The Diary of Thomas Burton: 28 May 1657

Pages 142-148

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

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Thursday, May 28, 1657.

Mr. Downing reported the Amendments to the Bill for the borders of England and Scotland, (fn. 1) which were all passed in gross.

Mr. Bond moved, that it might be felony for any person banished to return; which was resolved. (fn. 2)

Lord Whitlock presented a Bill in relation both to monies and intelligence, viz. about the postage.

The Bill was read, and was entitled "A Bill for the settling of the postage of England, Scotland, and Ireland," and appointed to be read the second time to-morrow morning.

Dr. Clarges moved against the second reading of the Bill.

Sir William Strickland. I move that the Bill for tithes may be read, as was ordered. Though it be not a business of monies, yet we say, decima et dives eris.

Mr. Secretary reported a message from the fleet, by Captain Stayner, (fn. 3) who is a good man, and always brings good tidings. I have here a paper of the particulars, in a letter to his Highness, I desire it may be read.

A narrative of the action at Santa Cruz, 50 slain outright, 150 wounded, of ours. (fn. 4)

Mr. Secretary. The captain that brought the news was in the action, and said it was the hardest service that ever was. The enemies thought themselves so secure, that they wished the whole cause between us and Spain had depended upon this. The silver was all unladen and on shore; but several of the goods were taken. Not a ship was left, but all were burnt or sunk. Though we had received no benefit by it; yet certainly the enemy never had a greater loss. (fn. 5) It is the Lord's doing, and the glory be his.

Lord Strickland. I hope the joy of the news causeth the silence. I move that a day may be appointed for thanksgiving, and the captain that brought the news may be rewarded.

Dr. Clarges. I second the motion for a day of thanksgiving, and that not only the captain, but the General and all the captains may be rewarded.

Mr. Rouse and Colonel Jones moved to have a day of public thanksgiving set apart, and offered Thursday next for a day in London, and that day fortnight all the nation over.

Mr. Highland. Thursday is the Cloth-market day; (fn. 6) so moved on Wednesday, which was resolved. (fn. 7)

Sir William Strickland. I move that, as a mark of your favour, you reward the General with a sum of money, 500l.; or a jewel, worth that sum I proportion it to your purse.

Mr. Secretary. I shall not move against that; but the first thing in order is to appoint the ministers to preach. I desire that Mr. Manton may be one.

Colonel Jones moved, that Mr. Carter might be the other minister to preach; which was resolved accordingly. (fn. 8)

Lord Strickland stood up, and moved, that Mr. Caryl might preach; but it was too late, there being but only two to preach.

The place appointed, Margaret's, Westminster; the day, Wednesday next.

A Committee appointed to desire his Highness's consent.

Ordered, that the Narrative be printed. (fn. 9)

Sir William Strickland. I hope that, though my motion was out of season, it shall now fare no worse for it, nor because it comes from me. I moved that 500l. might be given. I did proportion it to your purse, and not to his merit.

Dr. Clarges. I move that you would not regard your poverty, or any other arguments, but reward him like a Parliament; and that the General may have 1500l. and the Captain 100l.

Mr. Butler moved, that he might have a jewel of 1000l.

Mr. Speaker. I would remind you of what you have done in like cases. Naseby was great news, yet he (fn. 10) had but a jewel of 500l.; and in other cases the like. Your purse was never lower.

Colonel White. One very near akin to this person told me, he hath saved nothing by the service, but spent of his own estate. (fn. 11) I desire he may have a jewel of 500l., and the Captain 200l.

Colonel Jones. I do not measure the gift by his service: for if so, 15,000l. may be more proportionable than 1500l. Yet, this being a jewel, a special mark of your favour, (and as you have done before in such cases,) the favour is more than the value.

Resolved, that he have a jewel of 500l., (fn. 12) and that the Captain (fn. 13) have 100l.; and that care may be taken by the Council for payment thereof.

Captain Mason moved, that every Captain in the Fleet might have a medal of 10l. presented to him; but this motion relished not.

