Wednesday, November 1. The sub-Committee, to whom
the three articles were referred, brought in a question.
Being a long time debated upon, it was generally apprehended more difficult than any thing that had been formerly
Finding an unlikelihood of drawing to any good agreement
about it, it was resolved to appoint a Sub-Committee of ten
to attend upon the Lord Protector, and to advise with him
about some probable means of reconcilement. Which was
done accordingly. (fn. 1)
Thursday 2. The fortieth article (fn. 2) was debated, and for
the most part agreed unto. (fn. 3)
Friday 3. The Petitions of Sir John Stowell, (fn. 4) the Lord
Craven, (fn. 4) and others, who had appeals depending concerning
the said fortieth Article were read and debated, and referred
to a Committee. (fn. 5)
Saturday 4. The forty-first and forty-second Articles
concerning the Lord Protector's, and the Council's oaths were
debated, and the drawing up of the oaths referred to a Committee.
A Petition from the Civil Law Doctors for continuance
and some encouragement, referred to a Committee, for regulating the law. which was appointed immediately before. (fn. 6)
Resolved, that a report be made, on Tuesday next, from
the Grand Committee upon the Government, to the House, of
such things as shall have been then resolved upon in that
Committee. (fn. 7)
Monday 6. A bill was brought in for the ejecting scandalous, ignorant, and insufficient ministers and school-masters,
and read the first time.
It was moved, (fn. 8) that the former Ordinance of the Lord
Protector, to the same purpose, (fn. 9) be suspended; but could not
prevail. (fn. 10)
Tuesday 7. (fn. 11) The report was made (fn. 12) from the Grand Committee of the whole House, upon the Government, according
to former order. (fn. 13)
It was moved that the first article (fn. 14) be debated in the
House, and settled, according to the vote of the Grand Committee. But, it being objected, on the other side, that the
twenty-fourth article, concerning the Protector's negative,
had not at all been debated; that it had some considerable reference and influence upon the first article; and that, therefore,
it was necessary to debate that article first. Thereupon, after
a long debate, it was resolved to lay that debate aside, (fn. 15) and
to proceed with the twenty-fourth article, the next day.
Wednesday 8. The House (fn. 16) did enter upon the debate of the
twenty-fourth article, and could not agree with the negatives,
in certain, but passed the article, with this proviso, viz. "that
such Bills shall not contain any thing contrary to such negatives as shall be afterwards agreed upon in Parliament, to
be given to the Lord Protector."
Thursday 9. Mr. Speaker kept the chair.
The Grand Committee reported the twenty-fourth article.
Then, the House proceeded upon the debate of the first article, as it was reported from the Grand Committee.
Having debated the settling of the legislative power, until
past two of the clock, they could come to no resolution. At
length, it was resolved to debate this article and the twentyfourth together, and so adjourn the debate until the next day. (fn. 17)
Friday 10. They did strive to have debated the articles
apart or single, and much discourse was spent, which of the
two articles should have precedency, and whether they should
not proceed first of all upon the negatives. But that was rejected, in regard the negatives were like to take up too much
of our time; and in truth, the negatives, especially that of
religion, were not reported to the House.
For the debating of them singly, it was said that it could
not be agreed which should precede, and neither part could
yield the precedency, without just jealousy. For, if the first
article were voted alone, that might give just jealousy to the
Parliament, after they had placed an absolute co-ordination
in the legislative power, in the Lord Protector, in all things,
that it might be suspected whether he would ever condescend
to be after restrained to certain particulars and negatives.
Others, upon other principles, did not think it fit to place
any negative voice at all, radically, in the Lord Protector, but
only so far forth as he should receive them of the concession
of the Parliament. It was said, with reason, that we could
never be too jealous of every power that might, at any time,
invade or infringe either our liberty or our religion.
On the other side, it was objected, that the Protector had
as great cause to be jealous, in case we should first proceed
upon the twenty-fourth article; for that did place the legist
lative power absolutely in the Parliament, and left it at
courtesy, whether the Parliament would after concede any
negatives to him. Since there were such jealousies on both
sides, it was conceived necessary, to cure them, that there
should be some trust and some confidence in one another.
General Disbrowe argued, that the Parliament had no
cause to be jealous, to trust the Lord Protector with the half,
that not long since had the whole, and might have kept it
without any competitor. He had power to have done it, and
yet he hath given us some part of it, and in truth, we have
not an opportunity to do what we will; but to amend the Government only where (in effect) he would give us leave.
To which it was answered, that, if a trust must be, it was
not known where better to place it, than in the Parliament.
What reason had the Protector to distrust the Parliament ?
They were not like to do him any prejudice in his negatives,
especially having before declared their willingness to place
those negatives in him, which he himself desired, viz. in those
four main points. 1. Of altering the government. 2. Of
perpetuating Parliaments. 3. Of the militia. 4. Of imposing upon tender consciences.
If the Protector hath a negative in himself, from whom had
he it ? If he derives it from the late government, and as it
was in. the late King, certainly the Parliament did then fight
with him for it, (fn. 18) and, upon the appeal, God determined the
right for the Parliament. And if it were not in the Parliament, we are all the greatest traitors in the world.
If all be devolved upon the Lord Protector, and he hath
given us a part of it, truly there may be some reason in what
is said. If we sit here, at his courtesy, we may be unseated at
his mercy. If we be a mere elemosynary Parliament we are
bound to do his drudgery. But then, if he expects it ever
from a free people, he had better have taken it, first, to himself, and declared us his slaves, and then we might have been
persuaded into such a servile compliance. (fn. 19)
But, since we think ourselves yet free, and have fought as
well, and as much as he, for our freedom, either he must take
it and hold it by the same power by which he thinks he hath
got it, or must never expect that freemen will ever give it.
And, upon this account we must break (fn. 20) —, there is no
Englishmen but will rather part with his life, his liberty, his
estate, and all his loose garments, than with the just rights
and freedoms of the people.
But there is no end of this. The Lord Protector hath called,
he hath called us a Parliament. In that, he hath called us to
that right, and to that privilege which we now claim, and in
that, he hath given us the power of it.
For the legislature was ever in the people, represented in
Parliament, and Kings had only deliberation, and as mere per
interesse suo, in regard of the regalities, which they will be
careful not to pass away by any laws. Therefore, they had
the survey, and, perhaps, advice in all.
