The History of England (B)
By John Lingard
Public Domain Books
Vigilance Of The Government–Subjugation Of Ireland–Of Scotland–Negotiation With Portugal–With Spain–With The United Provinces–Naval War–Ambition Of Cromwell–Expulsion Of Parliament–Character Of Its Leading Members–Some Of Its Enactments.
In the preceding chapter we have followed the fortunes of Charles Stuart, from his landing in Scotland to his defeat at Worcester and his escape to the continent; we may now look back and direct our attention to some of the more important events which occurred during the same period, in England and Ireland.
1. The reader is aware that the form of government established in England was an oligarchy. A few individuals, under the cover of a nominal parliament, ruled the kingdom with the power of the sword. Could the sense of the nation have been collected, there cannot be a doubt that the old royalists of the Cavalier, and the new royalists of the Presbyterian party, would have formed a decided majority; but they were awed into silence and submission by the presence of a standing army of forty-five thousand men; and the maxim that “power gives right” was held out as a sufficient reason why they should swear fidelity to the commonwealth. This numerous army,
[Footnote 1: See Marchamont Nedham’s “Case of the Commonwealth Stated." 4to. London, 1650.]
the real source of their security, proved, however, a cause of constant solicitude to the leaders. The pay of the officers and men was always in arrear; the debentures which they received could be seldom exchanged for money without a loss of fifty, sixty, or seventy per cent.; and the plea of necessity was accepted as an excuse for the illegal claim of free quarters which they frequently exercised. To supply their wants, recourse was therefore had to additional taxation, with occasional grants from the excise, and large sales of forfeited property; and, to appease the discontent of the people, promises were repeatedly made, that a considerable portion of the armed force should be disbanded, and the practice of free quarter be abolished. But of these promises, the first proved a mere delusion; for, though some partial reductions were made, on the whole the amount of the army continued to increase; the second was fulfilled; but in return, the burthen of taxation was augmented; for the monthly assessment on the counties gradually swelled from sixty to ninety, to one hundred and twenty, and in conclusion, to one hundred and sixty thousand pounds.
Another subject of disquietude sprung out of those principles of liberty which, even after the suppression of the late mutiny, were secretly cherished and occasionally avowed, by the soldiery. Many, indeed, confided in the patriotism, and submitted to the judgment, of their officers; but there were also many who condemned the existing government as a desertion of the
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1649, April 18, Oct. 4; 1650, March 30; 1651, Sept. 2, Dec. 17; 1652, April 7.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1649, April 7, Aug. 1, Dec. 7; 1650, May 21, Nov. 26; 1651, April 15, Sept. 1, Dec. 19; 1652, Dec. 10; 1653, Nov. 24.]
good cause in which they had originally embarked. By the latter Lilburne was revered as an apostle and a martyr; they read with avidity the publications which repeatedly issued from his cell; and they condemned as persecutors and tyrants the men who had immured him and his companions in the Tower. Preparations had been made[a] to bring them to trial as the authors of the late mutiny; but, on more mature deliberation, the project was abandoned,[b] and an act was passed making it treason to assert that the government was tyrannical, usurped, or unlawful. No enactments, however, could check the hostility of Lilburne; and a new pamphlet from his pen,[c] in vindication of “The Legal Fundamental Liberties of the People," put to the test the resolution of his opponents. They shrunk from the struggle; it was judged more prudent to forgive, or more dignified to despise, his efforts; and, on his petition for leave to visit his sick family, he obtained his discharge.
But this lenity made no impression on his mind. In the course of six weeks he published[d] two more offensive tracts, and distributed them among the soldiery. A new mutiny broke out at Oxford; its speedy suppression emboldened the council; the demagogue was reconducted[e] to his cell in the Tower; and Keble, with forty other commissioners, was appointed[f] to try him for his last offence on the recent statute of treasons. It may, perhaps, be deemed a weakness in Lilburne that he now offered[g] on certain conditions to transport himself to America; but he redeemed his character, as soon as he was placed at the bar. He repelled with scorn the charges of the
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1649, April 11, May 12, July 18. Council Book May 2. Whitelock, 414.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1649. April 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1649. May 12.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1649. June 8.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1649. July 18.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1649. Sept. 6.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1649. Sept. 14.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1649. Oct. 24.]
prosecutors and the taunts of the court, electrified the audience by frequent appeals to Magna Charta and the liberties of Englishmen, and stoutly maintained the doctrine that the jury had a right to judge of the law as well as of the fact. It was in vain that the court pronounced this opinion “the most damnable heresy ever broached in the land,” and that the government employed all its influence to win or intimidate the jurors; after a trial of three days, Lilburne, obtained a verdict of acquittal.
Whether after his liberation[a] any secret compromise took place is uncertain. He subscribed the engagement, and, though he openly explained it in a sense conformable to his own principles, yet the parliament made to him out of the forfeited lands of the deans and chapters the grant[b] of a valuable estate, as a compensation for the cruel treatment which he had formerly suffered from the court of the Star-Chamber. Their bounty, however, wrought no change in his character. He was still the indomitable denouncer of oppression wherever he found it, and before the end of the next year he drew upon himself the vengeance of the men in power, by the distribution[c] of a pamphlet which charged Sir Arthur Hazlerig and the commissioners at Haberdashers’-hall with injustice and tyranny. This by the house was voted a breach of privilege, and the offender was condemned[d] in a fine of seven thousand pounds with banishment for life. Probably the court of Star-chamber never pronounced a judgment in which the punishment was more disproportionate to the offence. But his former enemies sought
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1649, Sept 11, Oct. 30. Whitelock, 424, 425. State Trials, ii. 151.]
[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 436. Journ. 1650, July 16, 30.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1649. Dec. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. July 30.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Dec. 22.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. Jan. 15.]
not justice on the culprit, but security to themselves. They seized the opportunity of freeing the government from the presence of a man whom they had so long feared; and, as he refused to kneel at the bar while judgment was pronounced, they embodied the vote in an act of parliament. To save his life, Lilburne submitted; but his residence on the continent was short: the reader will soon meet with him again in England.
The Levellers had boldly avowed their object; the royalists worked in the dark and by stealth; yet the council by its vigilance and promptitude proved a match for the open hostility of the one and the secret machinations of the other. A doubt may, indeed, be raised of the policy of the “engagement,” a promise of fidelity to the commonwealth without king or house of lords. As long as it was confined to those who held office under the government, it remained a mere question of choice; but when it was exacted from all Englishmen above seventeen years of age, under the penalty of incapacity to maintain an action in any court of law, it became to numbers a matter of necessity, and served rather to irritate than to produce security. A more efficient measure was the permanent establishment of a high court of justice to inquire into offences against the state, to which was added the organization of a system of espionage by Captain Bishop, under the direction of Scot, a member of the council. The friends of monarchy, encouraged by the clamour of the Levellers and the professions of the Scots, had begun to hold meetings,
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1651, Dec. 23; 1652, Jan. 15, 20, 30. Whitelock, 520. State Trials, v. 407-415.]
[Footnote 2: Leicester’s Journal, 97-101.]
sometimes under the pretence of religious worship, sometimes under that of country amusements: in a short time they divided the kingdom into districts called associations, in each of which it was supposed that a certain number of armed men might be raised; and blank commissions with the royal signature were obtained, to be used in appointing colonels, captains, and lieutenants, for the command of these forces. Then followed an active correspondence both with Charles soon after his arrival in Scotland, and with the earl of Newcastle, the Lord Hopton, and a council of exiles; first at Utrecht, and afterwards at the Hague. By the plan ultimately adopted, it was proposed that Charles himself or Massey, leaving a sufficient force to occupy the English army in Scotland, should, with a strong corps of Cavalry, cross[a] the borders between the kingdoms; that at the same time the royalists in the several associations should rise in arms, and that the exiles in Holland, with five thousand English and German adventurers, should land in Kent, surprise Dover, and hasten to join their Presbyterian associates, in the capital. But, to arrange and insure the co-operation of all the parties concerned required the employment of numerous agents, of whom, if several were actuated by principle, many were of doubtful faith and desperate fortunes. Some of these betrayed their trust; some undertook to serve both parties, and deceived each; and it is a curious fact that, while the letters of the agents for the royalists often passed through the hands of Bishop himself, his secret papers belonging to the council of state were copied and forwarded to the king. This consequence however followed,
[Footnote 1: Milton’s State Papers, 35, 37, 39, 47, 49, 50. Baillie, ii. 5, 8. Carte’s Letters, i. 414.]
[Footnote 2: State Trials, v. 4. Milton’s State Papers, 39, 47, 50, 57. One of these agents employed by both parties was a Mrs. Walters, alias Hamlin, on whose services Bishop placed great reliance. She was to introduce herself to Cromwell by pronouncing the word “prosperity."–Ibid.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. December.]
that the plans of the royalists were always discovered, and by that means defeated by the precautions of the council. While the king was on his way to Scotland, a number of blank commissions had been seized in the possession of Dr. Lewen, a civilian, who suffered[a] the penalty of death. Soon afterwards Sir John Gell, Colonel Eusebius Andrews, and Captain Benson, were arraigned on the charge of conspiring the destruction of the government established by law. They opposed three objections to the jurisdiction of the court: it was contrary to Magna Charta, which gave to every freeman the right of being tried by his peers; contrary to the petition of right, by which courts-martial (and the present court was most certainly a court-martial) had been forbidden; and contrary to the many declarations of parliament, that the laws, the rights of the people, and the courts of justice, should be maintained. But the court repelled[b] the objections; Andrews and Benson suffered death, and Gell, who had not been an accomplice, but only cognizant of the plot, was condemned[c] to perpetual imprisonment, with the forfeiture of his property.
These executions did not repress the eagerness of the royalists, nor relax the vigilance of the council. In the beginning of December the friends of Charles took up arms[d] in Norfolk, but the rising was premature; a body of roundheads dispersed the insurgents; and twenty of the latter atoned for their temerity with their lives. Still the failure of one plot did not prevent
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 464, 468, 473, 474. Heath, 269, 270. See mention of several discoveries in Carte’s Letters, i. 443, 464, 472.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. July 13.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. August 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. Oct. 7.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1650. Dec. 2.]
the formation of another; as long as Charles Stuart was in Scotland, the ancient friends of his family secretly prepared for his reception in England; and many of the Presbyterians, through enmity to the principles of the Independents, devoted themselves to the interests of the prince. This party the council resolved to attack in their chief bulwark, the city; and Love, one of the most celebrated of the ministers, was apprehended[a] with several of his associates. At his trial, he sought to save his life by an evasive protestation, which he uttered with the most imposing solemnity in the presence of the Almighty. But it was clearly proved against him that the meetings had been held in his house, the money collected for the royalists had been placed on his table, and the letters received, and the answers to be returned, had been read in his hearing. After judgment,[b] both he and his friends presented[c] petitions in his favour; respite after respite was obtained and the parliament, as if it had feared to decide without instructions, referred[d] the case to Cromwell in Scotland. That general was instantly assailed with letters from both the friends and the foes of Love; he was silent; a longer time was granted by the house; but he returned no answer, and the unfortunate minister lost his head[e] on Tower-hill with the constancy and serenity of a martyr. Of his associates, only one, Gibbons, a citizen, shared his fate.
[Footnote 1: “It is plaine unto mee that they doe not judge us a lawfull magistracy, nor esteeme anything treason that is acted by them to destroy us, in order to bring the king of Scots as heed of the covenant."–Vane to Cromwell, of “Love and his brethren.” Milton’s State Papers, 84.]
[Footnote 2: Milton’s State Papers, 50, 54, 66, 75, 76. Whitelock, 492, 493, 495, 500. State Trials, v. 43-294. Heath, 288, 290. Leicester’s Journal, 107, 115, 123. A report, probably unfounded, was spread that Cromwell granted him his life, but the despatch was waylaid, and detained, or destroyed by the Cavaliers, who bore in remembrance Love’s former hostility to the royal cause.–Kennet, 185.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. May 7.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. June 5.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. June 11.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1651. July 15.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1651. August 22.]
