Journal of the House of Commons: Volume 7, 1651-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1802.
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Wednesday, the 16th of March, 1658.
Mr. Bampfield to take the Chair.
THE Members being met in the House this Morning; and Mr. Challoner Chute the Speaker being as yet unable to attend the Service of the House; and Sir Lislebone Long, who was appointed to supply the Speaker's Place during his Indisposition and Absence, and went from the House sick on Monday last, continuing still very weak; Mr. Cowper, the Minister appointed to perform the Duty of Prayer with the House on Mornings, was called in to Prayers: And Prayers being ended; and the Minister withdrawn; and the Mace placed below under the Table; the several Members, sitting in their Places, considered of the Choice of another of their Members, to take the Chair, and supply the Speaker's Place during his Indisposition and Absence. Mr. Reynell, being propounded to the House, stood up in his Place, and excused himself; and humbly named Mr. Thomas Bampfield, as a Person of greater Experience, and of approved Learning and Gravity.
Mr. Reynell's Excuse being allowed of, and Mr. Bampfield, by the general Consent of the House, called on; after he had likewise, standing up in his Place, excused himself, was brought to the Chair by Sir Arthur Hesilrige and Sir John Copplestone: And, being sat in the Chair, and the Mace placed on the Table by the Serjeant, as is usual; It was,
Ordered, That, in respect of the present continuing Indisposition of Health of Mr. Speaker Challoner Chute, Mr. Thomas Bampfield be desired to supply the Speaker's Place, during his Absence, occasioned by his Want of Health; and no longer.
The House being informed, that Major-General Overton, a Prisoner in the Isle of Jersey, who, by Order of this House, was brought from thence, was without, at the Door, with the Deputy-Governor of the said Isle, in whose Custody he was, attending on him; It was
Resolved, &c. That Major-General Overton be now called in.
The Orders of this House, for the Bringing of MajorGeneral Overton from Jersey to this House, were read: And, by the Command of the House, Major-General Overton was, by the Serjeant, brought to the Bar: The Deputy-Governor of the Isle of Jersey came in with him: And the Serjeant standing by them at the Bar with the Mace;
Mr. Speaker, by Command of the House, asked the Deputy-Governor his Name; and whether Major-General Overton was his Prisoner; and by what Authority. The Deputy-Governor answered, That his Name is Richard Yardley, Captain Richard Yardley; and that he is DeputyGovernor of the Isle of Jersey: That Major-General Overton is his Prisoner, by a Warrant from his late Highness. The Deputy-Governor was commanded to produce the Warrant: Which he did: And, by Command of the House, the Warrant was brought up, and delivered to Mr. Speaker: And the Deputy-Governor, being further asked, answered, That this Warrant is all he hath for the Imprisonment and Detainer of Major-General Overton.
Major-General Overton, being asked, If he had any thing to say concerning his Imprisonment, answered, that he did acknowledge it the great Mercy of God, that, after Four Years Imprisonment, he was now brought to this Bar: That, as he had been in a suffering Condition for Four Years, so he desired to be passive still: And that, when any Charge shall be brought in against him, he hopes he shall give such Answer to it, as shall satisfy and clear him from any former Mistakes and Misapprehensions concerning him: That he hoped he had not done any thing contrary to what he had at first engaged and fought for: That he desires not to live or die, but by the distributive Justice of this House: And, though he knows nothing by himself; and that he hopes he hath done nothing worthy of Death, or of Bonds; yet he will not justify himself; but most humbly leaves himself; his Cause, and his Condition, to this House. And then, by the Command of the House, the Deputy-Governor, and Major-General Overton, withdrew.
The Warrant for the Commitment and Detaining of Major-General Overton in the Isle of Jersey was read; and was signed "Oliver P.;" and directed to the Governor of the Isle of Jersey, or his Deputy; and was in these Words; viz.
THESE are to will and require you forthwith to receive into your Charge the Bodies of Robert Overton Esquire, Major Norwood, and Sir Thomas Armestrong, and * Weston Esquire; and them detain, under secure Imprisonment, in the Castle at Jersey, until you shall receive further Order from us: And, for so doing, this shall be your Warrant. Given at Whitehall the 8th of January 1657.
The Question was propounded, That the Commitment and Detainer of Robert Overton Esquire, as well because it is by a Warrant under the Hand of the Chief Magistrate alone, as because it is by a Warrant wherein there is no Cause expressed, is illegal and unjust: And that he be discharged of his Imprisonment:
And the Question being propounded, That, after the Words "Robert Overton Esquire" these Words, "and others," be added, as Part of the Question;
The Question was put, That this Question for the Addition be now put:
And it passed with the Negative.
