Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1667-1687. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Jovis, 11 die Aprilis, 1678.
Illness of Mr. Speaker.
THE House being, on the Seven-and-twentieth of March last, adjourned to this Day; and being met; Mr. Hen. Seymour, one of his Majesty's Bedchamber, and Uncle to Mr. Seymour, the present Speaker, did acquaint the House, That he had received Information by a Letter by Appointment from Mr. Speaker, who at present is at his House in the Country in the Interval of the Sitting of the House; That he was there suddenly seized with a Sickness and Distemper, so violently, that he was confined to his Bed, and not able to write himself; but, so soon as it should please God to restore him, he would return to their Service.
Sir R. Sawyer chosen Speaker.
And Mr. Secretary Coventry acquainting the House, That his Majesty had received Advertisement, that Mr. Speaker does labour under so great an Indisposition of Health, that he cannot possibly, for a long time, attend the Service of the House; and to the end the publick Affairs may receive no Delay; his Majesty did give Leave to the House to chuse a new Speaker; and to present him to his Majesty on Monday next:
And the House being satisfied, That, by reason of th Speaker's great Indisposition, Uncertainty of Return; and in order to publick Affairs, it was very necessary a new Speaker should be chosen: Thereupon Mr. Secretary Coventry did propose, and recommend, Sir Robert Sawyer as a Person fit, for his Ability and Learning, to be Speaker.
And a Debate arising; and a Question demanded to be put, Whether Sir Robert Sawyer should be chosen Speaker or not; and who should put that Question; a Precedent was then produced out of the Journal of 1° Jacobi, where the Clerk of the House, in like Case with this, did, by Direction of the House, make and put the Question;
And the present Clerk being now directed and demanded so to do; and the Mace not being in the House; he did humbly leave it to their Consideration, whether it could be so regularly done, till the Mace were brought into the House: And, upon some Debate had, it was thought fit, and the Mace was, by their Command, brought in by the Serjeant, and laid under the Table: And the House then again directed the Clerk to make, and put the Question:
Which being carried in the Affirmative by much the greater Number of Voices, without any Division of the House, Sir Robert Sawyer was thereupon conducted to the Chair by Mr. Secretary Coventry and Mr. Secretary Williamson: And being there placed, and the Mace then put upon the Table; after some Pause, he stood up, and made a gratulatory Speech to the House for their Favour and respect to him; desiring their Leave to intercede with his Majesty to excuse him from undertaking so great and difficult an Employment; which, by reason of his Indisposition of Body, and want of Experience, he conceived himself not able to perform: But, if his Excuse should not be admitted, he would serve them with all Integrity, to the utmost of his Capacity and Ability: And desired the Help and Assistance of the Members, who had been long versed and experienced in the Proceedings of the House.