Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Thursday, the 27th Day of January, 1658.
THE Parliament being summoned to meet at Westminster this present Day, his Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging, issued his Commission, under the Great Seal of England, bearing Date at Westminster, the Six-and-twentieth Day of this instant January; To his Right Trusty, and Right Well-beloved Counsellor, John Thurloe, his Principal Secretary of State; and to his Trusty and Well-beloved Sir Walter St. John Baronet; Sir Walter Earle Knight; Henry Cromwell, John Barnard, Esquires; Sir Edmond Prideaux Baronet, his Attorney-General; John Maynard, his Serjeant at Law; Sir William Ellis Baronet, his Solicitor-General; Sir Lislebone Long Knight, Recorder of London; Chaloner Chute Esquire; Nicholas Letchmere Esquire, his AttorneyGeneral of his Duchy of Lancaster; Francis Gerard, John Stone, Jervaise Bennett, John Clark, Nathaniell Bacon, Francis Bacon, John Trevor, Arthur Onslow, Francis Drake, Thomas Kelsey, Edward Salmon, Tobias Bridge, Waldive Lagoe, Robert Beake, Thomas Biscoe, John Price, Rowland Dawkins, Henry Hatsell, Edmund Ludlowe, Esquires; William Thompson, Alderman of London; Theophilus Biddulph, Edward Turnor, Edward Grosvenor, Richard Sherwyn, Esquires; Thomas Gorge, William Jessop, Esquires; Thomas Talbott, Charles Georg. Cocke, Thomas Juxon, and Edward Dendy, Esquires; directed; thereby authorising them, or any Two or more of them, to give and administer, unto each other of them the said Commissioners, the Oath appointed by the Humble Additional and Explanatory Petition and Advice, to be taken by every Member of either House of Parliament, before he sit in Parliament, and unto all and singular, other Person and Persons, who were or should be chosen to be Members of the House of Commons, in this present Parliament appointed to meet this present Day: The Tenor of which Oath followeth in these Words;
I A. B. do, in the Presence, and by the Name, of God Almighty, promise and swear, That, to the uttermost of my power, in my Place, I will uphold and maintain the True, Reformed, Protestant, Christian Religion, in the Purity thereof, as it is contained in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; and encourage the Profession and Professors of the same: And that I will be true and faithful to the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging, as Chief-Magistrate thereof; and shall not contrive, design, or attempt any thing against the Person or lawful Authority of the Lord Protector; and shall endeavour, as much as in me lies, as a Member of Parliament, the Preservation of the Rights and Liberties of the People.
Whereupon this present Day, early in the Morning, the aforesaid John Stone, Jervaise Bennett, Tobias Bridge, Waldive Lago, Robert Beake, John Price, Rowland Dawkins, and Henry Hatsell, Eight of the said Commissioners, being met together, in the Outer Court, at the Door of the Parliament-House, with the said Commission; the Deputy to the Clerk of the Commonwealth in Chancery, attended with a Book, containing the Names of the Knights. Citizens, Burgesses, and Barons, elected and returned, to serve in this present Parliament: A large Table, covered with a Carpet, was placed on the South Side of the said Outer Court, and Seats on either Side thereof: And the Clerk of the Parliaments, attending the Commons, standing at the West End of the said Table, by Command of the said Commissioners, read the said Commission in their Audience: Whereupon, the said John Stone, Jervase Bennett, Tobias Bridge, and Waldive Lago, in the Presence of the said Robert Beake, John Price, Rowland Dawkins, and Henry Hatsell, the said other Four above-named Commissioners, did first take and receive the said Oath; every one of them repeating the Words thereof after the Clerk; who read the same, and marked the said Book of Returns, that they were sworn: And then the said Robert Beake, John Price, Rowland Dawkins, and Henry Hatsell, did every one of them, in like manner, take and receive the said Oath; and, being sat down at the aforesaid Table, did administer the said Oath to others of the said Commissioners, and Members of Parliament, then present; and so successively to divers other Members, as they came in; until the Numbers of the Members unsworn, and attending to take the said Oath, increasing, for their better Ease and Dispatch in the said Service, the Commissioners sworn, and at the Table, adjourned themselves into the Rooms called The Queen's Court; and, upon Consideration had amongst themselves, how to swear the Residue of the Members attending, and unsworn, with the greatest Speed and Ease, so many of the said Commissioners, as were then present, did resolve to divide themselves, and did accordingly sit apart, Four of them, namely, Mr. Attorney-General, Sir Walter Earle, Major-General Bridge, and Captain Hatsell, in one of the said Rooms, called The Queen's Court, and the rest of the said Commissioners returned to the Table, in the Outer Court aforesaid: And the Commissioners sitting in the Outer Court, being attended, as before, by the Clerk, and the Serjeant at Arms, with the Book of Returns of the Names of the Members delivered by the Clerk of the Commonwealth's Deputy to the Serjeant; and the Commissioners sitting in the Queen's Court, being attended by the Clerk-Assistant, with the Book of Returns of the Names of the Members delivered to the Clerk of the Parliaments attending the Commons; the rest of the Members unsworn, and attending, did successively take the aforesaid Oath, by repeating the Words thereof distinctly, as the same was read to them: And the Names of all the Commissioners and Members that were sworn, were accordingly marked "Sworn," in the Book of Returns, in the Custody of the Clerk of the Parliaments attending the Commons.
