The Diary of Thomas Burton: 27 December 1656

Pages 259-266

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 1, July 1653 - April 1657. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Saturday, December 27,1656.

A petition touching the salt trade at Newcastle, (fn. 1) referred to the Committee of trade.

A petition from York and Hull, (fn. 2) touching wines, referred to the same Committee.

Per Major-General Packer,

A Bill, touching dividing of a common, (fn. 3) for Sir Cornelius Vermeudon, with the consent of the freeholders and Commoners.

Mr. Bond affirmed that the tenants and freeholders did not consent. Whereupon the Bill was rejected.

An Act for settling lands upon Judge Advocate Whalley and Erasmus Smith, for their adventures in Ireland, was read the third time.

Lord Whitlock offered a rider to this Bill, to settle the house of Portumna, Park, manor, and lands, four thousand acres of land, (excepted in the Bill) upon Lord Henry Cromwell, in lieu of his good service, and arrears due to him, to be holden of the castle of Dublin, of his Highness in free soccage, to him and his heirs for ever.

A good gift this morning; a manor, park, house, and 4,000 acres, Irish measure:—large things.

Nobody spoke against the rider. The question put to pass it and not one No. Some said in the gallery it was a good rider. The word Develyn for Dublin . (fn. 4)

Sir William Strickland. I hope you will readily pass it; for this gentleman has done you eminent service. It is not a free gift, but for his arrears.

Sir John Reynolds. This is no great matter, not above 1,000l. worth. His arrears will amount to more. I desire you would pass it. It is as little as can be.

Mr. Goodwin. This is less than his good service and merit. There are 2,000 acres more in Connaught, I desire that may be added. All is too little.

Colonel Markham. Those 2,000 acres are of very small value. I desire they may be added. It is too little for his good service.

Mr. Downing. I rise up more for ceremony's sake than any thing else; but it is upon the foot of his good service, and others, that we sit. What you have given here, is too little for his good service. I desire it may pass.

Resolved, that the 2,000 acres be added, in all 6,000 acres. Two Noes: Mr. Robinson and Major-General Lilburn.

Mr. Speaker told us of the business of the day.

Mr. Robinson said, there was a Bill concerning fish; and desired it might be read.

Resolved, that this Bill do pass for a law.

Resolved, that his Highness's consent be desired thereunto.

The order of the day read; viz. to answer the letter.

Mr. Bodurda. Suspend the debate, in regard of your unfitness to sit, who have taken great pains in that chair. It will be no recession from our judgment, nor dishonour to us, to put off the debate for some time. I was as much against the judgment as any man, yet none shall assert it higher than myself, now that it is passed. I shall not recede from it; but in the interim I would have the punishment suspended for a week.

Majors-General Whalley. I know his Highness's principles are far from countenancing any such wicked practices. I am confident he is not against the sentence, but would go hand in hand with us in bearing witness against such horrid things. I am further satisfied that he intends not by his letter to offer the least invasion upon the power of Parliament. I should desire you would give leave that the jurisdiction of this House might be spoken to. I doubt not but it may be fully made out that what we have done is warrantable by former precedents. If the House of Lords and Star-chamber might pass greater sentences, surely we may.

I desire that this business may be fully debated. It may be justified, what you have done.

I was for punishing him by death: I am not ashamed to own it, it was my conscience. I am no advocate for him. I see no cause to abate any thing of his punishment. This will bring the shame upon you, and clear and own him. But I desire, till there be a satisfaction, to every man's conscience, as to the jurisdiction, that you will suspend the punishment till Tuesday, and connect my desires with that, that liberty might also be given to speak to the jurisdiction.

Mr. Bond. I desire, for your ease, in regard you are not well, that the House may be resolved into a Grand Committee, and I doubt not but we shall give one another satisfaction.

Mr. Speaker. I am beholden to this gentleman; yet I desire you would take no care for me till I complain myself.

Sir Gilbert Pickering. The punishment should be suspended. Otherwise, while debating the legality of the sentence, the greatest part will be performed. I cannot see any such inconveniency by reprieving for two or three days. I am confident it will give all parties satisfaction.

Mr. Hussey. The motion that was first made was to suspend the execution for a week. It has been firsted and seconded. I desire it may be put to the question.

