House of Commons Journal Volume 4: 17 April 1646

Pages 512-514

Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 4, 1644-1646. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.

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Die Veneris, 17 Aprilis, 1646.


ORdered, That Mr. Hawes shall have Liberty to go into France, with Sir Martin Lumlye's Son, to accompany him in his Travels.

The humble Petition of Sir William Selby Knight, and Alexander Pym Esquire, concerning their Election to serve as Burgesses for the Borough of Ilchester, was this Day read: And

It is Ordered, upon the Question, That it be especially recommended unto the Consideration of the Committee of Privileges.

Ordered, That the Committee at Goldsmiths-Hall do pay the Five hundred Pounds, formerly ordered to be paid unto the Widow of Major Ferrer, deceased, upon Account.

Ordered, That the East-India Company shall have Liberty, and be permitted, to carry on board the Ships of the said Company, that are now going forth to the EastIndies, and to transport in the said Ships, or any of them, the Sum of Five of Five thousand Pounds of Foreign Bullion or Coin, more, and over and above the Foreign Bullion or Coin, which, by former Order, they were licensed to export in the said Ships, or some of them; with like Freedom and Liberty as in the said former Order: And the Commissioners for the Customs, and all Customers, Searchers, Comptrollers, and other Officers and Persons, whom it may concern, are to conform themselves to this Order of Licence, accordingly.

Resolved, That this House doth nominate and approve of Sir Thomas Read, of Dunstew, Knight, William Wheat and John Lenthall Esquires, William Draper, Thomas Appletree, and Robert Barber, Gentlemen, to be added to the Committees for the County of Oxon.

The Lords Concurrence to be desired herein.

An Ordinance for settling the Civil Government of the City of Chester, and of the County of the same, was this Day read the First and Second time; and, upon the Question, committed unto Mr. Ashurst, Mr. Crewe, Sir Gilbert Gerard, Sir John Trevor, Sir John Danvers, Mr. Robinson, Colonel Moore, Mr. Hodges, Sir Thomas Widdrington, Mr. Swinfen, Sir Thomas Middleton, Mr. Fell, Mr. Boughton, Sir Ralph Ashton, Mr. Knightley, Lord Fairefaxe, Mr. Henry Darley, Sir Thomas Dacres, Sir William Maashm, Sir John Corbett, Mr. Millington, Mr. Pury, Mr. Rigby, Mr. Recorder, Mr. Theloall, Mr. Langton, the Knights and Burgesses of North-Wales, Cheshire, Lancashire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire: They are likewise to consider of Maintenance for the Mayor of Chester, of DeeMills, and of the Cheshire Petition concerning the Chamberlain of Chester: And are to meet To-morrow at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, in the Star-Chamber: And have Power to send for Parties, Witnesses, Papers, Records, &c.

Ordered, That the humble Petition of Sir Edward Hales, Prisoner in the Tower, be read on Monday Morning next.

Ordered, That the humble Petition of Peter Baxter, Governor of Hurst-Castle in Com' Southampton, be earnestly recommended unto the speedy Consideration of the Committee of the Revenue. And

It is further Ordered, That the said Governor be referred to the Committee of Accompts; to receive, audite and certify his Accompts.

Ordered, That the humble Petitions of the Lords Inchiquin, Lord Broghill, Sir Arthur Loftus, and Major Banestre, be referred to the Consideration of Lords and Commons for the Affairs of Ireland; to consider of some Way and Means for the Relief of the Petitioners; and to present the same to the House.

Whereas the Ordinance of Parliament for authorizing Arthur Annesley Esquire, Sir Robert King Knight, and Colonel William Beale, to reside, as Commissioners from the Parliament, in the Province of Ulster, for the Space of Eight Months, expired the Third of January last; and was renewed, by another Ordinance of the Second of March last, to continue for Six Months longer, to be accounted from the Expiration of the said former Ordinance: And whereas no Course hath as yet been taken for any Allowance to the said Commissioners, for their Support there, during these last Six Months: It is hereupon thought fit, and Ordered, That Monies be allowed to the said Commissioners, their Chaplain, and Secretary, for these last Six Months, proportionable to the Allowance formerly made unto them by the Committee of both Kingdoms for the former Eight Months Attendance and Service.

