The Diary of Thomas Burton: 5 June 1657

Pages 175-182

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

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Friday, June 5, 1657.

A great debate about Lord Broghill's Bill. (fn. 1)

Mr. Highland, Major-General Kelsey, and Colonel Mat thews moved against it. They would have our debts paid rather than give those large gratuities. The Long Parliament gave large gifts indeed. It was great justice and honour to relieve the oppressed.

Colonel Jones, Lord Whitlock, Sir Richard Onslow, Mr. Waller. (fn. 2)

Colonel Castle. I cannot but observe the great zeal of this House in private business, and so careless of the public. I therefore move that no private debts may be paid till the public are satisfied.

Colonel Sydenham. If you went to take measure by the noble lord's merit, there would be no negative upon it. It is but losing your time to reckon up that; but in this case it is of a dangerous consequence. From the private report of a member, to take it up that this which was set out, falls short of what was given, and to give 400l. more, will lay your reputation very low. But if you will lay "a signal testimony " (fn. 3) upon the head of this person, and do it by a particular act, I shall not be against it, but not to take it as a debt upon you.

Mr. Bond moved to have the 400l. added to it.

Mr. Moody and Colonel White were against taking it up upon trust, and would have it go as a mark of favour to him.

Mr. Secretary. It is clearly to be admitted that this noble person well deserves your favour, much more your justice. It is urged it will be an ill precedent. You were pleased to refer a petition of the same nature for the officers in Ireland, where the lands fall short, and order that they should have satisfaction. The same reason remaining, the same law remains. If there was a mistake in setting forth those lands, no reason he should suffer.

The Master of the Rolls. This land was given by way of composition and agreement with this noble lord and the Long Parliament. It is not a thing of recompense or gratuity, but a duty to him, and we thought we made a good bargain. He stuck to us when we were in great distress; all Our party had no one but he and a colonel in my eye, viz. Jephson. He well deserves it both in point of right and justice.

Major Morgan. I would not have the state over-reached, neither Would I have you fall short of what is right, and of the justice you ought to do to this noble person.

Lord Lambert. I am not against the thing, but against the manner of it. I would rather have it referred to a Committee to bring in a clause or proviso, on Tuesday next, that you may be well informed.

Major-General Jephson. I find that when you are upon acts of private justice, you are always minded that you neglect the public. I wish those gentlemen's memories would serve them to tell it you some other lime. I hear nobody but acknowledges this honourable person's merit; only the difference is, some would pay him with good words, others would give him just satisfaction. I know this noble lord's condition, in this thing, as well as any man. This land was once under as good improvement as ever it was since the world began, but it was overrun, and the surveyors had no friendship for him. There was hardship in setting out the lands.

Mr. Disbrowe. So the thing be done, put what mark you please upon it; but he very well deserves it at your hands. He maintained two regiments at his own charge, and suffered much for you. I believe it will appear that the surveyors did it in knavery, because Lord Brogbill would not give the surveyors a sum of money; and the high sheriff will certify that the lands are over-valued.

Major-General Whalley. This person is one that all the House has a great respect for, and if a negative should be put upon it, it would not well please you. I therefore move that it be referred to be opened, upon the whole debate.

Lord Lambert. The House is not seised of a proviso till the gentleman that brought it in shall read it. I move that he may read it, and then debate it.

Sir Charles Wolseley. I brought in the proviso, and it will not be Parliamentary for me now to read it, after it has been upon your table and admitted in debate. Yet if you please to command me, I shall read.

Colonel Jones. It is not a standing order that a proviso shall always be read by the person that brought it in; so that he did but open it. I move that the question may be put to read it, and I hope that there will not be many negatives upon it.

The question was put accordingly, and passed in the affirmative; but Lord Lambert, Fleetwood, Sydenham, and Disbrowe, were withdrawn.

The proviso was read a second time. It was to add "two thousand acres of forfeited profitable land, Irish plantation measure," to the lands already set out.

Major Aston. I am sorry that I must move against this. I, therefore, would have it committed, for that those lands are already settled by Act of Parliament upon some poor widows and orphans; unless there be some other provision made for them.

