Monday, January 19, 1656–7.
Mr. Robinson reported from the Grand Committee upon
the Bill for uniting of Ireland into one Commonwealth with
England, (fn. 1) that the said Grand Committee do desire the
House will appoint another day for the said Grand Committee to sit.
Ordered, that the House he resolved into a Grand Committee, upon the Bill for uniting Ireland into one Commonwealth with England, on Wednesday morning next.
Ordered, that the House be resolved into a Grand Committee, upon the Bill for uniting Scotland into one Commonwealth with England, (fn. 2) on Friday morning next.
The humble petition of John Buck, Esq. was this day
Ordered, that this petition be referred to the Committee
to whom the petition of Mr. Scot is referred, and that this
Committee, as to this business, have power to send for persons, papers, witnesses, and records; and that it be referred
to this Committee to prepare a Bill to this House concerning
divorces and alimony, and where it is fit to place the same. (fn. 3)
Mr. Bodurda. You have had two letters from his Highness, to which you have returned no answer. I have a report upon one of them, which I have had in my hand this
month almost, touching the Cheshire brigade. (fn. 4) I desire it
may be read. But he was called down, in regard (as Mr.
Speaker said) he knocked the former business on the head,
which was a good business.
Lord Fiennes brought in a petition from the University
Resolved, that it be read.
It was, that scholars should not be troubled with suits at
law, concerning their discipline, but that the same might be
determined by their visitors.
Mr. Speaker. I do not remember that ever the University had such a privilege, that the Courts of Justice should
not be judges of their privileges. If they aim at that, they
will be mistaken.
Lord Chief-Justice. This complaint ariseth from a suit depending in the Upper Bench, in the case of one Herne, who
was duly elected a Fellow of All Souls, where, upon his application to us, we granted a mandamus, as was warrantable
by former precedents, in a case lately before Lord Rolle, in
a serious debate. We are, by our oaths, bound to grant process in such cases.
Mr. Robinson and Lord Strickland moved, that this might
be referred to a Committee to consider of this business.
Haply, it may concern freehold.
Per Mr. Bond.
Resolved, that it be referred to Corpus Christi College
Lord Fiennes and Sir William Strickland moved, that all
the proceedings at law may be stopped till the Committee
have considered of this business.
Mr. Speaker. The proceedings at law ought not to be
stopped upon this petition. I desire not to hinder it, but
it comes in very irregularly, for here is no hand to it, not
so much as the Vice-Chancellor's, or any others. A private
person cannot do it.
Mr. Secretary. I rise up to acquaint you with the discovery of a late heinous plot, which is in part discovered, and
we are in pursuit of the rest.
The place where that design was hatched is in Flanders,
a place fit for such designs of assassination, at the Spanish
court there. Two parties are in it, the old malignant, and
the levelling party. It is carried on by one Sexby (fn. 5) there.
Three of them we have taken. First, one Cecil, a late
trooper: second, one Sindercomb, who was in the mutiny in
Scotland, and disbanded. The proof was not then full
enough against him to hang him: I hope it will now be sufficient. Third, one John Toope, who was trusted to be of the
Life-guard. He discovered it to us the same night it was to
take effect. It will be made out that both parties were privy
to it. Toope and Cecil have confessed something upon their
examinations; but Miles Sindercomb stands mute. I hope
we shall discover more of them.
Read, the examinations taken before Colonel White and
William Jesop, Justices of Peace, at Westminster, January 8,1656–7.
1. The examination of John Cecil read.
2. The examination and information of John Toope read.
Mr. Secretary. These are all the examinations that we
have taken in this business. We are in further pursuit of thediscovery. This Boys is the chief agent. He is now in
Flanders. It is likely that it is not his name, but he is a con.
siderable person of the late King's party; who, I believe, will
be found implicated in this assassination. This will appear
by a discovery, in part, by a paper found about Sir Thomas
Peyton, now a prisoner in the Tower; who, being suspected
to hold close correspondence with Charles Stuart, was searched
by one John Rogers, a soldier appointed to search his chamber for papers.
The examination of John Rogers read by the clerk.
Searching for papers in Sir Thomas Peyton's chamber, the
gaoler's daughter being there, he conveyed the papers to
her, which were taken upon her, and sworn before Sir John
Barkstead, as to the paper.
