Can someone please explain to me the meaning of the middle paragraph here, the direct quote from the Speaker of the House of Commons. I really don't understand what is being meant by it.
On 9 January 1641 Sir Henry Mildmay blamed him [William Lenthall, Speaker of the House of Commons from 1640 to 1660] for letting too many speak during a debate, and on 9 March he was accused of partiality in a squabble between members. But the real challenge came when on 4 January 1642 when King Charles attempted to arrest five members of the Commons and one of the Lords, entering the House of Commons in search of them. Of course, he found that the birds had flown. Quickly, Lenthall fell to his knees before his king and said:
“May it please your majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this house is pleased to direct me whose servant I am here; and humbly beg your majesty’s pardon that I cannot give any other answer than this is to what your majesty is pleased to demand of me.”
This courageous and clever response combined a defence of the Commons with deference to the King – but Lenthall was also making it clear that he was not going to give away the whereabouts of the men the monarch sought.