Tuesday, December 9, 1656.
A report was made of amendments to the Bill for taking
away purveyance, (fn. 1) and composition for purveyance, which
were agreed, and the Bill ordered to be ingrossed. (fn. 2)
Per Major-General Whalley. An Act concerning Commons, appointed to be read to-morrow the first time.
Per Major Beake and Lord Claypoole. An Act for the provision and better maintenance of the several ministers of Northampton. Read the first time.
Colonel Rouse proposed, that this Bill might not be read the
second time; but first to dispatch all reports; only admit the
Bill for the Sabbath.
Resolved, That this Bill be read the second time on Saturday next, per motion of Lord Claypoole and Sir Christopher
Per Colonel Shapcot and Mr. Speaker. A Private Bill concerning a member, viz. To enable Richard Carter to sell lands,
for payment of his debts and his father's. Read the second
Colonel Rouse. This is a just Bill; yet I would have no
more of the lands sold than is needful. Would have it committed.
Alderman Foot proposed, that it might be committed.
Mr. Robinson. I would have this Bill committed with special
directions. You have had more bills of this nature before you
this Parliament, than ever came here in that time. I would
have the tenants in remainder, and the trustees, to have notice
of this Bill, that all parties may be heard before the Committee;
yet, lest you cut out other men's estates, haply most of the
debts may be paid, or there may be a broken title, &c.
Colonel Shapcot. It is only the crossness of the trustees
makes the gentlemen this trouble. It is a just bill, &c.
Resolved, That this Bill be committed, and the Committee
to meet to-morrow afternoon in the Dutchy Chamber.
Per Colonel Cox. An additional Act for encouragement of
trade and navigation in this Commonwealth. Read the first
Major-General Disbrowe, Captain Baynes, and Sir Christopher Pack. This is a Bill of consequence, and ought to be
hastened. Desired that it might be read to-morrow.
Mr. Downing. I except against the clause for prohibiting
the importation of nets, and other matters of consequence.
Mr. Robinson. That of nets is the best clause in the Bill,
and I am glad the mariners are so sensible of the laying of
our English shipsby the walls.
Resolved, That this Bill be read the second time to-morrow
Major-General Howard, stood up and offered a petition;
I conceive it was the tenants of Westminster's petition. But
Mr. Speaker took him down, saying, "Mr. Stanley speaks to
the order of the day; I must hear him first. "Mr. Speaker
read the petition to himself.
Per Mr. Stanley and Dr. Clarges. An Act for the settling
of Winston's Hospital, in Leicester, read the second time, it
being the order of the day.
Major-General Packer. There was a Petition to the same
purpose, from the master of Winston's Hospital, appointed
to be read with the Bill: which Petition was read.
Alderman Foot proposed, that the Bill and Petition might
be committed, and all parties to be there heard.
Sir William Strickland. There is not a greater grievance
in England, than the abuse of Hospitals. I desire it may be
Mr. Speaker. I doubt this Bill is too short, for you to
give power hereby to let leases for twenty-one years, or three
lives; but they are not restrained, for they may take what
fines they please, and reserve what rent they think fit. This
is but a renewing of the grievance complained of.
Major-General Packer. The master of the Hospital has
as good a right to be master as any man has to his lands, and
you only change hands, and put the same power into the
hands of others, to take fines and reserved rents, at pleasure.
Mr. Stanley. This master was settled in the Long Parliament, and instead of reforming, he goes his own track, and
for 40l. land per annum, he has reserved but 3l. per annum.
The whole is 12 or 1300l. per annum; so that, if speedy
course be not taken in it, the revenue will be wholly lost.
Colonel White. There are no such abuses in the master as
are complained of. He is more out of purse than he has got.
