Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 2, April 1657 - February 1658. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.
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Thursday, February 4,1657–8.
When I came in, I found
Sir Arthur Haslerigge moving for a new writ to issue out, for choosing a Member for Hereford.
Mr. Scot stood up and seconded that motion.
Mr. Bodurda. There cannot a writ issue out under the old form; for then it must go in the King's name (rex). You must first make a new writ, as part of your legislature. There must be first a correspondence between us and that other House. His Highness has resolved to have it by that title. I desire you would go to that question.
Mr. Chute made a Speech, that the motion was good, but not well timed. He moved, instead, to put it off till the greater business be over.
Mr. Darky. I move to put this off your hands. Refer it to a Committee. This business is a great business. The "other House" are at best but your younger brother, and by the rule of heraldry they ought to bear a distinction.
Mr. Onslow. You have spent three days' debate about this business.
The order of the day was read.
Mr. Speaker propounded the question twice.
Colonel Cox. I have not spoke to this debate. This is the first time that ever I heard a House of Lords spoken of.
They were talked on, to be a balance. (fn. 1)
Lord Strafford. (fn. 2)
Sir John Suckling. (fn. 3)
Mr. Noy, when once he came to be Attorney-gene ral, was the greatest enemy that the liberties of England had. (fn. 4)
Baron Thorp. I was one of those that did freely and heartily give my consent to take away the House of Lords; and my only reason was their negative voice. They stood so as a screen between you and the King, that you could not address to the King but by them, and though they said they would send—.
I beseech you consider the gospel. (fn. 5) You are going to build a house. Consider the cost that you will be at with building the Tower. I have no quarrel to Lords, or Lords' House, but the attendances I fear. First charge, what will become of your old Lords ?
1. The charge of injustice; to take away them and their birthright, which they brought into the world with them. (fn. 6)
2. The charge of your negative voice. What will that cost you? Before you prescribe the rules, first circumscribe them; and I will freely give my consent as any.
To advise and consult with you, as the Petition says, (fn. 7) but not to control. I know what a word here, and answered out of doors, will do. It will do wonders.
The last words of the Petition whip up the heels of whatever you have done in the Petition and Advice; so that all that ever you have limited them in, is gone. (fn. 8) And if you call them Lords, that will be claimed, and easily holden out.
I do plainly speak my mind and shall do. I acknowledge the old constitution, by Lords and Commons, to be the best constitution; I ever thought it. But if we are now returning to what we were; what have we got by the war.
1. Ascertain them in your proceedings.
2. Take care for the old Lords. (fn. 9)
3. Take care about the negative voice.
And till then (fn. 10)
Mr. Fowell I must differ from these worthy gentlemen, that you are now building a House. You have built the old House of Lords. We have a maxim in law, the composers shall have the explication.
You are under the Constitution by three estates, two Houses of Parliament, and a single person. What shall the two houses be? Shall they be two Houses of Lords, or two Houses of Commons ?
A house divided cannot stand. You do more than all the Cavaliers could ever do. This is the way to open the bag, indeed, at both ends. We know no other name for the two Houses, but Lords and Commons. The King was, and so is the Protector, the fountain of honour.
It is clear they are Lords by the writ. It is clear in Nevil's and Lord Delamere's case. (Lord Coke's first part of Institutes.)
Their extravagancies are lopped off.
I am of opinion that they are Lords; and you cannot annex a custom to a new House;. for it must have time to be a custom.
My motion is, that you concur with them in that title. You cannot alter it by bill.
Colonel Matthews. The Commons of England have no places, no offices to give; as we shall expect none from them. All we have to do is clearly to understand how we part with their liberties.
There is nothing so dear but that it is a new House; and it is asked what shall it relate to ? It relates to the House of Commons. You may, no question, divide this House into two or three Houses.
If it had not intended another House, (fn. 13) it would, in express terms, have said so; but not a word of that restitution in your Petition and Advice; not a word of repealing the Act against the House of Lords. (fn. 14)
It was in debate, the negative voice in the legislature.
1. The great reason was then, that Bills passed too hastily here; that you could not debate laws here.
2. A judicial power. Complaints from Courts of Justice and Equity, which would take up much of your time. That you might attend the business of safety and monies, &c., here was your ground of another House. There was something of that in the proceedings against that wicked person Nayler, (fn. 15) that you wanted a power in such matters.
