The Diary of Thomas Burton: 5 January 1656-7

Pages 299-307

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

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Monday, January 5,1656–7.

Per Colonel Matthews.

A Bill for the disappropriating of the Rectory appropriate to Preston, in the county of Suffolk, and for the uniting and consolidating of the said rectory, and of the vicarage of the church of Preston aforesaid. Read the first time, and ordered to be read the second time on Saturday.

Sir John Thorrowgood came this day into the House, upon a new election for Lynne Regis, in the place of MajorGeneral Disbrowe, who chose to serve for the county of Somerset.

A Bill for establishing, confirming, and settling of certain lands in Ireland upon Colonel Theophilus Jones, towards the satisfaction of his arrears. Read the first time.

There are 3000 acres of land near the town of Lucan, in the county of Dublin. They were the lands of William Chesfield, a delinquent, deceased.

Resolved, that this Bill be read a second time on Saturday next.

Colonel Fothergill stood up with purpose, I suppose, to press the tenants of Westminster's petition to be read: but he said nothing; nor would it have availed if he had, for at least five or six stood up with petitions, and could not be heard. I know hot when they shall.

Colonel Bingham offered, if I would lay him five pieces to one, he would wager that the House would be up before I had writ out this book; offered without equivocation.

Serjeant Birkhead told me John Musgrave had been at his House on Saturday, railing two hours together against me and Major-General Howard. He showed him a petition of a mile long against me, and a letter to the House, which he intended to present shortly. There he had set forth the whole matter at Haberdasher's Hall, the depositions there, and before the Mayor of Appleby, and all that about Colonel Highmore. He ranted highly what he would do, but the Serjeant defended it as far as he could, and seemed to slight all.

Mr. Scobell came not to the House to-day. He fell very ill on Saturday, and sent for the doctors. In danger of a pleurisy. I perceive he keeps his bed.

Colonel Sydenham. There is a report upon a petition, which has a long time waited to be presented to you. It does eminently concern the honour of this House to proceed to do justice upon it. It is the report upon the business of Rodney and Cole. (fn. 1) I pray hear it, for there cannot a greater grievance come before you.

Major-General Goffe. This business is a public concernment, and so ought not to come in a private business. It concerns the Parliament, publicly to redress grievances and abuses in courts of justice. It is more proper for another day. I have a short petition. I desire it may be read.

Lord Strickland and Mr. Robinson. Though it doth concern the Parliament, in a public respect, to redress grievances and abuses in courts of justice; yet this is a particular grievance, and proper for a day of private business. I desire the report may be heard.

Resolved, that the report touching Rodney and Cole, be now received.

Mr. Pedley reported the state of the matter of fact, upon the petition and appeal of George Rodney, and Sarah, his wife, plaintiffs, John Cole and others, defendants, from the Committee, to whom the same was referred, with the resolutions of the Committee thereon, which were read.

See their resolves, all agreed to by the House, except one, touching 200l. part of the principal monies, whether paid by Rodney or no; in regard the evidence was something suppository and supplemental, and the House not satisfied, as vide infra, (fn. 2) upon the debate; but in all the rest of the resolves, the House agreed with the Committee, as followeth.

1. First to the matter of fact, that the petitioner, George Rodney, entered into a statute of 1000l. for payment of 520l. at a day then to come, unto Alice Pawlett.

Resolved, that this House doth agree with the Committee.

2. And that, shortly after, the defendant John Cole married the said Alice, whereby he had an interest in the said debt. Afterwards, about the 21st of March, 1641, the said George Rodney, by the hands of one Mr. Glover, paid to one Thorne, the sum of 317l. 13s. by the appointment of the said John Cole, and to his use. (fn. 3)

Colonel White. I shall willingly agree to wave the debate and question upon the 200l. whether paid or not, because the House seems unsatisfied in it; but I cannot be of opinion that the judges have done their duty in this business or that it is only error in judgment, and not of affection or corruption.