He desires but to have the Hospital regulated, with a saving
to his Highness's rights, and the master's own right, which
is not past 40l. per annum. He took for one fine, 60l., another 40s., another 18l. Yet, notwithstanding the tendency of
this Bill, both to take away his Highness's right and the
master's, I am content that it should be committed, and all
Sir Richard Lucy made a long narrative of the foundation
of this Hospital in Queen Elizabeth's time, and that a Commission from his Highness issued out, to inquire of these
abuses in that Hospital.
Mr. Solicitor-General. I doubt this Bill will not do the
regulation you intend. This is but the changing of hands;
for it seems they have power to let leases, as before. It
seems the poor have no more but the old rent in the time of
Henry VIII. I would not have it go the wrong way. You
take away his Highness's right, in disposing of the master's
place, and give it to the town of Leicester.
Mr. Bond. It is said that this master had done good
service in the Long Parliament. I should know surely as
much as another.
Major-General Howard. As it has been well offered to
you; as this Bill is penned you do but only change hands:
besides, you oust both the master's and his Highness's right.
Mr. Cary. You have many Committees. I would have
you not to appoint any new ones; but, if I may offer you
one Committee, I desire it may be referred to the Committee
for the Universities. But Mr. Speaker said it was against
the orders of the House to name a Committee, till it was first
agreed to commit it.
Sir William Roberts proposed, that they might only have
liberty to let leases for years, and not for lives.
Major Audley. It is truly said, that since popery was
abolished, charity has left the land; and what is the reason
but the changing of the foundation. Where they are merely
superstitions, I would have them reformed, but not taken
away. I conceive this is but a changing of hands, as has
been often offered to you. I shall conclude with what Mr.
Fuller says of Grantham steeple, "Those that except against
it, let them mend it."
Mr. Robinson. I am against committing the petition, for
it is against the Bill, and would have it reduced to the old
course. I would have the master made exemplary, for betraying his trust, in reducing rent of 40l. per annum, to 3l.
He is a non-resident, which is not allowed in our generation,
as it was in Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth's time.
Resolved, That this bill be committed to morrow in the
Lord Richard Cromwell. To save your time, I would
have you refer it to the Committee for the University of
Cambridge, which is sine die.
Major-General Whalley. You have another bill, more generally concerning hospitals: I desire it may be referred to
the same Committee. But Sir Gilbert Pickering took him
down by the orders of the House, and Mr. Speaker ruled it.
Resolved, That Mr. Lee's petition, and all the other petitions, touching this business, may be referred to this Committee.
Colonel Markham. The trustees ought not to have been
named in the Bill, but referred to the Committee, to fill up
Lord Eure brought in a Petition from Savoy Hospital, in
Yorkshire; desired it might be read.
Mr. Robinson and Sir William Strickland. Yorkshire
does not often trouble you with petitions. It is so just it
will soon be granted.
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon. It is time to go to the order of the
day, at eleven o'clock, if you intend to do any thing in it. I
desire that no other business may oust a matter of such weight.
Major-General Whalley. I moved you for a petition in
the general, and am content to set that aside. I hope you
will not admit a private petition, and reject a general petition.
Alderman Foot. You should have some respect to poor
Yorkshiremen. I desire their petition may be read.
Mr. Margetts. You might have read this petition in half
the time you have been debating it.
Major Audley. It is too late to go to the order of the
day now. I desire you would read both the private and the
Resolved, That both these petitions be read to-morrow
The order of the day read, about Nayler.
Major-General Howard. I offer a petition from some ministers of the North in relation to this business of the Quakers.
Haply it may be some information to your proceedings in this
Mr. (fn. 3) brought in another long petition from Cheshire,
to the same purpose; desired that they might be read.
Mr. Robinson. I would not have you make any use of
these petitions, or admit them upon your records as evidence.
It is collateral matter, and ought not to be any direction to
you, either to aggravate or extenuate the offence. These petitions may be offered more properly after.
Major-General Howard. True, there is nothing in this
petition relating particularly to James Nayler. I would not
offer any thing that might aggravate the offence. For my
part, I said something to express that I was not so severe as
haply others are, especially in matter of punishment.
