Saturday, December 13, 1656.
A Bill for the better ordering and governing the makers
and workers of broad mixed woollen cloths, within the Westriding of the County of York, and for making them a body
politic and corporate, was this day read the first time.
Mr. Robinson. If this Bill pass it will be very prejudicial
to the City of York, and others of the Riding, and the adjoining wool countries.
This is a mere monopoly, which will not only destroy the
wool grower, but the poor clothier; for it seems that none shall
buy or sell any wool but such as are free of this corporation.
It will make less manufacture.
Sir Henry Vane brought in a Bill to this purpose, in the
Long Parliament, for Kent, but could not get it to pass. One
law through the whole nation may serve for the regulation of
one manufacture. We have laws strict enough already in
these cases, as strict as any, save in the laws of tanners.
Mr. Ashe, the elder. I do very much approve of this Bill,
and desire it may have a second reading. I gave you the
reason before why our manufactures are almost lost, and
snatched into Holland only for want of regulation.
He has got 3000l. per annum, and is worth about 60,000l.
Sir William Strickland. I have something to say to this
Bill, but I will not hinder your greater business. I desire it
may be laid aside and seriously weighed.
Lord Lambert, who brought in the Bill. I desire it may
be read again, and the inconveniences considered. If it be
not for general good, I shall not desire it. The most part of
my poor fortune their depends upon the rate of wool.
Resolved, That this Bill be read the second time on Wednesday.
Lord Whitlock. I have a privilege to offer to you, which
will take but a little time. A new member is elected for Ryegate, in Surrey, and the sheriff refuseth to make a return. I
desire it may be ordered by this House to make a return.
Lord Lambert. I believe the fault is not in the sheriff.
The election was but on Monday, and he must have some
Mr. Goodwin. That second elections differ from the first,
for in the first, the sheriff has twenty days for the return;
in the second, he must return without delay.
It seems there is a difference between Sir Thomas Pryde,
and the party that is duly chosen, and some call it Sir
Thomas Pryde's modesty, that will not return himself; but
Mr. Highland said, Sir Thomas Pryde would fain be returned, but he ought not.
Resolved, That the sheriff do return the Indentures before
Resolved, That Irish business be upon Tuesday next, upon
motion of Major Ashton.
The Order of the day read.
Mr. Speaker. Read the question for the smaller punishment.
Mr. Church. The Quakers are not only numerous but
dangerous, and the sooner we put a stop, the more glory we
shall do to God, and safety to this Commonwealth.
When I sat in the last Parliament, there was scarce the
name of these; but their increase since is incredible.
Whatever they pretend, they cannot be a people of God.
Christ's spirit is a meek spirit, but they are full of bitterness
in reviling the ministers and magistrates.
The people are amazed very much (as I am informed) at
our slow motion in this business. They know not the reason.
For my part, I incline rather to the corporal punishment.
"Because thou hast spared a man," &c. 1 Kings, 20, "that
should have died," &c. "therefore," &c. I must say as Jehosaphat said, 2 Chron.
Take heed what you do, for you judge not for men, but
for God. We must one day answer to God for all things we
do; even for this business; so that I cannot marvel at our
care herein. The love of Christ constrains us. If we have
love to Christ, we cannot suffer him to be dishonoured. We
must not do our own will, but his will. I pray God reveal
it to us what is his will. If he have said, the offender
ought to die, we ought not to spare him. I pray God direct
Lord Whitlock. (fn. 1) I agree with the gentleman that spoke
last, that if it be the will of God that this person should die,
we ought not to spare him; but the question is, whether it is
the will of God or no; whether there be a law of God. For
my part, I think there is no such law. I have read the text
in the original in Leviticus. It signifies as much as a cursing
or denying Jehovah. Moses was a wise man, yet he would
do nothing in it without the advice and counsel of God. (fn. 2)
I conceive this was no standing law, but. only binding to
the Jews. The morality may extend to us, but in the modus
puniendi, that is not moral. (fn. 3)
I do not understand any thing that James Nayler said
to be the denying or cursing of Jehovah, God, or Christ, so
not within that text. 24 Leviticus, 16. He acknowledgeth
Christ that died in Jerusalem, to be his mediator. He has
committed a very heinous and execrable sin in suffering adoration to be done to him. He says Christ dwells in him. (fn. 4)
This is an opinion held forth in many places. The Lutherans held the ubiquity of Christ; (fn. 5) we are not filii, but filius
That account of excommunication is much mistaken.
He is not delivered over to Satan, (fn. 6) to be understood of the
I am not satisfied by any thing in the law of God, that we
ought to proceed against this man to death. Nor am I satisfied the magistrate, in all cases, ought to be judge of offences
against the law of nature. (fn. 7)
But by the common law, lex terræ, this person is punishable. I have seen indictments in the Upper Bench for lesser
matters, for broaching opinions to raise sedition amongst the
people, and I wish we had not meddled with this business,
but sent him over to the Upper Bench.
But for us to pass sentence of death upon this person, I
know neither law nor precedent for it.
