The History of England (B)
By John Lingard

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Chapter VII.

Poverty And Character Of Charles Stuart–War With Spain–Parliament–Exclusion Of Members–Punishment Of Naylor–Proposal To Make Cromwell King–His Hesitation And Refusal–New Constitution–Sindercomb–Sexby–Alliance With France–Parliament Of Two Houses–Opposition In The Commons–Dissolution–Reduction Of Dunkirk–Sickness Of The Protector–His Death And Character.

The reader is aware that the young king of Scots, after his escape from Worcester, had returned to Paris, defeated but not disgraced. The spirit and courage which he had displayed were taken as an earnest of future and more successful efforts; and the perilous adventures which he had encountered threw a romantic interest round the character of the royal exile. But in Paris he found himself without money or credit, followed by a crowd of faithful dependants, whose indigence condemned them to suffer the most painful privations. His mother, Henrietta, herself in no very opulent circumstances, received him into her house and to her table; after the lapse of six months, the French king settled on him a monthly allowance of six thousand francs;[1] and to this were added the casual supplies furnished by the loyalty of his adherents in England, and his share of the prizes made by the cruisers under his flag.[2] Yet, with all these aids, he

[Footnote 1: Clar. iii. 441. Thirteen francs were equivalent to an English pound.]

[Footnote 2: His claim was one-fifteenth, that of the duke of York, as admiral, one-tenth. See a collection of letters, almost exclusively on that subject, between Sir Edward Hyde and Sir Richard Browne.–Evelyn’s Mem. v. 241, et seq.]

was scarcely able to satisfy the more importunate of his creditors, and to dole out an occasional pittance to his more immediate followers. From their private correspondence it appears that the most favoured among them were at a loss to procure food and clothing.[1]

Yet, poor as he was, Charles had been advised to keep up the name and appearance of a court. He had his lord-keeper, his chancellor of the exchequer, his privy councillors, and most of the officers allotted to a royal establishment; and the eagerness of pursuit, the competition of intrigue with which these nominal dignities were sought by the exiles, furnish scenes which cannot fail to excite the smile or the pity of an indifferent spectator. But we should remember that they were the only objects left open to the ambition of these men; that they offered scanty, yet desirable, salaries to their poverty; and that they held out the promise of more substantial benefits on the restoration of the king, an event which, however distant it might seem to the apprehension of others, was always near in the belief of the more ardent royalists.[2]

Among these competitors for place were two, who soon acquired, and long retained, the royal confidence,

[Footnote 1: Clarendon Pap. iii. 120, 124. “I do not know that any man is yet dead for want of bread; which really I wonder at. I am sure the king owes for all he hath eaten since April: and I am not acquainted with one servant of his who hath a pistole in his pocket. Five or six of us eat together one meal a day for a pistole a week; but all of us owe for God knows how many weeks to the poor woman that feeds us."–Clarendon Papers, iii. 174. June 27, 1653. “I want shoes and shirts, and the marquess of Ormond is in no better condition. What help then can we give our friends?"–Ibid. 229, April 3, 1654. See also Carte’s Letters, ii. 461.]

[Footnote 2: Clarendon Pap. iii. 83, 99, 106, 136, 162, 179, 187, et passim. Clarendon, History, iii. 434, 435, 453.]

the marquess of Ormond and Sir Edward Hyde. Ormond owed the distinction to the lustre of his family, the princely fortune which he had lost in the royal cause, his long though unsuccessful services in Ireland, and the high estimation in which he had been held by the late monarch. In talent and application Hyde was superior to any of his colleagues. Charles I. had appointed him chancellor of the exchequer, and counsellor to the young prince; and the son afterwards confirmed by his own choice the judgment of his father. Hyde had many enemies; whether it was that by his hasty and imperious temper he gave cause of offence, or that unsuccessful suitors, aware of his influence with the king, attributed to his counsels the failure of their petitions. But he was not wanting in his own defences; the intrigues set on foot to remove him from the royal ear were defeated by his address; and the charges brought against him of disaffection and treachery were so victoriously refuted, as to overwhelm the accuser with confusion and disgrace.[1]

The expectations, however, which Charles had raised by his conduct in England were soon disappointed. He seemed to lose sight of his three kingdoms amidst the gaieties of Paris. His pleasures and amusements engrossed his attention; it was with difficulty that he could be drawn to the consideration of business; and, if he promised to devote a few hours on each Friday to the writing of letters and the signature of despatches, he often discovered sufficient reasons to free himself from the burthen.[2] But that which chiefly distressed

[Footnote 1: Clarendon, iii. 138, 510, 515-520. Lansdowne’s Works, ii. 236-241, quoted by Harris, iv. 153. Clarendon Papers, iii. 84, 92 138, 188, 200, 229.]