Mr. Robinson. I shall be pulled out of this House, before I shall condescend to speak to this jurisdiction. If you preserve not that, which is salus populi, the privilege of Parliament, you overthrow all the people's liberties. I shall be loth to part with this privilege. I cannot haply, if I would. We cannot give away the fountain. The streams cannot give away the head. I would have this business seriously debated. His Highness and we must be mild one to another. The letter is very modest. The supreme judicatory is originally in the people. The Instrument says, that the legislative power shall be in a Parliament and a single person, but it says not the supreme judicatory of the nation. The further such debates are entered into, the worse.

Colonel Purefoy, Mr. Puller, and Mr. Moody. If you reprieve this person, you must do it of yourselves. His Highness does not desire it. We see the inconvenience of reprieving him. Before, he was let out of Exeter goal, (fn. 5) and what was the issue ? He rode in triumph, presently after, into Bristol, (fn. 6) and this very week's reprieve has brought the mischief of people coming to worship him.

Mr. Downing. I am confident it is not in his heart to give the least countenance to such persons. I know it is not his intentions to have this punishment respited, and this, by the importunity of such as are afraid of the consequence. I would have us return this short answer to the letter, that we take ourselves to be a Parliament, with all appurtenances; and, therefore, we did it by our judicatory power, being the supreme judicatory of the nation. When the letter came in from the excluded members, the council was desired to show the grounds and reasons why they were kept out. Their short answer was this: they did it in pursuance of the Instrument of Government. (fn. 7) I desire the punishment may go on, and you not recede from your judgment.

Mr. Waller. If you will not do it upon his Highness's letter, do it for the petitioners On his behalf, (fn. 8) who were honest men. Neither his Highness, nor they, did plead any thing for the crime, but only to abate the punishment. It was Christ's rule. He remitted the punishment, with owning the crime. I shall not presume to know so much of his Highness's intentions as that gentleman speaks of, but I believe he thinks himself concerned in the punishment, as tied up by the Instrument. I shall not detain you, lest the sentence be executed while we are debating against, it.

Major-General Howard. Suspend the punishment, till you have further debated it, and put the question to reprieve the sentence. I believe that may give his Highness a present satisfaction, and agree with your health, by coming soon to a question.

Lord Fiennes. I am not to reprieve the punishment upon the account of the petitioners. That petition was of dangerous contents, to debar the civil magistrate in matters of religion. I hope we shall all bear our witness against such principles and practices. That is too much liberty. Nor need we suspend it upon the account of his Highness's letter; for it is not there desired of us. But, in regard we have had no return from the ministers, (fn. 9) it may well be suspended upon that single account, and your health ought to be respected, which will be best, by determining this question. You have mixed mercy already with justice, and this is but an enlarging of that mercy. It has been usual to demur, after judgments of this nature passed, and provided that they should not be drawn into precedent. It is safest for the people when least use is made of the legislative power.

Mr. Bampfield. It is not for your honour to suspend the execution, for you were misinformed before; and it was a shame to affirm any such thing, as was openly spoken here, that such severity was exercised upon him. (fn. 10) I desire you would breed yourselves no more inconvenience, as to suffer the people to worship him another week. That was all that was gained by the reprieve. You hear no return of any good answer from the ministers, but rather railing language, I believe.

Colonel Markham. If this should pass in the affirmative, you will do my Lord Protector the greatest dishonour that ever was. He does abhor the crime. I am confident he does not desire a reprieve. If he did not abhor it, for my part, I would never serve him. It will be ill news through all the three nations, to say that a letter came to us on the behalf of a blasphemer. It is an abominable thing to hear such unjust things informed to this House, as that of his whipping so hard, or his being sick. I would have the merchant's wife that reported it (fn. 11) sent for, and whipped. I am informed it was quite otherwise. I tremble to consider it. I am confident the letter is mistaken. I desire you would be so tender of your honour as to put that question.

Lord Lambert. Calmness better becomes this House. I like not these reflections. I desire the gentleman may explain himself. If any of this House have informed it.

Colonel Markham stood up to justify himself, and said he reflected upon no member, but only upon the merchant's wife. He believed he that told the House of it was so informed. He honoured the Parliament, and every member, &c.

The question being put, to suspend the punishment, the House was divided by Mr. Highland: in the meantime the Speaker retired, being very sick.

Yeas, 59, went out; Noes, 113, sate.

Tellers, Mr. Lucy and Colonel Throckmorton, for the Noes.

Colonel Jones and Captain Baynes, for the Yeas.