Mr. Secretary read the paper himself, in regard it was torn.
He had read it three or four times, and desired he might read
it. This paper was found the 6th of December last, whereupon Sir Thomas Peyton was sent for, and all that he would
say to it, is in this paper, which the clerk read. He confessed such a paper came to his hand writ upon the top of
it, the 30th of December. He conceived it to he of dangerous concernment. But how it came to him ? It was by a
porter from Blackfriars, as he believes, in regard he demanded monies for it.
Mr. Secretary desired the papers back again, in regard
they were the originals, which were delivered back.
Mr. Secretary's report thus entered in the clerk's book.
Mr. Secretary made a relation of a wicked design to take
away the Lord Protector's life, and to fire Whitehall, and
presented the examinations of John Cecil and John Toope,
taken upon oath before Francis White and William Jesop,
Esquires, two of his Highness's Justices of Peace for the
liberty of Westminster, which was read.
Mr. Secretary also made another relation of another design,
and presented the examination of John Rogers of the Tower
of London, gentleman, taken upon oath the 8th day of December, 1656, before Sir John Barkstead, Knight, and the
examination of Sir Thomas Peyton, taken the 8th of December, 1656, which examinations were delivered back to Mr.
Secretary by order. (fn. 6)
Sir William Slrickland. We are obliged to give thanks
to God for this and all other deliverances, without whose providence a hair cannot fall from our heads. It is not improbable that the Levellers (fn. 7) and the Cavaliers may join together in this assassination, or any other wicked thing, to
overthrow the Government. We cannot be too thankful for
such a mercy; which was extended to us, as well as to his
Highness. I cannot tell what to say to it, but would have it
transferred back again, that the offenders may be all discovered and punished.
Judge-Advocate Whalley. I thought it my duty, hearing
of some of the names of the plotters, as Colonel Overton, to say
what I know of my own knowledge; and do affirm that when
General Monk, and some other officers, with myself, went to
search Colonel Overton's chamber, we found a sealed paper,
wherein was expressed that 600l. was distributed to six several persons, who should have murdered my Lord Protector. (fn. 8)
I thought good to acquaint you.
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon. I know not what to say to it, but
that we should solemnly give thanks to God for this deliverance; which, certainly, was not only a deliverance to his
Highness, but to us all. I believe none of us that sit here had
been safe, if this design had prospered. It has pleased God
to add this to our former mercies, and we ought to appoint a
day of thanksgiving for it; but whether public or private, I
shall not determine, but do think private best.
Mr. Drake. It was a public deliverance, I desire the thanksgiving may be suitable, and a public thanksgiving day to be
Mr. Highland. You should discover more of the plot before you appoint a day of thanksgiving, especially if you make
it public. It may prevent further discoveries.
Lord Broghill. This is a sufficient experience of mercy
whereupon to ground a thanksgiving. It will be a means to
stop the mouths of your enemies; both Charles Stuart (fn. 9) and
the rest, to hear that the representatives of the three nations
have such a sense of this deliverance, that they do appoint a
day of thanksgiving for it. It is a mercy very thanks-worthy.
The question being put for appointing a day of public
thanksgiving, some would have one day for London, and
hereabouts, and another day for remoter parts.
Mr. Highland. It is an universal mercy, and it ought to
be universally observed upon one day, by all the three nations.
It was so in scripture. They appointed one day for all. I
desire we may observe that rule. Again, it is not convenient
for countrymen that come with their cloth, and other things,
to London, upon such a solemn day here, they knowing nothing of it. They lose their market. I desire that it may
be upon Thursday fortnight.
Sir John Reynolds moved that it might be upon, Thursday three weeks.
Mr. Speaker. That is the last day of the term, and you
cannot appoint that day. I thought good to mind you of it.
Sir Christopher Pack. Thursday and Friday are the days
when carriers come in. (fn. 10) I desire it may be upon a Tuesday.
Sir Gilbert Picketing. I move, that it may not be deferred
so long, for we give way for another plot before the appointed
day come. I desire it may be this day sennight.
The question being put, whether the question should be
put to appoint this day sennight, it passed with the negative.