Upon these, and other weighty considerations, it was, at
length, about four of the clock, resolved that the question be
put upon both the articles joined together, and being joined
together it was voted. (fn. 21)
Art. 1. That the Supreme Legislative authority of this
Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the
dominions thereto belonging, is, and shall reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament.
Art. 2. And that all Bills agreed unto by the Parliament
shall be presented to the said single person for his consent.
And, in case he shall not give his consent thereunto, within
twenty days after they shall be presented to him, or give satisfaction to the Parliament within the time limited, that then
such bills shall pass into, and become laws, although he shall
not give his consent thereunto. Provided such Bills contain
nothing in them contrary to such matters wherein the Parliament shall think fit to give a negative to the Lord Protector.
Which vote being so passed, (fn. 22) it was presently moved by
that party who carried the vote, that, to avoid all jealousies
and fears, it be put to the question, that this vote shall not in
any thing be prejudicial or binding at all, until the whole government be passed into a Bill. But the Court-party, against
whom the vote was carried, were so much dissatisfied, and, indeed, so impatient, that the subsequent question, which they
would have been contented, and did strive to have previous,
would not how content them.
It was said by them, that this vote had destroyed the Government. The very foundation upon which we rest would
receive so great a wound by it, as nothing now that we could
do, subsequently, could cure it. We had, as much as a vote
could do, unmade the Protector. So fatal, and so mortal was
this wound to the Government, in the opinion of some, that
one, a person of honour and nobility, (fn. 23) did wish he could have
redeemed that wound with a pound of the best blood in his
It was often and soberly pressed by the other side, that
they saw no cause for such tragical apprehensions, that the
fears seemed panic, and the wound they spake of, invisible;
or if there were a wound indeed, yet the same hand that gave
it might cure it, by this subsequent vote, which was again
offered. Yet nothing would satisfy the court-party, but in
great confusion and discontent, they cried out for an adjournment, giving the whole business lost, and presaging an ominous and sudden dissolution.
But, after some heats were over, the more moderate of
either side fell to expedients. Amongst which, some were inconsequent things, and destructive wholly to the former vote.
But, in fine, the words in the last part of that vote, which
was the proviso, were those which they took most offence at,
namely, wherein the Parliament shall think to give a negative,
&c. Instead of which, it was proposed,
1. To change the word "give" into "declare."
2. Whereas the Parliament is named alone, in the proviso;
to declare the negatives, it was desired that the single person
might be joined with them.
But these propositions being new matter, and seeming contrary to the former vote, and it being then near seven o'clock,
and many were fasting all day, and very impatient, and
the business seeming to be of some difficulty and weight, it
was therefore moved by the anti-court party, to adjourn the
debate. Which, afterwards, with difficulty was obtained, until the next morning.
Saturday 11. It was moved, that the former amendments
be added to the former vote of yesterday. Some; to further
the motion, pretended that they themselves had beep, the
night before, surprised in the question, and did not think it
had carried such a consequence in the manner of it Others
talked of fears and imminent dangers. To both which, a
member replied, something earnestly, saying, as to the first,
he conceived it not Parliamentary, to retract a vote upon a
non putarem; for such as sate there were all supposed to be
wise men, et incipientis est, dicere non putarem, and for the
other arguments, of fears and jealousies, he conceived they
were but bugbears and brain-squirts, things not to affright
such an assembly into any change in their councils; which
gave such offence and scandal to the court-party, as they questioned the gentleman for it.
Some ado there was to have had him to the bar; but
some excused him, and one especially, tartly enough, upon
that old ground of nemo mortalium omnibus horis sapit, which
was, a Rowland for an Oliver. Others desired that he might
but explain himself. To which it was answered, that that
needed not. The gentleman that spoke before, had done it
After they had made themselves a little merry with these
puns, at length they fell into a more serious consideration of
the point. Some conceived, that such amendment took away,
in effect, the whole force and intention of the former vote,
and thereupon they launched into the very merits of the
thing, discoursing over again the very right of the legislature.
Wherein one argument more than was formerly used, was
urged, namely, not to question where the legislature was, in
time of kingship, whether in the King alone, or Parliament
alone, or in both, co-ordinately.
This was plain, that the government by kingship was, and
is, and stands dissolved. After which, we either fell into the
government of a Commonwealth, by Parliaments, or, if no
government at all, this right of legislature will clearly be
determined. For, in the first case, it was, de facto, in the
Parliament, and if it were not also de jure, then it could be
nowhere but in the people. In kingship it could not be;
for that, on all sides, is agreed to be dissolved.
Then if it were de facto et dejure both, in the Parliament,
at that time, there seems no reason but that it should be so
still. But if, de jure, it be devolved upon the people, as much
reason might be shown for it, it would then gladly be known
how they lost it. They have neither forfeited it, nor hath it
been taken from them by any just power.
To say that my Lord Protector, by power, hath obtained
it for himself, (fn. 24) that cannot be; for he was but engaged with
the people, and by the people, for the redeeming this very
right out of the hands of the late King. He hath been so
far from conquering this right from the people, as he did but
fight in their company, and by their command, for the recovery of it.
To say, that now he hath it by Providence; that argument
is but like to a two-edged sword, and a thief may lay as good
a tide to every purse he takes upon the highway. Besides,
it is a rule, even in divinity, that Providence alone may settle possessions; but not confer rights.
However, the Lord Protector hath no cause to quarrel at
the word, "give," since nothing can be so quietly and honourably enjoyed, as that which is given by the Parliament.
And certainly, unless it be given by the Parliament, he cannot justly have it; for, without doubt, the right of legislature is naturally, inherently, and inseparably in the people,
and consequently, in their representatives in Parliament.
To say that there was one before there were many, and
consequently, that the legislative power was first in that one,
is vain, and of no great value. To instance in Adam is as
impertinent, since Adam's right was paternal, and not despotical. But when the world increased, and government, more
general than that of a family, was thought necessary, the
people chose that Government. (fn. 25)
Thus it was in the Jewish Government, (fn. 26) and in the Roman
too; for it is clear in reason, that no man can, de jure, obtain
a dominion over another man's person, without his own consent. Men arc not like sheep under a shepherd, where the
dignity of the kind may justly challenge superiority and dominion over the inferior kind, in regard of the great difference of the species. But we are all rational, all equal, all
made of the same mould, and in that respect, no man, in
puris naturalibus, can be preferred before another, nor one
man's person be more excellent than another.