2. To Charles it had been whispered by his secret advisers that the war between the parliament and the Scots would, by withdrawing the attention of the council from Ireland, allow the royal party to resume the ascendancy in that kingdom. But this hope quickly vanished. The resources of the commonwealth were seen to multiply with its wants; and its army in Ireland was daily augmented by recruits in the island, and by reinforcements from England. Ireton, to whom Cromwell, with the title of lord deputy, had left[a] the chief command, pursued with little interruption the career of his victorious predecessor. Sir Charles Coote met the men of Ulster at Letterkenny; after a long and sanguinary action they were defeated; and the next day their leader, MacMahon, the warrior bishop of Clogher, was made prisoner by a fresh corps of troops from Inniskilling. Lady Fitzgerald, a name as illustrious in the military annals of Ireland as that of Lady Derby in those of England, defended the fortress of Trecoghan, but neither the efforts of Sir Robert Talbot within, nor the gallant attempt of Lord Castlehaven without, could prevent its surrender. Waterford, Carlow, and Charlemont accepted honourable conditions, and the garrison of Duncannon, reduced to a handful of men by the ravages of the plague, opened its gates[b] to the enemy. Ormond, instead of facing
[Footnote 1: Though he had quarter given and life promised, Coote ordered him to be hanged. Yet it was by MacMahon’s persuasion that O’Neil in the preceding year had saved Coote by raising the siege of Londonderry.–Clarendon, Short View, &c., in vol. viii. 145-149. But Coote conducted the war like a savage. See several instances at the end of Lynch’s Cambresis Eversus.]
[Footnote 2: See Castlehaven’s Memoirs, 120-124; and Carte’s Ormond, ii. 116.]
[Footnote 3: Heath, 267, 370. Whitelock, 457, 459, 463, 464, 469.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. June 18.] [Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. June 25.]
the conquerors in the field, had been engaged in a long and irritating controversy with those of the Catholic leaders who distrusted his integrity, and with the townsmen of Limerick and Galway, who refused to admit his troops within their walls. Misfortune had put an end to his authority; his enemies remarked that whether he were a real friend or a secret foe, the cause of the confederates had never prospered under his guidance; and the bishops conjured him,[a] now that the very existence of the nation was at stake, to adopt measures which might heal the public dissensions and unite all true Irishmen in the common defence. Since the loss of Munster by the defection of Inchiquin’s forces, they had entertained an incurable distrust of their English allies; and to appease their jealousy, he dismissed the few Englishmen who yet remained in the service. Finding them rise in their demands, he called a general assembly at Loughrea, announced his intention, or pretended intention, of quitting the kingdom; and then, at the general request, and after some demur, consented to remain. Hitherto the Irish had cherished the expectation that the young monarch would, as he had repeatedly promised, come to Ireland, and take the reins of government into his hands; they now, to their disappointment, learned that he had accepted the invitation of the Scots, their sworn and inveterate enemies. In a short time, the conditions to which he had subscribed began to transpire; that he had engaged to annul the late pacification between Ormond and the Catholics, and had bound himself by oath,[b] not only not to permit the exercise of the Catholic worship, but to root out the Catholic religion wherever it existed in any of his dominions. A general gloom and despondency prevailed; ten bishops and
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. March 28.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. August 6.]
ten clergymen assembled at James-town, and their first resolve was to depute[a] two of their number to the lord lieutenant, to request that he would put in execution his former design of quitting the kingdom, and would leave his authority in the hands of a Catholic deputy possessing the confidence of the nation. Without, however, waiting for his answer, they proceeded to frame[b] a declaration, in which they charged Ormond with negligence, incapacity, and perfidy; protested that, though they were compelled by the great duty of self-preservation to withdraw from the government of the king’s lieutenant, they had no intention to derogate from the royal authority; and pronounced that, in the existing circumstances, the Irish people were no longer bound by the articles of the pacification, but by the oath under which they had formerly associated for their common protection. To this, the next day[c] they appended a form of excommunication equally affecting all persons who should abet either Ormond or Ireton, in opposition to the real interests of the Catholic confederacy.
The lord lieutenant, however, found that he was supported by some of the prelates, and by most of the aristocracy. He replied[d] to the synod at James-town, that nothing short of necessity should induce him to quit Ireland without the order of the king; and the commissioners of trust expostulated[e] with the bishops on their imprudence and presumption. But at this moment arrived copies of the declaration which Charles had been compelled to publish at Dunfermling, in Scotland. The whole population was in a ferment. Their suspicions, they exclaimed, were now verified;
[Footnote 1: Ponce, Vindiciae Eversae, 236-257. Clarendon, viii. 151, 154, 156. Hibernia Dominicana, 691. Carte, ii. 118, 120, 123.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. August 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. August 11.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1650. August 12.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1650. August 31.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1650. Sept. 2.]
their fears and predictions accomplished. The king had pronounced them a race of “bloody rebels;” he had disowned them for his subjects, he had anulled the articles of pacification, and had declared[a] to the whole world that he would exterminate their religion. In this excited temper of mind, the committee appointed by the bishops published both the declaration and the excommunication. A single night intervened; their passions had leisure to cool; they repented[b] of their precipitancy; and, by the advice of the prelates in the town of Galway, they published a third paper, suspending the effect of the other two.
Ormond’s first expedient was to pronounce the Dunfermling declaration a forgery; for the king from Breda, previously to his voyage to Scotland, had solemnly assured him that he would never, for any earthly consideration, violate the pacification. A second message[c] informed him that it was genuine, but ought to be considered of no force, as far as it concerned Ireland, because it had been issued without the advice of the Irish privy council. This communication encouraged
[Footnote 1: Carte’s letters, i. 391. Charles’s counsellors at Breda had instilled into him principles which he seems afterwards to have cherished through life: “that honour and conscience were bugbears, and that the king ought to govern himself rather by the rules of prudence and necessity."–Ibid. Nicholas to Ormond, 435. At first Charles agreed to find some way “how he might with honour and justice break the peace with the Irish, if a free parliament in Scotland should think it fitting” afterwards “to break it, but on condition that it should not be published till he had acquainted Ormond and his friends, secured them, and been instructed how with honour and justice he might break it in regard of the breach on their part” (p. 396, 397). Yet a little before he had resolutely declared that no consideration should induce him to violate the same peace (p. 374, 379). On his application afterwards for aid to the pope, he excused it, saying, “fuisse vim manifestam: jam enim statuerant Scoti presbyterani personam suam parliamento Anglicano tradere, si illam declarationem ab ipsis factam non approbasset.” Ex originali penes me.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Sept. 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Sept. 16.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1650. Oct. 15.]
the lord lieutenant to assume a bolder tone. He professed[a] himself ready to assert, that both the king and his officers on one part, and the Catholic population on the other, were bound by the provisions of the treaty; but he previously required that the commissioners of trust should condemn the proceedings of the synod at James-town, and join with him in punishing such of its members as should persist in their disobedience. They made proposals[b] to the prelates, and received for answer, that protection and obedience were correlative; and, therefore, since the king had publicly excluded them, under the designation of “bloody rebels,” from his protection, they could not understand how any officer acting by his authority could lay claim to their obedience.
This answer convinced Ormond that it was time for him to leave Ireland; but, before his departure, he called a general assembly, and selected the marquess of Clanricard, a Catholic nobleman, to command as his deputy. To Clanricard, whose health was infirm, and whose habits were domestic, nothing could be more unwelcome than such an appointment. Wherever he cast his eyes he was appalled by the prospect before him. He saw three-fourths of Ireland in the possession of a restless and victorious enemy; Connaught and Clare, which alone remained to the royalists, were depopulated by famine and pestilence; and political and religious dissension divided the leaders and their followers, while one party attributed the national disasters to the temerity of the men who presumed to govern under the curse of excommunication; and the other charged their opponents with concealing disloyal and interested views under the mantle of patriotism
[Footnote 1: Ponce, 257-261.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Oct. 23.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Oct. 29.]
and religion. Every prospect of successful resistance was gone; the Shannon, their present protection from the foe, would become fordable in the spring; and then the last asylum of Irish independence must be overrun. Under such discouraging circumstances it required all the authority of Ormond and Castlehaven to induce him to accept an office which opened no prospect of emolument or glory, but promised a plentiful harvest of contradiction, hardship, and danger.
In the assembly which was held[a] at Loughrea, the majority of the members disapproved of the conduct of the synod, but sought rather to heal by conciliation than to perpetuate dissension. Ormond, having written[b] a vindication of his conduct, and received[c] an answer consoling, if not perfectly satisfactory to his feelings, sailed from Galway; but Clanricard obstinately refused to enter on the exercise of his office, till reparation had been made to the royal authority for the insult offered to it by the James-town declaration. He required an acknowledgment, that it was not in the power of any body of men to discharge the people from their obedience to the lord deputy, as long as the royal authority was vested in him; and at length obtained[d] a declaration to that effect, but with a protestation, that by it “the confederates did not waive their right to the faithful observance of the articles of pacification, nor bind themselves to obey every chief governor who might be unduly nominated by the king, during his unfree condition among the Scots."
Aware of the benefit which the royalists in Scotland
[Footnote 1: See Clanricard’s State of the Nation, in his Memoirs, part ii. p. 24.]
[Footnote 2: Carte, ii. 137-140. Walsh, App. 75-137. Belling in Poncium, 26.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Nov. 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Dec. 2.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1650. Dec. 7.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1650. Dec. 24.]
derived from the duration of hostilities in Ireland, the parliamentary leaders sought to put an end to the protracted and sanguinary struggle. Scarcely had Clanricard assumed[a] the government, when Grace and Bryan, two Catholic officers, presented themselves to the assembly with a message from Axtel, the governor of Kilkenny, the bearers of a proposal for a treaty of submission. By many the overture was hailed with transport. They maintained that nothing but a general negotiation could put an end to those private treaties which daily thinned their numbers, and exposed the more resolute to inevitable ruin; that the conditions held out were better than they had reason to expect now, infinitely better than they could expect hereafter. Let them put the sincerity of their enemies to the test. If the treaty should succeed, the nation would be saved; if it did not, the failure would unite all true Irishmen in the common cause, who, if they must fall, would not fall unrevenged. There was much force in this reasoning; and it was strengthened by the testimony of officers from several quarters, who represented that, to negotiate with the parliament was the only expedient for the preservation of the people. But Clanricard treated the proposal with contempt. To entertain it was an insult to him, an act of treason against the king; and he was seconded by the eloquence and authority of Castlehaven, who affected to despise the power of the enemy, and attributed his success to their own divisions. Had the assembly known the motives which really actuated these noblemen; that they had been secretly instructed by Charles to continue the contest at every risk, as the best means of enabling him to make head against Cromwell; that this, probably the last opportunity of saving the lives
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Jan. 10.]
and properties of the confederates, was to be sacrificed to the mere chance of gaining a victory for the Scots, their bitter and implacable enemies, many of the calamities which Ireland was yet doomed to suffer would, perhaps, have been averted. But the majority allowed themselves to be persuaded; the motion to negotiate with the parliament was rejected, and the penalties of treason were denounced by the assembly, the sentence of excommunication by the bishops, against all who should conclude any private treaty with the enemy. Limerick and Galway, the two bulwarks of the confederacy, disapproved of this vote, and obstinately refused to admit garrisons within their walls, that they might not be overawed by the military, but remain arbiters of their own fate.
The lord deputy was no sooner relieved from this difficulty, than he found himself entangled in a negotiation of unusual delicacy and perplexity. About the close of the last summer, Ormond had despatched the Lord Taafe to Brussels, with instructions, both in his own name and the name of the supreme council, to solicit the aid of the duke of Lorrain, a prince of the most restless and intriguing disposition, who was accustomed to sell at a high price the services of his army to the neighbouring powers. The duke received him graciously, made him a present of five thousand pounds, and promised an additional aid of men and money, but on condition that he should be declared protector royal of Ireland, with all the rights belonging to that office–rights as undefined as the office itself was hitherto unknown. Taafe hesitated, but was
[Footnote 1: Castlehaven’s Memoirs, 116, 119, 120.]
[Footnote 2: Compare the papers in the second part of Clanricard’s Memoirs, 17, 18, 27 (folio, London, 1757), with Carte’s Ormond, ii. 143.]
encouraged to proceed by the queen mother, the duke of York, and De Vic, the king’s resident at Brussels. They argued[a] that, without aid to the Irish, the king must succumb in Scotland; that the duke of Lorrain was the only prince in Europe that could afford them succour; and that whatever might be his secret projects, they could never be so prejudicial to the royal interests as the subjugation of Ireland by the parliament. Taafe, however, took a middle way, and persuaded[b] the duke to send De Henin as his envoy to the supreme council, with powers to conclude the treaty in Ireland.
