Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Thursday, 3d of February, 1658.
THE humble Petition of Grezill Williamson, Sister to Major-General Robert Overton, Prisoner in the Isle Jarsey, was this Day read.
Privilege-Case of Nevill and Strode.
The House being informed, That the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common-Pleas was at the Door, and did attend the House; he was called in: And the Serjeant at Arms attending on his Right Hand, with his Mace, came with him to the Table doing their usual Obeisance towards the Chair. The Lord Chief-Justice informed the House, that in Obedience to the Command of this House, and of their Order, he had brought a Transcript of the Record of the Court of Common-Pleas, of the Cause there depending between Mr. Nevill, and Mr. Strode: That the Transcript had been examined, and did agree with the Record: That he had likewise brought with the Transcript a Rule of That Court annexed to it: Which were delivered to the Clerk at the Table.
Resolved, &c. That the Governor of the Isle of Jersey, or whosoever else hath the Person of Mr. Robert Overton, now a Prisoner there, in his or their Custody, do forthwith, upon Knowledge or Sight of this Order, bring him to this House, together with the Causes of his Imprisonment.
Resolved, &c. That the Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy be required forthwith to give Order for a Frigate to attend at the Isle of Jarsey, to accommodate the Governor of that Isle, or whosoever else hath Mr. Robert Overton in his or their Custody, for the more safe Bringing of him from over thence to the Parliament: And Colonel Gibbon, one of the Members of this House, and Governor of the said Island, is to take care for the putting of these Orders concerning Mr. Overton, in speedy Execution.
Mr. Knightley reports from the Committee of Privileges and Elections, the Case of the Double Return concerning the Borough of Riseing in the County of Norffolke, That it appeared to the Committee, That William Swift Gentleman, as Mayor of the said Borough, by Indenture under the Publick Seal of his Office, had returned John Fielder Esquire, and Guibbon Goddard Esquire, to serve in this present Parliament, as Burgesses for the said Borough: And that by another Indenture, sealed and subscribed by divers Burgesses of the said Borough, without the Mayor, the said Guibon Goddard, and Robert Jermy Esquire, are returned to serve as Burgesses for the same Borough: And that, upon Consideration of those several Returns, the Committee was of Opinion, That the said John Fielder and Guibon Goddard are duly returned: And that the Indenture by which the said Guibon Goddard and Robert Jermye are returned, be withdrawn.
Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree with the Committee, That John Fielder and Guibon Goddard are duly returned to serve in this present Parliament, as Burgesses for the Borough of Riseing in the County of Norffolke.
Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree with the Committee, That the Indenture by which Guybon Goddard and Robert Jermy, Esquires, are returned to serve in this present Parliament as Burgesses for the Borough of Ryseing in the County of Norffolke, be withdrawn and suppressed.
Privilege-Case of Nevill and Strowde.
The Transcript of the Record of the Cause depending in the Court of Common-Pleas between Mr. Nevill, and Mr. Strowde, late Sheriff of the County of Berks, delivered this Day to the House, by the Lord Chief-Justice St. John, together with the Rule of that Court annexed to the said Transcript, were read; and the said Transcript was in these Words; viz.
Pleas at Westminster, before Oliver St. John, and his Fellows, Justices of the Common-Bench, of the Term of the Holy Trinity, in the Year of Our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fifty-and-eight. Roll DLX.
