OLIVER'S second Parliament began 3d of September,
1654–5. Dissolved 22d of January, 1654.
Saturday, September 2. Being returned a burgess for the
Parliament, together with Major-general Skippon, for the borough of King's Lynn, and the Parliament being to begin the
3d of September, (fn. 1) which fell out to be the Sabbath-day, I
came up to London upon that service the day before, being
Saturday, the 2d of September; and in order to the service I
came about, I was informed that I was to receive a ticket
from the Clerk of the Commonwealth in Chancery, certifying
the approbation of my election, which, accordingly, I received
upon that day.
Sunday 3. We met in the House, according to our sum
mons, and there was an appearance of above three hundred
members. But we met not there until after evening sermon,
which was preached in St. Margarett's, Westminster, by Mr.
About four or five of the clock, when the House grew
pretty full, some discourse was moved (not concerning the
lawfulness of our meeting on that day,) but how far it might
be lawful (being met) to sit upon that day, by the word of
God: and some, through pretence of conscience, other some,
through impatience, would presently have risen and adjourned; (as if the very adjournment had not been as sinful an
accommodation, as any they could do,) but General Lambert
coming into the House, and acquainting them, that his Highness the Lord Protector was in the Fainted Chamber, and expected us there, to speak with us, it broke off those little discourses, and the House, (though some cried " sit still,") went
to attend his Highness's pleasure.
Where being come, and his Highness standing bare upon
a state raised for that purpose, he only told us, that we were
summoned to meet as the Parliament of the three nations,
upon that day: but, in regard of the day there was little of
business that could be then done. (fn. 2) He therefore desired that
the next day, being Monday, we would meet him, first, at a
sermon in the Abbey Church, and after that, in the same
Painted Chamber, where he would then communicate such
things as he had in his thoughts to communicate to us, and so
After which, we returned to the House, and without more
doing, adjourned till the next morning. (fn. 3)
Monday 4. We met at the Abbey Church, the Lord Protector being attended with three maces, and the sword of
state, which was carried by General Lambert. (fn. 4)
Mr. Thomas Goodwin, (fn. 5) a native of Lynn, preached the
sermon. After sermon we met, according to former appointment, in the Fainted Chamber, where the Lord Protector, in
a full discourse, (fn. 6) set forth the condition of the nation, both in
civil and ecclesiastical concernments, before this last change of
the Government; what had been done and effected since, and
what more may be desired to be done, in order to a firm and
settled foundation of future establishment, which, he plainly
intimated, could not be expected or hoped for, either from the
Levellers, (fn. 7) who would introduce a party in civils, nor from
the Sectaries, who would cry down all order and government
in spirituals; (fn. 8) and concluded with some gracious expressions,
which gave satisfaction and applause, in general.
This being done, he gave a freedom to choose a Speaker. (fn. 9)
Whereupon, we returned to the House, and set first upon
that work. But Mr. Scobell, who had received a patent from
the old Parliament, to be Clerk during his life, and the Serjeant at the Mace, being then both in the House, it was
thought fit that they should first be ordered to withdraw the
House, and not to come in upon any pretence of tide, until
they were chosen and commanded by the House.
They being withdrawn accordingly, the House applied
themselves to the choice of the Speaker. The first man
named, was Mr. Lenthall, the same that had served the Parliament so long before, in the same employment. (fn. 10) Something
was said to excuse him, by reason of his former services, and
something objected, as if he had served so long, that he had
been outworn. But, in fine, in regard of his great experience
and knowledge of the order of that House, and dexterity in
the guidance of it, he was unanimously called to the Chair,
and two members were desired to attend him to it.
That being done, the House made choice of their Clerk
and Serjeant, which were the same that were ordered before
to withdraw, and an admonition given to the Clerk for his
former presumption, to intrude into that place before he was
chosen, (fn. 11) the House generally disallowing of all patent officers
in that House.
The mace was also ordered to be brought in by the Serjeant, as a necessary concomitant.
The next thing done was to appoint a fast, which was ordered accordingly, at the Church, the place of public worship,
some being of a different judgment. (fn. 12)
That being settled, (fn. 13) and an Act read, (according to ancient
Order, (fn. 14) whereby the House stood possessed,) which Act was
against the election of officers taking place upon the Sabbath
day, and against fairs and markets kept, or published upon
that day, the House adjourned until the next day, at eight of
Tuesday 5. The House met, and first called over all their
members, and then the defaulters, of which there were not
above threescore, of such as were returned.
