The Diary of Thomas Burton: 8 June 1657

Pages 191-201

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

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In this section

Monday, June 8, 1657.

The Speaker took the chair (the House having waited half an hour for a minister, and none came) and was going to proceed without prayers, but

Mr. Bampfield stood up. This is the first precedent that ever the House went to business without prayer. (fn. 1) You are now going upon public business. So I hope you are not in such haste but you will take a blessing along with you.

Hereupon the House staid awhile.

Lord Whitlock. I move to excuse the minister that should have attended, but is gone to Chelsea. He was ignorant of your orders, but is a very honest and faithful man as any of his profession.

Major-General Whalley told Mr. Downing that he was a minister, and he would have him to perform the work.

Mr. Downing acknowledged he was once a minister. (fn. 2)

Dr. Clarges. There is a very honest minister, a Scotchman, at the door.

He was sent out for him, but came in and acquainted the House that he was gone; and they called upon Dr. Clarges to do the work, but he withdrew.

Some said, that the Speaker used to exercise, in the absence of a minister. Others said, the clerk; but, nobody coming, the House proceeded without any prayer.

A long Bill for naturalizing was read the third time, notwithstanding the late express order to exclude all private business; but the House grumbled. (fn. 3)

Sir Christopher Pack produced a proviso for paying strangers' customs.

Then prayers were called for, which a minister performed accordingly.

Sir Christopher Pack again tendered the proviso, and said, that Mr. Noel was appointed to tender it.

Per myself, Colonel Carter, and Colonel Shapcott,

The proviso excepted against as irregularly come in; there being no Committee when the proviso passed, and the House sitting too.

Mr. Speaker and Mr. Pedley. Any member may offer it.

The same was tendered accordingly.

Mr. Godfrey, Major-General Whalley, Captain Baynes and Colonel Shapcott, were against it. They said, none are naturalized but such as come hither for their religion, and for being sufferers for you, and we have more need of friends now than ever, and there will not be any loss of customs by it. The merchants can colour goods as well as strangers, and it is to that end, that they may wholly colour them. It is not just nor honourable to give them a privilege, and take it away again.

Sir Christopher Pack and Alderman Foot. It will lose us 40,000l. per annum, in customs.

After some further debate, the House was divided. The Yeas went forth.

Yeas 43. Alderman Foot and Mr. Lloyd, Tellers.

Noes 63. Major-General Disbrowe, and Major-General Whalley, Tellers.

Sir Christopher Pack was appointed to be a Teller, but he stood up and said, nobody knew whether he should go out or no, and so Mr. Lloyd was appointed in his stead.

It passed in the negative.

Sir Christopher Pack offered another proviso, to preserve the rights and duties payable to the City. Though you give away your own customs, you will not give away the City's. They have deserved not so ill from you.

Colonel Shapcott moved against this proviso.

Mr. Noel. I was against the other proviso, because, in my judgment, it was not for your service. All places in the world favour strangers. You pay less in the Indies, Portugal, and else, where you trade, three per cent. less than the natives. I know it is no loss to your customs, if all were freely admitted to trade.

Mr. Lloyd. I will find farmers to give 40,000l. for this strangers' customs. I rise up to disabuse you in it, for I know you are misinformed.

Mr. Recorder. It is the first time that ever I heard a question put upon a proviso, till it was first read. The House is not possessed of it. Of sixty provisos tendered to the Act of Oblivion, (fn. 4) all were read the first time.

Mr. Speaker, the clerk, and others said, that the practice was often the contrary.

This proviso was put to the question, and passed also in the negative, before any body stood up to except.

Colonel Holland moved that one Harmon Scott, a surgeon, might be added, to be naturalized in this Bill. The question being put,

Mr. Speaker declared for the Yeas, and it was excepted for the Noes; but the Yeas, rather than go out, yielded it.

Another proviso was offered, not to exempt any person from paying strangers' or aliens' duties until the rising of the next Parliament, and no longer (fn. 5)

Lord Lambert moving for this proviso, they carried it.

Yeas 63, went forth. Sir Thomas Honywood and Mr. Cobb, Tellers.

Noes 50. Sir John Barkstead and Major Morgan, Tellers.

The proviso was read again.

Mr. Speaker declared it not to be sense, because it related to a Parliament rising, that was not yet set.