It will be of a dangerous consequence for you to make a
law for punishing of an offence by death, which was not so
punishable before. One parliament may count one thing
horrid blasphemy, another parliament another thing. The
word blasphemy is very comprehensive. There may a time
come, when the word blasphemy may be as far extended as
was heresy, in the case, as in Hen. VII., where a man was
condemned for a heretic, because he said he did not know
whether by the law of God tithes were payable or no. (fn. 8) We
ought to look for our posterity, and the danger to leave such
a precedent upon your records. I am very well satisfied that
the lesser punishment will be adequate enough, and save the
honour of your vote and your time too; or, to satisfy those
gentlemen that are for his death, you may add to your quesx
tion, that the person shall stand committed till he recant, or
till the Parliament take further course for his more exemplary
punishment, and this may happily give more satisfaction, as
well within doors as without.
Mr. Bisse. If you put the question for the smaller punishment, you exclude all their votes that are for the higher, for
they will give their negatives; and if they carry it, then the
person shall have no punishment at all. I desire you would
either put the first and proper question, or put the question
whether this question shall be put or no.
Sir William Strickland. We ought to have a special reflection upon what we have done in our vote for our directions
in the punishment. I know nothing in the Report, but what
the party confessed himself at the bar; from his very reum
confitentem, was sufficient convincement to me in voting the
offence to be horrid blasphemy.
For my part, I am clearly satisfied in the offence, that it is
as heinous as can be; but I am not so clear in the manner of
punishment. For if we take our rules from those texts that
have been urged, I doubt we must also observe the rules in
other cases, as to make Sabbath breaking and disobedience to
parents, death. I am not clear how to execute these laws in
the one, and not in the other.
If salus populi were concerned, then suprema lex ought to
be resumed; but in this case the precedent may be dangerous
I hope we shall provide a way, for the future, to nip these
cockatrices in the egg.
I cannot, without doubting, agree to those that would have
him punished with, death. Quod dubitas ne feceris. I shall
honour those persons too, while I live. I shall submit to the
smaller punishment, though I am not satisfied of the adequateness of the punishment. I would have this man so restrained, as that he may never do more harm. I would have him
perpetually imprisoned, and that is a kind of a civil death: but
for the other punishment, I do very much doubt in myself.
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon. I cannot be satisfied but that this
man's offence deserves the highest punishment.
The light of nature teaches a Deity, and a punishment for
the dishonour of that God; as well as the honour.
How did the heathens put to death so many martyrs ?
1. For disobeying their idol gods, but by the law of nature.
2. Nebuchadnezzar, by the same law, put the three children in the fiery furnace.
3. The case of Gideon and his men, in Judges (vi. 25—31.,)
for pulling down the altars. They durst not do it by day.
But they soon knew who had done it, and said, "Bring them
forth that we may kill them."
But not only the law of nature, but of God, teaches us to
vindicate the honour of God, and God in three persons, and
no other God.
I cannot understand the majus and minus from those that
say the cursing of God, as to say he is cruel, unjust, or the
like, is a greater offence than this blasphemy before you. This
destroys the second person of the Trinity, and sets it up in a
creature, so that it is not only a dishonouring of God, but a
supplanting and taking him wholly away.
This is an offence not only against the law of nature (fn. 9) but
against the light of the law of God, revealed in the Scripture,
which is the highest light in the world.
Does not he say that God-man dwells personally in James
Nayler, and ought to be worshipped. Is not this utterly
against the light manifested in the Three Persons of the Trinity and God. If this be not the highest blasphemy that is, I
know not what it is. He does (as much as in him is) destroy
the very foundation of our faith and religion. This seducing
of his, comes clearly up to that of Deuteronomy xiii., and in
Zechariah too. I say this case comes even to those texts in
Deuteronomy and Zechariah, (fn. 10) for any thing I have heard to
If the Jews ought to put to death a blasphemer, I know no
reason but we Christians ought to be as tender of the honour
of God as they. I know no difference. Ubi lex non distinguit, non est distinguendum. We find not the law repealed,
so it must needs be of force, being perpetual. As to that objection of the Sabbath-breakers to be punished with death
under the law, I grant they might have brought other texts
to that purpose.
I have read authors, that that law was only to continue
while the children of Israel were in the wilderness. (fn. 11) Or, admit a man should now, in a presumptuous and wilful manner
break the Sabbath, if the magistrate should punish him, it
may not seem cruel in the eyes of God. If a man should sin
against God, who shall plead for him.
It has been said that the Turks and Jews are amongst us,
that blaspheme and deny our God and Christ. Must we
put them to death, (fn. 12) I know no reason but the magistrate
should punish them with death, if Turk or Jew come and
blaspheme our God: I hope they would not be tolerated. But
it is said there is no law now against blasphemy. I grant;
but, de facto, there was such a law. I hope none will deny
it. I hope the abuse of it, and turning it upon the Lollards,
does not take away the law.
