Monday, January 12, 1656–7.
We stayed till after ten before the Speaker came. He was
brought in a sedan to the lobby door, not being able to come
up stairs. After prayers, with much ado, he got into the
chair; but looked most piteously, and very ill he was,
scarcely able to sit or speak; whereof the House were generally sensible, and so hasted to move for an adjournment.
Major Beake stood up, but was prevented from speaking, by
Lord Fleetwood, who said, that the Committee for Irish
Affairs had prepared a Bill of Attainder of the rebels of Ireland, without which no purchaser or adventurer could be secured, and this was a bill of great concernment to that nation,
and of absolute necessity. He desired it might be now read.
Mr. Bond. I see you are very ill, and not able to sit in
that chair. I hope, in a week's time, you may recover your
spirits and strength, so that we may go on with the public
business of the Commonwealth more cheerfully. I desire
you would adjourn for a week's time, and settle all your Bills
so, that, in the mean time, they may be debated in Grand
Committees, and prepared for you, or otherwise, that some
other person of the long robe may be appointed, for the
present, to sit in that chair, for I see you are not able to
Sir William Strickland. I rise up to second that motion,
that, in respect of your ease, for I see you are not able to sit
in that chair, you would adjourn for a week: and I hope that
ease may the better fit you for carrying on the great affairs.
In all other purposes, we say, we will do this if God will.
God is pleased to put a stop to our affairs, for the present,
and we ought to tender your health and ease.
Major Morgan. While we are debating what to do, we
lose time, and so shall do nothing. The Committee for Irish
affairs have taken a great deal of pains to serve you, and
have prepared that Bill which the honourable person offered
you. It is of great importance; no greater can be in the
whole nation, than to unite your interests and people together.
It costs you now 1700l. per mensem to protect your interest
there. The Irish interest grows, the English is at a stand.
It is but a short bill. I desire you would give it the first
Lord Whitlock. I rise up to second the motion made before, that you would adjourn for a week, in regard of your
own ease, in which time your physicians are hopeful you may
recover your strength. There may be some inconvenience, or
loss of time, but the House may, in the interim, be framed
into Grand Committees, which may do you as much service
in preparing business for you against the next week, that
then you may go on more cheerfully and orderly in your
affairs before you.
Mr. Robinson. These motions may do well, but, I fear
me, you have so much public business before you, that you
cannot conveniently admit of this delay. There is a difference between those that live here and have their families in
town, and us that are distant from our business, and have
more need to be at home upon our own occasions, than trifling
away the time thus. Let us either say we will go on with
our public business, or let us say, not; that we may go look
after our husbandry, which draws on now.
I doubt the state of your health will not, at present, afford
to sit it out. The more you adjourn, the longer our attendance we are tied to. I desire that some might be appointed
to sit in that place, till it please God to enable you for the
work. It was usual in the House of Lords to appoint a
speaker pro tempore. I would have you chuse some of the
long robe for the present, that our business may not be at a
stand thus, from time to time.
Dr. Clarges. Adjourn for a week, and I doubt not but in
that time you may so recover your health, as that we may
join to the dispatch of the business before us. And, in the
meantime, there may be as good service done in Grand Committees, by preparing business for you, as that Bill for the
Scotch Union, which has laid a long time on your hands, (fn. 1)
and other bills, will the better pass when you are united.
Especially when you are going to lay a tax upon the people,
it is fit you should be unanimous.
Mr. Ashe the elder. I desire, Mr. Speaker, that you
would deal plainly with us in your condition; that you would
declare to the House what is your indisposition; The House
may think that you are in good health now, and able to sit.
If you be so indisposed that you cannot sit, or that in a short
time you may be able, that you would appoint some other
person to be Speaker pro tempore, &c.
Sir Thomas Wroth. It seems to me that you are unfit to
sit in that chair; but it were good it were examined how your
condition is, that the House might understand your indisposition: and either chuse one in that place, pro tempore, or otherwise that you would adjourn for a week, and go into Grand
Committees, if your physicians tell you that such a time of
ease would recover your strength.
Mr. Speaker stood up, and, with tears in his eyes, said,
Gentlemen, I am sorry it should be doubted, my being sick.
If you please to go on, I shall sit till twelve o'clock.
Major-General Disbrowe, Lord Strickland, and Captain
Baynes, seeing the Speaker so very ill, hastened the question,
and desired the House might be adjourned for a week, and
resolved into Grand Committees upon the Excise Bill, and
the two Bills for the Union.
Colonel White moved that some course might be taken with
the women that came from Exeter. (fn. 2) They are not able to
maintain themselves. He desired that they might be transferred over to the justices of peace, to take care of them, and
dispose of them as they see occasion.
Major Beake. The company of Turkey merchants (fn. 3) are
waiting at the door with a petition. I desire they may be
Resolved, that the House be resolved into a Grand Committee, to sit all this week, de die in diem, upon several businesses.
Resolved, that, notwithstanding the adjournment of the
House, the Grand Committee do sit.
Resolved, that on this day, and on Tuesday and Thursday
next, the Grand Committee do sit upon the Bill touching the
excise and new impost.
Resolved, that on Wednesday next, the House be resolved into a grand Committee upon the Act for uniting of
Scotland into one Commonwealth with England.