And then the main Question being put; It was
Resolved, &c. That the Commitment and Detainer of Robert Overton Esquire, as well because it is by a Warrant under the Hand of the Chief Magistrate alone, as because it is by a Warrant wherein there is no Cause expressed, is illegal and unjust: And that he be discharged of his Imprisonment.
Resolved, &c. That Robert Overton Esquire be discharged of his Imprisonment, without paying any Fees.
Mr. Overton, and the Deputy-Governor of the Isle of Jersey, were, by the Command of the House, called in again: And the Serjeant standing by them at the Bar, with the Mace, Mr. Speaker, by the Command of the House, informed them, That the House had considered of Mr. Overton's Imprisonment; and had ordered, That he should be discharged, without paying any Fees: And that the Deputy-Governor was to take notice thereof.
Sir. T. Armstrong.
Mr. Terrill reports from the Grand Committee for Grievances, and Courts of Justice, That, upon the Petition of Mr. Phillip Armstrong, it is the Opinion of the said Committee, That the Governor of the Isle of Jersey, or his Deputy, do bring Sir Thomas Armestrong, Prisoner there, in safe Custody to the Committee, with the Cause of his Imprisonment.
He further reported, That the Committee found, That divers Commoners of England had, by illegal Warrants, been committed to Prison into the Islands of Jersey and other the Islands belonging to this Commonwealth, out of the Reach of an Habeas Corpus: And that it was their Opinion, That the House should be moved to take it into their Consideration, how this Mischief may be redressed; and that an Act might be prepared for that Purpose.
Resolved, &c. That this House doth agree with the Committee.
And, with these Alterations from the said Report, It is
Ordered, That the Governor of the Isle of Jersey, or his Deputy, do forthwith bring, or cause to be brought, Sir Thomas Armestrong, now a Prisoner there in safe Custody, to the Bar of this House; together with the Causes of his Imprisonment and Detainer.
Ordered, That it be referred unto a Committee to prepare and bring in a Bill, upon the Debate now had in the House, upon this Report from the Grand Committee, concerning Persons committed to Prison in any the Islands belonging to this Commonwealth, out of the Reach of an Habeas Corpus; Mr. Serjeant Maynard, Mr. Terrill, Mr. Shaftoe, Sir Hen. Vane, Mr. Goodricke, Sir Arthur Hesilrige, Sir Antho. Ashley Cooper, Mr. John Stephens, Mr. Jo. Goodwyn, Mr. Swinfen, Mr. Bacon, Mr. Jenkinson, Mr. Edw. Turnor, Mr. Fowell, Mr. Samuell Baldwyn, Mr. Attorney of the Duchy, Mr. Sedgwicke, Mr. St. Nicholas, Mr. Godfrey: This Committee, or any Three or more of them, are to prepare and bring in the said Bill: And are to meet, for that Purpose, To-morrow in the Afternoon, in the Inner Court of Wards: And the Care hereof is referred to Mr. Serjeant Maynard.
The House taking notice, upon Reading of the Warrant for the Commitment of Mr. Overton, That there were Two other Persons therein named, besides Mr. Overton and Sir Thomas Armestrong; the Deputy-Governor of Jersey, Captain Richard Yardley, was again called in: And Mr. Speaker, by the Command of the House, asked him, If Sir Thomas Armestrong, Major Norwood, and Mr. John Weston, were now Prisoners in his Custody; and by what Warrant: To which the Deputy-Governor answered, That Sir Thomas Armstrong, and Mr. Weston, were both now Prisoners under his Custody: That Mr. Norwood is at Liberty, by virtue of an Order of his Highness and his Council, brought to him in that Behalf, at the same time when he received the Order of this House for Bringing over of Mr. Overton: That Mr. Norwood had his Liberty upon Security also of Five hundred Pounds, entered into by him to his Highness the Lord Protector, Conditioned, That he do not come into England, without Leave in that Behalf first obtained: And that he do not act any thing for the future against this Commonwealth abroad: And that he hath no other Warrant or Authority, besides the Warrant delivered by him this Day to the House, for the Imprisonment or Detainer of Sir Thomas Armstrong, and Mr. Weston.
Resolved, &c. That the Governor of the Isle of Jersey, or his Deputy, do forthwith bring, or cause to be brought, Mr. John Weston, now a Prisoner there, in safe Custody, to the Bar of this House.
Ordered, That the Debate concerning the Sitting of the Members returned for Scotland, and appointed, by former Order, to have been proceeded in this Day, be adjourned till To-morrow Morning, at Eight of the Clock: And that the same be then taken up; and that nothing else do then intervene.