But, whilst these discourses were carried on with some
earnestness, by some persons, that were tender and jealous of
the people's interest, they minded not how little that was concerned in the point in question. For, in truth, the people's
rights were sufficiently asserted in what they had already
Therefore, it being sufficiently settled in the Parliament, it
could be no diminution to them to part, at this time, with
that which, in no time, was fit for them to exercise. And
yet, they needed not, in truth, to part with any thing, but
only declare, or rather seem that something might be declared by them, wherein the Protector might have a negative.
Which, being observed by some of the slighter sort of
patriots, and the amendment being pressed upon the House
again, as that which was thought would give satisfaction, at
length the question was put for the amendment. It was
agreed unto, nemine contradicente, so as the proviso then
amended, ran thus:—
Provided that such Bills contain nothing in them contrary
to such matters, wherein the said single person and the Parliament shall think-fit to declare a negative to be in the said
single person. (fn. 27)
Monday 13. The Grand Committee did sit to receive reports.
The Committee, to whom the form of the writ of summons
to future Parliaments was referred, made their report, and
brought in the form of the writ.
There were some alterations agreed in it. Amongst the
rest, that clause which excludes the election of the Sheriff,
was altered. Whereas, before, the Sheriff, and all other
Sheriffs, were incapable of being chosen in any place, the
clause was altered so, as he might be chosen any where, but
as a knight for his own county. In any other county, he
might be chosen knight, and a burgess in his own county.
For heretofore, it was a practice of the Court, when they
did foresee that a Parliament was to be called, and that there
were some eminent persons that were patriots in their several
counties, that those persons should be sure to be made Sheriffs, to prevent their election. And being capable to be
chosen sheriffs every third year, there was one Sir Thomas
Read was chosen Sheriff three times in nine years, to prevent
him, lest he might have been chosen into the Parliament.
Sir Edward Coke was likewise so chosen Sheriff for Norfolk; (fn. 28) but at the same time, was also chosen a Parliament
man, and a Knight of the Shire for Buckinghamshire. But,
query, whether he then served. (fn. 29)
But one Mr. Long, at the same time, being made High
Sheriff of Wiltshire, was chosen a burgess for Bath, in another county, and served in Parliament. But, after the Parliament was done, a Bill was exhibited against him in the
Star-Chamber, for not residing in his own county, during the
time of his Shrievalty. To which Mr. Long did demur, but
it was overruled, and a great fine set upon him, and levied.
Which sentence of the Star-Chamber, (fn. 30) it is true, was afterwards reversed in Parliament, and reparations given to Mr.
Long for his damage, (fn. 31) and this very case, was one of the
principal inducements for the pulling down of that Court.
The case of Sir Simon D'Ewes, was likewise quoted; who,
being Sheriff of Suffolk, was in his Shrievalty, chosen a burgess for the town of Sudbury, in the same county, and, as it
was affirmed, he did sit even while be was Sheriff. (fn. 32)
And in this very Parliament, Mr. Charles Howard himself moved in the question for some opinion of the House,
because himself and some others, as he affirmed, were
Sheriffs; but I think it was in Scotland. (fn. 33)
And it was affirmed also, that some Shrievalties, (as of
Westmoreland) were so by inheritance, and such persons, by
such a clause, would be made incapable for ever. Besides,
mayors of corporations are eligible, and yet they are the only
judges, upon the view, and make the immediate return to the
For all these reasons, it was voted and resolved to alter
the clause, as to the sheriffs, to the same purpose as before,
viz., that they may be chosen any where; but only as
Knights for their own county.
Tuesday 14. The Speaker being in the Chair, the House
fell to debate such negatives as they should think fit to
declare to be in the single person, and voted
1. That if any Bill be tendered at any time, hereafter, to
alter the foundation and the constitution of the government of
this Commonwealth from a single person and a Parliament,
that to such Bills the single person shall have a negative.
It was then moved that the effect of this vote be inserted
into the Lord Protector's oath, and the thing partly agreed
unto. But, in regard that the oath was reported from the
Committee, and this might occasion some debate and so
divert the present business, which was the settling of the
negatives, this thing was put off, and laid aside, until the
oath itself should come to be considered of. (fn. 34)
The next thing that was entered upon, was the debate of
perpetuity of Parliaments, in which the House seemed very
unanimous that Parliaments should not be perpetual, that is,
should not have power to perpetuate themselves, or not to be
dissolved without their own consent.
Whereupon, the question was put, that if any Bill shall be
tendered, at any time hereafter for the continuance of any
Parliament, for any longer time than for six months after the
first meeting, to such Bills the Parliament doth declare a negative shall be in the single person.
To which question, exception being taken at the word
"shall," it was moved that, instead of those words, "shall
be," it be thus altered, "to be," that is, "to such bills the Parliament doth declare a negative to be in the single person."
But, that seeming to imply an inherency of right as to
such a negative to be in the Lord Protector, which all along
hath been denied and carefully declined, and the thing being,
without question, a new thing, and a new right, which was
never before settled in the single person, for these reasons
that alteration was much opposed, and being put to the question, was carried in the negative. (fn. 35)
After which, the first question being endeavoured to be
put, it was much opposed by the Court-party, upon that very
account, because they would not be satisfied with the thing,
unless they might be declared by the Parliament as an
inherent right in the Lord Protector. They insisted upon it
with as much earnestness, as they did upon the vote on
Friday night, (fn. 36) putting all the weight and stress of the whole
interest of the Lord Protector, upon the difference of these
two little words, "to be," and, "shall be."
Which being understood by the House, which seemed,
generally, unsatisfied with it, and striving on both sides, the
one to have the question, the other, the alteration, at length
the House adjourned, without coming to any question. (fn. 37)
Wednesday 15. The House being early met, and the
Speaker in the chair, the debate, which was adjourned over
night, was again resumed, and presently an expedient was
proposed, which was thus, that, instead of the latter part of
the question, viz., To such Bill the Parliament doth declare
that a negative shall be in the single person, it was proposed
thus, viz., That such Bill shall not pass into nor become law
without the consent of the single person, so as the whole
question, with this expedient, was thus propounded and
That if any Bill shall be tendered, at any time hereafter,
for the continuance of any Parliament, for any longer time
than for six months after the first meeting, such Bills shall
not pass into nor become laws, without the consent of the
single person. Which was voted accordingly.
