The Diary of Thomas Burton: 27 May 1657

Pages 135-141

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Wednesday, May 27, 1657.

The House, according to former Order, resumed the debate, adjourned yesterday, upon his Highness's speech.

Mr. Lechmere was moving, when I came in, that the Petition and Advice may be printed and published, that the people may know how they shall be governed.

Mr. Pedley. I move not to publish it till you have perfected the additional Resolves; because some of them are explanatory, some restrictive, of the several articles of the Government; and I would have all printed and published together.

Mr. Bedford. I move, that the Resolves may be read, to the end you may know what you have to do else; and then you may resolve to publish them together, or apart.

They were read, till the titles of the Ordinances confirmed came to be enumerated.

Major-Generals Goff, Whalley, and Kelsey. It is not needful to read all the titles over, but only such as are fundamental to the Government; but it is not fit to publish it till the explanatory votes are finished.

Mr. Godfrey. Read them all over, that you may know what to refer, and what not.

Mr. Pedley moved, only to go on with the Bills that concern monies, and refer the rest to the Committee in gross.

Major-General Goff moved, to skip over the enumeration of the Acts and Ordinances, and read on, the rest of the Resolves.

Colonel Shapcott. Refer the particulars, as that of the Penalties, to a Committee. As for the Acts and Ordinances, if you intend to revise them, so as to put them into several Bills, it will be at least two years' time.

Mr. Bampfield. I move, that all may be read, to the end that we may know what we have done. It is slipped out of some of our memories. I move, to put a fair question; not upon reading the titles only, but upon all the Resolves.

This was put to the question.

Mr. Speaker declared for the Yeas.

Mr. Berkeley for the Noes. But the House being informed that some were withdrawn before exceptions were taken, and the exceptor standing up, and saying he was satisfied, it was waived; and the several titles and the Resolves were all read.

Mr. Bond moved, that the Petition and Advice be printed and published.

Sir William Strickland. Rest is the end of settlement; peace the end of war. Now we are come to settlement, after all our fluctuation; let us improve it, so as the people may know it. Therefore I would have it printed and published.

Colonel White. I move to have the distribution of members, and that about tryers putting out, to be cared for before you make the rest public.

Mr. Lechmere. I move that you would tread in the steps of your ancestors; and since this is a law which binds all the nation now, let it be published, and not stay for the rest; which I hope will be done this Parliament, and that speedily. This is to us now as a Magna Charta.

Colonel Philip Jones. I move to print the Resolves also, as well as the Petition and Advice. I think it may be as safe not to print the Petition and Advice for a time, as not print the Resolves with it.

Lord Fleetwood. It will not be for the honour of the House to print the one and not the other. I therefore move, that both may be printed.

Lord Strickland. This is the first time that ever I knew a Parliament print their Resolves. I would not have the Petition and Advice printed without the other being perfect.

Colonel Jones. The nation will think it strange that you should print and publish a law, and then presently after, publish what is quite contrary to some part of it.

Mr. Fowell, I move, that it may not only be printed but published. If it had been King, (fn. 1) it would have been published.

Colonel Holland. It is no new thing for a Parliament to print their Resolves: The Long Parliament did it in matters of the highest nature; as that which declared it treason for the King to set up his standard.

Mr. Speaker. The Petition of Right (fn. 2) was published one time, and the Articulus super Chartas presently after.

Mr. Bampfield. Men are at a great stand how to act, knowing how many material alterations are in the Government. Therefore I would, for public satisfaction, have it published. It will save the nation a labour of writing it over; for every man will have a copy that looks after these things.

Mr. Godfrey. I move that it be one entire question as to the printing both the Petition and Advice, and the Resolves, for they mainly depend upon one another.

Mr. Speaker. From information of the Clerk, the Resolves are not yet fit to be printed till they be amended.