[Footnote 2: Clarendon Papers, iii. 159, 170.]

his advisers was the number and publicity of his amours; and, in particular, the utter worthlessness of one woman, who by her arts had won his affection, and by her impudence exercised the control over his easy temper. This was Lucy Walters, or Barlow, the mother of a child, afterwards the celebrated duke of Monmouth, of whom Charles believed himself to be the father.[1] Ormond and Hyde laboured to dissolve this disgraceful connection. They represented to the king the injury which it did to the royal cause in England, where the appearances at least of morality were so highly respected; and, after several temporary separations, they prevailed on Walters to accept[a] an annuity of four hundred pounds, and to repair with her child to her native country. But Cromwell sent her back to France; and she returned[b] to Paris, where by her lewdness she forfeited the royal favour, and shortened her own days. Her son was taken from her by the Lord Crofts, and placed under the care of the Oratoriens in Paris.[2]

But if Charles was incorrigible in the pursuit of pleasure, he proved a docile pupil on the subject of

[Footnote 1: She was previously the mistress of Colonel Robert Sydney; and her son bore so great a resemblance to that officer, that the duke of York always looked upon Sydney as the father.–Life of James, i. 491. James in his instructions to his son, says, “All the knowing world, as well as myself, had many convincing reasons to think he was not the king’s son, but Robert Sydney’s."–Macpherson’s Papers, i. 77. Evelyn calls Barlow “a browne, beautiful, bold, but insipid creature."–Diary, ii. 11.]

[Footnote 2: James, i. 492; Clarendon’s Own Life, 205. Clarendon Papers, iii. 180. Thurloe, v. 169, 178; vii. 325. Charles, in the time of his exile, had also children by Catherine Peg and Elizabeth Killigrew.–See Sanford, 646, 647. In the account of Barlow’s discharge from the Tower, by Whitelock, we are told that she called herself the wife of Charles (Whitelock, 649); in the Mercurius Politicus, she is styled “his wife or mistress."–Ellis, new series, iii. 352.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Jan. 21.] [Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. July 16.]

religion. On one hand, the Catholics, on the other, the Presbyterians, urged him by letters and messages to embrace their respective modes of worship. The former maintained that he could recover the crown only through the aid of the Catholic sovereigns, and had no reason to expect such aid while he professed himself a member of that church which had so long persecuted the English Catholics.[1] The others represented themselves as holding the destiny of the king in their hands; they were royalists at heart, but how could they declare in favour of a prince who had apostatized from the covenant which he had taken in Scotland, and whose restoration would probably re-establish the tyranny of the bishops?[2] The king’s advisers repelled these attempts with warmth and indignation. They observed to him that, to become a Catholic was to arm all his Protestant subjects against him; to become a Presbyterian, was to alienate all who had been faithful to his father, both Protestants of the

[Footnote 1: Yet he made application in 1654 to the pope, through Goswin Nickel, general of the order of Jesuits, for a large sum of money, which might enable him to contend for his kingdom at the head of an army of Irish Catholics; promising, in case of success, to grant the free exercise of the Catholic religion, and every other indulgence which could be reasonably asked. The reason alleged for this application was that the power of Cromwell was drawing to a close, and the most tempting offers had been made to Charles by the Presbyterians: but the Presbyterians were the most cruel enemies of the Catholics, and he would not owe his restoration to them, till he had sought and been refused the aid of the Catholic powers. From the original, dated at Cologne, 17th Nov. 1654, N.S., and subscribed by Peter Talbot, afterwards Catholic archbishop of Dublin, ex mandato expresso Regis Britanniarum. It was plainly a scheme on the part of Charles to procure money; and probably failed of success.]

[Footnote 2: Both these parties were equally desirous of having the young duke of Gloucester of their religion.–Clar. Pap. iii. 153, 155. The queen mother placed him under the care of Montague, her almoner at Pontoise; but Charles sent Ormond, who brought him away to Cologne.–Clar. Hist. iii. 545: Papers, iii. 256-260. Evelyn, v. 205, 208.]

church of England and Catholics. He faithfully followed their advice; to both parties he promised, indeed, every indulgence in point of religion which they could reasonably desire; but avowed, at the same time, his determination to live and die a member of that church in defence of which his father had fought and suffered. It is not, however, improbable that these applications, with the arguments by which they were supported, had a baneful influence on the mind of the king. They created in him an indifference to religious truth, a persuasion that men always model their belief according to their interest.[1]

As soon as Cardinal Mazarin began to negotiate with the protector, the friends of Charles persuaded him to quit the French territory. By the French minister the proposal was gratefully received; he promised the royal fugitive the continuation of his pension, ordered the arrears to be immediately discharged, and paid him for the next half-year in advance.[2] Charles fixed[a] his residence at Cologne, where he remained for almost two years, till the rupture between England and Spain called him again into activity.[3] After some previous negotiation, he repaired

[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, iii. 163, 164, 256, 281, 298, 316; Hist. iii. 443]

[Footnote 2: Seven thousand two hundred pistoles for twelve months’ arrears, and three thousand six hundred for six in advance.–Clar. Pap. iii. 293.]

