Tuesday, February 15, 1658–9.
I came late, and found a great many citizens at the bar,
opening their great Petition, by Samuel Moyer. (fn. 1) I suppose
most of them were Anabaptists.
After Moyer had spoken almost an hour, a great deal of
cant language, the petitioners withdrew, and the petition was
read. (fn. 2) It was very bulky in respect of the number of hands,
principally levelling at the two great stakes, the militia and
negative voice; and that no officer be removed, but by a
Council of War.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge, Mr. Neville, Mr. Knightley and
others, moved that the petitioners have thanks. But see the
sequel. The table was turned; for they got neither thanks
nor good affection. Such honour have all such factious
Serjeant Maynard. I am against giving thanks to any
petitioners. It is not fit for us to bow to them.
Mr. Starkey. I move to give thanks; but would not,
upon a general complaint, recommend them to the Committee
of Grievances. They may have recourse thither, if they
have any particular grievances.
Sir Walter Earle. I am against giving thanks; but
would have them acquainted, that the particulars they petition for, you have now under debate.
Mr. Reynolds. I move to leave it to you to word your return. You may express it some other way, than by thanks.
Mr. Bulkeley. There are some things in it I cannot give
1. It puts all power in a court-martial, without taking
you in. (fn. 3)
2. I take notice of the agreement of the people. (fn. 4)
3. A declaration of an army, a Parliament sitting. Where
a petition has a clog, with pamphlets— (fn. 5)
It never mentions a single person, not so much as that
they desire a single person.
I never had office, nor seek office. I find in it a strong inducement for turning men out of office. This goes a great
way. It argues more of self. Those that first engaged, did
not seek themselves. They have their reward.
Those things that are fit for your consideration, you will,
in due time, take them into consideration. Call them in and
Sir Henry Vane. The name of single person you have
settled. None will speak against it; but if you mean by
that, the thing, I hope it will not be agreed. They desire
nothing but what you have voted, and is for common right.
It is not of particular grievances they complain, but of the
discouragement of those that will act for their interest. If
you could find out a way to discourage us, others will vote
what the single person pleases. I would have a public spirit,
if not a Commonwealth encouraged; and would express your
receiving their desires with a great deal of courtesy.
Mr. Swinfen. I would have this caution along with your
return to the petitioners, that the coming up in the name of
boundless liberty may not destroy liberty; that unlimited
liberty has been the source of all mischief. If we agree but
the thing liberty, we shall not fall out about names. I would
have general discourses laid aside. There is as much tyranny
in liberty as otherwise. I would not stir up that liberty that
leaves you no liberty here.
In regard it is the first petition, (fn. 6) your answer ought to
be wary, lest you set petition against petition, and petitioner
against petitioner. Only take notice of their soberness in
acquiescing in your determinations. For their affections in
that, give them thanks.
Lord Lambert. If we apply that to the petitioners, that
a crying up of liberty is a destroying of liberty, it is a mistake.
The known way to throw out officers, is only by a council
of war, and it agrees very well with the liberty of the subject. If there be but one good thing in it, take notice of it,
and say that you will take it into consideration, and acquaint
them, that they may go home to their houses and mind their
Mr. Trevor. I am glad those votes please the gentlemen
so well, that were not so pleased with them before. I would
give such an answer as may neither flatter nor discourage. I
would have a grave answer. Let them know you have read
the petition, and those things that concern the liberties of the
people, you will have under consideration in due time.
Mr. Scot. I move that we may not amuse the House by
discountenancing the petitioners. You may safely own the
good things in the petition.
Sir George Booth. I have been as much for the rights
and liberties of the people as any man. I doubt there is not
such peaceable intentions in this petition. He that would
plunge my country into blood, I must fly in his face. (fn. 7) A
gentleman heard one of them say great things to this purpose.
It is Colonel Grosvenor. This intimates that it comes with
no such peaceable intentions as it seems to hold forth.
I was sent for, to speak with S. A., so could not attend the
It seems Colonel Grovenor said, he heard one Colonel
White say, that rather than part with a Commonwealth, he
would wade to the neck in English blood. He said it in the
lobby, but knows not whether he was a petitioner or no.
It should seem, it was moved to give the petitioners
thanks, and put to the question that these words, "and doth
take notice of their good affections," shall stand, and be part
of the answer.
It was carried in the negative almost by one hundred
votes; (fn. 8) and the petitioners were dismissed with this only;
that the House would, in due time, take into consideration
such parts of the petition as were fit for them to consider
of. (fn. 9)
The petitioners, I believe, were scarce well satisfied.
The House rose at one. (fn. 10)
The Committee of Privileges sat in the House till nine at
night, upon the business of Malton. (fn. 11) They did not determine it; but it is clear for Mr. Howard against Robinson.