After that, they fell, according to order, to make their
Committees; the first of which, was that of Privileges, which
being made, and their names read, some occasion was taken
by some members to tell us that, until that time, they had
not so much as heard the name of my Lord Protector within
those walls, and intimating, as if there had been some reflections upon the Government, which, although it were an occasion not so well taken, nor so seasonable at that time, yet,
being a matter conceived necessary in order to a right understanding at first, especially in that which they conceived to be
a foundation, and not to be denied; they therefore, (from
Court, especially, and from the soldiery and lawyers,) pressed
hard, that the Government, or Instrument of Government,
might be speedily taken into consideration, and some return
made to my Lord Protector, of thankfulness for his late speech.
The debate concerning those things held until three of the
clock, the other part affirming the motion was out of order,
in regard by the ancient orders, Committees, especially their
general Committees of Privileges, which concern the being,
and of religion, grievances, and courts of justice, which concern the well-being of the Parliament, ought, in the first
place, to have been settled. And, in truth, it was thought a
little too precipitate, in regard it was in the infancy of the
Parliament, before the House was full, or the members come
up, to propose a thing of that weight, which, probably, was
the greatest which could fall before us in judgment. And,
besides, it was to anticipate the fast, and in a manner to mock
God, that having appointed that solemnity on purpose to seek
God's direction and council in these weighty affairs of the
nation, which should come before us, especially in the establishment of them upon sure foundations, we should first lay
the main foundation without him, and then ask his counsel.
Notwithstanding it was voted in the affirmative, both that the
question should be put for putting of the question; and that
the Government should be the first business should be taken
into consideration the next morning. (fn. 15)
The same day, in the afternoon, I attended the Committee
of Privileges, of which myself was one, (fn. 16) where, according to
former orders, double returns and indentures were first called
upon, and the indentures ordered to be brought in by the
Clerk of the Chancery, the next day, and some petitions were
Wednesday 6. The House being met, and the order for
taking the Government into consideration being first read, it
was moved by some, that there was something that lay in the
way which might hinder the freedom of that debate, namely,
an Ordinance, so called, made by the Lord Protector and his
council, (fn. 17) whereby it was made High Treason for any man to
speak against the present Government. (fn. 18)
Which occasioned many discourses concerning the freedom
of speech in Parliament, it being alleged, that that was the
first-born privilege of Parliament, and the very heart-strings
of it. In fine, it was so allowed on all sides, and that no law
or power from without could impeach any member, for any
syllable spoke within those walls, and that those precedents of
Queen Elizabeth's, King James's, and the late King's times,
were all illegal, and not to be drawn into a law.
But if any thing be spoken amiss, it must be questioned by
the House, and in the House only, and that, presently, before
any other debate intervene; yet not before such member hath
fully concluded his speech; because, probably, what one shall
speak in one part of a speech, he may either qualify or interpret, in another part.
But yet it was moved, for some men's securities, and to satisfy their jealousies and fears who received any umbrage
from that Ordinance, that it might be declared by the House,
that, notwithstanding that Ordinance, the House was free to
debate the Government. But it was objected, that to question
their freedom would be to lose it or to weaken it, and to
question that which was never doubted, but attested by the
known law and privilege of Parliament, and therefore, could
not be strengthened by such a declaration as was desired.
Which, if in truth any would offer to impeach, by violence
from without, it could receive no sanctuary nor advantage at
all from such a declaration. Therefore, after many hours'
debate, that being put to the question, whether such a Declaration should be made by the House, it was carried in the
negative by the major vote. The House being divided,
above one hundred and eighty were for the negative, and
about one hundred and thirty for the affirmative. (fn. 19)
That being settled, the House would have fallen upon putting the main point of the Government to the question, but
that was overruled, in regard it had not received its full debate. Then it was pressed, that the debate might presently
be entered into, but, in regard it was then three of the clock, (fn. 20)
the House were of opinion to enter no further into the debate of it that day, but only so far as to possess the House,
that so, when it should come on the next day, by adjournment, nothing might interpose to interrupt it. Which being
agreed unto, and the question stated, namely, whether the
Government by a single person and a Parliament, should be
approved of, the House, for that day, adjourned. (fn. 21)
In the afternoon, at the Committee of Privileges, the case
of the double election for Yarmouth was considered of; and
the next day appointed them.