It is fit for a Parliament to inquire this, and not to pass it by, which is the way to make injustice be done hereafter. If they have done amiss, let them hear of it, and in no place so proper as this. I cannot in conscience sit here, and saynothing, to see such practices palliated in this House.

I would have it first considered, whether the commissioners have done their duty, and if they be in fault, that they may hear of it; and then you may proceed to reparation of the party.

Colonel Theophilus Jones. That may be the proper question after you have gone over the Report.

Mr. Godfrey. You have proceeded to vindicate the party There is another thing which has been moved to you, wherein you ought to do something, both for the vindication of the honourable persons reflected upon, as also for the honour of this House.

It does not appear by the Report, whether this is an irregularity in point of judgment, or in point of corruption. You must either vindicate them in point of honour, or yourselves in point of justice. This is not determined, one way, or other, by the Committee, and you cannot, in honour, pass it by without putting it in a way of inquiry, whether it was in the commissioners an error of judgment, or of corruption, or affection.

Mr. Moody. I desire to second that motion. I hope we come here to do equal justice to poor and rich, without respect of persons. If there be a fault, let us examine it.

Lord Lisle. There cannot a greater mischief come upon your Commissioners than to be had in ill opinion of any one member of this House. It is my desire it may be referred to a Committee, to consider and enquire whether they have done right or wrong; that if they have done well in it, they may be encouraged; if ill they may receive for their demerit, as the wisdom of the House shall think fit.

Mr. Robinson. I desire that your question may be to refer it to the Committee to enquire how this irregularity came to pass, whether through error of judgment in the Commissioners, or of corruption.

This question was offered upon the Speaker's offering a question, somewhat short, as was thought, for he was very modest in it, and unwilling, &c., and would have had the Committee to enquire in what parties the fault was, and with what mind it was done.

Mr. Westlake. I desire it may be enquired by the Committee whether this was done ex malo ammo, or out of error of judgment.

Colonel Purefoy would needs have it that Mr. Westlake spoke false Latin, viz. ex malum animo.

Sir Gilbert Picketing. Refer this to a Committee, in terminis, to enquire with what mind this was done.

To enquire of men's intentions is such a thing, I confess, as I have not heard of.

Mr. Speaker said, this looked like an inquisition, strict, &c.

Colonel Sydenham. I understand not how you can examine the matter further than you have done, unless it be to examine men's intentions. You have proceeded to repair the party, and he is satisfied. Who then would prosecute a matter of this nature unless grieved by it.

The petitioner complains not of the Lords Commissioners, but of Cole and his rigorous proceedings. I desire you would do no more in it, unless some complaint or charge come regularly, by such as will follow the same. You have borne your testimony, sufficiently, against the judgment. If you go further, you will but lay a heavy prejudice upon those that have faithfully served you, or otherwise heavily reflect upon yourselves, which must be the issue one way or other.

If you refer it to a Committee, I hope the Commissioners will take care to see the votes put in execution, and the party repaired. He desires not that any should be punished. I would have you proceed no further in it.

Major-General Boteler. It stands upon you, not only in respect of your own honour, but of the honour of the Lords Commissioners, for their vindication, that you should put this business into a way of enquiry.

Here the debate was diverted by putting a question. Resolved, that the Lords Commissioners be required forthwith to see these resolves put in execution. Ut supra.

Mr. Bampfield. There is a great imputation cast upon your Commissioners, both by the remonstrance, and abroad. It is good, both for your own honour and theirs, that you should make further enquiry. The resolve of the Committee about the 200l. remains upon your records, though you do not affirm it. I would have that business heard at the bar.

Colonel Matthews. I desire you would hear the whole matter at the bar; both as to the 200l. and to the reflection upon your Commissioners.

Sir John Reynolds. I would not have you enter into such a debate at this time of day, but hear a short petition in my hands, wherein you are as highly bound to extend your relief.

