Thursday, January 27, 1658–9.
The Parliament began at Westminster.
Dr. Thomas Goodwin (fn. 1) preached at the Abbey, where his
Highness and the Lords sat together, and the House of Commons, sparsim. (fn. 2) His text, Psalm lxxxv. 10; (fn. 3) his scope, heal
ing, inciting to unity, and to mix mercy and truth, righteousness and peace together: to give liberty for erroneous consciences; but not so much encouragement as to true professors, &c.
A Quaker got near the pulpit and spoke a deal of nonsense
(the sermon done), and his Highness paused a little till he
The sermon ended about one o'clock. His Highness went
to the Lords' House, where the Lords being all placed; and
a great many Commons, sparsim, at the bar amongst strangers; the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Comptroller, and Black
Rod and Heralds, cleared the room; save only for some
known Members that stayed, and some that would not go out
by their command; as Colonel Matthews, &c.
They say there were about 150 Members sitting in the
House, while his Highness was speaking in the other House,
and that the Black Rod went for them, but they came not.
Mr. Scobell (fn. 4) said we should have come there, as a House of
His Highness made a very handsome speech, (fn. 5) in order to
his father's memory, his esteem of Parliaments, his own being
settled by God's providence and the law. He called the
army the best army in the world, from their patience in not
mutinying for their pay: (fn. 6) invited us to unity, and referred
the business of money, particularly, to the House of Commons. He would spend his life for and with the Parliament
as that wherein his and the nation's principal safety consisted,
and they should see his readiness to attend to any thing that
they should offer as advice to him. He left the rest to be
said by Lord-keeper Fiennes.
Lord Fiennes said, (fn. 7) what can he say but the same thing,
that is, to speak after a King; so I, after his Highness, can
only echo it over.
His speech was longer, but much to the same purpose;
only run more upon the triple cord, and inviting to unity,
and not to meddle with foundations. (fn. 8)
This done, the members then present went to the House of
Commons, where, about one o'clock, the House was very
full, at least four hundred.
Sir Walter Earle. We do not come here to sit still and
say nothing. A speaker must be chosen; you will think that
fit. I believe there is in the House a very worthy person,
and fit for your service.
The House called, Name him, name him; then, he named
him, viz. Mr. Chute.
Then divers called out, nemine contradicente. Mr. Chute
to the chair.
Mr. Chute. I need not make a speech to excuse my unfitness to serve you. I carry a natural infirmity about me.
I have it in my foot; so much disability, that I was scarce
able to crawl hither to do my duty here. Another infirmity
I have, which you all know, and will every day more. I
have no manner of experience in the way of that employment,
and the greatest part of what I know, is the least part of
what I ought to know. For these and other reasons I could
offer, I move to make choice of another. (fn. 9)
All called out Mr. Chute to the chair.
Sir Walter Earle and — (fn. 10) led him to the chair.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge was about to second the motion, but
it needed not.
Mr. Speaker, (fn. 11) being in the chair, moved; Gentlemen, I am
bound to obey your commands; and paused till the mace
came, which was called for. Then he proceeded to make
As the form is, gentlemen, you called me to this place for
directions, so that I must not give ill examples by troubling
you with a long speech. I never knew much said in long
speeches. I never loved them. I desire that you would
think of me as the motto on the sun-dial is, auspice me; ut
te auspiciam. The best adage is, self do, self have; volenti
non sit injuria. You have placed me here, and you must
bear the burthen of my infirmities, &c.
Mr. Speaker being thus placed, four Aldermen of the City
of London came together into the House in scarlet gowns,
and took their places. (fn. 12)
Mr. Speaker moved that he would not hinder the business
of settlement; but supposed the course to be, first, to read
a bill. (fn. 13) He had a bill touching the non-exportation of fish.
He moved it might be read, and it was read. He presented
it, as a bill which was of the last Parliament.
Mr. Knightley. I move for a day for the second reading
Sir Walter Earle. It is not proper to recommend a bill,
let it recommend itself; but if one will speak to the rejecting
of it they may; otherwise, no one may speak to it upon the
Mr. Speaker. I move to adjourn for two or three days.
Mr. Weaver. Adjourn now, and call the House, for fear
Mr. Hungerford. It is too soon to call the House, till all
returned come in.