Major-General Jephson. I move that it be committed, to examine this, and it will appear that those widows are otherwise provided for. Otherwise, I am confident, that lord would never have desired it.

Colonel Matthews. I move against the commitment of this proviso; for, by the same rule, all that have served you in their capacities, as every man here has done, may challenge a full satisfaction. Why should we not do this to every body. It is the desire of my soul to be guided by a spirit of righteousness. I speak it in that spirit. Shall I, after I have purchased land, go and say it falls short ? Shall the party that I bought it from, return me what it falls short ? The case is the same; the precedent is dangerous.

Mr. Trevor. There will be no danger of this precedent. I believe it may rather appear that lands elsewhere were undervalued, rather than overvalued, as that which is returned at 500l. may be worth 2,000l. But in this case it is clear that it falls short 300l. I would have it committed for the reason that the other gentlemen offered, lest one act fight with another. Scarce one precedent will be found that the surveys are rather under than over.

Major-General Haines. I move that this clause may be committed; but not to have that clause left out which relates to further satisfaction; and let it stand as for his faithful service, &c. Consider what the particulars are that you do give.

Mr. Highland. I would have it well examined what you do in this case. Hasty proceedings are not for your honour. You will have a great many more that will desire your justice, as well as he. You must not respect persons. I perceive this land is otherwise disposed of. It is much that 1000l. in arrear should be in so short a time to one person. I move that the clause may not be committed.

The question being put, that this proviso be committed,

Mr. Speaker declared for the Yeas. Colonel Matthews for the Noes. The House was divided. The Yeas went out.

Yeas 85. Colonel Jones and Mr. Thelwall, Tellers.

Noes 41. Colonel Welden and Colonel Matthews, Tellers.

So it passed in the affirmative. The clause was committed accordingly; and the debate upon the Bill was adjourned until Wednesday morning.

Mr. Godfrey moved, that there might be a stop made to private satisfaction; and a day appointed, when the Report for the Public Faith (fn. 4) might be made, and that effectually.

Major-General Jephson and The Master of the Rolls seconded that motion, and that it might be on Wednesday next.

Dr. Clarges and Colonel Chadwick moved to second that motion, and that it cried loud to the House for justice.

They were appointing this afternoon for the Committee to meet, but Captain Baynes stood up, and acquainted the House that the Grand Committee for the Customs desired to sit this afternoon. All that come to "the Committee touching the Public Faith, to have voices." (fn. 5)

Per motion of Captain Baynes and Colonel Jones,

Resolved, that the Grand Committee do sit this afternoon upon the Bill for Customs. (fn. 6)

Per motion of Mr. Lloyd,

Resolved, that the Bill for the Adventures for Ireland beread to-morrow morning. (fn. 7)

Major-General Whalley. According to your order, your Committee did attend his Highness, to acquaint him that you had a Bill of Assessments, and several other Bills, and desired to know when his Highness would pass them. He appointed this day, at eleven o' clock.

This morning he sent for the Committee, and said he had received a catalogue of the Bills that are to pass. He had read one of the Bills, and if he should rise at four o' clock in the morning, he could not read them in a whole day. He, therefore, desired that the Committee would meet him in the Fainted Chamber on Wednesday next, at eleven.

Sir Christopher Pack. The Vintners desire longer time for setting their prices of wine. They are now at your doors, and desire to be heard upon their Petition.

Dr. Clarges reported from the Committee, to whom the Bill against New Buildings was referred, the Report upon the Earl of Bedford's Petition, and the Earl of Clare's; and the Petition of the City of Westminster.

The Report upon the Earl of Bedford's Petition was first read. (fn. 8)

The question being put, that the buildings of the Earl of Bedford shall be exempt out of the penalties of this Bill, (fn. 9)

Mr. Speaker declared for the Noes.

Yeas 44. Mr. Trevor and Sir Richard Onslow, Tellers.

Noes 52. Sir J. Copplestone and Mr. Dunch, Tellers.

So it passed in the negative.

Colonel Sydenham. I move for a proviso, to abate Lord Bedford something, as a mark of your favour in regard of his building a church; having paid into the Exchequer 2000l., endowed the church with 100l., and as much to the poor; and he allows a house for the minister, worth 60l. per annum.