The assembly had just been dismissed[c] when this envoy arrived. By the people, the clergy, and the nobility, he was received as an angel sent from heaven. The supply of arms and ammunition which he brought, joined to his promise of more efficient succour in a short time, roused them from their despondency, and encouraged them to indulge the hope of making a stand against the pressure of the enemy. Clanricard, left without instructions, knew not how to act. He dared not refuse the aid so highly prized by the
[Footnote 1: Clanricard, 4, 5, 17, 27. Ormond was also of the same opinion. He writes to Taafe that “nothing was done that were to be wished ’undone’"; that the supreme council were the best judges of their own condition; that they had received permission from the king, for their own preservation, “even to receive conditions from the enemy, which must be much more contrary to his interests, than to receive helps from any other to resist them, almost upon any terms."–Clanric. 33, 34. There is in the collection of letters by Carte, one from Ormond to Clanricard written after the battle of Worcester, in which that nobleman says that it will be without scruple his advice, that “fitting ministers be sent to the pope, and apt inducements proposed to him for his interposition, not only with all princes and states”. The rest of the letter is lost, or Carte did not choose to publish it; but it is plain from the first part that he thought the only chance for the restoration of the royal authority was in the aid to be obtained from the pope and the Catholic powers.–Carte’s Letters, i. 461.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. November.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Dec. 31.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Feb. 25.]
people; he dared not accede to demands so prejudicial to the king’s authority. But if the title of protector royal sounded ungratefully in his ears, it was heard with very different feelings by the confederates, who had reason to conclude that, if the contest between Cromwell and the Scots should terminate in favour of the latter, the Irish Catholics would still have need of a protector to preserve their religion from the exterminating fanaticism of the kirk. Clanricard, was, however, inexorable, and his resolution finally triumphed over the eagerness of his countrymen and the obstinacy of the envoy. From the latter he obtained[a] an additional sum of fifteen thousand pounds, on the easy condition of naming agents to conduct the negotiation at Brussels, according to such instructions as they should receive from the queen dowager, the duke of York, and the duke of Ormond. The lord deputy rejoiced that he had shifted the burthen from his shoulders. De Henin was satisfied, because he knew the secret sentiments of those to whose judgment the point in question had been referred.
Taafe, having received his instructions in Paris (but verbal, not written instructions, as Clanricard had required), joined[b] his colleagues, Sir Nicholas Plunket, and Geoffrey Brown, in Brussels, and, after a long but ineffectual struggle, subscribed to the demands of the duke of Lorrain. That prince, by the treaty, engaged[c] to furnish for the protection of Ireland, all such supplies of arms, money, ammunition, shipping, and provisions, as the necessity of the case might require; and in return the agents, in the name of the
[Footnote 1: Clanricard, 1-16.]
[Footnote 2: Id. 31, 58. It is certain from Clanricard’s papers that the treaty was not concluded till after the return of Taafe from Paris (p. 58).]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. March 27.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. July 11.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. July 27.]
people and kingdom of Ireland, conferred on him, his heirs and successors, the title of protector royal, together with the chief civil authority and the command of the forces, but under the obligation of restoring both, on the payment of his expenses, to Charles Stuart, the rightful sovereign. There cannot be a doubt that each party sought to overreach the other.
Clanricard was surprised that he heard nothing from his agents, nothing from the queen or the duke of Ormond. After a silence of several months, a copy of the treaty[a] arrived. He read it with indignation; he asserted[b] that the envoys had transgressed their instructions; he threatened to declare them traitors by proclamation. But Charles had now arrived in Paris after the defeat at Worcester, and was made acquainted[c] with the whole intrigue. He praised the loyalty of the deputy, but sought to mitigate his displeasure against the three agents, exhorted him to receive them again into his confidence, and advised him to employ their services, as if the treaty had never existed. To the duke of Lorrain he despatched[d] the earl of Norwich, to object to the articles which bore most on the royal authority, and to re-commence the negotiation. But the unsuccessful termination of the Scottish war taught that prince to look upon the project as hopeless; while he hesitated, the court of Brussels obtained proofs that he was intriguing with the French minister; and, to the surprise of Europe, he was suddenly arrested in Brussels, and conducted a prisoner to Toledo in Spain.
Clanricard, hostile as he was to the pretensions of the duke of Lorrain, had availed himself of the money
[Footnote 1: Clanricard, 34.]
[Footnote 2: Id. 36-41, 47, 50-54, 58. Also Ponce, 111-124.]
[Footnote 3: Thurloe, ii. 90, 115, 127, 136, 611.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Oct. 12.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. Oct. 20.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. Feb. 10.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. March 23.]
received from that prince to organize a new force, and oppose every obstacle in his power to the progress of the enemy. Ireton, who anticipated nothing less than the entire reduction of the island, opened[a] the campaign with the siege of Limerick. The conditions which he offered were refused by the inhabitants, and, at their request, Hugh O’Neil, with three thousand men, undertook the defence of the city, but with an understanding that the keys of the gates and the government of the place should remain in the possession of the mayor. Both parties displayed a valour and obstinacy worthy of the prize for which they fought. Though Lord Broghill defeated Lord Muskerry, the Catholic commander in Munster; though Coote, in defiance of Clanricard, penetrated from the northern extremity of Connaught, as far as Athenree and Portumna; though Ireton, after several fruitless attempts, deceived the vigilance of Castlehaven, and established himself on the right bank of the Shannon; and though a party within the walls laboured to represent their parliamentary enemies as the advocates of universal toleration; nothing could shake the constancy of the citizens and the garrison. They harassed the besiegers by repeated sorties; they repelled every assault; and on one occasion[b] they destroyed the whole corps, which had been landed on “the island.” Even after the fatal battle of Worcester, to a second summons they returned a spirited refusal. But in October a reinforcement of three thousand men from England arrived in the camp; a battery was formed of the heavy cannon landed from the shipping in the harbour; and a wide breach in the wall admonished the inhabitants to prepare for an assault. In this moment of suspense, with the dreadful example of Drogheda and
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. June 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. July 15.]
Wexford before their eyes, they met at the town-hall. It was in vain that O’Neil remonstrated; that the bishops of Limerick and Emly entreated and threatened, Stretch, the mayor, gave[a] the keys to Colonel Fanning, who seized St. John’s gate, turned the cannon on the city, and admitted two hundred of the besiegers. A treaty was now[b] concluded; and, if the garrison and inhabitants preserved their lives and property, it was by abandoning twenty-two individuals to the mercy of the conqueror. Of these some made their escape; Terence O’Brien, bishop of Emly, Wallis, a Franciscan friar, Major-General Purcell, Sir Godfrey Galway, Baron, a member of the council, Stretch, the mayor of the city, with Fanning himself, and Higgin, were immolated as an atonement for the obstinate resistance of the besiegers. By Ireton O’Neil was also doomed to die, but the officers who formed the court, in admiration of his gallantry, sought to save his life. Twice they condemned him in obedience to the commander-in-chief, who pronounced his spirited defence of Clonmel an unpardonable crime against the state; but the third time the deputy was persuaded to leave them to the exercise of their own judgment; and they pronounced in favour of their brave but unfortunate captive. Ireton himself did not long survive. When he condemned[c] the bishop of Emly to die, that prelate had exclaimed, “I appeal to the tribunal of God, and summon thee to meet me at that bar.” By many these words were deemed prophetic; for in less than a month the
[Footnote 1: See the account of their execution in pp. 100, 101 of the Descriptio Regni Hiberniae per Antonium Prodinum, Romae, 1721, a work made up of extracts from the original work of Bruodin, Propugnaculum Catholicae Veritatis, Pragae, 1669. The extract referred to in this note is taken from 1. iv. c. xv. of the original work.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Oct. 23.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. Oct. 27.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Nov. 25.]
victorious general fell a victim to the pestilential disease which ravaged the west of Ireland. His death proved a severe loss to the commonwealth, not only on account of his abilities as an officer and a statesman, but because it removed the principal check to the inordinate ambition of Cromwell.
During the next winter the confederates had leisure to reflect on their forlorn condition. Charles, indeed, a second time an exile, solicited[a] them to persevere; but it was difficult to persuade men to hazard their lives and fortunes without the remotest prospect of benefit to themselves or to the royal cause; and in the month of March Colonel Fitzpatric, a celebrated chieftain in the county of Meath, laid down[b] his arms, and obtained in return the possession of his lands. The example alarmed the confederates; and Clanricard, in their name, proposed[c] a general capitulation: it was refused by the stern policy of Ludlow, who assumed the command on the death of Ireton; a succession of surrenders followed; and O’Dwyer, the town of Galway, Thurlogh O’Neil, and the earl of Westmeath, accepted the terms dictated by the enemy; which were safety for their persons and personal property, the restoration of part of their landed estates, according to the qualifications to be determined by parliament, and permission to reside within the commonwealth, or to enter with a certain number of followers into the service of any foreign prince in amity with England. The benefit of these articles did not extend to persons who had taken
[Footnote 1: Ludlow, i. 293, 296, 298, 299, 300, 307, 310, 316-324. Heath, 304, 305. Ireton’s letter, printed by Field, 1651. Carte, ii. 154. The parliament ordered Ireton’s body to be interred at the public expense. It was conveyed from Ireland to Bristol, and thence to London, lay in state in Somerset House, and on February 6th was buried in Henry the Seventh’s chapel.–Heath, 305.]
[Footnote 2: Clanricard, 51.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Jan. 31.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. March 7.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. March 24.]
up arms in the first year of the contest, or had belonged to the first general assembly, or had committed murder, or had taken orders in the church of Rome. There were, however, several who, in obedience to the instructions received from Charles, resolved to continue hostilities to the last extremity. Lord Muskerry collected five thousand men on the borders of Cork and Kerry, but was obliged to retire before his opponents: his strong fortress of Ross opened[a] its gates; and, after some hesitation, he made his submission. In the north, Clanricard reduced Ballyshannon and Donnegal; but there his career ended; and Coote drove[b] him into the Isle of Carrick, where he was compelled to accept the usual conditions. The last chieftain of note who braved[c] the arms of the commonwealth was Colonel Richard Grace: he beat up the enemy’s quarters; but was afterwards driven across the Shannon with the loss of eight hundred of his followers. Colonel Sanchey pursued[d] him to his favourite retreat; his castle of Inchlough surrendered,[e] and Grace capitulated with twelve hundred and fifty men. There still remained a few straggling parties on the mountains and amidst the morasses, under MacHugh, and Byrne, and O’Brian, and Cavanagh: these, however, were subdued in the course of the winter; the Isle of Inisbouffin received[f] a garrison, and a new force, which appeared in Ulster, under the Lord Iniskilling, obtained,[g] what was chiefly sought, the usual articles of transportation. The subjugation of Ireland was completed.
[Footnote 1: On this gallant and honourable officer, who on several subsequent occasions displayed the most devoted attachment to the house of Stuart, see a very interesting article in Mr. Sheffield Grace’s “Memoirs of the Family of Grace,” p. 27.]
[Footnote 2: Ludlow, i. 341, 344, 347, 352, 354, 357, 359, 360. Heath, 310, 312, 324, 333, 344. Journals, April 8, 21, May 18, 25, Aug. 18.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. July 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. May 18.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. July.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. June 20.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1652. Aug. 1.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1652. January.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1652. May 18.]
3. Here, to prevent subsequent interruption, I may be allowed to describe the state of this unhappy country, while it remained under the sway of the commonwealth.
On the death of Ireton, Lambert had been appointed lord deputy; but by means of a female intrigue he was set aside in favour of Fleetwood, who had married Ireton’s widow. To Fleetwood was assigned the command of the forces without a colleague; but in the civil administration were joined with him four other commissioners, Ludlow, Corbett, Jones, and Weaver. By their instructions they were commanded[a] and authorized to observe, as far as it was possible, the laws of England in the exercise of the government and the administration of justice; to “endeavour the promulgation of the gospel, and the power of true religion, and holiness;” to remove all disaffected or suspected persons from office; to allow no papist or delinquent to hold any place of trust, to practise as barrister or solicitor, or to keep school for
[Footnote 1: Journals, Jan. 30, June 15, July 9. Lambert’s wife and Ireton’s widow met in the park. The first, as her husband was in possession, claimed the precedency, and the latter complained of the grievance to Cromwell, her father, whose patent of lord lieutenant was on the point of expiring. He refused to have it renewed; and, as there could be no deputy where there was no principal, Lambert’s appointment of deputy was in consequence revoked. But Mrs. Ireton was not content with this triumph over her rival. She married Fleetwood, obtained for him, through her father’s interest, the chief command in place of Lambert, and returned with him to her former station in Ireland. Cromwell, however, paid for the gratification of his daughter’s vanity. That he might not forfeit the friendship of Lambert, whose aid was necessary for his ulterior designs, he presented him with a considerable sum to defray the charges of the preparations which he had made for his intended voyage to Ireland,–Ludlow, i. 355, 360. Hutchinson, 196. Lambert, however, afterwards discovered that Cromwell had secretly instigated Vane and Hazlerig to oppose his going to Ireland, and, in revenge, joined with them to depose Richard Cromwell for the sin of his father.–Thurloe, vii. 660.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. August 24.]
the education of youth; to impose monthly assessments not exceeding forty thousand pounds in amount for the payment of the forces, and to imprison or discharge any person, or remove him from his dwelling into any other place or country, or permit him to return to his dwelling, as they should see cause for the advantage of the commonwealth.
