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Newsletters - Sir William Clarke, The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, vol. 3 
The Clarke Papers. Selections from the Papers of William Clarke, Secretary to the Council of the Army, 1647-1649, and to General Monck and the Commanders of the Army in Scotland, 1651-1660, ed. C.H. Firth (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1899). 4 vols.
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February 3, 165.—
f. 23.By lettres from Flanders itt is informed, that it was the Lord Lockhart’s pleasure to command five companies of Colonel Lillington’s regiment from their Winter quarters at Amiens in order to the strengthening of Dunkirke, [cypher] which was obeyed, and Majour Mallory of the said regiment marched with 5 companies, and tooke shipping in 2 vessels from St. Valeries, but the said vessells by reason of a tempest were separated, and the one vessell got safe to Dunkirke, but the other, wherein was the Major [and] divers officers with 2 companies and a halfe, had been missed 7 dayes when my lettres were dated, which causeth great doubts that they are shipwrackt, for which I am heartily sorry.
February 8, 165.—
f. 25.As to Parliament newes, there is nothing yett done more then debates. A petition is intended to bee presented to the House of Commons uppon tomorrow; there are about 12 persons, men of considerable quality who are to deliver it, they were at Westminster Hall this day to have delivered it; a freind who read the petition told mee the contents thereof was in effect as followeth. It is directed to the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England, and the petitioners call themselves ‘the severall inhabitants in and about the City of London.’ The preamble of the petition sets forth what God by his providence hath done in conquering their enemies, and restoring the people to their rights and privileges, and that now the Parliament being called it was onely in their power to establish them; the matter and aime of the peticion in substance is that the present Governement be overturned, and that the sole Governement be in Parliament. A Commonwealth’s Governement that is a perpetuall Parliament. There is a postscript to it declaring the people’s rights to peticion Parliament, and that in the former Parliament they were threatned to be harmed in their bodies, that their peticion was called mutinous, and that severall subscribers had for subscribing been turned out of their places, as Major Packer and others, something more to this effect there is.2 I had it this day from a merchant, that the Hollanders besides their great preparation for shipping have ordered that no manner of municion or accommodacion for shipping be suffered to go out of their country. Major Audley is at liberty.
Westminster, February 10, 165.—
f. 26b.The House of Commons, after 4 dayes debate and many harangues of some able men, hath come noe further length then by a vote to state the question, that they will have a previous vote anent declaring his Highnesse to bee Lord Protector before their committing of the bill, butt whether that declaration shall have this addition (with such limitations as the Parliament shall appoint) or nott, is to bee debated to morrow; and that is observed of the old Parliament men’s speeches, severall arguments has bin insisted on against the other House of Lords, especially this, that they have nott the same naturall interest in making of lawes that the old Lords had, because they had nott soe large a propriety of estates.
In the other House they are uppon amending the acts against swearing, drunkennesse, and profanation of the Lord’s Day.
February 15, 165.—
f. 30.Yesterday night about 10 of the clock the Parliament passed 2 votes; The first was, That this House doth recognize his Highnesse to bee Lord Protector and Cheif Magistrate of this Commonwealth; The 2d was, That they doe likewise resolve to debate and assert the rights and liberties of the people in the same bill, of which the former vote is to bee a part; and that nothing of the former vote is to bee bindinge till the whole bill bee compleated made uppe of the later vote, as well as the former. In the forenoone a vote was pass’d whether the worde recognize should bee parte of the question, and itt was carried by about 18 or 20 voices in the affirmative. These 3 votes are the issue of 8 dayes debate uppon the bill brought in by Mr. Secretary for recognizing his Highnesse by both Houses of Parliament. There is yett nothing said to the Lord’s House. Tomorrow the first thinge debated is to bee the rights and liberties of the people, and nothing to intervene, according to the last vote the last night; and what this question or debate will bringe forth, or what the House meanes by itt, I am nott able to determine, butt many suppose the Militia are1 a barre to the negative voice. Those they call the Commonwealth party are numerous in the House, I pray God to dispose their hearts to sobriety and moderation, the nations longs after a settlement which I hope in some time may now bee effected. This day Mr. Moyer and divers other gentlemen brought in a petition much in favour of common right and justice, and against tyranny, and such like expressions, and officers being turn’d out civill and martiall att discretion.f. 30b. The House read the petition, and returned answer, they had and would take the matters therin,2 as they should thinke meete, into their consideration. My Lord Fairfax sitts in the House.
February 15, 165.—
f. 31b.The 14 instant a Committee of officers were appointed to draw uppe some heads to bee framed into a petition, and presented to the Parliament in the name of the army. His Highnesse was lately with the officers att the Lord Fleetwood’s, and admonished them to bee prudent and carefull in the draught of this intended petition, which (itt’s hop’t) will bee carefully observ’d.