After this vote, it was next debated whether they should
not, in the next place, proceed upon the other negatives, viz.,
of the militia and religion. (fn. 38) It was thought fit, in regard
the reports of them were not perfect, and because this day
had been before designed for the assessments, to lay the negatives aside, for this day, and to fall upon the assessments,
which accordingly was done.
At first, some little overtures were made, as if, perhaps,
there might not be any necessity at all for an assessment. In
consequence of that, it was desired that some scrutiny might
be made, and some consideration had of what forces were
necessary to be continued, and an inspection to be had of the
revenue and the public treasury, that so, by reducing our
charge and improving our stock, we might, if possible, make
the one to answer the other, without an assessment. (fn. 39)
These things being thus considered, it was hoped that
England might pass without any assessment; or, at least,
with as little as possible might be.
30,000l. per mensem, was at first proposed for England;
but upon their consideration, it was hoped it might be
These things had been formerly committed to the consideration of a Committee, who were likewise to repair to the
Protector for his advice, as they saw occasion. Therefore, it
was thought fit to call for that Report. Which being not
perfected, in regard much of it still rested in the breast of the
Lord Protector, who had given no answer; so much as they
had done was called for, and the Report of that being made, (fn. 40)
they gave this short account.
1. That as to the sea-forces, some part of the sea-forces
were already struck off, and the winter-guard reduced.
2. That upon consideration of the land forces, they fell
first upon the garrisons in England; and considered what
garrisons were fit to be demolished and dismantled, and
what fit to be continued.*
Thursday 16. Something was debated, in relation to the
voting of the style of the single person, which was to be Lord
Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and
Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging.
It was voted, that such of the forces as should be agreed
to be continued, should, sitting the Parliament, be disposed
by the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of Parliament, for the peace and good of this Commonwealth.
Friday 17. It was voted that such of the standing forces
of this Commonwealth, as shall be agreed to be continued,
upon the charge of the Commonwealth, in the intervals of Parliament, shall be ordered and disposed of for the ends aforesaid, (the good of the Commonwealth,) in the intervals of Parliament, by this present Lord Protector, during his life, by
and with the advice and consent of his Council, and not
In the next place, it was moved to debate, how and where
the forces so to be continued should be ordered and disposed
of, in case the Protector should happen to die in the intervals
But, this was thought a point of some difficulty, and also
that other point of the militia, by which was meant the
intrinsic force of the nation. (fn. 41)
This was heretofore, under trained bands, and commissions of array, and the like; and consisted sometimes, in the
general tenures of the nation. How to settle this was a difficulty, as well as the standing forces, by which was meant
only such forces, as upon extraordinary emergencies, and to
supply the other, were raised, or to be raised by authority of
Parliament, and to be maintained at the public charge.
Therefore, it was resolved to adjourn this debate, until tomorrow morning; against which time, the members of the
Long Robe, that are Commissioners of the Seal, and Judges,
that are members, may have notice to give their attendance. (fn. 42)
After which a Report was made from the Committee which
was appointed (fn. 43) to advise with the Protector, about an expedient upon those articles of Religion which refer to indemnity and toleration.
The substance whereof was to this purpose, that the Lord
Protector was wholly dissatisfied with the thing, and had no
propensity or inclination to it; and that the Parliament had
already taken the Government abroad, (in pieces was meant,)
and had altered and changed it, in the other articles, as they
pleased, without his advice; and therefore, it would not
become him to give any advice at all, singly and apart,
as to this article. But he commended the work, wished well
to it, and told them that the sooner they could despatch the
whole, it would be the better for the service, or to that
effect (fn. 44)
Saturday 18. The debate concerning the settling of the
standing forces, in the intervals of Parliament, in case that
the Lord Protector should then happen to die, and how they
should be settled after his death, was again resumed, according to the order yesterday. Thereupon the question was
That the said standing forces, after the death of the
present Lord Protector, in the interval of Parliament, shall
be, in the disposition, and ordering of the Council for the
ends aforesaid, until a Parliament be assembled; and then the
disposal of the said forces to be made by the Parliament,
as they shall think fit.
This question being thus framed, there did seem to be
a general concurrence, and the sense of the House was almost
unanimous in it; and the long-robe men did none of them
seem to oppose it, so as the question was generally called for.
But the courtiers and soldiers were not pleased with it.
Some pretended that it referred to a Council, and to a Lord
Protector after the death of this, neither of which were yet
voted in the House. Therefore, they pretended they were
not yet ready for it, although they had been both voted
before in the Grand Committee.
Others of them confounded the standing forces with the
militia, and would not understand any difference between
them. Others argued, that to place the disposition of the
standing forces in the Council alone, until the Parliament
were called, although they should choose a Lord Protector,
and when the Parliament was chosen, to place the disposing
of them wholly in the Parliament, in both excluding the
co-ordination of the Lord Protector, would be, in effect, to
pull down the Government which we were going about to
build, and to render the Protector a most insignificant
On the contrary, it was answered, very clearly, that there
was a plain difference between these forces and the militia.
These were raised, at first, by the Parliament alone.
Therefore, although for many reasons, (namely, for the
great and eminent desert of the present Lord Protector,
whom we have had great experience of; and likewise, in
regard of the present juncture of affairs, being yet in an
unsettled condition, and a pretender yet fresh in being,) this
Parliament thinks it fit and necessary to give an equal share
in the disposing of the forces to the Lord Protector with the
Parliament; yet, when this Protector is dead, and perhaps
another shall not be so deserving, and of whom we have not
had like experience whereupon to ground a confidence and
trust; and when, perhaps, it will not be needful to continue
any standing forces at all, in being, then there will be all the
reason in the world for the Parliament to disband, if they
shall think fit, those forces which they themselves had raised,
or otherwise to dispose of them.
Otherwise, if we shall, by this law, place and state the
standing forces, either in the next Protector and Council, or
in him and the Parliament, what do we else do, but entail a
standing force upon them, to all posterity ? For it will be left
in the will of the Protector, whether he will ever let them
down again or no.
