The Diary of Thomas Burton: 15 February 1658-9

Pages 288-296

Diary of Thomas Burton Esq: Volume 3, January - March 1659. Originally published by H Colburn, London, 1828.

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Tuesday, February 15, 1658–9.

I came late, and found a great many citizens at the bar, opening their great Petition, by Samuel Moyer. (fn. 1) I suppose most of them were Anabaptists.

After Moyer had spoken almost an hour, a great deal of cant language, the petitioners withdrew, and the petition was read. (fn. 2) It was very bulky in respect of the number of hands, principally levelling at the two great stakes, the militia and negative voice; and that no officer be removed, but by a Council of War.

Sir Arthur Haslerigge, Mr. Neville, Mr. Knightley and others, moved that the petitioners have thanks. But see the sequel. The table was turned; for they got neither thanks nor good affection. Such honour have all such factious petitioners.

Serjeant Maynard. I am against giving thanks to any petitioners. It is not fit for us to bow to them.

Mr. Starkey. I move to give thanks; but would not, upon a general complaint, recommend them to the Committee of Grievances. They may have recourse thither, if they have any particular grievances.

Sir Walter Earle. I am against giving thanks; but would have them acquainted, that the particulars they petition for, you have now under debate.

Mr. Reynolds. I move to leave it to you to word your return. You may express it some other way, than by thanks.

Mr. Bulkeley. There are some things in it I cannot give thanks for.

1. It puts all power in a court-martial, without taking you in. (fn. 3)

2. I take notice of the agreement of the people. (fn. 4)

3. A declaration of an army, a Parliament sitting. Where a petition has a clog, with pamphlets— (fn. 5)

It never mentions a single person, not so much as that they desire a single person.

I never had office, nor seek office. I find in it a strong inducement for turning men out of office. This goes a great way. It argues more of self. Those that first engaged, did not seek themselves. They have their reward.

Those things that are fit for your consideration, you will, in due time, take them into consideration. Call them in and say so.

Sir Henry Vane. The name of single person you have settled. None will speak against it; but if you mean by that, the thing, I hope it will not be agreed. They desire nothing but what you have voted, and is for common right. It is not of particular grievances they complain, but of the discouragement of those that will act for their interest. If you could find out a way to discourage us, others will vote what the single person pleases. I would have a public spirit, if not a Commonwealth encouraged; and would express your receiving their desires with a great deal of courtesy.

Mr. Swinfen. I would have this caution along with your return to the petitioners, that the coming up in the name of boundless liberty may not destroy liberty; that unlimited liberty has been the source of all mischief. If we agree but the thing liberty, we shall not fall out about names. I would have general discourses laid aside. There is as much tyranny in liberty as otherwise. I would not stir up that liberty that leaves you no liberty here.

In regard it is the first petition, (fn. 6) your answer ought to be wary, lest you set petition against petition, and petitioner against petitioner. Only take notice of their soberness in acquiescing in your determinations. For their affections in that, give them thanks.

Lord Lambert. If we apply that to the petitioners, that a crying up of liberty is a destroying of liberty, it is a mistake.

The known way to throw out officers, is only by a council of war, and it agrees very well with the liberty of the subject. If there be but one good thing in it, take notice of it, and say that you will take it into consideration, and acquaint them, that they may go home to their houses and mind their callings.

Mr. Trevor. I am glad those votes please the gentlemen so well, that were not so pleased with them before. I would give such an answer as may neither flatter nor discourage. I would have a grave answer. Let them know you have read the petition, and those things that concern the liberties of the people, you will have under consideration in due time.

Mr. Scot. I move that we may not amuse the House by discountenancing the petitioners. You may safely own the good things in the petition.

Sir George Booth. I have been as much for the rights and liberties of the people as any man. I doubt there is not such peaceable intentions in this petition. He that would plunge my country into blood, I must fly in his face. (fn. 7) A gentleman heard one of them say great things to this purpose. It is Colonel Grosvenor. This intimates that it comes with no such peaceable intentions as it seems to hold forth.

I was sent for, to speak with S. A., so could not attend the debate.