[Footnote 3: While Charles was at Cologne, he was surrounded by spies, who supplied Cromwell with copious information, though it is probable that they knew little more than the public reports in the town. On one occasion the letters were opened at the post-office, and a despatch was found from a person named Manning to Thurloe. Being questioned before Charles, Manning confessed that he received an ample maintenance from the protector, but defended himself on the ground that he was careful to communicate nothing but what was false. That this plea was true, appeared from his despatch, which was filled with a detailed account of a fictitious debate in the council: but the falsehoods which he had sent to England had occasioned the arrest and imprisonment of several royalists, and Manning was shot as a traitor at Duynwald, in the territory of the duke of Neuburg.–Clar. iii. 563-569. Whitelock, 633. Thurloe, iv. 293.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. March 12.]

to the neighbourhood of Brussels, and offered himself as a valuable ally to the Spanish monarch. He had it in his power to call the English and Irish regiments in the French service to his own standard; he possessed numerous adherents in the English navy; and, with the aid of money and ships, he should be able to contend once more for the crown of his fathers, and to meet the usurper on equal terms on English ground. By the Spanish ministers the proposal was entertained, but with their accustomed slowness. They had to consult the cabinet at Madrid; they were unwilling to commit themselves so far as to cut off all hope of reconciliation with the protector; and they had already accepted the offers of another enemy to Cromwell, whose aid, in the opinion of Don Alonzo, the late ambassador, was preferable to that of the exiled king.[1]

This enemy was Colonel Sexby. He had risen from the ranks to the office of adjutant-general in the parliamentary army; and his contempt of danger and enthusiasm for liberty had so far recommended him to the notice of Cromwell, that the adjutant was occasionally honoured with a place in the councils, and a share in the bed, of the lord-general. But Sexby had attached himself to the cause, not to the man; and his admiration, as soon as Cromwell apostatized from his former principles, was converted into the most deadly hatred. On the expulsion of the long parliament, he joined Wildman and the Levellers: Wildman was apprehended; but Sexby eluded the vigilance of the

[Footnote 1: Clar. Pap. iii. 275, 279, 286.]

pursuivants, and traversed the country in disguise, everywhere distributing pamphlets, and raising up enemies to the protector. In the month of May, 1655, he repaired to the court at Brussels. To the archduke and the count of Fuensaldagna, he revealed[a] the real object of the secret expedition under Venables and Penn; and offered the aid of the English Levellers for the destruction of a man, the common enemy of the liberties of his country and of the rights of Spain. They were a numerous and determined band of patriots; they asked no other aid than money and the co-operation of the English and Irish troops in the Spanish service; and they were ready, for security, to deliver a strong maritime fortress into the hands of their allies. Fuensaldagna hesitated to give a positive answer before an actual rupture had taken place; and at his recommendation Sexby proceeded to Madrid. At first he was received with coldness; but the news from Hispaniola established his credit; the value of his information was now acknowledged; he obtained the sum of forty thousand crowns for the use of his party, and an assurance was given that, as soon as they should be in possession of the port which he had named, six thousand men should sail[b] from Flanders to their assistance. Sexby returned to Antwerp, transmitted several large sums to his adherents, and, though Cromwell at length obtained information of the intrigue, though the last remittance of eight hundred pounds had been seized, the intrepid Leveller crossed over[c] to England, made his arrangements with his associates, and returned[d] in safety to the continent.[1]

[Footnote 1: Clarend. Pap. iii. 271, 272, 274, 277, 281, 285. Thurloe, iv. 698; v. 37, 100, 319, 349; vi. 829-833. Carte’s Letters, ii. 85, 103.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1655. June.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Jan.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1656. June.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1656. August.]

It now became the object of the Spanish ministers, who had, at last, accepted[a] the offer of Charles, to effect an union between him and Sexby, that, by the co-operation of the Levellers with the royalists, the common enemy might more easily be subdued. Sexby declared[b] that he had no objection to a limited monarchy, provided it were settled by a free parliament. He believed that his friends would have none; but he advised that, at the commencement of the attempt, the royalists should make no mention of the king, but put forth as their object the destruction of the usurper and the restoration of public liberty. Charles, on the other hand, was willing to make use of the services of Sexby; but he did not believe that his means were equal to his professions, and he saw reason to infer, from the advice which he had given, that his associates were enemies to royalty.[1]

The negotiation between the king and the Spanish ministers began to alarm both Cromwell and Mazarin. The cardinal anticipated the defection of the British and Irish regiments in the French service; the protector foresaw that they would probably be employed in a descent upon England. It was resolved to place the duke of York in opposition to his brother. That young prince had served with his regiment during four campaigns, under the Marshal Turenne; his pay as colonel, and his pension of six thousand pistoles, amply provided for his wants; and his bravery in the field had gained him the esteem of the general, and rendered him the idol of his countrymen. Instead of banishing him, according to the secret article, from France, Mazarin, with the concurrence of Cromwell, offered him the appointment of captain-general in the

[Footnote 1: Clar. Pap. iii. 303, 311, 313, 315-317.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. July 27.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Dec. 14.]

