The Diary of Thomas Burton: 6 January 1656-7

Pages 307-310

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

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Tuesday, January 6, 1656–7.

I was otherways engaged this day at home, so could not attend. The gown and chalice sent the night before by the woman. (fn. 1)

In the Clerk's book, (fn. 2) this day's journal was this.

Ordered, that Sir John Thorowgood be added to the Committee for Alehouses, Labourers, and Country Registers.

A Bill for the Excise and Customs, ut supra, read the second time and committed.

Ordered, that this Bill be debated in a Grand Committee of the House on Thursday next, and the Committee to sit on Tuesdays and Thursdays till the same be dispatched.

Ordered, that the Bill for continuing and assessing of a tax for the maintenance of the militia forces in England and Wales, be read to-morrow morning.

Ordered, that Sir William Roberts and Colonel Briscoe be added to Mr. Scot's Committee.

Ordered, that the Bill for the regulating the making of serges and perpetuanas (fn. 3) be read to-morrow, after the other three Bills already appointed to be then read.

Ordered, that the petition of Sir Richard Lucy be read on Saturday morning next.

In the Duchy Chamber sat the Committee of Trade, where was debated the great question, adjourned till this day, upon the petition of the Free Merchants against the Merchant Adventurers; wherein was set forth what a great prejudice it was to the Common wealth that the trade of the woollen manufactures should be ingrossed into the hands of one company; it being the only staple trade of England, and ought to be improved to the best advantage.

There were strong arguments brought on the account of the free merchants, to prove that a free trade was most for the good of this nation.

Sir Christopher Pack, who is master of the Merchant Adventurers' company, turned in the debate like a horse, and answered every man. I believe he spoke at least thirty times.

Mr. Lloyd helped him as much as could be, but both reason and equity, and the sense of the Committee, being against them, they were forced at last to give up the cudgels, but with much ado. Sir Christopher Pack did cleave like a clegg, and was very angry he could not be heard ad infinitum, though the Committee were forced at last to come to a compact with him, that he should speak no more after, that time. He said, at last, he hoped to be heard elsewhere. The man will speak well, and I heard that when the consultation was at Whitehall, about the admission of the Jews, (fn. 4) of all the head-pieces that were there, he was thought to give the strongest reasons against their coming in, of any man. Mr. Lloyd will speak well, but we were too hard for them.

There were only those two, and Alderman Geldard, and Major-General Bridge, and one or two more, of thirty-three, that were for the merchant-adventurers. All the rest were for free trade. Sir John Hobart, Captain Kiffen, Captain Hatsell, and Mr. Robinson, spoke freely to it. And at last the Committee came to this resolve: that it is for the good and benefit of the Commonwealth, that the native merchants may trade into Germany and the Netherlands, with all the woollen manufactures of this nation, without prejudice to the marts at Dort, and the other places in Holland. Cousin Highmore will be well pleased with it. It will recompense his loss by the vote, ut supra.

It seems his Highness had published a proclamation, not long since, on the behalf of the merchant-adventurers against the free traders, but they were surprized in it, and condemned unheard, as Captain Kiffen made it out to the Committee. They tell us it will so advance the woollen manufactures of this nation, that both the clothiers and the wool-buyers will be much enriched by it, and that the price of wool will rise two or three or four shillings in a stone. I wish it be not too specious.


  • 1. To what this memorandum referred, does not appear.
  • 2. No doubt the MSS. Journal, from which the printed Journals were compiled, in the last century.
  • 3. Everlastings.
  • 4. In 1655, according to Whitlock, in consequence of "the proposals made by Manasseh Ben Israel." who is said to have offered 200,000l. for the Jews' full admission to all the rights of citizenship. Among the merchants, at this conference, which lasted several days, was "Alderman Pack, late Lord Mayor." The ministers were both episcopalian and independent. Among the latter, "Mr. Nye and Mr. T. Goodwin were of opinion that it was a duty to yield to the Jews' request." But "the merchants vehemently insisted upon it, that such an admission of the Jews would enrich foreigners, and impoverish the natives of the land." The Protector complained that the question "was left more doubtful to him and the council than before." See "the Proceedings of the Jews in England, in 1655," annexed to "Two Journies to Jerusalem," (1730) pp. 169–176; Parl. Hist. xx. 473–477. Some Jews, however, about this time, settled in England, secured from legal oppression, by the tolerant policy of the Protector. They were described twenty years later as "making not above thirty or forty families." See Anglia Notiti (1674) i. 39, 40.