Colonel Shapcott. This is all one as if you had made it for life; for, in all probability, it may be seven years before the next Parliament rise.

Sir William Strickland. I move that you lay aside this proviso, till the next Parliament; for, till then, it is not possible to make it sense.

Mr. Godfrey. It is neither sense nor reason. It will ap pear ill upon your journals, that you vote and unvote. Just now you said, they should pay no custom, and now you lay it upon them for their lives; for seven years is no less.

Colonel Stewart. This contention is de lanâ caprinâ. (fn. 6) You have declared the proviso is not sense; and how can they be satisfied, that either spoke for, or against it, in the debate?

Lord Lambert and Colonel Sydenham. Though it was a little missed sense, that might be mended. The justice and equity remain. Will you lay, and continue burthens upon your friends, and wholly excuse strangers. Truly this will not be for your honour nor service. You discourage your own merchants.

Major-General Disbrowe. You encourage trade, though you discourage, haply, some other persons. I would wholly lay aside the Bill, rather than take away their privileges. It is useless to your customs.

Mr. Bond. I wonder any man dare bring in such a nonsensical proviso. I know you are misinformed in that loss of your customs. There were never above 2000l. made of strangers' customs. There is not passed three or four men, in all this Bill, that are merchants: if those have crept in, will you reject all your friends for it ?

Major Aston. The proviso stands as much in need of being naturalized, as any person in the Bill. It is as much alien as any part of the Bill. I understand not the language of it, so would have it rejected.

Dr. Clarges. I am against the proviso, both for the nonsense and unreasonableness of it. Your customs and excise will increase by the Bill. They will now trade openly, and not secretly, as they have done. It is an Act of your grace and favour, and let them have the real effects of it.

The question was put for the second reading of the proviso. It passed in the negative.

And the Bill being thus read, passed into a law.

Mr. Bampfield. It is now half an hour past eleven, and all taken up with private business. I desire no more may be admitted of this kind.

Mr. Speaker stood up and said, he thought it would not have held so long. He craved excuse and said, till Tuesday se'nnight you shall not have one private Bill read.

He acquainted the House that he had a letter touching the Irish officers, (fn. 7) from his Highness.

It was moved to put it off till Wednesday next, and it was so resolved.

Lord Lambert moved, and it was so resolved, that the same day be appointed for the debate upon the other letter, "touching the Lancashire forces." (fn. 8)

The orders of the day being read,

There was a great debate which should be presented, the Bill for Adventurers for lands in Ireland, or that for the new buildings.

The question was put for reading the Bill for the Adventurers, and the House was going to be divided; but it was yielded, and the Bill was read.

Mr. Speaker took notice that the Bill was of consequence, and there was a great noise in the House.

Major Morgan. You have need to attend to this Bill. I hope it will never pass; it is such a Bill.

Mr. Godfrey and others said, he ought not to pass his judgment beforehand upon any Bill, and it was unparliamentary; but he ventured to break orders, out of design.

The House rose at one o'clock.

Post meridiem.

Sir James Mac Dowell made a Report upon the Bill for the Assessments in Scotland, (fn. 9) which held two hours.

The Bill for satisfaction of the soldiers in Ireland, was read the third time, and several provisos offered to it, and passed.

Mr. Bond moved one, that none should have more land than is duly their share.

Mr. Bampfield offered another proviso to save the estates of Sir John Barrington, Mr. Turner, and other adventurers, "by virtue of the Act made in the 17th year of the late King Charles," (fn. 10) which passed.

Major Morgan and Major Aston. As a mark of your favour, and as a memorial to posterity, that the Lord Deputy (fn. 11) has done you service, or has been there, sell out some lands for him in Ireland.

Lord Whitlock and Sir William Strickland moved, that he might have lands settled upon him to the value of 1500l. per annum.

Colonel Stewart seconded. The question was going to be put—

Mr. Bampfield. I move, that for your honour you would not give such large rewards to one another: it was the blame of the Long Parliament. You have most need to pay your debts to the poor souls that daily cry at your doors. I honour that person beyond any man; but it is not for your honour to do it at this time. Again, it is worth 30,000l. and that is money, and you stand in need of it.

Major-General Haines seconded the motion.