Colonel Thompson. You have two laws a-foot. You spoil
the game if you run not one out first. Put this question off
your hands, and I shall not be against adjourning.
Mr. Hungerford, Captain Hatsell, Captain Baines, and
Mr. Chaloner, moved the like.
Mr. Knightley. Formerly all bills were read a second time
between ten and eleven.
Mr. Speaker. Formerly, no time was set down for the second reading; but the Speaker took a convenient time for it.
Sir Walter Earle. I move to call the House, in case of intruders. The commissioners for swearing the members (fn. 14) have
informed me that one borough, which had a right to choose
but one burgess, had returned two, and that by an escape both
were sworn and sat. I would have all those things examined.
Colonel Mildmay. I move to choose your clerk. The
person in place may be deserving, and haply none will be
against him; but own your privilege in choosing; and the
like, for all your officers.
Mr. Onslow. Put your question upon the form. He
served in the last Parliament; and, I suppose, is so deserving
that none will be against it.
The clerk, viz. Mr. Smythe, being commanded to withdraw,
the question was put, and passed, nemine contradicente.
Mr. Speaker moved the question, that the clerk be continued.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge liked not the word continued; so it
was changed, that he shall be clerk, &c.
Sir Thomas Barnardiston and Mr. Weaver moved the like for
the other officers, viz. Darnall, Clerk Assistant, and Serjeant
Birkhead, and all resolved, nemine contradicente.
Colonel Mildmay. I would have the clerk cautioned for
sitting without leave, before he was chosen by the House.
The like may be imposed upon you hereafter. Fart not with
any of your privileges, &c.
He was not seconded.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I move that care be taken to
make your House as full as you can; that, in case of double
returns, by reason of the false dealings of Sheriffs and Mayors,
these may be speedily considered. I would ever in all places,
especially in this House, observe this rule,—do as I would be
A gentleman cried No.
Sir Arthur took exceptions. If that gentleman that cries
No, were without doors, and kept out as divers of your members are, he would not cry No. I move that, to-morrow, you
appoint your Committee for privileges.
Colonel Matthews, the like.
Mr. Weaver. It is not proper to meddle with privileges
till your House be called, to see if all that sit are members.
Some said, name the Committee first, and some, have the
House called first, and both said it was according to the orders
of the House.
Mr. Speaker. Well may I be ignorant of your orders,
when I see both sides so confident, in different orders.
Mr. James Ashe. I move for a Committee of privileges.
Mr. Trenchard. I never knew a Speaker and a Committee appointed both in one day.
Major Burton moved for a day of humiliation; but nobody
seconded the motion.
The House adjourned itself till eight next morning; but
no question was put, for it need not, unless there was a day
intervening. The house rose at four. (fn. 15)
The Speech of his Highness the Lord Protector.
My Lords and Gentlemen;
I believe there are scarce any of you here, who expected
some months since to have seen this great Assembly at this
time, in this place, in peace; considering the great and unexpected change which it hath pleased the all-disposing hand of
God to make in the midst of us. I can assure you, that if
things had been according to your own fears, and the hopes of
our enemies, it had not been thus with us: and, therefore, it
will become both you and me, in the first place, as to reverence and adore the great God, possessor of heaven and earth,
in whose hands our breath is, and whose are all our ways,
because of his judgments; so to acknowledge him in his
goodness to these lands, in that he hath not added sorrow to
sorrow, and made the period of his late Highness's life, and
that of the nation's peace, to have been in one day.
Peace was one of the blessings of my Father's government;
a mercy, after so long a civil war, and in the midst of so great
division which that war bred, is not usually afforded by God
unto a people in so great a measure.
The cause of God, and these nations, which he was engaged
in, met in all the parts of it, as you well know, with many
enemies, and great opposition. The Archers, privily and
openly, sorely grieved him, and shot at him, yet his bow
abode in strength; and the arms of his hands were made
strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.
As to himself, he died full of days, spent in great and sore
travail; yet his eyes were not waxed dim, neither was his
natural strength abated, as it was said of Moses. He was
serviceable even to the last.
As to these nations, he left them in great honour abroad,
and in full peace at home; all England, Scotland and Ireland, dwelling safely, every man under his vine, and under
his fig-tree, from Dan even to Beersheba.