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon and Colonel Shapcot. I hope you
will not rest here, but proceed to further judgment; lest it
be said abroad, you have declared an offence, and have not a
law to bring the offender to justice. I would have it referred
to the same Committee to bring in a Bill of Attainder, with a
blank for the punishment. I was sorry to hear it said in this
House, that there was not such a thing as blasphemy. (fn. 4)
Colonel Sydenham. Nothing said yesterday ought to be
repeated to day. I know not what you mean by a Bill of
Attainder, if it be not to take away a man's life.
If you bring a precedent to this purpose, you must set it
upon the rack. To take away a man's life by a subsequent
law, it is of dangerous consequence. I fear there is something
in the bottom of such a motion which scarcely agrees with
the rule of the Gospel. To take away his life I am not satisfied, but am for some other secure way of punishment.
If Nayler be a blasphemer, all the generation of them (fn. 5) are
so, and he and all the rest must undergo the same punishment. The opinions they hold, do border so near a glorious
truth, that I cannot pass my judgment that it is blasphemy.
I shall choose rather to live in another nation, than where a
man shall be condemned for an offence done, by a subsequent
law. I am against the Bill of Attainder.
Judge Smith. I have as tender a conscience as any man
to tender consciences, and I am also as tender of the honour
of God. How tender are we of our own privileges! not an
arrest upon a footman but severely punished, as done to us;
I doubt we shall be but too tender in this business.
What are we called in other nations, but the great nursery
of blasphemies and heresies; and what win they say, now we
have passed a vote against a horrid blasphemer, and we are at
stand what to do with him. But we are afraid of a precedent.
For my part, I am not afraid of this precedent; I am sorry
there is occasion for it; but it were without precedent if we
let it pass unpunished.
Was not the king (fn. 6) justly condemned by the legislative
power for tyranny, treason, and oppression. It was a just
sentence. The like for the Earl of Strafford and the Arch
bishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Rochester's cook, (fn. 7) and
Hackett, &c. Six or seven were condemned and hanged at
Tyburn, for speaking against the Book of Common Prayer, (fn. 7)
a slenderer offence than this.
Our laws make it death for robbing a man, though he take
but 12d. from him. Burglary by night, though nothing
be taken away, is death. Yet we make nothing of robbing
God of his glory. My motion is, that a Bill of Attainder
may be brought in; and, if you have no other punishment,
that you would fill up the blank with the old way of punishment, that he may be stoned to death.
Lord Strickland. I do agree with your vote, that he is
guilty of blasphemy; but, I hope, when you come to prepare your Bill, you will not put in the word blasphemy; for
it is a reproach of a man as well as against God.
The text of the Israelitish woman was that she blasphemed.
The original is, "She cursed God." It is a word of a general
acceptation. I would not have it in your Bill generally, but as
blasphemy against God, with a blank for the punishment. I
would have his offences summed up, as his taking adoration,
&c. in the preamble.
A man may be attainted of a riot, a trespass, but the proper attainder is of felony. The king's case was not by
attainder, but by a high Court of Justice was he tried.
In the Earl of Strafford's case, counsel was heard on both
sides, and he was attainted of treason. The Archbishop of
Canterbury's case was upon the same ground. Hackett was
proceeded against as a rebel. Some proceedings were by the
bishops against heretics, but I never knew any law for it in
England. I speak it not to extenuate this wicked wretch's
offence, nor to lessen the power of Parliament; but I conceive
it very proper, for the consideration of a Parliament, to beware of a precedent of this nature to posterity. There may
be a Bill for banishment; for, by the law, no Englishman
ought to be banished but by Act of Parliament. Nor can
you properly pass any sentence upon him but you must do
it by Bill. I am not satisfied in your judicial way of proceeding. I would have every Englishman be careful in this case.
It has been our happiness to be governed by a known law.
The Earl of Strafford's case is particularly excepted, not to
be drawn into precedent.