army of Italy. By James it was accepted with gratitude and enthusiasm; but Charles commanded him to resign the office, and to repair immediately to Bruges. He obeyed; his departure[a] was followed by the resignation of most of the British and Irish officers in the French army; and, in many instances, the men followed the example of their leaders. Defeated in this instance, Cromwell and Mazarin had recourse to another intrigue, of which the secret springs are concealed from our sight. It was insinuated by some pretended friend to Don Juan, the new governor of the Netherlands, that little reliance was to be placed on James, who was sincerely attached to France, and governed by Sir John Berkeley, the secret agent of the French court, and the known enemy of Hyde and his party. In consequence, the real command of the royal forces was given to Marsin, a foreigner; an oath of fidelity to Spain was, with the consent of Charles, exacted[b] from the officers and soldiers; and in a few days James was first requested and then commanded[c] by his brother to dismiss Berkeley. The young prince did not refuse; but he immediately followed[d] Berkeley into Holland with the intention of passing through Germany into France. His departure was hailed with joy by Cromwell, who wrote a congratulatory letter to Mazarin on the success of this intrigue; it was an object of dismay to Charles, who by messengers entreated and commanded[e] James to return. At Breda, the prince appeared to hesitate. He soon afterwards retraced his steps to Bruges, on a promise that the past should be forgotten; Berkeley followed; and the triumph of the fugitives was completed by the elevation of the obnoxious favourite to the peerage.[1]

[Footnote 1: Of the flight of James, Clarendon makes no mention in his History. He even seeks to persuade his reader that the duke was compelled to leave France in consequence of the secret article (iii. 610, 614; Papers, iii. Supplement, lxxix), though it is plain from the Memoirs of James, that he left unwillingly, in obedience to the absolute command of his brother.–James, i. 270. Clarendon makes the enmity between himself and Berkeley arise from his opposition to Berkeley’s claim to the mastership of the Court of Wards (Hist. 440; Papers, Ibid.); James, from Clarendon’s advice to Lady Morton to reject Berkeley’s proposal of marriage.–James, i. 273. That the removal of Berkeley originated with Mazarin and was required by Fuensaldagna, who employed Lord Bristol and Bennet for that purpose, appears from Cromwell’s letter to the cardinal (Thurloe, v. 736); Bristol’s letter to the king (Clar. Papers, iii. 318), and Clarendon’s account of Berkeley (ibid. Supplement, lxxix). See also ibid. 317-324; and the Memoirs of James, i. 366-293.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Sept. 1.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Dec. 5.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1656. Dec. 13.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1656. Dec. 16.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1657. Jan. 13.]

We may now return to England, where the Spanish war had excited general discontent. By the friends of the commonwealth Spain was considered as their most ancient and faithful ally; the merchants complained that the trade with that country, one of the most lucrative branches of British commerce, was taken out of their hands and given to their rivals in Holland; and the saints believed that the failure of the expedition to Hispaniola was a sufficient proof that Heaven condemned this breach of the amity between the two states. It was to little purpose that Cromwell, to vindicate his conduct, published a manifesto, in which, having enumerated many real or pretended injuries and barbarities inflicted on Englishmen by the Spaniards in the West Indies, he contended that the war was just, and honourable, and necessary. His enemies, royalists, Levellers, Anabaptists, and republicans, of every description, did not suffer the clamour against him to subside; and, to his surprise, a request was made[a] by some of the captains of another fleet collected at Portsmouth, to be informed of the object of the expedition. If it were destined against Spain, their consciences would compel them to decline the

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. March 2.]

service. Spain was not the offending party; for the instances of aggression enumerated in the manifesto[a] were well known to have been no more than acts of self-defence against the depredations and encroachments of English adventurers.[1] To suppress this dangerous spirit, Desborough hastened to Portsmouth: some of the officers resigned their commissions, others were superseded, and the fleet at length sailed[b] under the joint command of Blake and Montague, of whom the latter possessed the protector’s confidence, and was probably employed as a spy on the conduct of his colleague. Their destination in the first place was Cadiz, to destroy the shipping in the harbour, and to make an attempt on that city, or the rock of Gibraltar. On their arrival,[c] they called a council of war; but no pilot could be found hardy or confident enough to guide the fleet through the winding channel of the Caraccas; and the defences of both Cadiz and Gibraltar presented too formidable an aspect to allow a hope of success without the co-operation of a military force.[2] Abandoning the attempt, the two admirals proceeded[d] to Lisbon, and extorted from the king of Portugal the ratification of the treaty formerly concluded by his ambassador, with the payment of the stipulated sum of fifty thousand pounds. Thence they returned[e] to Cadiz, passed the straits, insulted the Spaniards in Malaga, the Moors in Sallee, and after a fruitless cruise of more than two mouths, anchored[f] a second time in the Tagus.[3] It happened, that just after their arrival Captain Stayner, with a squadron of frigates, fell in[g] with a Spanish fleet of eight sail from America. Of

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iv. 571. See also 582, 589, 594. Carte’s Letters, ii. 87, 90, 92, 95.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe, v. 67, 133.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid. i. 726-730; v. 68, 113, 257, 286. Vaughan, i. 446.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. March 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. March 15.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1657. April 15.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1657. May 29.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1657. June 10.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1657. July 10.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1657. Sept. 10.]