Mr. Downing and Mr. Moody moved, that a letter of thanks might be writ by the Speaker, in the name of the House, to the General, which was resolved accordingly; and Mr. Secretary and Mr. Downing were appointed to prepare the letter. (fn. 14)

Colonel Edwards. I move that Captain Stayner may have a jewel of 200l. He has been named, but not spoken of. (fn. 15)

Mr. Bond (and others). It is not fit to reward one, lest you put a slight and disregard upon others. It will cause a quarrel in the fleet. I wish you had monies to reward them all.

Colonel Jones moved, that some provision might be made for the widows and orphans of such as have been slain in this action. (fn. 16)

Mr. Bedford. Mr. Manton (fn. 17) is out of town, and will not return this fortnight. So I move, that Mr. Jacob may preach in his stead.

Lord Strickland moved, that Mr. Caryl might preach.

Colonel Holland and Major-General Whalley moved, that the vote of thanks might be given to the officers of the fleet, as well as to the general; and that the collections for the poor that day might be distributed to the widows and orphans. But this was thought a poor motion, to reward our soldiers' wives by going a begging for them.

Dr. Clarges. I move that Mr. Denn, a member of the House, (fn. 18) being prosecuted at law by one Michael Beavor, an attorney, may have his privilege.

Mr. Denn stood up, and said, this Beavor, in Michaelmas term, had caused him to be sued to exigent, (fn. 19) and had promised to forbear prosecution; and thereupon he, Mr. Denn, thought to have passed it by.

But, it seems, he prosecutes it still against him; and, therefore, he moved that it might be assigned him his privilege.

Resolved, that Beavor be sent for, in custody, as a delinquent. (fn. 20)

The Bill for assessments upon Scotland was read, and appointed to be read a second time on Saturday next.

Mr. Bedford offered his Report for Recusants.

Mr. Speaker called for the Bill for Irish Assessments, but it being not ready—

Mr. Bedford went on, and made his Report.

It happened that Mr. Speaker spied the last sheet of the old Bill lost, viz. prima vice, and altera vice, lecta, which is a part of the record, and the clerk's warrant. He therefore informed the House of it.

Lord Whitlock. Some particular order may be made (according as the truth is; and as in our private capacities we all know,) to help this casual accident. It may be supplied that way, for saving your time; or, otherwise, you must read the other Bill the first and second time.

Mr. Bedford acknowledged his ignorance; being a young Parliament-man, he was ignorant as other men, and nothing being writ on that leaf, it was casually lost.

Mr. Lechmere. This is a new case. The entry is the record thereby to know that this is the Bill that was committed; and though you may find by the Journal the days of the first and second reading, yet you cannot tell that this was the Bill.

Lord Strickland. This is such a formality as may shake all your foundation, and I had rather read a Bill twenty times over than lay such a precedent.

Mr. Bedford went out and found a dirty paper in his lodgings, as he said, with the indorsement, and brought it in.

Mr. Speaker. Your formalities are the very essence of Parliaments, and you ought to be tender in this case.

Mr. Godfrey. I move to read the Bill over again, rather than lay a foundation for such a precedent. Though you have a dirty paper before you, yet you cannot tell whether this be the same sheet that belongs to that Bill.

Mr. Bedford. I am certain that this is the same paper, and aver it upon my reputation to be the same.

Lord Whitlock. As there is a care to be had of the circumstances and formalities, as the essence of your proceedings, we are also to credit what a member says, and be tender of him. A great deal of credit, and honour, and respect, are to be given to one another. He has averred it upon his credit. I desire you would credit him. I can witness for him, that he has taken great care and pains in the business.

Mr. Bampfield. I move that the first amendments may be read, for there are amendments upon amendments.

Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. By this it seems the whole Bill was committed, and all altered but the title; so you ought to pass the old amendments as well as the new.

After a debate upon the order of their proceedings pro et contra, the debate was adjourned till to-morrow morning, nothing to intervene, and the House rose at one o'clock.


