The Convention Parliament: Second session - begins 6/11/1660

Pages 25-31

The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 1, 1660-1680. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.

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In this section

The second Meeting of the first Parliament.

Mr. Prynne.

On the sixth of November the Parliament met according to their Adjournment, and the Commons having complemented the Queen-mother on her Arrival in England, and presented 10000 l. to her Daughter, the Princess HenriettaMaria, and as much more to the Princess of Orange, they proceeded next to complete the disbanding the Army, already greatly diminish'd; upon which Occasion the noted Mr Prynne, desiring the House to be mindful not to do those Things which might bring them (the Army) together again, he was called to Order, and with difficulty escaped a severe Censure.

They order certain obnoxious dead Bodies to be hanged at Tyburn.

But while the House was busied on this, and other material Points, they received a Message from the King, informing them, that, upon the Account of the Preparations for his Coronation, and other Reasons, he had determined to dissolve them in the End of December; and therefore desired, 'That they might the more vigorously apply themselves to the Dispatch of the most important Business that depended before them.' Shortly after which the House of Commons represented to his Majesty, 'The great Sense that House had of the many Expressions of Grace which they had received from him in his several Declarations; further acquainting him with the great Unanimity of the House in settling a Revenue of Twelve Hundred Thousand Pounds per Annum on his Majesty, according to their former Vote.' To which Vote the King return'd his Thanks for their Care of him, and assured them, That he would employ his Revenue for the Good of them and the Kingdom. In the mean time the Parliament ordered, 'That the several Bodies of Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw, Henry Ireton, and Thomas Pride, be taken out of their Graves, drawn on a Hurdle to Tyburn, there to be hanged up from Ten o'Clock 'till Sun-setting, and then buried under the Gallows.' At the same time they made an Act of Attainder, which did not only extend to the Blood and Estates of these Four, but also to the nineteen Regicides that fled from Justice, namely, Lisle, Say, Waulton, Whalley, Barkstead, Ludlow, Livesey, Okey, Hewson, Goffe, Holland, Challoner, Cawley, Corbet, Love, Dixwell, Blagrave, Broughton, and Dendy, who by this Act stood adjudg'd, convicted, and attainted of High Treason.

William Drake impeach'd.

The Commons likewise took notice of an inferior Criminal, William Drake, a Citizen and Merchant of London, and drew up an Impeachment against him for writing and publishing a dangerous Book entitled, The Long Parliament Revived, in which he endeavours to prove that the said Parliament was not yet legally dissolv'd. This rais'd a considerable Noise, but they wanted Time to bring it to a Trial.

The Speaker's Speech to the King on the Dissolution.

After a Session of near two Months, a Dissolution being expected, on the 29th of December the King came to the House of Peers and passed all the publick and private Bills that were ready for the Royal Assent. The Nature of those that were of a public Concern we find from the following Part of the Speaker's Speech.— 'As I am commanded, I most humbly assure your Majesty, that the many healing Expedients propounded by your Self in your several Gracious Declarations, have been the subject Matter upon which your Commons have wrought all this Parliament. And in the first place they took into Consideration the great and growing Charges which then lay upon your People for the Pay of your Army and Navy. And they conceived it necessary to begin with that Part wherein your People have the most Ease, and the greatest Security and Satisfaction; which was the disbanding and discharging the Forces by Sea and Land: And this led them into a Consideration of proper Ways and Means for raising Monies for that Purpose, as the Poll-Bill, and the Assessment of Seventy Thousand Pounds per Month. But those not having done the Work, here are others ready in my Hand: The one entitled, An Act for levying the Arrears of the twelve Months Assessment, &c. And the other entitled, An Act for the further Supplying several Defects in the Act for Disbanding all the Forces both by Land and Sea; and they hope this Account will be cleared off at last. Sir, your Commons have likewise taken into Consideration the Charge of your Summer's Fleet, &c. and pass'd a Bill entitled, An Act for six Months Assessment at Seventy Thousand Pounds per Mensem, to begin the first of January. I have three other Bills in my Hand, which have relation to your Majesty's Revenue, and are Branches thereof: The one entitled, An Act for the better ordering the Selling of Wines by Retail, and for preventing Abuses in the Mingling, Corrupting, and Limiting the Prices of the same: And this Bill is tendered to your Majesty to prevent all future Disputes touching the Legality thereof; for we know it is your Majesty's Desire that nothing be done otherwise by any of your Ministers acting under your Command. Another is entitled, An Act for Erecting and Establishing a Post-Office; and this being legally settled, will be of great Use to all your Majesty's Subjects for holding Intelligence with their Factors and Agents in Foreign Parts. The other Bill provides for the Encrease of your Majesty's ordinary and constant Revenue, by granting of an Impost upon Ale, Beer, Cyder, and other Liquors, therein express'd, to hold for your Majesty's Life. As it is the Desire of your Commons, that your Majesty might never be necessitated to resort to Extraordinary or Unparliamentary Ways for raising of Money upon your People; so they likewise acknowledge it to be their Duties to support and uphold, to the utmost of their Powers, the Honour and Grandeur of your Majesty's State and Dignity. And for a further Evidence of your Commons dutiful Affections to your Majesty's Royal and Dear Person; they have pass'd another Bill for Raising Seventy Thousand Pounds for your Majesty's further Supply. All which Bills I am commanded humbly to present to your Majesty; and to pray your Majesty's gracious Acceptance and Royal Assent.