Besides, it will not seem so reasonable when, as it is intended, the succeeding Protector, though chosen by the
Council, yet shall be approved by the Parliament. If it shall
so fall out, that such a person be chosen, who may, perhaps,
not be altogether so fit or so deserving of it, and then to back
him, and presently to state him in the right of disposing
of the forces, how will it be in the power of the Parliament to
disapprove such an election, though never so unworthy, when,
as the Protector shall have both de facto and de jure, an army
at his back, ready raised and formed, to countenance and
establish his election ?
But if it shall please God that such a person be chosen,
whom the Parliament shall approve of, and in whom they
shall have cause to confide, no doubt, but that Parliament,
having the disposing of those forces in their hands, will do
the same thing by such a Protector as they have done
by this; that is, give him the disposing of them with their
advice, and, in the interval of Parliament, by the advice of
his Council. But to do this now by a law, before we know
whom that person will be, or will be like to prove, is neither
suitable to justice or reason.
Therefore the question is not, whether the succeeding
Protector shall have the militia or the forces, if there shall
be cause to continue them so long; but whether he shall
have them by the Parliament, as a trust derived from them
and reposed in them, for the good of the nation, or whether
or no he shall have them by a right of inherency, and by a
law that hath fundamentally so settled them in him.
These arguments being thus tossed up and down, to the
great dissatisfaction of the Court, and the House being very
strong and desirous to have the question put, the Court-party
moved that this debate be adjourned until Monday morning
Which, to satisfy their importunity, was granted.
Monday 20. It was debated, whether these words, viz.
"until a Parliament be assembled and then the disposal of
the said forces to be made by the Parliament as they shall
think fit," be part of the question, which had been debated
the Saturday before.
1. It was objected against this, that we had already trusted
the present Protector, and given him the co-ordination with
us, and that it was not fit to give the Protector more than
what we would give to another Protector.
To which it was answered, that it was great reason to
trust a person of whom we have had so great experience, one
whom we know so well, and one that had engaged in the
same cause and quarrel with us, for the defence of our liberties, especially considering the posture of our affairs we are
now in, the nation being yet unsettled, and an old title on
foot ready to take hold of every opportunity to re-establish
But there cannot be the same reason to trust a person
whom we know not, of whom we yet have had no experience,
and in a time when perhaps our affairs win not be in the same
condition they now are in. Because we have done it to this
Protector, therefore we must do it to the rest, is no reason
at all; unless it be reason, because a man had done an action
upon consideration had of persons and times, therefore he is
always bound to do the same actions, although the same circumstances of persons and times be never so much varied
from what they were before.
2. It was objected, that to strip the next Protector of the
command of the standing forces, were but to make him an
insignificant nothing, a mere man of straw.
To which it was answered, that the standing forces were
never meant to be in the single person, otherwise than by
the consent of Parliament. It was the manner and custom
of this nation, and of our ancestors, not to put our King in
the head of an army, especially of a standing army, but in
the head of their laws.
And, certainly, to place the command of the standing
forces alone in the single person, or co-ordinately in him and
the Parliament, would be to make the Parliament a mere
Jack-a-Lent, and as insignificant a nothing as the single
person, in case it should be placed only in the Parliament.
For, give any single person in the world but power, and you
give him a temptation to continue and engross that power
wholly to himself, and an opportunity to effect it For, as,
wheresoever there is a co-ordination, of power, there is a
right, mutually, on both sides, to defend their interest, the
one against the other; so, whensoever any advantage offers
itself, the one will usurp on the other, and; in fine, strive
totally to subvert it.
3. It was objected, that to exclude the Protector from the
command of the standing forces, would be to give up the
cause, that eminent and glorious cause, which had been so
much and so long contended; for such Parliaments might
hereafter be chosen as would betray the glorious cause of
the people of God, &c.
To which it was answered, that if any cause were more
glorious and more precious than another, the Parliament was
the most worthy to be intrusted with it. We had adventured our lives and liberties for the cause. We are not
bound now to give away lives and liberties for an imaginary
Therefore, as the question is framed, it seems fair enough
to leave the trust in the Council, until the Parliament, and
then to leave it in the Parliament. They who would have
it otherwise, would state the future Protector in an absolute
title, whether he will disband any part of the standing forces,
yea or not.
Besides, it was said with a great deal of reason, that standing armies, at best, were dangerous; (fn. 45) but, if they be necessary, let us temper them with what allays we can.
For these, and several other great and weighty reasons,
after the debate had continued until seven of the clock, at
night, it was resolved that the clause should be added to the
question. Afterwards, the whole question being put, it was:
Resolved, that the standing forces, after the death of the
present Lord Protector, in the intervals of Parliament, shall
be in the disposition and ordering of the Council, for the
ends aforesaid, until a Parliament be assembled, and then
the disposal of the said forces to be made by the Parliament as they shall think fit.
Tuesday 21. The House resumed the debate concerning
the assessments. Some proposed, that for the ease of the
nation in taxes, there might be some scrutiny into the ancient
treasures, and that all persons that have had any hand in the
public receipts, might be brought to give a good account, it
being generally believed that much treasure would that way
be discovered, which is yet swallowed up. To that end, they
desired, that a Committee be appointed to call such persons
before them, and to examine the accounts.
Others conceived this would be too tedious a course, in
respect of the shortness of the time, and the speediness which
was required in settling these assessments, because the former
assessments would expire and be run out the 25th of Decem
ber next, and free quarter would then infallibly fall upon us.
Therefore, although it were true that the other business
would be a very good work, especially in the discovery of
such as had dealt unfaithfully with the state. For, it is certain, many have cleaved and adhered to the cause and to the
public, but it hath been, as the ivy cleaves to the oak, which
is to the end to climb up by it, and to suck from it Yet it
was necessary to fall more closely and immediately to the
It was every man's sense, to go as low as possibly could
consist with our safety; for certainly, this was that which was
so much desired and expected by. the people from us. This
was that which would render our government acceptable and
amicable. This alone would sweeten the alteration and
change which was intended amongst us. Let us make what
laws we pleased for the good and welfare of the people, yet
if we did not ease them in their purses, we should never
think to oblige them ever to us.