Thursday 7. This day, the House being met, it was
propounded, that for the freer debate of the great question,
stated the day before, the House might be turned into a Committee of the House, which was strongly opposed, and being
put to the question, it was carried in the affirmative. (fn. 22)
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon had the chair, the House being resolved into a Grand Committee.
The debate of the main question was taken up and continued
from eight or nine o'clock in the morning until about seven
of the clock the same night, and adjourned over, until the
next morning. The Long Parliament, an Iron (fn. 23) Parliament,
a Trading (fn. 23) Parliament.
Much debate was about the word " approving" in the
question, as if it were not Parliamentary, nor for the honour
of the House, to approve of any thing which takes not its
foundation and rise from themselves.
It was pressed, likewise, that there might be a transposition of some few words. Instead of " a single person and
a Parliament," they would have " the Parliament" preferred,
and the words stand, " that the Government should be in the
Parliament of the people of England, &c.; and a single
person, qualified with such instructions as the Parliament
should think fit." Which last words were exceedingly
pressed to be added; and plainly, the generality of voices
and sense of the House seemed to incline that way. (fn. 24)
Friday 8. The House this morning, with great difficulty (fn. 25) , adjourned itself into a Grand Committee, about the
debate of the former question, Mr. Bacon being again called
to the Chair. The arguments were high and hot; and
plainly there was a receding from former principles on all
Those who argued for the Parliament alone, and the
freedom and privileges of Parliament, had been the greatest
and highest infringers of the freedom and privileges of the
Great and Long Parliament of any; (fn. 26) and those who argued
highest for the single person, and the Parliament, were such,
and almost only such, as had fought and aided the greatest
things that ever were acted in this nation under the contrary
principle; namely, under the power of the Parliament alone;
and that not only when there was a king in being, and without his consent, but expressly contrary unto it.
But the differences seemed so wide, the contest so hot, and
the struggling so violent on both sides, as there seemed
hitherto no hope of any fair agreement. And, indeed, the
soldiery and courtiers, by whom the single person's interest
was chiefly carried on, did not forbear to speak it out; that
there was a necessity for it; it must be so; and that though
many fair words were given my Lord Protector, yet it could
not be expected that he would lay down his sword, and subject himself to the will of a Parliament, wherein he should be
denied equal power and co-ordination, or to that effect.
This debate having continued until seven of the clock in
the evening, with an adjournment for an hour at noon to
refresh ourselves, was then broke up; and the House adjourned until next morning, at eight of the clock.
Saturday 9. The House being met, with some dispute it
was adjourned again into a Grand Committee; the Court
party persisting hard to keep it in the House. (fn. 27)
It now began to be visible, that the interest of the single
person did plainly lose ground; for not only the word
"approved" was disrelished on all hands, but they began to
break the question, and to distinguish the word " Government"
into the legislative power and the executive power. The first
was generally thought, with all the reason in the world, to be
the right of the Parliament alone, without communicating
the least part of it to any single person in the world. This
they conceived was the ancient right and fundamental privilege of the people. (fn. 28) But, as to the executive part of it,
that was conceived communicable; and indeed, not exercisable
by the Parliament.
Therefore, there seemed to be a general intimation, to
invest that single person with that, and with such amplifications of honour and other qualifications, (though not without
restrictions in that too,) as might render him very conspicuous
to the world, and testify the great obligations which the
English nation had to his virtues.
These words were extremely catching to the generality of
the House, and seemed to have so much of reason with them,
as could not rationally be gainsayed. Only, for the prevention
of some few mischiefs, as perpetuating of Parliaments, and
the present disposing of the militia, the Court party did
conceive in these respects, it might be necessary to have
a check, as they called it, upon a Parliament; and that some
single person should be admitted into co-ordination, at least,
in things with the Parliament, which seemed not then to be
much opposed. So as the House, after having sat until
eight of the clock at night, with an hour's refreshing at noon,
adjourned, with some hopes and expectations of an agreement, until Monday morning. But then, it did appear, that
to yield in any case gives advantage and heart to the adverse
Sunday 10. The parsons generally prayed for the Parliament to strengthen their hands and enlarge their hearts;
to send them that had wisdom, zeal; and them that had zeal,
wisdom; but not much concerning the. single person; as was
Monday 11. The House being met, and opportunity
taken about something that fell from the parson that prayed
this morning, (fn. 29) it was moved that something should be done
as to matter of religion. And, in order thereunto, it was
resolved, that the several members of each county, should
present the name of one godly and able minister of the
Gospel for each county, to be approved of by the House,
who should meet together, and present their advice to the
Parliament, in such points only as the Parliament should
propose to them; (fn. 30) the names to be presented upon Friday
The fast, which was appointed to be kept, as upon Wedhes
day next, both for the House, and the cities of London and
Westminster, &c. and a Declaration ordered for that purpose,
which had been prepared many days ago, and often tendered
unto the House; but in regard of the great debate it
could not be received, so as formal notice thereof could not
be given abroad, as might be expected, was resolved to be
kept by the House upon the same day. But liberty was left
unto the city and all others, to do as they saw cause.
