Wednesday, December 10, 1656.
The House being moved in the behalf of divers persons,
who did, in the year 1642, lend freely upon the first proposition, upon the public faith, that are reduced to great need and
extremity, having received no part thereof; and considering
how much public faith hath been paid, by doubling upon
silks and otherwise, wherein the state hath been defrauded of
very great sums of money by counterfeit bills, and thereby
the persons to whom public faith was due, and should have
been duly satisfied, have been defeated; and to the end such
abuses may be discovered and prevented for the future, and
the accounts stated in the country, did resolve, ut infra.
A Petition of Lord Salisbury, about 5,000l. public faith
due to him. Read and committed. It was offered, that the
same Committee might find out a way to satisfy it.
The House divided upon it, and resolved the Committee
Yea 44. Mr. Bond and Colonel White [Tellers.]
No 77. Mr. Robinson and Mr. Dunch [Tellers.]
The Master of the Rolls. Pray let me now bring in my
clients. I have met with a great many old friends. I am
mightily called upon by the public faith men. You are executors to the Long Parliament.
Major-General Disbrowe. We may be executors, but, I
am sure, we have no assets. I wish this gentleman could find
Mr. Robinson and Colonel Wilton. The business of the
public faith should be considered by the same Committee.
The people are ready to starve. It was given to me in command from the county I serve for. I hope you account not
these creditors heretics, that you will not keep faith with
them, and that it shall never be said of a Parliament that
they borrowed and paid not again. Some lands in Ireland
and England are unsold.
Colonel Shapcot. You will add but to the oppression of
the people, to call them up here about you, in hopes to be
satisfied forthwith. The last order for satisfying public
faith, had the same effect. First find monies to satisfy it,
and then receive their complaints.
Major-General Disbrowe. Fraudulent bills have taken the
meat out of the mouths of those that should have been satisfied. I would have us all zealous in it; but I doubt we can
do nothing till we be stored for our own occasions. It were
an easy thing for your members to ascertain the debts of every
county, that we might once say, we owe such a county nothing.
Captain Baynes. The only way to prevent frauds for the
future, is to ascertain the debt first. If you had done so at
first, you had owed none at this day; for frauds and cheats
have eaten out a great many just debts. There are lands and
forests in England and Ireland unsold, which you may sell
at fifty years' purchase, and reserve a fee farm rent, which
will be as great a revenue as you now make.
Mr. Butler. The Parliament's debts are your debts, and
you ought to satisfy them, as is well propounded to you.
Some persons chose rather to want their debts than enter
them at Worcester House, and frauds and cheats interposed.
Colonel Clarke. I believe you have paid more public faith
bills than ever you did owe. I would have it referred to a
Committee to state the account of the debts before ever I
shall give my consent to satisfy it.
Much debt is charged upon the public faith, which never
was intended. You must take some course to prevent frauds,
else the clamour will follow you to all generations: it will
never be satisfied. I would not have malignants' and neuters' debts. These two qualifications to be considered; the
debts and persons.
Sir Christopher Pack. Let not this go off till you take
some course herein. You will never be quiet, but followed
Mr. Robinson. Something should be signified in the vote,
to let the people know that this must be done in the country;
lest you draw greater charge upon poor people, to call them
up. You may find out such persons fit to be intrusted,
such as have been faithful from the beginning, that understand who are malignants and who neuters. You have lost
above 500,000l. by this means. Persons not only sequestrable; but actually sequestered;y et their losses satisfied under
the motion of public faith, by means of the sheriffs whose
hands they produce, and none knows whether counterfeit
Sir Thomas Wroth made a long story of the bodkins, spoons,
and thimbles, that were freely cast into the Treasury. (fn. 1)
Many are undone by it. Some lost their lives. One gentleman lost his wits and memory, and died. I was hard
put to it to answer a gentleman what the public faith was,
wherein I could give no account.
Major-General Howard and Colonel Whetham proposed,
that Sir William Dick's debts might be considered by this
Resolved, That it be referred to the same Committee to consider of a way of stating the public-faith debts in the country;
and to consider the persons to whom due, and how a way
may be found out for satisfying the same; and report it to
this House with all convenient speed
Resolved, That all that come shall have votes.
Resolved, That the Committee for the Union of Ireland be
upon Friday; supporters of the motion Sir William Strickland and Major Ashton.
Resolved, That the Grand Committee for Scotland, be upon
Saturday, on the motion of Major-General Howard. He had
the other petition in his hand.
Per Sir Charles Wolseley, that the Committee for four
Colleges in Cambridge, are sine die. I desired a new day.
Per Lord Richard Cromwell, that Mr. Hampden and Mr.