Besides, in truth, this business would not admit of much
deliberation. The countries are, generally, exhausted of all
the monies. Men are forced to mortgage their lands, and to
sell, in some places, their very beds from under them, to pay
the taxes; and the cheapness of commodities (fn. 46) is not so much
from the plenty, as from the scarcity of money, which is
drained so continually from the country by their monthly
taxes, as it never returns again in such plenty. And if this
drain should run long, it would, nay, it is to be feared, that it
will make the poor tenant and farmer to run too; and ere
long, the very landlord himself.
Therefore, to come to the matter, some propounded, as
they had formerly done, in regard they had not yet any certain prospect into the state of the revenue, and not knowing
the certain number of the standing forces, which were intended to be continued, that therefore, we might make as reasonable an estimate as we could for the present, and proportion the tax but for three months, at 30,000l. per mensem, as
hoping that that might be sufficient to effect the work, and to
carry on the charge. Some proposed 40,000l. and some
50,000l.: but at length it rose unto 60,000l. per mensem.
And, that we might be the better able to give a rationable
estimate of this proportion, it was said, that there were several things to be taken care of, and provided for, and to be
considered in this debate. (fn. 47)
These reasons and computations being largely discussed on
both sides, it was at length proposed by the court and sol
diery party, that the resolutions of the House be deferred
until we might, possibly, receive an account from the Committee which was appointed to attend his Highness, what
forces might be thought necessary to be continued, and what
abated, and that then we might better ascertain the assessment.
But, the former reasons prevailing, and some, even of that
party, ingenuously confessing themselves satisfied, and some,
even at Whitehall, declaring that it was their sense that
60,000l. would be the highest they did expect. It was
Resolved, that an assessment of 60,000l. a month, for three
months, be laid upon England, towards the discharge of the
army and navy; and that a Bill be brought in to that purpose, and the Committee for the Army do prepare and bring
in the same. (fn. 48)
Only the Scots and Irish moved, that those nations might
be involved in the same Bill of charge, with England, and not
to be rated by themselves; but that was not yielded unto, (fn. 49)
in regard their nations were not at present in such a condition of peace and improvement as ours was, and therefore
could not be laid at a full proportion. But they moved it
upon another account; for they did fear that 60,000l. would
be so low a charge, as would nothing near satisfy, and therefore they were jealous that all the rest that fell short, would
be laid upon them.
Wednesday 22. The Bill for ejecting scandalous ministers
was again read the second time, and committed back to
the same Committee to be amended, upon some exceptions.
In the afternoon, the House sat again. (fn. 50) It was
Resolved, that it be referred to a Committee to consider
what may be fit to be done, that the accompts of the public
monies of the nation received, both for the time past and present, may be discovered and perfected, and the accompts
brought to an account; and how the same may be put into
such a way for the future, as may be for the advantage of
the Commonwealth, and report their opinion therein to the
Resolved, that it be referred to the same Committee, to
consider of all debentures and bills of public faith, though
allowed upon the sales of any of the Commonwealth revenues,
and to examine whether or no they were procured by fraud,
or whether they be real and not forged, as many are informed
to be, and to consider which way, and how such frauds and
counterfeits may best be discovered, and what they think fit
to be done therein, for the reparation of the Commonwealth,
and to report their opinion therein to the House. (fn. 51)
After which, they fell upon the sixth article of the Instrument. Resolved, upon the question, (fn. 52) that the laws of this
Commonwealth shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or
repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent in
Parliament. Provided, that this vote shall not extend to
invalidate or prejudice any Ordinances or Provisions made by
the Lord Protector and his Council, before the Parliament,
for the maintaining of the forces of this Commonwealth, by
sea and land, in England, Scotland and Ireland, and for
the necessary charges of the government, until order shall be
taken in Parliament concerning the same. (fn. 53)
To which proviso, some exceptions were taken, as being
unwilling to own them Ordinances, so far as to give them
any countenance. And then, if we confirm them, until the
Parliament take farther order, and perhaps we shall not sit
to take any further order, then we have given it our
stamp and our impression, which is more than did become us
to do. (fn. 54)
Thursday 23. The questions upon the sixth article were
not voted until this day; and then, instead of the proviso
before-mentioned, there was a vote passed by itself to this
That such Ordinances heretofore made by the Lord Protector and his Council, before this Parliament, for the raising,
bringing in, and disposing of monies for the maintaining the
forces of this Commonwealth, by sea and land, in England,
Scotland, and Ireland, and for the necessary charges of the
government, shall remain and continue to the end of this
Parliament and no longer, unless the Parliament take further
order to the contrary; or unless the said Ordinances shall
expire before that time. (fn. 55) And then they voted the sixth
article in words as it is in the article. (fn. 56)
After this, they would have proceeded further, upon the
debate of the seventh article, in course, concerning the summoning of Parliaments. But some not agreeing whether
they shall be biennial or triennial, and the report concerning
the elections and qualifications not being made, this debate
was therefore put off until another time. (fn. 57)
A report was read from the Committee, which was appointed (fn. 58) to advise with the Protector, concerning the lessening and reducing the forces, both by land and sea, and to
receive his opinion, touching those garrisons which the Parliament thought fit to be demolished, and touching the forces
in Scotland and Ireland, and the garrison there.
His Highness's answer was, that there had been a Committee before to wait upon him, to the same purpose. That,
as to the garrisons which the Committee of Parliament
thought fit to be demolished, to some of them he gave no
answer at all. To the rest he answered thus:—
1. As to Warwick Castle, it did not signify much, nor was
it very considerable, and therefore he conceived, it might be
of no great use to be continued.
2. For Chester, it was a place of strength, and had cost a
great deal of blood. (fn. 59) And, although the Committee of
Parliament had resolved to make it untenable, yet some
members of Parliament had been with him, and had desired
to be heard in it. They had also proposed that Liverpool
might rather be dismantled, and the forces translated from
thence to Chester, and, therefore, that might be thought fit
for further consideration.
3. For Shrewsbury, which indeed was not positively resolved upon by the Committee, he was of opinion that it was
a place of strength: that if any enemy should get into it,
and possess it, all the forces of England and Scotland could
not be able to force them out: that it might be kept with
small charge, and therefore this also was fit for further consideration.
4. For Bristol Castle, it was a place of no great strength,
yet it was convenient for a citadel, and might be made use of
to that purpose. For Bristol Fort, it was very regular, and
might be kept with a small number. That it was the
practice of all nations, and he mentioned that of France, that
in all populous cities, there used to be citadels, and therefore,
he thought this also might deserve farther consideration.