London, February 17, 165.—
f. 32b.Some of the officers of the army have had some meetinges att my Lord Fleetwood’s about a remonstrance or petition, butt did nothing butt debate thinges, and seemed resolved to acquiesce in the Parliament determinations; however they did chuse a committee to consider of something, in case itt might bee seasonable to offer any thinge to the Parliament; vizte: Lord Fleetwood, Lord Disbrowe, Lord Whalley, Lord Berry, Major General Lilburne, Colonel Ashfeild, Lieutenant Colonel Mosse, Major Ellison, Captain Deane, and some others.
. . . . . . .
Westminster, February 25, 165.—
f. 37.Last night the Parliament satt till betweene 11 and 12 att night before they came to a vote (after 3 dayes debate), of referring it to his Highnesse to prepare and put forth the fleet to sea for the defence of the Commonwealth and secureing of commerce and trade. That which hath been the occasion of the great contest was, that some (and that the greater part) are of opinion to have the government of the nation in a single person well limited and bounded, and two Houses of Parliament, others are for an absolute Commonwealth within the walls of the House of Commons, exclusive to all others; by degrees one step will follow another, till (I hope) they doe come to a right understanding.2 It is a shame that wee should sitt still at home with our hands in our pocketts, and to let the Dutch goe with so great a fleete into the Sound, and so probably have it delivered up by the Dane unto them, and wee sit still at home, and not to come and interpose by way of mediation to keepe the ballance equall betweene those two Princes, the Dane and the Swede, that the Dutch may not take it from them both, and give a law to us as to our navigation, the woodden walls of the nation.3 I hope the House of Commons will get a further steppe to give them instructions for their deportment at such a time, but as yet thinges passe with much difficulty, and the other House is not yet owned by the Commons, nor of what composition it shall be made (if the now standing be not allowed.) These are great and waighty matters; long debate and strong reasons will discover the conveniences or inconveniencyes, and I hope produce good and noble resolutions.
f. 49b.Major Generall Overtons coming to Towne was after an unusuall manner for prisoners especially, I remember the like was when Dr. Bastwick Prinne and Burton were brought to London, they came after the same, and possibly fared the worse for it. The manner of it was that when hee came to Branford about 1500 people were there waiting his comeing, and betweene that and Westminster many others, some in coaches, some on horseback, some of them with theire wives, and others on foote. The Collonel was in a coach with the Captain of the Castle from whence hee came, with one servant for his guard. The Collonel sat in the boote of a coach, and all the way as he passed by to the people and there uppon the roade hee kept of his hatt, and bowed to them. He was appointed by his Highnes to bee conveyed to Lambeth, there to bee in readines to attend the Parliament when hee should bee sent for; but when the Captain would have gone that way, it being out of the roade towards Westminster, the people would not suffer him; the Parliament [was] then sitting, but roase before hee could have got to them if hee had kept on his way. It being understood that the people would not permitt him to goe to Lambeth, the souldjours who kept guard at the Tilt Yard (all or most part of his attendants being passed by in the order of ranck and file, of whome about 200 horse 4 in ranck) made bould according to order, and tooke him away to a howse beyond Jamses; after candlelight hee was permitted to goe to the George in King streete, where his wife with freinds had made provision for him. This short march has obtained too long a declaracion.1
London, March 17.—
f. 54b.A bill brought into the House of Lords for declaring of those that are summoned, and such as hereafter shall bee summoned by his Highnesse and approved by the Houses, nott exceeding the number of . . . to bee the other House of Parliament, formerly called the House of Lords, and to have all the priviledges belonging therunto, and not limitted by the Petition and Advice, butt withall, that none of their heires, nor the heires of any others, shall claime right to sitt in that House, unlesse they bee first summoned and approved as aforesaid.
London, March 19.—
f. 56b.After 5 or six dayes debate of the Scottish Members right to sitt in the House of Commons, and being come very neere to a question theruppon, yesterday in the afternoon their was a question putt upon their withdrawing befor the maine question of their right of sitting was put, and that being put at 8 of the clock at night it was carryed in the negative (that they should not withdraw); and this was carryed by 60 voyces, the Scottish and Irish included. There was about 140 for their withdrawing, and about 210 for their not withdrawing; and now this day, being Saturday, they are about the question, whether they shall continue to sit their in a way of prudence and equity, or by way of right and law. The Commonwealth’s men (so called) are, that the question may be upon their right and legality, and their opponents (the Scots’ best freinds) are for their continuance upon a question of prudence, and would fortify it afterwards by Act of Parliament, and thus wee are striving for victory; and this day at 12 of the clock they were not resolved of the question of right or prudence, but in short it is my thoughts that it will be carryed cleare for their sitting amongst us. The next debate will be upon the Irish Members, for which there is not so much to be said.