I. One of the first cares of the commissioners was to satisfy the claims of vengeance. In the year 1644 the Catholic nobility had petitioned the king that an inquiry might be made into the murders alleged to have been perpetrated on each side in Ireland, and that justice might be executed on the offenders without distinction of country or religion. To the conquerors it appeared more expedient to confine the inquiry to one party; and a high court of justice was established to try Catholics charged with having shed the blood of any Protestant out of battle since the commencement of the rebellion in 1641. Donnelan, a native, was appointed president, with commissary-general Reynolds, and Cook, who had acted as solicitor at the trial of Charles I., for his assessors. The court sat in great state at Kilkenny, and thence made its circuit through the island by Waterford, Cork, Dublin, and other places. Of the justice of its proceedings we have not the means of forming a satisfactory notion; but the cry for blood was too violent, the passions of men were too much excited, and the forms of proceeding too summary to allow the judges to weigh with cool and cautious discrimination the different cases which came before them. Lords Muskerry and Clanmaliere, with Maccarthy Reagh, whether they owed it to their innocence or to the influence of
[Footnote 1: Journals, Aug. 34.]
friends, had the good fortune to be acquitted; the mother of Colonel Fitzpatric was burnt; Lord Mayo, colonels Tool, Bagnal, and about two hundred more, suffered death by the axe or by the halter. It was, however, remarkable, that the greatest deficiency of proof occurred in the province where the principal massacres were said to have been committed. Of the men of Ulster, Sir Phelim O’Neil is the only one whose conviction, and execution, have been recorded.
II. Cromwell had not been long in the island before he discovered that it was impossible to accomplish the original design of extirpating the Catholic population; and he therefore adopted the expedient of allowing their leaders to expatriate themselves with a portion of their countrymen, by entering into the service of foreign powers. This plan was followed by his successors in the war, and was perfected by an act of parliament, banishing all the Catholic officers. Each chieftain, when he surrendered, stipulated for a certain number of men: every facility was furnished him to complete his levy; and the exiles hastened to risk their lives in the service of the Catholic powers who hired them; many in that of Spain, others of France, others of Austria, and some of the republic of Venice. Thus the obnoxious population was reduced by the number of thirty, perhaps forty thousand able-bodied men; but it soon became a question how to dispose of their wives and families, of the wives and families of those who had perished by the ravages of disease and the casualties of war, and of the multitudes who, chased from their homes and employments, were reduced to a state of titter destitution. These at different times, to the amount of several
[Footnote 1: Ludlow, ii. 2, 5, 8-11. Heath, 332, 333.]
thousands, were collected in bodies, driven on shipboard, and conveyed to the West Indies. Yet with all these drains on the one party, and the continual accession of English and Scottish colonists on the other, the Catholic was found to exceed the Protestant population in the proportion of eight to one. Cromwell, when he had reached the zenith of his power, had recourse to a new expedient. He repeatedly solicited the fugitives, who, in the reign of the late king, had settled in New England, to abandon their plantations and accept of lands in Ireland. On their refusal, he made the same offer to the Vaudois, the Protestants of Piedmont, but was equally unsuccessful. They preferred their native valleys, though
[Footnote 1: According to Petty (p. 187), six thousand boys and women were sent away. Lynch (Cambrensis Eversus, in fine) says that they were sold for slaves. Bruodin, in his Propugnaculum (Pragae, anno 1660) numbers the exiles at one hundred thousand. Ultra centum millia omnis sexus et aetatis, e quibus aliquot millia in diversas Americae tabaccarias insulas relegata sunt (p. 692). In a letter in my possession, written in 1656, it is said: Catholicos pauperea plenis navibus mittunt in Barbados et insulas Americae. Credo jam sexaginta millia abivisse. Expulsis enim ab initio in Hispaniam et Belgium maritis, jam uxores et proles in Americam destinantur.–After the conquest of Jamaica in 1655, the protector, that he might people it, resolved to transport a thousand Irish boys and a thousand Irish girls to the island. At first, the young women only were demanded to which it is replied: “Although we must use force in taking them up, yet, it being so much for their own good, and likely to be of so great advantage to the public, it is not in the least doubted that you may have such number of them as you shall think fit."–Thurloe, iv. 23. In the next letter II. Cromwell says: “I think it might be of like advantage to your affairs there, and ours here, if you should think fit to send one thousand five hundred or two thousand young boys of twelve or fourteen years of age to the place aforementioned. We could well spare them, and they would be of use to you; and who knows but it may be a means to make them Englishmen, I mean rather Christians?” (p. 40). Thurloe answers: “The committee of the council have voted one thousand girls, and as many youths, to be taken up for that purpose” (p. 75).]
[Footnote 2: Petty, Polit. Arithmetic, 29.]
under the government of a Catholic sovereign, whose enmity they had provoked, to the green fields of Erin, and all the benefits which they might derive from the fostering care and religions creed of the protector.
III. By an act,[a] entitled an act for the settlement of Ireland, the parliament divided the royalists and Catholics into different classes, and allotted to each class an appropriate degree of punishment. Forfeiture of life and estate was pronounced against all the great proprietors of lands, banishment against those who had accepted commissions; the forfeiture of two-thirds of their estates against all who had borne arms under the confederates of the king’s lieutenant, and the forfeiture of one-third against all persons whomsoever who had not been in the actual service of parliament, or had not displayed their constant good affection to the commonwealth of England. This was the doom of persons of property: to all others, whose estates, real and personal, did not amount to the value of ten pounds, a full and free pardon was graciously offered.
Care, however, was taken that the third parts, which by this act were to be restored to the original proprietors, were not to be allotted to them out of their former estates, but “in such places as the parliament, for the more effectual settlement of the peace of the nation, should think fit to appoint.” When the first plan of extermination had failed, another project was adopted of confining the Catholic landholders to Connaught and Clare, beyond the river Shannon, and of dividing the remainder of the island, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster, among Protestant colonists. This, it
[Footnote 1: Hutchinson, Hist. of Massachusetts, 190. Thurloe, iii. 459.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, Aug. 12, 1652. Scobell, ii. 197, Ludlow, i. 370. In the Appendix I have copied this act correctly from the original in the possession of Thomas Lloyd, Esq. See note (F).]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Aug. 12.]
was said, would prevent the quarrels which must otherwise arise between the new planters and the ancient owners; it would render rebellion more difficult and less formidable; and it would break the hereditary influence of the chiefs over their septs, and of the landlords over their tenants. Accordingly the little parliament, called by Cromwell and his officers, passed a second act,[a] which assigned to all persons, claiming under the qualifications described in the former, a proportionate quantity of land on the right bank of the Shannon; set aside the counties of Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford in Munster, of King’s County, Queen’s County, West Meath, and East Meath in Leinster, and of Down, Antrim, and Armagh in Ulster, to satisfy in equal shares the English adventurers who had subscribed money in the beginning of the contest, and the arrears of the army that had served in Ireland since Cromwell took the command; reserved for the future disposal of the government the forfeitures in the counties of Dublin, Cork, Kildare, and Carlow; and charged those in the remaining counties with the deficiency, if their should be any in the first ten, with the liquidation of several public debts, and with the arrears of the Irish army contracted previously to the battle of Rathmines.
To carry this act into execution, the commissioners, by successive proclamations, ordered all persons who claimed under qualifications, and in addition, all who had borne arms against the parliament, to “remove and transplant” themselves into Connaught and Clare before the first of May, 1654. How many
[Footnote 1: See on this question “The Great Subject of Transplantation in Ireland discussed,” 1654. Laurence, “The Interest of England in the Irish Transplantation stated,” 1654; and the answer to Laurence by Vincent Gookin, the author of the first tract.]
[Sidenote: A.D. 1653. Sept. 26.]
were prevailed upon to obey, is unknown; but that they amounted to a considerable number is plain from the fact that the lands allotted to them in lieu of their third portions extended to more than eight hundred thousand English acres. Many, however, refused. Retiring into bogs and fastnesses, they formed bodies of armed men, and supported themselves and their followers by the depredations which they committed on the occupiers of their estates. They were called Raperees and Tories; and so formidable did they become to the new settlers, that in certain districts, the sum of two hundred pounds was offered for the head of the leader of the band, and that of forty pounds for the head of any one of the privates.
To maintain this system of spoliation, and to coerce the vindictive passions of the natives, it became necessary to establish martial law, and to enforce regulations the most arbitrary and oppressive. No Catholic was permitted to reside within any garrison or market town, or to remove more than one mile from his own dwelling without a passport describing his person, age, and occupation; every meeting of four persons besides the family was pronounced an illegal and treasonable assembly; to carry arms, or to have arms at home, was made a capital offence; and any transplanted Irishman, who was found on the left bank of the Shannon, might be put to death by the first person who met him, without the order of a magistrate. Seldom has any nation been reduced to a state of bondage more galling and oppressive. Under
[Footnote 1: This celebrated party name, “Tory,” is derived from “toruighim,” to pursue for the sake of plunder.–O’Connor, Bib. Stowensis, ii. 460.]
[Footnote 2: Burton’s Diary, ii. 210.]
the pretence of the violation of these laws, their feelings were outraged, and their blood was shed with impunity. They held their property, their liberty, and their lives, at the will of the petty despots around them, foreign planters, and the commanders of military posts, who were stimulated by revenge and interest to depress and exterminate the native population.
IV. The religion of the Irish proved an additional source of solicitude to their fanatical conquerors. By one of the articles concluded with Lord Westmeath, it was stipulated that all the inhabitants of Ireland should enjoy the benefit of an act lately passed in England “to relieve peaceable persons from the rigours of former acts in matters of religion;” and that no Irish recusant should be compelled to assist at any form of service contrary to his conscience. When the treaty was presented for ratification, this concession shocked and scandalized the piety of the saints. The first part was instantly negatived; and, if the second was carried by a small majority through the efforts of Marten and Vane, it was with a proviso that “the article should not give any the least allowance, or countenance, or toleration, to the exercise of the Catholic worship in any manner whatsoever."
In the spirit of these votes, the civil commissioners ordered by proclamation[a] all Catholic clergymen to quit Ireland within twenty days, under the penalties of high treason, and forbade all other persons to harbour any such clergymen under the pain of death. Additional provisions tending to the same object followed in succession. Whoever knew of the concealment
[Footnote 1: Bruodin, 693. Hibernia Dominicana, 706.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1652, June 1.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Jan. 6.]
of a priest, and did not reveal it to the proper authorities, was made liable to the punishment of a public whipping and the amputation of his ears; to be absent on a Sunday from the service at the parish church, subjected the offender to a fine of thirty pence; and the magistrates were authorized to take away the children of Catholics and send them to England for education, and to tender the oath of abjuration to all persons of the age of one and twenty years, the refusal of which subjected them to imprisonment during pleasure, and to the forfeiture of two-thirds of their estates real and personal.
During this period the Catholic clergy were exposed to a persecution far more severe than had ever been previously experienced in the island. In former times the chief governors dared not execute with severity the laws against the Catholic priesthood, and the fugitives easily found security on the estates of the great landed proprietors. But now the Irish people lay prostrate at the feet of their conquerors; the military were distributed in small bodies over the country; their vigilance was sharpened by religious antipathy and the hope of reward; and the means of detection were facilitated by the prohibition of travelling without a license from the magistrates. Of the many priests who still remained in the country, several were discovered, and forfeited their lives on the gallows; those who escaped detection concealed themselves in the caverns of the mountains, or in lonely hovels raised in the midst of the morasses, whence they issued during the night to carry the consolations
[Footnote 1: Hibernia Dominicana, 707. Bruodin, 696. Porter, Compendium Annalium Eecclesiasticorum (Romae, 1690), p. 292.]
of religion to the huts of their oppressed and suffering countrymen.
3. In Scotland the power of the commonwealth was as firmly established as in Ireland. When Cromwell hastened in pursuit of the king to Worcester, he left Monk with eight thousand men to complete the conquest of the kingdom. Monk invested Stirling; and the Highlanders who composed the garrison, alarmed by the explosion of the shells from the batteries, compelled[a] the governor to capitulate. The maiden castle, which had never been violated by the presence of a conqueror, submitted to the English “sectaries;” and, what was still more humbling to the pride of the nation, the royal robes, part of the regalia, and the national records, were irreverently torn from their repositories, and sent to London as the trophies of victory. Thence the English general marched forward to Dundee, where he received a proud defiance from Lumsden, the governor. During the preparations for the assault, he learned that the Scottish lords, whom Charles had intrusted with the government in his absence, were holding a meeting on the moor at Ellet, in Angus. By his order, six hundred horse, under the colonels Alured and Morgan, aided, as it was believed, by treachery, surprised them at an early hour in the morning.[b] Three hundred prisoners were made, including the two committees of
[Footnote 1: MS. letters in my possession. Bruodin, 696. A proclamation was also issued ordering all nuns to marry or leave Ireland. They were successively transported to Belgium, France, and Spain, where they were hospitably received in the convents of their respective orders.]