'There are other Bills of public Concernment which have pass'd both Houses, and now attend upon your Majesty for your Royal Assent: The one entitled, An Act for Attainder of several Persons guilty of the horrid Murther of his late Sacred Majesty, your Royal Father of ever-blessed Memory. Another entitled, An Act for Confirmation of Leases and Grants for Colleges and Hospitals, which will tend much to the quieting of Mens Estates, that in the late unhappy Times were forced to renew and change their Revenues much for the worse, were it not for the Favour your Majesty intends them in this Bill. There is another Bill entitled, An Act to prohibit the Exportation of Wool, Wool-Fells, Fullers-Earth, or any other Scouring Earth; which will be the best Encouragement for the Woollen Manufactures; and without which there would be a double Loss; first to your Majesty in your Customs, and next to your People, who would be discourag'd, and in a short time beaten out of that ancient Native Staple Trade, upon which depends the Substance of many thousand Families. There is another Bill entitled, An Act for prohibiting the Planting, Setting, or Sowing of Tobacco in England and Ireland; which if permitted would occasion the Abatement of your Majesty's Customs, the Destruction of your Plantations abroad, and the Discouraging of Navigation, and consequently the Decay of Shipping, which are the Walls and Bulwarks of your Majesty's Kingdom. There is one Bill more, entitled, An Act for taking away the Court of Wards and Liveries, together with Tenure in Capite, Knight's Service, and Purveyances, and for settling a Revenue upon his Majesty in licu thereof. This Bill Ex re natâ may properly be called A Bill of Exchange; for as Care is therein taken for the Ease of your People, so the Supply of that Part of your Majesty's Revenue, which formerly came into your Treasury, by your Tenures and Purveyances, is thereby likewise fully provided for by the Grant of another Imposition upon Ale and Beer, and other Liquors, to hold to your Majesty, your Heirs and Successors for ever. And yet they should not look upon the Considerations mentioned in this Bill as a full Compensation for your Majesty's parting with two such Royal Prerogatives and ancient Flowers of the Crown, if more were not implied than is express'd. For your Tenures in Capite are not only turned into a Tenure of Soccage (which alone will for ever give your Majesty a just Right and Title to the Labour of our Ploughs and the Sweat of our Brows) but they are likewise turned into a Tenure in Corde What your Majesty had before in your Court of Wards, you will be sure to find hereafter in the Exchequer of all your Peoples Hearts. The King of Spain's Mines will sooner deceive him than this Revenue will fail you: For his Mines have Bottoms, but the deeper your Majesty sinks into the Hearts and Affections of your People, the greater will you find your Wealth, and the more invincible your Strength.— Royal Sir, you have denied us nothing we have asked this Parliament. Indeed you have out-done your Parliament, by doing much more for us than we could agree among our selves to ask. And therefore we must needs be a Happy Parliament, a Healing Parliament, a Reconciling and Peace-making Parliament, a Parliament propter Excellentiam that may truly be call'd Parliamentissimum Parliamentum.—

Upon passing the aforementioned Acts, the King made the following Speech:

The King's Speech.

'My Lords and Gentlemen,

I Will not entertain you with a long Discourse; the Sum of all I have to say to you being to give you Thanks, very hearty Thanks: And I assure you I find it a very difficult Work to satisfy my Self in my own Expressions of those Thanks. Perfunctory Thanks, Ordinary Thanks for Ordinary Civilities are easily given; but when the Heart is full as mine is, it is a Labour to thank you. You have taken great Pains to oblige me, and therefore it cannot be easy for me to express the Sense I have for it. I will enlarge no further to you on this Occasion than to tell you, when God brought me hither, I brought with me an extraordinary Affection and Esteem for Parliaments. I need not tell you how much it is improv'd by your Carriage towards Me: You have out-done all the good and obliging Acts of your Predecessors towards the Crown, and therefore you cannot but believe my Heart is exceedingly enlarged with the Acknowledgment. Many former Parliaments have had particular Denominations for what they have done: They have been stiled Learned, and Unlearned, and sometimes have had the worst Epithets. I pray let us resolve that This be for ever called the HEALING and the BLESSED PARLIAMEMT. As I thank you, though not enough, for what you have done, so I have not the least Doubt, but when I shall call the next Parliament (which I shall do as soon as you can reasonably expect or desire) I shall receive your hearty Thanks for what I shall then have done since I have parted with you. For I deal truly with you; I shall not more propose any one Rule to my Self in my Actions and Counsels than this: What is a Parliament like to think of this Action, and this Counsel? And it shall be Want of Understanding in me, if it will not bear that Test. I shall conclude with this, which I cannot say too often, nor you too often where you go: That, next to the miraculous Blessing of God Almighty, and indeed as an immediate Effect of that Blessing, I do impute the good Disposition and Security we are all in to the happy Act of Indemnity and Oblivion: That is the principal Corner-Stone which supports this excellent Building, that creates Kindness in us to each other, and Confidence in our joint and common Security. You may be sure I will not only observe it Religiously and Inviolably my Self, but also exact the Observation of it from others: And if any Person shall ever have the Boldness to attempt to persuade me to the contrary, he would find such an Acceptation from Me as he wou'd have who shou'd persuade me to burn Magna Charta, cancel the old Laws, and erect a new Government after my own Invention and Appetite.'