These things being settled, the House, not without some
opposition, was resolved again into a Grand Committee to
debate the former question; wherein the House did proceed
with a great deal of ingenuity, modesty, and candour; and
this cannot be denied, but fit to be remembered to all ages.
It was agreed on all hands, even by the soldiers, courtiers,
judges, Commissioners of the Seal, and generally, by all the
Long Robe; (fn. 31) that in the consideration of this question, two
things were to be considered of, verum, et bonum.
The verum, that is, the truth of it was, that the legislative
power was in the House of Commons, in Parliament alone,
and so was acknowledged and settled. But for the bonum of
it, whether it were now convenient or expedient, per hic et
nunc. That was very advisable. The arguments on both
sides, were rationally and prudentially urged.
They who were for the joining of a single person, in co-ordination with the Parliament, did it chiefly upon this ground
of reason, that, if the supreme legislative power should rest
only in the Parliament, they might have opportunities to
perpetuate themselves as the old Parliament did; (fn. 32) upon
which account, and for other things, much dirt and unsavoury
speech was cast upon it. (fn. 33) Besides, the Parliament, which
judges all others, if it should offend, must be the only judge
of its own offences. For those reasons, they thought it fit
that there should be a check upon the Parliament; something to control it, which must be the negative voice of
some single person, as it is in the Instrument of Government,
which negative voice was said to be not a positive negative.
for there were only twenty days respite, (fn. 34) (as to most things,)
which was only a time for deliberation and advice. Only as
to the co-ordination of the single person, that was indeed absolute, as they said it ought to be, in regard it was the very
foundation, and foundations were not to be altered or removed. That this was the natural constitution, and most
suitable to the governing of the nation, and " other foundation could no man lay ." (fn. 35)
Other arguments were used, as to matter of right, by those
who argued on that side, as namely:—
1. Divine Providence, which had set a stamp and seal upon
2. The sword, and present power, all being of God.
3. The addresses and approbation of the nation, from several counties and cities.
4. That the whole nation had concluded themselves and
us from altering of it, by the sealing of the indenture of the
return of the election.
And lastly, a necessity; wherein they did not forbear to
tell us plainly, that it must be so; that my Lord Protector
must not be thought, that ever he would part with that
power which he conceived was so fully in him. At least, it
was extremely convenient, that we should in this comply with
his Highness, it being a foundation he had laid, and now not
to be disputed.
The arguments on the other side, were,
First, upon reasons.
1. That the supreme power was originally in the people.
2. That to join any thing in co-ordination with it, would
be to set up two supremes, that would always check one the
other, and have several interests, and several affections, and
ends, and, by consequence, would never be at peace.
3. That so great a power could no where be so safely
trusted, as in a Parliament, which is the representative of the
4. That the former government, by King and Parliament,
was but an usurpation upon the common right.
5. That the experience of the inconvenience of that government had caused the nation to alter it, and to settle it in
the Parliament; and that they have been in possession of this
government by a Parliament, in the way of a Commonwealth,
for some years last past.
6. That the providences of God are like a two-edged
sword, which may be used both ways; and God in his providence, doth often permit of that which he doth not approve;
and a thief may make as good a title to every purse which he
takes by the highways.
7. That if titles be measured by the sword, the Grand
Turk may make a better title than any Christian princes.
8. That the addresses and approbation of the country were
not in reference to the present government, as formerly
established, in a single person and a Parliament, but to congratulate the present deliverance out of those extremities and
confusions, which the little convention or assembly (fn. 36) were
putting upon us, as being sensible that any government for
the present were better, until it shall please God, in his due
time, to bring us through many shakings to a steady foundation: wherein, they looked upon him (fn. 37) generally, as a great
instrument; but not as the root or fountain of a steady
and fixed government.