Colonel Sydenham. It is fit they should both be printed, otherwise they will not be sense. Some things in the Petition you have quite altered, as that of the tryers, and the business of monies not to be levied but by consent of Parliament. This will render you very uncertain in your resolution, if, a month hence, you publish what is quite contrary. Something in the 15th article is scarcely sense; that about laws being of force whether under the title of King or Protector; (fn. 3) for in the beginning you say the title of Protector shall be the title. I would have the Resolves made laws before they are printed.

Colonel Briscoe. I move that the Resolves be made into a law, and then both printed together; as well the amendments in the Petition and Advice as the Resolves, all printed together.

Resolved, that a Committee be appointed to put these Resolves into a bill or bills.

Mr. Godfrey moved, upon the 6th article, that provision may be made for the continuance of Parliament. The article (fn. 4) says, that they shall be according to " the laws and statutes of the land." There are none now in force but the Triennial Bill, which gives only fifty days, and surely you will not leave yourselves worse than before. I move that triennial Parliaments may continue for six months, and other Parliaments for three months.

Mr. Lechmere. I second that motion, and also that you would care for the distribution of your members; for there is no provision for Scotland nor Ireland at all, and the members for England are very unequally distributed.

Sir William Strickland. I second that motion to set down a time for Parliaments to sit. That was the great slavery that the nation was under; that for an impeachment against any great person, or other matter, a Parliament should be dissolved.

Colonel Briscoe and Mr. Godfrey. Conclude about the time of continuance, and for the other, do as you shall think fit afterwards.

Colonel Philip Jones. Consider how consistent that would be with what you have already passed. I would have the article read, and refer it to the Committee to suit it.

Colonel Sydenham. I would not leave a matter of that fundamental weight, as the distribution of members, to a Committee, without some directions. I would not prescribe the Instrument of Government to be your direction, yet they might have an eye to it.

Sir Lislebone Long. This is a business, indeed, of great weight. It is true, the Instrument of Government has provided for the distribution of members, better than before.

I would have a day appointed fully to debate it, before you refer it to a Committee. Besides, that provision about choosing members is very uncertain. Though you say now but such shall choose as have 200l., (fn. 5) yet there is no way to try that, and many strange elections have happened upon it.

Mr. Bond. I move, that you would take it up either in a Grand Committee or in the House; but not so hastily as tomorrow.

It was resolved to be taken up in the House on this day se'nnight.

Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. I move, that for a week or a fortnight's time you would go on only with the business of monies, and nothing to intervene.

Major-General Skippon. I move that you would also take care about the arrears in the hands of the trustees of Drury House. There will be, as I have heard, about 80,000l. discovered.

Lord Whitlock. There is a Bill for the Postage, and for Probate of Wills, which will raise you a good revenue. I would have that also dispatched amongst the Bills for monies.

Mr. Bond. I move, that the Bills for Assessments, and Excise, and Customs, those three might be dispatched first, and let not the Recusants, or any other Bill, thrust them out.

Mr. Bedford. The Bill for Recusants was appointed for to-morrow. I desire that you would not put that off.

Dr. Clarges. I move that you let the report for Recusants go on. It will raise you a considerable sum.

Sir Christopher Pack. Explain what you mean by assessments. Whether you mean only that for three months, or for the 600,000l. per annum besides.

Colonel White. I move that it be referred to your Committee, to prepare an oath for his Highness to take, according to a clause in your Government, or else leave out the clause. And also that an oath be prepared for all members of Parliament, and all officers of trust to take.

Lord Strickland. I move that you first, as you first were moved, go on with the most material; that is, matter of money.

Mr. Speaker. You should methodize your proceedings, and consider whether you will not take the Recusants' business first. Some cried, Yea, Yea.

Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. The Recusants' business may be best put off. Rather proceed upon the assessments and excise.

Mr. Godfrey. The business of Recusants may best be postponed. It will rather take monies, than yield you any; especially if you go by way of the oath of abjuration. You will but leave a door for them to creep out at.

Colonel Sydenham. There is something in the Petition and Advice, which needs not only some explanation, but an expunging. You say, that in the 15th article all Acts shall be valid under what title soever they pass, either as Protector or King, and surely you will not make laws in both names, and leave the nation at a loss which you do adhere to.