I am not against the name of Lords by way of appellation, as an honour to them; but to give it with all the powers and privileges, I cannot consent.
The ground of the quarrel with the King was his invasion upon the people's liberties, and the negative voice. (fn. 16) You not obstruct that. They were only formed to consult and advise. I shall allow them that.
Here is no revival of a House of Lords, but a fortiori against it. " The last words " (fn. 17) do not exclude the former restrictions; but only relate to the taking of the approbation from this House.
The word " further" (fn. 18) signifies something. I cannot say it is a redundancy. It implies that a power of approbation is also elsewhere.
There is no intention to revive the other House.
There is an Act of the three estates unrepealed, whereby for ever it is limited, that the Chief Magistrate shall not send up any member to the other House but by consent of the other House. (fn. 19)
It is not an old obsolete thing, that we do not know when. It was very lately, even in Anno 7 Jac. both Houses sat in a Parliament together, in the Court of Requests, prepared as for the Parliament of England. I have a clear record for it. They did not stand, but sat. It was upon creating a Prince of Wales. (fn. 20) The Lords sat on one side; the Commons on the other.
It may easily be made out, that upon conferences, a Committee of the Lords came down to conference here, in this House: in 7 Hen. VIII. I know not that distance is so much as before.
I grant this to be the House of Commons. We shall never be ashamed of it. Why may we not give them this appellation, " My Lords and Gentlemen of the other House;" there are Lords, by courtesy, in this House; and why may it not be said so here, " My Lords and Gentlemen of this House:" I am no leveller; I profess it, I am for distinction. The word "gentleman" is a title of no small honour. (fn. 21) In Spain, it is of high esteem, and a saying there is "As good a gentleman as the king."
Why may you not enter it so in your books ? And your messengers may curtail it in delivering the message. The writ is not the old writ, but grounded upon the Petition and Advice.
Let us not do any thing, I beseech you, that may insnare us.
Mr. Onslow. I wonder to see so much time spent about names. I think there is not so much in it. Let these words be added to the question, " that the giving of this title shall not extend to the giving of any powers more then are given, or shall be given by the Petition and Advice."
Colonel Morley. I am against that addition. Your order will be insignificant, if you own them by another title than you have given them. I fear you can hardly mend it, when you would. How meanly soever the old Lords be spoken of, there are some of them of as much piety as any in this or the other House.
All precedents are out of doors in this case. Let me know whenever there was a precedent for calling a House of Lords of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
You will dissolve the union between the nations, and I question whether you shall ever have the company of any from thence, to sit here again.
My motion is to call them Lords and Gentlemen, and that will clearly be the exclusion of a House of Peers.
Mr. Doddridge. You have two messages to return an answer to, and it is fit you should agree of a way of correspondency; yet it is a matter of such difficulty that I know not what, at present, to advise.
I cannot consent to give the tide that is mentioned. My reasons are only grounded upon the Petition and Advice. They are to be nominated by his Highness, and when it was first brought in, it was modestly brought in, the approbation here. (fn. 22) But to place the disposition of one of the estates in one, (fn. 23) it is hard, and the Commons have little right by that. I could rather agree that they should be hereditary. Their sons may be better, than what another man shall choose.
I am not only against the title, but the thing. It is an embryo; a child of five months old. It wants form and figure.
The business of the disposition of money excludes us wholly from ever meddling. The Excise and Customs were never granted longer than for three years. (fn. 24) There are other imper fections in the Petition and Advice, much to be excepted against.
Serjeant Maynard. The question is not now what you will do, but what you have done. I should be much of that gentleman's opinion, were we to begin again. We sit by virtue of the law, and cannot now dispute it. And the question before you is, whether this shall be the Lords' House.
I cannot tell how to name another house than the House of Commons, but the Lords' House. And as to the negative upon you, if that be not clear by what you have done, I understand it not.
If there must be two Houses, it cannot be one House. If you say they are a House of Commons, qui dividit, destruit. And if you invest them in that, you give them the greatest privilege that ever was. If so, they are a swarm from this House, and will be a hive, as well as you.
Can you pass a law without them ? You have put no restraint upon them, more than upon yourselves.
It is observed to you, that you have let in the Irish and Scottish nations into your Parliament. (fn. 25) As you have let in them, those have not altered the privileges of the other House. We are not now to deliberate. You have passed as to number, and they are clearly another House.