The Substance of the Chancellor's Speech.

After this he referr'd them to the Lord Chancellor, who displayed his usual Eloquence in a very long Speech, consisting of Variety of Matter. He applauded the Wisdom of the Houses in the King's Restoration, and likewise in all their several Proceedings, and particularly told them, 'That he made no doubt but all succeeding Parliaments wou'd pay to them their Thanks for all they had done, and look upon their Actions, and their Example, with all possible Approbation and Reverence.' As to the Restoration of the languishing Church to Peace, Unity and Order, he told them, the King had been so careful, that Constantine himself had hardly spent so much of his own Time in private and public Conferences to that purpose.' After many Topics, entering upon the Glory and Reputation of England, he freely told them, 'That they were too partial to it, who believ'd it the best Country in the World: There was better Earth, better Air, and a warmer Sun in other Countries; but he was not unjust when he said, That England was an Inclosure of the best People in the World, when they were well-inform'd and tustructed: A People in Sobriety of Conscience, the most devoted to God Almighty; in the Integrity of their Affections, the most dutiful to the King; in their good Manners and Inclinations, most regardful to their Superiors l' Therefore he desired the House of Commons in their Return home, to assure them, 'That his Majesty thinks himself the happiest and greatest Prince in the World, not from the Situation of his Dominions, and the Power of his great Navy, with which he can visit his Neighbours, and keep them from visiting him; but from being possess'd of the Affections and Hearts of such Subjects; that he does so entirely love them, and depend upon them, That all his Actions, and all his Counsels shall tend to no other End, but to make them happy and prosperous.' But notwithstanding all this Care and Tenderness of his Majesty, there were still some Men, who by their Writings and Preachings endeavour'd to continue the former Breaches; and some others had been so dangerous to the public Peace, that they had lately been secured in Prison. And then he proceeded to give them a Narrative 'how a Party of the late disbanded Officers and Soldiers, and others full of Discontent and seditious Purposes, had resolv'd to attempt the Change of the present Government, and to erect a Commonwealth; in which Ludlow, and other desperate Persons, were concern'd Therefore, upon the account of these unexpected Plots and Conspiracies, he wish'd, 'That their other weighty Affairs would have given them Time to have publish'd their Opinion and Advice in the Business of the Militia; That the People, after so many Disputes upon that Argument, might have found, That the King and his two Houses of Parliament were as much of the same Mind in that, as in other Things.' Therefore to secure the Peace of the Nation, he acquainted them, 'That the King would be constrain'd to establish it for the present, as formerly his Predecessors had done.' Then speaking of the former Successes so often insisted on by the Heads of the ruin'd Party, he retorted their Arguments; in the wonderful Preservation of the King's sacred Person, and alledg'd, 'That God Almighty would not have led him through so many Wildernesses of Affliction of all kinds, conducting him through so many Perils by Land; snatching him out of the midst of his Kingdom, when it was not worthy of him, and when the Hands of his Enemies were upon him, when they thought themselves so sure of him, that they would bid so cheap and vile a Price for him: He would not then have so cover'd him with a Cloud, that he travell'd with some Pleasure, and great Observation through the midst of his Enemies: He would not so wonderfully have modell'd that Army, so inspired their Hearts, and the Hearts of the whole Nation, with an honest and impatient longing for the Return of their dread Sovereign; and in the mean time have so exercis'd him with those unnatural, or at least unusual Disrespects and Reproaches abroad, that he might have a harmless and innocent Appetite to his own Country, and return to his own People full Value, and the whole unwasted Bulk of his Affectious, without being corrupted or biass'd by extraordinary Foreign Obligations: God Almighty would not have done all this, but for a Servant whom he will always preserve as the Apple of his own Eye, and always defend from the most secret Machinations of his Enemies.' In Conclusion, by the King's Command, he declar'd the present Parliament dissolv'd.