[Footnote 2: “Haec nobis invicta tulerunt centum sex proavi, 1617,” was the boasting inscription which King James had engraved on the wall.–Clarke’s official account to the Speaker, in Cary, ii. 327. Echard, 697.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Aug. 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. Aug. 28.]
the estates and the kirk, several peers, and all the gentry of the neighbourhood; and these, with such other individuals as the general deemed hostile and dangerous to the commonwealth, followed the regalia and records of their country to the English capital. At Dundee a breach was soon made in the wall: the defenders shrunk from the charge of the assailants; and the governor and garrison were massacred.[a] I must leave it to the imagination of the reader to supply the sufferings of the inhabitants from the violence, the lust, and the rapacity of their victorious enemy. In Dundee, on account of its superior strength, many had deposited their most valuable effects; and all these, with sixty ships and their cargoes in the harbour, became the reward of the conquerors.
Warned by this awful example, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, and Montrose opened their gates; the earl of Huntley and Lord Balcarras submitted; the few remaining fortresses capitulated in succession; and if Argyle, in the midst of his clan, maintained a precarious and temporary independence, it was not that he cherished the expectation of evading the yoke, but that he sought to draw from the parliament the acknowledgment of a debt which he claimed of the English
[Footnote 1: Heath, 301, 302. Whitelock, 508. Journals, Aug. 27. Milton’s S. Pap. 79. Balfour, iv. 314, 315. “Mounche commaundit all, of quhatsummeuer sex, to be putt to the edge of the sword. Ther wer 800 inhabitants and souldiers killed, and about 200 women and children. The plounder and buttie they gatte in the toune, exceided 2 millions and a halffe” (about £200,000). That, however, the whole garrison was not put to the sword appears from the mention in the Journals (Sept. 12) of a list of officers made prisoners, and from Monk’s letter to Cromwell. “There was killed of the enemy about 500, and 200 or thereabouts taken prisoners. The stubbornness of the people enforced the soldiers to plunder the town."–Cary’s Memorials, ii. 351.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651 Sept. 1.]
government. To destroy the prospect, by showing the hopelessness of resistance, the army was successively augmented to the amount of twenty thousand men; citadels were marked out to be built of stone at Ayr, Leith, Perth, and Inverness; and a long chain of military stations drawn across the Highlands served to curb, if it did not tame, the fierce and indignant spirit of the natives. The parliament declared the lands and goods of the crown public property, and confiscated the estates of all who had joined the king or the duke of Hamilton in their invasions of England, unless they were engaged in trade, and worth no more than five pounds, or not engaged in trade, and worth only one hundred pounds. All authority derived from any other source than the parliament of England was abolished[a] by proclamation; the different sheriffs, and civil officers of doubtful fidelity, were removed for others attached to the commonwealth; a yearly tax of one hundred and thirty thousand pounds was imposed in lieu of free quarters for the support of the army; and English judges, assisted by three or four natives, were appointed to go the circuits, and to supersede the courts of session. It was with grief
[Footnote 1: Balfour, iv. 315. Heath, 304, 308, 310, 313. Whitelock, 514, 534, 543.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, Dec. 2, 1652.]
[Footnote 3: Ludlow, 345. Heath, 313, 326. Whitelock, 528, 542. Journals, Nov. 19. Leicester’s Journal, 129. The English judges were astonished at the spirit of litigation and revenge which the Scots displayed during the circuit. More than one thousand individuals were accused before them of adultery, incest, and other offences, which they had been obliged to confess in the kirk during the last twenty or thirty years. When no other proof was brought, the charge was dismissed. In like manner sixty persons were charged with witchcraft. These were also acquitted; for, though they had confessed the offence, the confession had been drawn from them by torture. It was usual to tie up the supposed witch by the thumbs, and to whip her till she confessed; or to put the flame of a candle to the soles of the feet, between the toes, or to parts of the head, or to make the accused wear a shirt of hair steeped in vinegar &c.–See Whitelock, 543, 544, 545, 547, 548.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Jan. 22.]
and shame that the Scots yielded to these innovations; though they were attended with one redeeming benefit, the prevention of that anarchy and bloodshed which must have followed, had the Cavaliers and Covenanters, with forces nearly balanced, and passions equally excited, been left to wreck their vengeance on each other. But they were soon threatened with what in their eyes was a still greater evil. The parliament resolved to incorporate the two countries into one commonwealth, without kingly government or the aristocratical influence of a house of peers. This was thought to fill up the measure of Scottish misery. There is a pride in the independence of his country, of which even the peasant is conscious; but in this case not only national but religious feelings were outraged. With the civil consequences of an union which would degrade Scotland to the state of a province, the ministers in their ecclesiastical capacity had no concern; but they forbade[a] the people to give consent or support to the measure, because it was contrary to the covenant, and tended “to draw with it a subordination of the kirk to the state in the things of Christ." The parliamentary commissioners (they were eight, with St. John and Vane at their head), secure of the power of the sword, derided the menaces of the kirk. They convened at Dalkeith the representatives of the counties and burghs, who were ordered to bring with them full powers to treat and conclude respecting the incorporation of the two countries. Twenty-eight
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 521. Heath, 307.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Jan. 21]
out of thirty shires, and forty-four out of fifty-eight burghs, gave their consent; and the result was a second meeting at Edinburgh, in which twenty-one deputies were chosen to arrange the conditions with the parliamentary commissioners at Westminster. There conferences were held,[a] and many articles discussed; but, before the plan could be amicably adjusted, the parliament itself, with all its projects, was overturned[b] by the successful ambition of Cromwell.
4. From the conquest of Ireland and Scotland we may now turn to the transactions between the commonwealth and foreign powers. The king of Portugal was the first who provoked its anger, and felt its vengeance. At an early period in 1649, Prince Rupert, with the fleet which had revolted from the parliament to the late king, sailed[c] from the Texel, swept the Irish Channel, and inflicted severe injuries on the English commerce. Vane, to whose industry had been committed the care of the naval department, made every exertion to equip a formidable armament, the command of which was given to three military officers, Blake, Dean, and Popham. Rupert retired[d] before this superior force to the harbour of Kinsale; the batteries kept his enemies at bay; and the Irish supplied him with men and provisions. At length the victories of Cromwell by land admonished him to quit his asylum; and, with the loss of three ships, he burst[e] through the blockading squadron, sailed to the coast of Spain, and during the winter months sought shelter in the waters of the Tagus. In spring, Blake appeared[f] with eighteen men-of-war at the mouth of the river; to his request that he
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1652, March 16, 24, 26, April 2, May 14, Sept. 15, 29, Oct. 29, Nov. 23.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Sept. 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. Oct. 12.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1649. March.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1649. May.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1649. October.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1650. March.]
might be allowed to attack the pirate at his anchorage, he received from the king of Portugal a peremptory refusal; and, in his attempt to force his way up the river he was driven back by the fire from the batteries. In obedience to his instructions, he revenged himself on the Portuguese trade, and Don John, by way of reprisal, arrested the English merchants, and took possession of their effects. Alarmed, however, by the losses of his subjects, he compelled[a] Rupert to quit the Tagus, and despatched[b] an envoy, named Guimaraes, to solicit an accommodation. Every paper which passed between this minister and the commissioners was submitted to the parliament, and by it approved, or modified, or rejected. Guimaraes subscribed[c] to the preliminaries demanded by the council, that the English merchants arrested in Portugal should be set at liberty, that they should receive an indemnification for their losses, and that the king of Portugal should pay a sum of money towards the charges of the English fleet; but he protracted the negotiation, by disputing dates and details, and was haughtily commanded[d] to quit the territory of the commonwealth. Humbling as it was to Don John, he had no resource; the Conde de Camera was sent,[e] with the title of ambassador extraordinary; he assented to every
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 134, 142, 155. Heath, 254, 256, 275. Whitelock, 406, 429, 449, 463, 475. Clarendon, iii. 338. Rupert sailed into the Mediterranean, and maintained himself by piracy, capturing not only English but Spanish and Genoese ships. All who did not favour him were considered as enemies. Driven from the Mediterranean by the English, he sailed to the West Indies, where he inflicted greater losses on the Spanish than the English trade. Here his brother, Prince Maurice, perished in a storm; and Rupert, unable to oppose his enemies with any hope of success, returned to Europe, and anchored in the harbour of Nantes, in March, 1652. He sold his two men-of-war to Cardinal Mazarin.–Heath, 337. Whitelock, 552. Clarendon, iii. 513, 520.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. October.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Dec. 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. April 22.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1651. May 16.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1652. July 7.]
demand; but the progress of the treaty was interrupted by the usurpation of Cromwell, and another year elapsed before it was[a] concluded. By it valuable privileges were granted to the English traders; four commissioners,–two English and two Portuguese, were appointed[b] to settle all claims against the Portuguese government; and it was agreed[c] that an English commissary should receive one-half of all the duties paid by the English merchants in the ports of Portugal, to provide a sufficient fund for the liquidation of the debt.
5. To Charles I. (nor will it surprise us, if we recollect his treatment of the Infanta) the court of Spain had always behaved with coldness and reserve. The ambassador Cardenas continued to reside in London, even after the king’s execution, and was the first foreign minister whom the parliament honoured with a public audience. He made it his chief object to cement the friendship between the commonwealth and his own country, fomented the hostility of the former against Portugal and the United Provinces, the ancient enemies of Spain, and procured the assent of his sovereign that an accredited minister from the parliament should be admitted by the court of Madrid. The individual selected[d] for this office was Ascham, a man who, by his writings, had rendered himself peculiarly obnoxious to the royalists. He landed[e] near Cadiz, proceeded under an escort for his protection to Madrid, and repaired[f] to an inn, till a suitable residence could be procured. The next day,[g] while he was sitting at dinner with Riba, a renegado friar, his interpreter,
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1650, Dec. 17; 1651, April 4, 11, 22, May 7, 13, 16; 1652, Sept. 30, Dec. 15; 1653, Jan. 5. Whitelock, 486. Dumont, vi. p. ii. 82.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Jan. 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. July 10.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. July 14.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1650. Jan. 31.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1650. April 3.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1650. May 26.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1650. May 27.]
six Englishmen entered the house; four remained below to watch; two burst into the room, exclaiming, “Welcome, gallants, welcome;” and in a moment both the ambassador and the interpreter lay on the floor weltering in their blood. Of the assassins, one, a servant to Cottington and Hyde, the envoys from Charles, fled to the house of the Venetian ambassador, and escaped; the other five took refuge in a neighbouring chapel, whence, by the king’s order, they were conducted to the common goal. When the criminal process was ended, they all received judgment of death. The crime, it was acknowledged, could not be justified; yet the public feeling was in favour of the criminals: the people, the clergy, the foreign ambassadors, all sought to save them from punishment; and, though the right of sanctuary did not afford protection to murderers, the king was, but with difficulty, persuaded to send them back to their former asylum. Here, while they remained within its precincts, they were safe; but the moment they left the sanctuary, their lives became forfeited to the law. The people supplied them with provisions, and offered the means of escape. They left Madrid; the police pursued; Sparkes, a native of Hampshire, was taken about three miles from the city; and the parliament, unable to obtain more, appeared to be content with the blood of this single victim.
6. These negotiations ended peaceably; those between the commonwealth and the United Provinces, though commenced with friendly feelings, led to hostilities. It might have been expected that the Dutch, mindful of the glorious struggle for liberty maintained
[Footnote 1: Compare Clarendon, iii. 369, with the Papers in Thurloe, i. 148-153, 202, and Harleian Miscellany, iv. 280.]
by their fathers, and crowned with success by the treaty of Munster, would have viewed with exultation the triumph of the English republicans. But William the Second, prince of Orange, had married[a] a daughter of Charles I.; his views and interests were espoused by the military and the people; and his adherents possessed the ascendancy in the States General and in all the provincial states, excepting those of West Friesland and Holland. As long as he lived, no atonement could be obtained for the murder of Dorislaus, no audience for Strickland, the resident ambassador, though that favour was repeatedly granted to Boswell, the envoy of Charles. However, in November the prince died[b] of the small-pox in his twenty-fourth year; and a few days later[c] his widow was delivered of a son, William III., the same who subsequently ascended the throne of England. The infancy of his successor emboldened the democratical party; they abolished the office of stadtholder, and recovered the ascendancy in the government. On the news of this revolution, the council advised that St. John, the chief justice of the Common Pleas, and Strickland, the former envoy, should be appointed ambassadors extraordinary to the States General. St. John, with the fate of Ascham before his eyes, sought to escape this dangerous mission; he alleged[d] the infirmity of his health and the insalubrity of the climate; but the parliament derided his timidity, and his petition was dismissed on a division by a considerable majority.