  • 1. "For the better suppressing of theft, and securing the good and honest people against all felonies, and other misdemeanours, daily committed in these parts.''—Journals.
  • 2. "That the blank, not to return, after transported to some of the plantations, be filled up with the word 'seven,' and the blank for the penalty, with the word,' felony.'"—Journals.
  • 3. A misnomer for Story—See infra, p. 145, Note †.
  • 4. "Mr. Secretary acquaints the House, with the good success the Lord hath been pleased to vouchsafe to the fleet of this nation, under the command of General Blake, at the port of Santa Cruz, on the Island of Teneriffe, on Monday, the 80th of April last; at which time, the said fleet fell in among five or six galleons; whereof were Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rear-Admiral, with their standard and flag aloft; and other considerable ships, making up the number of sixteen; some having goods brought from the Indies, still on board them; others had taken in goods and provisions to carry back again; most of them furnished with brass ordnance; and their full companies of seamen and soldiers kept continually on board them; where all the said ships were sunk, blown up, or destroyed; the particulars whereof are contained in a Narrative now delivered in by Mr. Secretary."—Journals.
  • 5. It was computed that "the destruction of the fleet a year before, by Blake, and other losses, made the loss to the Spaniards amount to at least ten millions of pounds sterling."—See "The History and Life of Robert Blake, Esq. written by a Gentleman bred in his Family," p. 102.
  • 6. At Blackwell Hall.
  • 7. See Journals.
  • 8. See Ibid.
  • 9. "And published, with the order of the House for the Day of Thanksgiving." Journals. See Mercurius Politicus, No. 364. "Though the days of humiliation and thanksgiving ordered by Parliament," says Blake's biographer, "were subjects for raillery in the pious times after the Restoration, and even of ridicule on the stage, yet it is most certain, the observance of such days in the times we write of, was serious and in earnest; and was never appointed then out of form or ceremony only. Admiral Blake always kept them, and had them kept on board his fleet, according as they were appointed." Life, p. 103.
  • 10. The Lord General Fairfax.
  • 11. "The small, or rather no improvement of his private estate," says his biographer," is an unquestionable proof of his disinterest; for he who enriched his country with so many millions, and had so many opportunities of amassing plumbs, as is now the phrase, to himself, and that with security to his honour, died so little richer than his father left him, 'tis not worth mentioning." Life, p. 116.
  • 12. "As a mark of honour, and a testimony of his Highness's and the Parliament's resentment of his eminent and faithful services for this Commonwealth." Journals. "All such presents, which were demonstrations of the public acceptance of his services, were grateful to him; but he had no conception of rewards in dignities and pensions, and had an extreme contempt for all honours that were not solid, and the effect of heroic deeds, as useful to the state, as glorious to the man." Life, p. 103. General Blake survived this victory only a few weeks. " He died the 17th of August, 1657, aboard his ship, the St. George, as he entered into Plymouth Sound.'' After a public funeral, by water, from Greenwich, "the corpse was interred in a vault, made on purpose, in Henry VII.'s chapel;" and his biographer asks " the most prejudiced enemies to his cause, if there could be a place too honourable to lay the bones of so brave a soldier, and so true a lover of his country? But after the Restoration, the sacred remains of this General were hawled out of the place where they were deposited, and cast into a pit." Ibid, pp. 108, 109. " His body," says Wood, " was taken up (1661, September 12), and with others buried in a pit, in St. Margaret's church-yard, near to the back-door of one of the prebendaries of Westminster; in which place it now remaineth, enjoying no other monument but what is reared by his valour, which time itself can hardly deface." Athenœ Oxonienses, (1691.) i. 825.
  • 13. "Story, as a reward for his good news from the Fleet." Journals.
  • 14. See Ibid.
  • 15. "On Captain Stayner's coming to England," says Blake's biographer, " Oliver knighted him for his former services; but King Charles did not think proper to acknowledge the knighthood of this brave man, because he was only knighted by the greatest soldier of his, or any other age; but being ashamed to deprive Sir Richard Stayner of an honour he had so highly deserved, it was conferred on him again by King Charles II., though not the greatest soldier of his age." Life, p. 105.
  • 16. It does not appear from the Journals that this just and merciful proposal received any attention.
  • 17. See supra, p. 143.
  • 18. For Canterbury.
  • 19. "A writ, where the defendant in an action personal cannot be found, nor anything within the county, to be distrained." Dict. Anglo-Brit.
  • 20. "For his contempt in breach of the privilege of this House." Journals.