these he destroyed four, and captured two, one of which was laden, with treasure. Montague, who came home with the prize, valued it in his despatch at two hundred thousand pounds; the public prints at two millions of ducats; and the friends of Cromwell hailed the event “as a renewed testimony of God’s presence, and some witness of his acceptance of the engagement against Spain."[1]

The equipment of this fleet had exhausted the treasury, and the protector dared not impose additional taxes on the country at a time when his right to levy the ordinary revenue was disputed in the courts of law. On the ground that the parliamentary grants were expired, Sir Peter Wentworth had refused to pay the assessment in the country, and Coney, a merchant, the duties on imports in London. The commissioners imposed fines, and distrained; the aggrieved brought actions against the collectors. Cromwell, indeed, was able to suppress these proceedings by imprisoning the counsel and intimidating their clients; but the example was dangerous; the want of money daily increased; and, by the advice of the council, he consented to call a parliament to meet on the 17th of September.[2]

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, 399, 433, 509, 524. Carte’s Letters, ii. 114. It appears from a letter of Colonel White, that the silver in pigs weighed something more than forty thousand pounds, to which were to be added some chests of wrought plate.–Thurloe, 542. Thurloe himself says all was plundered to about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, or three hundred thousand pounds sterling (557). The ducat was worth nine shillings.]

[Footnote 2: Carte’s Letters, ii. 96, 103, 109. Ludlow, ii. 80-82. Clar. Hist. iii. 649. See also A Narrative of the Proceedings in the case of Mr. G. Coney, by S. Selwood, gent., 1655. The Jews had offered Cromwell a considerable sum for permission to settle and trade in England. Commissioners were appointed to confer with their agent Manasseh Ben Israel, and a council of divines was consulted respecting the lawfulness of the project. The opposition of the merchants and theologians induced him to pause; but Mr. Ellis has shown that he afterwards took them silently under his protection.–Council Book, 14th Nov., 1655. Thurloe, iv. 321, 388. Bates, 371. Ellis, iv. 2. Marten had made an ineffectual attempt in their favour at the commencement of the commonwealth.–Wood’s Athen. Ox. iii. 1239.]

The result of the elections revealed to him the alarming secret, that the antipathy to his government was more deeply rooted, and more widely spread, than he had previously imagined. In Scotland and Ireland, indeed, the electors obsequiously chose the members recommended by the council; but these were conquered countries, bending under the yoke of military despotism. In England, the whole nation was in a ferment; pamphlets were clandestinely circulated,[a] calling on the electors to make a last struggle in defence of their liberties; and though Vane, Ludlow, and Rich were taken into custody;[1] though other republican leaders were excluded by criminal prosecutions, though the Cavaliers, the Catholics, and all who had neglected to aid the cause of the parliament, were disqualified from voting by “the instrument;” though a military force was employed in London to overawe the proceedings, and the whole influence of the government and of the army was openly exerted in the country, yet in several counties the court candidates were wholly, and in most, partially, rejected. But Cromwell was aware of the error which he had committed in the last parliament. He resolved that none of his avowed opponents should be allowed to take possession of their seats. The returns were laid before the council; the majors-general received orders to inquire into the political and religious characters of the elected; the reports of these officers

[Footnote 1: The proceedings on these occasions may be seen in Ludlow, ii. 115-123; and State Trials, v. 791.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. August 20.]

were carefully examined; and a list was made of nearly one hundred persons to be excluded under the pretext of immorality or delinquency.[1]

On the appointed day,[a] the protector, after divine service, addressed the new “representatives” in the Painted Chamber. His real object was to procure money; and with this view he sought to excite their alarm, and to inflame their religious antipathies. He enumerated the enemies of the nation. The first was the Spaniard, the natural adversary of England, because he was the slave of the pope, a child of darkness, and consequently hostile to the light, blinded by superstition, and anxious to put down the things of God; one with whom it was impossible to be at peace, and to whom, in relation to this country, might be applied the words of Scripture, “I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed.” There was also Charles Stuart, who, with the aid of the Spaniard and the duke of Neuburg, had raised a formidable army for the invasion of the island. There were the papists and Cavaliers, who had already risen, and were again ready to rise in favour of Charles Stuart. There were the Levellers, who had sent an agent to the court of Madrid, and the Fifth-monarchy-men, who sought an union with the Levellers against him, “a reconciliation between Herod and Pilate, that Christ might be put to death.” The remedies–though in this part of his speech he digressed so frequently as to appear loth to come to the remedies–were, to prosecute the war abroad, and strengthen the hands of the government at home; to lose no time in questions of inferior moment, or less urgent necessity, but to inquire into the state of the revenue, and to raise ample supplies.

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, v. 269, 317, 328, 329, 337, 341, 343, 349, 424.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Sept 17.]