5. For Chepstow, because it was his own house, he would
not have a garrison there at the Commonwealth's charge.
6. As to Hereford, it lay near unto, if not in the very
centre of, North and South Wales, those mountainous countries, which he feared had not forgot their mountainous qualities, and for religion and other things not so well qualified
as would be desired. The countries and people there, were
not so well affected as he could wish, and therefore this also
was fit for further consideration.
These are all the garrisons he spake unto, the rest voted
by the Committee he never so much as mentioned.
As to the field forces, he said he was willing to disband so
many of them as could be disbanded with the public safety;
and he conceived it was both his and our meaning, to prefer
safety before any manner of charge.
As to Ireland, he said, he had received a packet lately
from the Commander-in- Chief there, of the affairs in relation
to that nation; but he had not yet perused it. When he
had, the Parliament should receive an account of it.
As to Scotland, he said he did not know of any one man,
meaning company, of horse or foot, that would be disbanded there. He had received intelligence from the Commander-in-Chief there, and from the officers in the several
parts of it. In general, the country was wholly very much
disaffected to the present government. The Presbyterian
and Cavalier interest were so complicated, as he did not see
how any forces there could be lessened with any safety, until
these two interests could be satisfied, and which way to do
that he did not find, they being constantly blown up by the
enemies beyond the seas, and the distempers there, were so
great, as the Commanders there did call for more forces, so
far it was from abating any; and some gentlemen of that
nation, who sate amongst us, knew these things to be true,
and could present them to us.
As to the forces in England, the numbers were but few,
the condition of the people such, as the major part a great
deal are persons disaffected and engaged against us. (fn. 60)
Notwithstanding all this, he would not say there could be
no lessening, and therefore he would be willing to entertain a
conference to that purpose, and to do therein whatsoever
might stand with the public interest and safety. (fn. 61)
Friday 24. This day the House took into consideration
those articles of the Government which relate to the calling
of future Parliaments, and resolved upon the question:—
1. That a Parliament be summoned, to meet and sit at
Westminster, the third Monday of October, 1656.
2. That a Parliament shall be summoned to meet and sit
at Westminster, upon the third Monday in October, 1659;
and so likewise on the third Monday of October in every
third year successively.
3. That neither this present Parliament, nor the Parliament which shall be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1656, nor the Parliament to be summoned
to meet on the third Monday of October, 1659, nor any
succeeding Triennial Parliament, shall, during the time of
six months, to be accounted from the day of their first
meeting, be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their
4. That neither this present Parliament, nor the Parliament which shall be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1656, nor the Parliament that shall be summoned to meet on the third Monday of October, 1659, nor
any successive Triennial Parliament, shall have power to
continue to sit above six months, without the Lord Protector's consent, to be by Act of Parliament; in which Act
there shall be a limited time for their sitting, not exceeding
5. That the Lord Protector, with the advice of the major
part of the Council, shall, at any other time than is before
expressed, when the necessity of the State shall require it,
summon a Parliament, in a manner hereby expressed, which
shall not be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without their
own consent, during the first three months of their sitting;
nor shall have power to continue to sit beyond that time without the consent of the Lord Protector, to be by Act of Parliament; in which Act there shall be a limited time for their
sitting, not exceeding one month; provided, that such Parliament shall end, and be determined, before the summoning
such Parliaments as are before hereby appointed.
6. That the summons to Parliament shall be by writ,
under the Great Seal of England, directed to the sheriffs and
other officers, according to laws of the several and respective
counties and places. (fn. 62)
7. They voted the form of the writ of summons, in which
was some variation from the old form. (fn. 63)
8. (fn. 64) That, in case the Lord Protector shall not, before the
1st day of July, 1656, give warrant for issuing writs of
summons, for a Parliament to meet the third Monday in
October, 1656; and before the 1st day of July, 1659, give
warrant for issuing writs of summons, for a Parliament to
meet on the third Monday in October, 1659; and before the
1st day of July, in every third year, after that time, give
warrant for issuing writs of summons, for a Parliament to
meet on the third Monday in October, in every third year
That, then, the Chancellor, Keeper, or Commissioners of
the Great Seal, for the time being, shall without any warrant
or direction, within seven days after the respective times
aforesaid, seal, issue, and send abroad, writs of summons, to
the several and respective Sheriffs of England, Scotland, and
Ireland, for summoning the Parliament, to meet at Westminster, the third Monday in October, 1656; and for summoning one other Parliament, to meet at Westminster, the
third Monday in October, 1659; and for other Parliaments to
meet at Westminster, on the third Monday in October in
every third year, successively." (fn. 65)
So much was voted. But then, we came to the last clause
of the article, viz. wherein (that is, in which indenture) shall
be contained, that the persons elected shall not have power to
alter the Government, as it is hereby settled in one single
person and a Parliament.
To some part of this clause exception was taken. They
would have had this alteration, "that the persons elected shall
not have power to alter the government from a single person
and a Parliament;" the other exception, (as it is now settled,
in a single person and. a Parliament,) being too comprehensive, and taking in the whole system of the Government;
implying that it should not be in the power of future Parliaments to alter any part of it. Which had been otherwise declared by this Parliament, and seemed still to be the general
sense of us all.
Besides, "is settled," cannot be, the thing being yet but in
fieri, and the alterations do include the sense of our subscription, (fn. 66) as fully in that single point as might be. Herein, the
House being divided (fn. 67) and growing late, they arose without
doing any thing. (fn. 68)
Saturday 25. After the suspending the Act or Ordinance
of the Lord Protector, concerning the Cbancery, (fn. 69) the former
debate concerning the alteration of the last clause in the
twelfth article of the Government, was again considered.
Some moved for a postponing of this question, until the
rest of the Government might be finished. Some moved,
wholly, for the total laying it aside.
1. As needless, because the thing was taken to be a fundamental constitution, and naturalized with us.
2. Because, if it were put as it is in the article, it would
seem to take away Parliamentary freedom, and not leave
future Parliaments as free as we have been.