Mr. Trevor moved for 5000l. abatement.

Mr. Secretary moved, that this was too little, and that there might be 7000l. abated to him.

Sir John Hobart. I second that motion. These buildings have been chargeable to him, only for ornament sake, and least profit to him. Such buildings and such a church is the honour of the nation.

Mr. Moody. I move that he may have a third part abated; but first see what will come in to you by it.

Mr. Fowell moved, that the 5000l. laid out about the church might be abated; but for the 2000l. paid into the Exchequer, it was to purchase a void patent.

Mr. Trenchard seconded the motion. It was always the method of Parliaments to mix mercy with justice.

Captain Baynes. I see no more equity for my Lord of Bedford than for others to be abated. If he built the church it did advance his houses' rents.

Major-General Kelsey. Consider what you will get by it. It may be this 5000l. may come to a third part; it may be to a moiety. It may be to all. I would rather have it put upon a proportion of the fine.

Sir Christopher Pack seconded that motion.

Mr. West. I differ from that gentleman. The sum, we are well satisfied, will amount to more; and the more certain you are in such cases, the better. I move that the sum may be 7000l.; and it was resolved accordingly.

Mr. Fowell. I move that you would express the reasons, as to the building of the church, and endowing of it, giving to the poor; otherwise you will draw a greater inconvenience upon you. Others will expect the same favour.

That question was so penned and put accordingly. (fn. 10)

Lord Lambert. I offer a Petition from one Mr. Hatton, (fn. 11) of Holborn, to build his house into tenements. He will submit to your fines, as you deal with others in the like nature.

Sir William Strickland seconded that motion.

Colonel Shapcott against that motion. The end was to suppress these nuisances; I therefore move to lay the Petition aside. But the same was read and committed. (fn. 12)

Mr. Godfrey was contra.

The House rose at two o' clock.


  • 1. "For the settling of the Castle of Blarney, and lands to the value of 1,000l. per annum, which were part of the possessions of the Lord Muskerry, upon the Lord Broghill, his heirs and assigns, in satisfaction of his arrears, to the 28th of June, 1650." Journals.
  • 2. The MS. has not recorded their opinions.
  • 3. This was become a description of meritorious public services.
  • 4. See Vol i. p. 93.
  • 5. Journals.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. This Report appears, at length, in the printed Journals of this date. The Earl of Bedford was brought into question on account of his estates of "Covent-Garden and Long-Acre," of which "Francis Earl of Bedford was seised in fee" according to Letters Patent, 6 Car. (1631), and "upon part whereof sundry messaages and buildings had been thentofore erected." There had been, of course, before 1657, further additional letters patent, in which the King " pardons all offences committed or suffered in or by reason of the erecting of those buildings, or in or by reason of the continuance thereof." Under "the Bill against New Buildings," the Earl of Bedford appears, however, to have become liable to a heavy fine; the extension of buildings being regarded as a nuisance. This is the subject of a discussion, which could scarcely have been made interesting, and which I am obliged to omit, as unintelligible, on account of legal references left very imperfect, and blanks which were never filled up.
  • 9. "Upon consideration of the Act of 16 Caroli, for the settling of. certain manors, lands, &c. and of the Ordinance dated the 7th of January, 1645, for making the precinct of Covent-Garden parochial." Journals.
  • 10. "Resolved, that in regard of the great charge that Francis, late Earl of Bedford, hath been at in building a church in Covent Garden, and endowment of the same, and other public charges, it he referred to the Committee, touching buildings, to bring in a proviso, that out of the fines which shall be payable by the Earl of Bedford, John Russell, and Edward Russell, Esquires, his brothers, in respect of the buildings in Covent Garden, by force of this Bill there be the sum of 7000l. abated unto the said Earl, and the said John Russell, and Edward Russell." Journals.
  • 11. Christopher Hatton, according to the Journals. He was a descendant of Sir Christopher Hatton, whose mansion and grounds occupied the site of Hatton-Garden.
  • 12. "To the Committee touching Buildings." Journals.