Mr. Downing. The alteration of the title was only in compliance with his Highness's conscience. I would have it stand as it does. It may be that his conscience may receive conviction.

Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. The first that was moved, was about an oath. I desire that that may be first determined before any new motion be received.

Captain Hatsel. The usual way to thrust out one motion is to make another. I desire that that part of the adjustment may be explained. You will not surely make laws under two titles. Let the nation be satisfied that you are agreed in the alteration; and not continue it under that uncertainty, which will not be ingenuous.

Major-General Jephson. There are some so out of love with those four letters, that we must, I think, have an Act to expunge them out of the alphabet, and that is my humble motion. (fn. 6)

Thus one motion jostled out another, and nothing was concluded, more than was before agreed, as see the. Journals. (fn. 7)

In the Queen's Court sat the Committee, Temple against the Earl of Strafford, Major Aston in the chair. Mr. Finch of council for Lord Strafford, and Mr. Green for Temple.

Answer only put in, and adjourned till this day se'nnight.


  • 1. Against which he had voted.
  • 2. Passed June 2nd, 1628. " The King's Answer" being considered by the Commons as unsatisfactory, he came to the Parliament, " commanded the clerk to cut out his former answer, which was entered in the Journal, under the Petition of Right," and to insert this more unqualified assent, " Soit Droit fait, comme il est desiré"—Parl. Hist. viii. 146–151, 201, 202.
  • 3. There are no such words in this article. See Ibid. xxi. 140.
  • 4. See Parl. Hist. xxi. 135.
  • 5. According to Art. xviii. of the Instrument of Government. See Parl. Hist. xx. 255.
  • 6. Such language, especially just after Scout-master Downing's speculations on " his Highness's conscience," well agrees with what Ludlow in the following paragraph, has attributed to this speaker; a calculating courtier, who could " weigh well the wages with the work assigned," though it has not appeared in the Diary, that he " moved in the House." We have found (Vol, i. p. 362) " Mr. Ashe the elder," giving the first hint of a new royalty, which Alderman Pack followed up, in terms more explicit. " Colonel William Jephson, one of the Members that served for Ireland, moved in the House, that Cromwell might he made king; but matters not being thoroughly concerted, it had no other effect than to sound the inclinations of the assembly. Cromwell, having notice of this motion, as he had of every thing that passed, reproved the Colonel gently at table for it, telling him he wondered what he could mean by such a proposition. To which the other answered, that whilst he was permitted the honour of sitting in that House, he must desire the liberty to discharge his conscience, though his opinion should happen to displease. Whereupon Cromwell, clapping him on the shoulder, said,' Get thee gone, for a mad fellow, as thou art.' But it soon appeared with what madness he was possessed; for he immediately obtained a foot company for his son, then a scholar at Oxford, and a troop of horse for himself." Memoirs, ii. 582. Waller, an unprincipled politician, and whose muse, worthy of a nobler office, was ready to become the Laureat of any Power in possession, was now returned from a well-merited exile, in 1644. He thus sang of " our great Protector," in his poem on " the fight at sea, September, 1656, and the captured Spanish treasure:"— "His conquering head hath no more room for bays, Then let it be, as the whole nation prays. Let the rich ore forthwith be melted down, And the State fix'd, by making him a crown, With ermine clad, and purple, let him hold A royal sceptre made of Spanish gold."
  • 7. "Ordered, that these Resolves be referred to a Committee, (consisting of all the gentlemen of the long robe, and sixty-eight others) to peruse the same, and methodize them; and to prepare one or more Bills thereupon, and offer them to the House." "Resolved, that the debate concerning the constitution of Parliaments, the distribution of members to sit in Parliament and continuance of Parliaments, be taken up in the House on this day sevennight; and nothing to intervene. "Resolved, that the Bills which are for the levying and raising of money, shall he proceeded on, for a week following; and nothing else to intervene."—Journals.