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
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
There being some Dispute whether the House should
adjourn till To-morrow Morning, or till Friday Morning;
upon the Question, It was
Resolved, That the House do adjourn itself till Tomorrow Morning Eight of the Clock: And Mr. Speaker
did adjourn the House accordingly.