Under favour, there is a negative dearly upon you There may be a difference about the circumstances of beginning or ending laws. So that giving them the title of Lords is but using letters of no signification. You have not given them one syllable of what they shall do, but only what they shall not do; and, in other things, according to the laws. What other laws than of the Lords' House?
1. In cases adjourned to the Parliament, what means it but a Lords' House ?
2. You admit them a House with privileges: what other House ?
3. No final determinations, but by the House itself. (fn. 26) They did business by Committees, under adjournment, and it was thought irregular. 34 Edw. III. clears it, that it shall be regular.
4. The word " usage," (fn. 27) can there be any usage of what never had a being ?
5. " The other House of Parliament," not another House of Parliament.
6. To do and perform all the powers, &c. and have, &c. exercise all the powers, &c. (fn. 28) These must refer to the old House, and not to the former words, in the Petition and Advice.
Non loquimur, in republica, catenis. If this break off, we shall go into a wilderness again. It is not great words to say what we will do. We see, oftentimes, coldness afterward. Think what may follow, if we should break. I know not what may be the consequence.
If you would look upon yourselves as freeborn, I wish we had been as free as we were born. We had not power to make laws before. There was still a check upon us, and very needful, too. (fn. 29)
I profess to you, I am not ambitious. I would be lower. I would give my negative, if it were put, that we should have a free legislature within these walls. You know what has been done here in a morning. You know my meaning; a law made in a morning. This Parliament did pass more in one month than the best student in England can read in a year, and well if he can understand it then. There is nothing can be well done by man. I should suspect myself. A check is necessary upon us.
If it were in our power to take off the Excise, I should do it; but we are bound now, and it is not without need.
I shall not tell you of a King (fn. 30) now. It is not material.
It was ill put; a strange doctrine in Parliament, to say that we were kept out by the House. It was another power (fn. 31) that did it. I even sent twice that morning, (fn. 32) to demand restitution of your members.
There may be a necessity of a restraint, sometimes. A corrupt party may be in a House. I see other business, so I shall not trouble you now.
My motion is, that you would call them by the title of Lords.
Mr. Speaker. The Black Rod is at the door.
Mr. Scot stood up to speak to the question, but was taken down by
Captain Whitgrave, who did affirm he had spoken to it already, and promised he would speak to this debate no more.
Sir Arthur Haselrigge. He ought not to have taken the gentleman down. You have made some alteration in your question, and he may speak to it.
Some said the Black Rod stays, as Sir Arthur was speaking, Said he, "What care I for the Black Rod ? The gentleman ought to be heard."
Serjeant Maynard. Without question, the gentleman may speak to-day, though he has spoken yesterday to the same question.
But it was moved, first, to call in the Black Rod, and then hear the gentleman.
The Usher was called in accordingly; who, coming to the middle of the room, said, "Mr. Speaker, his Highness is in the Lords' House, and desires to speak with you." (fn. 33)
Being withdrawn, the debate was adjourned, and the House, till their return from attending my Lord Protector: but they never met again.
They presently rose, viz. a little past twelve, and met his Highness in the Lords' House; where, after some pause, his Highness made a speech about half an hour long, declaring his grounds and reasons to put an end to this Parliament; and in the dose of all said, "I do dissolve this Parliament. And God judge between you and me." (Vide Book of Speeches.)
The mace was presently clapped under a cloak: the Speaker withdrew, and exit Parliamentum. (fn. 34)
Out of the Diurnal thus:
We find the House of Commons, this morning, resumed the debate which was yesterday adjourned to this time, touching the appellation of the other House, viz. the House of Lords.
Betwixt the hours of ten and eleven, his Highness came to the House of Lords, and commanded the Usher of the Black Rod to go and acquaint the House of Commons, that his Highness was come to the Lords' House, and there expected them.
The Usher of the Black Rod being called into the House of Commons, signified the same accordingly. Whereupon the Speaker and the whole House coming into the Lords' House, and standing, without the bar, his Highness standing under the cloth of estate, made a speech to them; wherein he declared several urgent and weighty reasons, making it necessary for him, in order to the public peace and safety, to proceed to an immediate dissolution of this Parliament. And accordingly his Highness dissolved the Parliament.