WILLIAM Strowde, late of Ruscombe in the County of Berks, Esquire, late Sheriff of the said County of Berks, was attached to answer Henry Nevill Esquire, of a Plea of Trespass upon the Case, &c. and whereupon the said Henry, by Ralph Wilde his Attorney, complaineth: Wherefore, whereas Oliver Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Dominions thereto belonging, the Tenth Day of July, in the Year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fifty-six, by his Writ bearing Date the same Day and Year, issuing out of the High Court of Chancery; the same Chancery being then at Westminster in the County of Middlesex, under the Great Seal of England, directed to the Sheriff of Berks; reciting by the same Writ, That, in pursuance of the Government of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland; as it was publickly declared at Westminster, the Sixteenth Day of December One thousand Six hundred Fifty-three; and for other weighty and urgent Affairs concerning the said Lord Protector, the Estate and Defence of the said Commonwealth; the said Lord Protector, by the Advice and Assent of his Council, had ordained a Parliament to be held at his City of Westminster, upon the Seventeenth Day of September then next coming; and there to consult and advise with the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the said Commonwealth; the said Lord Protector, by the said Writ, and command the said Sheriff, firmly enjoining, That, Proclamation being made of the Day and Place aforesaid, in every Market-Town within the County of the said Sheriff, he should cause to be freely and indifferently chosen, by them who should be present at such Election, Five of the most fit and discreet Persons, to serve as Knights, with their Swords girt, for said County of Berks; and for the Borough of Abington, One Burgess; and for the Borough of Reading One Burgess; of the more discreet and sufficient; and the Names of the same Knights and Burgesses so to be chosen, whether they should be present or absent, he should cause to be inserted in certain Indentures thereupon to be made between him and them who should be present at such Choice: And that he should cause them to come at the Day and Place aforesaid; so that the said Knights severally might have full and sufficient Power for themselves and the People of that County, and the said Burgesses severally for themselves and the People of the Boroughs aforesaid, to do and consent to those Things which then and there by CommonCouncil of the said Commonwealth in Parliament (by God's Blessing) should be ordained upon the weighty Affairs aforesaid: So that for Defect of such-like Power, or by reason of improvident Choice of the Knights and Burgesses aforesaid, the said Affairs might not remain undone in any-wise. And the said Lord Protector by the said Writ also willed, That neither the said Sheriff, nor any other Sheriff of the said Commonwealth, should be in any wise chosen: And that the said Choice distinctly and openly so to be made, the same Sheriff of Berks should certify to the said Lord Protector in his Chancery, under the Seal of the Sheriff, and the Seals of them who should be present at such Choice; sending unto the said Lord Protector the other Part of the said Indentures annexed, together with that his Writ. And in the Proceedings of the same Sheriff of Berks, and Execution of the said Writ, the said Lord Protector thereby likewise willed, That the same Sheriff should pursue and observe the several Directions limited, appointed, and prescribed, by the Government aforesaid, as in the same Writ it is more fully contained: Which said Writ afterwards, and before the said Seventeenth Day of September, in the said Writ specified; to wit, the Nineteenth Day of August, in the said Year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fifty-six, at Reading aforesaid in the said County of Berks, was delivered unto the said William Strowde, then being Sheriff of the said County of Berks, in Form of Law to be executed.
And although the said Henry afterwards, that is to say, the Twentieth Day of the said August, in the said Year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fifty-six, at Reading aforesaid in the said County of Berks, before him the said William Strowde, then Sheriff of the said County of Berks, by virtue of the Writ aforesaid, to him as aforesaid directed and delivered, in due Pursuance of the same, was duly elected and chosed One of the Five Persons to serve as Knight for the said County of Berks, at the said Parliament: Nevertheless the said William, not being ignorant of the Premises, but devising and intending not only to hinder the said Henry from serving in the said Parliament, as one of the Knights for the said County of Berks; but also to bring him the said Henry into mean Esteem and Disreputation with the most venerable and worthy Persons of the said County of Berks; the said Twentieth Day of August, in the Year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fifty-six aforesaid, he the said William then being Sheriff of the said County of Berks, to the said Lord Protector, into his said Chancery at Westminster aforesaid, upon the said Writ, and in Execution thereof, falsly and maliciously, at Westminster aforesaid, and contrary to the Election aforesaid, did return, That the Execution of the said Writ appeared in certain Indentures to the said Writ annexed; and did then and there certify with the said Writ a certain Indenture thereunto annexed, under the Seal of Office of him the said William Strowde, then Sheriff of the said County of Berks, and the Seals of Christopher Whitchcot Esquire, and John Allen Esquire, and many other Persons of the said County of Berks, purporting to be an Indenture made the said Twentieth Day of August in the Year of our Lord One thousand Six hundred Fiftysix, between him the said William Strowde, High Sheriff of the said County of Berks, of the One Part; and the said Christopher Whitchcot, John Allen, and the said other Persons specified in that Indenture, and divers other Persons qualified and capable to elect Members to serve in Parliament for Counties, as is prescribed in the Government of England, Scotland, and Ireland; and containing, That the said Christopher Whitchcot and John Allen, and the said other Persons specified in that Indenture, and divers other Persons of the said County of Berks, who were present at such Election, freely and indifferently had chosen Five Knights girt with Swords; that is to say William Trumball Esquire, John Southby Esquire, Edmond Dunch Esquire, John Dunch Esquire, and William Hide Esquire, to be in the Parliament aforesaid, as in the said Writ was mentioned; who, for themselves, as also for the People of the County aforesaid, had full and sufficient Power to do and consent unto those Things which, in the aforesaid Parliament, should then and there, by common Consent and Counsel, happen to be ordained: Provided, and it was thereby declared, That the Persons so chosen should not have Power to alter the Government, as it was then settled in One single Person, and a Parliament, in Contempt of the said Lord Protector, Deceit of the good People of the said County of Berks, and great Prejudice of the said Henry Nevill, and to his Damage of Two thousand Pounds; and thereof he brings his Suit, &c.