9. For the indenture, that was calculated at Court; and if
it had not been sent down, it had never been sent up.
Besides, the clause itself was void, no restrictions being to be
laid upon the supreme government, which was supposed to
be in the Parliament; and the people, when they had
conferred their trust, could not limit their trustees, because
they represented them; whereby, both as to number and
power, and whatsoever they jointly or singly might do, those
trustees, who represented them, might do the same.
Besides, the legislative power was supposed to be a right
so inherent in the people as they could not give it away,
much less could their representatives. And an indenture can
estopp only such as are parties, and where an interest is
also conferred; but here was no interest conferred by the
indentures, only a deputation or a bure authority. And it
was considerable, that those who did seal to the indenture,
they were not, perhaps, the thythe of those persons who were
the electors, and therefore could bind no other but the
parties to the indentures.
Besides, those who did choose and had voice in the
elections, and had right of voice were not considerable, in
proportion to those who had no voice nor right in elections;
as women, children, persons unqualified, who yet are bound
up by what the representatives shall do, and have a common
right and interest in the liberty and freedom of the people;
and therefore, cannot be concluded by what the electors shall
do, in binding or restraining those who are the trustees and
intrusted, as well for them that did not and could not elect, as
for those other that did.
10. Lastly. That the necessity was not apparent, but
that it was an easy matter to pretend a necessity, and then to
make use of it. For the conveniency of compliance, it was
agreed on all hands, to comply, as far as the just interests of
the people would permit; and the giving of him the sole
executive power, and making of him the supreme single
person in the nation, would be a fair testimony of those respects and compliance with him.
That the foundation of the government of this nation was
laid long since, and asserted in the late Parliament, by which
so many things were built and destroyed, as it would not find
an easy faith in another age; and if that foundation were
not good, the Parliament, and all that acted with it, since the
time that the King first left it, were the greatest and most
infamous regicides and murtherers, and villains in the world.
That no man that sat there that had acted in any capacity,
especially the soldiery, (who were most violent for the contrary opinion,) could be justified upon any other account.
Much more was said on both sides, as to the conveniences
and inconveniences of either government, and it was disputed
as if they had been in the schools, where each man had liberty to propose his own Utopia, and to frame commonwealths
according to his own fancy, as if we had been in republica constituenda and not in republica constituta.
At length, the more moderate sort on both sides were
willing to propound expedients; and, accordingly, it was
propounded by them who were for the co-ordination of a
single person, that there might be a check, as they called it,
upon the Parliament, as to the legislative power in some few
1. To avoid the perpetuity, or some other exorbitances in
the supremacy of Parliaments. Therefore, a sole person
might be conjoined with it to prevent these.
2. As to the militia, that the Parliament might not have
the sole disposing power of that.
3. As to religion, that it might not impose what it pleased
As to all other things, they were contented to leave the
legislative power entire to the Parliament, so as the executive
power might be wholly in the sole person; with such qualifications, restrictions, and instructions, as it should receive
from the Parliament.
Those who were for the Parliament alone, would have the
Parliament at least to have the precedency, that is, that the
Government should be in the Parliament and a single person,
limited and restrained as the Parliament should think fit.
Which was proposed, in effect, by Mr. Justice Hale, (fn. 38) and
the sense and opinion of the House, ran generally that way.
After debating of it that day, until eight of the clock at night,
the House adjourned, with a reasonable good understanding
one of another, as appeared by outward construction. The
adjournment being made until eight of the clock next morning, and most men's thoughts were much satisfied with hopes
and expectations of good success.
Tuesday 12. This morning news was brought to the
Herald's Office, where I lay, with my brother Bish, (fn. 39) that the
Parliament House was dissolved, and that, for certain, the
Council of State and Council of War, had sat together all the
Sabbath-day before, and had then contrived this dissolution.
Notwithstanding, I was resolved to go to Westminster, to
satisfy myself of the truth, and to take my share of what I
should see or learn there.
Going by water to Westminster, I was told that the Parliament doors were locked up and guarded with soldiers, and
the barges were to attend the Protector to the Painted
Chamber. As I went, I saw two barges at the Privy Stairs.
Being come to the Hall, I was confirmed in what I had heard.
