The History of England (B)
By John Lingard

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Chapter VI.


Cromwell Calls The Little Parliament–Dissolves It–Makes Himself Protector–Subjugation Of The Scottish Royalists–Peace With The Dutch–New Parliament–Its Dissolution–Insurrection In England–Breach With Spain–Troubles In Piedmont–Treaty With France.

Whoever has studied the character of Cromwell will have remarked the anxiety with which he laboured to conceal his real designs from the notice of his adherents. If credit were due to his assertions, he cherished none of those aspiring thoughts which agitate the breasts of the ambitious; the consciousness of his weakness taught him to shrink from the responsibility of power; and at every step in his ascent to greatness, he affected to sacrifice his own feelings to the judgment and importunity of others. But in dissolving the late parliament he had deviated from this his ordinary course: he had been compelled to come boldly forward by the obstinacy or the policy of his opponents, who during twelve months had triumphed over his intrigues, and were preparing to pass an act which would place new obstacles in his path. Now, however, that he had forcibly taken into his own hands the reins of government, it remained for him to determine whether he should retain them in his grasp, or deliver them over to others. He preferred the latter for the maturity of time was not yet come: he saw that, among the officers who blindly submitted to be the tools of his ambition, there were several who would abandon the idol of their worship, whenever they should suspect him of a design to subvert the public liberty. But if he parted with power for the moment, it was in such manner as to warrant the hope that it would shortly return to him under another form, not as won by the sword of the military, but as deposited in his hands by the judgment of parliament.

It could not escape the sagacity of the lord-general that the fanatics, with whose aid he had subverted the late government, were not the men to be intrusted with the destinies of the three kingdoms; yet he deemed it his interest to indulge them in their wild notions of civil and religious reformation, and to suffer himself for a while to be guided by their counsels. Their first measure was to publish a Vindication of their Proceedings.[1] The long parliament they pronounced[a] incapable “of answering those ends which God, his people, and the whole nation, expected.” Had it been permitted to sit a day longer, it would “at one blow have laid in the dust the interest of all honest men and of their glorious cause.” In its place the council of war would “call to the government persons of approved fidelity and honesty;” and therefore required “public officers and ministers to proceed in their respective places,” and conjured “those who feared and loved the name of the Lord, to be instant with him day and night in their behalf."[2]

[Footnote 1: Printed by Henry Hills and Thomas Brewster, printers to the army, 1653.]

[Footnote 2: Ludlow, ii. 24. Thurloe, i. 289, 395. Sir H. Vane, after all the affronts which he had received, was offered a place in the council; but he replied that, though the reign of the saints was begun, he would defer his share in it till he should go to heaven.–Thurloe, i. 265.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. April 22.]

They next proceeded to establish[a] a council of state. Some proposed that it should consist of ten members, some of seventy, after the model of the Jewish Sanhedrim; and others of thirteen, in imitation of Christ and his twelve apostles. The last project was adopted as equally scriptural, and more convenient. With Cromwell, in the place of lord president, were joined four civilians and eight officers of high rank; so that the army still retained its ascendancy, and the council of state became in fact a military council.

From this moment for some months it would have embarrassed any man to determine where the supreme power resided. Some of the judges were superseded by others: new commissioners of the treasury and admiralty were appointed; even the monthly assessment of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds was continued for an additional half-year; and yet these and similar acts, all of them belonging to the highest authority in the state, appeared to emanate from different sources; these from the council of war, those from the council of state, and several from the lord-general himself, sometimes with the advice of one or other, sometimes without the advice of either of these councils.[1]

At the same time the public mind was agitated by the circulation of reports the most unfounded, and the advocacy of projects the most contradictory. This day it was rumoured that Cromwell had offered to recall

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 556, 557, 559. Leicester’s Journal, 142. Merc. Polit. No. 157.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. April 30.]

the royal family, on condition that Charles should marry one of his daughters; the next, that he intended to ascend the throne himself, and, for that purpose, had already prepared the insignia of royalty. Here, signatures were solicited to a petition for the re-establishment of the ancient constitution; there, for a government by successive parliaments. Some addresses declared the conviction of the subscribers that the late dissolution was necessary; others prayed that the members might be allowed to return to the house, for the sole purpose of legally dissolving themselves by their own authority. In the mean while, the lord-general continued to wear the mask of humility and godliness; he prayed and preached with more than his wonted fervour; and his piety was rewarded, according to the report of his confidants, with frequent communications from the Holy Spirit.[1] In the month of May he spent eight days in close consultation with his military divan; and the result was a determination to call a new parliament, but a parliament modelled on principles unknown to the history of this or of any other nation. It was to be a parliament of saints, of men who had not offered themselves as candidates, or been chosen by the people, but whose chief qualification consisted in holiness of life, and whose call to the office of legislators came from the choice of the council. With this view the ministers took the sense of the “congregational churches” in the several counties; the returns contained the names of the persons, “faithful, fearing God, and hating covetousness,” who were deemed qualified for this high and important trust; and out of these the council in the presence of the lord-general selected one hundred and thirty-nine

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 256, 289, 306.]

representatives for England, six for Wales, six for Ireland, and five for Scotland.[1] To each of them was sent[a] a writ of summons under the signature of Cromwell, requiring his personal attendance at Whitehall on a certain day, to take upon himself the trust, and to serve the office of member for some particular place. Of the surprise with which the writs were received by many the reader may judge. Yet, out of the whole number, two only returned a refusal: by most the very extraordinary manner of their election was taken as a sufficient proof that the call was from heaven.[2]

On the appointed day, the 4th of July, one hundred and twenty of these faithful and godly men attended[b] in the council-chamber at Whitehall. They were seated on chairs round the table; and the lord-general took his station near the middle window, supported on each side by a numerous body of officers. He addressed the company standing, and it was believed by his admirers, perhaps by himself, “that the Spirit of God spoke in him and by him.” Having vindicated in a long narrative the dissolution of the late parliament, he congratulated the persons present on the high office to which they had been called. It was not of their own seeking. It had come to them from God by the choice of the army, the usual channel through which in these latter days the Divine mercies had been dispensed to the nation. He would not

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 395. Compare the list of the members in Heath, 350, with the letters in Milton’s State Papers, 92, 94, 96.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe, i. 274. Whitelock, 547. “It was a great satisfaction and encouragement to some that their names had been presented as to that service, by the churches and other godly persons."–Exact Relation of the Proceedings, &c. of the last parliament, 1654, p. 2.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. June 6.] [Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 4.]

charge them, but he would pray that they might “exercise the judgment of mercy and truth,” and might “be faithful with the saints,” however those saints might differ respecting forms of worship. His enthusiasm kindled as he proceeded; and the visions of futurity began to open to his imagination. It was, he exclaimed, marvellous in his eyes; they were called to war with the Lamb against his enemies; they were come to the threshold of the door, to the very edge of the promises and prophecies; God was about to bring his people out of the depths of the sea; perhaps to bring the Jews home to their station out of the isles of the sea. “God,” he exclaimed, “shakes the mountains and they reel; God hath a high hill, too, and his hill is as the hill of Bashan; and the chariots of God are twenty thousand of angels; and God will dwell upon this hill for ever.” At the conclusion “of this grave, Christian, and seasonable speech,” he placed on the table an instrument under his own hand and seal, intrusting to them the supreme authority for the space of fifteen months from that day, then to be transmitted by them to another assembly, the members of which they should previously have chosen.[1]

The next day[a] was devoted by the new representatives to exercises of religion, not in any of the churches of the capital, but in the room where the late parliament was accustomed to sit. Thirteen of the most gifted among them successively prayed and preached, from eight in the morning till six in the evening; and several affirmed “that they had never enjoyed so much of the spirit and presence of Christ in any of the meetings

[Footnote 1: Proceedings, No. 197. Parl. Hist. xx. 153. Milton’s State Papers, 106. This last appears to me a more faithful copy than that printed by authority.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 5.]

and exercises of religion in all their lives, as they did on that day.” As it was solely to their reputation for superior godliness that the majority of the members owed their election, the lord-general probably expected from them little opposition to his measures; but they no sooner applied to business than he saw reason to be alarmed at the promptitude and resolution which they displayed. Though not distinguished by their opulence, they were men of independent fortunes;[1] during the late revolutions they had learned to think for themselves on the momentous questions which divided the nation; and their fanaticism, by converting their opinions into matters of conscience, had superadded an obstinacy of character not easily to be subdued. To Cromwell himself they always behaved with respect. They invited him with four of his officers to sit as a member among them; and they made him the offer of the palace of Hampton Court in exchange for his house of Newhall. But they believed and showed that they were the masters. They scorned to submit to the dictation of their servants; and, if they often followed the advice, they as often rejected the recommendations and amended the resolutions of the council of state.

One of the first subjects which engaged their attention was a contest, in which the lord-general, with all his power, was foiled by the boldness of a single individual.

[Footnote 1: They have been generally described as men in trade, and of no education; and because one of them, Praise-God Barebone, was a leather-dealer in Fleet-street, the assembly is generally known by the denomination of Barebone’s parliament.–Heath, 350. It is, however, observed by one of them, that, “if all had not very bulky estates, yet they had free estates, and were not of broken fortunes, or such as owed great sums of money, and stood in need of privilege and protection as formerly."–Exact Relation, 19. See also Whitelock, 559.]

At the very moment when he hoped to reap the fruit of his dissimulation and intrigues, he found himself unexpectedly confronted by the same fearless and enterprising demagogue, who, at the birth of the commonwealth, had publicly denounced his ambition, and excited the soldiery against him. Lilburne, on the dissolution of the long parliament, had requested permission of Cromwell to return from banishment. Receiving no answer, he came[a] over at his own risk,–a bold but imprudent step; for what indulgence could he expect from that powerful adventurer, whom he had so often denounced to the nation as “a thief, a robber, an usurper, and a murderer?” On the day after his arrival in the capital he was committed to Newgate. It seemed a case which might safely be intrusted to a jury. His return by the act of banishment had been made felony; and of his identity there could be no doubt. But his former partisans did not abandon him in his distress. Petitions with thousands of signatures were presented, praying for a respite of the trial till the meeting of the parliament; and Cromwell, willing, perhaps, to shift the odium from himself to that assembly, gave his consent. Lilburne petitioned the new parliament; his wife petitioned; his friends from the neighbouring counties petitioned; the apprentices in London did not only petition, they threatened. But the council laid before the house the depositions of spies and informers to prove that Lilburne, during his banishment, had intrigued with the royalists against the commonwealth;[1] and the prisoner himself, by the intemperance

[Footnote 1: It appears from Clarendon’s Letters at the time, that Lilburne was intimate with Buckingham, and that Buckingham professed to expect much from him in behalf of the royal cause; while, on the contrary, Clarendon believed that Lilburne would do nothing for it, and Buckingham not much more.–Clarendon Papers, iii. 75, 79, 98.]

[Sidenote: A.D. 1653. June 15.]

of his publications, contributed to irritate members. They refused to interfere; and he was arraigned[a] at the sessions, where, instead of pleading, he kept his prosecutors at bay during five successive days, appealing to Magna Charta and the rights of Englishmen, producing exceptions against the indictment, and demanding his oyer, or the specification of the act for his banishment, of the judgment on which the act was founded, and of the charge which led to that judgment. The court was perplexed. They knew not how to refuse; for he claimed it as his right, and necessary for his defence. On the other hand, they could not grant it, because no record of the charge or judgment was known to exist.

After an adjournment[b] to the next sessions, two days were spent in arguing the exceptions of the prisoner, and his right to the oyer. At length, on a threat that the court would proceed to judgment, he pleaded[c] not guilty. The trial lasted three days. His friends, to the amount of several thousands, constantly attended; some hundreds of them were said to be armed for the purpose of rescuing him, if he were condemned; and papers were circulated that, if Lilburne perished, twenty thousand individuals would perish with him. Cromwell, to encourage the court, posted two companies of soldiers in the immediate vicinity; quartered three regiments of infantry, and one of cavalry, in the city; and ordered a numerous force to march towards the metropolis. The particulars of the trial are lost. We only know that the prosecutors were content with showing[d] that Lilburne was the person named in the act; that the court directed the jury to speak only to

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 13.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. August 11.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. August 16.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1653. August 1.]

that fact; and that the prisoner made a long and vehement defence, denying the authority of the late parliament to banish him, because legally it had expired at the king’s death, and because the House of Commons was not a court of justice; and, maintaining to the jury, that they were judges of the law as well as of the fact; that, unless they believed him guilty of crime, they could not conscientiously return a verdict which would consign him to the gallows; and that an act of parliament, if it were evidently unjust, was essentially void, and no justification to men who pronounced according to their oaths. At a late hour at night the jury declared[a] him not guilty; and the shout of triumph, received and prolonged by his partisans, reached the ears of Cromwell at Whitehall.

It was not, however, the intention of the lord-general that his victim should escape. The examination[b] of the judges and jurymen before the council, with a certified copy of certain opprobrious expressions, used by Lilburne in his defence, was submitted[c] to the house, and an order was obtained that, notwithstanding his acquittal, he should be confined[d] in the Tower, and that no obedience should be paid to any writ of habeas corpus issued from the court of Upper Bench in his behalf. These measures gave great offence. It was complained, and with justice, that the men who pretended to take up arms against the king in support of the liberties of Englishmen, now made no scruple of trampling the same liberties under foot, whenever it suited their resentment or interest.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Thurloe, i. 324, 367, 368, 369, 429, 430, 435, 441, 442, 451, 453; Exact Relation, p. 5; Whitelock, 558, 560, 561, 563, 591; Journals, July 13, 14, Aug. 2, 22, 27, Nov. 26. In 1656 or 1657 this turbulent demagogue joined the society of Friends. He died Aug. 29, 1657, at Eltham, whence, on the 31st, the body of the meek Quaker was conveyed for sepulture to the new church-yard adjoining to Bedlam.–Cromwelliana, p. 168.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. August 20.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. August 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. August 27.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1653. Nov. 26.]

In the prosecution and punishment of Lilburne, the parliament was unanimous; on most other points it was divided into two parties distinctly marked; that of the Independents, who, inferior in number, superior in talents, adhered to the lord-general and the council, and that of the Anabaptists, who, guided by religious and political fanaticism, ranged themselves under the banner of Major-General Harrison as their leader. These “sectaries” anticipated the reign of Christ with his saints upon earth, they believed themselves called by God to prepare the way for this marvellous revolution; and they considered it their duty to commence by reforming all the abuses which they could discover either in church or state.[1]

In their proceedings there was much to which no one, who had embarked with them in the same cause, could reasonably object. They established a system of the most rigid economy; the regulations of the excise were revised; the constitution of the treasury was simplified and improved; unnecessary offices were totally abolished, and the salaries of the others considerably reduced; the public accounts were subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny; new facilities were given to the sale of the lands now considered as national property. Provision was made for the future registration of marriages, births, and deaths.[2] But the fanaticism

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 392, 396, 501, 515, 523.]