It seems Colonel Grovenor said, he heard one Colonel White say, that rather than part with a Commonwealth, he would wade to the neck in English blood. He said it in the lobby, but knows not whether he was a petitioner or no.

It should seem, it was moved to give the petitioners thanks, and put to the question that these words, "and doth take notice of their good affections," shall stand, and be part of the answer.

It was carried in the negative almost by one hundred votes; (fn. 8) and the petitioners were dismissed with this only; that the House would, in due time, take into consideration such parts of the petition as were fit for them to consider of. (fn. 9)

The petitioners, I believe, were scarce well satisfied.

The House rose at one. (fn. 10)

The Committee of Privileges sat in the House till nine at night, upon the business of Malton. (fn. 11) They did not determine it; but it is clear for Mr. Howard against Robinson.


  • 1. See supra, p. 152. "Samuel Moyer" was one of the seven members for London in the Parliament, 1653. "The House being informed that those gentlemen of good affections to the Commonwealth, who formerly attended to deliver a petition to this House, were without at the door; they were called in, and Mr. Samuel Moyer, in the name of the rest, presented to the House their Petition." Journals.
  • 2. "Directed to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England; and was intituled, the humble petition of divers citizens and inhabitants, in and about the City of London." Ibid.
  • 3. Dr. Barwick, "immediately after the Restoration successively Dean of Durham and St. Paul's," but now earning the royal wages of Church preferment, by his good services as a spy for Charles Stuart, or, in the plausible language of his biographer, by "secretly managing the king's affairs," thus writes to Hyde (Lord Clarendon, see supra, p. 110, note ||). "Feb. 16.1658–9. The Protector already relies upon the great offi cers of the army, and the republicans on the under-officers, more than upon the votes of either party." See "Thurloe State Papers," vii. 615.
  • 4. See supra, 113, note §, 138.
  • 5. Blank in the MS.
  • 6. Dr. Clarges, who was already intriguing, in concert with his brotherin-law Monk, for "the King's return," (see supra, p. 153, note,) in a letter to "Lord Henry Cromwell, Lord. Lieutenant of Ireland," (see supra, p. 151,) says: "Feb. 15. This day a petition was presented by Mr. Berners, Mr. Kiffin, and some others in the name of themselves and 40,000 citizens of London, which I am told is the same that was endeavoured the last session of the last Parliament, and caused his Highness to dissolve them." See "Thurloe State Papers," vii. 617. Mr. Edward Bowles, an eminent Presbyterian minister, thus writes to Secretary Thurloe. "York, Feb. 12, 1658–9. I perceive the parties disaffected to settlement, are adroit in making petitions to the strengthening of their design. If you find that such things take any impression, they may easily be balanced with contrary opinions." Ibid. p. 610. Mr. Bowles, according to Dr. Calamy, "was for some time chaplain to the Earl of Manchester, but, upon the reduction of York, (in 1644) was one of the four ministers maintained by the state in that city, with honourable stipends." Here "the very sequestered, and decimated gentlemen, as Sir Christopher Wyvill, &c., were his hearers, and sometimes at his house, where, in the evenings, he was wont to repeat his sermons." lie was, however, not merely a religious, but could, on an inviting occasion, readily become a secular. "Though he lay hid, yet was it said, that he was the spring, that moved all the wheels in the city. His greatest activity and interest was seen in 1660, when the Lord-general Monk passed through Yorkshire, where most of the gentry of the county, with Lord Fairfax at the head of them, addressed to him for a free Parliament. The address was one main cause of the King's Restauration, and, as to this whole business, it is well known Mr. Bowles had a considerable hand in the management of it." Account (1713,) pp. 779–781. In the Introduction, (p. x,) to "A Collection of Letters," (1714) it is said that "Mr. Bowles and other royalists assured the general, they were willing to join with him, but they disapproved of his declaration, filled with many protestations for the asserting of no other than a Commonwealth government." In Dr. Gumble's Life of Monk, Mr. Bowles is named as one of the two Presbyterian ministers, between whom the general marched into York. Dr. Price, another of Monk's intriguing chaplains, having related his master's progress from Edinburgh to York, in January 1659–60, thus proceeds:— "Here we staid five