Nevertheless, I did purpose not to take things merely upon
trust, but would receive an actual repulse, to confirm my
Accordingly, I attempted up the Parliament-stairs, but
there was a guard of soldiers, who told me there was no
passage that way; that the House was locked up, and command given to give no admittance to any. That, if I were a
member, I might go into the Painted Chamber, where the
Protector would presently be.
The mace was taken away by Commissary-general Whalley.
The Speaker and all the members were walking up and down
the Hall, the Court of Bequests, and the Painted Chamber,
expecting the Protector's coming; the passages there, being
likewise guarded with soldiers.
The Protector coming about ten of the clock, attended
with his officers, life-guard, and halberds, he took his place
upon the scaffold, where it was before, and made a speech of
about an hour and a-half long. (fn. 40) Wherein he did not forbear
to tell us, that he did expect and hope for better fruit and
effect of our last meeting in that place than he had yet found;
that he perceived there was a necessity upon him to magnify, as he called it, his office. He told us a large series of
the providences of God and the suffrages of the people, which
were so many witnesses, evidences, and seals, of his calling to
the government, and which did cause him to put a greater
value upon his title so derived, than upon the broken
hereditary title of any prince whatsover. (fn. 41) That having
received his office from God and from the people, he was
resolved never to part with it, until God and the people
should take it from him.
That it could not be expected, when he told us before, that
we were a free Parliament, that he meant it otherwise free
than as it should act under that government. That those
pitiful forwardnesses and peevishnesses, which were abroad,
he valued no more than the motes in the sun. But that the
Parliament should now dispute his office under whose authority we were then met, was a great astonishment to him.
That he was unwilling to break privileges; but necessity
had no law.
He told us, he had ordered the Parliament doors to be
locked up and guarded, and had appointed an officer to take
subscriptions to a recognition of his authority; which being
done might give us an entrance. (fn. 42) Which being said, we
were dismissed about eleven o'clock.
His party, that is, courtiers and officers of the army, and
some others, presently subscribed. Before they adjourned,
which was about twelve of the clock, there were about one
hundred subscriptions; which being entered, they sent for
the Speaker, who came, subscribed, entered, and adjourned
until two of the clock.
In the mean time, the rest of the members consulted one
another's judgments. 1 went to see what it was that we
were to subscribe unto. It was written in a long piece of
parchment in these words, or to that effect, viz:—
"I do hereby freely promise and engage, that I will be
true and faithful to the Lord Protector and the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and that according to the tenor of the indentures whereby I am returned to
serve in this present Parliament, I will not propose, or consent
to alter the government as it is settled in a sole person and
the Parliament." (fn. 43)
Our Norfolk members (fn. 44) did not presently subscribe, saving
only Mr. Frere, who instantly subscribed it. The rest of
our members did most of us dine together, purposely to
consult what was fittest to be done in so great an exigent, in
order to the discharge of our trust. And, truly, the subscription was, in effect, no more than what we were restrained
unto by our Indentures, and the thing would be done with,
out us, and we had fairly contended for it: we had not given
the question, but it was forced from us, and we were told
that plainly it must be so. For these and several other considerations and reasons, which we thought ought to prevail
with men preferring the peace of our countries and the safety
of our people immediately concerned in this affair, before
passions and humours, we thought fit rather to give way to
the present necessity, and to comply with it by submitting
than refusing. Accordingly we did subscribe, all except Mr.
Woodhouse, Mr. Hobart, and Mr. Church. And although
we condemn the breach of privilege as much as any, yet we
doubt not but to acquit ourselves to God, and to our country,
in so doing, rather than to put the nation into another combustion and confusion.
After we had subscribed, we went into the House, and
after some expressions of tenderness and respects to our
fellow members without, we adjourned until Thursday morning; the next day, Wednesday, being the Fast.
Wednesday 13. The Fast was kept at St. Margaret's.
There most of all our members met. Mr. Marshall, (fn. 45) Mr.
Goodwyn, (fn. 46) and Dr. Cheynell, (fn. 47) preached; and after sermon
the members met and consulted one another, to give and
Major General Harrison was secured the day before, out
of some prudential jealousies of heading, as I conceive, any
discontented party. (fn. 48)
Thursday 14. This day the House met. Ordered thanks
to be returned to the preachers, but the sermons were not
ordered (upon debate) to be printed, in regard of some inconveniences that had been found in it.
