The Diary of Thomas Burton: 30 May 1657

Pages 159-165

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

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Saturday, May 30, 1657.

Colonel Fitz-James reported amendments to Captain John Arthur's Bill; which passed, and were ordered to be ingrossed.

Colonel Gorges reported amendments to the Bill for Mrs. Bastwick, (fn. 1) which passed, and were ordered to be engrossed.

Sir William Strickland and I, (fn. 2) moved that the Report for the Bill for York River might be now made.

Mr. Speaker. It is not seasonable to move it against the heir.

He said he would hear it on Monday.

Mr. Bodurda. I move to recal your order for naming of the Committee for the Bill for Buildings. The members were so solicited that it would beget confusion. I therefore move that his Highness may name them, and appoint salaries as he thinks fit.

Major Beake. I second that motion, for I was so solicited that I have forborne to attend the Committee. It would breed confusion. So I move that his Highness may appoint them.

Dr. Clarges. Adhere to your orders. If the King could ever have got that advantage of a Parliament, to name Committees for a business of monies, we had not arrived at that reformation. As the best of kings have been deceived in their grants, so the best of protectors may be deceived in the characters of men. The Committee may debate every man apart as to integrity, &c.

Colonel Shapcott. I move that his Highness may appoint Committees. It will take up much time to debate every man, first here and then at the Committee.

Mr. Fowell. I move that his Highness name them, and the House approve of them, to save debate.

Sir Richard Onslow. In the case of Subsidies and Assessments, the Parliament gives directions about the names; but this differs from Assessments or Subsidies. Again, if you transfer power to another, that still preserves your power of naming, for if the power were not in you, you could not grant it.

Lord Whitlock. This case differs from that of Assessments and Subsidies, though there be monies at the bottom, and the granting of such power is a clear argument that you have the power. It will be best for his Highness to name them.

Sir Christopher Pack. I have been greatly solicited, and it will be hard for the Committee to agree of names. I therefore move, that his Highness may appoint them, for upon the faithfulness and skill of your Committees rests your whole business.

Mr. Highland. You are not uncapable to do this work yourselves. His Highness may be misled and misinformed in men. I have been also solicited; but, of all men, I should not speak for them that have solicited me. I would have only sufferers in your service, and not mercenary men.

Mr. Bond. In the Long Parliament, you, and every gentleman, can bear witness what contests, discontents, and high animosities there were about matters of this nature. I have been solicited by forty or fifty persons in this business. I am sorry, for that reason, I was named. It will not only ease your Committee, but prevent the clamour upon you. I have told many that they were not fit for that place; and therefore I would hot vote for them. If I present my friend to be one, and vote for him, I shall be suspected of partiality; if against him I shall lose my friend.

Dr. Clarges and Mr. Godfrey moved, that for the preservation of the privilege of Parliament, this House might approve Committees.

Colonel White. It will be no great felicity to put this upon his Highness. You may well trust his Highness with it. He will not be so much solicited as your members are, for the difficulty of access.

Mr. Pedley. I move, that other officers, as well as the committees, may be named by his Highness. The Committee has voted one treasurer and three registrars.

Resolved, that his Highness shall name the committees and other officers. (fn. 3)

Mr. Bampfield. I move, that pursuant to your votes, there may be a manifestation of your clear negative in it; that you do think yourselves tied up; that no members may be commissioners, nor any persons concerned or taxable for those buildings, nor that have other offices or salaries.

Mr. Highland. I second that motion. It is not fit that any of those persons named should be commissioners.

Dr. Clarges. I second that motion, that men may not have seven or eight offices. If so, instead of six months, you will be six years in doing of it.

Mr. Godfrey. It is not honourable for any persons interested, or that have other offices, or are members of this House. I hope none here will look for it.

Mr. Highland seconded this motion, that such qualifications might be annexed to the power.

Mr. Speaker. It is not fit to set my Lord Protector rules, to restrain his appointment.

Sir Christopher Pack. It is not proper to restrain his Highness in such cases.

Mr. Fowell moved, that it might only be recommended to his Highness, and no vote put.

Mr. Speaker hoped, that "the self-denying ordinance" (fn. 4) would hinder any member from seeking those places.

Lord Whitlock. I move that you would not pass any vote upon this, so as to limit his Highness, but rather that some honourable person about him would intimate your purposes herein.

Colonel Sankey. I move that it may be only recommended to his Highness, and not to restrain him by any vote. I would have your old Parliament servants looked upon herein.

Dr. Clarges moved, that the Committee might have power to fill up the blanks, as to penalties upon those that conceal their buildings. (fn. 5)

Mr. Trenchard. The nuisance of keeping pigs in a pound, one hundred together, and feeding them with garbage, is very noisome to the neighbours, and is much used in this town. I move that this Committee may take care of that nuisance.

Mr. Speaker and Sir Christopher Pack. The parties are indictable for this nuisance, and there needs no additional law for this.

The Bill for Assessments upon Ireland was called for, and the other debates fell.

Major Aston brought in the Bill, and said he came to it as to execution, for that he believed they would never be able to pay it, and he had rather drop off a finger. It was a short Bill.

