. Amongst the Number of our choicest ripe Fruits, we first present you with a Bill for the Safety and Preservation of your Majesty's Royal Person and Government; wherein we desire it may be enacted, That if any Person shall compass, imagine, or design your Majesty's Death, Destruction, or bodily Harm, to imprison or restrain your Royal Person, or depose you, or shall levy War against your Majesty, within or without your Realm, or stir up any foreign Power to invade you, and shall declare or express such his wicked Intention by Printing, Writing, Preaching, or malicious and advised Speaking, being thereof legally convicted, shall be adjudg'd a Traytor. And because much of our late Misery took its Rise from seditious Pamphlets, and Speeches from the Pulpits, it is provided, That if any Man shall maliciously and advisedly publish or affirm your Majesty to be an Heretic, or a Papist, or that you endeavour to introduce Popery, or shall stir up the People to Hatred or Dislike of your Royal Person or Government, then every such Person shall be made incapable of any Office or Employment, either in the Church or State. And if any Man shall maliciously and advisedly affirm, That the Parliament begun in Westminster the 3d of November 1640 is yet in Being, or that any Covenant or Engagement, since that Time impos'd upon the People, doth oblige them to endeavour a Change of the Government either in Church or State; or that either, or both Houses of Parliament have a Legislative Power without your Majesty; then every such Offender, being thereof legally convict, shall incur the Penalties of a Premunire, mention'd in the Statute made 16th of Richard II.'

'In the next place, Sir, give me Leave, I bescech you, without any Violence to the Act of Oblivion, to remember a sad Effect of the Distempers in the last Age: When the Fever began to seize upon the People, they were impatient till they lost some Blood: The Lords Spiritual, who in all Ages had enjoy'd a Place in Parliament, were by an Act of Parliament excluded. Your Majesty's Royal Grandfather was wont to say, No Bishop no King: we found his Words true; for, after they were put out, the Fever still increasing, in another Fit the Temporal Lords follow'd, and the King himself. Nor did the Humour rest there, but, in the Round, the House of Commons was first garbled, and then turn'd out of doors. It is no wonder, when a Sword is put into a Mad-man's Hand, to see him cut off Limb by Limb, and then to kill himself. Your Majesty is now happily restored to the Government, the Temporal Lords and Commons are restored to their Seats in Parliament, and shall the Church alone suffer? Sit Ecclesia Anglicana libera, & habeat Libertates suas illasæs! In order to this great Work, the Commons have prepared a Bill to repeal the Law made in the 17th Car. whereby the Bishops were excluded this House. These noble Lords have all agreed, and now we beg your Majesty will give it Life: Speak but the Word, Great Sir, and your Servants yet shall live.

'We cannot forget the Method, how our late Miseries, like Waves of the Sea, came in upon us: First the People were invited to Petition, to give colour to some illegal Demands: then they must Remonstrate; then they must Protest; then they must Covenant; then they must Associate; then they must engage against our lawful Government, and for the Maintenance of the most horrid Tyranny that ever was invented. For the prevention of this Practice for the future, we do humbly tender to your Majesty a Bill entitled, An Act against Tumults and Disorders, upon pretence of preparing or presenting public Petitions or Addresses to your Majesty or the Parliament. In the next place, we hold it our Duty to undeceive the People, who have been poison'd with an Opinion, That the Militia of this Nation was in themselves, or in their Representatives in Parliament: And, according to the ancient known Laws, we have declared the sole Right of the Militia to be in your Majesty. And forasmuch as our Time hath not permitted us to finish a Bill intended for the future ordering of the same, we shall present you with a Temporary Bill, for the present managing and disposing of the Land Forces: And likewise another Bill, for the establishing certain Orders for the Regulation and Government of your Majesty's Navies and Forces by Sea. According to your Majesty's Commands, we have examin'd many of the public and private Bills which pass'd last Parliament, and have prepared some Bills of Confirmation. We have also ascertained the Pains and Penalties to be impos'd upon the Persons or Estates of those Miscreants who had a hand in the Murder of your Royal Father of blessed Memory, and were excepted in your Majesty's Act of Oblivion: Wherein we have declared to all the World, how just an Indignation we had against that horrid Regicide. We have likewise prepared a Bill for the Collection of great Arrears of the Duty of Excise, which I do here, in the Name of the Commons of England, present unto your Majesty.—Your Majesty was pleas'd, at the Opening of the Parliament, to tell us you intended this Summer to take a Progress, and see your People, and at your Return hoped to bring a Queen home with you. Sir, this welcome News hath made us cast about all Ways for your Accommodation; and therefore that no Conveniencies might be wanting for yourself, your Queen, or Attendants, we have prepared a Bill entitled, An Act for providing necessary Carriages in all your Royal Progresses and Removals. Your Majesty was likewise pleas'd at our first Meeting, to say, You wou'd not tire us with hard Duty, and therefore about this Time intended a Recess. That Royal Favour will now be seasonable, and we hope advantageous to your Majesty, and ourselves. We know in our Absence your Princely Heart and Head will not be free from Cares and Thoughts of our Protection: And when we leave our Hive, like the industrious Bee, we shall but fly about the several Countries of the Nation to gather Honey; and when your Majesty shall be pleas'd to name the Time, return with loaded Thighs unto our House again.'