Among the numerous projects which the English leaders cherished under the intoxication of success, was that of forming, by the incorporation of the
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 112, 113, 114, 124.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1651, Jan. 21, 23, 28.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1646. Dec. 8.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Nov. 6.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1650. Nov. 14.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1651. Jan. 28.]
United Provinces with the commonwealth, a great and powerful republic, capable of striking terror into all the crowned heads of Europe. But so many difficulties were foreseen, so many objections raised, that the ambassadors received instructions to confine themselves to the more sober proposal of “a strict and intimate alliance and union, which might give to each a mutual and intrinsical interest” in the prosperity of the other. They made their public entry into the Hague[a] with a parade and retinue becoming the representatives of a powerful nation; but external splendour did not check the popular feeling, which expressed itself by groans and hisses, nor intimidate the royalists, who sought every occasion of insulting “the things called ambassadors." The States had not forgotten the offensive delay of the parliament to answer their embassy of intercession for the life of Charles I.; nor did they brook the superiority which it now assumed, by prescribing a certain term within which the negotiation should be concluded. Pride was met with equal pride; the ambassadors were compelled to solicit a prolongation of their powers,[b] and the treaty began to proceed with greater rapidity. The English proposed[c] a confederacy for the preservation of the liberties of each nation against all the enemies
[Footnote 1: Thus they are perpetually called in the correspondence of the royalists.–Carte’s Letters, i. 447, 469; ii. 11. Strickland’s servants were attacked at his door by six cavaliers with drawn swords; an attempt was made to break into St. John’s bedchamber; Edward, son to the queen of Bohemia, publicly called the ambassadors rogues and dogs; and the young duke of York accidentally meeting St. John, who refused to give way to him, snatched the ambassador’s hat off his head and threw it in his face, saying, “Learn, parricide, to respect the brother of your king.” “I scorn," he replied, “to acknowledge either, you race of vagabonds.” The duke drew his sword, but mischief was prevented by the interference of the spectators,–New Parl. Hist. iii. 1, 364.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. March 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. April 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. May 10.]
of either by sea and land, and a renewal of the whole treaty of 1495, with such modifications as might adapt it to existing times and circumstances. The States, having demanded in vain an explanation of the proposed confederacy,[a] presented a counter project;[b] but while the different articles remained under discussion, the period prefixed by the parliament expired, and the ambassadors departed. To whom the failure of the negotiation was owing became a subject of controversy. The Hollanders blamed the abrupt and supercilious carriage of St. John and his colleague; the ambassadors charged the States with having purposely created delay, that they might not commit themselves by a treaty with the commonwealth, before they had seen the issue of the contest between the king of Scotland and Oliver Cromwell.
In a short time that contest was decided in the battle of Worcester, and the States condescended to become petitioners in their turn. Their ambassadors arrived in England with the intention of resuming the negotiation where it had been interrupted by the departure of St. John and his colleague. But circumstances were now changed; success had enlarged the pretensions of the parliament; and the British, instead of shunning, courted a trial of strength with the Belgic lion. First, the Dutch merchantmen were visited under the pretext of searching for munitions of war, which they were carrying to the enemy; and then, at the representation of certain merchants, who conceived themselves to have been injured by the Dutch navy, letters of marque were granted to several individuals, and more than eighty prizes brought into
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 179, 183, 188-195. Heath, 285-287. Carte’s Letters, i. 464. Leicester’s Journal, 107. Parl. History, xx. 496.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. June 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. June 20.]
the English ports. In addition, the navigation act had been passed and carried into execution,[a] by which it was enacted that no goods, the produce of Africa, Asia, and America, should be imported into this country in ships which were not the property of England or its colonies; and that no produce or manufacture of any part of Europe should be imported, unless in ships the property of England or of the country of which such merchandise was the proper growth or manufacture. Hitherto the Dutch had been the common carriers of Europe; by this act, the offspring of St. John’s resentment, one great and lucrative branch of their commercial prosperity was lopped off, and the first, but fruitless demand of the ambassadors was that, if not repealed, it should at least be suspended during the negotiation.
The Dutch merchants had solicited permission to indemnify themselves by reprisals; but the States ordered a numerous fleet to be equipped, and announced to all the neighbouring powers that their object was, not to make war, but to afford protection to their commerce. By the council of state, the communication was received as a menace; the English ships of war were ordered to exact in the narrow seas the same honour to the flag of the commonwealth as had been formerly paid to that of the king; and the
[Footnote 1: It seems probable that the letters of marque were granted not against the Dutch, but the French, as had been done for some time, and that the Dutch vessels were detained under pretence of their having French property on board. Suivant les pretextes de reprisailles contre les François et autres.–Dumont, vi. ii. 32.]
[Footnote 2: An exception was made in favour of commodities from the Levant seas, the West Indies, and the ports of Spain and Portugal, which might be imported from the usual places of trading, though they were not the growth of the said places. The penalty was the forfeiture of the ship and cargo, one moiety to the commonwealth, the other to the informer.–New Parl. Hist. iii. 1374.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Oct. 9.]
ambassadors were reminded of the claim of indemnification for the losses sustained by the English in the East Indies, of a free trade from Middleburgh to Antwerp, and of the tenth herring which was due from the Dutch fishermen for the permission to exercise their trade in the British seas.
While the conferences were yet pending, Commodore Young met[a] a fleet of Dutch merchantmen under convoy in the Channel; and, after a sharp action, compelled the men-of-war to salute the English flag. A few days later[b] the celebrated Van Tromp appeared with two-and-forty sail in the Downs. He had been instructed to keep at a proper distance from the English coast, neither to provoke nor to shun hostility, and to salute or not according to his own discretion; but on no account to yield to the newly-claimed right of search. To Bourne, the English, commander, he apologized for his arrival, which, he said, was not with any hostile design, but in consequence of the loss of several anchors and cables on the opposite coast. The next day[c] he met Blake off the harbour of Dover; an action took place between the rival commanders; and, when the fleets separated in the evening, the English cut off two ships of thirty guns, one of which they took, the other they abandoned, on account of the damage which it had received.
It was a question of some importance who was the aggressor. By Blake it was asserted that Van Tromp had gratuitously come to insult the English fleet in its own roads, and had provoked the engagement by firing the first broadside. The Dutchman replied that
[Footnote 1: Le Clerc, i. 315. The Dutch seem to have argued that the salute had formerly been rendered to the king, not to the nation.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. May 12.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. May 18.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. May 19.]
he was cruising for the protection of trade; that the weather had driven him on the English coast; that he had no thought of fighting till he received the fire of Blake’s ship; and that, during the action, he had carefully kept on the defensive, though he might with his great superiority of force have annihilated the assailants.
The reader will probably think, that those who submitted to solicit the continuance of peace were not the first to seek the commencement of hostilities. Immediately after the action at sea, the council ordered the English commanders to pursue, attack, and destroy all vessels the property of the United Provinces; and, in the course of a month, more than seventy sail of merchantmen, besides several men-of-war, were captured, stranded, or burnt. The Dutch, on the contrary, abstained from reprisals; their ambassadors thrice assured the council that the battle had happened without the knowledge, and to the deep regret of the States;[a] and on each occasion earnestly deprecated the adoption of hasty and violent measures, which might lead to consequences highly prejudicial to both nations. They received an answer,[b] which, assuming it as proved that the States intended to usurp the rights of England on the sea, and to
[Footnote 1: The great argument of the parliament in their declaration is the following: Tromp came out of his way to meet the English fleet, and fired on Blake without provocation; the States did not punish him, but retained him in the command; therefore he acted by their orders, and the war was begun by them. Each of these assertions was denied on the other side. Tromp showed the reasons which led him into the track of the English fleet; and the States asserted, from the evidence before them, that Tromp had ordered his sails to be lowered, and was employed in getting ready his boat to compliment the English admiral at the time when he received a broadside from the impatience of Blake.–Dumont, vi. p. ii. 33. Le Clerc, i. 315, 317. Basnage, i. 254. Heath, 315-320.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. May 24, 27, June 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. June 5.]
destroy the navy, the bulwark of those rights, declared that it was the duty of parliament to seek reparation for the past, and security for the future.
Soon afterwards Pauw, the grand pensionary, arrived.[a] He repeated with the most solemn asseverations from his own knowledge the statement of the ambassadors;[b] proposed that a court of inquiry, consisting of an equal number of commissioners from each nation, should be appointed, and exemplary punishment inflicted on the officer who should be found to have provoked the engagement; and demanded that hostilities should cease, and the negotiation be resumed. Receiving no other answer than had been already given to his colleagues, he asked[c] what was meant by “reparation and security;” and was told by order of parliament, that the English government expected full compensation for all the charges to which it had been put by the preparations and attempts of the States, and hoped to meet with security for the future in an alliance which should render the interests of both nations consistent with each other. These, it was evident, were conditions to which the pride of the States would refuse to stoop; Pauw demanded[d] an audience of leave of the parliament; and all hope of reconciliation vanished.
If the Dutch had hitherto solicited peace, it was not that they feared the result of war. The sea was their native element; and the fact of their maritime superiority had long been openly or tacitly acknowledged by all the powers of Europe. But they wisely
[Footnote 1: Heath, 320, 321.]
[Footnote 2: Compare the declaration of parliament of July 9 with that of the States General of July 23, Aug. 2. See also Whitelock, 537; Heath, 315-322; the Journals, June 5, 11, 25, 30; and Le Clerc, i. 318-321.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. June 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. June 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. June 25.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. June 30.]
judged that no victory by sea could repay them for the losses which they must sustain from the extinction of their fishing trade, and the suspension of their commerce. For the commonwealth, on the other hand, it was fortunate that the depredations of Prince Rupert had turned the attention of the leaders to naval concerns. Their fleet had been four years in commission: the officers and men were actuated by the same spirit of civil liberty and religious enthusiasm which distinguished the land army; Ayscue had just returned from the reduction of Barbadoes with a powerful squadron; and fifty additional ships were ordered to be equipped, an object easily accomplished at a time when any merchantman capable of carrying guns could, with a few alterations, be converted into a man-of-war. Ayscue with the smaller division of the fleet remained at home to scour the Channel.[a] Blake sailed to the north, captured the squadron appointed to protect the Dutch fishing-vessels, exacted from the busses the duty of every tenth herring, and sent them home with a prohibition to fish again without a license from the English government. In the mean while Van Tromp sailed from the Texel with seventy men-of-war. It was expected in Holland that he would sweep the English navy from the face of the ocean. His first attempt was to surprise Ayscue, who was saved by a calm followed by a change of wind. He then sailed to the north in search of Blake. But
[Footnote 1: The fishery employed in various ways one hundred thousand persons.–Le Clerc, 321.]
[Footnote 2: From a list of hired merchantmen converted into men-of-war, it appears that a ship of nine hundred tons burthen made a man-of-war of sixty guns; one of seven hundred tons, a man-of-war of forty-six; four hundred, of thirty-four; two hundred, of twenty; one hundred, of ten; sixty, of eight; and that about five or six men were allowed for each gun.–Journals, 1651, May 29.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. July 19.]
his fleet was dispersed by a storm; five of his frigates fell into the hands of the English; and on his return he was received with murmurs and reproaches by the populace. Indignant at a treatment which he had not deserved, he justified his conduct before the States, and then laid down his commission.
De Ruyter, a name almost equally illustrious on the ocean, was appointed his successor. That officer sailed to the mouth of the Channel, took under his charge a fleet of merchantmen, and on his return was opposed by Ayscue with nearly an equal force. The English. commander burst through the enemy, and was followed by nine sail; the rest of the fleet took no share in the action, and the convoy escaped. The blame rested not with Ayscue, but with his inferior officers; but the council took the opportunity to lay him aside, not that they doubted his courage or abilities, but because he was suspected of a secret leaning to the royal cause. To console him for his disgrace, he received a present of three hundred pounds, with a grant of land of the same annual rent in Ireland.
De Witte now joined De Ruyter,[a] and took the command. Blake accepted the challenge of battle, and night alone separated the combatants. The next morning the Dutch fled, and were pursued as far as the Goree. Their ships were in general of smaller dimensions, and drew less water than those of their adversaries, who dared not follow among the numerous sand-banks with which the coast is studded.
Blake, supposing that naval operations would be suspended during the winter, had detached several
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 538, 539, 540, 541. Heath, 322. Le Clerc, i. 321.]
[Footnote 2: Heath, 323. Le Clerc, i. 322.]
[Footnote 3: Ibid. 326. Ludlow, i. 367. Whitelock, 545. Le Clerc, i. 324.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Sept. 28.]
squadrons to different ports, and was riding in the Downs with thirty-seven sail, when he was surprised by the appearance[a] of a hostile fleet of double that number, under the command of Van Tromp, whose wounded pride had been appeased with a new commission. A mistaken sense of honour induced the English admiral to engage in the unequal contest. The battle[b] raged from eleven in the morning till night. The English, though they burnt a large ship and disabled two others, lost five sail either sunk or taken; and Blake, under cover of the darkness, ran up the river as far as Leigh. Van Tromp sought his enemy at Harwich and Yarmouth; returning, he insulted the coast as he passed; and continued to cruise backwards and forwards from the North Foreland to the Isle of Wight.