Bodurda be added to the public faith Committee.
Mr. Speaker minded us of the order of the day, which was
read; and also the question for the moderater punishment.
Mr. Speaker was going to put it, but they cried "No! the
questions." He should be whipped from place to place, ride
backwards on horseback, and be imprisoned till released by
Parliament, kept to hard labour, &c.
Colonel Milton. By this question it seems you have forgot
what you voted the night before. This is like condemning a
man for high treason, and punishing him with the pillory.
When the life of a man and the honour of God conies in
competition, I cannot but say we ought to prefer God's glory.
Surely we ought.
These vipers are crept into the bowels of your Commonwealth, and the government too. They grow numerous, and
swarm all the nation over; every county, every parish. I
shall turn Quaker too; but not in that sense.
I remember what an honourable person in my eye, MajorGeneral Skippon, said of the growth of these. He feared
more the growth of these, than all the foreign and intestine enemies. Remember Eli's case. What will it be said
abroad, if you pass this heinous crime without your due resentment of it ? You may guess my conclusion from my
premises. It is your duty to vindicate the honour of God
and of Christ Jesus. I desire that a Bill of Attainder may
be brought in, not with a blank, but with a full punishment,
that is, death. That is my humble motion.
Colonel Cooper. I shall not speak to lessen or extenuate
James Nayler's crime, I see the House inclined to a division
upon the manner of punishment. I should be loth, but we
should be unanimous in it. It is no wonder to find this fellow acting these practices; for he is in Satan's hands, being
cast out of a church for his opinions and lewd carriage.
I dare not say he has blasphemed. It is grievous to me
to see the crime so magnified; There is certainly a blasphemy greater than this, as the denying or cursing of Christ.
His suffering himself to be worshipped; I would have the
House consider of that distinction. This is a nice distinction,
a vast difference between Christ dwelling in us, and being
worshipped in a creature. I confess I never heard of the like
of him. The like distinction of his assuming the attributes.
I must agree, if the spirit of Christ had been in him, as he
pretended, his carriage had been otherwise. It is certainly
darkness and a strong delusion.
I cannot say this is horrid blasphemy, though there may be
blasphemy horrid, and more horrid, and most horrid. I offer
it to you, whether it were not a greater blasphemy to say he
were very Christ.
I have observed much division in the manner of punishment, and some alteration in men's judgments, that were once
against a Bill of Attainder, because of the tediousness of it.
They talked of three days time of sitting, now they scruple
not to take up three weeks time, having no more assurance of
sitting than we had before.
I cannot but say it is blasphemy. But admit it were
horrid blasphemy, as my judgment is now involved in your
vote, yet I cannot be satisfied that the House are any way
led to pass such a heinous punishment as death. I understand no such obligation upon us. That is something extreme, and it is hard to lead this House into such a judgment, as to pass sentence of death against such a person as
fears God, by what we have heard.
Precedents are urged, but nothing relating to this business,
I am satisfied that the House may exercise their legislative
power for a matter ex post facto; for if you do any thing in
this business, it must be by this power, and no other.
I know some part of the land mourns for the innocent
blood already shed upon this account. I cannot say this person is innocent; yet if we take his life where God does not
require it, that is a shedding of innocent blood. I fear as
much a judgment upon us, if we take his blood, as they fear
if we go less.
This House may proceed to fine, imprisonment, and corporal punishment, and this in a judicial way, without preparing a Bill. In my opinion there needs no Bill. His fine will
signify nothing; but he has a body. I would have you use
some endeavour to suppress the growth of them in general.
If you take this man's blood, you do certainly lay a foundation for them. Instead of taking away Quakerism, you establish it.
For my part, I think, next to life, you cannot pass a greater punishment than perpetual imprisonment, where he may
not spread his leprosy. If you cut out his tongue, he may
write, for he writes all their books. If you cut off his right
hand, he may write with his left. The other punishments
will certainly answer your ends more than if you take his life,
and be a better expedient to suppress that generation of
Mr. Bond. My memory will not serve to repeat all the
arguments that have been used in this case. The Earl of
Strafford's was a complicated offence; so the Archbishop of
Canterbury's. He was tried in the same way for innovating
a new religion. That Parliament left two precedents. I am
not afraid of a precedent in this case; but I would have this
Parliament to leave such a precedent in this very case. I
shall tell you a relation from very good hands, merchants, &c.
The Parliament of Burgos [Bourdeaux] have hanged, drawn
and quartered a Quaker for these very opinions. (fn. 2) That
Parliament will rise up in judgment against you. I would
have you consider what vote you have made, and how you
can go less than the punishment equivalent.