[Footnote 2: For the validity of marriage, if the parties were minors, was required the consent of the parents or guardians, and the age of sixteen in the male, of fourteen in the female; and in all cases that the names of the parties intending to be married should be given to the registrar of the parish, whose duty it was to proclaim them, according to their wish, either in the church after the morning exercise on three successive Lord’s days, or in the market-place on three successive market-days. Having received from him a certificate of the proclamations, containing any exceptions which might have been made, they were to exhibit it to a magistrate, and, before him, to pledge their faith to each other “in the presence of God, the searcher of hearts.” The religious ceremony was optional, the civil necessary for the civil effects of marriage,–See the Journals for the month of August, and Scobell.]

of their language, and the extravagance of their notions, exposed them to ridicule; their zeal for reform, by interfering with the interests of several different bodies at the same time, multiplied their enemies; and, before the dissolution of the house, they had earned, justly or unjustly, the hatred of the army, of the lawyers, of the gentry, and of the clergy.

1. It was with visible reluctance that they voted the monthly tax of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for the support of the military and naval establishments. They were, indeed, careful not to complain of the amount; their objections were pointed against the nature of the tax, and the inequality of the assessments;[1] but this pretext could not hide their real object from the jealousy of their adversaries, and their leaders were openly charged with seeking to reduce the number of the army, that they might lessen the influence of the general.

2. From the collection of the taxes they proceeded to the administration of the law. In almost every petition presented of late years to the supreme authority of the nation, complaints had been made of the court of Chancery, of its dilatory proceedings, of the enormous expense which it entailed on its suitors, and of the suspicious nature of its decisions, so liable to be influenced by the personal partialities and interests of

[Footnote 1: In some places men paid but two; in others, ten or twelve shillings in the pound.–Exact Relation, 10. The assessments fell on the owners, not on the tenants.–Thurloe, i. 755.]

the judge.[1] The long parliament had not ventured to grapple with the subject; but this, the little parliament, went at once to the root of the evil, and voted that the whole system should be abolished. But then, came the appalling difficulty, how to dispose of the causes actually pending in the court, and how to substitute in its place a less objectionable tribunal. Three bills introduced for that purpose were rejected as inapplicable or insufficient: the committee prepared a fourth; it was read twice in one day, and committed, and would probably have passed, had not the subsequent proceedings been cut short by the dissolution of the parliament.[2]

3. But the reformers were not content with the abolition of a single court; they resolved to cleanse the whole of the Augean stable. What, they asked, made up the law? A voluminous collection of statutes, many of them almost unknown, and many inapplicable to existing circumstances; the dicta of judges, perhaps ignorant, frequently partial and interested; the reports of cases, but so contradictory that they were

[Footnote 1: “It was confidently reported by knowing gentlemen of worth, that there were depending in that court 23,000 (2 or 3,000?) causes; that some of them had been there depending five, some ten, some twenty, some thirty years; and that there had been spent in causes many hundreds, nay, thousands of pounds, to the utter undoing of many families."–Exact Relation, 12.]

[Footnote 2: Journals, Aug. 5, Oct. 17, 23, Nov. 3. Exact Relation, 12-15. The next year, however, Cromwell took the task into his own hands; and, in 1655, published an ordinance, consisting of sixty-seven articles, “for the better regulating and limiting the jurisdiction of the high court of Chancery.” Widrington and Whitelock, the commissioners of the great seal, and Lenthall, master of the rolls, informed him by letter, that they had sought the Lord, but did not feel themselves free to act according to the ordinance. The protector took the seals from the two first, and gave them Fiennes and Lisle; Lenthall overcame his scruples, and remained in office.–See the ordinance in Scobell, 324; the objections to it in Whitelock, 621.]

regularly marshalled in hosts against each other; and the usages of particular districts, only to be ascertained through the treacherous memories of the most aged of the inhabitants. Englishmen had a right to know the laws by which they were to be governed; it was easy to collect from the present system all that was really useful; to improve it by necessary additions; and to comprise the whole within the small compass of a pocket volume. With this view, it was resolved to compose a new body of law; the task was assigned to a committee; and a commencement was made by a revision of the statutes respecting treason and murder.[1] But these votes and proceedings scattered alarm through the courts at Westminster, and hundreds of voices, and almost as many pens, were employed to protect from ruin the venerable fabric of English jurisprudence. They ridiculed the presumption of these ignorant and fanatical legislators, ascribed to them the design of substituting the law of Moses for the law of the land, and conjured the people to unite in defence of their own “birthright and inheritance,” for the preservation of which so many miseries had been endured, so much blood had been shed.[2]

4. From men of professed sanctity much had been expected in favour of religion. The sincerity of their seal they proved by the most convincing test,–an act for the extirpation of popish priests and Jesuits, and the disposal of two-thirds of the real and personal

[Footnote 1: Journals, Aug. 18, 19, Oct. 20. Exact Relation, 15-18.]

[Footnote 2: The charge of wishing to introduce the law of God was frequently repeated by Cromwell. It owed its existence to this, that many would not allow of the punishment of death for theft, or of the distinction between manslaughter and murder, because no such things are to be found in the law of Moses.–Exact Relation, 17.]

estates of popish recusants.[1] After this preliminary skirmish with antichrist, they proceeded to attack Satan himself “in his stronghold” of advowsons. It was, they contended, contrary to reason, that any private individual should possess the power of imposing a spiritual guide upon his neighbours; and therefore they resolved that presentations should he abolished, and the choice of the minister be vested in the body of the parishioners; a vote which taught the patrons of livings to seek the protection of the lord-general against the oppression of the parliament. From advowsons, the next step was to tithes. At the commencement of the session, after a long debate, it was generally understood that tithes ought to be done away with, and in their place a compensation be made to the impropriators, and a decent maintenance be provided for the clergy. The great subject of dispute was, which question should have the precedence in point of time, the abolition of the impost, or the substitution of the equivalent. For five months the committee intrusted with the subject was silent; now, to prevent, as it was thought, the agitation of the question of advowsons, they presented a report respecting the method of ejecting scandalous, and settling godly, ministers; to which they appended their own opinion, that incumbents, rectors, and impropriators had a property in tithes. This report provoked a debate of five days. When the question was put on the first part, though the committee had mustered all the force of the Independents in its favour, it was rejected by a

[Footnote 1: To procure ready money for the treasury, it was proposed to allow recusants to redeem the two-thirds for their lives, at four years’ purchase. This amendment passed, but with great opposition, on the ground that it amounted to a toleration of idolatry.–Ibid, ii. Thurloe, i. 553.]

majority of two. The second part, respecting the property in tithes, was not put to the vote; its fate was supposed to be included in that of the former; and it was rumoured through the capital that the parliament had voted the abolition of tithes, and with them of the ministry, which derived its maintenance from tithes.[1]

Here it should be noticed that, on every Monday during the session, Feakes and Powell, two Anabaptist preachers, had delivered weekly lectures to numerous audiences at Blackfriars. They were eloquent enthusiasts, commissioned, as they fancied, by the Almighty, and fearless of any earthly tribunal. They introduced into their sermons most of the subjects discussed in parliament, and advocated the principles of their sect with a force and extravagance which alarmed Cromwell and the council. Their favourite topic was the Dutch war. God, they maintained, had given Holland into the hands of the English; it was to be the landing-place of the saints, whence they should proceed to pluck the w–– of Babylon from her chair and to establish the kingdom of Christ on the continent; and they threatened with every kind of temporal and everlasting woe the man who should advise peace on any other terms than the incorporation of the United Provinces with the commonwealth of England.[2] When it was known that Cromwell had receded from this demand, their indignation

[Footnote 1: Journals, July 15-19, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, 6-10. Exact Relation, 418-424.]

[Footnote 2: Beverning, one of the Dutch ambassadors, went to the meeting on one of these occasions. In a letter, he says:–"The scope and intention is to preach down governments, and to stir up the people against the united Netherlands. Being then in the assembly of the saints, I heard one prayer, two sermons. But, good God! what cruel and abominable, and most horrid trumpets of fire, murder, and flame."–Thurloe, i. 442.]

stripped the pope of many of those titles with which he had so long been honoured by the Protestant churches, and the lord-general was publicly declared to be the beast in the Apocalypse, the old dragon, and the man of sin. Unwilling to invade the liberty of religious meetings, he for some time bore these insults with an air of magnanimity: at last he summoned[a] the two preachers before himself and the council. But the heralds of the Lord of Hosts quailed not before the servants of an earthly commonwealth: they returned rebuke for rebuke, charged Cromwell with an unjustifiable assumption of power, and departed from the conference unpunished and unabashed.[1]

By the public the sermons at Blackfriars were considered as explanatory of the views and principles of the Anabaptists in the house. The enemies of these reformers multiplied daily: ridicule and abuse were poured upon them from every quarter; and it became evident to all but themselves that the hour of their fall was rapidly approaching. Cromwell, their maker, had long ago determined to reduce them to their original nothing; and their last vote respecting the ministry appeared to furnish a favourable opportunity. The next day, the Sunday, he passed with his friends in secret consultation; on the Monday these friends mustered in considerable numbers, and at an early hour took their seats in the house. Colonel Sydenham rose. He reviewed[b] all the proceedings of the parliament, condemned them as calculated to injure almost every interest in the state, and, declaring that he would no longer sit in so useless an assembly, moved that the house should proceed to Whitehall, and deliver back the supreme power into the hands of him from whom

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 442, 534, 545, 560, 591, 621.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Dec. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. Dec. 12.]

it was derived. The motion was seconded and opposed; but the Independents had come to act, not to debate. They immediately rose: the speaker, who was in the secret, left the chair; the sergeant and the clerk accompanied him, and near fifty members followed in a body. The reformers, only twenty-seven in number (for most of them had not yet arrived), gazed on each other with surprise; their first resource was to fall to prayer; and they were employed in that holy exercise, when Goff and White, two officers, entered, and requested them to withdraw. Being required to show their warrant, they called in a company of soldiers. No resistance was now offered; the military cleared the house, and the keys were left with the guard.[1]

In the mean while the speaker, preceded by the mace, and followed by Sydenham and his friends, walked through the street to Whitehall. In the way, and after his arrival, he was joined by several members, by some through curiosity, by others through fear. At Whitehall, a form of resignation of the supreme power was hastily engrossed by the clerk, subscribed by the speaker and his followers, and tendered by them to Cromwell. The lord-general put on an air of surprise; he was not prepared for such an offer, he would not load himself with so heavy a burthen. But his reluctance yielded to the remonstrances and entreaties of Lambert and the officers, and the instrument was laid in a chamber of the palace for the convenience of such members as had not yet the opportunity of subscribing their names.

[Footnote 1: Exact Relation, 25, 26. True Narrative, 3. Thurloe, i. 730. I adopt the number given by Mansel, as he could have no motive to diminish it.]

On the third day the signatures amounted to eighty, an absolute majority of the whole house; on the fourth, a new constitution was published, and Cromwell obtained the great object of his ambition,–the office and authority, though without the title, of king.[1]

On that day, about one in the afternoon, the lord-general repaired in his carriage from the palace to Westminster Hall,[a] through two lines of military, composed of five regiments of foot and three of horse. The procession formed at the door. Before him walked the aldermen, the judges, two commissioners of the great seal, and the lord mayor; behind him the two councils of state and of the army. They mounted to the court of Chancery, where a chair of state with a cushion had been placed on a rich carpet. Cromwell was dressed in a suit and cloak of black velvet, with long boots, and a broad gold band round his hat. He took his place before the chair, between the two commissioners; the judges stood in a half-circle behind it, and the civic officers ranged themselves on the right, the military on the left, side of the court.

[Footnote 1: Exact Relation, 26. True Narrative, 4. Ludlow, ii. 33. Clarendon, iii. 484. Thurloe, i. 754. The author of this new constitution is not known. Ludlow tells us that it was first communicated by Lambert to a council of field officers. When some objections were made, he replied, that the general was willing to consider any amendments which might be proposed, but would not depart from the project itself. Some, therefore, suggested that, after the death of the present lord-general, the civil and military government should be kept separate, and that no protector should be succeeded by any of his relatives. This gave so much offence, that, at a second meeting, Lambert, having informed them that the lord-general would take care of the civil administration, dismissed them to their respective commands.–Ludlow, ii. 37. It is to this, perhaps, that the Dutch ambassador alludes, when he says that Cromwell desisted from his project of being declared king on account of the displeasure of the officers.–Thurloe, i. 644.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Dec. 16.]

Lambert now came forward to address the lord-general. He noticed the dissolution of the late parliament, observed that the exigency of the time required a strong and stable government, and prayed his excellency in the name of the army and of the three nations to accept the office of protector of the commonwealth. Cromwell, though it was impossible to conceal the purpose for which he had come thither, could not yet put off the habit of dissimulation; and if, after some demur, he expressed his consent, it was with an appearance of reluctance which no one present could believe to be real.

Jessop, one of the clerks of the council, was next ordered to read the “instrument of government,” consisting of forty-two articles. 1. By it the legislative power was invested in a lord-protector and parliament, but with a provision that every act passed by the parliament should become law at the expiration of twenty days, even without the consent of the protector; unless he could persuade the house of the reasonableness of his objections. The parliament was not to be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without its own consent, within the first five months after its meeting; and a new parliament was to be called within three years after the dissolution of the last. The number of the members was fixed according to the plan projected by Vane at the close of the long parliament, at four hundred for England, thirty for Scotland, and thirty for Ireland. Most of the boroughs were disfranchised, and the number of county members was increased. Every person possessed of real or personal property to the value of two hundred pounds had a right to vote,[1] unless he were a malignant or delinquent, or professor

[Footnote 1: During the long parliament this qualification had been adopted on the motion of Cromwell, in place of a clause recommended by the committee, which gave the elective franchise under different regulations to freeholders, copyholders, tenants for life, and leaseholders,–See Journals, 30th March, 1653.]

of the Catholic faith; and the disqualifications to which the electors were subject attached also to the persons elected. 2. The executive power was made to reside in the lord-protector acting with the advice of his council. He possessed, moreover, the power of treating with foreign states with the advice, and of making peace or war with the consent, of the council. To him also belonged the disposal of the military and naval power, and the appointment of the great officers of state, with the approbation of parliament, and, in the intervals of parliament, with that of the council, but subject to the subsequent approbation of the parliament. 3. Laws could not be made, nor taxes imposed, but by common consent in parliament. 4. The civil list was fixed at two hundred thousand pounds, and a yearly revenue ordered to be raised for the support of an army of thirty thousand men, two-thirds infantry, and one-third cavalry, with such a navy as the lord-protector should think necessary. 5. All who professed faith in God by Jesus Christ were to be protected in the exercise of their religion, with the exception of prelatists, papists, and those who taught licentiousness under the pretence of religion. 6. The lord-general Cromwell was named lord-protector; his successors were to be chosen by the council. The first parliament was to assemble on the 3rd of the following December; and till that time the lord-protector was vested with power to raise the moneys necessary for the public service, and to make ordinances which should have the force of law, till orders were taken in parliament respecting the same.