He is gone to rest, and we are entered into his labours;
and if the Lord hath still a blessing for these lands (as I trust
he hath), as our peace hath been lengthened out to this day,
so shall we go on to reap the fruit, and gather the harvest
of what his late Highness hath sown, and laid the foundation of.
For my own part, being by the providence of God, and
the disposition of the law, my Father's successor, and bearing
that place in the government that I do, I thought it for the
public good to call a parliament of the three nations, now
united and conjoined together into one commonwealth, under
It is agreeable, not only to my trust, but to my principles,
to govern these, nations by the advice of my two Houses of
Parliament I find it asserted in the humble Petition and
Advice (which is the corner-stone of this building, and that
which I shall adhere to), "that Parliaments are the great
Council of the chief Magistrate, in whose advice both he and
these nations may be most safe and happy." I can assure
you I have that esteem of them: and, as I have made it the
first act of my government to call you together, so I shall
further let you see the value I have of you, by the answers
that I shall return to the advice that shall be given me by
you, for the good of these nations.
You are come up from your several countries, as the heads
of your tribes, and with hearts (I persuade myself) to consult
together for their good. I can say I meet you with the same
desires, having nothing in my design but the maintenance of
the peace, laws, and liberties, both civil and Christian, of these
nations; which I shall always make the measure and rule of
my government, and be ready to spend my life for.
We have summoned you up at this time, to let you know
the state of our affairs, and to have your advice in them: and
I believe a Parliament was never summoned upon a more important occasion.
It is true, as I have told you, we are, through the goodness
of God, at this time in peace; but it is not thus with us,
because we have no enemies. There are enough both within
us and without us, who would soon put an end to our peace,
were it in their power, or should it at any time come into
It will be becoming your wisdom, to consider of the securing of our peace against those, who, we all know, are, and
ever will be, our implacable enemies. What the means of
doing this are, I shall refer unto you.
This I can assure you, that the armies of England, Scotland, and Ireland, are true and faithful to the peace and good
interest of these nations, and it will be found so, and that
they are a consisting body, and useful for any good ends;
and, if they were not the best army in the world, you would
have heard of inconveniencies, by reason of the great arrear
of pay which is now due unto them, whereby some of them
are reduced to great necessities: but you shall have a particular account of their arrears, and I doubt not but consideration will be had thereupon, in some speedy and effectual way.
And this being matter of money, I recommend it particularly
to the House of Commons.
You have, you know, a war with Spain, carried on by the
advice of Parliament. He is an old enemy, and a potent one,
and therefore it will be necessary, both for the honour and
safety of these nations, that that war be vigorously prosecuted.
Farthermore, the constitution of affairs in all our neighbour
countries, and round about us (as well friends as enemies) is
very considerable, and calls upon us to be upon our guard
both at land and sea, and to be in a posture able to maintain
and conserve our own state and interest.
Great and powerful fleets are preparing to be sent forth into
these seas, and considerable armies of several nations and
kings are now disputing for the mastery of the Sound, with
the adjacent islands and countries; among which is the Roman Emperor, with other Popish states. I need not tell you
of what consequence these things are to this state.
We have already interposed in these affairs, in such manner
as we found it necessary for the interest of England; and
matters are yet in such a condition in those parts, that this
state may, with the assistance of God, provide that their differences may not prejudice us.
The other things that are to be said, I shall refer to my
Lord Keeper Fiennes, and close up what I have to say, with
only adding two or three particulars to what I have already
And first, I recommend to your care the people of God in
these nations, with their concernments. The more they are
divided among themselves, the greater prudence should be
used to cement them.
Secondly, the good and necessary work of reformation, both
in manners and in the administration of justice, that profaneness may be discountenanced and suppressed, and that righteousness and justice may be executed in the land.
Thirdly, I recommend unto you the Protestant cause
abroad, which seems at this time to be in some danger,
having great and powerful enemies, and very few friends;
and I hope and believe, that the old English zeal to that cause
is still among us.
Lastly, my Lords, and you Gentlemen of the House of
Commons, that you will in all your debates maintain and
conserve love and unity among yourselves, that therein you
may be the pattern of the nation, who have sent you up in
peace, and with their prayers, that the spirit of wisdom and
peace may be among you: and this shall also be my prayer
for you: and to this let us all add our utmost endeavours for
the making this a happy Parliament. (fn. 16)