In conclusion, he explained the eighty-fifth psalm, exclaiming, “If pope and Spaniard, and devil, and all set themselves against us, though they should compass us about like bees, yet in the name of the Lord we shall destroy them. The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge."[1]

From the Painted Chamber the members proceeded to the house. A military guard was stationed at the door, and a certificate from the council was required from each individual previously to his admission.[2] The excluded members complained by letter of this breach of parliamentary privilege. A strong feeling of disapprobation was manifested in several parts of the house; the clerk of the commonwealth in Chancery received orders to lay all the returns on the table; and the council was requested to state the grounds of this novel and partial proceeding. Fiennes, one of the commissioners of the great seal, replied, that the duty of inquiry into the qualifications of the members was, by the “instrument,” vested in the lords of the council, who had discharged that trust according to the best of their judgment. An animated debate followed that such was the provision in “the instrument” could not be denied;[3] but that the council

[Footnote 1: Introduction to Burton’s Diary, cxlviii-clxxix. Journals, Sept. 17. Thurloe, v. 427. That the king’s army, which Cromwell exaggerated to the amount of eight thousand men, did not reach to more than one thousand, is twice asserted by Thurloe himself, 605, 672.]

[Footnote 2: The certificates which had been distributed to the favoured members were in this form:–"Sept. 17, 1656. County of ––. These are to certify that A.B. is returned by indenture one of the knights to serve in this parliament for the said county, and is approved by his highness’s council. Nath. Taylor. clerk of the commonwealth in Chancery."]

[Footnote 3: In the draught of the “instrument,” as it was amended in the last parliament, the jurisdiction of the council in this matter was confined to the charge of delinquency, and its decision was not final, but subject to the approbation of the house.–Journals, 1654, Nov. 29. But that draught had not received the protector’s assent.]

should decide on secret information, and without the knowledge of the individuals who were interested, seemed contrary to the first principles of justice. The court, however, could now command the votes of the majority, and a motion that the house should pass to the business of the nation was carried by dint of numbers. Several members, to show their disapprobation, voluntarily seceded, and those, who had been excluded by force, published[a] in bold and indignant language an appeal to the justice of the people.[1]

Having weeded out his enemies, Cromwell had no reason to fear opposition to his pleasure. The house passed a resolution declaratory of the justice and policy of the war against Spain, and two acts, by one of which were annulled all claims of Charles Stuart and his family to the crown, by the other were provided additional safeguards for the person of the chief governor. With the same unanimity, a supply of four hundred thousand pounds was voted; but when the means of raising the money came under consideration, a great diversity of opinion prevailed. Some proposed to inquire into the conduct of the treasury, some to adopt improvements in the collection of the revenue, others recommended an augmentation of the excise, and others a more economical system of expenditure. In the discussion of these questions and of private bills, week after week, month after month, was tediously

[Footnote 1: The nature of the charges against the members may be seen in Thurloe, v. 371, 383. In the Journals, seventy-nine names only are mentioned (Journals, 1656, Sept. 19), but ninety-eight are affixed to the appeal in Whitelock, 651-653. In both lists occur the names of Anthony Ashley Cooper, who afterwards became Cromwell’s intimate adviser, and of several others who subsequently solicited and obtained certificates.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Sept. 22.]

and fruitlessly consumed; though the time limited by the instrument was past, still the money bill had made no progress; and, to add to the impatience of Cromwell, a new subject was accidentally introduced, which, as it strongly interested the passions, absorbed for some time the attention of the house.[1]

At the age of nineteen, George Fox, the son of a weaver of Drayton, with a mind open to religious impressions, had accompanied some of his friends to a neighbouring fair. The noise, the revelry, and the dissipation which he witnessed, led him to thoughts of seriousness and self-reproach; and the enthusiast heard, or persuaded himself that he heard, an inward voice, calling on him to forsake his parents’ house, and to make himself a stranger in his own country. Docile to the celestial admonition, he began to lead a solitary life, wandering from place to place, and clothed from head to foot in garments of leather. He read the Scriptures attentively, studied the mysterious visions in the Apocalypse, and was instructed in the real meaning by Christ and the Spirit. At first, doubts and fears haunted his mind, but, when the time of trial was past, he found himself inebriated with spiritual delights, and received an assurance that his name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. At the same time, he was forbidden by the Lord to employ the plural pronoun you in addressing a single person, to bid his neighbour good even or good-morrow, or to uncover the head, or scrape with the leg to any mortal being. At length, the Spirit moved him to

[Footnote 1: Journals, passim; Thurloe, v. 472, 494, 524, 584, 672, 694. See note (H).]

impart to others the heavenly doctrines which he had learned. In 1647, he preached for the first time at Duckenfield, not far from Manchester; but the most fruitful scene of his labours was at Swarthmoor, near Ulverston. His disciples followed his example; the word of the Spirit was given to women as well as men; and the preachers of both sexes, as well as many of their followers, attracted the notice and the censures of the civil magistrate. Their refusal to uncover before the bench was usually punished with a fine, on the ground of contempt; their religious objection to take an oath, or to pay tithes, exposed them to protracted periods of imprisonment; and they were often and severely whipped as vagrants, because, for the purpose of preaching, they were accustomed to wander through the country. To these sufferings, as is always the case with persecuted sects, calumny was added; and they were falsely charged with denying the Trinity, with disowning the authority of government, and with attempting to debauch the fidelity of the soldiers. Still, in defiance of punishment and calumny, the Quakers, so they were called, persevered in their profession; it was their duty, they maintained, to obey the influence of the Holy Spirit; and they submitted with the most edifying resignation to the consequences, however painful they might be to flesh and blood.[1]

