Tuesday, December 16, 1656.
Colonel Richard Carter's Bill for selling Lands worth
3000l., for payment of his father's debts and his. Read a
Resolved, That this Bill do pass for a law. (fn. 1)
Mr. Robinson reported a very foul affront offered last night
by James Noble, at the Committee for Drury House.
Colonel Twisleton. I had the chair, and never heard such
language in all my life. I have known this fellow a long
time. He was in Wales, and approved himself a very vile
person. He showed himself so in Scotland, where he was in
arms. I have observed him all along very prying at Committees. We, as a Committee of Parliament, presumed to
commit him to the Serjeant-at-arms.
Resolved, To approve of what the Committee had done as
to his commitment, and that he be brought to the bar.
Mr. Bampfield. Ask him who are the six knaves; haply
he may mean some of us.
Sir William Strickland. This is a very high crime, and
we ought to vindicate ourselves from this aspersion. I desire
he may explain himself who he means by these knaves.
Sir John Reynolds. This is a civil blasphemy, and you
know not what debate it may beget, and hinder Nayler's
Committee; but I desire a new day for Ireland. (fn. 2)
Mr. Noble came to the bar and remained on his knees all
the time, while the Speaker asked him several questions. He
confessed most part, but said he was distracted to see such
proceedings. He thought the Committee had had other
work than to commit a poor mad creature. I care not what
becomes of me, so the commonwealth be not cheated. He
desired to be excused as to the naming of the six knaves. He
said, he would know by what warrant they did it. If he
was distempered, the justice of peace might have punished
Major-General Whalley. I never knew such an affront
offered to a Committee since I knew what a Committee was.
I have faithfully served the Commonwealth in considerable
commands ever since the wars began, but was never called
knave nor cheating rogue in all my life. And this fellow
named me for the first of those knaves. I have constantly attended this Committee, thinking it my duty to inquire if the
trustees had cheated the commonwealth of 140,000l., as Jervis's petition (fn. 3) set forth. It ought to be examined; but, indeed, finding that nothing would come of it, I left the Committee. I was a purchaser myself, and set forth of what and
at what values. I take this very much to heart, to be so
affronted. I was always accounted for an honest man, and
the country had not sent me hither but that they thought so.
I hope you will vindicate us in this. I care not what becomes
of us in our other relations, so our credits be preserved. He
was twice cashiered the army, and is more knave than fool.
Major-General Disbrowe. Do not spend time. These
gentlemen need not to vindicate themselves. We know their
innocency. To make the business short, let him be committed to Newgate for a month, and afterwards for two
months to Bridewell, to be whipped. You see what he is.
Sir William Striekland. I rise up to second that motion.
Mr. Bodurda. First vote the words to be scandalous. Instanced in a case of Lord Suffolk's, in tertio Jac., where the
Parliament resented a lower offence.
Resolved, that these words are scandalous, &c.
Colonel Mathews. Send him three months to Bridewell
for all, and not to Newgate.
Major-General Goffe and Mr. Robinson. He tells you he
is a madman. It is good physic to whip him. "A rod for
the fool's back."
Sir Thomas Wroth. I am sorry you are not more sensible
of this business; it reflects upon all, though spoken to particulars.
Alderman Foot. If you send him to Newgate, you will
make him worse.
Colonel Fitz-James and Mr. Berkeley. The man is distracted already, and if you whip him you will make him
worse. Let him only do hard labour; not the usual way, of
Sir Gilbert Pickering, Lord Whitlock, Sir John Reynolds,
and Colonel Hewitson. He has been a soldier, and it is not
proper to whip him; the word Noble speaks his privilege.
He is a Roman, &c.
Resolved, That he be committed to Bridewell, there to receive the usual punishment, for three months.
Per Sir John Reynolds. Resolved, That immediately after
Nayler's business, the Irish business be taken up, and nothing
Mr. Bodurda desired that Noble might receive his sentence at the Bar, but Mr. Speaker said it was not usual.
The Order of the day was read.
Mr. Reynell. This blasphemy of James Nayler wounds
Christ through every side, as well in assuming the worship of
Christ, as his very breath. "The voice is Christ's," said he.