Colonel Whetham. Vindicate Lord Whitlock, who is, both here and at the Committee, reflected upon, albeit both the remonstrance and the report clear him.

The Master of the Rolls. I would not have you further to enquire into the business. The party is relieved. He, I believe, desires no person's punishment.

Mr. Reynell moved, that the word "unduly granted," instead of "procured," might be in the question; but the Speaker, said it could not be.

Colonel Gorges moved for leave for Mr. Windham to go into the country.

Major Aston. There is no charge regularly before you, against the Commissioners. I desire you would lay the debate aside, till somebody petition.

Sir Thomas Barnardiston stood up, once and again, and desired not to baffle business thus, as by another motion to lay aside this debate; but go into the question.

Mr. Bisse. I desire to second that motion, that you would further enquire into the business, that the nation may see you look into such things.

Colonel White. The question might be, to enquire if they have done their duty.

Major Audley. Unless some persons charge them, you ought not to proceed in this kind, to charge your judges in this blind manner. It is not regular, and too light a matter to charge them upon.

Colonel Briscoe. One of the judges is particularly charged in the remonstrance, and it imports your honour to enquire into it. I would have the word "granted," instead of "procured."

The Speaker was against that.

Colonel Jones. I desire the word "granted" may be added, as moved before. I hope the Lord will keep us all up, to do our judgment in righteousness, without respect of persons. I would have these honourable persons appear at the bar and vindicate themselves.

Mr. Speaker. Those gentlemen are misinformed that talk of coming to the bar. No member ought to answer until he be charged; and first, he must answer in his seat, and then at the bar, if need be.

Mr. Bond and Mr. Rolle informed the same, as see this debate at large, supra, in this business; (fn. 4) but it was so tossed till two, that they came to no question; save only for Mr. Windham to go into the country, and the Speaker, so in haste, forgot to adjourn the House.

The Grand Committe for Religion sat this afternoon, and with much ado got together.

Mr. Godfrey reported a clause from a private Committee touching parents, and masters, and mistresses, to educate their children and servants, and endeavour to bring them to understand the English tongue, and to read; and that Bibles should be brought into every family, at the parties' charge, or at the parish charge, if the poor people be not able to buy them.

The Committee read, the clause in parts, and agreed to it.

Resolved, that Mr. Bampfield report the same to the House.

Judge-Advocate Whalley offered a book again (fn. 5) to the Committee, which he could not call less than diabolical. He read the title of it; it was called 'Ars Notoria, Englished by one Turner, who had the impudence not only to put to it his name, but to dedicate it to one Mr. William Ryves, (fn. 6) and say, "Printed by J. Cottrel; to be sold by Martha Harison, at the Lamb, at the East-end of Paul's, 1657."

He was directed by the Committee to read such places of the book as he mistiked.

He read first the title, which was thus: "Ars Notoria, or the Notory Art of Solomon, showing the Cabalistical key of magical operations, &c., Judicial Astrology, Art of Memory, &c." He read other parts of the book, where a great efficacy was placed in repeating certain words at some hours, and several other odd tricks of conjuration, as that laying one's finger behind the right ear was good for the memory, and abundance of such stuff.

Mr. Bampfield said the title of the book (fn. 7) was sufficient to condemn it, so

Resolved, that this book be referred to a Committee to consider thereof, and report their opinions to this Committee, and that they send for the parties, and take care that the books be not dispersed abroad. (fn. 8)

Captain Baynes questioned whether, unless this Committee had power from the House, they could impower a private Committee to send for persons. It was also doubted by others; but it was thought, unless that power was given, there would be no benefit by appointing a Committee; you would lose the fruits of it.

Major-General Goffe urged that the Committee for Bibles had sent for several persons, from time to time, and it was the usual practice of private Committees, in such cases, who had no other authority than from this Grand Committee.

Resolved, that the private Committee do send for all parties; sed, quo Jure, &c.

In the Speaker's chamber sat the Committee for Mr. Acklam's Bill, Captain Lister in the chair.

