Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Friday, January 29, 1657.
I came in late, and found the House debating upon the answer which they had received from his Highness by the Committee appointed to attend him; which, it seems, he did not like, as coming not from both Houses, whose privileges he was equally sworn to maintain.
As for the printing of his speech, he said he delivered his mind plainly, but could not remember four lines of it. And for the paper of the charges which he told us of, he would put it into method, and give us a speedy account of it.
This return raised some debate, but the Orders of the day were called for, and it was moved to put it off till the House was fuller; and that the mace be sent for the members into the Hall.
The mace was sent into the Hall for the members, accordingly.
There had been some other business dispatched that morning, per book and per Colonel Grosvener's motion.
Sir Robert Collingwood was called to the bar upon his knees, and presently discharged upon Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper's and Colonel Briscoe's motion, in regard there was none to prosecute against him. Mr. Crouch met me afterwards, and gave me thanks for my pains that morning in that business.
The mace being returned, the report of his Highness's answer yesterday to the Committee, was called for and read.
The substance of it was that he spoke to both Houses, and was sworn accordingly, and was tender of the privileges of either House. As to his speech he could not remember four lines of it.
See the report at large in the Journal, and the Committee's resolution.
Altum silentium for a while; then stood up
Mr. Thistlethwaite. I move to take notice of his Highness's reiteration, "I say the House of Lords."It seems his Highness looks upon the other House as joined in the legislature, and he said he would rather die than suffer a breach of privilege to either House, to which he was sworn. Our sitting here is fruitless, unless we come to an understanding between the two Houses. I desire you would take up that debate.
Sir Arthur Hoslerigge. I thought not to have troubled you, but I cannot see any thing pass that may be a breach of the privileges of this House and the liberties of England, to which I am sworn, and will, with my life and my all, maintain. I come not here to make any faction or division. I did observe what his Highness said to the Committee, that he would communicate the point of money to both Houses, whereas it is the undoubted, inherent, right of the Commons to have the business of money wholly and absolutely communicated to this House. I would have, in all humility, an acknowledgment and a representation of our desires in this case.
Mr. Drake. I hope you will not take a report of a single person about the report of your Committee. There is nothing of the point of money, by his Highness mentioned as to be communicated to both Houses; and for that which the worthy gentleman is pleased to say of that victorious Parliament, (fn. 1) I have heard him say in the place where he now sits, that let pur debates and votes go which way they would, it is the long sword must carry it.
Mr. Trevor. It is not improper to communicate to both Houses the necessities of the nations in point of monies; and I am glad to hear that worthy gentleman take so good an aim as the constitution of this House, when there were three estates. (fn. 2) My motion is that you take up the debate upon the message: which was twice read over, and after awhile ahum silentium:—stood up
Mr. Pedley. The substance of the message is good. That which is before us, is under what title you will answer the same.
All our ancient books and records make mention of that other House, under the title of Lords. The ancientest book is that of the Saxon laws, which saith, Epispocorum, Magnatum, et aliorum sapientium Regni. From Edward III. till Richard II. no addition of Lords, till Henry VI. time, the family of the Poynings. Then it was Dominus de Poynings: but ever since the Houses sate apart (fn. 3) they have been called Peers; but that they were all actually called Lords, I know not.
I find several records that those that were called Lords, one Parliament, were not so called, another Parliament. George de Latimer, (Henry VIII.,) called Lord then, and, after, Knight.
Lord Coke (1st Part of Institutes) says, whosoever is once called to sit in Parliament, he is ever after called a Peer. Inheritance may be created by writ, without the word " heir." (2nd Part of Institutes).
Mr. Selden's " Titles of Honour" saith, that Banneret is but a title of Baron. Admit these were Lords, whether, by your Petition they are to be called Lords or that they are Lords, you have limited them in some things. You intended not that to be the title, " the other House;" for then, addresses thither may as well be meant of this House.
The writ doth agree with former writs. You have made the chief magistrate to exercise as other chief magistrates have done. If he does exercise by this name, according to the laws of the land, then this writ, if he send it out as other chief magistrates have done, you give it the very same effect as other writs have had.
You have, by your Petition and Advice, declared a limitation of inheritances to the Lords, yet they must have the same dignity, and in my opinion this other House must be called a Lords' House.
Mr. Scot. Truly it was in my mind to have moved you that a matter of this consequence should be debated in a Grand Committee; but it may now seem too late. I shall therefore offer my opinion. I am not studied to answer all that that gentleman has said, but I shall give it this answer. The business before you is now res integra, without looking back at any thing else. I shall state the case. We all know the state of our affairs under former powers of this kind; what encroachments upon both our civil and religious liberties. You have them reckoned up, all the encroachments of this kind, in a declaration of that Long Parliament.
I cannot but remember what was charged upon the late king, upon the vote for Non-Addresses, his not suffering his father's blood to come into question. (fn. 4) I hope I shall never be suspected to be Cavalierish: I have always opposed that. See the two declarations, a full prophecy that a king shall never return (fn. 5) to rule over us.