days, one of them being Sunday, and Mr. Bowles gave us a good sermon in the cathedral. This gentleman was the Lord Fairfax's chaplain, counsellor and agitator; and dealt with the general about weighty and dangerous affairs; one night above the rest keeping him up so very late, that upon my entering the chamber to go to prayers, I found him and Bowles in very private discourses, and the General ordered me to go out for a while, but not to bed. Some time after midnight, Bowles went away, so that then our servants hoped to sleep. But the General sent for me in to him, and commanded them to stay without as before. "He took me close to him, and said, 'what do you think ? Mr. Bowles has pressed me very hard to stay here and declare for the King: assuring me that I shall have great assistance.' I started at the boldness of the proposition, and asked him whether he had made Bowles any such promise. He answered me 'no truly I have not,' or 'I have not yet.' For I found him a little perplexed in his thoughts." See "The Mystery and Method of his Majesty's Happy Restauration, laid open to Public View. By John Price, D.D. one of the late Duke of Albemarle's chaplains, and privy to all the secret passages and particularities of that glorious Revolution." (1680), p. 79; Maseres's Tracts (1815), pp. 751,752. The once flourishing patriotism of the Parliamentary Hero, (see supra, p. 273,) and his "laurel, meed of mighty conquerors," had now, like the "way of life" of Macbeth, miserably "fallen into the sear." Dr. Skinner (Life of Monk, p. 188), says that "Mr. Bowles was directed by Lord Fairfax to confer with the General." This accords with Dr. Price's further relation. "The noon before this mighty intrigue, the Lord Fairfax dined with the General, privately in his chamber, and the General, to return the Lord Fairfax's kindness, went one day and dined with him, at his country-house, (Nun-Appleton) where he and his retinue were hospitably entertained, and returned the same night." Just at this time the General had publicly cudgelled an officer who had traduced him, by saying, 'this Monk will, at last, bring in Charles Stuart, charging his officers to do the like to those under their command that should so offend." Mystery, pp. 80, 81. "Mr. Bowles accompanied Lord Fairfax to Breda, to invite King Charles into England," and, according to Dr. Calamy, "had not he and his brethren bestirred themselves, Episcopacy had never been restored." He was one of a few Presbyterian royalists who just escaped, in the security of the grave, their worthy reward from the Crown and the Prelacy; dying in August, 1662, his age not exceeding forty-nine. He was buried on the eve of Bartholomew-day." Account, pp. 781, 782.
  • 7. Yet this speaker, one of the Presbyterian royalists, secluded from the Long Parliament, was prepared, in a very few months, to "plunge his country into blood," in the worthy cause of Charles Stuart, by heading an insurrection in Cheshire and Lancashire, for which latter county he was member in this Parliament. "Augusts, 1659," according to Ludlow, an army under Lambert marched from London, and defeated at Warrington "Sir George Booth and his party, who were about four thousand in number," their general attempting to escape in disguise, like his master, Charles Stuart, after the battle of Worcester, though without the royal success. "Sir George Booth, after his defeat, put himself into a woman's habit, and, with two servants, hoped to escape to London, riding behind one of them. The single horseman going before, went to an inn on the road, and, as he had been ordered, bespoke a supper for his mistress, who, he said, was coming thither. The pretended mistress being arrived, either by alighting from the horse, or some other action raised a suspicion in the master of the house, that there was some mystery under that dress. And thereupon resolving to make a full inquiry into the matter, he got together some of his neighbours to assist him, and with them entered the room where the pretended lady was. But Sir George Booth, suspecting their intentions, and being unwilling to put them to the trouble of a farther search discovered himself. Whereupon they took him into their custody, and sent him up to London, where the Parliament committed him prisoner to the Tower." Memoirs, ii. 684, 695. "A Committee was sent to examine Sir George Booth in the Tower, touching the design wherein he had been engaged, and the persons that had promised to join with him. He confessed to have received a commission from the King, and that many of the nobility and gentry had promised to appear with him, whereof he discovered some, and desired more time to recollect himself concerning