At the conclusion, Cromwell, raising his right hand and his eyes to heaven with great solemnity, swore to observe, and cause to be observed, all the articles of the instrument; and Lambert, falling on his knees, offered to the protector a civic sword in the scabbard, which he accepted, laying aside his own, to denote that he meant to govern by constitutional, and not by military, authority. He then seated himself in the chair, put on his hat while the rest stood uncovered, received the seal from the commissioners, the sword from the lord mayor, delivered them back again to the same individuals, and, having exercised these acts of sovereign authority, returned in procession to his carriage, and repaired in state to Whitehall. The same day the establishment of the government by a lord-protector and triennial parliaments, and the acceptance of the protectorship by the lord-general, were announced to the public by proclamation, with all the ceremonies hitherto used on the accession of a new monarch.[1]

It cannot be supposed that this elevation of Cromwell to the supreme power was viewed with satisfaction by any other class of men than his brethren in arms, who considered his greatness their own work, and expected from his gratitude their merited reward. But the nation was surfeited with revolutions. Men had suffered so severely from the ravages of war and the oppression of the military; they had seen so many instances of punishment incurred by resistance to the actual possessors of power; they were divided and

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 571-578. Thurloe, i. 639, 641. Ludlow, ii. 40. The alteration in the representation, which had been proposed in the long parliament, was generally considered an improvement,–Clar. Hist. iii. 495.]

subdivided into so many parties, jealous and hateful of each other; that they readily acquiesced in any change which promised the return of tranquillity in the place of solicitude, danger, and misery. The protector, however, did not neglect the means of consolidating his own authority. Availing himself of the powers intrusted to him by the “instrument,” he gave the chief commands in the army to men in whom he could confide; quartered the troops in the manner best calculated to put down any insurrection; and, among the multitude of ordinances which he published, was careful to repeal the acts enforcing the Engagement; to forbid all meetings on racecourses or at cockpits, to explain what offences should be deemed treason against his government; and to establish a high court of justice for the trial of those who might be charged with such offences.

He could not, however, be ignorant that, even among the former companions of his fortunes, the men who had fought and bled by his side, there were several who, much as they revered the general, looked on the protector with the most cordial abhorrence.[a] They were stubborn, unbending republicans, partly from political, partly from religious, principle. To them he affected to unbosom himself without reserve. He was still, he protested, the same humble individual whom they had formerly known him. Had he consulted his own feelings, “he would rather have taken the staff of a shepherd” than the dignity of protector. Necessity had imposed the office upon him; he had sacrificed his own happiness to preserve his countrymen from anarchy and ruin; and, as he now bore the burden with reluctance, he would lay it down with joy, the moment he could do so with safety to

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654.]

the nation. But this language made few proselytes. They had too often already been the dupes of his hypocrisy, the victims of their own credulity; they scrupled not, both in public companies, and from the pulpit, to pronounce him “a dissembling perjured villain;” and they openly threatened him with “a worse fate than had befallen the last tyrant.” If it was necessary to silence these declaimers, it was also dangerous to treat them with severity. He proceeded with caution, and modified his displeasure by circumstances. Some he removed from their commissions in the army and their ministry in the church; others he did not permit to go at large, till they had given security for their subsequent behaviour; and those who proved less tractable, or appeared more dangerous, he incarcerated in the Tower. Among the last were Harrison, formerly his fellow-labourer in the dissolution of the long parliament, now his most implacable enemy; and Feakes and Powell, the Anabaptist preachers, who had braved his resentment during the last parliament.[a] Symson, their colleague, shared their imprisonment, but procured his liberty[b] by submission.[1]

To the royalists, as he feared them less, he showed less forbearance. Charles, who still resided in Paris, maintained a constant correspondence with the friends of his family in England, for the twofold purpose of preserving a party ready to take advantage of any revolution in his favour, and of deriving from their loyalty advances of money for his own support and that of his followers. Among the agents whom he employed, were men who betrayed his secrets, or pretended

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 641, 642; ii. 67, 68. Whitelock, 580, 582, 596. Ludlow, ii. 47.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Feb. 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. July 26.]

secrets, to his enemies,[1] or who seduced his adherents into imaginary plots, that by the discovery they might earn the gratitude of the protector. Of the latter class was an individual named Henshaw, who had repaired to Paris, and been refused what he solicited, admission to the royal presence. On his return, he detailed to certain royalists a plan by which the protector might be assassinated on his way to Hampton Court, the guards at Whitehall overpowered, the town surprised, and the royal exile proclaimed. Men were found to listen to his suggestions; and when a sufficient number were entangled in the toil, forty were apprehended[a] and examined. Of these, many consented to give evidence; three were selected[b] for trial before the high court of justice. Fox, one of the three, pleaded guilty, and thus, by giving countenance to the evidence of Henshaw, deserved and obtained[c] his pardon. Vowell, a schoolmaster, and Gerard, a young gentleman two-and-twenty years of age, received[d] judgment of death. The first suffered on the gallows, glorying that he died a martyr in the cause of royalty. Gerard, before he was beheaded, protested in the strongest terms that, though he had heard, he had never approved of the design.[2] In the depositions, it was pretended that Charles had given his consent to the assassination of the protector.

[Footnote 1: Clarendon informs Nicholas (June 12), that in reality no one secret had been betrayed or discovered.–Clar. Papers, iii. 247. But this is doubtful; for Willis, one of the committee called “the sealed knot,” who was imprisoned, but discharged in September (Perfect Account, No. 194), proved afterwards a traitor.]

[Footnote 2: State Trials, v. 517-540. Thurloe, ii. 416, 446, 447. Whitelock, 591, 593, 593. Henshaw was not produced on the trial. It was pretended that he had escaped. But we learn from Thurloe that he was safe in the Tower, and so Gerard suspected in his speech on the scaffold.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. May 24.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. June 30.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. July 6.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1654. July 10.]

Though Cromwell professed to disbelieve the charge, yet as a measure of self-defence he threatened the exiled prince that, if any such attempt were encouraged, he should have recourse to retaliation, and, at the same time, intimated that it would be no difficult matter for him to execute his threat.[1]

On the same scaffold, but an hour later, perished a foreign nobleman, only nineteen years old, Don Pantaleon Sa, brother to Guimaraes, the Portuguese ambassador. Six months before, he and Gerard, whose execution we have just noticed, had quarrelled[a] in the New Exchange. Pantaleon, the next evening,[b] repaired to the same place with a body of armed followers; a fray ensued; Greenway, a person unconcerned in the dispute, was killed by accident or mistake; and the Portuguese fled to the house of the ambassador, whence they were conducted to prison by the military. The people, taking up the affair as a national quarrel, loudly demanded the blood of the reputed murderers. On behalf of Pantaleon it was argued: 1. That he was an ambassador, and therefore answerable to no one but his master; 2. That he was a person attached to the embassy, and therefore covered by the privilege of his principal. But the

[Footnote 1: Cromwell did not give credit to the plots for murdering him.–Thurloe, ii. 512, 533. Clarendon writes thus on the subject to his friend Nicholas: “I do assure you upon my credit, I do not know, and upon my confidence, the king does not, of any such design. Many wild, foolish persons propose wild things to the king, which he civilly discountenances, and then they and their friends brag what they hear, or could do; and, no doubt, in some such noble rage that hath now fallen out which they talk so much of at London, and by which many honest men are in prison, of which whole matter the king knows no more than secretary Nicholas doth."–Clar. Papers, iii. 247. See, however, the account of Sexby’s plot in the next chapter.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Nov. 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. Nov. 22.]

instrument which he produced in proof of the first allegation was no more than a written promise that he should succeed his brother in-office; and in reply to the second, it was maintained[a] that the privilege of an ambassador, whatever it might be, was personal, and did not extend to the individuals in his suite. At the bar, after several refusals, he was induced by the threat of the peine forte et dure to plead not guilty; and his demand of counsel, on account of his ignorance of English law, was rejected, on the ground that the court was “of counsel equal to the prisoner and the commonwealth.” He was found guilty, and condemned, with four of his associates. To three of these the protector granted a pardon; but no entreaties of the several ambassadors could prevail in favour of Pantaleon. He was sacrificed, if we believe one of them, to the clamour of the people, whose feelings were so excited, that when his head fell on the scaffold,[b] the spectators proclaimed their joy by the most savage yells of exultation.[1] It was the very day on which his brother, perhaps to propitiate the protector, had signed the treaty between the two nations.

These executions had been preceded by one of a very different description. Colonel Worsley had apprehended a Catholic clergyman, of the name of Southworth, who, thirty-seven years before, had been convicted at Lancaster, and sent into banishment. The old man (he had passed his seventy-second year),

[Footnote 1: See in State Trials, v. 461-518, a numerous collection of authorities and opinions respecting this case. Also ibid. 536. That Pantaleon and his friends were armed, cannot be denied: was it for revenge? So it would appear from the relation in Somers’s Tracts, iii. 65; Whitelock, 569; and State Trials, v. 482. Was it solely for defence? Such is the evidence of Metham (Thurloe, ii. 222), and the assertion of Pantaleon at his death.–Whitelock, ii. 595.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. July 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. July 10.]

at his arraignment, pleaded that he had taken orders in the church of Rome, but was innocent of any treason. The recorder advised him to withdraw his plea, and gave him four hours for consideration. But Southworth still owned that he was a Catholic and in orders; judgment of death was pronounced; and the protector, notwithstanding the urgent solicitations of the French and Spanish ambassadors, resolved that he should suffer. It was not that Cromwell approved of sanguinary punishments in matters of religion, but that he had no objection to purchase the good-will of the godly by shedding the blood of a priest. The[a] fate of this venerable man[a] excited the sympathy of the higher classes. Two hundred carriages and a crowd of horsemen followed the hurdle on which he was drawn to the place of execution. On the scaffold, he spoke with satisfaction of the manner of his death, but at the same time pointed out the inconsistency of the men who pretended to have taken up arms for liberty of conscience, and yet shed the blood of those who differed from them in religious opinions. He suffered the usual punishment of traitors.[1]

The intelligence of the late revolution had been received by the military in Ireland and Scotland with open murmurs on the part of some, and a suspicious acquiescence on that of others. In Ireland, Fleetwood knew not how to reconcile the conduct of his father-in-law with his own principles, and expressed a wish to resign the government of the island; Ludlow and Jones, both stanch republicans, looked on the protector as a hypocrite and an apostate, and though the latter was more cautious in his language, the

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, ii. 406. Whitelock, 592. Challoner, ii. 354. Knaresborough’s Collections, MS.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654 June 23.]

former openly refused to act as civil commissioner under the new constitution; and in most of the garrisons several of the principal officers made no secret of their dissatisfaction: in one case they even drew up a remonstrance against “the government by a single person.” But Cromwell averted the storm which threatened him, by his prudence and firmness. He sent his son Henry on a visit to Fleetwood, that he might learn the true disposition of the military; the more formidable of his opponents were silently withdrawn to England; and several of the others found themselves suddenly but successively deprived of their commands. In most cases interest proved more powerful than principle; and it was observed that out of the numbers, who at first crowded to the Anabaptist conventicle at Dublin as a profession of their political creed, almost all who had any thing to lose, gradually abandoned it for the more courtly places of worship. Even the Anabaptists themselves learned to believe that the ambition of a private individual could not defeat the designs of the Lord, and that it was better for men to retain their situations under the protector, than, by abandoning them, to deprive themselves of the means of promoting the service of God, and of hastening the reign of Christ upon earth.[1]

In Scotland the spirit of disaffection equally prevailed among the superior officers; but their attention was averted from political feuds by military operations. In the preceding years, under the appearance of general tranquillity, the embers of war had continued to smoulder in the Highlands: they burst into a flame on the departure of Monk to take the command of the

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, ii. 149, 150, 162, 214.]

English fleet. To Charles in France, and his partisans in Scotland, it seemed a favourable moment; the earls of Glencairn and Balcarras, were successively joined by Angus, Montrose, Athol, Seaforth, Kenmure, and Lorne, the son of Argyle; and Wogan, an enterprising officer, landing at Dover,[a] raised a troop of royalists in London, and traversing England under the colours of the commonwealth, reached in safety the quarters of his Scottish friends. The number of the royalists amounted to some thousands: the nature of the country and the affections of the natives were in their favour; and their spirits were supported by the repeated, but fallacious, intelligence of the speedy arrival of Charles himself at the head of a considerable force. A petty, but most destructive, warfare ensued. Robert Lilburne, the English commander, ravaged the lands of all who favoured the royalists; the royalists, those of all who remained neuter, or aided their enemies. But in a short time, personal feuds distracted the councils of the insurgents; and, as the right of Glencairn to the chief command was disputed, Middleton arrived[b] with a royal commission, which all were required to obey. To Middleton the protector opposed Monk.[c] It was the policy of the former to avoid a battle, and exhaust the strength of his adversary by marches and counter-marches in a mountainous country, without the convenience of roads or quarters; but in an attempt to elude his pursuer, Middleton was surprised[d] at Loch Garry by the force under Morgan; his men, embarrassed in the defile, were slain or made prisoners; and his loss taught the royalist leaders to deserve mercy by the promptitude of their submission. The Earl of Tullibardine set the example;[e] Glencairn followed; they were imitated by their associates;

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Nov. 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. Feb. 1.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. April 8.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1654. July 19.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1654. August 24.]

and the lenity of Monk contributed as much as the fortune of war to the total suppression of the insurgents.[1] Cromwell, however, did not wait for the issue of the contest. Before Monk had joined the army, he published[a] three ordinances, by which, of his supreme authority, he incorporated Scotland with England, absolved the natives from their allegiance to Charles Stuart, abolished the kingly office and the Scottish parliament, with all tenures and superiorities importing servitude and vassalage, erected courts-baron to supply the place of the jurisdictions which he had taken away, and granted a free pardon to the nation, with the exception of numerous individuals whom he subjected to different degrees of punishment. Thus the whole frame of the Scottish constitution was subverted: yet no one ventured to remonstrate or oppose. The spirit of the nation had been broken. The experience of the past, and the presence of the military, convinced the people that resistance was fruitless: of the nobility, many languished within the walls of their prisons in England; and the others were ground to the dust by the demands of their creditors, or the exactions of the sequestrators; and even the kirk, which had so often bearded kings on their thrones, was taught to feel that its authority, however it might boast of its celestial origin, was no match for the earthly power of the English commonwealth.[2] Soon after Cromwell had called his little parliament, the general assembly of the kirk met[b]

[Footnote 1: See the ratification of the surrenders of Tullibardine, Glencairn, Heriot, Forrester, Kenmure, Montrose, and Seaforth, dated at different times between Aug. 24 and Jan. 10, in the Council Book, 1655, Feb. 7.]