It was with great unwillingness of his, that he met a Par-, liament. Before, it was almost treason to speak of Parliaments, albeit the laws said Parliaments should be called once a year if there was occasion. (fn. 6)
If you resort to the ancientness of Parliaments, you willfind it as that gentleman said; but the other House was justly cast out (fn. 7) by their being clogs upon passing of many good laws.
The Scots, when the king was at Carisbrook Castle, invaded England, not as brethren, but to impose a king upon you. (fn. 8) The Lords were then desired that they would declare this invasion of the Scots, enmity, and as enemies to the nations, which, for their affection to the King, they would not do. (fn. 9)
You know afterwards what happened. By the virtue of two or three hundred thousand pounds the Scots were persuaded to give over, and leave their King in Carisbrook Castle. (fn. 10)
After the House of Commons had declared all this of nonaddresses and the like; yet the Lords voted addresses notwithstanding. (fn. 11) The major part of this House voted the like. (fn. 12) The army foresaw that their liberties were likely to be betrayed.
I am for trusting the people with their liberties as soon as any; but when they come to irregularities, and the major part grow corrupt, they must be regulated by miracle, or otherwise perish. The soldiers see their cause betrayed; the city and apprentices all discontented: (fn. 13) and if the army had not then appeared, where had then our cause been. (fn. 14)
The Lords would not join in the trial of the King. (fn. 15) We must lay things bare and naked. We were either to lay all that blood of ten years war upon ourselves, or upon some other object. We called the King of England to our bar, and arraigned him. He was for his obstinacy and guilt condemned and executed; and so let all the enemies of God perish. The House of Commons had a good conscience in it. Upon this the Lord's House adjourned, and never met, (fn. 16) and hereby came a farewell of all those Peers, and it was hoped the people of England should never have a negative upon them.
You are now moved to have both titles. There is neither House of Lords nor King yet; so that your clerk might well have taken that oath which Mr. Schobell took. (fn. 17)
I shall now say why they are not, why they ought not to be, a House of Lords.
1. You have not called them so. In all your Petition and Advice you have not said a word of it. Oh, but you intended it, said he. (fn. 18) It appears to me you never intended it, because you never said it; and it is reason enough for me to say it.
Shall I, that sat in a Parliament that brought a King to the bar, and to the block, not speak my mind freely here ? Could you ever so seasonably express yourselves, when it came so regularly and roundly as " King, Lords, and Commons;" though I trust you will not do it so handsomely.
2. Those that now sit in that House that would be Lords, did they, or not, advise you to make them Lords ? Let me argue in a dilemma.
Did they think to be Lords ? Then it was their modesty. Did they not think to be Lords? Then they voted like Englishmen; just, entire, like choosing the Roman general.
I think you have not yet meant to put a negative upon the people of England; I suppose you would not call them Lords, for tenderness of the consciences of the people of England. They are under an Engagement, (fn. 21) and I hope you will be as tender as you were to the point of a King; and you will not come under the crime of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which caused Israel to sin. (fn. 22)
I come to show why you now should not make a House; I should say, a House of Lords. I cry you mercy ! If there be a House of Lords, it is more reason to call the old peerage; and there is not one of them there, as I am informed. But you cannot call them for impossibility. You have not a quorum, (fn. 23) not half a quorum of persons qualified. Those that be, fail in the very formalis causa, estates and interest. Anciently the Bishops, Abbots, and Lords, their tenants, and relations, could engage half England. The Providence of God has so ordered it, that England is turned a Commonwealth, and do what you can, you cannot make it otherwise; and if you join any with them in the legislature it will not do your work.
The administrations of God's dealings are against you. Is not God staining the glory and pride of the world. Is there any thing but a Commonwealth that flourishes; Venice against the pride of the Ottoman family. All their mountains are pulled down. God governs the world, as he governs his church, by plain things and low things. It was this that led your Long Parliament; the Providence of God, that virtue and honesty should govern the world; not that I am for fifth monarchy. (fn. 24)
II. Why not this House to be Peers ?
1. Because they are but Commoners, and were yesterday here. It is not agreeable to the qualification of Commoners. For ought appears to you, they sit as a part of the Commons, in another place. They have not the reason of the quality of Lords. They have not interest, not the forty thousandth part of England.
2. Have they an interest; had they an interest; why not sit here ? The interest follows the persons. As they have none by sitting there, they lose interest by it. The old nobility will not, do not, sit there. They lose that interest. You lose the people of England by it.
They were, by the Providence of God, set free from any negative. Will they thank you, if you bring such a negative upon them? the people that have bled for you, that have not gained by you, But you by them. What was fought for, but to arrive at that capacity to make your own laws ?