The parliament made every exertion to wipe away this disgrace. The ships were speedily refitted; two regiments of infantry embarked to serve as marines; a bounty was offered for volunteers; the wages of the seamen were raised; provision was made for their families during their absence on service; a new rate for the division of prize-money was established; and, in aid of Blake, two officers, whose abilities had been already tried, Deane and Monk, received the joint command of the fleet. On the other hand, the Dutch were intoxicated with their success; they announced it to the world, in prints, poems, and publications; and Van Tromp affixed a broom to the head of his mast as an emblem of his triumph. He had gone to the Isle of Rhée to take the homeward-bound trade under his charge, with orders to resume his station at the mouth of the Thames, and to prevent the egress of
[Footnote 1: Heath, 329. Ludlow, ii. 3. Neuville, iii. 68.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Nov. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Nov. 30.]
the English. But Blake had already stationed himself with more than seventy sail across the Channel, opposite the Isle of Portland, to intercept the return of the enemy. On the 18th of February the Dutch fleet, equal in number, with three hundred merchantmen under convoy, was discovered[a] near Cape La Hogue, steering along the coast of France. The action was maintained with the most desperate obstinacy. The Dutch lost six sail, either sunk or taken, the English one, but several were disabled, and Blake himself was severely wounded.
The following morning[b] the enemy were seen opposite Weymouth, drawn up in the form of a crescent covering the merchantmen. Many attempts were made to break through the line; and so imminent did the danger appear to the Dutch admiral, that he made signal for the convoy to shift for themselves. The battle lasted at intervals through the night; it was renewed with greater vigour near Boulogne in the morning;[c] till Van Tromp, availing himself of the shallowness of the coast, pursued his course homeward unmolested by the pursuit of the enemy. The victory was decidedly with the English; the loss in men might be equal on both sides; but the Dutch themselves acknowledged that nine of their men-of-war and twenty-four of the merchant vessels had been either sunk or captured.
This was the last naval victory achieved under the auspices of the parliament, which, though it wielded the powers of government with an energy that surprised
[Footnote 1: Heath, 335. Whitelock, 551. Leicester’s Journal, 138. Le Clerc, i. 328. Basnage, i. 298-301. By the English admirals the loss of the Dutch was estimated at eleven men-of-war and thirty merchantmen.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Feb. 18.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. Feb. 19.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. Feb. 20.]
the several nations of Europe, was doomed to bend before the superior genius or ascendancy of Cromwell. When that adventurer first formed the design of seizing the supreme authority, is uncertain; it was not till after the victory at Worcester that he began gradually and cautiously to unfold his object. He saw himself crowned with the laurels of conquest; he held the command in chief of a numerous and devoted army; and he dwelt with his family in a palace formerly the residence of the English monarchs. His adversaries had long ago pronounced him, in all but name, “a king;” and his friends were accustomed to address him in language as adulatory as ever gratified the ears of the most absolute sovereign. His importance was perpetually forced upon his notice by the praise of his dependants, by the foreign envoys who paid court to him, and by the royalists who craved his protection. In such circumstances, it cannot be surprising if the victorious general indulged the aspirings of ambition; if the stern republican, however he might hate to see the crown on the brows of another, felt no repugnance to place it upon his own.
The grandees of the army felt that they no longer possessed the chief sway in the government. War had called them away to their commands in Scotland and Ireland; and, during their absence, the conduct of affairs had devolved on those who, in contradistinction, were denominated the statesmen. Thus, by the course
[Footnote 1: The general officers conclude their despatches to him thus: “We humbly lay ourselves with these thoughts, in this emergency, at your excellency’s feet."–Milton’s State Papers, 71. The ministers of Newcastle make “their humble addresses to his godly wisdom,” and present “their humble suits to God and his excellency” (ibid. 82); and the petitioners from different countries solicit him to mediate for them to the parliament, “because God has not put the sword in his hand in vain."–Whitelock, 517.]
of events, the servants had grown into masters, and the power of the senate had obtained the superiority over the power of the sword. Still the officers in their distant quarters jealously watched, and severely criticised the conduct of the men at Westminster. With want of vigour in directing the military and naval resources of the country, they could not be charged; but it was complained that they neglected the internal economy of government; that no one of the objects demanded in the “agreement of the people” had been accomplished; and that, while others sacrificed their health and their lives in the service of the commonwealth, all the emoluments and patronage were monopolized by the idle drones who remained in the capital.
On the return of the lord-general, the council of officers had been re-established at Whitehall;[a] and their discontent was artfully employed by Cromwell in furtherance of his own elevation. When he resumed his seat in the house, he reminded the members of their indifference to two measures earnestly desired by the country, the act of amnesty and the termination of the present parliament. Bills for each of these objects had been introduced as far back as 1649; but, after some progress, both were suffered to sleep in the several committees; and this backwardness of the “statesmen” was attributed to their wish to enrich themselves by forfeitures, and to perpetuate their power by perpetuating the parliament. The influence of Cromwell revived both questions. An act of oblivion was obtained,[b] which, with some exceptions, pardoned all offences committed before the battle of Worcester, and relieved the minds of the royalists from the apprehension
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 549.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Sept. 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Feb. 24.]
of additional forfeitures. On the question of the expiration of parliament, after several warm debates, the period had been fixed[a] for the 3rd of November, 1654; a distance of three years, which, perhaps, was not the less pleasing to Cromwell, as it served to show how unwilling his adversaries were to resign their power. The interval was to be employed in determining the qualifications of the succeeding parliament.
In the winter, the lord-general called a meeting of officers and members at the house of the speaker; and it must have excited their surprise, when he proposed to them to deliberate, whether it were better to establish a republic, or a mixed form of monarchical government. The officers in general pronounced in favour of a republic, as the best security for the liberties of the people; the lawyers pleaded unanimously for a limited monarchy, as better adapted to the laws, the habits, and the feelings of Englishmen. With the latter Cromwell agreed, and inquired whom in that case they would choose for king. It was replied, either Charles Stuart or the duke of York, provided they would comply with the demands of the parliament; if they would not, the young duke of Gloucester, who could not have imbibed the despotic notions of his elder brothers. This was not the answer which Cromwell sought: he heard it with uneasiness; and, as often as the subject was resumed, diverted the conversation to some other question. In conclusion, he gave his opinion, that, “somewhat of a monarchical government would be most effectual, if it could be established with safety to the liberties of the people,
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1651, Nov. 4, 14, 15, 18, 27; 1652, Feb. 24.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Nov. 18.]
as Englishmen and Christians." That the result of the meeting disappointed his expectations, is evident; but he derived from it this advantage, that he had ascertained the sentiments of many, whose aid he might subsequently require. None of the leaders from the opposite party appear to have been present.
Jealous, however, of his designs, “the statesmen” had begun to fight him with his own weapons. As the commonwealth had no longer an enemy to contend with on the land, they proposed[a] a considerable reduction in the number of the forces, and[b] a proportionate reduction of the taxes raised for their support. The motion was too reasonable in itself, and too popular in the country, to be resisted with safety: one-fourth of the army was disbanded,[c] and the monthly assessment lowered from one hundred and twenty thousand pounds to ninety thousand pounds. Before the expiration of six months, the question of a further reduction was brought forward;[d] but the council of war took the alarm, and a letter from Cromwell to the speaker[e] induced the house to continue its last vote. In a short time[f] it was again mentioned; but the next day[g] six officers appeared at the bar of the house with a petition from the army, which, under pretence of praying for improvements, tacitly charged the members with the neglect of their duty. It directed their attention to the propagation of the gospel, the reform of the law, the removal from office of scandalous and disaffected persons, the abuses in the excise and the treasury, the arrears due to the army, the violation of articles granted to the enemy, and the qualifications of future and successive parliaments. Whitelock remonstrated with Cromwell on the danger
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 516.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Oct. 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. Oct. 7.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Dec. 19.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. June 5.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1652. June 15.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1652. August 12.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1652. August 13.]
of permitting armed bodies to assembly and petition. He slighted the advice.
Soon afterwards[a] the lord-general requested a private and confidential interview with that lawyer. So violent, he observed, was the discontent of the army, so imperious the conduct of the parliament, that it would be impossible to prevent a collision of interests, and the subsequent ruin of the good cause, unless there were established “some authority so full and so high” as to be able to check these exorbitances, and to restrain both the army and the parliament. Whitelock replied, that, for the army, his excellency had hitherto kept and would continue to keep it in due subordination; but with respect to the parliament, reliance must be placed on the good sense and virtue of the majority. To control the supreme power was legally impossible. All, even Cromwell himself, derived their authority from it. At these words the lord-general abruptly exclaimed, “What, if a man should take upon him to be king?” The commissioner answered that the title would confer no additional benefit on his excellency. By his command of the army, his ascendancy in the house, and his reputation, both at home and abroad, he already enjoyed, without the envy of the name, all the power of a king. When Cromwell insisted that the name would give security to his followers, and command the respect of the people, Whitelock rejoined, that it would change the state of the controversy between the parties, and convert a national into a personal quarrel. His friends had cheerfully fought with him to establish a republican in place of monarchical government; would they equally
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 541. Journals, 1651; Dec. 19; 1652, June 15, Aug. 12, 13.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Nov. 8.]
fight with him in favour of the house of Cromwell against the house of Stuart? In conclusion, Cromwell conjured him to give his advice without disguise or qualification, and received this answer, “Make a private treaty with the son of the late king, and place him on the throne, but on conditions which shall secure to the nation its rights, and to yourself the first place beneath the throne.” The general coldly observed that a matter of such importance and difficulty deserved mature consideration. They separated; and Whitelock soon discovered that he had forfeited his confidence.
At length Cromwell fixed on a plan to accomplish his purpose by procuring the dissolution of the parliament, and vesting for a time the sovereign authority in a council of forty persons, with himself at their head. It was his wish to effect this quietly by the votes of parliament–his resolution to effect it by open force, if such votes were refused. Several meetings were held by the officers and members at the lodgings of the lord-general in Whitehall. St. John and a few others gave their assent; the rest, under the guidance
[Footnote 1: Henry, duke of Gloucester, and the princess Elizabeth were in England at the last king’s death. In 1650 the council proposed to send the one to his brother in Scotland, and the other to her sister in Holland, allowing to each one thousand pounds per annum, as long as they should behave inoffensively.–Journals, 1650, July 24, Sept. 11. But Elizabeth died on Sept. 8 of the same year, and Henry remained under the charge of Mildmay, governor of Carisbrook Castle, till a short time after this conference, when Cromwell, as if he looked on the young prince as a rival, advised his tutor Lovell, to ask permission to convey him to his sister, the princess of Orange. It was granted, with the sum of five hundred pounds to defray the expense of the journey.–Leicester’s Journal, 103. Heath, 331. Clarendon, iii. 525, 526.]
[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 548-551. Were the minutes of this conversation committed to paper immediately, or after the Restoration? The credit due to them depends on this circumstance.]
of Whitelock and Widdrington, declared that the dissolution would be dangerous, and the establishment of the proposed council unwarrantable. In the mean time, the house resumed the consideration of the new representative body, and several qualifications were voted; to all of which the officers raised objections, but chiefly to the “admission of neuters," a project to strengthen the government by the introduction of the Presbyterian interest. “Never,” said Cromwell, “shall any of that judgment, who have deserted the good cause, be admitted to power.” On the last meeting,[a] held on the 19th of April, all these points were long and warmly debated. Some of the officers declared that the parliament must be dissolved “one way or other;” but the general checked their indiscretion and precipitancy; and the assembly broke up at midnight, with an understanding that the leading men on each side should resume the subject in the morning.
At an early hour the conference was recommenced,[b] and after a short time interrupted, in consequence of the receipt of a notice by the general that it was the intention of the house to comply with the desires of the army. This was a mistake: the opposite party, led by Vane, who had discovered the object of Cromwell,
[Footnote 1: From Ludlow (ii. 435) it appears that by this bill the number of members for boroughs was reduced, of representatives of counties increased. The qualification of an elector was the possession for his own use of an estate real or personal of the value of two hundred pounds.–Journ. 30th March, 1653. It is however singular that though the house continued to sit till April 19th–the only entry on the journals respecting this bill occurs on the 13th–making it a qualification of the candidates that they should be “persons of known integrity, fearing God, and not scandalous in their conversation."–Journal, ibid.]