Yet, in the end, upon the reasons formerly given, and the
rather, because the very words in the indenture by which we
are returned, are agreeable to the alteration propounded,
it was voted thus:
That, at the day and place of elections, the Sheriff of each
county, and the mayors, sheriffs, bailiffs, and other head
officer and officers, within their cities, town, boroughs, and
places respectively, shall take view of the said elections, and
shall make return into the Chancery, within twenty days
after the said elections, of the persons elected by the greater
number of electors, under the hands and seals of twelve or
more of the said electors, on the behalf of himself of the one
part, and on the behalf of the electors on the other part;
wherein shall be contained, that the persons elected shall
not have power to alter the Government from one single person and a Parliament. (fn. 70)
After this, a long debate was had, whether or no the
Declaration upon the subscriptions should not be altered,
according to the preceding vote. But, that Declaration
being in effect the same, upon consideration had of it, it was
Upon reading the Report upon the thirteenth article, it was
That the Sheriff, who shall wittingly or willingly make
any false return, or wittingly or willingly neglect his duty in
execution of the premises, shall incur the penalty of 200l. of
lawful English money. And that every Mayor, Sheriff,
Bailiff, or other head-officer, of any eity, town, borough,
or place aforesaid, who shall wittingly or willingly make any
false return, or wittingly or willingly. neglect his duty, in
execution of the premises, shall incur the penalty of 200l. of
lawful English money; the one moiety of all and every
the penalties aforesaid, to go to the Lord Protector, and the
other moiety to such party grieved, as shall sue for the same,
in any of the Courts of Record at Westminster. Which suit
shall not be commenced until the Parliament hath adjudged
the same to be such offence, as aforesaid. (fn. 71)
Monday 27. The House entered upon the consideration
of such qualifications as should be requisite in persons elected, and in the electors, including the 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th,
and 18th articles of the. Government.
Resolved, that the persons who shall be elected to serve in
Parliament, shall be such, and none other than such, as are
persons of known integrity, fearing God, and of good conversation, and being of the age of twenty-one years; and not
such as are disabled by the Act of the 17th of King Charles, (fn. 72)
entituled, "An Act for disenabling all persons in holy orders
to exercise any temporal jurisdiction or authority; nor such as
are public ministers, or public preachers of the Gospel; nor
such as are guilty of any of the offences mentioned in an Act
of Parliament, bearing date August 9, 1650, entituled, "An
Act against several Atheistical, blasphemous, and execrable
opinions, derogatory to the honour of God, and destructive
of human society (fn. 73) " nor common scoffer, nor reviler of religion; or of any person or persons for professing thereof:
no person that hath married, or shall marry a wife of the
Popish religion; or hath trained, or shall train up his child
or children, or any other child or children under his tuition or
government, in the Popish religion; or that shall permit or
suffer such child or children to be trained up in the said religion; or that hath given, or shall give his consent, that his
son or daughter shall marry any of that religion: no person
that shall deny the Scriptures to be the word of God, or the
sacraments, prayer, magistracy, and ministry, to be the ordinances of God; no common profaner of the Lord's day, nor
profane swearer or curser; no drunkard, or haunter of
taverns, ale-houses, or brothel-houses; none that shall hereafter drink healths, (fn. 74) or be guilty of adultery, fornication, or
extortion, perjury, forgery, or bribery.
For the incapacities of the electors, it was
Resolved, (fn. 75) that all and every person and persons, who do
or shall profess the Popish religion in Ireland, or who have
advised, assisted, or abetted, in the rebellion of Ireland, before September 1, 1643, shall, during their lives, be disabled,
and be uncapable to be elected, or to give any vote in the
election of any member to serve in any Parliament. And
likewise, that all and every person, who have advised, voluntarily assisted or abetted, in the rebellion of Ireland, since
September 1, 1643, or have at any time advised, voluntarily
assisted or abetted the war in England or Scotland against
the Parliament, shall, during their lives, be disabled, and be
uncapable to be elected, or to give any vote in the election of
any member to serve in any Parliament; provided that this
extend not to disable or make uncapable such persons, constantly professing the Protestant religion, who, before December 25, 1649, did submit, and have ever since continued
faithful to the Parliament, and given signal testimony of
their good affection thereunto. (fn. 76)
That all votes and elections given or made contrary, or not
according, to these qualifications, shall be null and void; but
the penalty or forfeiture was wholly omitted. (fn. 77)
That all and every person and persons, not within the
aforesaid exceptions, being resident for the space of three
months, or more, before the time of election of members to
Parliament, in such county where election is to be made,
having an estate in freehold, to the yearly value of forty
shillings, within any county, riding, limit, or place; or
having an estate, real or personal, to the full and clear value
of 200l. to be declared upon oath, by such person or persons,
if required; and which said oath, the sheriffs or their deputies
are hereby impowered to give; shall be capable to give his
or her vote, for the election of members for such county,
riding, limit, or place, where such land or estate doth lie.
Provided, this extend not to alter any ancient customs,
charters, or privileges, of any cities, boroughs, towns, or
corporations, who have hereby right to elect members to
Parliament, but the same continue as formerly. (fn. 78)
But here was a vote that such 200l. men, as had votes in
boroughs, and had freehold lands to the value of 40s. in the
said boroughs only, and not within the body of the county,
should not, either for their 200l. or for such freehold only,
have voices for choosing of knights in the county, unless they
had freehold also in the county to the value of 40s., and out
of the precincts of the said borough. (fn. 79)
Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29. Were spent in the debate of
the duties respectively, of the Chancellor, Keeper, and Commissioners of the Seal, and likewise of the Sheriffs, Mayors,
Bailiffs, officers, and clerks, that shall fail, or be found negligent in sending abroad writs, precepts, or warrants, for
summoning or calling of Parliaments, and their several and
respective duties therein contained, in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first articles. Only, upon the twenty-first
article, there was a long debate, where the judgment ought
to be, of the qualifications required in the persons to be
The article proposed it in the Council; but that was held
dangerous to place a judicatory out of the House, of such as
were to be members of the Parliament. For so, the Parliament might be pinned at the girdle of other men. Others
thought, that the best way might be, to do as they do in
Scotland. That is, that after all the members are returned,
the first work be to appoint a Committee to try those members, before they entered upon any other work.
And, as I heard, it was settled, afterwards, with the
Council. (fn. 80)
Thursday 30. The Bill for assessment was read, and the
old proportions upon the counties ordered to stand, in regard
the time was so short as could not admit of any long debate
upon the alterations of the proportions. (fn. 81)