He ran over all the texts formerly urged in this case,
pretended to great skill in the original, and would prove it,
that, under the Gospel, a blasphemer and an impostor ought
to be put to death. He said, Paul in the Acts, declared,
"If I have done any thing worthy of death, let me then die."
There the apostle grants their allegation. "If I have done
any thing against the law," &c.; some footsteps whereby we
may guess that the laws in the Old Testament are moral.
Where the reasons are eternal, there the laws are eternal.
If a man rise up presumptuously to slay a man, he shall
die the death, was offered as one argument why the magistrate may commute the punishment. It is rather to be interpreted, and slay, instead of to slay.
He cited Calvin, Rutherford, and Cotton, about the punishment of corporal, fornication, and spiritual idolatry. If
leave might be given, in other cases, to commute the punishment, not in this case. Otherwise, the punishment would be
too light. Said something of Gallio. (fn. 4)
If you should punish this man with corporal punishment,
in a short time it will come to nothing. If you cut off his
hand, or restrain him of pen and ink, we have found, by experience, that such have found means to trouble you. He inclined to the highest punishment, but none could guess by
Mr. Waller. I have an equal abhorrency to Nayler and his
party, as any man here; but I cannot agree to the punishment
with death. Much has been spoken which, needed not have
been, and something omitted that should have been spoken.
From generals you cannot conclude particulars. Your argument runs thus. Some blasphemy ought to be punished with
death, but Nayler has committed blasphemy, ergo. Now I
shall, prove, that Nayler has not committed such a blasphemy
as ought to be punished with death.
No positive inference can be drawn from Nayler's confession, as to his assuming the attributes of Christ, but rather a
positive denial of these assumings. The proof is all along
He hath not said that he is Christ, but only a sign. Now
the sign is another thing than the thing signified. He says
not that Christ dwells wholly, or personally, in him.
As to that of the woman's kissing his feet, and the like,
this is but a civil posture to our superiors.
That of assuming divine adoration. He does no such
thing. He said not that Christ was in him more than he was
(He said a great deal more to extenuate the crime, but I
minded it not.)
Non-practice of the law takes not away the law, yet we
are not now under the same dispensations. Christ did not
direct his disciples to be all Nimrods, but to be " fishers of
men." (fn. 5) Christ said, "all blasphemy shall be forgiven," &c. (fn. 6)
Without the spirit concurring with the light of the Scriptures, we may wander into as erroneous opinions by that
light, as did the heathens by the light of nature, without the
Scriptures. Do you pass this sentence upon him to reclaim
himself, or to reclaim others ? If to reclaim him, you cannot
after death; if, before death, it will be said, it is but the
terror of that which frights him. Instead of reclaiming
others, you will confirm and pervert them. The ways of
truth are slippery. Angels have fallen. Perfect men have
fallen. This man does not challenge to be either of them.
There is but an inch of ground to go upon between error on
each side. I shall say nothing as to the law you have to
punish this person; yet, certainly, if you condemn him by a
law unknown, you do unjustly. I desire you would come
to some Question.
Colonel White. There has been enough said in this business. I desire you would put some Question or other, and the
most proper is, whether the Question for the higher punishment should be put or no.
Question. Whether that Question shall be put or no.
We, the Yeas that staid in, were 82. Alderman Foot and
Sir Christopher Pack, [Tellers.]
The Noes that went out were 96. Colonel Berkeley and Mr.
Mr. Downing called me to go out, but consc (fn. 7) .
The question for the lesser punishment being read.
Colonel White proposed that his tongue might be bored
Colonel Barclay, that his hair might be cut off.
Major-General Haines, that his tongue might be slit or
bored through, and that he might be stigmatized with the
Colonel Coker, that his hair might be cut off.
Sir Thomas Wroth. Slit his tongue, or bore it, and brand
him with the letter B.
Major-General Whalley. Do not cut off his hair; that will
make the people believe that the Parliament of England are
of opinion that our Saviour Christ wore his hair so, (fn. 8) and this
will make all people in love with the fashion.