[Footnote 2: Scobell, 289, 293-295. Whitelock, 583,597, 599. Burnet, i. 58-61. Baillie, ii. 377, 381. Milton, State Papers, 130, 131.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. April 1.] [Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. July 20.]

at the usual place in Edinburgh; and Dickson, the moderator, had begun his prayer, when Colonel Cotterel, leaving two troops of horse and two companies of foot at the door, entered[a] the house, and inquired by what authority they sat there; Was it by authority of the parliament, or of the commander of the forces, or of the English judges in Scotland? The moderator meekly but firmly replied, that they formed a spiritual court, established by God, recognized by law, and supported by the solemn league and covenant. But this was a language which the soldier did not, or would not, understand. Mounting a bench, he declared that there existed no authority in Scotland which was not derived from the parliament of England; that it was his duty to put down every illegal assumption of power; and that they must immediately depart or suffer themselves to be dragged out by the military under his command. No one offered to resist: a protestation was hastily entered on the minutes; and the whole body was marched between two files of soldiers through the streets, to the surprise, and grief, and horror of the inhabitants. At the distance of a mile from the city, Cotterel discharged them with an admonition, that, if any of them were found in the capital after eight o’clock on the following morning, or should subsequently presume to meet in greater numbers than three persons at one time, they would be punished with imprisonment, as disturbers of the public peace. “Thus,” exclaims Baillie, “our general assembly, the glory and strength of our church upon earth, is by your soldiery crushed and trode under foot. For this our hearts are sad, and our eyes run down with water."[1]

[Footnote 1: Baillie, ii. 370.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. July 20.]

Yet after this they were permitted to meet in synods and presbyteries, an indulgence which they owed not to the moderation of their adversaries, but to the policy of Vane, who argued that it was better to furnish them with the opportunity of quarrelling among themselves, than, by establishing a compulsory tranquillity, allow them to combine against the commonwealth. For the ministers were still divided into resolutioners and protestors, and the virulence of this religious feud appeared to augment in proportion as the parties were deprived of real power. The resolutioners were the more numerous, and enjoyed a greater share of popular favour; but the protestors were enemies of Charles Stuart, and therefore sure of the protection of the government. Hence it happened that in every struggle for the possession of churches–and such struggles continually happened between the two parties–the protestors were invariably supported against the voice of the people by the swords of the military.[1]

By foreign powers the recent elevation of Cromwell was viewed without surprise. They were aware of his ambition, and had anticipated his success. All who had reason to hope from his friendship, or to fear from his enmity, offered their congratulations, and ambassadors and envoys from most of the princes of Europe crowded to the court of the protector. He

[Footnote 1: Baillie, 371-376, 360. Burnet, i. 62. Whilst Baillie weeps over the state of the kirk, Kirkton exults at the progress of the gospel. “I verily believe,” he writes, “there were more souls converted unto Christ in that short period of time than in any season since the Reformation. Ministers were painful, people were diligent. At their solemn communions many congregations met in great multitudes, some dozen of ministers used to preach, and the people continued as it were in a sort of trance (so serious were they in spiritual exercises) for three days at least."–Kirkton 54, 55.]

received them with all the state of a sovereign. From his apartments in the Cockpit he had removed with his family to those which in former times had been appropriated to the king: they were newly furnished in the most costly and magnificent style; and in the banqueting-room was placed a chair of state on a platform, raised by three steps above the floor. Here the protector stood to receive the ambassadors. They were instructed to make three reverences, one at the entrance, the second in the midway, and the third at the lower step, to each of which Cromwell answered by a slight inclination of the head. When they had delivered their speeches, and received the reply of the protector, the same ceremonial was repeated at their departure. On one occasion he was requested to permit the gentlemen attached to the embassy to kiss his hand; but he advanced to the upper step, bowed to each in succession, waved his hand, and withdrew. On the conclusion of peace with the States, the ambassadors received from him an invitation to dinner. He sat alone on one side of the table, they, with some lords of the council, on the other. Their ladies were entertained by the lady protectress. After dinner, both parties joined in the drawing-room; pieces of music were performed, and a psalm was sung, a copy of which Cromwell gave to the ambassadors, observing that it was the best paper that had ever passed between them. The entertainment concluded with a walk in the gallery.[1]

This treaty with the United Provinces was the first which engaged the attention of the protector, and was

[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, iii. 240. Thurloe, i. 50, 69, 154, 257. It appears from the Council Book that the quarterly expense of the protector’s family amounted to thirty-five thousand pounds. 1655, March 14.]

not concluded till repeated victories had proved the superiority of the English navy, and a protracted negotiation had exhausted the patience of the States. In the preceding month of May the hostile fleets, each consisting of about one hundred sail, had put to sea, the English commanded by Monk, Dean, Penn, and Lawson; the Dutch by Van Tromp, De Ruyter, De Witte, and Evertsens. While Monk insulted the coast of Holland, Van Tromp cannonaded[a] the town of Dover. They afterwards met each other off the North Foreland, and the action continued the whole day. The enemy lost two sail; on the part of the English, Dean was killed by a chain-shot. He fell by the side of Monk, who instantly spread his cloak over the dead body, that the men might not be alarmed at the fete of their commander.

The battle was renewed the next morning.[b] Though Blake, with eighteen sail, had joined the English in the night, Van Tromp fought with the most determined courage; but a panic pervaded his fleet; his orders were disobeyed; several captains fled from the superior fire of the enemy; and, ultimately, the Dutch sought shelter within the Wielings, and along the shallow coast of Zeeland. They lost one-and-twenty sail; thirteen hundred men were made prisoners, and the number of killed and wounded was great in proportion.[1]

Cromwell received the news of this victory with transports of joy. Though he could claim no share in the merit (for the fleet owed its success to the exertions

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 557. Ludlow, ii. 27. Heath, 344. Le Clerc, i. 333. Basnage, i. 307. It appears from the letters in Thurloe, that the English fought at the distance of half cannon-shot, till the enemy fell into confusion, and began to fly, when their disabled ships were surrounded, and captured by the English frigates.–Thurloe, i. 269, 270, 273, 277, 278.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. June 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. June 3.]

of the government which he had overturned), he was aware that it would shed a lustre over his own administration; and the people were publicly called upon to return thanks to the Almighty for so signal a favour. It was observed that on this occasion he did not command but invite; and the distinction was hailed by his admirers as a proof of the humility and single-mindedness of the lord-general.[1]

To the States, the defeat of their fleet proved a subject of the deepest regret. It was not the loss of men and ships that they deplored; such loss might soon be repaired; but it degraded them in the eyes of Europe, by placing them in the posture of suppliants deprecating the anger of a victorious enemy. In consequence of the importunate entreaties of the merchants, they had previously appointed ambassadors to make proposals of peace to the new government; but these ministers did not quit the coast of Holland till after the battle;[a] and their arrival in England at this particular moment was universally attributed to a conviction of inferiority arising from the late defeat. They were introduced[b] with due honour to his excellency and the council; but found them unwilling to recede from the high demands formerly made by the parliament. As to the claim of indemnification for the past, the ambassadors maintained that, if a balance were struck of their respective losses, the Dutch would be found the principal sufferers; and, to the demand of security for the future, they replied, that it might be obtained by the completion of that treaty, which had been interrupted by the sudden departure of St. John and Strickland from the Hague. The obstinacy of the council induced the ambassadors to demand[c] passports

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 558.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. May 26.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. June 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. July 19.]

for their return; but means were found to awaken in them new hopes, and to amuse them with new proposals. In the conferences, Cromwell generally bore the principal part. Sometimes he chided the ambassadors in no very courteous terms; sometimes he described with tears the misery occasioned by the war; but he was always careful to wrap up his meaning in such obscurity, that a full month elapsed before the Dutch could distinctly ascertain his real demands. They were then informed[a] that England would waive the claim of pecuniary compensation, provided Van Tromp were removed for a while from the command of their fleet, as an acknowledgment that he was the aggressor; but that, on the other hand, it was expected that the States should consent to the incorporation of the two countries into one great maritime power, to be equally under the same government, consisting of individuals chosen out of both. This was a subject on which the ambassadors had no power to treat; and it was agreed that two of their number should repair to the Hague for additional instructions.[1]

But, a few days before their departure, another battle had been fought[b] at sea, and another victory won by the English. For eight weeks Monk had blockaded the entrance of the Texel; but Van Tromp, the moment his fleet was repaired, put to sea, and sought to redeem the honour of the Belgic flag. Each admiral commanded about one hundred sail; and as long as Tromp lived, the victory hung in suspense; he had burst through the English line, and returned to his first station, when he fell by a musket-shot; then the

[Footnote 1: See on this subject a multitude of original papers in Thurloe, i. 268, 284, 302, 308, 315, 316, 340, 362, 370, 372, 381, 382, 394, 401.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 26.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. July 31.]

Dutch began to waver; in a short time they fled, and the pursuit continued till midnight. That which distinguished this from every preceding action was the order issued by Monk to make no prizes, but to sink or destroy the ships of the enemy. Hence the only trophies of victory were the prisoners, men who had been picked up after they had thrown themselves into the water, or had escaped in boats from the wrecks. Of these, more than a thousand were brought to England, a sufficient proof that, if the loss of the enemy did not amount to twenty sail, as stated by Monk, it exceeded nine small vessels, the utmost allowed by the States.[1]

During the absence of the other ambassadors, Cromwell sought several private interviews with the third who remained, Beverning, the deputy from the States of Holland; and the moderation with which he spoke of the questions in dispute, joined to the tears with which he lamented the enmity of two nations so similar in their political and religious principles, convinced the Dutchman that an accommodation might be easily and promptly attained. At his desire his colleagues returned; the conferences were resumed; the most cheering hopes were indulged; when suddenly the English commissioners presented seven-and-twenty articles, conceived in a tone of insulting superiority, and demanding sacrifices painful and degrading. A few days later the parliament was dissolved; and, as it was evident that the interests of the new protector required a peace, the ambassadors began to affect indifference on the subject, and demanded passports to depart. Cromwell, in his turn, thought proper to yield; some claims

[Footnote 1: Le Clerc, i. 335. Basnage, i. 313. Several Proceedings, No. 197. Perfect Diurnal, No. 187. Thurloe, i. 392, 420, 448.]

were abandoned; others were modified, and every question was adjusted, with the exception of this, whether the king of Denmark, the ally of the Dutch, who, to gratify them, had seized and confiscated twenty-three English merchantmen in the Baltic,[1] should be comprehended or not in the treaty. The ambassadors were at Gravesend on their way home, when Cromwell proposed[a] a new expedient, which they approved. They proceeded, however, to Holland; obtained the approbation of the several states, and returned[b] to put an end to the treaty. But here again, to their surprise, new obstacles arose. Beverning had incautiously boasted of his dexterity; he had, so he pretended compelled the protector to lower his demands by threatening to break off the negotiation; and Cromwell now turned the tables upon him by playing a similar game. At the same time that he rose in some of his demands, he equipped a fleet of one hundred sail, and ordered several regiments to embark. The ambassadors, aware that the States had made no provision to oppose this formidable armament, reluctantly acquiesced;[c] and on the 5th of April, after a negotiation of ten months, the peace was definitively signed.[2]

By this treaty the English cabinet silently abandoned those lofty pretensions which it had originally put forth. It made no mention of indemnity for the past, of security for the future, of the incorporation of the two states, of the claim of search, of the tenth herring, or of the exclusion of the prince of Orange

[Footnote 1: Basnage, i. 289.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe, i. 570, 607, 616, 624, 643, 650; ii. 9, 19, 28, 36, 74, 75, 123, 137, 195, 197. Le Clerc. i, 340-343. During the whole negotiation, it appears from these papers that the despatches of, and to, the ambassadors were opened, and copies of almost all the resolutions taken by the States procured, by the council of state.–See particularly Thurloe, ii. 99, 153.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Jan. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. Feb. 28.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. April 5.]

from the office of stadtholder. To these humiliating conditions the pride of the States had refused to submit; and Cromwell was content to accept two other articles, which, while they appeared equally to affect the two nations, were in reality directed against the Stuart family and its adherents. It was stipulated that neither commonwealth should harbour or aid the enemies, rebels, or exiles of the other; but that either, being previously required, should order such enemies, rebels, or exiles to leave its territory, under the penalty of death, before the expiration of twenty-eight days. To the demand, that the same respect which had been paid to the flag of the king should be paid to that of the commonwealth, the Dutch did not object. The only questions which latterly retarded the conclusion of the treaty related to the compensation to be made to the merchants for the depredations on their trade in the East Indies before, and the detention of their ships by the king of Denmark during, the war. It was, however, agreed that arbitrators should be chosen out of both nations, and that each government should be bound by their award.[1] These determined[a] that the island of Polerone should be restored, and damages to the amount of one hundred and seventy thousand pounds should be paid to the English East India Company; that three thousand six hundred and fifteen pounds should be distributed among the heirs of those who suffered at Amboyna; and that a compensation of ninety-seven thousand nine hundred and seventy-three pounds should be made to the traders to the Baltic.[2]

[Footnote 1: Dumont, v. part ii. 74.]