I would have you go the same way with this man as they
did with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Resume the power
of Parliament in this case, and trouble not the Lord Protector
with it. Cut off this fellow, and you will destroy the sect.
The like issue was in that statute (fn. 3) for restraint of Egyptians,
[Gipsies] and they quickly vanished.
I would have you take the judgment of this business upon
yourselves, and never go to try him without doors. I shall
freely give my vote that the fellow shall die for this offence,
and I know not how you can, with honour and safety to this
nation, do any thing less. I would have you lay aside the
other question, and put this.
Major-General Packer. It has been alleged that God
himself directed the punishment of an offender, in this kind,
with death. Are we as equal judges herein as God was ?
You have voted this person guilty of horrid blasphemy;
but you have not brought it home to that case wherein God
directed the punishment: for he cursed God, (fn. 4) which this man
hath not done. Few of us but are blasphemers in one sense.
Job and his three friends were blāsphemers. (fn. 5) This person
tells you there is but one God, Father, Son, and Spirit. A
strange notion that the Holy Spirit dwells personally and
essentially in them, (fn. 6) yet I know many godly men of this
He does not vilify Christ, deny his doctrine, miracles, sufferings, and looking for his coming; though he draws dangerous principles from this. This is no parallel. That
man's blasphemy was cursing God. This is of a lesser nature, though an offence very high.
Magistrates in the Jewish commonwealth, and in Christian
commonwealths, do very much differ in their jurisdiction, in
matters of religion. To them it was more peculiar; for by
that text we are safe. God has not declared that we should
put this man to death. I would have him live to repent;
nay, if it be but to make a show of repentance.
We may commit a crime, and trespass upon the common
law, by introducing the Jewish law, which does not agree
with us, with our tempora. The martial law is a good law in
its own body; but apply it to other purposes, it is a bad and
tyrannical law. Going a mile from one's colours is death by
that law. "God forbid," will a conscientious man say, "to
hang a man for going a mile from his colours."
A good law in one nation is a bad one in another. Our
law makes burglary and theft death; which is a good law
for this nation: (fn. 7) yet God's judgment was otherwise. The
like for breach of the Sabbath. It was death by that law to
gather sticks; and by your law, a man may work all day, and
pay but his ten shillings or five shillings, so that it is no example for us to keep to those Jewish laws, seeing we differ
from them in other cases.
But it is said, was not Darius a heathen king, and he made
a law against blaspheming our God ? How can we do too
much for God ? Had he caused that God to be preached
through all his kingdom he had done God better service; but
he lived and died a heathen.
That text in Zech. (xiii. 3.) "He that speaks lies in the name
of God, his parents shall thrust him through." This cannot
come near our case. For if so, we must destroy all sects,
Socinians, Arminians, Quakers, and what not; nay, every
man that speaks a lie. Few will escape this law.
It is the strain of the Gospel all along, to use meekness and
moderation; (instanced in tares and wheat, and "Ye know not
what spirit ye are of" &c.; and the like old texts.) Did Paul
make any complaint to the magistrate against Elymas, the
sorcerer, who was a blasphemer indeed ?
But it is said, what will people say ? It matters not what
they say, so we do our duty: That is, to give every man his
native liberty, which is given in Holland, (fn. 8) Poland, and other
countries, a free exercise of their consciences. What have we to
do with what a company of Papists in the Parliament of Burgos
[Bourdeaux] did? It may as well be said, the Spanish Inquisition may rise up in judgment against us. Tares may turn to
wheat, he may be converted, saving with fear, plucking him
out of the fire; let us not cast him into hell. You had as
good cut off his head as his hand or his tongue. That
tongue that has blasphemed, may glorify God, as it was the
case of Paul. He may write to glorify God.
I could name a man that has been a far more horrid blasphemer than this man, yet he is reclaimed, and become a very
useful instrument in the Church.
You may as well condemn a Papist for worshipping Christ
in the bread and wine, as in this case of Nayler's.
I desire you would put the question for the moderater
punishment, and that without a Bill, which is a tedious way,
and you may rise without doing any thing at all.
Major-General Skippon. I did not speak to this business.
I am not fond of speaking. I shall not trouble you with answering what that gentleman said, though, for my part, I am
altogether unsatisfied with what arguments he used to extenuate the offence. I have been much divided in myself between duty and pity. It laboured much to cast something
upon your late vote. For my part, I hear nothing said
against it, that can convince my judgment but that the person
is clearly guilty of blasphemy, horrid blasphemy. All sober
Christians will so conclude it.
It seems there is a paper offered at the door, that we would
assign what is blasphemy, that others may beware of it. I
think it is no hard thing to assign, so that this House need
not be at a stand in this case. I am, from these arguments,
already much confirmed in my judgment, against that conflict
I had between pity and duty.