The House fell into Consideration of a Declaration to be set forth, for taking off the Misrepresentations of the Parliament, and their Proceedings, to the People: The which was first altogether; and then Clause by Clause and every particular Clause put to the Question.

The Question being put, Whether the Clause in the Second Page, beginning with the Word "and," in the Eleventh Line, and ending with the Word "Kingdom," in the Fifteenth Line, shall be Part of this Declaration;

The House was divided.

The Yeas went forth.

Mr. Holles, Tellers for the Noe: 41.
Sir Philip Stapilton, With the Noe,
Sir John Evelyn of Wiltse, Tellers for the Yea: 67.
Sir Arthur Heselrige, With the Yea,

So that the Question passed with the Affirmative.

The Question being put, Whether the Clause in this Declaration, beginning with the Word "and," in the Seventeenth Line, and ending with the Word "same," in the Nineteenth Line, . . . . ;

The House was divided.

The Yeas went forth.

Sir Walter Erle, Tellers for the Noe: 43.
Mr. Ashurst, With the Noe,
Sir Arthur Heselrige, Tellers for the Yea: 71.
Sir John Evelyn of Wiltes, With the Yea,

So that the Question passed with the Affirmative.

The said Declaration being voted, Clause by Clause; and every Clause resolved by Question; the same was intirely put to the Question; and, upon the Question, passed.

Resolved, That this Declaration shall be forthwith printed: And Mr. Allen, Mr. Ball, Sir Arthur Heselrig, and Sir John Evelyn, or any Two of them, are desired to take care it may be truly printed, in a fair Letter, and good Paper: And are to agree with the Printer for the Printing of them.

Ordered, That Four thousand of these Declarations be printed, for the Use of the Parliament: And that the Knights and Burgesses of the several Counties do take care, they be forthwith sent down, and published, in the respective Counties and Places for which they serve.

Ordered, That the Serjeant at Arms attending on this House, and Mr. Frost, one of the Secretaries of the Committee of both Kingdoms, do likewise take special Care, that these Declarations may be forthwith dispersed in the several Counties of the Kingdom of England, and Dominion of Wales, and in the Town of Berwick upon Tweede: And that they do employ the Messengers of the Receipt, attending in Chancery, in this Service; who are injoined diligently to discharge the same.

Ordered, That it be referred to Mr. Allen, Mr. Ball, Sir Arthur Heselrige, and Sir John Evelyn, or any Two of them, to distribute the said Declarations to the Messengers that are to be sent into the several Counties: And that fewer than One hundred be not sent to One County; and as many more, as they shall see Cause: And are likewise to take care, that they may be published, set up, and fixed, in every Parish-Church, by the Churchwardens, or other Officers, of the said Parish: Which the said Churchwardens are hereby required and injoined to see published, set up, and fixed, in the said Parish-Churches accordingly.

Ordered, That the Committee of the Revenue do pay the Printer for such of the said Declarations, as shall be made use of for the Service of the Parliament: And that it be referred to the Members of this House, to whom the Care of the Printing of this Declaration is referred, to consider of a fitting Recompence for the Messengers that shall be employed for the Dispersing of them: And that the Committee of the Revenue do likewise pay the said Messengers accordingly.

A Declaration of the Commons of England, assembled in Parliament, of their true Intentions concerning the ancient and fundamental Government of the Kingdom; the Government of the Church; the present Peace; securing the People against all arbitrary Government; and maintaining a right Understanding between the Two Kingdoms of England and Scotland, according to the Covenant and Treaties.

WE the Commons, in Parliament assembled, well remembering, That, in the Beginning of this War, divers Protestations, Declarations, and Suggestions, were spread abroad by the King, and those that did adhere unto him; whereby our sincere Intentions for the Publick Good were misrepresented, and the Minds of many possessed with a Belief, that our Resolutions and Proceedings were grounded upon needless Fears and Jealousies; and that there was no necessary and just Cause of the present War; the Untruth and Deceitfulness whereof, by the good Hand of God, miraculously discovering the Secrets of our Enemies, disposing and blessing our Affairs, Time and Experience have since fully manifested, to the Undeceiving of those, that were seduced thereby; which Mistakes of the People, by this Artifice and Cunning of the Enemy, for some time, much blemished the Justice of this Cause, and not only prolonged the War, but hazarded the Success thereof: And, if the Enemy, by these means, had prevailed, how dangerous the Consequence would have been, is most apparent:

And now observing, that, when it hath pleased God so to bless our Endeavours, and the Actions of our Forces and Armies, as that the Enemy is in Despair to accomplish his Designs by War; and we are brought into good Hopes of attaining and enjoying That, which, with so much Expence of Blood and Treasure, we have contended for; there are still the same Spirits stirring, and Humours working, as in the Beginning, though under other Disguises, and upon other Grounds; putting false Constructions, as well upon what hath already passed the Houses, as upon the Things under present Debate; and misrepresenting our Intentions in the Use we desire to make of this great Success, which God hath given us, and the happy Opportunity to settle Truth and Peace in the Three Kingdoms; not ceasing, as well in Print, as otherwise, to get a Belief, that we now desire to exceed or swerve from our first Aims and Principles in the undertaking this War, and to recede from the Solemn League and Covenant, and Treaties between the Two Kingdoms; and that we would prolong the uncomfortable Troubles, and bleeding Distractions, in order to alter the fundamental Constitution and Frame of this Kingdom; to leave all Government in the Church loose and unsettled; and ourselves to exercise the same arbitrary Power over the Persons and Estates of the Subjects, which this present Parliament hath thought fit to abolish, by taking away the Star-Chamber, High Commission, and other arbitrary Courts, and the exorbitant Power of the Council-Table.

All which being seriously considered by us, although our Actions and Proceedings, from time to time, since the Beginning of this Parliament, and particularly in the manageing this great Cause, are the best Demonstrations of our Sincerity and Faithfulness to the Publick; yet foreseeing, that, if Credit be given to such dangerous Insinuations, and false Surmises, the same will not only continue the present Calamities, and involve us into new and unexpected Embroilments; but likewise inevitably endanger the happy Issue and Success of our Endeavours, which, by God's Blessing, we may otherwise hope for;

We do Declare, That our true and real Intentions are, and our Endeavours shall be, to settle Religion in the Purity thereof, according to the Covenant; to maintain the ancient and fundamental Government of this Kingdom; to preserve the Rights and Liberties of the Subject; to lay hold on the first Opportunity of procuring a safe and wellgrounded Peace in the Three Kingdoms; and to keep a good Understanding between the Two Kingdoms of England and Scotland, according to the Grounds expressed in the Solemn League and Covenant, and Treaties; which we desire may be inviolably observed on both Parts.

And, left these Generals should not give a sufficient Satisfaction, we have thought fit, to the end Men may be no longer abused into a Misbelief of our Intentions, or a Misunderstanding of our Actions, to make this further Inlargement upon the Particulars:

And, first concerning Church-Government; we having so fully declared for a Presbyterial Government, having spent so much Time, taken so much Pains, for the Settleing of it, passed most of the Particulars brought to us from the Assembly of Divines (called only to advise of such things as shall be required of them by both or either of the Houses of Parliament) without any material Alteration, saving in the Point of Commissioners; and having published several Ordinances for putting the same in Execution, because we cannot consent to the Granting of an arbitrary and unlimited Power and Jurisdiction to near Ten thousand Judicatories to be erected within this Kingdom, and This demanded in such a Way, as is not consistent with the fundamental Laws and Government of the same, and, by necessary Consequence, excluding the Power of the Parliament of England in the Exercise of that Jurisdiction, and whereof we have received no Satisfaction in point of Conscience or Prudence; nor have we yet resolved, how a due Regard may be had, that tender Consciences, which differ not in Fundamentals of Religion, may be so provided for, as may stand with the Word of God, and the Peace of the Kingdom:

It must therefore seem very strange to us, if any fober and modest Man should entertain a Thought, that we should settle no Government in the Church, when our . . willingness to subject ourselves, and the People of this Land, to this vast Power, hath been a great Cause, that the Government hath not been long since established: And we desire it may be observed, that we have had the more Reason, by no means to part with this Power out of the Hands of the Civil Magistrate, since the Experience of all Ages will manifest, that the Reformation and Purity of Religion, and the Preservation and Protection of the People of God, in this Kingdom, hath, under God, been, by the Parliament, and their Exercise of this Power: And our full Resolutions still are, sincerely, really, and constantly, through the Grace of God, to endeavour the Reformation of Religion in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland, in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, according to the Word of God, and the Example of the best Reformed Churches, and according to our Covenant.