[Footnote 2: See the award, ibid. 85, 88. By Sagredo, the Venetian ambassador, who resided during the war at Amsterdam, we are told that the Dutch acknowledged the loss of one thousand one hundred and twenty-two men-of-war and merchantmen; and that the expense of this war exceeded that of their twenty years’ hostilities with Spain. He states that their inferiority arose from three causes: that the English ships were of greater bulk; the English cannon were of brass, and of a larger calibre; and the number of prizes made by the English at the commencement crippled the maritime resources of their enemies.–Relazione, MS. Le Clerc states that the Dutch employed one hundred thousand men in the herring-fishery (i. 321).]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. August 30.]

On one subject, in the protector’s estimation of considerable importance, he was partially successful. Possessed of the supreme power himself, he considered Charles as a personal rival, and made it his policy to strip the exiled king of all hope of foreign support. From the prince of Orange, so nearly allied to the royal family, Cromwell had little to fear during his minority; and, to render him incapable of benefiting the royal cause in his more mature age, the protector attempted to exclude him by the treaty from succeeding to those high offices which might almost be considered hereditary in his family. The determined refusal of the States had induced him to withdraw the demand; but he intrigued, through the agency of Beverning, with the leaders of the Louvestein party;[1] and obtained a secret article, by which the states of Holland and West Friesland promised never to elect the prince of Orange for their stadtholder, nor suffer him to have the chief command of the army and navy. But the secret transpired; the other states highly resented this clandestine negotiation; complaints and remonstrances were answered by apologies and vindications; an open schism was declared between the provinces, and every day added to the exasperation of the two parties. On the whole, however, the quarrel was favourable to the pretensions of the young prince,

[Footnote 1: The leaders of the republicans were so called, because they had been confined in the castle of Louvestein, whence they were discharged on the death of the late prince of Orange.]

from the dislike with which the people viewed the interference of a foreign potentate, or rather, as they termed him, of an usurper, in the internal arrangements of the republic.[1]

The war[a] in which the rival crowns of France and Spain had so long been engaged induced both Louis and Philip to pay their court to the new protector. Alonzo de Cardenas, the Spanish ambassador, had the advantage of being on the spot. He waited on Cromwell to present to him the congratulations of his sovereign, and to offer to him the support of the Spanish monarch, if he should feel desirous to rise a step higher, and assume the style and office of king. To so flattering a message, a most courteous answer was returned; and the ambassador proceeded to propose an alliance between the two powers, of which the great object should be to confine within reasonable bounds the ambition of France, which, for so many years, had disturbed the tranquillity of Europe. This was the sole advantage to which Philip looked; to Cromwell the benefit would be, that France might be compelled to refuse aid and harbour to Charles Stuart and his followers; and to contract the obligation of maintaining jointly with Spain the protector in the government of the three kingdoms. Cromwell listened, but gave no answer; he appointed commissioners to discuss the proposal, but forbade them to make any promise, or to hold out any hope of his acquiescence. When Don Alonzo communicated to them the draft of a treaty which he had all but concluded with the deputies appointed by the late parliament, he was

[Footnote 1: Dumont, 79. Thurloe, vol. ii. iii. Vaughan, i. 9, 11. La Déduction, or Defence of the States in Holland, in Le Clerc, i. 345, and Basnage, i. 342.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653.]

asked whether the king of Spain would consent to a free trade to the West Indies, would omit the clause respecting the Inquisition, reduce to an equality the duties on foreign merchandise, and give to the English merchant the pre-emption of the Spanish wool. He replied, that his master would as soon lose his eyes as suffer the interference of any foreign power on the two first questions; as to the others, satisfactory adjustments might easily be made; This was sufficient for the present. Cromwell affected to consider the treaty at an end; though the real fact was, that he meditated a very different project in his own mind, and was careful not to be precluded by premature arrangements.[1]

The French ambassador, though he commenced his negotiation under less propitious auspices, had the address or good fortune to conduct it to a more favourable issue. That the royal family of France, from its relationship to that of England, was ill-disposed towards the commonwealth, there could be no doubt; but its inclinations were controlled by the internal feuds which distracted, and the external war which demanded, the attention of the government. The first proof of hostility was supposed to be given before the death of the king, by a royal arrét[a] prohibiting the importation into France of English woollens and silks; and this was afterwards met by an order of parliament[b] equally prohibiting the importation into England of French woollens, silks, and wines. The alleged infraction of these commercial

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 705, 759, 760. Dumont, v. part ii. p. 106. The clause respecting the Inquisition was one which secured the English traders from being molested by that court, on condition that they gave no scandal,–modo ne dent scandalum. This condition Cromwell wished to be withdrawn.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1648. Oct. 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1649. August 23.]

regulations led to the arrest and subsequent condemnation of vessels belonging to both nations; each government issued letters-of-marque to the sufferers among its subjects; and the naval commanders received instructions to seek that compensation for the individuals aggrieved which the latter were unable to obtain of themselves.[1] Thus the maritime trade of both countries was exposed to the depredations of private and national cruisers, while their respective governments were considered as remaining at peace. But in 1651, when the Cardinal Mazarin had been banished from France, it was resolved by Cromwell, who had recently won the battle of Worcester, to tempt the fidelity of d’Estrades, the governor of Dunkirk and a dependant on the exiled minister. An officer of the lord-general’s regiment made to d’Estrades the offer of a considerable sum, on condition that he would deliver the fortress into the hands of the English; or of the same sum, with the aid of a military force to the cardinal, if he preferred to treat in the name of his patron. The governor complained of the insult offered to his honour; but intimated[a] that, if the English wished to purchase Dunkirk, the proposal might be addressed to his sovereign. The hint was taken, and the offer was made, and debated in the royal council at Poictiers. The cardinal, who returned to France at the very time, urged its

[Footnote 1: See the instructions to Popham. “In respect that many of the English so spoiled are not able to undergo the charge of setting forth ships of their own to make seizures by such letters-of-marque; ... you shall, as in the way and execution of justice, seize, arrest, &c. such ships and vessels of the said French king, or any of his subjects, as you shall think fit,... and the same keep in your custody, till the parliament declare their further resolution concerning the same."–Thurloe, i. 144.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Feb.]

acceptance;[1] but the queen-mother and the other counsellors were so unwilling to give the English a footing in France, that he acquiesced in their opinion, and a refusal was returned. Cromwell did not fail to resent the disappointment. By the facility which he afforded to the Spanish levies in Ireland, their army in Flanders was enabled to reduce Gravelines, and, soon afterwards, to invest[a] Dunkirk. That fortress was on the point of capitulating when a French flotilla of seven sail, carrying from twenty to thirty guns each, and laden with stores and provisions, was descried[b] stealing along the shore to its relief. Blake, who had received secret orders from the council, gave chase; the whole squadron was captured, and the next day[c] Dunkirk opened its gates.[2] By the French court this action was pronounced an unprovoked and unjustifiable injury; but Mazarin coolly calculated the probable consequences of a war, and, after some time, sent[d] over Bordeaux, under the pretence of claiming the captured ships, but in reality to oppose the intrigues of the agents of Spain, of the prince of Condé, and of the city of Bordeaux, who laboured to obtain the support of the commonwealth in opposition to the French court.[3]

Bordeaux had been appointed[e] ambassador to the parliament; after the inauguration of Cromwell, it became necessary to appoint him ambassador to his

[Footnote 1: Here Louis XIV., to whom we are indebted for this anecdote observes; that it was the cardinal’s maxim de pourvoir, à quelque prix qu’il fût, aux affaires présentes, persuadé que les maux à venir, trouveroient leur remède dans l’avenir même.–Oeuvres de Louis XIV. i. 170.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid. 168-170. See also Heath, 325; Thurloe, i. 214; Whitelock, 543.]

[Footnote 3: Journals, 14 Dec. 1652. Clar. Pap. iii. 105, 123, 132. Thurloe, i. 436.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. May 8.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Sept. 5.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. Sept. 6.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. Dec. 10.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1653. Feb. 21.]

highness the protector. But in what style was Louis to address the usurper by letter? “Mon cousin” was offered and refused; “mon frère,” which Cromwell sought, was offensive to the pride of the monarch; and, as a temperament between the two, “monsieur le protecteur” was given and accepted. Bordeaux proposed a treaty of amity, by which all letters-of-marque should be recalled, and the damages suffered by the merchants of the two nations be referred to foreign arbitrators. To thwart the efforts of his rival, Don Alonzo, abandoning his former project, brought forward the proposal of a new commercial treaty between England and Spain. Cromwell was in no haste to conclude with either. He was aware that the war between them was the true cause of these applications; that he held the balance in his hand, and that it was in his power at any moment to incline it in favour of either of the two crowns. His determination, indeed, had long been taken; but it was not his purpose to let it transpire; and when he was asked the object of the two great armaments preparing in the English ports, he refused to give any satisfactory explanation.[1]

In this state of the treaty, its further progress was for a while suspended by the meeting[a] of the protector’s first parliament. He had summoned it for the 3rd of September, his fortunate day, as he perhaps believed himself, as he certainly wished it to be believed by others. But the 3rd happened in that year to fall on a Sunday; and, that the Sabbath might not be profaned

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 760; ii. 61, 113, 228, 559, 587. An obstacle was opposed to the progress of the treaty by the conduct of Le Baas, a dependant on Mazarin, and sent to aid Bordeaux with his advice. After some time, it was discovered that this man (whether by order of the minister, or at the solicitation of the royalists, is uncertain) was intriguing with the malcontents. Cromwell compelled him to return to France.–Thurloe, ii. 309, 351, 412, 437.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Sept. 3.]

by the agitation of worldly business, he requested the members to meet him at sermon in Westminster Abbey on the following morning.[a] At ten the procession set out from Whitehall. It was opened by two troops of life-guards; then rode some hundreds of gentlemen and officers, bareheaded, and in splendid apparel; immediately before the carriage walked the pages and lackeys of the protector in rich liveries, and on each side a captain of the guard; behind it came Claypole, master of the horse, leading a charger magnificently caparisoned, and Claypole was followed by the great officers of state and the members of the council. The personal appearance of the protector formed a striking contrast with the parade of the procession. He was dressed in a plain suit, after the fashion of a country gentleman, and was chiefly distinguished from his attendants by his superior simplicity, and the privilege of wearing his hat. After sermon, he placed himself in the chair of state in the Painted Chamber, while the members seated themselves, uncovered on benches ranged along the walls. The protector then rose, took off his hat, and addressed them in a speech which lasted three hours. It was, after his usual style, verbose, involved, and obscure, sprinkled with quotations from Scripture to refresh the piety of the saints, and seasoned with an affectation of modesty to disarm the enmity of the republicans. He described the state of the nation at the close of the last parliament. It was agitated by the principles of the Levellers, tending to reduce all to an equality; by the doctrines of the Fifth-monarchy men, subversive of civil government; by religious theorists, the pretended champions of liberty of conscience, who condemned an established ministry as Babylonish and antichristian;

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Sept. 4.]

and by swarms of Jesuits, who had settled in England an episcopal jurisdiction to pervert the people. At the same time the naval war with Holland absorbed all the pecuniary resources, while a commercial war with France and Portugal cramped the industry of the nation. He then bade them contrast this picture with the existing state of things. The taxes had been reduced; judges of talent and integrity had been placed upon the bench; the burthen of the commissioners of the great seal had been lightened by the removal of many descriptions of causes from the court of Chancery to the ordinary courts of law; and “a stop had been put to that heady way for every man, who pleased, to become a preacher.” The war with Holland had terminated in an advantageous peace; treaties of commerce and amity had been concluded with Denmark and Sweden;[1] a similar treaty, which would place the British trader beyond the reach of the Inquisition, had been signed with Portugal, and another was in progress with the ambassador of the French monarch. Thus had the government brought the three nations by hasty strides towards the land of promise; it was for the parliament to introduce them into it. The prospect was bright before them; let them not look

[Footnote 1: That with Sweden was negotiated by Whitelock, who had been sent on that mission against his will by the influence of Cromwell. The object was to detach Sweden from the interest of France, and engage it to maintain the liberty of trade in the Baltic, against Denmark, which was under the influence of Holland. It was concluded April 11. After the peace with Holland, the Danish monarch hastened to appease the protector; the treaty which, though said by Cromwell to be already concluded, was not signed till eleven days afterwards, stipulated that the English traders should pay no other customs or dues than the Dutch. Thus they were enabled to import naval stores on the same terms, while before, on account of the heavy duties, they bought them at second hand of the Dutch.–See the treaties in Dumont. v. part ii. p. 80, 92.]

back to the onions and flesh-pots of Egypt. He spoke not as their lord, but their fellow-servant, a labourer with them in the same good work; and would therefore detain them no longer, but desire them to repair to their own house, and to choose their speaker.[1]

To procure a parliament favourable to his designs, all the power of the government had been employed to influence the elections; the returns had been examined by a committee of the council, under the pretext of seeing that the provisions of the “instrument” were observed; and the consequence was, that the Lord Grey of Groby, Major Wildman, and some other noted republicans, had been excluded by command of the protector. Still he found himself unable to mould the house to his wishes. By the court, Lenthall was put in nomination for the office of speaker; by the opposition, Bradshaw, the boldest and most able of the opposite party. After a short debate, Lenthall was chosen, by the one, because they knew him to be a timid and a time-serving character; by the other, because they thought that, to place him in the chair, was one step towards the revival of the long parliament, of which he had been speaker. But no one ventured to propose that he should be offered, according to ancient custom, to the acceptance of the supreme magistrate. This was thought to savour too much of royalty.[2]

[Footnote 1: Compare the official copy printed by G. Sawbridge, 1654, with the abstract by Whitelock (599, 600), and by Bordeaux (Thurloe, ii. 518). See also Journals, Sept. 3, 4.]

[Footnote 2: It appears from the Council Book (1654, Aug. 21), that, on that day, letters were despatched to the sheriffs, containing the names of the members who had been approved by the council, with orders to give them notice to attend. The letters to the more distant places were sent first, that they might all be received about the same time.]