Resolved, that the punishment be not suspended.

Per Major-General Whalley and Sir Lislebone Long,

Resolved, that Mr. Edward Nevil have leave for a month.

Per Lord Fleetwood,

Resolved, that Mr. Blany, of Ireland, have the same leave.

Resolved, that Wednesday next be the day for private petitions.

Per Lord Lambert,

Resolved, that Major-General Howard and Mr. Swinton have leave to go into the country, in regard his Highness has occasions for them in his council at Scotland.

Lord Fiennes. Put off this debate till Friday, and read the Bill for the Excise, upon Tuesday.

Sir William Strickland. Delay no time in giving his Highness satisfaction in the desires of his letter.

Resolved, that the House be adjourned till Tuesday.

Resolved, that the debate, touching the answer to his Highness's letter be resumed that day.

Resolved, that the Committee for public faith have power to send for papers, witnesses, and records.

Colonel Rouse reported amendments to the Bill for Elizabeth and Judith Terry to join with their father to let leases of lands for twenty-one years, &c. (fn. 12)

Resolved, that this Bill be ingrossed.

A petition from the Cloth-workers of the west, referred to the Committee of Trade.

The Committee for Mr. Scot and his wicked wife sat in the painted chamber. Mr. Godfrey had the chair (who once intended to have hanged her in the country.) (fn. 13) Both parties appeared: she said, "How do you do, Mr. Scot ?" He answered little: no sweetheart, dear, nor angel. This Committee adjourned till this day se'nnight.

In the Exchequer Chamber sate the Committee for the Fens.

In the Inner Court of Wards, Mr. Aklam's Committee.

In the Queen's Court the Committee for Customs, and upon the Bill for Excise.

This day B. (fn. 14) and I were to see Nayler's tongue bored through, and him marked in the forehead. He put out his tongue very willingly, but shrinked a little when the iron came upon his forehead. He was pale when he came out of the pillory, but high-coloured after tongue-boring. He was bound with a cord by both arms to the pillory. Rich, the mad merchant, sat bare at Nayler's feet all the time. Sometimes he sang and cried, and stroked his hair and face, and kissed his hand, and sucked the fire out of his forehead. (fn. 15) Nayler embraced his executioner, and behaved himself very handsomely and patiently. A great crowd of people there; the sheriff present, cum multis, at the Old Exchange, near the conduit.

Captain L., Mr. E., Colonel Carter, Colonel Bethel, and I at the Sun, till six.


  • 1. From "the Saltmakers of the South and North Sheets, Sunderland and Bleeth."—Journals.
  • 2. From " the Mayor and Merchants of the City of York," and "of Kingston upon Hull, and the Wardens and Brethren of the Trinity House there."—Ibid.
  • 3. " The moor, called Sedgmore, otherwise, King's Sedgmore, in the county of Somerset."—Ibid.
  • 4. " Ordered, that the word Develyn be made Dublin."—Ibid.
  • 5. Where he had been confined with many others, in June, 1656, " the justices" having made "an order of sessions, to apprehend, as vagrants, all Quakers travelling without a pass." See Sufferings of Quakers, i. 70, 71.
  • 6. See supra, p. 10, note *.
  • 7. On the meeting of this Parliament, September 17, 1656, those only were admitted who produced a certificate, purporting that they were " approved by his Highness's council." The rejected members, the next day, presented their claim, in a letter of complaint to the Speaker. The House communicated with the council, and appeared so satisfied with their reply, as to resolve "by a majority of 125 against 29, that the persons returned, who have not been approved, be referred to make their application to the council for approbation; and that the House do proceed with the great affairs of the nation." The rejected members immediately published a remonstrance signed by 93 names. It has been justly remarked, that many of these must afterwards have taken their seats."from the frequent mention of their names as tellers; &c." A few have already occurred in this Diary; and several "voted for making Cromwell king." See Whitlock, Parl. Hist. xxi. 3, 24–37.
  • 8. See supra, p. 182.
  • 9. See supra, p. 183.
  • 10. See supra, p. 247.
  • 11. See supra, p. 247.
  • 12. Several copyhold estates, held of the Manor of Stoke Newington, in the county of Middlesex. Journals.
  • 13. He was Recorder of Maidstone.
  • 14. So in the MS.
  • 15. This person afterwards attended Nayler during his punishment at Bristol, see infra.