The Diary of Thomas Burton: 1 January 1656-7

Pages 291-294

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

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Thursday, January 1,1656–7.

The House appointed to-morrow sennight, to be set apart for a day of humiliation to be kept in the House; and ordered that Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Barker, and Mr. Caryl, be desired to be assisting to the carrying on the work of that day of humiliation in the house.

Per Mr. Bond.

Resolved, that Colonel Fitz-James and others be added to the Committee for public faith.

Captain Baynes moved, that one afternoon in a week might be only for Committees for private business, as well as one forenoon. All public businesses are obstructed.

Lord Strickland. Shut out private business for fourteen days.

The Master of the Rolls. Private business should not be wholly laid aside. We must relieve those that cannot be relieved elsewhere. There may be a provision for public business too, and not wholly reject private business.

Mr. Bond. If you do not relieve some, and those that have faithfully served you, they must starve. I would have no private business offered after ten.

Mr. Attorney-General. The old way was, to appoint a Committee to prepare private business for the House.

Lord Lambert and Lord Fiennes. Appoint Saturday, only for private business.

Colonel Clarke. Exclude private business for a month.

The reason why the House is not so full in a morning is, because they know nothing but private business is to be heard till ten.

Mr. Butler. Put off private business for fourteen days. I have a petition in my pocket, touching a member of this House, but I shall keep it there.

Mr. Moody. We have more business than we can do in twelve months. They will overwhelm us. Do they mean to drown us with business ?

Lord Broghill conceived the reason why members will not come in a morning is, because it is private business.

Major-General Howard. While you are disputing about excluding all private business, I doubt you will have no time for any business; as this day.

Major-General Disbrowe. Lay a penalty of 12d. upon every member that shall come in after nine o'clock, and allow four days for private business.

Resolved, that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, be for dispatch of public business, and no private business to be admitted upon those days.

Per Colonel White and Lord Broghill.

Resolved, that no Committees do sit upon those days upon private business.

Captain Baynes. An additional Bill for the better improvement and advancing the receipts of the excise and new imposts, was this day read the first time, (fn. 1) wherein was the branch for 12d. a head upon private families.

Mr. Bampfield. Such a Bill was never brought into a Parliament. You give leave to break open all doors and cellars, and to imprison men's persons during pleasure.

The poll-money is a new thing; no order for it of this House. It is an incredible sum, never heard of. It may amount to two millions for aught I know. The people will be set all in an uproar. They will bless those that left the Parliament, and curse us that sit here. We are a broken interest. If any thing in the world will make a Parliament stink in the nostrils of the nation, it will make us odious. There have been other ways found out to levy monies for the war. Let it not fall upon us. It is a most cruel and oppressive Bill. I desire it may be thrown out. The poverty of the nation is known.

Mr. Attorney-General. This may be made a good Bill. I had rather it should lie upon the excise, than upon assessments. Here a man has something for his monies. In assessments he has nothing for his monies. This gentleman speaks unseasonably to it, at this time.

The Master of the Rolls. It is a dangerous thing for us to give an arbitrary power over men's persons, and goods, and liberties; to imprison men by any private person. The power of Parliament is very great, but we must do things according to justice. Let us not deliver up the liberties of the people, but know how first. Here is no time limited in this Bill, how long the tax shall continue. Haply, I may not be here at the second reading, and therefore speak now to it. However we may deceive ourselves, we are not so clear in the opinion of the nation; and we ought to be tender in laying a tax upon them.

Mr. Robinson. I like not to put an arbitrary power in a person, much less in inferior officers, to imprison men and seize their goods, and enter into their houses. We shall have a muster-master come into our houses every quarter, to disturb us and reckon over our families. Yet let it have a second reading.

Captain Baynes. We have taken a great deal of pains at this Committee to serve you, and we hope nothing is in the Bill but what we had your order for. The rates upon commodities are no more than was set in the Long Parliament. For that of the poll, at 12d. per head, it is in lieu of excise upon private families. Monies must be had for the wars. If any know a hetter expedient, it were good they would acquaint the House. We have endeavoured to serve you as faithfully as we could in it, without any ends, or respects at all.

Resolved, that this Bill be read the second time upon Tuesday.


  • 1. So in the Journals. The introduction of an excise, was one of the popular charges against the Long Parliament.