It was not long before the relative strength of the parties was ascertained. After a sharp debate,[a] in which it was repeatedly asked why the members of the long parliament then present should not resume the authority of which they had been illegally deprived by force, and by what right, but that of the sword, one man presumed to “command his commanders," the question was put, that the house resolve itself into a committee, to determine whether or not the government shall be in a single person and a parliament; and, to the surprise and alarm of Cromwell, it was carried[b] against the court by a majority of five voices.[1] The leaders of the opposition were Bradshaw, Hazlerig, and Scot, who now contended in the committee that the existing government emanated from an incompetent authority, and stood in opposition to the solemn determination of a legitimate parliament; while the protectorists, with equal warmth, maintained that, since it had been approved by the people, the only real source of power, it could not be subject to revision by the representatives of the people. The debate lasted several days,[c] during which the commonwealth party gradually increased in number. That the executive power might be profitably delegated to a single individual, was not disputed; but it was contended that, of right, the legislative authority belonged exclusively to the parliament. The officers and courtiers, finding that the sense of the house was against them, dropped[d] the question of right, and fled to that of expediency; in the existing circumstances, the public safety required a

[Footnote 1: Journals, Sept. 8. Many of those who voted in the majority did not object to the authority of the protector, but to the source from which it emanated,–a written instrument, the author of which was unknown. They wished it to be settled on him by act of parliament.–Thurloe, ii. 606.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Sept. 7.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. Sept. 8.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. Sept. 9.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1654. Sept. 11.]

check on the otherwise unbounded power of parliament; that check could be no other than a co-ordinate authority, possessing a negative voice; and that authority was the protector, who had been pointed out to them by Providence, acknowledged by the people in their addresses, and confirmed by the conditions expressed in the indentures of the members. It was replied, that the inconveniency of such a check had induced the nation to abolish the kingly government; that the addresses of the people expressed their joy for their deliverance from the incapacity of the little parliament, not their approbation of the new government; that Providence often permits what it disapproves; and that the indentures were an artifice of the court, which could not have force to bind the supreme power. To reconcile the disputants, a compromise between the parties had been planned; but Cromwell would not suffer the experiment to be tried.[1] Having ordered[b] Harrison, whose partisans were collecting signatures to a petition, to be taken into custody, he despatched three regiments to occupy the principal posts in the city, and commanded the attendance of the house in the Painted Chamber. There, laying aside that tone of modesty which he had hitherto assumed, he frankly told the members that his calling was from God, his testimony from the people; and that no one but God and the people should ever take his office from him. It was not of his seeking; God knew that it was his utmost ambition to lead the life of a country gentleman; but imperious circumstances had imposed it upon him. The long parliament brought their dissolution upon themselves by despotism, the little parliament

[Footnote 1: See introduction to Burton’s Diary, xxiv.-xxxii.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Sept. 12.]

by imbecility.[1] On each occasion he found himself invested with absolute power over the military, and, through the military, over the three nations. But on each occasion he was anxious to part with that power; and if, at last, he had acquiesced in the instrument of government, it was because it made the parliament a check on the protector, and the protector a check on the parliament. That he did not bring himself into his present situation, he had God for a witness above, his conscience for a witness within, and a cloud of witnesses without; he had the persons who attended when he took the oath of fidelity to “the instrument;” the officers of the army in the three nations, who testified their approbation by their signatures; the city of London, which feasted him, the counties, cities, and boroughs, that had sent him addresses; the judges, magistrates, and sheriffs, who acted by his commission; and the very men who now stood before him, for they came there in obedience to his writ, and under the express condition that “the persons so chosen should not

[Footnote 1: It is remarkable that, in noticing the despotism of the long parliament, he makes mention of the very same thing, which his enemy Lilburne urged against it: “by taking the judgment, both in capital and criminal things, to themselves, who in former times were not known to exercise such a judicature.” He boldly maintains that they meant to perpetuate themselves by filling up vacancies as they occurred, and had made several applications to him to obtain his consent. He adds, “Poor men, under this arbitrary power, were driven like flocks of sheep by forty in a morning, to the confiscation of goods and estates, without any man being able to give a reason that two of them had deserved to forfeit a shilling. I tell you the truth; and my soul, and many persons whose faces I see in this place, were exceedingly grieved at these things, and knew not which way to help it, but by their mournings, and giving their negatives when the occasion served.” I notice this passage, because since the discovery of the sequestrators’ papers it has been thought, from the regularity with which their books were kept, and the seeming equity of their proceedings, as they are entered, that little injustice was done.]

have power to change the government as settled in one single person and the parliament.” He would, therefore, have them to know, that four things were fundamental: 1. That the supreme power should be vested in a single person and parliament; 2. that the parliament should be successive, and not perpetual; 3. that neither protector nor parliament alone should possess the uncontrolled command of the military force; and 4. that liberty of conscience should be fenced round with such barriers as might exclude both profaneness and persecution. The other articles of the instrument were less essential; they might be altered with circumstances; and he should always be ready to agree to what was reasonable. But he would not permit them to sit, and yet disown the authority by which they sat. For this purpose he had prepared a recognition which he required them to sign. Those who refused would be excluded the house; the rest would find admission, and might exercise their legislative power without control, for his negative remained in force no longer than twenty days. Let them limit his authority if they pleased. He would cheerfully submit, provided he thought it for the interest of the people.[1]

The members, on their return, found a guard of soldiers at the door of the house, and a parchment for signatures lying on a table in the lobby. It contained the recognition of which the protector had spoken; a pledge that the subscribers would neither propose nor consent to alter the government, as it was settled in one person and a parliament. It was immediately signed by Lenthall, the speaker; his example was followed by the court party; and in the course of a few

[Footnote 1: Printed by G. Sawbridge, 1654.]

days almost three hundred names were subscribed. The Stanch republicans refused; yet the sequel showed that their exclusion did not give to the court that ascendancy in the house which had been anticipated.[1]

About this time an extraordinary accident occurred. Among the presents which Cromwell had received from foreign princes, were six Friesland coach-horses from the duke of Oldenburg. One day,[a] after he had dined with Thurloe under the shade in the park, the fancy took him to try the mettle of the horses. The secretary was compelled to enter the carriage; the protector, forgetful of his station, mounted the box. The horses at first appeared obedient to the hand of the new coachman; but the too frequent application of the lash drove them into a gallop, and the protector was suddenly precipitated from his seat. At first, he lay suspended by the pole with his leg entangled in the harness; and the explosion of a loaded pistol in one of his pockets added to the fright and the rapidity of the horses; but a fortunate jerk extricated his foot from his shoe, and he fell under the body of the carriage without meeting with injury from the wheels. He was immediately taken up by his guards, who followed at full speed, and conveyed to Whitehall; Thurloe leaped from the door of the carriage, and escaped with a sprained ancle and some severe bruises. Both were confined to their chambers for a long time;

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, ii. 606. Whitelock, 605. Journals, Sept. 5-18. Fleetwood, from Dublin, asks Thurloe, “How cam it to passe, that this last teste was not at the first sitting of the house?” (ii. 620). See in Archæol. xxiv. 39, a letter showing that several, who refused to subscribe at first through motives of conscience, did so later. This was in consequence of a declaration that the recognition did not comprehend all the forty-two articles in “the instrument,” but only what concerned the government by a single person and successive parliaments.–See Journals, Sept. 14.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Sept. 24.]

but by many, their confinement was attributed as much to policy as to indisposition. The Cavaliers diverted themselves by prophesying that, as his first fall had been from a coach, the next would be from a cart: to the public, the explosion of the pistol revealed the secret terrors which haunted his mind, that sense of insecurity, those fears of assassination, which are the usual meed of inordinate and successful ambition.[1]

The force so lately put on the parliament, and the occasion of that force, had opened the eyes of the most devoted among his adherents. His protestations of disinterestedness, his solemn appeals to Heaven in testimony of his wish to lead the life of a private gentleman, were contrasted with his aspiring and arbitrary conduct; and the house, though deprived of one-fourth of its number, still contained a majority jealous of his designs and anxious to limit his authority. The accident which had placed his life in jeopardy naturally led to the consideration of the probable consequences of his death; and, to sound the disposition of the members, the question of the succession was repeatedly, though not formally, introduced. The remarks which it provoked afforded little encouragement to his hopes; yet, when the previous arrangements had been made, and all the dependants of the government had been mustered, Lambert, having in a long and studied speech detailed the evils of elective, the benefits of hereditary, succession, moved[a] that the office of protector should be limited to the family of Oliver Cromwell, according to the known law of inheritance. To the surprise and the mortification

[Footnote 1: Heath, 363. Thurloe, ii. 652, 653, 672. Ludlow, ii. 63. Vaughan, i. 69.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Oct. 13.]

of the party, the motion was negatived by a division of two hundred against eighty voices; and it was resolved that, on the death of the protector, his successor should be chosen by the parliament if it were sitting, and by the council in the absence of parliament.[1]

This experiment had sufficiently proved the feelings of the majority. Aware, however, of their relative weakness, they were careful to give Cromwell no tangible cause of offence. If they appointed committees to revise the ordinances which he had published, they affected to consider them as merely provisional regulations, supplying the place of laws till the meeting of parliament. If they examined in detail the forty-two articles of “the instrument,” rejecting some, and amending others, they still withheld their unhallowed hands from those subjects which hehad pronounced sacred,–the four immovable pillars on which the new constitution was built. Cromwell, on his part, betrayed no symptom of impatience; but waited quietly for the moment when he had resolved

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 668, 681, 685. Whitelock, 607. Journals, Nov. 30. Though the house was daily occupied with the important question of the government, it found leisure to inquire into the theological opinions of John Biddle, who may be styled the father of the English Unitarians. He had been thrice imprisoned by the long parliament, and was at last liberated by the act of oblivion in 1652. The republication of his opinions attracted the notice of the present parliament: to the questions put to him by the speaker, he replied, that he could nowhere find in Scripture that Christ or the Holy Ghost is called God; and it was resolved that he should be committed to the Gatehouse, and that a bill to punish him should be prepared. The dissolution saved his life; and by application to the Upper Bench, he recovered his liberty; but was again arrested in 1655, and sent to the isle of Scilly, to remain for life in the castle of St. Mary. Cromwell discharged him in 1658; but he was again sent to Newgate in 1662, where he died the same year.–See Vita Bidelli, the short account; Journals, Dec. 12, 13, 1654; Wood, iii. 594; and Biog. Brit.]

to break the designs of his adversaries. They proceeded with the revision of “the instrument;” their labours were embodied in a bill,[a] and the bill was read a third time. During two days the courtiers prolonged the debate by moving a variety of amendments; on the third Cromwell summoned[b] the house to meet him in the Painted Chamber. Displeasure and contempt were marked on his countenance; and the high and criminatory tone which he assumed taught them to feel how inferior the representatives of the people were to the representative of the army.

They appeared there, he observed, with the speaker at their head, as a house of parliament. Yet, what had they done as a parliament? He never had played, he never would play, the orator; and therefore he would tell them frankly, they had done nothing. For five months they had passed no bill, had made no address, had held no communication with him. As far as concerned them, he had nothing to do but to pray that God would enlighten their minds and give a blessing to their labours. But had they then done nothing? Yes: they had encouraged the Cavaliers to plot against the commonwealth, and the Levellers to intrigue with the Cavaliers. By their dissension they had aided the fanatics to throw the nation into confusion, and by the slowness of their proceedings had compelled the soldiers to live at free quarters on the country. They supposed that he sought to make the protectorship hereditary in his family. It was not true; had they inserted such a provision in “the instrument,” on that ground alone he would have rejected it. He spoke in the fear of the Lord, who would not be mocked, and with the satisfaction that his conscience did not belie his assertion. The

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1655. Jan. 19.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1655. Jan. 22.]

different revolutions which had happened were attributed to his cunning. How blind were men who would not see the hand of Providence in its merciful dispensations, who ridiculed as the visions of enthusiasm the observations “made by the quickening and teaching Spirit!” It was supposed that he would not be able to raise money without the aid of parliament. But “he had been inured to difficulties, and never found God failing when he trusted in him.” The country would willingly pay on account of the necessity. But was not the necessity of his creation? No: it was of God; the consequence of God’s providence. It was no marvel, if men who lived on their masses and service-books, their dead and carnal worship, were strangers to the works of God; but for those who had been instructed by the Spirit of God, to adopt the same language, and say that men were the cause of these things, when God had done them, this was more than the Lord would bear. But that he might trouble them no longer, it was his duty to tell them that their continuance was not for the benefit of the nation, and therefore he did then and there declare that he dissolved the parliament.[1]

This was a stroke for which his adversaries were unprepared. “The instrument” had provided that the parliament should continue to sit during five months, and it still wanted twelve days of the expiration of that term. But Cromwell chose to understand the clause not of calendar but of lunar months, the fifth of which had been completed on the preceding evening. Much might have been urged against such an interpretation; but a military force was ready to

[Footnote 1: Printed by Henry Hills, printer to his highness the lord-protector, 1654. Whitelock, 610-618. Journals, Jan. 19, 20, 22.]

support the opinion of the protector, and prudence taught the most reluctant of his enemies to submit.

The conspiracies to which he had alluded in his speech had been generated by the impatience of the two opposite parties, the republicans and the royalists. Of the republicans some cared little for religion, others were religious enthusiasts, but both were united in the same cause by one common interest. The first could not forgive the usurpation of Cromwell, who had reaped the fruit, and destroyed the object of their labours; the second asked each other how they could conscientiously sit quiet, and allow so much blood to have been spilt, and treasure expended, so many tears to have been shed, and vows offered in vain. If they “hoped to look with confidence the King of terrors in the face, if they sought to save themselves from the bottomless pit, it was necessary to espouse once more the cause of Him who had called them forth in their generation to assert the freedom of the people and the privileges of parliament."[1] Under these different impressions, pamphlets were published exposing the hypocrisy and perjuries of the protector; letters and agitators passed from regiment to regiment; and projects were suggested and entertained for the surprisal of Cromwell’s person, and the seizure[a] of the castle of Edinburgh, of Hull, Portsmouth, and other places of strength. But it was not easy for the republicans to deceive the vigilance, or elude the grasp of their adversary. He dismissed all officers of doubtful fidelity from their commands in the army, and secured the obedience of the men by the substitution of others more devoted to his interest; by his order, Colonel Wildman was surprised in the very act of dictating

[Footnote 1: See Thurloe, iii. 29; and Milton’s State Papers, 132.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1655. Feb. 10.]

to his secretary a declaration against the government, of the most offensive and inflammatory tendency; and Lord Grey of Groby, Colonels Alured, Overton, and others, were arrested, of whom some remained long in confinement, others were permitted to go at large, on giving security for their peaceable behaviour.[1]

The other conspiracy, though more extensive in its ramifications, proved equally harmless in the result. Among the royalists, though many had resigned themselves to despair, there were still many whose enthusiasm discovered in each succeeding event a new motive for hope and exultation. They listened to every tale which flattered their wishes, and persuaded themselves, that on the first attempt against the usurper they would be joined by all who condemned his hypocrisy and ambition. It was in vain that Charles, from Cologne, where he had fixed his court, recommended caution; that he conjured his adherents not to stake his and their hopes on projects, by which, without being serviceable to him, they would compromise their own safety. They despised his warnings; they accused him of indolence and apathy; they formed associations, collected arms, and fixed the 14th of February for simultaneous risings in most counties of England.[2] The day was postponed to March 7; but Charles, at their request, proceeded in disguise to Middleburgh in Zeeland, that he might be in readiness to cross over to England; and Lord Wilmot, lately created earl of Rochester, with Sir Joseph Wagstaff, arrived to take the command of the insurgents,

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iii. passim. Whitelock, 608-620. Bates, 290, 291.]