Resolved, that Friday, come three weeks, being the 13th of
February, be appointed a day of public thanksgiving for the
Mr. Bond. I move, that the thanksgiving may be within
these walls. I can profit more here than abroad.
Major Beak. It is against the nature of thanksgiving to
keep a day in private, but I hope that will be overruled. I de
sire Mr. Warren may be one of those to preach that day, and
that the place may be Margaret's, Westminster.
Alderman Foot desired Dr. Reynolds might preach.
Exceptions were taken to his low voice.
Aldermon Foot. If so, then I desire Mr. Jenkins (fn. 11) may
be appointed; for why need we fetch them out of the country, having enough about us to do the duty ?
Mr. Maidstone and Major Haines moved, that Mr. Warren
might be one to preach; for Dr. Reynolds's voice is too
low, and so Mr. Caryl's.
Lord Strickland. It is strange we should not hear as well
now as we did fourteen years ago.
Mr. Robinson. Ministers tell us our faults. It is fit we
should tell them theirs. Their reading of sermons (fn. 12) makes
their voice lower. I doubt we are going to the episcopal
way of reading prayers too.
Mr. Church moved that Mr. Mead (fn. 13) might preach for one,
and that charity might be better observed than when the fast
was last kept in the House. Nothing was given at the door
to the poor.
Sir John Reynolds. I shall appoint both place and a person, if you please:—Margaret's, Westminster, and Dr. Owen
Resolved, that Margaret's, Westminster, be the place.
Lord Cochrane desired that Mr. Galaspy might preach.
He said he used not to read his sermons. (fn. 14) He said something of an evil man that read his sermons. This caused
Mr. Butler and Lord Whitlock would have had Whitehall
Chapel appointed for the place, because the deliverance was
Dr. Clarges, Sir William Stricktand, and Lord Strickland
moved, that Mr. Galaspy be desired to preach, as was moved
by that noble lord, who, I perceive, is a very godly man.
Resolved, that Mr. Galaspy be desired to preach before the
House on that day, and Lord Cochrane to give him notice.
Resolved, that Mr. Warren be likewise desired to preach
before the House, at the same time and place, and Major
Haines to give him notice.
Resolved, that a Committee be appointed to bring in a
narrative of the grounds of the thanksgiving.
Resolved, that his Highness's concurrence be desired thereunto.
Sir Gilbert Pickering and Major-General Boteler, moved
that Wednesday afternoon may be the time appointed to
wait upon his Highness, the whole House, to congratulate
Mr. Robinson was against going to his Highness in that
The Master of the Rolls. This will be a very good expedient to let the world see that there is a right understanding between his Highness and us, and that we are cemented.
It will be much satisfaction, that we have such a sense of
this blessing, that we should go in a body, and congratulate
his Highness's safe deliverance.
Mr. Highland proposed to prepare the narrative first, and
then go to his Highness to congratulate the deliverance.
Lord Broghill. I should have been for waiting upon his
Highness to congratulate this mercy, if it had not been moved
before. Now it is afoot, I would not have it laid aside, but
that a day may be appointed to this purpose, to wait upon
Lord Whitlock. I would not have us take an occasion,
from going to his Highness, to desire his consent to the Declaration. It cannot be too solemn a congratulation. I would
have us appoint a time on purpose. It was never known that
ever the whole House waited upon his Highness for his consent to any business.
Lord Chief-Justice Glynn. We cannot do this too solemnly. I desire that a Committee may be appointed to
attend his Highness, to know when this House shall wait
upon him, to congratulate with him for this deliverance.
Mr. Speaker. I desire you would direct me what I should
say to his Highness. Haply, I may be surprised, as before
we were. His Highness may appoint to-morrow morning.
Unless you will have me to say nothing but what you shall
formate (fn. 15) to me.
Sir Gilbert Pickering. If it were not against the orders
of the House to call up any man to speak, there was a very
good pattern propounded to us as to the manner of addresses
to his Highness, upon another occasion, about three or four
months ago. I confess I liked that method well, as a means
to unite and procure a right understanding between us and
his Highness. I wish we might follow that way. I remember very well what this speech was, and who spoke it.