I cannot say but we have laws enough to reach this offender, if the gentlemen of the long robe would direct us. Where
most power of the Gospel, most prodigies of heresies and opinions; which will happen always, unless you restrain the
reading of the Scriptures.
Hackett was punished for setting himself up as a king:
this fellow did more. He made himself higher, a pope, by
suffering his feet to be kissed.
Heresies are like leaden pipes under ground. They run
on still, though we do not see them, in a commonwealth
where they are restrained. Where liberty is, they will discover themselves, and come to punishment. There is no such
need of drawing you out to such punishment as death. Restrain him, rather, to some country or place; banish him, &c.
This House is a living law, but make as little use of the
legislative power as you can. It is a dangerous precedent
to posterity. It is against the Instrument of Government to
proceed to further punishment upon this business. Confine
him, banish him, or do what you will.
Major-General Jephson. I wonder such a doctrine should be
broached in this House, that it is against the liberty of the people to have recourse to the legislative power. I think rather,
the contrary. The case of the Earl of Strafford only limits the
judges not to proceed upon that law; but surely the gentlemen are mistaken, who say the Parliament is restrained thereby. I know no such clause in that Bill. Doubtless you may
resume that power when you please. I would, to choose,
leave a precedent in this case, to posterity. There is no danger at all in it.
I hope God will stir up your zeal in a matter that so eminently concerns the cause of God. We ought to vindicate
his honour. For my part, I am clearly satisfied that, upon
the whole matter, this person deserves to die.
Major-General Disbrowe and Mr. Robinson. You should
adjourn this debate for an hour. Some had dined and were
upon an advantage.
Resolved, That this debate be adjourned till three o'clock.
I went with Mr. Disbrowe to dine with cousin Highmore
and the company of cloth-workers, in London, and the reading their brief of eleven sheets (fn. 9) kept me till night, so that I
was not at the beginning of this debate. But Major Brooke
told me some part of it.
It seems there had been strong endeavours to qualify and
lessen the crime. Captain Baynes used the argument to
spare him thus: "Nayler prophesied of his death; let us
make him a liar by saving his life." Major Brooke answered:
"By this rule the murderer, and felon, and robber, may say
they prophesied their death. Will you, therefore, spare them ?
You will have a good many prophets upon this account." Sir
Gilbert Pickering had been speaking a good while, to lessen
the offence, and was at it when I came in. He concluded
for some lesser punishment than death, to be inflicted, as
Sir Charles Wolseley. It is most orderly, first to agree of
the punishment, and then to bring in a Bill, if a Bill be proper; which I question.
The legislative power of Parliament is great, but not so as
to be taken up upon this occasion. I am afraid of an ill precedent. As I would have us bear our witness against this
crime, yet I would have us do justice in a just way. We may
not, by the legislative power, do what we please, call that an
offence which is not. We have also a Master in heaven, to
whom we must give an account.
I cannot apprehend this matter to be of that height as to
merit the punishment of death. I am for a lesser punishment, as pillory, imprisonment, whipping, or the like.
Major Beake made a long speech to prove it to be blasphemy. It was dark, and I could not take it; but his conclusion was, that he conceived it was a fit punishment to cut
out his tongue, and cut off his right hand, and then turn him
beyond seas, and let him go with the mark of a blasphemer.
Lord President made a long speech to extenuate the offence, and concluded for a moderate punishment, as whipping
and imprisonment. Mutilation was as bad as death. He
made an apology, that he had nothing to say for Nayler; he
had no favour for him more than upon account of tenderness.
He called him an erring person.
Sir Richard Onslow. I am fully satisfied that the offence
is blasphemy, and deserves to be punished as blasphemy;
but would have a blank brought in for the punishment,
in the Bill of Attainder. Make the punishment what you
will, you must have recourse to the legislative power. Your
judgment must be ex post facto, if you pass any sentence at
all in it.
Major-General Kelsey. A Committee should be appointed
to consider of a way of punishment, and present it to you.