And the said William Strowde, by William Widgeley his Attorney, cometh and defendeth the Force and Wrong, when, &c. And saith, That he is not guilty of the Premises above charged upon him, as the said Henry Nevill above complaineth against him: And of this he puts himself upon the County; and the said Henry likewise: Therefore the Sheriff is commanded, that he cause to come here, from the Day of the Holy Trinity, in Three Weeks, Twelve, &c. by whom, &c. and who neither, &c. to make a Jury, &c. for that as well, &c. At which Day the Jury between the said Parties of the said Plea was thereof respited between them here until this Day; that is to say, from the Day of St. Michaell in Three Weeks then next following; unless Oliver St. John, Chief-Justice of the Court of Common-Bench, assigned by Form of the Statute, &c. on Thursday the First Day of July last past, at Westminster within the Hall there, commonly called Westminster-Hall, in the said County, had first come. And now here at this Day cometh the said Henry, by his said Attorney: And the said ChiefJustice, before whom, &c. hath sent here his Record in these Words; afterwards the Day and Place within contained; before Oliver St. John, Chief-Justice of the Common-Bench; having associated unto him Georg Ingram, according to the Form of the Statute, &c.; come as well the within-named Henry Nevill Esquire, as the withinwritten Wm. Strowde, Esquire, by their Attornies withinnamed: And the Jurors of the Jury within-mentioned being called, some of them, namely, Edward Trussell, Wm. Vincent, Phillip Coleby, Thomas Cheisham, Edward Hunsden, Francis Kippinge, John Nicholls, and Daniell Browne, come, and are sworn on the said Jury; and because the Residue of the Jurors of the same Jury did not appear, therefore others of the Standers-by, chosen hereunto by the Sheriff of the County within-written, at the Request of the said Henry, and by the Command of the said Chief-Justice, are anew added; whose Names are affixed to the Panel within written, according to the Form of the Statute in that Case made and provided: And the Jurors so added anew, namely, Samuell Haughton, Arthur Newman, William Hart, and Robert Dainty, being called, came likewise; who, being, elected, tried, and sworn, to speak the Truth of that within contained, together with others of the said Jurors before impanelled and sworn, do say, upon their Oaths, That the said William Strowde is guilty of the Premises within charged upon him, as the said Henry Nevill within hath complained against him: And they assess the Damages of the said Henry Nevill, by reason of that within contained, besides his Costs and Charges by him about his Suit in this Behalf expended, to One thousand and Five hundred Pounds; and for those Costs and Charges to Twenty Shillings: And, because the Justices here will advise themselves of and upon the Premises, before they give Judgment thereof, Day is given to the Parties aforesaid here, until in Eight Days of St. Hilary, of hearing their Judgment thereof, because the Justices thereof, not yet, &c.
The Rule of the said Court, to the said Transcript annexed, was in these Words; viz.
Nevill Esquire, against Strowde Esquire.
ss. January the 26th. Upon Hearing of Counsel on both Sides, it is Ordered, That a Transcript of the Record in the Cause between the said Parties, and hereunto annexed, be delivered unto the honourable House of Commons in Parliament assembled, for their Resolution therein; this Court doubting whether they have Cognisance of this Cause; being grounded merely upon the Common Law; of which they find no Precedent; and wherein the Privilege of that House, in determining the due Election of their Members, is concerned.
By the Court.
Mr. Serjeant Hide, for the Plaintiff.
Mr. Serjeant Seise, for the Defendant.
Resolved, &c. That Counsel on both Sides be heard in the House, upon the Cause between Mr. Nevill and Mr. Strowde, late Sheriff of the County of Berks, whereof the Transcript was this Day delivered to this House by the Lord Chief-Justice St. John on this Day Sevennight.
Ordered, That the Commissioners of the Treasury be required to deliver in to this House, on or before Monday Sevennight next, an Account of the State of the Treasury within and under their Survey and Jurisdiction.
Ordered, That the Committee of the Army be required to deliver in to this House, on or before Monday Sevennight next, the Establishment of the Army of the Three Nations, as it stands now before them.
Ordered, That the Commissioners of the Admiralty and Navy be required to deliver in to this House, on or before Monday Sevennight next, an Account of the present Charge, and of the Debt now owing to the Navy.