Sir Gilbert Pickering. His hard labour and imprisonment
will be sufficient. I have, within these two days, talked with
a very sober man of that sect, who tells me Nayler is not to
be heeded in what he said, for he is bewitched, really bewitched; and keeping him from company, especially from
that party that bewitched him, your imprisonment will do. If
your vote be not passed about his hair being cut off, I am for
Major-General Skippon. Seeing you are off the other question (wherein I fear we have offended God), make the other
punishment as high as you can I doubt cutting off his hair
will be but too private a punishment. It is offered you, instead of pillory, to slit his tongue, and that upon a scaffold
upon the Exchange, in as public a manner as can be, and that
the rest of his punishment may be done at Bristol.
Major-General Disbrowe. I doubt if you slit his tongue,
you may endanger his life. It will be a death of a secret
Mr. Downing. You ought to do something with that
tongue that has bored through God. You ought to bore his
tongue through. You punish a swearer so, (fn. 9) and have some
whipped through an affront to your members, in the case of
Noble. (fn. 10)
Colonel Kiffen proposed, that the boring his tongue through
might be suspended till he come to Bristol.
Lord President. I am against putting this into your question. You had better take his life; that tongue may afterwards praise the Lord. I was ever against that punishment.
Colonel Holland. You have done what becomes magistrates. Now I would have you do like Christians, and not to
be too severe.
Dr. Clarges. Boring through the tongue is a mutilation
of members. It was said by most that were not satisfied in
his death, that they would go as high as you please. Whipping, in law, is a mutilation.
Mr. Robinson. I remember no such thing granted, to go
to so high a punishment; I understand not the grammar that
whipping is a mutilation.
Major Audley. It is an ordinary punishment for swearing, (fn. 9)
I have known twenty bored through the tongue.
Resolved, that his tongue be bored through.
Resolved, that he be marked with the letter B. in the
Major-General Whalley proposed, that his lips might be
Alderman Foot, that his head may be in the pillory, and
that he be whipped from Westminster to the Old Exchange.
Resolved, that instead of the word " Cheapside," be added
" Old Exchange."
Colonel Cromwell, that he may be whipped through the
whole City from Westminster to Aldgate.
Major-General Goffe, that he may also be restrained from
society of women, as well as from men. Only some to come
to him for necessaries.
Colonel Mathews, that he may be branded and bored at the
Dr. Clarges, that he may stand in the pillory in Glassenbury and Wells.
Colonel Shapcot, that his Bridewell may be at York,
whence he came.
Mr. Speaker and Sir William Strickland, He came not
thence. I shall put it upon Bristol.
Mr. Pedley and Colonel Purefoy proposed, that his prison
might be the Isle of Scilly. (fn. 11)
Colonel Clarke. If you put him to hard labour, indeed
Bridewell, London, is the fittest place. A gentleman in my
eye will inspect it.
Mr. Bond. Do what you can, resort for monies will be
had to him. Send him rather into the Orcades, or Scotland, or other remote parts.
Major-General Disbrowe and Alderman Foot. London is
the fittest place.
Sir Gilbert Pickering. Either be strict in this, or you do
nothing, for certainly this of Quakerism is as infectious as the
plague. And that not only men, but women be kept from
him. I have told you, it is a woman that has done all the
Mr. Puller proposed, that he might be sent to Jamaica.
Sir Thomas Wroth, to the Isle of Dogs. (fn. 12)
Sir John Reynolds. It is most dangerous to send him to
Bristol, lest he disturb the peace of that town. Put it rather
upon Scilly or Coventry.
Sir William Strickland. London is as liable to tumults as
any place. I desire, rather, that he might be sent to Bristol.
Mr. Highland. Those that come out of the North, are the
greatest pests of the nation. The diggers came thence.
Mr. Robinson. I hope that gentleman does not mean by
his pests, all that come thence. He means not us, I hope. (fn. 13)
The origin of the diggers was from London, a Blackwell-hallman thief. (fn. 14)
Lord Strickland. I rather think these pests have come
from Surrey, for there was the first rise of the diggers.
Mr. Bampfield. I am glad every body apprehends this
man to be such an one as that all are weary of him. He
came from the North. It verifies the proverb ab aquilone nil
boni. I hope it will be a warning to them never to send us
such cattle amongst us.
Mr. Attorney-General. Send him to some country-town.
In a public place it will breed tumult, if you keep him in a
Mr. (fn. 15) . I am sorry to hear such reflections upon
the North. I would have this fellow sent rather to South.
wark, (fn. 16) where there is a prison, i. e. the Marshalsea, to which
we all contribute.