3. The unhandsome posture you bring yourselves into by. it; to stand here to that House, not like a Parliament of England. I know no number of men that represent so many thousands that should have that respect. (He told a story of the Senator of Rome's answer to the King.) (fn. 25)
Consider the consequences, that you charge not all the blood upon the great Parliament. The blood that shut out a negative stands at your door. (fn. 26) Some of Queen Mary's blood (fn. 27) lies here. I have heard of some motion for a day of humiliation for this blood. (fn. 28) Yon must put on the King's head again, which was surely taken without his consent and the Lords' too. Let not the people of England petition to have fetters upon them. Let it be your patience, and not your desires. It is not noble for the people of England to seek this.
1. Objection, it is an old custom, an old constitution.
This is an argument for popery, prelacy, and atheism. True, Adam in his: innocency was before Adam in his apostasy.
2. They are made Lords. They that made them another House made them Lords. I will not say but his Highness has power of honour, but not to set up courts. I would as soon be knighted under his sword in the camp, as under any man that ever gave honour.
The argument is sophistry: you made them another House; his Highness made them Lords; therefore they are a House of Lords. You have settled them only as a high Court of Justice; but if you make them a co-ordinate power with you, you give them the power of your purses, of peace and war, of making laws; and magistrates to execute them.
The people of Israel were governed by themselves; by the people. The people met, saith the text, and went to Hebron. (fn. 29) The people have power of all these things. God submits all his administrations to the people, (fn. 30) with reverence may I say it. God left to Adam to name all creatures. God did not say this is a lion, this is a bear; but Adam gave names to every creature. So he did to the woman, because a rib out of his side gave her a name. This House is a rib out of your side. You have given it a name. My motion is, that you would not alter it.
Sir Arthur Hasterigge. I should be glad to make any good motion. This business before you is a matter of great life and consequence. It is the effect of much blood and treasure. I should move that it may be seriously debated in a grand Committee, and taken up to-morrow morning; and that you would now go to dinner.
Mr. St. Nicholas. I second that motion, that you would now rise, and take up this debate to-morrow in a Grand Committee; it being a business of eminent consequence, and that whereon depends a great deal of our liberties that we are sworn to.
Major-General Boteler. I move, for saving time, that you adjourn till this business be over.
Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper. I second the motion to have it debated in a Grand Committee. It will be most proper in a business of this consequence, and cannot be denied.
Mr. Gewen stood up, and offered some answer to the long oration, as he called it, made by Mr. Scot; and endeavoured to answer some reflections upon some of that victorious Parliament, which he (fn. 31) called the corrupt party. He was taken down.
Mr. Weaver moved to take down Mr. Gewen, and justified Mr. Scot's motion, and seconded the motion to have it debated in a Grand Committee; it being a matter of great moment to the people of England.
Mr. Serjeant Maynard. You have resolved even now, that this debate shall be adjourned till to-morrow; and now you come to speak of a Grand Committee. The debate being ended, no other motion ought to be put.
Mr. Gewen. The gentleman that made the long oration did, in substance, say, Nolumus hunc Regnare. (fn. 32) He shows himself a thorough paced Republican. There was such a sharp reflection upon that Parliament. He speaks that the greatest part were corrupt. I desire he may explain of whom he means; those that were peaceably spirited, and would not go that length that some did, who could bring over the army to purge the House (fn. 33) of such spirits as inclined to peace, and then call them the corrupt party. I like not such reflections.
Colonel Shapcott. I move to adjourn the debate till tomorrow morning; but if you go to a grand Committee, you. will never come to an end.
Serjeant Maynard. If you put the question to adjourn, you exclude the other question, as to a grand Committee; so you need not cry No.
Colonel Matthews. The other question was first moved, viz. for a grand Committee.
Resolved, that this debate be adjourned till to-morrow morning.
Colonel Morley moved to put off the question about a grand Committee till to-morrow.
Mr. Bodurda moved against a grand Committee.
Major Morgan. There will be no end of a grand Committee; and if you must have such a question for a grand Committee, put it now.
Colonel Shapcott and Mr. Trevor. It will look strangely upon your books, that you will go into a grand Committee to consider what answer you will give to a message for a fast. (fn. 34)
Mr. Weaver and Sir Arthur Haslerigge pressed to rise now, and take it up to-morrow morning.
Captain Baynes. I move that you put the question, whe ther that question shall be now put.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge. There is a great deal of blood and treasure depends upon this question, and though two speakings take up a day, it may very well be two months debate; and after I have half answered the arguments against it in the House, I may answer the other half in a Grand Committee. It is a matter of the greatest consequence that ever can be to the people of England.
The question being put, that the question be now put,
Mr. Speaker declared for the Noes.
Captain Dunch for the Yeas.
The Noes went forth.
Yeas 84. Sir John Thorowgood and Sir John Coppleston, Tellers.
Noes 78. Sir Thomas Rous and Mr. Windham, Tellers.
So it passed in the affirmative.
The main question being put for a Grand Committee, it passed in the negative.
Sir Arthur Haslerigge and others offered, that notwithstanding it might, in the morning, be moved to bring it to a Grand Committee, they hoped no man should be debarred of speaking his mind freely, and as often as he pleased in a business of this great weight and importance to the people of England; but it came to no further question.
The House rose at one. I did attend no Committees this day.