Resolved, that on Saturday next the House be resolved
into a Grand Committee, upon the Bill for uniting Ireland into
one Commonwealth with England.
Resolved, that on Friday morning next the House be resolved into a Grand Committee upon matters of religion.
Resolved, that all other Committees may sit and act
every afternoon, notwithstanding the adjournment of the
Resolved, that the debate upon the Bill for continuing and
assessing of a tax for maintaining of the militia forces be adjourned until Monday morning next.
Ordered, that the Bill of Attainder of the rebels in Ireland,
be read the first time to-morrow se'nnight.
Ordered, that the thanks of this House be given to Mr.
Caryl, for his pains taken in assisting and carrying on the
work of humiliation in this House, on Friday last, (fn. 4) and that
Mr. Maidstone be desired to give him the thanks of this
Ordered, that the thanks of this House be given to Dr.
Reynolds, for his great pains taken in his sermon preached
before this House on Friday last, being a day set apart for
humiliation to be kept in this House, and that he be desired
to print his sermon, and that he have the like privilege in
printing thereof, as bath been formerly allowed to others in
the like case. And that Sir Christopher Pack do give him
the thanks of this House accordingly.
Ordered, in the same manner, mutatis mutandis, (in clerk's
book,) for Mr. Barker. And that Major-General Bridge be
desired to give him the thanks of this House accordingly.
Resolved, that the House be adjourned until Monday
The House did adjourn itself until Monday morning next,
Mr. Speaker left the chair.
Mr. Fowell took the chair.
The House, according to former order, was resolved into a
Grand Committee, upon the additional Bill for the excise and
new impost, and proceeded therein.
Mr. Robinson asked me this morning, before the Speaker
came, if I took notes at Scot's Committee: I said yea. He
told me he had much ado to forbear moving against my
taking notes, for it was expressly against the orders of the
House. (fn. 5) I told him how Mr. Davy took notes all the Long
Parliament, and that Sir Symons D'Ewes wrote great volumes; as well his own speeches as other men's, when he
was prevented in speaking. (fn. 6)
I said, "How should young men learn arguments without
their notes;" but I answered civilly. He said Mr. Solicitor
Ellis was highly ruffled one time for taking notes, and was
commanded to tear them in the face of the House. "It takes
away," quoth he, "the freedom and liberty of men's speaking,
for fear their arguments be told abroad. It was well known
at Oxford that Mr. Robinson never spoke any thing against
the King," (fn. 7) and a great deal to this purpose, which I evaded
as well as I could.
In the Inner Court of Wards sat the Committee upon the
petition of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of
London, (fn. 8) where Mr. Goodwin had the chair.
Two counsellors were heard on each side. The city desired that those that had the freedom to trade amongst them,
might also bear offices amongst them, or fine for alderman and
sheriffs, &c., they alleging that privilege and duty were so
married together that they could not be separated, qui sentit
The defendants said, it was their birth-right to be free to
trade, and none ought to be compelled to accept any privilege
to his detriment, and urged three chapters in Magna Charta,
and the 29th chapter, ubi nullus liber homo disseisiatur de libertatibus, &c. (fn. 9)
This Committee was adjourned, but they waited a long
time for Alderman Foot, which Mr. Bond took heavily out,
that a Committee of Parliament should be so cheap as to wait
for any one man in England.
Those that serve for the City stick close to this privilege,
but I believe they will be worsted. It was said there, that
this nation was falling into the rickets, the head bigger than
the body. One nod of the head would command all the
members. This is the high way to it, if they have an arbitrary power over men's estates, to fine them at pleasure. It is
a strange power to put in one corporation.
It was said that they fined forty-four or forty-five in one
year for Alderman and sheriffs, and 400l. or 500l. a-piece is
ordinary. They, most an end, pitch upon such as they
know will not stand; go a birding for sheriffs (as Mr. Highland said) Vide supra, in. the debate when the petition came
The counsel on the defendants part, said, if the Committee
knew all, they had more need restrain than enlarge the privilege of this corporation. They instanced in several unreasonable laws and customs that they had, which, if not confirmed by Act of Parliament, were unreasonable. Whereunto Mr. Allen, by the way, replied, that no unreasonable
custom could be confirmed by Act of. Parliament, for if unreasonable, the confirmation, as well as the custom, was void.
First grievance in the customs of London was
That of the Court of. Orphans, (fn. 10) (which was worse than
the Court of Wards) where a man can dispose of neither
wife, estate, nor children, but after his death that Court questions it. (fn. 11)
2d. That custom of foreign bought, and foreign sold,
where if a man both buy from, and sell to, a stranger, his
goods so bought and sold are confiscate.
3d. Where a man may be arrested for a debt before the
day of payment, upon suggestion that the security grows
faint, and not sufficient, therefore the obligee may arrest the
obliger for better security.
4th. Superseding of actions and judgments in the courts
of justice there, and other things qua nunc proscribre, &c.
In the Speaker's chamber sat the Committee for the Bill
for high-ways, (fn. 12) Colonel Mathews in the chair.
In the middle room the Committee for Drury-house (fn. 13) sat,
and Colonel Twisleton in the chair. Major-Generals Goffe
and Whalley constant attendants. No grand Committee for
religion could be got together.
Captain Lister was gathering up Mr. Acklam's Committee. (fn. 14)