[March 31.2 ]—
f. 66b.The account of these two last dayes proceedings is very small. Mr. Secretary Thurloe being much concerned in the former petition of Thomas which I mencioned in my last, haveing prepared himselfe by searching out the papers and examinacions taken against this Thomas, gave the House an account thereof, which being proved would amount to no lesse then high treason, and therefore moved for his committement in order to his tryall at law. Upon this many debates followed with some heates or bitternesse not fit to be mencioned; the result was the Sergeant at Armes should apprehend him, but I feare he will not be had.3 It was moved for the Cavaleers to depart 20 miles from London, and spoken to by severall Members to have it done, but nothing was done. I believe it will within a day or two be moved againe and done, for the receiving such desperate Cavaliers’ petitions will make them flock in swarmes to the Parliament. At the committee of Greevances the Lady Hewet’s petition concerning the execution of her husband Doctor Hewet was layd aside, in regard some Members of the other House being his Judges were concerned therein. If it shall bee tendred to the House, I hope it shall be rejected; I feare such petitions if not discountenanced and nipt in the bud will signifie little to a settlement. Something has been said that there should be Parliaments again in Ireland and Scotland, but I hope there are not many will yeeld to that. The petition concerning excize, customes, tonnage and poundage was read this day, and warmely debated, and adjourned till to morrow, to be resumed nothing to intervene.1 Today 3 weekes hence is appointed to call the House, and to consider of a new way of distribution of Members to serve in Parliament for England.2 A petition was read for the county and city or towne of Durham to be inabled to chuse and send Members to the Parliament, which is committed. I hope after wee are become a little cooler, and have a better understanding one of an other, and that all hopes of turning the governement into a Commonwealth governement is lost, wee shall redeem our so much lost time.
April 2, 1659.—
f. 68b.This day a generall Councill of officers agreed upon these heads to be presented in Parliament in petition (1) The payment of their arreares and their future pay to be ascertained (2) Indempnity in secureing Cavaleers etc for the preserving the peace of the nations (3) In regard Massy is here, and Charles Steward and his brother expected here 4 May next, and in the interim the Councell meet three dayes a weeke, that provision therefore should be made against them.
The Committee for drawing uppe the Army petition were Maj. Gen. Lilburne, Col. Ashfeild, Col. Myll, Lt. Col. Mason, Lt. Col. Pearson, Lt. Col. Haine, Lt. Col. Arnop, Lt. Col. Mayer, and Capt. Richard Deane.3
f. 72b.Uppon Saturday last there was order given unto all the officers of the armies in England, Scotland and Ireland that were in or neere London to meete att Wallingford House. After wee were mett my Lord Fleetwood tould us the cause of our meeting was to let us understand the great sence hee had of the want of pay for the souldjers of the armies, and desired the officers to consider of it, and after many speeches made by severall officers it was resolved, that it should bee referred to a committee of eight feild officers, three Collonells and five Lieutenant Collonels, a list of theire names are heere inclosed. That which was committed unto them was to drawe a draught of a representation, and a petition of all the officers to bee delivered to his Highnes uppon Monday. A draught of the representation was brought in at the generall meeting, and it was considered of part by part, and uppon Tuiesday it was ordered to be drawne faire, and signed upon Wednesday, and delivered by my Lord Fleetwood, who was accompanied by all the officers that did subscribe it; the representation was delivered in Henry the Eights Chamber.1
The representation and petition is ordered to bee sent into Scotland and into Ireland, for all the officers concurrence therin.
[1 ]MS. ‘T. M.’
[2 ]A second newsletter adds that the petition is the same upon the matter ‘if not the very words, that should have bin presented to the last Parliament, and which as supposed was the occasion of his late Highnesse p[re]m[ature] dissolving the Parliament The House are not possest of it, and is like will not bee till this debate be over.’
[1 ]MS. ‘ard.’
[2 ]Cf. Guizot, Richard Cromwell, i. 302.
[1 ]MS. ‘G. N.’
[2 ]A letter dated March 1 adds: ‘Yesterday the House was in debate of the House of Lords, whether it should consist of the old, present, or mixed peerage.’ The debates are reported at length in Burton’s Diary.
[3 ]Downing writes from the Hague, Feb. 25March ?: ‘This last weeke wee have bin filled with reports that my Lord Protector was putt in the Tower by the parliament, and that the Lord Fairfax was to bee Generall, the Lord Lambert, Lieut General and Major General Harrison, Major Generall of the Army, and that now there was noe danger of England being troublesome this yeare in the Sound or elsewhere.’
[1 ]For comments on this scene see the letter of Bordeaux to Mazarin. Guizot, Richard Cromwell, i. 336.
[2 ]The journals of Cromwell’s House of Lords are in the possession of Sir Richard Tangye. Very little is said of their proceedings in newsletters or newspapers.
[1 ]Perhaps Capt. Edward Scotton, M.P. for Devises, or Col. Edward Salmon, M.P. for Scarborough.
[2 ]Undated in the MS.
[3 ]This took place on March 30. Burton’s Diary, iv. 301.
[1 ]See Burton’s Diary, iv. 312-317, 327. This may refer either to the debate of March 31, or to that of April 1.
[2 ]These two votes were passed on March 31 (Burton, iv. 312). ‘Today’ is probably a clerical error for ‘to-morrow.’
[3 ]The Petition is printed in the old Parliamentary History, xxi. 340; cf. Guizot, Richard Cromwell, i. 351.
[1 ]See Ludlow’s Memoirs, ii. 65, ed. 1894.