Dr. Clarges. He is Lord Deputy, and one of the Privy Council, and has several other great places of trust. They used, in former times, to give gratuities ad sustentandum honoremt onus, et nomen, and he well deserves a great deal more at your hands, than the sum propounded.

Major-General Disbrowe. I am sorry to hear such a question called for. If I were desirous to bring a reproach upon this honourable person, I would move this question. It is neither for his honour nor yours, at this season, to give gratuities of this nature. You are in debt to many poor people that want bread, whose cries ascend high; many poor soldiers' unsatisfied, and great occasion for monies, as ever you had.

If I did not honour and love that person, as myself, I should not move you to lay aside this question. God has owned him, and he has a competent fortune, and is no worse that he has had no such mark of favour upon him.

Mr. Moody moved for the question.

Mr. Godfrey. I am against the question, for the reasons alledged by General Disbrowe.

Major-General Goffe. It is much for the public service to put such a mark of favour upon this person that has deserved so well. I would have you put the question for the sum that is propounded.

Colonel Shapcott. This question comes in against the orders of the House; for you have resolved no private business shall intrude. I honour the person as much as any man, but I think it is not for your honour to give any such gratuities at this season, till your Public Faith, and other debts be paid. By the computation of those worthy members, who say that they pass assessments at seventy per cent, by this rule you give this person the seventieth part of Ireland.

Lord Lambert. I would not have it said the nation is in that weak condition that this will undo them. The honourable person deserves a great deal more; and my reason why I move it is, because I know it will not please him. (fn. 12)

I wish it had not been mentioned; but to lay it aside, will be a great discouragement to many good men. That gentleman speaks too late to the orders of the House, because the House is possessed now of it. That gentleman is mistaken in the computation, for it is not the 7000th part, nor another cypher.

Sir Richard Onslow. Now the question is moved, you cannot well part from it. It is no private business, but a public compensation out of the certificate-lands which were always given to honourable persons, that had so well merited.

Colonel White. I move, that for justifying yourselves, and that honourable person, you would insert it in your question that it is in compensation for all his arrears. I could wish it had not come in: but, as it is moved, you cannot, without reflection, lay it aside.

Major-General Whalley. We have as little need to be lavish of the public purse as ever; but, in such a case as this, I wonder it should abide any debate, knowing the eminency of this person, who has served you faithfully in both nations. I was an eye-witness of his merit. You have set him up as a beacon upon a hill, put him in high place; and I know he has not at all sought himself; has not improved, but rather impaired, his estate. He is a just man, and one that serves God. I desire you will put the question for this 1500l. per annum.

Colonel Briscoe. This person does eminently deserve as any man; but, for the censure abroad, and your present condition, it is not for your honour to do it at this season. I speak not this of myself, but by special commission from him. He, with great passion, and, I am confident, ex. animo, did desire me that I would move against it.

Colonel Holland. It is not only an act of justice, but of mercy to the nation. It is your duty; and it would prejudice and dishonour the nation, if you should lay it aside. I have known him, when all were rewarded, refuse that positively; and if you stay till he consent to accept a gratuity, he will never accept it. You may keep your gratuity.

Mr. Grove. Put the question whether that question shall be now put. I may hereafter be free to give my vote; but, at this season, I cannot, hearing so many clamours at your doors for just debts.

Major Beake. Lay aside this question. God knows upon what account I do it. We cannot cloister up this vote within these walls. It will appear without doors. You have followed the very worst path and track that the Long Parliament trod in; but if you will deliver yourselves and this person from the scourge of the tongue, keep your own honour and his too. It is hitherto unspotted. Your debts are insuperable upon you. Either you do it as an act of favour, or of justice: if of favour, you may choose a better season for it; if of justice, then justice ought to be equally distributed, and one may expect it as well as another. If I should move for another person, you could not deny it, according to the measure of his merit, for justice is alike; and how you will open a gap and stop it again, to such an inconvenience, I leave it to you to judge. The poor people's cries are a load upon you, and such gratuities as these are ill-timed. I desire you would lay it aside.

The question being put, if that question shall be now put,

Mr. Speaker declared for the Yeas.

General Disbrowe for the Noes. The Noes went out.

Yeas 43. Lord Lambert and General Montagu, Tellers.