[Footnote 2: Clarendon (Hist. iii. 552) is made to assign the 18th of April for the day of rising; but all the documents, as well as his own narrative, prove this to be an error.]

the first in the northern, the second in the western counties. It was the intention of Wagstaff to surprise Winchester during the assizes; but the unexpected arrival[a] of a troop of cavalry deterred him from the attempt. He waited patiently till the judges proceeded to Salisbury; and, learning that their guard had not accompanied them, entered that city with two hundred men at five o’clock in the morning of Monday.[b] The main body with their leader took possession of the market-place; while small detachments brought away the horses from the several inns, liberated the prisoners in the gaol, and surprised the sheriff and the two judges in their beds. At first Wagstaff gave orders that these three should be immediately hanged; for they were traitors acting under the authority of the usurper; then, pretending to relent, he discharged the judges on their parole, but detained the sheriff a prisoners because he had refused to proclaim Charles Stuart. At two in the afternoon he left Salisbury, but not before he had learned to doubt of the result. Scarcely a man had joined him of the crowd of gentlemen and yeomen whom the assizes had collected in the town; and the Hampshire royalists, about two hundred and fifty horse, had not arrived according to their promise. From Salisbury the insurgents marched through Dorsetshire into the county of Devon. Their hopes grew fainter every hour; the further they proceeded, their number diminished; and, on the evening of the third day,[c] they reached Southmolton in a state of exhaustion and despondency. At that moment, Captain Crook, who had followed them for several hours, charged into the town with a troop of cavalry. Hardly a show of resistance was made; Penruddock, Grove, and Jones, three of the leaders, with some fifty others, were made

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1655. March 7.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1655. March 11.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1655. March 14.]

prisoners; the rest, of whom Wagstaff had the good fortune to be one, aided by the darkness of the night, effected their escape.[1]

The Hampshire royalists had commenced their march for Salisbury, when, learning that Wagstaff had left that city, they immediately dispersed. Other risings at the same time took place in the counties of Montgomery, Shropshire, Nottingham, York, and Northumberland, but everywhere with similar results. The republicans, ardently as they desired to see the protector humbled in the dust, were unwilling that his ruin should be effected by a party whose ascendancy appeared to them a still more grievous evil. The insurgents were ashamed and alarmed at the paucity of their numbers; prudence taught them to disband before they proceeded to acts of hostility; and they slunk away in secrecy to their homes, that they might escape the proof, if not the suspicion, of guilt. Even Rochester himself, sanguine as he was by disposition, renounced the attempt; and, with his usual good fortune, was able to thread back his way, through a thousand dangers, from the centre of Yorkshire to the court of the exiled sovereign at Cologne.[2]

Whether it was through a feeling of shame, or apprehension of the consequences, Cromwell, even under the provocations which he had received, ventured not to bring to trial any of the men who had formerly fought by his side, and now combined against him because he trampled on the liberties of the nation. With the royalists it was otherwise. He knew that their sufferings would excite little commiseration in those whose

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 620. Thurloe, iii. 263, 295, 306. Heath, 367. Clarendon, iii. 551, 560. Ludlow, ii. 69. Vaughan, i. 149.]

[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 618, 620. Heath, 368. Clarendon, iii. 560.]

favour he sought; and he was anxious to intimidate the more eager by the punishment of their captive associates. Though they had surrendered[a] under articles, Penruddock and Grove were beheaded at Exeter; about fifteen others suffered in that city and in Salisbury; and the remainder were sent to be sold for slaves in Barbadoes.[1] To these executions succeeded certain measures of precaution. The protector forbade all ejected and sequestered clergymen of the church of England to teach as schoolmasters or tutors, or to preach or use the church service as ministers either in public or private; ordered all priests belonging to the church of Rome to quit the kingdom under the pain of death; banished all Cavaliers and Catholics to the distance of twenty miles from the metropolis; prohibited the publication in print of any news or intelligence without permission from the secretary of state; and placed in confinement most of the nobility and principal gentry in England, till they could produce bail for their good behaviour and future appearance. In addition, an ordinance was published that “all who had ever borne arms for the king, or declared themselves to be of the royal party, should be decimated, that is, pay a tenth part of all the estate which they had left, to support the charge which the commonwealth was put to by the unquietness of their temper, and the just cause of jealousy which they had administered.” It is difficult to conceive a more iniquitous imposition. It was subversive of the act of oblivion formerly procured by Cromwell himself, which pretended to abolish the memory of all past offences; contrary to natural justice, because it involved the innocent and guilty in the same punishment; and productive

[Footnote 1: State Trials, v. 767-790.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1655. May 16.]

of the most extensive extortions, because the commissioners included among the enemies of the commonwealth those who had remained neutral between the parties, or had not given satisfaction by the promptitude of their services, or the amount of their contributions. To put the climax to these tyrannical proceedings, he divided the country into eleven, and, at one period, into fourteen, military governments, under so many officers, with the name and rank of major-generals, giving them authority to raise a force within their respective jurisdictions, which should serve only on particular occasions; to levy the decimation and other public taxes; to suppress tumults and insurrections; to disarm all papists and Cavaliers; to inquire into the conduct of ministers and schoolmasters; and to arrest, imprison, and bind over, all dangerous and suspected persons. Thus, this long and sanguinary struggle, originally undertaken to recover the liberties of the country, terminated in the establishment of a military despotism. The institutions which had acted as restraints on the power of preceding sovereigns were superseded or abolished; the legislative, as well as the executive authority, fell into the grasp of the same individual; and the best rights of the people were made to depend on the mere pleasure of an adventurer, who, under the mask of dissimulation, had seized, and by the power of the sword retained, the government of three kingdoms.[1]

[Footnote 1: Sagredo, who had lately arrived as ambassador extraordinary, thus describes the power of Cromwell:–"Non fa caro del nome, gli basta possedere l’autorità e la potenza, senza comparazione majore non solo di quanti re siano stati in Inghilterra, ma di quanti monarchi stringono presentamente alcun scetro nel mondo. Smentite le legge fondamentali del regno, egli è il solo legislatore: tutti i governi escono dalle sue mane, e quelli del consiglio, per entrarvi, devono essere nominati da sua altezza, ne possono divenir grandi, se non da lui inalzati. E perchè alcuno non abbia modo di guadagnar autorità sopra l’armata, tutti gli avanzamenti, senza passar per alcun mezzo, sono da lui direttamente conosciuti."–Sagredo, MS.]

From domestic occurrences, we may now turn to those abroad. During the last year, the two armaments which had so long engaged the attention of the European nations, had sailed from the English ports. Their real, but secret, destination was to invade the American colonies and surprise the Plate fleet of Spain, the most ancient and faithful ally of the commonwealth. To justify the measure, it was argued in the council that, since America was not named in the treaties of 1604 and 1630, hostilities in America would be no infraction of those treaties; that the Spaniards had committed depredations on the English commerce in the West Indies, and were consequently liable to reprisals; that they had gained possession of these countries by force against the will of the natives, and might, therefore, be justly dispossessed by force; and, lastly, that the conquest of these transatlantic territories would contribute to spread the light of the gospel among the Indians and to cramp the resources of popery in Europe.[1] That such flimsy pretences should satisfy the judgment of the protector is improbable; his mind was swayed by very different motives–the prospect of reaping, at a small cost, an abundant harvest of wealth and glory, and the opportunity of

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 760, 761; ii. 54, 154, 570. Ludlow, ii. 51, 105. The article of the treaty of 1630, on which Cromwell rested his claim of a free trade to the Indies, was the first, establishing peace between all the subjects of the two crowns (subditos quoscumque); that which, the Spaniards alleged, was the seventh, in which as the king of Spain, would not consent to a free trade to America, it was confined to those countries in which, such free trade had been exercised before the war between Elizabeth of England and Philip of Spain–words which excluded America as effectually as if it had been named.–See Dumont, iv. part ii. p. 621.]

engaging in foreign service the officers of whose fidelity at home he had good reason to be jealous.

The Spanish cabinet, arguing from circumstances, began to suspect his object, and, as a last effort, sent[a] the marquess of Leyda ambassador extraordinary to the court of London. He was graciously received, and treated with respect; but, in defiance of his most urgent solicitations, could not, during five months, obtain a positive answer to his proposals. He represented to the protector the services which Spain had rendered to the commonwealth; adverted to the conduct of De Baas, as a proof of the insidious designs of Mazarin; maintained that the late insurrection had been partially instigated by the intrigues of France; and that French troops had been collected on the coast to accompany Charles Stuart to England, if his friends had not been so quickly suppressed; and concluded by offering to besiege Calais, and, on its reduction, to cede it to Cromwell, provided he, on his part, would aid the prince of Condé in his design of forcing his way into Bordeaux by sea. At length, wearied with delays, and esteeming a longer residence in England a disgrace to his sovereign, he demanded[b] passports, and was dismissed with many compliments by the protector.[1]

In the mean while, Blake, who commanded one of the expeditions, had sailed to the Straits of Gibraltar, where he received many civilities from the Spanish authorities. Thence he proceeded up the Mediterranean, capturing, under pretence of reprisals, the French vessels, whether merchantmen or men-of-war, and seeking, but in vain, the fleet under the duke of Guise. Returning to the south, he appeared before

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 761; ii. 54, 154, 570. Dumont, v. part ii. 106.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Jan.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. June 18.]

Algiers, and extorted from that government an illusory promise of respect to the English flag. From Algiers he proceeded[a] to Tunis. To his demands the dey replied: “There are Goletta, Porto Ferino, and my fleet; let him destroy them if he can.” Blake departed,[b] returned unexpectedly to Porto Ferino, silenced the fire of the castle, entered the harbour, and burnt the whole flotilla of nine men-of-war. This exploit induced the dey of Tripoli to purchase the forbearance of the English by an apparent submission; his Tunisian brother deemed it prudent to follow his example; and the chastisement of the pirates threw an additional lustre on the fame of the protector. There still remained, however, the great but concealed object of the expedition,–the capture of the Plate fleet laden with the treasures of the Indies; but Blake was compelled to remain so long before Cadiz that the Spaniards discovered his design; and Philip, though he professed to think the protector incapable of so dishonourable a project, permitted the merchants to arm in defence of their property. More than thirty ships were manned with volunteers: they sailed[c] from Cadiz under the command of Don Pablos de Contreras, and continued for some days in sight of the English fleet; but Pablos was careful to give no offence; and Blake, on the reperusal of his instructions, did not conceive himself authorized to begin the attack. After a long and tedious cruise, he received intelligence that the galleons, his destined prey, were detained in the harbour of Carthagena, and returned to England with a discontented mind and shattered constitution. In regard to the principal object, the expedition had failed; but this had never been avowed; and the people were taught to rejoice at the laurels won in the destruction

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. March 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. April 18.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. August 15.]

of the Tunisian fleet, and the lesson given to the piratical tribes on the northern coast of Africa.[1]

The other expedition consisted[a] of thirty sail and a military force of three thousand men, under the joint command of Penn, as admiral, and of Venables, as general. They spent several weeks among the English settlements in the West Indies, and by the promise of plunder allured to their standard many of the planters, and multitudes of the English, Scottish, and Irish royalists, who had been transported thither as prisoners of war. When they reached Hispaniola, Venables numbered ten thousand men under his command; and, had the fleet boldly entered the harbour of St. Domingo, it was believed that the town, unprepared for resistance, must have immediately submitted. But the greater part of the army was landed[b] at a point about forty miles distant, the expectations of the men were disappointed by a proclamation, declaring that the plunder was to be considered the public property of the commonwealth; the length of the march, the heat of the climate, and the scarcity of water added to the general discontent, and almost a fortnight elapsed before the invaders were able to approach[c] the defences of the place. Their march lay through a thick and lofty wood; and the advance suddenly found itself in front of a battery which enfiladed the road to a considerable distance. On the first discharge, the men rushed back on a regiment of foot; that, partaking in the panic, on a squadron of

[Footnote 1: See in particular Blake’s letters in Thurloe, iii. 232, 392, 541, 611, 620, 718; iv. 19. He complains bitterly of the bad state of the ships, and of the privations suffered by the men, from the neglect of the commissioners of the navy. The protector’s instructions to him are in Thurloe, i. 724.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Jan. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. April.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. April 25.]

horse; and, while the infantry and cavalry were thus wedged together in inextricable confusion, the Spanish marksmen kept up a most destructive fire from behind the trees lining the road. After a long effort, the wood was cleared by a body of seamen who served among the infantry, and darkness put an end to the action, in which not fewer than a thousand men had fallen. In the morning the English retired to their last encampment, about ten miles from the town.

Here Venables called a council of officers, who, having previously sought the Lord, determined[a] to “purge” the army. Some of the runaways were hanged; the officer who commanded the advance was broken, and sent on board the hospital ship to wait on the sick; the loose women who had followed the army were apprehended and punished; and a solemn fast was proclaimed and observed. But no fasting, praying, or purging could restore the spirits of men humbled by defeat, enfeebled by disease, and reduced to the necessity of feeding on the horses belonging to the cavalry. The attempt was abandoned;[b] but, on their return, the two commanders made a descent on the island of Jamaica. The Spanish settlers, about five hundred, fled to the mountains; a capitulation[c] followed; and the island was ceded to England. Could its flourishing condition in a subsequent period have been foreseen, this conquest might have consoled the nation for the loss at Hispaniola, and the disgrace of the attempt. But at that time Jamaica was deemed an inconsiderable acquisition; the failure of the expedition encouraged men to condemn the grounds on which it had been undertaken; and Cromwell, mortified and ashamed, vented his displeasure

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. April 28.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. May 3.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. May 10.]

on Penn and Venables, the two commanders, whom, on their arrival, he committed[a] to the Tower.[1]

To many it seemed a solecism in politics, that, when the protector determined to break with Spain, he did not attempt to sell his services to the great enemy of Spain, the king of France. For reasons which have never been explained, he took no advantage of this circumstance; instead of urging, he seemed anxious to retard, the conclusion of the treaty with that power; after each concession he brought forward new and more provoking demands; and, as if he sought to prevail by intimidation, commissioned Blake to ruin the French commerce, and to attack the French fleet in the Mediterranean. By Louis these insults were keenly felt; but his pride yielded to his interest; expedients were found to satisfy all the claims of the protector; and at length the time for the signature of the treaty was fixed, when an event occurred to furnish new pretexts for delay, that event, which by Protestants has been called the massacre, by Catholics the rebellion, of the Vaudois.