Another fast was ordered to be kept, or rather the fast day
altered from the 4th day of October unto the 11th day,
throughout all the nation.
A Committee (fn. 49) was ordered forthwith to draw up a Declaration, for the satisfaction of our fellow members that were
not yet come in: namely, that it was not intended by any
thing in our former subscription, to preclude or restrain ourselves from the examining or altering of any of the articles
in the Instrument of Government, saving only that of the
first article of settling the government in a sole person and
Which being done accordingly, and voted, (fn. 50) the House
adjourned until next morning at eight of the clock.
Friday 15. This day, the House being met, something
was debated about the bringing in of the names of some
ministers for advising in matters of religion, (fn. 51) but in regard
the House was not yet filled, and they did daily expect the
return of those members, the consideration of that was put
off until another day.
Then they fell into consideration of those absent members,
and of doing something for their satisfaction. Many expedients were propounded, but after much debate it was thought
most advisable to do nothing more than what had already
been done in it, it being thought fit that they should all come
in, upon the foot of the same account that we did who were
already come in. But much respect and tenderness was
shown unto them, and it was not yet thought fit to impose
anything upon them, or to limit them to any time.
Thereupon, the House, having before ordered the Instrument of Government to be brought into the House, it was
now ordered to be read, that so the House might be possessed of it, and the further consideration thereof to be put
off until Monday morning.
It was then moved by the Lord Commissioner Whitlock,
that in regard of the many exorbitances, both in the powers
and the proceedings of the judges at Salter's Hall, that Act
concerning the relief of creditors (fn. 52) might be referred unto a
Committee, with power to send for persons, papers, and records. It was moved, that in the mean time they might be
suspended from any further proceedings, but that last was
not thought so parliamentary, to suspend the proceedings of
any judges, upon a bare motion or complaint, until something
should appear upon due proof.
It was also desired that the act concerning marriages (fn. 53)
might be taken into consideration, in regard of many inconveniences which might hereafter happen, in matter of bastardy, by reason of the many circumstances required by the
Act to the validity of a lawful marriage, which in future ages
may prove very uncertain and difficult to prove.
Both these before-mentioned acts were referred to a Committee, (fn. 54) to consider of them and to report to the House their
opinions of them, and then the House to give further respite
and time of consideration to the absent members, adjourned
until Monday next.
Saturday 16. This day I went to Boys, with my brother
Green, (fn. 55) intending to stay there two or three days. It was
Wednesday the 20th before I returned.
Thursday 21. I found that the House had, before then,
resolved the first article of the government, namely, that the
legislative authority should be in a single person and the
Parliament, (fn. 56) with some proviso of putting checks upon both,
as should be afterwards advised.
Now, this day, it was resolved that Parliaments should be
triennial, and not be dissolved in six months, without their
own consent; that, in case of any emergent necessity to continue the Parliament any longer, that should be done by
Act of Parliament, the time of such continuance not to exceed three months, in which Act the Lord Protector should
have his negative voice. And that accidental Parliaments
should not continue above three months, without a like Act
of Parliament, when the Protector was also to have his negative voice.
This was the first negative in the Lord Protector, which
was thought to be fit to be put in him, as a check to prevent
the perpetuating of parliaments.
Friday 22. The fourth article of the Government, concerning the militia, was taken into consideration, and it was
resolved that the present Lord Protector, during his life, the
Parliament sitting, with the consent of Parliament, and not
otherwise, shall dispose and employ the forces both by sea
and land for the peace and good of the three nations. Accordingly, a letter was presented to the Speaker, from the
Lord Protector, wherein he did acquaint the House that
there was an opportunity offered for the employment of
some of the forces, especially by sea, for the advantage of
the Commonwealth, the design whereof was well known to
some of our members (meaning those of the Council,) and
if we so pleased, it should be communicated to us. But it
being moved that such designs, if they should be discovered,
were more than half prevented, thereupon it was thought fit,
and so resolved, that that design should be wholly left to the
management of the Lord Protector, to be carried on by him
for the good of the Commonwealth.
Saturday 23. The second part of the fourth article,
should, according to order, have been taken into debate.
But in regard it had reference to a Council, and no Council
was yet settled, it was therefore thought fit to leave that
debate and to fall upon the second article, which concerns the
Council. Which was done, and accordingly resolved:—
1. That the Lord Protector, for the time being, shall be
assisted with a Council.
