Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Friday, the 25th of March, 1653.
E. of Shrewsbury.
ORDERED, That the Business touching the Earl of Shrewsbury be taken into Consideration on Tuesday Sevennight; and that, in the mean time, the Commissioners for compounding do state the whole Case, and certify the same to the Parliament: And that the Commissioners do stay all further Proceedings in that Business, in the mean time.
Sir K. Digby.
Ordered, That the Business touching Sir Kenelme Digby be taken into Consideration on Tuesday Sevennight, next after the Business of the Earl of Shrewsbury.
Weymouth and Melcomb Regis.
Ordered, That, next after the Business of Sir Kenelme Digby, the Report touching the Town of Weymouth and Melcomb-Regis, be made on Tuesday Sevennight.
Well-affected in Wales.
The humble Petition of divers Well-affected, in South and North Wales, was this Day read.
Petition from S. Wales.
Col. Bennett reports from the Committee of plundered Ministers, to whom the Petition of the Inhabitants of the Six Counties of South Wales was referred.
THE Parliament having, by their Order of the 10th of March 1651, referred the Petition, intituled, "The humble Petition of several of the Inhabitants of the Six Counties of South Wales, and the County of Monmouth, well-affected to the Parliament, and present Government, in the Behalf of themselves, and the rest of the Inhabitants there," to the Committee of plundered Ministers, to examine the Business, and state the Matter of Fact; and report their Opinions therein to the House, &c.
The said Petition and Order were delivered to this Committee the said 10th Day of March 1651, and by them referred to the 16th of the said Month; at which Time the Solicitors of the Petition, with their Counsel, were present; and moved for a Commission into the Country, to examine Witnesses touching Matters contained in the Petition: Whereupon this Committee taking the Petition into Consideration, and finding the same ambiguously drawn, and containing only Things in general, and the Persons, seemed to be complained against, not named; and, besides, some Things therein represented as Crimes, if proved, would not appear to be so; and conceiving it might be of dangerous Consequence to grant such a Commission without clear Grounds; did think fit first to demand, of the Solicitors of the Petition, a particular Charge; viz. What Ministers were unjustly ejected, and what Persons had embezzled any of the Monies, and the like, in order to a thorough Examination thereof, as was desired: To which the Solicitors of the Petition, and their Counsel, being withdrawn for an Hour's Time and upwards, and called in again, returned Answer to this Effect, That they were only Solicitors for the Petitioners, and had no more yet in Charge, than the Prosecution of the Petition; but said, If convenient Time were given to send into the Country, Particulars might be had: Whereupon this Committee did put off the whole Business to the 18th of May 1652; ordering, in the mean time, for the better Clearing of Things, a Letter to be prepared, and sent to the Commissioners, by Act of Parliament, for Propagation of the Gospel in Wales, together with a Copy of the said Petition, desiring them to give an Account to this Committee, by the said 18th Day of May, touching all the Particulars in the said Petition contained: Upon which said 18th Day of May, though it appeared unto this Committee, that the said Letter was not sent; notwithstanding the Commissioners for South Wales and Monmouthshire, having Intimation of the Proceedings herein, sent up Agents, by that Day to attend this Committee, with a Letter to the Chairman, having inclosed in it a full Account touching all the Particulars in the said Petition contained: And a Book also was brought before this Committee, of about Sixty Sheets of Paper, containing all the Proceedings of the said Commissioners in Obedience to the Act; and avouching the Account inclosed in the Letter, in the Particulars thereof: Which said Letter and Account was read, in Presence of Parties of both Sides, and Counsel of the Petitioners; and as it gave much Satisfaction to this Committee, so also the Counsel of the Petitioners acknowleged it to be ingenuous; and said, They were glad to see the Commissioners could give so good an Account of their Proceedings; yet desired a Copy thereof, that they might make Exceptions thereunto; and, withal, pressed again to have a Commission into the Country, to examine Witnesses upon their Petition: Upon Consideration of all which, and Debate of what was offered thereupon, this Committee ordered, That the Petitioners should, on Friday then next following, exhibit such Particulars contained in the said Petition, upon which they would insist, and desire to examine Witnesses: On which Day, being the 21th of May 1652, the Solicitors of the Petition came before this Committee; and, by their Counsel said, That they appeared in Obedience to the aforesaid Order, and prayed, that they might have Liberty to examine the Truth of their Petition, in every Particular; and to that End, that the Committee would grant them a Commission, to examine Witnesses in the Country where the Matter of Fact doth arise; refusing to give any other Answer, or exhibit the said Particulars; and prayed, that this their Answer might be entered. Information, and Proofs were also offered to this Committee, that the said Petition was contrived and printed in this City by disaffected Persons, some of whom appear now as Solicitors thereof, and Copies sent down to Malignants in the Country, with Instructions for gaining underhand Subscriptions thereunto, and raising large Contributions amongst disaffected Gentlemen for carrying on thereof; and that the same is chiefly subscribed by Malignants, their Servants and Tenants, and by Women and SchoolBoys, of the Counties of Brecknock and Radnor; the other Five Counties scarcely hearing thereof, before it was presented; and that there is a Design therein, of very dangerous Consequence to the Peace of those Counties, whereof this Committee conceived themselves not impowered, by the Parliament, to take full Cognizance of.
He also reports, A Letter from several Justices of the Peace in the said Counties, to the Chairman of the said Committee; and the Answer of the Commissioners for propagating the Gospel, to the Heads of the said Petition: Which were this Day read.
He also reports, An Information and Discovery of the indirect Practices, and dangerous Designs, of John Gunter, and other his Confederates, in framing and promoting of the late Petition presented to the Parliament, intituled, "The humble Petition of several of the Inhabitants of the six Counties of South Wales, and the County of Monmouth, well-affected to the Parliament, and present Government, on the Behalf of themselves, and the rest of the Inhabitants there; offered to the honourable Committee of Plundered Ministers, the Day of June 1652:" Which was read.
Resolved, by this Parliament, That this Report be recommitted; with Power to the Committee to examine the whole Matter, and to report it to the Parliament.
Ordered, That the Act, intituled, An Act for the better Propagation and Preaching of the Gospel in Wales, and Redress of some Grievances, be brought in, and read, on Friday Morning next, the first Business; in order to the Reviving thereof, if the House shall see Cause.
The House, according to former Order, adjourned itself to Tuesday Morning next, Eight of Clock.