It was Major-General Goffe, upon the debate about the
thanksgiving for the late victory from Spain. (fn. 16) It was a long
preachment, seriously inviting the House to a firm, and a kind
of corporal union with his Highness. Something was expressed as to hanging about his neck like pearls, from a text
out of Canticles, &c. (fn. 17)
Resolved, that this House do wait upon his Highness,
the Lord Protector, to congratulate with his Highness for
this great mercy and deliverance.
Resolved, that the Committee appointed to prepare the
narrative of the grounds and reasons of setting apart Friday
three weeks, for public thanksgiving, do attend his Highness, the Lord Protector, to desire his Highness to appoint a
time when this House may attend his Highness upon this occasion.
Major-General Goffe stood up once to offer some words
to the former question, but I believe he had a good mind to
answer Sir Gilbert Pickering's call, as tickled, &c.; and so
stood up again a little after, and expressed, that this application was very seasonable, and no doubt would gain the ends
of a firm union between his Highness and us, to the discouragement of our enemies. He desired that the Speaker
might express our sense of the former deliverances of his
Highness, as well in public as private, and that it might also
look forward to his preservation, whereupon much of ours
did depend. He repeated something of his former preachment, but I remember not.
Mr. Ashe, the elder. That which the gentleman has moved,
will do very well for your directions, as to the first part of
your speech. I would have something else added, which, in
my opinion, would tend very much to the preservation of
himself and us, and to the quieting of all the designs of our
enemies;—that his Highness would be pleased to take upon
him the government according to the ancient constitution; (fn. 18)
so that the hopes of our enemies' plots would be at an end.
Both our liberties and peace, and the preservation and privilege of his Highness, would be founded upon an old and sure
Sir William Strickland. It is very late to enter upon such
a debate as this I desire you would adjourn, and take up
the debate which should have come on this morning, to-morrow morning. I would not have any thing added that might
clog the business. I doubt not but you will be able to express the sense of the House, when we shall wait upon his
Major-General Disbrowe. I know not what that gentleman means by his expedient for his Highness's preservation.
I doubt that will be but a slender prop, without taking care
to secure his enemies. That, in my thoughts, is the best fortification for all honest men. I desire you would adjourn till
to-morrow, and then take up the debate upon the Bill before
Mr. Robinson. I understand not what that gentleman's
motion means, who talks of an old constitution, so I cannot
tell how we should debate upon it. The old constitution is
Charles Stuart's interest. I hope we are not calling him in
again. (fn. 19) I know not what it means. This gentleman would
have his Highness to be Charles Stuart's viceroy, or some
such thing. You have a Bill before you, (fn. 20) I would have
you go on with that as the best expedient for your preservation.
Mr. Downing. I believe that motion is of more concernment to you than the Bill before you. Government is the
foundation of security. I am sorry I was not at your debate
in the morning. Government is not to be made by six men.
Those Governments are best which are upon proof, and long
experience of our ancestors, (and not such as are only in notion,) such whereby the people may understand their liberty,
and the Lord Protector his privilege. The people must not
be fitted to the government but the government to the people.
There was a passage in the narrative, that our enemies took
advantage of our unsettlement. Men go away, but constitutions never fall. This is no merriment. It is a matter which
ought seriously to be weighed. When men pull down their
houses that are ruinous, they try awhile by setting up shrowds,
but finding them drop in, they build their houses again. I
cannot propound a better expedient for the preservation, both
of his Highness and the people, than by establishing the government upon the old and tried foundation, as was moved to
you by a grave and well-experienced person. I shall not
enter into the merits of the business, but desire this may be
seriously debated, and a day appointed.
Mr. Highland. That gentleman that moved this was one
of those (fn. 21) that was for the pulling down of what he would
now set up again. That was King, Lords, and Commons;
a constitution which we have pulled down with our blood and
treasure. Will you make the Lord Protector the greatest
hypocrite in the world, to make him sit in that place, whereby
corruption, and idolatry, and superstition,— (fn. 22) which God has
borne testimony sufficiently against, before the Protector and
many of you within these walls. Can he beget a fit governor ?