Whence it may appear to all Men, That those Rumours and Aspersions, whereby the Minds of Men are so disturbed, for want of the present Settling of Church-Government, are to be applied to those, who, having a sufficient Power and Direction from the Houses on that behalf, have not as yet put the same in Execution.

And whereas a safe and good Peace is the right End of a just War, there is nothing we have more earnestly desired, nor more constantly laboured after; and, to that Purpose, both Houses of Parliament have framed several Propositions to be sent to the King; such as they hold necessary for the present and future Safety and Good of this Kingdom; some of which are transmitted from both Houses to our Brethren of Scotland, where they now remain; whose Consent, that they may speedily be sent to the King, we shall not doubt to obtain, since the Parliament of England is, and ought to be, sole and proper Judge of what may be for the Good of this Kingdom, the same Liberty having been always by us admitted to the Kingdom of Scotland, in all Things that concern that Kingdom: Wherein we are so far from altering the fundamental Constitution and Government of this Kingdom, by King, Lords, and Commons, that we have only desired, that, with the Consent of the King, such Powers may be settled in the Two Houses, without which we can have no Assurance, but that the like, or greater Mischiefs than these, which God hath hitherto delivered us from, may break out again, and engage us in a Second and more destructive War.

Whereby it plainly appears, our Intentions are not to change the ancient Frame of Government within this Kingdom, but to obtain the End of the primitive Institution of all Government, the Safety and Weal of the People; not judging it wise or safe, after so bitter Experience of the bloody Consequences of a pretended Power of the Militia in the King, to leave any colourable Authority in the same, for the future Attempts of introducing an arbitrary Government over this Nation, and protecting Delinquents, Enemies of our Religion and Liberties, by Force, from the Justice of the Parliament, the first and chiefest Grounds of the Parliament's taking up Arms in this Cause.

And although the Necessity of War hath given some Disturbance to legal Proceedings; stopped the usual Course of Justice; enforced the Parliament, for the Preservation of this State, to impose and require many great and unusual Payments from the good Subjects of this Kingdom, and to take extraordinary Ways for Procuring of Monies for their many pressing Occasions: It having pleased God to reduce our Affairs into a more hopeful Condition than heretofore, we do Declare, That we will not, nor, by any Colour of any Authority derived from us, shall interrupt the ordinary Course of Justice in the several Courts and Judicatories of this Kingdom, nor intermeddle in Cases of private Interest, otherwhere determinable, unless it be Male-administration of Justice; wherein we shall see and provide, that Right be done, and Punishment inflicted, as there shall be Occasion, according to the Laws of the Kingdom, and the Trust reposed in us. And as both Houses have already, for the Ease and Benefit of the People, taken away the Court of Wards and Liveries, with all Tenures in capite, and by Knight-Service; so we will take a special Care, that as speedy and as great Ease may be had in future Levies of Money, by Reducing of Garisons, and otherwise, as the pressing Occasions of the Kingdom can possibly admit; and will provide, by bringing Delinquents to due Punishment, who have unnaturally fomented and maintained this present War, against the Parliament and Kingdom, that there may be a fair Possibility of satisfying the Disbursements, clearing the Engagements, and repairing the Losses, of those, who have faithfully and chearfully laid out themselves, and suffered, for the Publick Service; unless, by too great Credulity given to false Suggestions, we be disabled from effecting what we desire.

Lastly, Whereas both Nations have entered into a Solemn League and Covenant, and Treaties have been made and concluded between the Two Kingdoms of England and Scotland: We have had an especial Regard of the Treaties; and have not (to our best Judgments) failed of the Performance of any thing, which was on our Part to be performed. And, for the Covenant, we have been, and ever shall be, very careful duly to observe the same, that, as nothing hath been done, so nothing shall be done, by us, repugnant to the true Meaning and Intention thereof; and do presume, no Interpretation of it (so far as it concerns the Kingdom of England) shall by any be endeavoured to be imposed on us, other than we ourselves do know to be suitable to the first just Ends, for which it was agreed: And we do expect, that the People of England should not receive Impressions of any forced Constructions of that Covenant, which, in case of any Doubt arising, is only to be expounded by them, by whose Authority it was established in this Kingdom, who will not depart from those Grounds and Principles, upon which it was framed and founded.