Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Thursday, Oct. 2. Mr. Secretary Thurloe reported from his Highness, the Lord Protector, several letters of intelligence from the fleet. (fn. 1)
Resolved, that a day of thanksgiving be appointed, to bless the Lord for the great mercies by him vouchsafed to this Commonwealth, in the success given to some of their ships against the fleet of the King of Spain, coming from the West Indies, on the 8th of September last.
That Wednesday next be the day set apart for this House, to be observed also within the Cities of London and Westminster, and all places within the late lines of communication. (fn. 2)
That the fifth of November be appointed as a day of public thanksgiving throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland. (fn. 3)
Tuesday 7. Resolved, that the consideration of the laws touching profane swearing, and the defects therein, be referred to the Committee for alehouses and drunkenness.
That it be referred to a Committee to consider of the statutes and laws, touching the wagers of artificers, labourers, and servants, and to present a Bill for farther redress herein; and for the more effectual putting the same in execution.
That it be referred to the same Committee, to take into consideration the habits and fashions of servants and labourers, and to prepare a Bill for the remedying the abuses therein.
A Bill against customary oaths was read the second time; and committed to Sir Christopher Pack, &c. and all that serve for corporations.
Thursday 9. Ordered, that Sir Thomas Honywood, a member of this House, have leave to go into the country for fourteen days, to bring up his lady and family.
That it be referred to a Committee to consider of the abuses in the excessive prices of wines; and the corrupting and mixture of wines; and the measure by which they are sold; and to prepare a Bill for redress of the evils therein.
Saturday 11. A letter from his Highness the Lord Protector, dated the 10th of October, 1656, was read.
Resolved, that Nathaniel Fiennes, Esquire, being appointed by his Highness the Lord Protector, with the approbation of the Council, is approved by the Parliament to be a Commissioner of the Great Seal.
That John Lisle, Esquire, is approved by the Parliament to be a Commissioner of the Great Seal.
That John Glynne, Esquire, Serjeant-at-law is approved by the Parliament to be Chief Justice of the Upper Bench.
Thursday 16. Mr. Speaker acquainted the House, that he had received a paper of articles against Thomas Burton, Esquire, one of the Justices of Peace for the County of Westmorland, a member of the House, from one Antony Hillary, who was at the door, and by order of the House was called in.
And being come to the bar, Mr. Speaker asking his name; he answered, Antony Hillary. And the paper being showed to him, he did acknowledge the paper to have been exhibited by him; but the name subscribed to it was not his writing. He did justify the matter in the paper, according to witnesses, and thereupon withdrew.
And the said Antony Hillary being again called to the bar, Mr. Speaker demanded of what place he was. He answered, of Merrick in Yorkshire; and at the bar, subscribed the paper with his own hand; and after he was withdrawn, the said paper was read.
Mr. Burton, thereupon, in his place, gave an answer to the paper, denying the substance and circumstances of the accusation contained in the articles, and withdrew.
The certificates of divers justices of peace, ministers, gentlemen, and other persons, well affected to the present Government within the County of Westmorland, on the behalf of Thomas Burton, Esquire, and a certificate of the Mayor of Appleby, on the behalf of the said Mr. Burton, was this day read.
Ordered, that the said paper of articles, together with the said certificates, be referred to a Committee, to examine the matter, and report it to the House.
That it be referred to a Committee, to revise the statutes touching wandering, idle, loose, and dissolute persons, beggars, rogues, and vagabonds; and to reduce them into one law, with such alterations and additions as shall be necessary.
That it be referred to the same Committee, to consider of, and provide a Bill, for redress of the evils by such persons as live at very high rates, and have no visible estate, profession, or calling suitable thereunto.
That the Committee for ale-houses have power to offer to the House, something for ascertaining and disposing, to the use of the poor, the penalties and forfeitures, concerning alehouses, and other the offences referred to that Committee.
That it be referred to the same Committee to prepare a Bill, to enable and require the raising of a stock for setting the poor on work. (fn. 4)
Saturday 18. Colonel Shapcot reported from the Committee, to whom the articles exhibited against Thomas Burton, Esquire, was referred.