Mr. Speaker. If the Assessments are as short as the Bill, it will fall short of expectation.

Captain Hatsel moved that the second time of reading of it might be appointed.

Mr. Highland. This Bill is not worth a second reading. It is a nose of wax, and nobody can make any levies upon it.

Colonel Clarke. The Bill will serve the turn. I desire a second reading, for though there is not a particular appointment of commissioners in every county, yet there are commissioners for the whole dominions. This is no otherwise than as to the commissioners for London, which consists of several divisions, yet those commissioners lay it thorough.

Major Aston. We could not be informed of the ability of this or that county, for all are so flitting that we have no certain abodes, here and there. That county which we left half planted, may now be all wasted, and the county that was half wasted may now be all planted. We could not possibly distribute it.

The Bill was appointed to be read a second time on Monday.

The Bill for the Assessments upon Scotland was read the second time, and committed.

Sir Edward Rhodes. As you have passed an order for England to make up the proportions as formerly they were, so I would have the same divisions and distribution for Scotland.

Lord Cochrane. The distribution of the sums upon every county in Scotland cannot be as the former Act of Parliament appointed.

Lord Tweedadle. I move that for filling up the blanks it may be committed, and, for saving your time, to the Committee for the Scotch affairs, which was resolved accordingly.

Colonel White arid Mr. Fowell moved, if time would admit it, that it might be in a Grand Committee, but. rather to refer it to the Private Committee, otherwise it will hinder the passing of six bills.

Mr. Speaker moved, that a note might be entered, that it shall not be drawn into precedent, to refer a Bill of Assessments to a Private Committee, but in respect of the pressure of affairs.

The Bill for the Customs was called for, read the second time, and committed too.

Mr. Fowell. The custom upon tin is too high; the profit that the poor people get is out of the jaws of death and danger.

Sir Christopher Pack. I move that it may be committed to a Grand Committee. I except against the largeness of the powers, to impose fines and imprisonment, or otherwise, upon misdemeanours. That may be hanging, for aught I know. Such clauses were never in any bill.

Mr. Bond. The powers were once debated at the Committee, and, as I take it, thrown out; they are such powers as never were brought into a Parliament. I move it may be referred to a Grand Committee.

It was referred, accordingly, to sit on Monday next at ten o'clock.

Mr. Fowell. The Bill for the Excise wants but two hours. I move that it may be done on Tuesday.

It was resolved accordingly.

Mr. Secretary. We shall be in some danger before we meet again, unless we take care as well for the constant revenue, as you have done for the 400,000l, and the 600,000l. You have left that 1300,000l. very much at loose. I shall move that you would see which way that shall rise; and that a Committee be appointed to inspect the treasuries of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and see, if it fall short, how it shall be supplied.

This was resolved accordingly, &c.

The House being informed that one Michael Beavor, an attorney, a prisoner for arresting Mr. Denn, (fn. 6) was at the door, moved that he might be called, and he was called in accordingly, and he being upon his knees at the bar, said he did not prosecute after he knew that Mr. Denn was a Parliamentman; and the party being withdrawn, Mr. Denn stood up and said the attorney had delivered him the writ, and he was satisfied, and thereupon the House passed a vote for his discharge on paying his fees.

Mr. Downing. There is a very short Bill ingrossed, touching exporting fish. I move that it may be read.

Mr. Speaker was unwilling to hear the motion; yet the question being put, that the Bill for poor-John (fn. 7) shall be now read, it was moved that the door might be shut.

Mr. Speaker moved and put the question, that the door should be shut while the Bill for poor-John was read.

It was resolved accordingly, and Mr. Secretary offering to go out, the Sergeant stayed him upon this vote. The Bill was read the third time, and passed without any debate. Only

Major Beake moved to know if this did not give a liberty to Flanders and our enemies, to fetch fish in their own bottoms.

Mr. Fowell explained. The design of the Bill is to furnish the people of Spain with fish, which were always our best chapmen for it. It will stink on our hands else. Besides, this Bill is but to continue till December 1659, and the fishing to the Newfoundland is the very nursery of our seamen, which, without this Bill, would infinitely fail and decay.

The House was adjourned after one o'clock.


  • 1. See supra, p. 143.
  • 2. This is the first notice I have observed of any part in Parliamentary proceedings, acknowledged by the writer of this Diary. This, with some notices which will occur a few pages infra, leaves scarcely a doubt that the writer of the MS. was Thomas Burton, Esq., a Justice of the Peace, and (according to Parl. Hist. xxi. 77.) one of the representatives for Westmoreland. See vol. i. p. 166, Note.
  • 3. "Notwithstanding the former Order, authorizing the Committee to whom the Bill touching Buildings is referred, to bring in names for Commissioners to be inserted in that Bill." Journals.
  • 4. An allusion to the famous ordinance, April 5, 1645.
  • 5. So in the MS. Yet concealment was scarcely practicable.
  • 6. See supra, p. 146.
  • 7. See Vol. i. p. 296. When the island of Jersey surrendered to Blake, in 1851, "sixty-thousand weight of poor-John" were among the stores in the castle. Life of Blake, p. 44.