If any should assume the tide or honour of the supreme
magistrate, should he not be hanged, drawn, and quartered.
This is the case. God has brought this business before you,
and if you let it slip, take heed of a judgment. I would have
a Bill of Attainder, with a blank, brought in. If God give
you not time to do what you would do, it is sufficient that
you endeavour what you should do.
Major-General Whalley. Here have been long debates in
this business, occasioned by the rambling into the matter of
fact, which I hope we are over. I shall speak to the punishment, and I would have this agreed on in peace and charity;
that those that are for a low punishment might not be censured for coldness, nor those for a higher punishment censured for a preposterous zeal. I premise this.
I beseech you, consider what the offence is; it is blasphemy,
horrid blasphemy. We are now to consider a proportionable
punishment, which, in short, in my opinion, cannot be less
than death. It is told you by the long robe, we have no law
in being against such offenders. I am sorry for it. But
where any law is against blasphemy, what is the punishment,
is it less than death ?
The Turks (though I propound them not to be imitated
by us) put men to death for speaking against Mahomet, who
is but a prophet.
It was Nebuchadnezzar's law, and a good law, against
those that should speak evil against the God of Shadrach, (fn. 9) &c.
The example of God himself, against the blasphemer, and
then the precept upon it.
Examples, though they are not obliging as precepts, yet
certainly they are imitable where they are good. The paraphrase of the Assembly of Divines upon the text, interprets
it both blasphemy and cursing. God provides a law both
against cursing and blasphemy to meet with our object.
"The curser shall bear his sin, and the blasphemer shall
surely die;" so that both cursing and blasphemy are there
But, if guilty of blasphemy, some object, why to be put
to death? If it be a law of God, a moral law of God,
I would fain know how it is repealed. Some, from the
comprehensiveness of the word blasphemy; others, that it
is ex post facto; others, a ceremonial; others, a judicial law,
others, that we are now under Gospel administrations. They
have been all fully spoken to, so that I shall not trouble you
to answer it. If men will commit unheard-of sins, is it not
just that they suffer by an unheard of law and punishment?
Else it may be said, we want a law.
If it be ceremonial, I desire to know of what it is a type, or
If a judicial law, ought not we to be as careful of suffering
blasphemy as the Jews were.
But the great noising argument is, That we are under Gospel dispensation. Pardon my comparison. This is but like
ignis fatuus. Does this Gospel-liberty give us a freedom of
sinning. Nay, is it not said, (Hebrews ii.) "How much more
ought we to walk more closely and uprightly before God."
If not to commit sin, then certainly not to connive at, not to
James and John's calling down fire from heaven was not
for blasphemy. It was for not receiving Christ. Should
we put every man to death that will not receive Christ.
That of pardoning the woman taken in adultery; might
not he that was Lord of all pardon her; as well as he gave
directions to spoil the Egyptians; must we undertake to pardon sins, and imitate God in this.
Gathering sticks upon the Sabbath day: it was not death
for breach of the Sabbath, but for working on the Sabbath.
I know no reason, but we may make the same law against
working on the Sabbath.
But it is against the tenour of the Gospel, they say. It is
true we ought to love one another, but not so as to exclude
our love to God. Have we not as well the example of Ananias and Saphira's being put to death.
God has made a law to punish blasphemy, and what are we
poor worms going about to repeal that law. Where do we
find it repealed.
But I had forgot to answer the objections as to the comprehensiveness of the word. True it is male dicere. To speak
evil of any man is blasphemy; but we must go to the common
acceptation of the word. We call nothing blasphemy, but
what is a speaking against God, and assuming his worship,
which, take this person's principles and practices together, he
is guilty of the horridest blasphemy that ever was. It was
told you of a great blasphemer that was brought home. It
was Mr. Sedgwick. (fn. 10) Before his Highness, and Lord Ireton,
and others, and myself, he said he was God; and divers horrid things, which we went out, and could not bear. I met
him afterwards, and did not salute him, for I thought I
ought not to do it. But a while after he thanked me for it,
and did acknowledge his error, and that he was but a man, &c.
He was not so great a blasphemer as this person. That was
but the effects of his frenzy; but this man doth it upon sober
and deliberate grounds; and, take practice and principles completed, it is higher by much than any I ever yet heard. Let
the sentence of death pass upon him, and then use all means
possible to reclaim. Give him six weeks or a longer reprieve,
and execute no sentence upon him till his obstinacy do fully
Colonel Shapcot and Major-General Disbrowe. Lest you
kill yourselves, by voting by what death he shall die, I would
have you adjourn till to-morrow morning.