others." Ibid, p. 696. The speedy suppression of this insurrection appears to have shed a lustre on the last days of the expiring Commonwealth. "Upon the news of our success against Sir George Booth," says Ludlow, "Colonel Lockhart, [see vol. i. p. 107,] our ambassador at the Pyrenean treaty, began to be courted by the Spaniard, as he had been before, by. the French; and our plenipotentiaries met with good success, in their mediation for an agreement, between the two northern crowns; and the Dutch not daring to attempt what they had designed for the King of Denmark, the two Kings were in a fair way to a peace, though the King of Sweden had expressed his discontent, that the two Commonwealths should form conditions, to be imposed on crowned heads. But being told by Colonel Algernon Sydney that the friendship of England was not to be obtained on any other terms he seemed to acquiesce." Ibid. pp. 697, 698. Previous to the defeated insurrection of Booth there had been a "Treaty between the Parliament of England and the United Provinces of the Netherlands, for inducing Sweden and Denmark to make a peace. Done at the Hague, July 24,1659." See "A General Collection of Treaties," (1732), iii. 197. Lord Clarendon "casts discreetly into shade," the neglect which Charles Stuart experienced from the rival diplomatists, on his fruitless journey to the Pyrenees, in 1659, though he admits that "the best the King could now look for seemed to be a permission to remain in Flanders with a narrow assignation for his bread." He says, that Cardinal Mazarine "knew well that Spain did at that instant use all the underhand means they could to make a peace with the Parliament. Therefore he renewed all the promises he had formerly made to Oliver, again to Lockhart, that 'he would never make a peace without the consent and inclusion of England;' and very earnestly desired him, and writ to that purpose to the Parliament, that he might be at the treaty with him, that so they might still consult what would be best for their joint interest." History (1713), iii. 677,690. Monk, having restored "the secluded members," or Presbyterian royalists, while solemnly declaring "that he would oppose Charles Stuart to the utmost," they "gave order," says Ludlow, "to discharge Sir George Booth from his imprisonment, if he would engage to make his appearance upon summons; which he, thinking to be injurious to him, who had attempted to do no more than they themselves were attempting, refused the condition, but was soon after released without entering into any obligation." Memoirs, ii. 856, 857. Sir George Booth, who died in 1684, was created Lord Delamere, by the restored Stuart, so appropriately connected were the work, and the wages. His son, Henry Lord Delamere, who distinguished himself among the promoters of the Revolution, was sent with the Marquis of Halifax and the Earl of Shrewsbury, by "the hero William," to his royal father-in-law, to order that King to remove from Whitehall, "a message," says Lord Orford, "which he delivered with a generous decency." The dethroned prince afterwards said, "that Lord Delamere, whom he had used ill, had then treated him with much more regard than the other two lords to whom he had been kind." This second Lord Delamere, whom King William "dismissed from office, to gratify the Tories," and created Earl of Warrington, and who died in 1693, aged forty-one, was described by a contemporary versifyer as "Fit to assist to pull, a tyrant down; But not to please a prince that mounts the throne."
  • 8. "The House was divided. The Yeas went forth. "Yeas 110. Sir Thomas Style and Major-general Packer, Tellers. "Noes 202. Mr. Annesley and Mr. James Herbert, Tellers. Journals.
  • 9. "Resolved, that the answer to be given to the petitioners shall be, that the House hath read their petition: that some of the particulars mentioned in their petition the House hath already taken into consideration: and that such others as are fit for the consideration of this House they will, in due time, consider of them: and do expect that the petitioners should acquiesce therein, according to their own expressions. "The petitioners were again called in, and Mr. Speaker gave them the answer of the House to their petition accordingly." Ibid.
  • 10. "Ordered, that the House do proceed, to take into consideration, such additional clauses, to he part of the Bill intituled an Act of Recog. nition, &c., as are mentioned in the vote passed yesterday, the first business to-morrow morning, and that nothing else do then interfere." Ibid.
  • 11. "The question was whether New Malton alone, or Old Malton and New Malton, together ought to elect burgesses." Parl. Hist. xxi. 259.