2. That the Council shall be nominated by the said Lord
Protector, and approved of by the Parliament, and not
This day likewise, the Act concerning the subscribing of
the Recognition, and preventing any future restraints of the
kind upon Parliaments, was read the first time.
Monday 25. The House being met, the Act concerning
the subscribing of the Recognition, &c. was read the second
time, and committed for an amendment.
It was afterwards moved, that the Ordinance concerning
the ejecting of scandalous and ignorant ministers be taken
into consideration, in regard that some of the powers were
thought unreasonable, and the Commissioners named, very
incompetent. Accordingly it was referred to a Committee, to
consider of it, and to report to the House their sense and
opinion of it.
Afterwards, the Speaker left the chair, and the House resolved itself into a Grand Committee, upon the debate of the
Articles of Government, and fell upon that part of it which
concerns the Council where they left on Saturday, and voted
that the number of the Council shall not exceed twenty-one,
of which number nine shall make a Council to act anything
as a Council.
In the afternoon the Committee concerning the Ordinance
for ejecting scandalous ministers sat in the Star-Chamber,
where every member had a vote.
Tuesday 26. The Speaker presently left the chair, and
the House resolved itself into a Grand Committee upon the
former debate, and fell in pursuance of the former debates
concerning the Council, to debate the continuance of the
Council, and resolved accordingly that no person to be chosen
of the Council shall continue longer than forty days after
the meeting of each succeeding Parliament, without a new
approbation by the Parliament.
Having thus far settled the Council, it was thought fit to
resume the debate upon the fourth article, concerning the settling of the standing forces in the intervals of Parliament,
and did forthwith resolve that the present Lord Protector,
during his life, with consent and advice of the Council, and
not otherwise, shall dispose and employ the forces of this
Commonwealth for the good of the same in the intervals of
Which being done, some would have resorted back again
to the business of the Council, and put a full period to that.
Others conceived that that debate was at first taken up only
in order to the settling of the standing forces in the intervals
of Parliament, which being done, they desired to fall upon
the other negatives, which was proposed to be, next, in matters of religion. But the standing forces having been in part
settled, and it being alleged that in point of good husbandry
it would be fit for us to take the consideration of the present forces into debate, in regard it was apprehended that
many of them might possibly be abated, and so the taxes, in
some proportion, at least eased. This sounded so plausibly
in every man's ear, as it was soon embraced, and consequently
they fell upon the thirtieth article, and resolved that the
standing forces of this Commonwealth shall be such and no
more than shall be agreed upon, from time to time, by the
present Lord Protector and the Parliament. And for the
better satisfaction of the House, both as to the number and
manner of the pay, a Committee was ordered to consider of
this business, and to attend the Lord Protector in it, and to
report to the House: of which Committee Sir John Hobart
had the chair.
Wednesday 27. The Speaker being sat, the Bill for
subscribing the Recognition was brought in, with the
amendments. These were read, and the Bill re-committed.
After, the House resolved into a Grand Committee concerning the government, and began the debate with the second
Resolved, that the exercise of the Chief Magistracy, over
the countries of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions, &c. shall be in the Lord Protector, assisted with a
Council, according to the laws, and such limitations as should
be agreed upon in Parliament.
Thursday, 28. This day, the House proceeded, in a Grand
Committee, with the debate upon the third article of the
Government, and resolved that all writs and process, &c.
should run in the name and style of the Lord Protector
of England, Scotland, and Ireland, &c. and that all such
honours as should hereafter be conferred, should be derived
from the Lord Protector, (fn. 57) but that no titles of honour hereafter to be so conferred, should be hereditary, without consent of Parliament; and that he should not have power to
Friday 29. Resolved, that it shall not be in the power
of the Lord Protector to pardon any person lawfully convicted of treason.
That the benefit of all forfeitures, or confiscations, not already granted or lawfully vested, or disposed to any other
person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, shall belong to
my Lord Protector, according to the laws, and as shall be
agreed upon in Parliament.
This day, the Lord Protector escaped a great danger, from
his coach-box. (fn. 58)
Saturday 30. Resolved, that the Lord Protector, with
the advice and consent of the major part of the Council, shall
have power in all things to hold and keep correspondences
with foreign kings, princes, and states.
The House now fell upon debate, whether the Lord Protector, with the Council, should not have power to make war
and peace. The debate being long, and the House divided
in opinion, it was adjourned until Monday morning. (fn. 59)