A Parliament, a Council can choose such an one. Are you
now going to set up kingly government, which, for these
thousand years, has persecuted the people of God ? Do you
expect a better consequence ? I beseech you consider of it!
what a crime it is to offer such a motion as this ! Do you expect a thanksgiving day upon this ? I desire this motion may
die, as abominable. This will set all the honest people of
this nation to weeping and mourning. 1 beseech you, that
such a thing as this may never receive footing here. I hope
we have gotten from our former bondage, blindness, and superstition, that great persecution we and our ancestors groaned under.
Captain Hatsel. I desire that you would not enter upon
such a debate as this, at this time a day. It is late. Adjourn,
and take it up to-morrow morning, that every one may speak
his mind to it, and if it be found for the safety of the nation,
it were fit it should be determined with all solemnity.
Mr. Waller. Appoint to-morrow morning for a further
debate upon this business. I hope that it may be a good expedient to procure our preservation.
Mr. Bodurda. It is the opinion of those that do contrive
the ruin of this commonwealth. They go upon good and
rational ground, to consider what probability there is of their
designs prevailing, upon the removing of his Highness's person. It is a matter that you ought to take into consideration. If it can be found for the safety of the nation, the alteration of the Government, you ought not to omit it, in order
to the deliverance which you have appointed to give thanks
for. If either a natural or ail accidental death should happen
to his Highness, as who can tell how soon, who can tell the
consequence ? I think it is very well worth a serious debate,
and ought to precede the other. I therefore desire that we
may take this debate up to-morrow morning.
Sir Thomas Wroth. I conceived the Government was so
well settled before, that it needed not to admit of a debate to
alter it. Yet, seeing it is so pressed upon the account of preservation, and safety of the nation, let it have a full and
serious debate. I doubt not but weighty arguments may be
brought, as well against as for, hereditary government. I
know not what else can be meant by the motion; but I think
to-morrow is too short a time. I desire you would appoint a
longer day, that every man may be prepared to speak to this
business with judgment and according to his conscience;
and that, in the meantime, you would go on to the business
Divers stood up to speak to this business, others to adjourn
this debate, others cried to appoint to-morrow. for the decimation Bill. The debate fell asleep, I know not how, but I
believe it was by consent, (as I heard Mr. Nathaniel Bacon
and others say, as they came out) and only started by way
of probation. I have not seen so hot a debate vanish so
strangely, like an ignis fatuus. But I had forgot that,
Mr. Nathaniel Bacon spoke to it, as much as to say you
have now great matters before you. You need not complain of
want of business. I desire you would take them in order.
Mr. Speaker was weary, and put the other question.
Resolved, that the debate upon the Bill for continuing and
assessing of a tax for maintaining of the militia, formerly
adjourned to this day, be adjourned until to-morrow morning, the first business, nothing to intervene.
In the Court of Wards' chamber, sat Captain Lister's Committee, (fn. 23) Sir Edward Rhodes in the chair, where Serjeant
Maynard was to make his defence. (fn. 24) When he had spoken,
the Committee appointed him to have a chair set, and to keep
on his hat. The reason given for that privilege was, because
he was a member of Parliament. He had his counsel there
besides, who pleaded for him; and Captain Lister had two
counsellors, Mr. Alien and Mr. Finch. They proceeded a
little, but the Grand Committee of Religion called us away.
In the middle room, sat the Committee for Hospitals, Dr.
Clarges in the chair, but the Grand Committee raised them.
The Grand Committee for Religion sat till seven, upon the
debate about bringing in a Bill for tithes, and a great dispute, and the House divided, whether the question should
be general or particular, only to the tithes of ministers, &c.,
in regard a Committee of Religion had nothing to do with
other matters. But it was urged, on the other side, that
tithes of ministers and impropriators were so complicated,
in all laws, statutes, and ordinances, that they could not be
sundered. We were the greater party, three to one, so it
Resolved, that it be referred to a sub-Committee to consider the statutes and ordinances concerning tithes, and that
they do bring in a Bill for, and amendment, and supply of
such laws, for the better payment of tithes, and other dues
and duties to parsonages and vicarages.
The last was added by Mr. Godfrey; and that was worse
than before, though by him intended for the better.
Thursday last, Sir Thomas Wharton was here, and told
me, that the Tuesday morning before, my Lord Wharton's (fn. 25)
lady was delivered of a son, (fn. 26) which he expressed with great