That Major-general Lilburne gave this account unto the Committee: that Thomas Hillary, in the last insurrection, abused Mr. Secretary and himself, by his false information against several persons, who, upon his great undertakings, was employed by himself to make a discovery; and to that purpose had authority, and the assistance of soldiers.
But all that was done by the said Hillary, was the turning of a countryman out of his possession, and keeping of it himself, or it was kept for his use: whereupon, he was committed to the marshal. And it was the opinion of the said Major-general Lilburne, that he was a very loose fellow.
The question being put, that Thomas Burton, Esquire, is guilty of any of the matters laid to his charge, it passed in the negative.
Resolved, that Antony Hillary do stand committed to Newgate, during the pleasure of the House.
That the Serjeant-at-Arms do take the said Antony Hillary into his custody, and deliver him over to the keeper of Newgate. (fn. 5)
Monday 20. A Bill, touching marriages, and the registering thereof, and concerning births and burials, (fn. 6) being tendered and read; before the same was opened, exception was taken thereunto; for that the same was, in divers places, rased, interlined, and half of one of the sheets cut off.
Ordered, that the said Bill be delivered back to the gentleman who brought in the same. And the same was delivered back, accordingly, without being opened.
Colonel Chadwick reported from the Committee of Privileges, on the business of election for the town and borough of Lynne Regis, that the election made by the burgesses and inhabitants of the said town, of General Disbrowe and Guibon Goddard, as burgesses for this present Parliament, is void, and that the said General Disbrowe and Major-general Skippon, elected burgesses by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, have been duly elected.
The question being put, the House was divided. The Yeas went forth. Yeas, 81. General Disbrowe and Majorgeneral Kelsey, Tellers. Noes, 73. Sir John Hobart and Sir William Strickland, Tellers.
Resolved, that the House do agree with the Committee in this Report. (fn. 7)
Colonel Jephson acquainted the House with a book delivered at the door, in print, entituled "Thunder from the Throne of God, against the Temples of Idols," with an epistle in it, directed to his Highness, the Lord Protector, and the Parliament of England; which epistle was now read.
Resolved, that Samuel Chidley be called in, to the bar. And he was, accordingly, called in.
And being come to the bar, the book was showed him, who acknowledged he wrote the epistle; and doth own it, and all that is in it; and owns the book too, and all in it, the printer's errors excepted.
Ordered, that this book, entituled "Thunder from the Throne of God, against the Temples of Idols," and the epistle of it, be referred to a Committee, viz. to Lord Commissioner Whitlock, &c.
That it be referred to the same Committee, to consider of a way to suppress private presses, and regulating the press, and suppressing and preventing scandalous books and pamphlets. (fn. 8)
Resolved, that Samuel Chidley be committed to the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms attending this House.
Wednesday 22. The House was resolved into a Grand Committee of the whole House, upon the business of raising present money, and further assistance for carrying on the Spanish war.
The Master of the Rolls reported from the said Committee of the whole House, several resolutions passed by them.
Resolved, that it be referred to a Committee, to consider of the business of Papists' estates, and how that revenue may be improved; and to offer a regular and effectual way, for the conviction and conformity of Papists; and how the frauds and collusions in concealing Papists' estates, may be discovered; and the wrong thereby done to the State, may be redressed and prevented for the future.
That it be referred to the Committee to consider of the estates of delinquents, which have continued under sequestration, and who have refused or neglected to compound; and what may be fit to be done, in cases of such as have not paid their second moiety, and yet have enjoyed their estates; and also in the cases of children of such delinquents as did not compound in their lifetime, that the best advantage may be made for the Commonwealth, either by sale or otherwise, with respect unto such cases, and such further cases, as shall be offered to the House by the Committee.
Thursday 23. Resolved, that it be referred to a Committee, to consider of the state of the forests, and how they may be improved by sale or otherwise, for the advantage of the Commonwealth, and carrying on of the present affairs of the nation; having a special regard to the poor, and to propriety, and the preservation of timber fit for shipping.
That it be referred to a Committee to consider whether it will be for the advantage of the Commonwealth, to put higher imposition upon Spanish wines and fruits, with power to confer with merchants and such other persons, as they shall think fit, touching the same.