Of the severities so wantonly exercised against these religionists it is difficult to speak with temper; yet it must be confessed that their doctrine of spiritual impulses was likely to lead its disciples of either sex, whose minds were weak and imaginations active, to extravagances at the same time ludicrous and

[Footnote 1: Fox, Journal, i. 29, et seq.; Sewel, i. 24, 31, 34, passim.]

revolting.[1] Of this, James Naylor furnished a striking instance. He had served in the army, and had been quarter-master in Lambert’s troop, from which office he was discharged on account of sickness.[2] He afterwards became a disciple of George Fox, and a leading preacher in the capital; but he “despised the power of God” in his master, by whom he was reprimanded, and listened to the delusive flattery of some among his female hearers, who were so captivated with his manner and appearance; as to persuade themselves that Christ was incorporated in the new apostle. It was not for him to gainsay what the Spirit had revealed to them. He believed himself to be set as a sign of the coming of Christ; and he accepted the worship which was paid to him, not as offered to James Naylor, but to Christ dwelling in James Naylor. Under this impression, during part of his progress to Bristol,[a] and at his entrance into that city, he rode on horseback with a man walking bareheaded before him; two females holding his bridle on each side, and others attending him, one of whom, Dorcas Erbury, maintained that he had raised her to life after she had

[Footnote 1: “William Simpson was moved of the Lord to go at several times, for three years, naked and barefoot before them, as a sign unto them in markets, courts, towns, cities, to priests’ houses, and to great men’s houses; so shall they all be stripped naked as he was stripped naked. And sometimes he was moved to put on hair sackcloth, and to besmear his face, and to tell them so would the Lord besmear all their religion, as he was besmeared. Great sufferings did that poor man undergo, sore whipping with horsewhips and coachwhips on his bare body, grievous stonings and imprisonments in three years time before the king came in, that they might have taken warning, but they could not."–Fox; Journal, i. 572.]

[Footnote 2: Lambert spoke of him with kindness during the debate: “He was two years my quarter-master, and a very useful person. We parted with him with very great regret. He was a man of very unblameable life and conversation."–Burton’s Diary, i. 33.]

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

been dead the space of two days. These occasionally threw scarfs and handkerchiefs before him, and sang, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Hosts: Hosanna in the highest; holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Israel.” They were apprehended by the mayor, and, sent[a] to London to be examined by a committee of the parliament. The house, having heard the report of the committee, voted that Naylor was guilty of blasphemy. The next consideration was his punishment; the more zealous moved that he should be put to death; but after a debate which continued during eleven days, the motion was lost[b] by a division of ninety-six to eighty-two. Yet the punishment to which he was doomed ought to have satisfied the most bigoted of his adversaries. He stood[c] with his neck in the pillory for two hours, and was whipped from Palace Yard to the Old Exchange, receiving three hundred and ten lashes in the way. Some days later[d] he was again placed in the pillory; and the letter B for blasphemer was burnt on his forehead, and his tongue was bored with a red-hot iron.[1] From London the house ordered him to be conducted[e] to Bristol, the place of his offence. He entered at Lamford’s Gate, riding on the bare back of a horse with his face to the tail; dismounted at Rockley Gate, and was successively whipped[f] in five parts of the city. His admirers, however, were not ashamed of the martyr. On every

[Footnote 1: “This day I and B. went to see Naylor’s tongue bored through, and him marked on the forehead. He put out his tongue very willingly, but shrinked a little when the iron came upon his forehead. He was pale when he came out of the pillory, but high-coloured after tongue-boring. He behaved himself very handsomely and patiently” (p. 266 in Burton’s Diary, where the report of these debates on Naylor occupies one hundred and forty pages).]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Dec. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Dec. 16.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1656. Dec. 18.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1656. Dec. 27.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1657. Jan. 13.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1657. Jan. 17.]

occasion they attended him bareheaded; they kissed and sucked his wounds; and they chanted with him passages from the Scriptures. On his return to London[a] he was committed to solitary confinement, without pen, ink, or paper, or fire, or candle, and with no other sustenance than what he might earn by his own industry. Here the delusion under which he laboured gradually wore away; he acknowledged that his mind had been in darkness, the consequence and punishment of spiritual pride; and declared that, inasmuch as he had given advantage to the evil spirit, he took shame to himself. By “the rump parliament” he was afterwards discharged; and the society of Friends, by whom he had been disowned, admitted him again on proof of his repentance. But his sufferings had injured his health. In 1660 he was found in a dying state in a field in Huntingdonshire, and shortly afterwards expired.[1]