Major-General Boteler and Colonel Whetham. The proper
place is where they most abound. There they may best be
punished. If at Bristol, then at Bristol.
Resolved, that London be the place.
Per Major Boteler and Colonel Mathews. That he might
have no relief but what he earns.
Colonel Rouse. This is the most material part of your
question. Many of them live better in prison than otherwise.
Mr. Bampfield. John Lilburn (fn. 17) had forty shillings per
week, which, I believe, is more than ever he had before.
This fellow's condition will be better than before, unless you
restrain all relief to him, more than he earns with his hard
labour. You will hardly keep him so private here.
Mr. Speaker. You may remember a case in Parliament of
one John James, for striking a member, one Mr. Howard, in
the hall with, a dagger (some thought he was killed): the
House ordered his hand to be cut off, but this was to be done
by Bill, and I think you must, in this case, take that course.
Dr. Clarges. I am against the troubling ourselves with a
Bill in this case. I think it is altogether needless. Your judicial power will extend further than to such a vpte as this,
without the help of your legislative. You remember what
you did this morning against Noble, in a lesser matter, and
what you did not long since in a worthy gentleman's case, a
member of this House, against a fellow that exhibited articles,
against him. I may name the person, I think he is not here,
Mr. B., how you committed that fellow, and it was debated
about the whipping, where a noble lord said whipping was a
Mr. Downing and Mr. Bampfield. 1 am more afraid of a
Bill than any thing else. You have done greater matters by
your judicial power. Boring the tongue through is often
done by less judicatures.
Colonel Shapcot and Sir William Strickland. An order of
this House will be as much as a Bill. Your warrant to the
sheriff will show your judgment; but I desire the imprisonment may be perpetual. It is a civil death.
Colonel Jones. It were good, before you agree of the
time, you would proceed upon the legislative or judicial power.
Sir William Strickland. I am against a Bill. If Lord
Stratford's case were to be acted over again, we should not
proceed by a Bill, but in a judicial way. The Parliament
then might question whether the House of Lords would consent, and so a Bill was requisite; but in this case it is otherwise. We are another. Jurisdiction now, a judicial Court.
If we lose this privilege, if we own it not now, we shall have
much ado to resume, to regain it. I desire you would trouble
yourselves no further in this business. If you talk of a Bill,
it will all come to nothing.
Resolved, that James Nayler be set on the pillory, with
his head in the pillory, in the New Palace Westminster,
during the space of two hours, on Thursday next, and be
whipped by the hangman through the streets of Westminster
to the Old Exchange, London; and there, likewise, to be
set upon the pillory, with his head in the pillory, for the
space of two hours, between the hours of eleven and one, on
Saturday next; in each of the said places, wearing a paper
containing an inscription of his crimes: and that at the Old
Exchange, his tongue shall be bored through with a hot iron,
and that he be there also stigmatized in the forehead with
the letter B.; and that he be, afterwards, sent to Bristol and
conveyed into and through the said city, on a horse bare
ridged, with his face back, and there also publickly whipped,
the next market-day after he comes thither: and that from
thence he be committed to prison in Bridewell, London, and
there restrained from the society of all people, and kept to
hard labour till he be released by the Parliament: and,
during that time, be debarred of the use of pen, ink, and
paper, and have no relief but what he earns by his daily
Resolved, that the said James Nayler be brought to the
bar to-morrow, at ten of the clock, to receive his judgment.
Resolved, that the Speaker be authorised to issue his
warrants to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, the Sheriff
of Bristol, and the Governor of Bridewell, London, to see
his judgment put in execution respectively in the several
Resolved, that the Speaker be authorised to make a
warrant to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, to convey
the said Nayler to Bristol.
Resolved, that Mr. Speaker do issue out the like warrant
to the Sheriffs of Bristol to convey him up to London, after
the execution of this judgment.
Resolved, that to-morrow, after the sentence pronounced
against James Nayler, the several Petitions now offered, be
Resolved, that the House do likewise then take into consideration the persons brought up with James Nayler.
Mr. Speaker. It cost us 26l. to bring them up, and I
hope we shall be at no more charge with them.
Resolved, That the Bill concerning Mr. Acklam be read