Thursday, March 31, 1659.
I came late, (fn. 1) and found a Bill for restoring members for
Durham, (fn. 2) in debate.
Colonel White had offered it immediately upon a petition (fn. 3)
read to the purpose.
It was moved that it was irregular.
Lord Lambert was for it.
Mr. Trevor was for it, if well timed.
Colonel Birch was loth to spend time. He moved to the
orders of the day, touching the lessening or shortening of the
Excise, and to let the business be considered in the general.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge was against the Bill, as come in
irregularly. He would have the distribution considered in
Mr. Goodrick. This county is the most considerable in
Mr. Bodurda moved that the Bill might be read now.
Mr. Broughton. If they could so long be content with a
Bishop, (fn. 4) and never complain, let them stay awhile. I would
have the generality considered. Divers members are sent
upon the account of thatchers and thrashers.
Mr. Bulkeley. I am against reading the Bill now. I
would have a more equal distribution. (fn. 5) As I hear, there is
one Papist has sent you thirteen members. (fn. 6) I know not
how true it is. If you please, refer the petition to a Committee. I shall not be against it.
Colonel Bennet moved for reading the Bill now.
Colonel Briscoe. You will not hinder the settling it in a
public way. We must consider our neighbours as ourselves.
It is as considerable as any part of the nation. The business
Sir Walter Earle. Here have sixteen spoken against it. I
would have you spend no more time, but refer the petition to
Resolved, that this petition be referred to a Committee;
and they do bring in a Bill for an equal representative, to
serve in this present Parliament for the county and city of
Durham. A Committee was named.
Colonel White moved, that the members for the four northern counties be of that Committee; but it was not liked.
Mr. Reynolds was against that. He would have it both
numerous and equal; because he would have this Committee
to consider the business in general.
Mr. Trevor moved, to have this Committee consider of a
Mr. Manley. This is a business of the greatest concernment. Let every one that comes have a voice.
Sir Henry Vane. I would not that all have voices. It is
the first time that ever I heard of the whole House being appointed to bring in a Bill. There never were above nine. It
is but one man's work to draw it.
His Highness might as well have done it for Durham, as
for Ireland and Scotland.
Mr. Turner. In the Parliament of 54, you spent a month's
time at a Grand Committee, at distribution. There is need
of taking many away. The distribution is now very unequal. (fn. 7)
The Committee being named, to meet to-morrow, at two in
the afternoon in the Star-chamber.
Mr. Goodrick moved that the care of it might be referred
to Mr. Shaftoe.
Mr. Speaker. There are either far too many, (fn. 8) or far too
few; and if you will not refer it for a general distribution,
then the first six will be enough.
Mr. Goodrick moved again, that Mr. Shaftoe take the care
Mr. Speaker. You cannot move twice.
Mr. Starkey. I can offer reasons why the distribution
should not be altered.
Mr. Attorney-general. Appoint a day, that you be first
possessed of it, before you refer it to a Committee touching a
more equal distribution of the members.
Sir William Wheeler. I move, before you debate this, to
call the House.
Mr. Annesley moved for this day month, and to call the
House a day before.
Mr. Scot. I would not have it put off so long. Hot weather will come on, and you will have time left to despatch this
before you rise.
Mr. Bulkeley. I am glad to see this self-denial in the
House; for a more equal distribution, even to part with
their own right. If you please to appoint it for this day
It was offered that this day three weeks the House be called; and that to-morrow three weeks be a day appointed for
this House to take into consideration an equal distribution for
the three nations.
(fn. 9) moved to alter the words "three nations"
Mr. Hewley seconded it, rather to have it for the Commonwealth.
Resolved, that this House be called over on this day three
Mr. Swinfen. The business of the Scotch and Irish members will ask too long a debate; therefore, I would have it
at present extend no farther than to England, and would
have the order of the day read touching the abating the time
of the Excise and Customs. The people listen very willingly
after any thing that may give them ease.
Resolved, that to-morrow three weeks be appointed for this
House to take into consideration the business of an equal representative for this nation.
The order of the day was read, and the bill touching Excise
and Customs, &c. was read the second time, accordingly.
Mr. Swinfen. I wish they had been distinct Bills. I
would have you now debate what time you will have them to
Mr. Bulkeley. Debate, first, the time of the Excise.
Mr. Reynolds. I was, and am still, of opinion that the
Bill came in, disorderly.