Who shall be able to plead, where God has made a law,
that this law is repealed. If God should ask me this question,
how shall I answer it ? If I tell him of that meekness, &c.
spoken of in the Gospel, will God say where bad you a rule to
spare his life. I desire that the question may be put for death.
Colonel Kiffen. I am very much satisfied by the whole
matter, that this wicked, vile wretch is guilty of whatever you
have voted him to be; a horrid blasphemer: but I am not
convinced by any thing I have heard that he ought to be
punished with death. We ought all to be zealous for God;
but our zeal must go by a rule.
The honourable person gave the grounds of his opinion
under these three heads. The light of nature, law of God,
and law of the land. I shall answer them briefly.
1. If the light of nature cannot lead a man out to the
knowledge of Christ, are we, by the light of nature, to put
such an ignorant person to death, for not knowing what he
ought to know.
2. The law of God. Answer: these laws were immediately from the mouth of God, stamped upon, and peculiar to
that nation, Deuteronomy xii. If the Jews, by the light of
nature, might have charged Christ with blasphemy, surely
they would have rather cited that general law, than to say,
"We have a law," &c.
That prophecy of Zechariah sticks more with me; but
those dark prophecies may be mistaken by not distinguishing
of the times. Great mistakes arise from this.
I grant, that by the father and mother thrusting the child
through, the magistrate is understood; but I hope none will
say that the parents are excluded: and if all those circumstances of that law, must be pursued, the parents must thrust
I grant the Scriptures are a great light, as that worthy
person said, but not the only light, for there must another
light concur, else we shall fall short of the knowledge we
Answer to text, Leviticus xxiv. Their conclusion differs
from their premises; for they say, by that law Nayler ought
to die; yet, upon his repentance, he shall be pardoned. I
am not of their opinion. If the law be positive, I submit it
to their consciences whether they can dispense with that law.
If I were so convinced, I ought not to spare, nay, I should
not spare! my child, or the wife of my bosom.
The Jews could not find any thing in their law, whereby
they could condemn Christ of blasphemy. He bid them look
into their law.
Was not Gamaliel a man learned in their law ? It is not
to be doubted that he wanted zeal to do it; yet he bade
them beware what they did.
Answer to that of John v., about cutting off the branches.
This was the great text made use of in Queen Mary's time.
It was those that would suck your blood, greater enemies to
you than James Nayler, that put any such interpretation
upon it. I hope that gentleman that cited that text, will
not say that every man that is cut off by excommunication,
should be thrown into the fire.
Answer to that text in Revelations, a charge against the
Church of Thyatira suffering Jezabel and Balaam. It is
true, God does highly reprehend them for these things; but
does God say, "I have given them time to repent," &c.
It is true, "God forbid that we should sin because grace
doth abound." As for that text of our Saviour's pardoning
the woman taken in adultery: it is said, that he was Lord
of all, and might dispense with that or any sin, as God did
with the Israelites in Egypt. I dare not be of that opinion,
that Christ forgave that sin, for this excludes his full satisfaction, &c.
I desire the Question may be put for the smaller punishment.
Mr. Bond. Adjourn this debate till Monday morning.
Mr. Godfrey stood up to speak to the matter; but, being
cried down by a noise of adjourning, so turned it to speak to
the orders of the House. Desired them to rise.
The Question put for adjourning the debate till Monday.
The House divided upon this Question.
The Yeas that sat were 108. Lord Eure and Colonel
We, the Noes that went out, were 175. Sir John Reynolds and Colonel Fitz-James, [Tellers.]
Resolved, That this debate be adjourned till Monday morning.
In the painted chamber sat the Committee upon Rodney's
Appeal against Cole.
And, upon the Question whether there was any personal
miscarriage in the Commissioners of the Seal in that business,
There was great clashing between my Lord Lisle and
Lord Whitlock, contending where the blame should lie.
Lord Lisle charged Lord Whitlock highly, by several circumstances, that he was consenting to it; but Lord Whitlock
justified himself, and so did Rodney's petition clear him:
for it said, one of the Commissioners did dissent, and named
Lord Whitlock particularly; and the Committee were much
satisfied with it. But high words passed between them, especially on Lord Lisle's part; the other was more modest.
Lord Lisle retired, and the Committee came to further debate in the business. The Master of the Rolls laboured to
smooth it over, and would have had the petitioners relieved,
and the Lords Commissioners clear, for he said the miscarriage happened only by misinformation.
There was one Mr. Thorne, of the Temple, Cole's Solicitor,
examined to the seal of the statute, whether the seal wanted
not all the wax, and whether he did not tell a member of the
House that one Perin, an Attorney (that is now dead) did
put the new wax upon the label of the statute. He denied
that he said any such thing, but Captain Mason affirmed it to
his face, and the Master of the Rolls directed that a member
of Parliament ought in evidence to be preferred, for he is
under an oath to speak the truth, &c. (Query, what oath a
member takes.) Mr. Cole was there, and moved that he
might be heard by his counsel, but I could not stay the
This week, one of the seniors of Gray's Inn, viz. Wingate, (fn. 13)
that abridged the statutes, died, and also one Mr. Miller of
the same house.