[Footnote 2: Compare Whitelock’s narrative of this meeting (p. 554) with Cromwell’s, in Milton’s State Papers, 109.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653 April 19.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653 April 20.]
had indeed resolved to pass a bill of dissolution, not, however, the bill proposed by the officers, but their own bill, containing all the obnoxious provisions; and to pass it that very morning, that it might obtain the force of law before their adversaries could have time to appeal to the power of the sword. While Harrison “most sweetly and humbly” conjured them to pause before they took so important a step, Ingoldsby hastened to inform the lord-general at Whitehall. His resolution was immediately formed, and a company of musketeers received orders to accompany him to the house.
At this eventful moment, big with the most important consequences both to himself and his country, whatever were the workings of Cromwell’s mind, he had the art to conceal them from the eyes of the beholders. Leaving the military in the lobby, he entered the house, and composedly seated himself on one of the outer benches. His dress was a plain suit of black cloth, with grey worsted stockings. For a while he seemed to listen with interest to the debate; but, when the speaker was going to put the question, he whispered to Harrison, “This is the time: I must do it;” and rising, put off his hat to address the house. At first his language was decorous and even laudatory. Gradually he became more warm and animated: at last he assumed all the vehemence of passion, and indulged in personal vituperation. He charged the members with self-seeking and profaneness; with the frequent denial of justice, and numerous
[Footnote 1: These particulars may be fairly collected from Whitelock, 554, compared with the declaration of the officers, and Cromwell’s speech to his parliament. The intention to dissolve themselves is also asserted by Hazlerig.–Burton’s Diary, iii. 98.]
acts of oppression; with idolizing the lawyers, the constant advocates of tyranny; with neglecting the men who had bled for them in the field, that they might gain the Presbyterians who had apostatized from the cause; and with doing all this in order to perpetuate their own power, and to replenish their own purses. But their time was come; the Lord had disowned them; he had chosen more worthy instruments to perform his work. Here the orator was interrupted by Sir Peter Wentworth, who declared that he never before heard language so unparliamentary, language, too, the more offensive, because it was addressed to them by their own servant, whom they had too fondly cherished, and whom, by their unprecedented bounty, they had made what he was. At these words Cromwell put on his hat, and, springing from his place, exclaimed, “Come, come, sir, I will put an end to your prating.” For a few seconds, apparently in the most violent agitation, he paced forward and backward, and then, stamping on the floor, added, “You are no parliament. I say you are no parliament: bring them in, bring them in.” Instantly the door opened, and Colonel Worseley entered, followed by more than twenty musketeers. “This,” cried Sir Henry Vane, “is not honest. It is against morality and common honesty.” “Sir Henry Vane,” replied Cromwell, “O Sir Henry Vane! The Lord deliver me from Sir Henry Vane! He might have prevented this. But he is a juggler, and has not common honesty himself.” From Vane he directed his discourse to Whitelock, on whom he poured a torrent of abuse; then, pointing to Challoner, “There,” he cried, “sits a drunkard;” next, to Marten and Wentworth, “There are two whoremasters:” and afterwards, selecting different members in succession, described them as dishonest and corrupt livers, a shame and a scandal to the profession of the gospel. Suddenly, however, checking himself, he turned to the guard, and ordered them to clear the house. At these words Colonel Harrison took the speaker by the hand, and led him from the chair; Algernon Sidney was next compelled to quit his seat; and the other members, eighty in number, on the approach of the military, rose and moved towards the door. Cromwell now resumed his discourse. “It is you,” he exclaimed, “that have forced me to do this. I have sought the Lord both day and night, that he would rather slay me, than put me on the doing of this work." Alderman Allen took advantage of these words to observe, that it was not yet too late to undo what had been done; but Cromwell instantly charged him with peculation, and gave him into custody. When all were gone, fixing his eye on the mace, “What,” said he, “shall we do with this fool’s bauble? Here, carry it away.” Then, taking the act of dissolution from the clerk, he ordered the doors to be locked, and, accompanied by the military, returned to Whitehall.
That afternoon the members of the council assembled in their usual place of meeting. Bradshaw had just taken the chair, when the lord-general entered, and told them, that if they were there as private individuals, they were welcome; but, if as the council of state, they must know that the parliament was dissolved, and with it also the council. “Sir,” replied Bradshaw, with the spirit of an ancient Roman, “we have heard what you did at the house this morning, and before many hours all England will know it. But, sir, you are mistaken to think that the parliament is dissolved. No power under heaven can dissolve them but themselves. Therefore take you notice of that.” After this protest they withdrew.
Thus, by the parricidal hands of its own children, perished the long parliament, which, under a variety of forms, had, for more than twelve years, defended and invaded the liberties of the nation. It fell without a struggle or a groan, unpitied and unregretted. The members slunk away to their homes, where they sought by submission to purchase the forbearance of their new master; and their partisans, if partisans they had, reserved themselves in silence for a day of retribution, which came not before Cromwell slept in his grave. The royalists congratulated each other on an event which they deemed a preparatory step to the restoration of the king; the army and navy, in numerous addresses, declared that they would live or die, stand or fall, with the lord-general, and in every part of the country the congregations of the saints magnified the arm of the Lord which had broken the mighty, that in lieu of the sway of mortal men, “the fifth monarchy, the reign of Christ, might be established upon earth."
It would, however, be unjust to the memory of those who exercised the supreme power after the death of the king, not to acknowledge that there existed among them men capable of wielding with energy the destinies of a great empire. They governed only four years; yet, under their auspices, the conquests of Ireland and Scotland were achieved, and a navy was
[Footnote 1: See the several accounts in Whitelock, 554; Ludlow, ii. 19 23; Leicester’s Journal, 139; Hutchinson, 332; Several Proceedings, No. 186, and Burton’s Diary, iii. 98.]
[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 555-558. Milton’s State Papers, 90-97. Ellis, Second Series, iii. 368.]
created, the rival of that of Holland and the terror of the rest of Europe. But there existed an essential error in their form of government. Deliberative assemblies are always slow in their proceedings; yet the pleasure of parliament, as the supreme power, was to be taken on every subject connected with the foreign relations, or the internal administration of the country; and hence it happened that, among the immense variety of questions which came before it, those commanded immediate attention which were deemed of immediate necessity; while the others, though often of the highest importance to the national welfare, were first postponed, then neglected, and ultimately forgotten. To this habit of procrastination was perhaps owing the extinction of its authority. It disappointed the hopes of the country, and supplied Cromwell with the most plausible argument in defence of his conduct.
Of the parliamentary transactions up to this period, the principal have been noticed in the preceding pages. I shall add a few others which may be thought worthy the attention of the reader. 1. It was complained that, since the abolition of the spiritual tribunals, the sins of incest, adultery, and fornication had been multiplied, in consequence of the impunity with which they might be committed; and, at the prayer of the godly, they were made[a] criminal offences, cognizable by the criminal courts, and punishable, the two first with death, the last with three months’ imprisonment.
[Footnote 1: “We intended,” says Scot, “to have gone off with a good savour, but we stayed to end the Dutch war. We might have brought them to oneness with us. Their ambassadors did desire a coalition. This we might have done in four or five months. We never bid fairer for being masters of the whole world."–Burton’s Diary, iii. 112.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. May 16.]
But it was predicted at the time, and experience verified the prediction, that the severity of the punishment would defeat the purpose of the law. 2. Scarcely a petition was presented, which did not, among other things, pray for the reformation of the courts of justice; and the house, after several long debates, acquiesced[a] in a measure, understood to be only the forerunner of several others,[b] that the law books should be written, and law proceedings be conducted in the English language. 3. So enormous were the charges of the commonwealth, arising from incessant war by sea or land, that questions of finance continually engaged the attention of the house. There were four principal sources of revenue; the customs, the excise, the sale of fee-farm rents, of the lands of the crown, and of those belonging to the bishops, deans, and chapters, and the sequestration and forfeiture of the estates of papists and delinquents. The ordinances for the latter had been passed as early as the year 1643, and in the course of the seven succeeding years, the harvest had been reaped and gathered. Still some gleanings might remain; and in 1650, an act was passed[c] for the better ordering and managing such estates; the former compositions were subjected to examination; defects and concealments were detected; and proportionate fines were in numerous cases exacted. In 1651, seventy individuals, most of them of high rank, all of opulent fortunes, who had imprudently displayed their attachment to the royal cause, were condemned[d] to forfeit their property,
[Footnote 1: Journals, May 10, Nov. 22. Whitelock, 478-483.]
[Footnote 2: The clear annual income from the fee-farm rents amounted to seventy-seven thousand pounds. In Jan. 1651, twenty-five thousand three hundred pounds of this income had been sold for two hundred and twenty-five thousand six hundred and fifty pounds.–Journals, Jan. 8.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Nov. 8.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Nov. 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Jan. 22.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1651. July 16.]
both real and personal, for the benefit of the commonwealth. The fatal march of Charles to Worcester furnished grounds for a new proscription in 1652. First[a] nine-and-twenty, then[b] six hundred and eighty-two royalists were selected for punishment. It was enacted that those in the first class should forfeit their whole property; while to those in the second, the right of pre-emption was reserved at the rate of one-third part of the clear value, to be paid within four months.
4. During the late reign, as long as the Presbyterians retained their ascendancy in parliament, they enforced with all their power uniformity of worship and doctrine. The clergy of the established church were ejected from their livings, and the professors of the Catholic faith were condemned to forfeit two-thirds of their property, or to abjure their religion. Nor was the proof of recusancy to depend, as formerly, on the slow process of presentation and conviction; bare suspicion was held a sufficient ground for the sequestrator to seize his prey; and the complainant was told that he had the remedy in his own hands, he might take the oath of abjuration. When the Independents succeeded to the exercise of the supreme power, both the persecuted parties indulged a hope of more lenient treatment, and both were disappointed. The Independents, indeed, proclaimed themselves the champions of religious liberty; they repealed the statutes imposing penalties for absence from church; and they declared
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1651, July 16; 1652, Aug. 4, Nov. 18. Scobell, 156, 210. If any of the last were papists, and afterwards disposed of their estates thus redeemed, they were ordered to banish themselves from their native country, under the penalty of having the laws against popery executed against them with the utmost severity.–Addit. Act of Nov. 18, 1652.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. August 4.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Nov. 18.]
that men were free to serve God according to the dictates of conscience. Yet their notions of toleration were very confined: they refused to extend it either to prelacy or popery, to the service of the church of England, or of the church of Rome. The ejected clergymen were still excluded from the pulpit, and the Catholics were still the victims of persecuting statutes. In 1650, an act was passed[a] offering to the discoverers of priests and Jesuits, or of their receivers and abettors, the same reward as had been granted to the apprehenders of highwaymen. Immediately officers and informers were employed in every direction; the houses of Catholics were broken open and searched at all hours of the day and night; many clergymen were apprehended, and several were tried, and received[b] judgment of death. Of these only one, Peter Wright, chaplain to the marquess of Winchester, suffered. The leaders shrank from the odium of such sanguinary exhibitions, and transported the rest of the prisoners to the continent.
But if the zeal of the Independents was more sparing of blood than that of the Presbyterians, it was not inferior in point of rapacity. The ordinances for sequestration and forfeiture were executed with unrelenting severity. It is difficult to say which suffered from them most cruelly–families with small fortunes who were thus reduced to a state of penury; or husbandmen, servants, and mechanics, who, on their refusal to take the oath of abjuration, were deprived
[Footnote 1: Challoner, ii 346. MS. papers in my possession. See note. (G).]
[Footnote 2: In 1650 the annual rents of Catholics in possession of the sequestrators were retained at sixty-two thousand and forty-eight pounds seventeen shillings and threepence three farthings. It should, however, be observed that thirteen counties were not included.–Journ. Dee. 17.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Feb. 26.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. May. 19.]
of two-thirds of their scanty earnings, even of their household goods and wearing apparel. The sufferers ventured to solicit[a] from parliament such indulgence as might be thought “consistent with the public peace and their comfortable subsistence in their native country.” The petition was read: Sir Henry Vane spoke in its favour; but the house was deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and the prayer for relief was indignantly rejected.
[Footnote 1: In proof I may be allowed to mention one instance of a Catholic servant maid, an orphan, who, during a servitude of seventeen years, at seven nobles a year, had saved twenty pounds. The sequestrators, having discovered with whom she had deposited her money, took two-thirds, thirteen pounds six shillings and eightpence, for the use of the commonwealth, and left her the remainder, six pounds thirteen and fourpence. In March, 1652, she appealed to the commissioners at Haberdashers’ Hall, who replied that they could afford her no relief, unless she took the oath of abjuration. See this and many other cases in the “Christian Moderator, or Persecution for Religion,
condemned by the Light of Nature, the Law of God, and Evidence of our own Principles,” p. 77-84. London, 1652.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1652, June 30. The petition is in the Christian Moderator, p. 59.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Jun. 30.]