Mr. Swinfen took him down.
He ought not to have excepted against it, because you
have returned it.
Mr. Reynolds went on, and insisted that it was disorderly
to take him down.
I shall speak to rejecting it, and then I hope you will think
it was not moved disorderly.
It is clearly an imposition on the nation. There is no
brief brought in with it. Therefore, you might justly have
Nothing but an unavoidable necessity could have laid excise upon the people. (fn. 10) It was not. intended to be continual.
A gentleman laughs, but it will be no laughing matter in
the conclusion. Haply, when we have passed this, some will
say there may be no more occasion for our sitting.
I would have other bills distinctly brought in, and have the
powers by you. Strange representations are abroad of our
proceedings. They are not for your service.
Colonel Birch. This is plainly to clog the business, and to
say as much as that you will have none at all.
Sir Henry Vane. All you have done these two months is
to settle all power without you, but nothing is done for the
people. In former Parliaments the grievances of the people
were always heard first. This will make the people that sent
you, think you came not to do their business, but the business
of the single person.
I never knew the like, to settle this for life. It is to settle
it to perpetuation; for you can do no less for one than for
another. I wonder who dare levy the excise upon any law
now in force, unless you settle it by this law.
If the settlement be to settle tyranny and slavery, I hope
you will not give money to maintain it.
First, see what you have fought for. Be sensible you have
somewhat left. We are not so ready to fill up those blanks.
The Bill came in irregularly, against order. It is surely to
serve some interest; else he durst not have done it.
Mr. Turner. I must in many things disagree from this
gentleman. The government by a single person and Lords
and Commons, was never the quarrel. Great necessity
brought in the excise. That Government (fn. 11) brought it in, and
causes the continuance of it. All king's and public lands are
sold. Shall your single person, that you have voted, live on
the air. I wish it could be done without.
The Bill came in regularly.
Serjeant Maynard. I except to the words, (fn. 12) "dare levy
it." Who dare not levy it, if there be a law ? We are loose
from all rules of government, if we admit any thing to be no
law till you have declared it no law. For any judge to have
done as much as has been said, I know what you would do
with him. (fn. 13)
I will not dispute the necessity of laying it on. We would
have it taken off, but some will not hear of that way. I look
upon this bill as a redress rather than an imposition.
It looks strangely now, as it seems settled to perpetuity. I
hear nothing offered to ease us; positively, nothing offered,
but to bring us to that Government that laid on the excise.
I think it to be a very good Bill, and would have it committed.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. I thank the knight in the corner
for speaking so plainly. I hope to hear no more of comparing
any judge with this House. We may make laws, or repeal or
alter laws, which a judge cannot do.
I stand amazed how this Bill came in. You know how
the Bill of Recognition came in; (fn. 14) how the Petition and Ad
vice was made out a law, you know; a possessory right, to
all intents and purposes, as was learnedly said.
This Bill brings a double lash with it. If I had brought
in this Bill without your command, I should have expected to
be sent to the Tower. To the word "dare," I may say, who
dare do any thing against law, especially in the sitting of a
Parliament? If there had been a law to maintain it, I believe it had not been now brought in to you. There have been
so many brought in by side-winds from step to step.
This is a most terrible double-axe Bill, a brown and a black
one; brought in instead of a redress of our grievances. It is
not to be made a good Bill. I would, therefore, have it reversed. A matter of twelve or thirteen lines is to settle the
greatest revenue that ever was.
It is now managed with so much opposition, that I wish
not only my tongue cut, but my hand off when I consented;
but there was necessity. The butchers rose up upon us, so
that else all flesh had perished. I hope this will take you up
time enough. I would have it disputed, if any law be of
The gentlemen brought it in with good affection, Many
times have I brought in things that I have thought good;
but when laid by the wisdom of the House, I have been
ashamed and acknowledge it.
Let us see what we can do about settlement. We go from
step to step, to forget what belongs to the liberties of the
people. Any three lines in it would do it. I would have it
in two bills. Refer it to a Grand Committee to bring in
Mr. Speaker. The arguments for rejecting it ought to answer the Bill, and not turn upon the manner of bringing it
in; which ought not now to be called a disorderly bringing
Mr. Drake. I am against rejecting it. If it had not been
a law, and that to perpetuity, it had not come in here to retrench the time. The greatest grievance is free quarter; and
if this were no law, free quarter must follow.