At the passing of the afore-mention'd Bills, the King made the following Speech.

The King's Speech at the same time.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

I Perceive by the thin Appearance of the Members of both Houses this Day, that it is high time to adjourn: In truth, the Season of the Year, as well as your particular Affairs, require it, and therefore I do willingly consent to it. I thank you for the many Bills you have presented me with this Day, of which I hope the Benefit will redound to the whole Kingdom. I thank you for the Care you have taken for the Safety of my Person; which, trust Me, is the more valuable to Me, for the Consequence I think it is of to You; and, upon my Conscience, there is no body wishes ill to Me, but they who wou'd quickly revenge themselves of You, if they cou'd. I thank you for the Care you have taken of yourselves, of your own Safety and Honour, in the Act against Tumults and Disorders upon pretence of Petitions; to which Licence we owe much of the Calamities we have undergone: But I thank you with all my heart; indeed as much as I can do for any thing, for the Repeal of that Act which excluded the Bishops from Parliament: It was an unhappy Act in an unhappy Time, pass'd with many unhappy Circumstances, and attended with miserable Events, and therefore I do again thank you for repealing it. You have thereby restored Parliaments to their primitive Institutions; and I hope, my Lords and Gentlemen, you will in a short time restore them to the primitive Order, and Gravity of Debates and Determinations, which the Licence of the late distemper'd Times had so much corrupted; which is the only way to restore Parliaments to their primitive Veneration with the People, which I heartily wish they shou'd always have.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

You are now going to your several Countries, where you cannot but be welcome for the Services you have perform'd here: I do very earnestly recommend the good Government and Peace of your Countries to your Care, and your Counsel, and your Vigilance. There are distemper'd Spirits enough, which lie in wait to do mischief, by laying Reproaches upon the Court, upon the Government, Reoroaches upon Me, and Reproaches upon You: your Wisdoms and Reputations, and Authority will, I doubt not, weigh down their light Credit; and the old and new good Laws will, I hope, prevent any Mischief they intend. However, you have done very well, and I do very heartily thank you for it, in declaring my sole Right over the Militia, the questioning of which was the Fountain from which all our bitter Waters flow'd. I pray make haste to put the whole Kingdom into such a Posture, that evil Men, who will not be converted, may yet chuse to be quiet; because they find that they shall not be able to do the harm they desire to do. I know you have begun many Bills in both Houses, which cannot be finish'd till your Meeting again; and that they may be finished then, I forbear to make a Sessions new, but am contented that you adjourn till the twentieth of November, when I hope, by God's Blessing, we shall come happily together again. In a word, my Lords and Gentlemen, I thank you for what you have done, and am confident, that what you have lest undone you will dispatch with all Alacrity, and to all our Satisfactions, at our next Meeting: And so you may adjourn till the twentieth of November.'


  • 1. And afterwards to the King.