Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Wednesday, the 17th of September, 1656.
ON Wednesday the 17 th of September 1656, being the First Day of the Meeting of this Parliament, His Highness the Lord Protector, attended by the Lord President, and the rest of his Highness' Council, and other Officers of State, came to the Abbey Church in Westminster; where also the Members of Parliament met; and heard a Sermon, preached by Doctor Owen, Dean of Christ Church, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford; and from thence his Highness came to the Painted-Chamber, where most of the Members of Parliament were present: To whom his Highness communicated the Occasion of Calling this present Parliament.
Approval of Members.
After which the Members repaired to the House; at the Door whereof, some Persons, by his Highness' Appointment, attended, and received, of every Member, a Certificate from the Clerk of the Commonwealth in Chancery, that he was returned to serve in this present Parliament, and approved by the Council; and thereupon he was admitted into the House.
Sir T. Widdrington chosen Speaker.
The House being met, the Lord Commissioner Lisle rose up, and put the House in mind, That their First Work is to choose a Speaker; and that there was amongst them, in the House, a Person of great Integrity and Experience, in relation to this Parliament-Work, and every Way qualified for that Service; and by the Leave of the House, proposeth Sir Thomas Widdrington Knight, Serjeant at Law, one of the Commissioners of his Highness' Treasury: Which was well approved of by a general Call of him to the Chair.
He, standing up in his Place, made an Apology for himself, that the Matters to be transacted are great, as was also his own Weakness, both of Mind and Body, prosessing himself to be surprized; and desires the House to think of some other Person more worthy: But being generally called on by the House, he was, by the Lord Commissioner Fienes, and the Lord Commissioner Lisle, brought and placed in the Chair, the usual Place of the Speakers: Where, being set, he did again represent to the House, his own Insufficiency for that Place; and that he was wholly surprized in it, fearing lest, though they did not believe what he had said in way of Excuse before, yet they might have too much Cause to believe it afterwards; acknowleging the great Favour and Respect of the House to him herein; and praying, that as it was their Love that called him to that Service, so if he did err therein, as he was of all Men most apt to do, the same Love would pardon it.
Dr. Owen thanked.
Ordered, by the Parliament, That Mr. Maidston, and the Lieutenant of the Tower, do give the hearty Thanks of this House to Dr. Owen, Dean of Christ Church, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, for his great Pains taken in his Sermon, preached this Day in the Abbey Church in Westminster, before his Highness the Lord Protector, and the Members elected to sit this present Parliament: And that he be desired to print his Sermon; and that no Man presume to print it without his Leave.