About the middle of the thirteenth century the peculiar doctrines of the “poor men of Lyons” penetrated

[Footnote 1: Carte’s Letters, ii. 46-52. Thurloe, iii. 504, 509, 689, 755; iv. 28. Bates, 367. Penn and Venables having resigned their commissions, were discharged.–Council Book, 1655, Oct. 26, 31. It appears from the papers in Thurloe that Cromwell paid great attention to the prosperity of the West Indian colonies, as affording facilities to future attempts on the American continent. To increase the population, he had, as the reader is already aware, forcibly taken up a thousand young girls in Ireland, and sent them to Jamaica; in 1656, while Sagredo was in London, he ordered all females of disorderly lives to be arrested and shipped for Barbadoes for the like purpose. Twelve hundred were sent in three ships. Ho veduto prima del mio partire piu squadre di soldati andar per Londra cercando donne di allegra vita, imbarcandone 1,200 sopre tre vascelli per tragittarle all’ isola, a fine di far propagazione.–Sagredro, MS.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. August 31.]

into the valleys of Piedmont, where they were cherished in obscurity till the time of the Reformation, and were then exchanged in a great measure, first for Lutheranism, and then for the creed publicly taught at Geneva. The duke of Savoy by successive grants confirmed to the natives the free exercise of their religion, on condition that they should confine themselves within their ancient limits;[1] but complaints were made that several among the men of Angrogna had abused their privileges to form settlements and establish their worship in the plains; and the court of Turin, wearied with the conflicting statements of the opposite parties, referred[a] the decision of the dispute to the civilian Andrea Gastaldo.[2] After a long and patient hearing, he pronounced a definitive judgment, that Lucerna and some other places lay without the original boundaries, and that the intruders should withdraw under the penalties of forfeiture and death. At the same time, however, permission was given to them to sell for their own profit the lands which they had planted, though by law these lands had become the property of the sovereign.[3]

The Vaudois were a race of hardy, stubborn, half-civilized mountaineers, whose passions were readily kindled, and whose resolves were as violent as they were sudden. At first they submitted sullenly to the

[Footnote 1: These were the four districts of Angrogna, Villaro, Bobbio, and Rorata.–Siri, del Mercurio, overo Historia de’ Correnti Tempi Firenze, 1682, tom. xv. p. 827.]

[Footnote 2: Gilles, Pastore de la Terre, p. 72, Geneve, 1644; and Rorengo, Memorie Historiche, p. 8, 1649.]

[Footnote 3: The decree of Gastaldo is in Morland, History of the Evangelical Churches in the valleys of Piedmont, p. 303. The grounds of that decree are at p. 408, the objections to it at p. 423. See also Siri, xv. 827, 830; Chiesa, Corona Reale di Savoia, i. 150; Denina, iii. 324; Guichenon, iii. 139.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1655 June 19.]

judgment of Gastaldo, but sent deputies to Turin, to remonstrate; in a few days a solemn fast was proclaimed; the ministers excommunicated every individual who should sell his lands in the disputed territory; the natives of the valleys under the dominion of the king of France met those of the valleys belonging to the duke of Savoy; both bound themselves by oath to stand by each other in their common defence; and messengers were despatched to solicit aid and advice from the church of Geneva and the Protestant cantons of Switzerland. The intelligence alarmed the Marquess of Pianeze, the chief minister of the duke; who, to suppress the nascent confederacy, marched from Turin with an armed force, reduced La Torre, into which the insurgents had thrown a garrison of six hundred men, and, having made an offer of pardon to all who should submit, ordered his troops to fix their quarters in Bobbio, Villaro, and the lower part of Angrogna. It had previously been promised[a] that they should be peaceably received; but the inhabitants had already retired to the mountains with their cattle and provisions; and the soldiers found no other accommodation than the bare walls. Quarrels soon followed between the parties; one act of offence was retaliated with another; and the desire of vengeance provoked a war of extermination. But the military were in general successful; and the natives found themselves compelled to flee to the summits of the loftiest mountains, or to seek refuge in the valleys of Dauphiné, among a people of similar habits and religion.[1]

[Footnote 1: Siri, xv. 827-833. It would be a difficult task to determine by whom, after the reduction of La Torre, the first blood was wantonly drawn, or to which party the blame of superior cruelty really belongs. The authorities on each side are interested, and therefore suspicious; the provocations alleged by the one are as warmly denied by the other; and to the ravages of the military in Angrogna and Lucerna, are opposed the massacres of the Catholics in Perousa and San Martino. In favour of the Vaudois may be consulted Leger, Histoire Générale des Eglises Evangéliques, &c. (he was a principal instigator of these troubles); Stouppe, Collection of the several papers sent to his highness, &c. London, 1655; Sabaudiensis in Reformatam Religionem Persecutionis Brevis Narratio, Londini, 1655; Morland, 326-384, and the papers in Thurloe, iii. 361, 384, 412, 416, 430, 444, 459, 538. Against them–A Short and Faithful Account of the late Commotions &c., with some reflections on Mr. Stouppe’s Collected Papers, 1655; Morland, 387-404; Siri, xv. 827-843, and Thurloe, iii. 413, 464, 475, 490, 502, 535, 535, 617, 626, 656.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. April 7.]

Accounts of these transactions, but accounts teeming with exaggeration and improbabilities, were transmitted to the different Protestant states by the ministers at Geneva. They represented the duke of Savoy as a bigoted and intolerant prince; the Vaudois as an innocent race, whose only crime was their attachment to the reformed faith. They implored the Protestant powers to assume the defence of their persecuted brethren, and called for pecuniary contributions to save from destruction by famine the remnant which had escaped the edge of the sword.[1] In England the cause was advocated[a] by the press and from the pulpit; a solemn fast was kept, and the passions of the people were roused to enthusiasm. The ministers in a body waited on Cromwell to recommend the Vaudois to his protection; the armies in Scotland and Ireland presented addresses, expressive of their readiness to shed their blood in so sacred a cause; and all classes of men, from the highest to

[Footnote 1: The infidelity of these reports is acknowledged by Morland, the protector’s agent, in a confidential letter to secretary Thurloe. “The greatest difficulty I meet with is in relation to the matter of fact in the beginning of these troubles, and during the time of the war. For I find, upon diligent search, that many papers and books which have been put out in print on this subject, even by some ministers of the valleys, are lame in many particulars, and in many things not conformable to truth."–Thurloe, iv. 417.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. May.]

the lowest, hastened to contribute their money towards the support of the Piedmontese Protestants. It was observed that, among those who laboured to inflame the prejudices of the people, none were more active than the two ambassadors from Spain, and Stouppe, the minister of the French church in London.[1] Both had long laboured to prevent the conclusion of the treaty with France; and they now hoped to effect their purpose, because Savoy was the ally of France, and the principal barbarities were said to have been perpetrated by troops detached from the French army.[2]

These events opened a flattering prospect to the vanity of Cromwell. By his usurpation he had forfeited all claim to the title of the champion of civil liberty; he might still come forward, in the sight of Europe, in the more august character of the protector of the reformed faith. His first care was to make, through Stouppe, a promise to the Vaudois of his support, and an offer to transplant them to Ireland, and to settle them on the lands of the Irish Catholics; of which the first was accepted with expressions of gratitude, and the other respectfully declined.[3] He next solicited the king of France to join with him in mediating between the duke of Savoy and his subjects of the valleys; and received for answer, that

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iii. 470, 680. Siri, xv. 468.]

[Footnote 2: Under Pianeze were some troops detached from the French army commanded by Prince Thomas of Savoy. It was reported that a regiment of Irish Catholics formed a part of this detachment; and to them were attributed, of course, the most horrible barbarities.–Leger, iii. Stouppe, Preface. Thurloe, iii. 412, 459, 460. On inquiry, it was discovered that these supposed Irishmen were English. “The Irish regiment said to be there was the earl of Bristol’s regiment, a small and weak one, most of them being English. I hear not such complaints of them as you set forth."–Thurloe, iii. 50.]

[Footnote 3: Thurloe, iii. 459.]

Louis had already interposed his good offices, and had reason to expect a favourable result. Lastly, he sent[a] Morland as ambassador to Turin, where he was honourably received, and entertained at the duke’s expense. To his memorial in favour of the Vaudois, it was replied,[b] that out of compliment to Cromwell their rebellion, though unprovoked, should be forgiven; but his further interference was checked by the announcement that the particulars of the pacification had been wholly referred to Servien, the French ambassador.[1]

At home, Cromwell had signified his intention of postponing the signature of the treaty with France till he was acquainted with the opinion of Louis on the subject of the troubles in Piedmont. Bordeaux remonstrated[c] against this new pretext for delay; he maintained that the question bore no relation to the matter of the treaty; that the king of France would never interfere with the internal administration of an independent state; that the duke of Savoy had as good a right to make laws for his Protestant subjects, as the English government for the Catholics of the three kingdoms; and that the Vaudois were in reality rebels who had justly incurred the resentment of their sovereign. But Cromwell was not to be diverted[d] from his purpose. It was in vain that the ambassador asked for a final answer; that he demanded[e] an audience of leave preparatory to his departure. At last he was relieved from his perplexity by an order[f] to announce that the duke, at the request of the king of France, had granted an amnesty to the Vaudois, and confirmed their ancient privileges; that the boon had been gratefully received by the insurgents; and that

[Footnote 1: Thurloe iii. 528, 608, 636, 656, 672. Siri, ibid. Vaugh. 248.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. May 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. June 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1656. May 24.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1656. June 18.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1656. June 21. [Sidenote f: A.D. 1656. August 20.]

the natives of the valleys, Protestants and Catholics had met, embraced each other with tears, and sworn to live in perpetual amity together. The unexpected intelligence was received by Cromwell with a coldness which betrayed his disappointment.[1] But, if the pacification broke the new projects which he meditated,[2] it served to raise his fame in the estimation of Europe; for it was evident that the Vaudois owed the favourable conditions which they obtained,[a] not so much to the good-will of Louis, as to his anxiety that no pretext should remain for the future interference of the protector.[3]

But though tranquillity was restored in Piedmont, Cromwell was still unwilling to conclude the treaty till he had ascertained what impression had been made on the king of Spain by the late attempt on Hispaniola. To Philip, already engaged in war with France, it was painful to add so powerful an adversary to the number

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iii. 469, 470, 475, 535, 568, 706, 724, 742, 745. Siri, xv. 843.]

[Footnote 2: The Protestant cantons of Switzerland had sent Colonel Mey to England, offering to raise an army in aid of the Vaudois, if Cromwell would furnish a subsidy of ten thousand pounds per month.–Siri, Mercurio, xv. 472. In consequence Downing was despatched as envoy to these cantons; but the pacification was already concluded; and on his arrival at Geneva, he received orders, dated Aug. 30, to return immediately.–Thurloe, iii. 692, 694; iv. 31. Still the design was not abandoned, but intrusted to Morland, who remained at Geneva, to distribute the money from England. What were his secret instructions may be seen, ibid. p. 326.]

[Footnote 3: The conditions may be seen in Morland, 652; Dumont, vi. part ii. p. 114; and Leger, 216. The subscription for the Vaudois, of which two thousands pounds was given by the protector, amounted to thirty eight thousand two hundred and twenty-eight pounds four shillings and twopence. Of this sum twenty-five thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight pounds eight shillings and ninepence was sent at different times to the valleys; four hundred and sixty-three pounds seventeen shillings was charged for expenses; and about five hundred pounds was found to be clipt or counterfeit money.–Journals, 11 July, 1559.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. August 8.]

of his enemies; but the affront was so marked, so unjust, so unprovoked, that to submit to it in silence was to subscribe to his own degradation. He complained,[a] in dignified language, of the ingratitude and injustice of the English government; contrasted with its conduct his own most scrupulous adhesion both to the letter and the spirit of the treaties between the kingdoms; ordered that all ships, merchandize, and property belonging to the subjects of the commonwealth should be seized and secured in every part of his dominions, and instructed his ambassador in London to remonstrate and take his leave.[1] The day after the passport was delivered to Don Alonzo, Cromwell consented[b] to the signature of the treaty with France. It provided that the maritime hostilities, which had so long harassed the trade of the two nations, should cease, that the relations of amity and commerce should be restored; and, by a separate, and therefore called a secret, article, that Barriere, agent for the prince of Condé, and nine other Frenchmen, equally obnoxious to the French ministry, should be perpetually excluded from the territory of the commonwealth; and that Charles Stuart, his brother the duke of York, Ormond, Hyde, and fifteen other adherents of the exiled prince, should, in the same manner, be excluded from the kingdom of France.[2] The protector had persuaded

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iv. 19, 20, 21, 82, 91.]

[Footnote 2: Dumont, vi. part ii. p. 121. In the body of the treaty, neither the king nor the protector is named; all the articles are stipulated between the commonwealth of England and the kingdom of France. In the preamble, however, the king of France is mentioned, and in the first place, but not as if this arose from any claim of precedency; for it merely relates, that the most Christian king sent his ambassador to England, and the most serene lord, the protector, appointed commissioners to meet him. When the treaty was submitted to Bordeaux, previously to his signature, he discovered an alteration in the usual title of his sovereign, Rex Gallorum (the very title afterwards adopted by the National Assembly), instead of Rex Galliarum, and on that account refused to sign it. After a long contestation, he yielded to the arguments of the Dutch ambassador.–Thurloe, iv. 115.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Sept. 1.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Oct. 24.]

himself that, if the house of Stuart was to be restored, it must be through the aid of France; and he hoped, by the addition of this secret article, to create a bitter and lasting enmity between the two families. Nor was he content with this. As soon as the ratifications had been exchanged, he proposed a more intimate alliance between England and France. Bordeaux was instructed to confine himself in his reply to general expressions of friendship. He might receive any communications which were offered; he was to make no advances on the part of his sovereign.


Chapter V.  •  Chapter VI.  •  Chapter VII.  •  Chapter VIII.