Mr. Chute chosen Speaker.
After the Commissioners and Members, then attending to be sworn, had all of them taken the aforesaid Oath, they repaired to the Parliament-House, went in, and sat in their Places: And the Clerk sitting in his Place at the Table, and the Serjeant attending at his Place within the Door of the House, Sir Walter Earle rose up, and put the House in mind, that their first Work was to choose their Speaker; and that there was amongst them a worthy Gentleman of the Long Robe, whom he conceived a very fit Person, and qualified for that Service; and, by the Leave of the House, proposed Chaloner Chute the elder, Esquire: Who was fully approved of by a general Call of him to the Chair.
He, standing up in his Place, excused himself by reason of his Weakness of Body, and great Indisposition of Health; which disabled him to discharge the Duties incumbent upon that Chair; but especially by reason of his Inexperience of the Orders and Proceedings of the House; and this Parliament being an Assembly, in which, in all Probability, so much would depend, he besought the House to think of some other Person, more worthy, and of better Health and Ability, to supply that Place: But, being generally called on by the House, he was by Sir Walter Earle, and Mr. Charles Rich, Brother to the Earl of Warwick, brought and placed in the Chair, the Speaker's usual Place: Where being sat, and the Mace called for, and brought in by the Serjeant, and placed on the Table, Mr. Speaker did again represent to the House his former Excuse, in respect of his Inabilities aforesaid; and acknowledging, with great Thankfulness, the Esteem put upon him by the House, he prayed, That as it was their Favour that called him, and their Command only that had brought him to that Place, that if he should err therein, through Inadvertisement, or Want of Experience, as he might be most apt to do, the same Favour and Affection in them would pardon such Error.
As soon as Mr. Speaker was sat down again in the Chair, the Clerk presented to him a Bill, read the First time at the Meeting after the Adjournment of the last preceding Parliament; the which was intituled, An Act giving Licence for transporting Fish in Foreign Bottoms, and for Foreigners to lade Fish in Ships and Bottoms of this Commonwealth, manned with the People of the same: Which Mr. Speaker informed the House of, and presented to be now read: And the said Bill was this Day read the First time.
Exception being taken by some of the Members, that the Clerk, and the Clerk-Assistant came to the Table before they were chosen by the House; both of them voluntarily withdrew: And, after some short time, the Serjeant came out of the House, and called in the Clerk, and the Clerk-Assistant: And, being come to their Places, Mr. Speaker informed the Clerk, that the House, during the time they were withdrawn, had put Two Questions for appointing them to attend their respective Places: And, by Command of the House, the said Votes were read; and entered, as followeth; viz.
Resolved, &c. That John Smythe Esquire be Clerk of the Parliaments to attend this House.
Resolved, &c. That Ralph Darnall Esquire be ClerkAssistant to attend this House.
Exception was likewise taken by some of the Members, that the Serjeant came into the House, within the Door, before he was chosen by the House: Whereupon he withdrew; and the House passed the Vote following; viz.
Resolved, &c. That Edward Birkhead Esquire, Serjeantat Arms, shall be the Serjeant at Arms to attend this House.
And the Clerk-Assistant, by the Command of the House, called in the Serjeant to attend the Duty of his Place.