Mr. Annesley. It came in against order, and I must not
but assert it, what is a known order of the House. That
word "dare," was mistaken. He said, if there was no law,
who dare ? The excise was not brought in in the time of a
Commonwealth. (fn. 15) It was settled by both Houses before a
Commonwealth was. (fn. 16)
This can never be made a good Bill. I would not have us
confirm laws by the lump. It was the error of last Parliament. Sixty Acts were confirmed without reading. (fn. 17) If we
mention the continuance of it, we admit it already settled by
law. The words, "unless continued," imply as if it might
be now continued by Act of Parliament.
A diligent Committee may dispatch this business. Both
these Bills, and your business of settlement may also be going
Mr, Bulkeley. I will not be pertinacious in any thing, but
I think I had your leave to bring in this Bill.
That bill in tertio Caroli, was brought in, not with a blank
as this. The word, "continue," is much excepted against.
I would have nobody flatter themselves that the excise shall
not be continued, unless you will come to a knd tax.
If I have deserved a check, let me have it at once, and not
forty times repeated upon me. I brought it in by your leave.
I grant the laws are not so good as if they had your confirmation.
Mr. Boscawen. I would have it understood whether we
confirm it as a law, or help a lame dog over a stile.
Too great excise upon cloth, fish, and tin, destroys trade.
This is like the man that wanted a stock, and proposed that
living in a great town, every man would give him 5l. They
thought he might deserve sixpence a-piece. I know not whether you will think so of this.
Mr. Scot. This is either the best or worst time to bring
this in. This is not properly for the maintenance of his
Highness. There is another revenue for him. It is for your
army. Forty of them now live in the other House. (fn. 18) It is a
well rivetted favour to them at first.
I have heard it said that never a good motion in Parliament died. Parliament was never called these one hundred
years, but to repair the exhausted charge of the Chief Magistrate. I would see things at ease before you settle this.
The law is not without its flaws. Make it something sweeter,
as well in the time as the thing. To settle it for a year will be
long; but, it may be, the contracts will lead you out to a
further time. The burthen is grievous. There are horrid
barbarities in the levying this, which it will probably come to
my share to report from the Committee.
I have observed a flaw in the Act of Confirmation, as to 8th
Dec. 52, the ordinance of his late Highness. I question if it
do not invalidate it. I would have a pennyworth for a penny.
Observe and you will find the Government, since 53, more
chargeable than in five years of that of 48. Your expense
will be found by the business of Spain and Flanders, and not
for want of a provision for your army.
The debate held such tug that it was moved to adjourn.
Resolved, that the debate upon this bill be adjourned until
to-morrow morning, and that nothing else do then intervene.
The Committee of Grievances sat.
Colonel Terril was in the chair.
There were several Petitions, three or four were rejected,
as improper for the Committee; several were committed.
The Committee for the maintainance of ministers (fn. 19) met,
and sat in the Inner Court of Wards.
T. B. (fn. 20) was in the chair, upon the desire of Mr. Hewley,
who could not attend.
There were brought in the accounts from the trustees for
—, (fn. 21) but so imperfect that they were returned to them
again, to be brought in more perfect on Wednesday next.
The Committee of Privileges sat in the Star Chamber.
Mr. Serjeant Waller was in the chair.
Counsel were heard long in the business of Castle Rising,
Colonel Fielder, (fn. 22) against Colonel Jeremy. The election was
very foully carried by the Mayor, as influenced from Court,
from Mr. Secretary by name, on Mr. Harry Howe, who was
lord of the manor, and forced the mayor to return Fielder
and Goddard, (fn. 23) as he had done in twelve boroughs more.
It was not long since moved in the House, by the by, that a
Papist had chosen twenty-six members. (fn. 24)
The Court party were so afraid of the consequence, that
they durst not venture it upon a report to the House; so
chose, rather than lay things at Court open to the House,
to move to have the election void as to both, and it was so
resolved accordingly, wherein Mr. Trevor, being Fielder's
brother-in-law, did very discreetly.
It was agreed at the Committee, then, that if either the
poll was not legally taken, or any force was used at the
election, the election was wholly void.
Serjeant Maynard moved, that a parson had no vote; and
Mr. Gewen was of the same opinion. He cited 17 Car.,
and one act of the Long Parliament.
Mr. Turner was contra.
I take the law to be the parsons have votes; and the
practice is so to this day.
The Committee sat till nine at night.