Mr. Church. I would not have us adjourn till to-morrow:
Take it up this afternoon, not to delay a business which you
have sat nine times about. It is time now to resolve.
Major-General Skippon. You are very near a question.
I am not willing to rise till we do something in it. The question, whether death, or not, will determine it, and declare your
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon. It is more than you can. promise
yourselves, to-morrow. This is the East day of sitting for
ought I know. (fn. 11) I would have you bear as much testimony
against it as you can, in the time you have allotted you.
Captain Hatsel. I would have you adjourn till to-morrow; for I would say something to the business, before your
question, and I believe so would others. But make it so that
nothing should intervene. You spend much time in the
Mr. Speaker. Truly, I am not able to sit out these long
debates, forenoon and afternoon; but, if it be your pleasure,
I shall be willing to spend my life in your service.
Colonel Hewitson. Though the business before you be a
work of darkness, yet I would not have your debate or determination to be so; but do it in the day, in the light, that all
the world may see you bear your testimony against it.
Resolved, That this debate be adjourned till to-morrow
morning at eight, and no business to intervene.
This afternoon, in the painted chamber, sat the Committee
for the Appeal of Rodney against Cole. (fn. 12)
There Lord Lisle was hardly put to it, to justify himself in the charge laid against him and old Keeble in the
The case, in short, was thus, Cole had a statute against
Rodney for 500l. A great part, if not all, of the debt was
paid; and, either purposely, or casually, the statute was
cancelled, viz. the seal was taken or lost off, viz. the seal of
the Counsellor. The Lord Chief Justice's seal, and the other
seal, were on.
Cole repairs with this statute, to the clerk of the statutes,
to get him to certify it; but he, finding the seal off, refused
it; and about three or four months after, Cole brought the
same statute to the clerk with a little wax upon it; but the
clerk would not yet certify. Whereupon, Cole petitions
the Lords Commissioners, viz. Lords Whitlock, Lisle, and
Keeble, who decree the statute to be certified, upon Cole's
affidavit; notwithstanding the information of Turner, the clerk
of the statute, touching the abuse to the seal as above said.
Lord Whitlock dissented, but the other two Commissioners
passed the order. Whereupon, by the statute, all Rodney's
goods and lands, to above eighty pounds per annum, were extented, and in the possession of Cole for these seven or eight
years. Rodney was hung up, he could not be relieved against
that decree in any place but a Parliament.
The question was, whether this statute was well certified
or no, and whether the order was a good order. Lord-ChiefJustice, the Master of the Rolls, and Lord Fiennes, laboured
to excuse the Lords Commissioners, and lay it upon Cole's
misinformation of the Court: but Colonels Sydenham and
White, and Clarke, were of another opinion, and would have
it personal miscarriage in the Commissioners.
Resolved, per all the long robe, and per Lord-Chief-Justice, That if there was but any of the wax of the seal remaining, it was a good statute and well certified. But if all
the wax was gone off the label, whether casually or otherwise, the statute was a void statute, and ought not to have
been certified; and Turner's testimony was clear, that, when
he first saw the statute, there was no wax at all upon it.
Resolved, If a deed be once void, it can never be made
good without consent of the party; for, if I lose my bonds
or statutes, or the seals come any way to be perished, the
chancery can never set those a foot again, as to making them
good deeds; but the chancery may relieve the counsee, or
obligee, in such cases, and decree the payment of the monies
due in arrear, whether it be in whole or part. They cannot
compel the party to renew it.
And all obligations and statutes, though of an after date,
shall be served before any of these that happen this mischance, or come casually to be cancelled.
Yet Lord Fiennes and Lord Lisle seemed to differ, and
said such statute, though casually defaced or perished,
should be served first, if first dated, &c.; no difference between a statute defaced and cancelled, (i. e.) without any part
of the seal.
Mr. Cole's counsel, viz. Mr. Churchil, cited four or five
precedents, where former Lords Commissioners had ordered
defaced statutes to be certified. And Lord Fiennes said,
that lately, one brought a statute that was desired to be certified. The seal was fresh, but the parchment turned to a
jelly; and that what the Lords Commissioners do in such
cases, they do it only ministerially, and not judicially. But
it was not clear to the Committee that the Commissioners
were clear, or that the precedents agreed. One of the precedents was in Christopher Clapham's case.
The case was learnedly opened, and better by the Committee than by the counsel. Mr. Wentfoorth was for Rodney. The Committee adjourned the debate till Saturday.
In the Army Chamber sat the Committee for York Courts,
and the Court of Probate of Wills, &c. (fn. 13)