In the Duchy Chamber sat the Committee of Trade upon the Bill for Norwich Stuffs. I promised Major-General Haines to be there, but I could not, for the Grand Committee.

In the debate about Turner's book, where he had prescribed certain words to be said at certain hours, as very efficacious, Lord Strickland stood up and said that Dr. Cosin (fn. 9) had put forth a book, wherein he had appointed prayers for such and such hours. (fn. 10) I know not to what end. he spoke it, for it was suddenly offered. But presently they fell into a long debate how the papists laboured to delude us and intricate us, by obtruding doctrines of all sizes in their books dispersed abroad; Quakers, and magic, and all devils, &c.


  • 1. See supra, p. 19, note.*
  • 2. P. 301, note.
  • 3. Here are several blank leaves in the MS.
  • 4. Probably it should have occupied the blank leaves. See supra, p. 301, note.
  • 5. See supra, p. 80.
  • 6. "To his ingenious and respected friend Mr. William Ryves, of St. Saviour's, Southwark, student in Physick and Astrology." The dedication is dated from "Little Brittain," which appears to have been, in the seventeenth century, a literary quarter of London. The work thus commences, "In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, beginneth this most holy art of knowledge, revealed to Solomon, which the most high Creator, by his holy angel ministered to Solomon upon the altar of the Temple." The following couplet forms the conclusion: "Learning shall live, and virtue still shall shine, When folly dyes, and ignorance doth pine."
  • 7. The following is the full title of this work, consisting of 168 pages, 18mo., a copy of which is in the library of the British Museum. "Ars Notoria, or the Notory Art of Solomon, showing the Cabbalistical Key of Magical Operations, the Liberal Sciences, Divine Revelations, and the Art of Memory; whereunto is added, an Astrological Catechism, fully demonstrating the Art of Judicial Astrology; together with a rare natural Secret, necessary to be learned by all persons; especially Seamen, Merchants, and Travellers. An excellent invention, done by the magnetic vertue of the Load-stone. "Written originally in Latine, and now Englished by Robert Turner, Filomathes London: Printed by J. Cottrel, and are to be sold by Martha Harison, at the Lamb, at the East end of Paul's, 1657." In the same library are two original works by this translator, a "Description of the Little World of Man, 1654," and "BOTANOLOGIA, the British Physician, or the Nature and Virtue of English Plants. By Robert Turner, Botanolog. Stud. 1664." Mr. Granger says "this is an herbal, written in the manner of Culpeper," Biog. Hist. (1775) iv. 90.
  • 8. This was by no means the hist interference of a Parliament with questions, apparently, beside the purpose of their appointment. In 1704 a Committee of twenty-five members, among whom was Mr. St. John, afterwards Lord Bolingbroke, was. chosen to examine the "Second Thoughts concerning Human Soul," and "The Grand Essay; or, a Vindication of Reason and Religion, against Impostures of Philosophy." These works had been just published by a learned physician, Dr. Coward. On a report from this Committee, the House, after denouncing "the said books," resolved, "that they should be burnt, next day, by the common hangman, in New Palace Yard, Westminster." "One effect of this procedure," adds Dr. Kippis, "was, that Dr. Coward's works were more generally read, and in the same year he gave to the world a new edition of his Second Thoughts." See Biog. Brit. iv. 358–362.
  • 9. In 1660 He was appointed Bishop of Durham; hut was now in exile at Paris, whither he had retired in 1643, to escape from the power of the Long Parliament. See Biog. Brit. iv. 283–285.
  • 10. It was published in 1627, and entitled "a Collection of Private Devotions; or, the Hours of Prayer." Mr. Morant, the author's biographer, admits that "some moderate persons were shocked with it, asdrawing too near the superstitions of the Church of Rome." Against this book Prynne wrote his "Brief Survey and Censure of Mr. Cozens's Cozenizing devotions." Ibid. p. 282.