Noes 42. Major-General Disbrowe and Mr. Bampfield, Tellers.

The main question being put, upon the motion of General Disbrowe, the House was again divided.

Yeas 45, went out. Major-General Whalley and MajorGeneral Goffe, Tellers.

Noes 43. Major-General Berry and Colonel Shapcott, Tellers.

So it passed in the affirmative. (fn. 13)

Major-General Disbrowe. I move, that you will let no business break in upon you; but only matter of raising monies, and the settlement of the nations; which was resolved. (fn. 14)

Major Aston reported amendments to the Bill for Assessments on Ireland, (fn. 15) which were twice read, and agreed to in the gross, and ordered to be ingrossed.

Mr. Fowell excepted against the amendments, for that only the land of Ireland was mentioned, and no person's estate mentioned.

The Bill being read, it was found relating both to real and personal estate.

Mr. Bampfield excepted against the amendments, for that the title says, it is for three months' assessments; whereas the vote was to lay 20,000l. upon Ireland in a gross sum. He also excepted to the word "land," and that personal estate was not in the enacting part, but only in the directing part, for the way of levying it; but without an enacting power they could not. To solve this mistake, the words "the land of" was left out, and it stood only "Ireland."

Mr. Bodurda and Mr. Godfrey excepted against that pattern for a proportion, but would let it rather go in a gross sum. There was great weight laid upon this.

Colonel Shapcott. This is not worth the while. I hope you will remember this abatement when you come to tax Ireland.

Major Morgan. I hope you will put no greater burden upon Ireland than it is able to bear. You may do what you please with it; but though this gentleman is angry, and ready to lay such a tax upon Ireland, I hope the Parliament will not do it. Then I presume he will not. We look for abatement rather than increase, otherwise we shall not be able to undergo it.

Mr. Secretary. I move that the Bill for the 600,000l. ayear aid be brought in to-morrow, as being of the greatest consequence.

It was resolved that it be brought in to-morrow at two o'clock.

Dr. Clarges moved, that the Report upon the new-buildings be proceeded upon to-morrow morning; and so it was resolved, &c. Sat till eight.


  • 1. "The Litany is read the first thing after the Speaker is set in the chair. So agreed upon the motion of Mr. Speaker, 13th Elizabeth, 1571."Lex Parliamentaria, (1690) p. 148. "1642, 19th April. Ordered, that whosoever shall not be here at prayers, every morning, at eight o'clock, shall pay 1s. to the poor."See "Orders of the House of Commons," (1756.) p. 28.
  • 2. Wood describes "George Downing," as "a sider with all times and changes, well-skilled in the common cant, and a preacher, sometimes to boot." Athen. Oxon. (1692.) ii. 27. Governor Hutchinson relates, that when Sir George Downing was ambassador in Holland, in 1671, "they printed the sermons he preached in Oliver's time, and drew three pictures of him. 1. Preaching in a tub, over it was, 'this I was.' 2. A treacherous courtier, over it, 'this I am.' 3. Hanging on a gibbet, and over it, 'this I shall be.'" See "The History of the Colony of Massachuset's Bay." (1765) i. 3. note.
  • 3. Because the order was violated by the Speaker, for the sake of his fees. See Vol. i. p. 376. note*
  • 4. Passed February 24, 1651–2.
  • 5. Journals.
  • 6. An allusion to Horace, Lib. i. Ep. 18. 115.
  • 7. "And soldiers, who served the Commonwealth in Ireland, before 1649." Journals.
  • 8. Ibid.
  • 9. "For raising 15,000l." Journals.
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. Of Ireland, Lieutenant-General Fleetwood.
  • 12. See his refusal to accept this grant, infra.
  • 13. "Resolved, that lands of inheritance, of the clear yearly value of 1500l. of the forfeited lands in Ireland, as they were in 1640, be settled on the Lord Deputy of Ireland, and his heirs, as a reward of his many faithful and great services done for this Commonwealth, and as a testimony of the great respect of the Parliament unto him; and that a Bill he brought in, to that purpose." Journals.
  • 14. "That nothing shall be admitted to intervene for these six days, but that which concerns raising of money, and settling the nations; and that Mr. Speaker do put the House in mind of this order." Journals.
  • 15. "For raising 20,000l." Ibid.