Lord Fiennes made a long speech, to extenuate the offence.
Hath not heard the party, nor any thing of the business, yet
submits to your vote. Cannot agree to punish it by death, or
mutilation of any members. Would have him put into
Bridewell and whipped, and so humbled into a conviction, and
that, in the meantime, the person and the charge might be
sent to his Highness, for his satisfaction in the matter; and
this sentence to pass upon him by Bill of Attainder.
Colonel Mathews. It has been firsted, seconded, and thirded. I desire the first question may be put, about bringing
in a Bill of Attainder. I shall reserve my judgment, wherein
I shall haply be very moderate respecting the crime.
Lord-Chief-Justice. As this is without precedent, I would
have us very tender in what we do in this business. I am
altogether unsatisfied in passing sentence of death upon him;
but some lesser punishment, as pillory, whipping at the places
where the offence was committed, and to be debarred all
society, &c.; and this by a judicial way, which I question whether it be solely in the Parliament, or in them and his Highness, as affairs stand now.
Sir Richard Piggot proposed, that his tongue might be
Sir Thomas Wroth. The question should be for the Bill
of Attainder, with a blank for the punishment. I conceive
the offence is very high, and ought to have punishment proportioned.
Mr. Bampfield made a very large and handsome speech in
answer to what Lord President, Lord Fiennes, and Lord
Chief Justice, and the rest of the merciful men had said;
such as they were scarce able to reply to. He proved it,
that it was the mind of God to punish this offence with death,
and he could not pass his judgment otherwise.
The magistrate is custos tam primæ quam secundæ tabulæ,
else I understand nothing. That of Rom. xiii. is clear.
That of suffering the tares to grow with the wheat, (fn. 10) was not
spoken to the magistrate, but to private persons.
1. Argument. By the law of nature, it is blasphemy to
deny a Deity.
2. The judicial law as to the equity, is moral to us.
3. That law of Darius against those that should speak
evil of Daniel's God. (fn. 11)
4. The example of our Saviour's suffering is drawn thus. If
he had not been really Christ, then had the Jews done justly
in crucifying of him. For the Spirit of God holds this forth
plainly, that the charge laid against him was, that he, being
a man, called himself God. (fn. 12) And was this offence of Nayler's less than calling himself God, and assuming the name,
title, and incommunicable attributes of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, and the worship due to him. If this be not
blasphemy, then there is no blasphemy in the world.
I thought to have reserved my judgment as to the punishment, but seeing all along the debate has run to confound
the crime and punishment together, my humble opinion is,
that his crime deserves to be punished with death.
Colonel Chadwick. First whip him for the lesser crime,
as for being a seducer and an impostor, and haply that
may work him into a sense of sorrow. If not, then proceed to higher sentence upon the higher offence.
Sir John Reynolds. I would have your time saved, and
not go this long way to work, by a Bill, but proceed to pass
some moderate punishment upon him. as whipping and imprisonment; and that by the judicial way: but to punish
with death, I am against it.
Mr. Robinson. I would not have you trouble yourselves
with a Bill of Attainder, which will take up two or three days
of your time; but pass some such moderate punishment as
offered to you, by a vote.
Mr. Speaker offered as an addition to the question, that
Nayler might ride backwards on horseback through Bristol
and the other towns he had passed through, and from
Westminster to the old Exchange, &c.
Sir William Strickland. I see many persons that are up
to speak in this business. I would have no man hindered
from declaring his conscience to the full, so desire that this
debate be adjourned till to-morrow.
Mr. Bond. I second that motion, for I had something
upon my own spirit which I thought to speak; but I desire
rather that you would adjourn. It is late, and others I see
desire to be heard; but, Mr. Speaker, I would have you
keep us to our orders, that none may speak to-morrow that
has already spoken to this question. The Speaker said he
would keep us to it.
Resolved, That this debate be adjourned till to-morrow
morning. We sat till almost nine, it being the last night of
the natural life of this Parliament. (fn. 13)