While the parliament thus spent its time in the prosecution of an offence which concerned it not, Cromwell anxiously revolved in his own mind a secret project of the first importance to himself and the country. To his ambition, it was not sufficient that he actually possessed the supreme authority, and exercised it with more despotic sway than any of his legitimate predecessors; he still sought to mount a step higher, to encircle his brows with a diadem, and to be addressed with the title of majesty. It could not be, that vanity alone induced him to hazard the attachment of his friends for the sake of mere parade and empty sound. He had rendered the more modest title of protector as great and as formidable as that of

[Footnote 1: Journals, Dec. 5-17; 1659, Sept. 8. Sewel, 260-273, 283, 393. State Trials, v. 810-842. Merc. Polit. No. 34.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Feb. 22.]

king, and, though uncrowned, had treated on a footing of equality with the proudest of the crowned heads in Europe. It is more probable that he was led by considerations of interest. He knew that the nation was weary of change; he saw with what partiality men continued to cling to the old institutions; and he, perhaps, trusted that the establishment of an hereditary monarchy, with a house of peers, though under a new dynasty, and with various modifications, might secure the possession of the crown, not only to himself, but also to his posterity. However that may be, he now made the acquisition of the kingly dignity the object of his policy. For this purpose he consulted first with Thurloe, and afterwards[a] with St. John and Pierpoint;[1] and the manner in which he laboured to gratify his ambition strikingly displays that deep dissimulation and habitual hypocrisy, which form the distinguishing traits of his character.

The first opportunity of preparing the public mind for this important alteration was furnished by the recent proceedings against Naylor, which had provoked considerable discontent, not on account of the severity of the punishment (for rigid notions of religion had subdued the common feelings of humanity), but on account of the judicial authority exercised by the house–an authority which appeared subversive of the national liberties. For of what use was the right of trial, if the parliament could set aside the ordinary courts of law at its pleasure, and inflict arbitrary punishment for any supposed offence without the usual forms of inquiry? As long as the question was before the house, Cromwell remained silent; but when the first part of the judgment had been executed

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, v. 694; vi. 20, 37.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Dec. 9.]

on the unfortunate sufferer, he came forward in quality of guardian of the public rights, and concluded a letter to the speaker[a] with these words: “We, being intrusted in the present government on behalf of the people of these nations, and not knowing how far such proceedings (wholly without us) may extend in the consequences of it, do desire that the house will let us know the ground and reason whereupon they have proceeded.” This message struck the members[b] with amazement. Few among them were willing to acknowledge] that they had exceeded their real authority; all dreaded to enter into a contest with the protector. The discussion lasted three days; every expedient that had been suggested was ultimately rejected; and the debate was adjourned to a future day,[c] when, with the secret connivance of Cromwell, no motion was made to resume it.[1] He had already obtained his object. The thoughts of men had been directed to the defects of the existing constitution, and to the necessity of establishing checks on the authority of the house, similar to those which existed under the ancient government.

In a few days[d] a bill was introduced which, under the pretence of providing money for the support of the militia, sought to confirm the past proceedings of the majors-general, and to invest them with legal authority for the future. The protector was aware that the country longed to be emancipated from the control of these military governors; for the attainment of his great object it was his interest to stand well with all classes of people; and, therefore, though he was the author of this unpopular institution, though in his speech at the opening of the parliament he had been

[Footnote: Burton’s Diary, i. 246-258, 260-264, 270-282, 296.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Dec. 25.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Dec. 26.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1657. Jan. 2.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1657. Jan. 7.]

eloquent in its praise, though he had declared that, after his experience of its utility, “if the thing were undone he would do it again;” he now not only abandoned the majors-general to their fate, he even instructed his dependants in the house to lead the opposition against them. As soon as the bill was read a first time, his son-in-law, Claypole, who seldom spoke, rose to express his dissent, and was followed by the Lord Broghill, known as the confidential counsellor of the protector. The decimation-tax was denounced as unjust, because it was a violation of the act of oblivion, and the conduct of the majors-general was compared to the tyranny of the Turkish bashaws. These officers defended themselves with spirit; their adversaries had recourse to personal crimination;[1] and the debate, by successive adjournments, occupied the attention of the house during eleven days. In conclusion, the bill was rejected[a] by a numerous majority and the majors-general, by the desertion of Cromwell, found themselves exposed to actions at law for the exercise of those powers which they had accepted in obedience to his commands.[2]

While this question was still pending, it chanced that a plot against the protector’s life, of which the

[Footnote 1: Among others, Harry Cromwell, the protector’s nephew, said he was ready to name some among the majors-general who had acted oppressively. It was supposed that these words would bring him into disgrace at court. “But Harry,” says a private letter, “goes last night to his highness, and stands to what he had said manfully and wisely; and, to make it appear he spake not without book, had his black book and papers ready to make good what he said. His highness answered him in raillery, and took a rich scarlet cloak from his back, and gloves from his hands, and gave them to Harry, who strutted with his new cloak and gloves into the house this day."–Thurloe, iv. 20.]

[Footnote 2: Journals, Jan. 7, 8, 12, 19, 20, 21, 28, 29. Burton’s Diary, 310-320.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Jan. 29.]

particulars will be subsequently noticed, was discovered and defeated. The circumstance furnished an opportunity favourable to his views; and the re-establishment of “kingship” was mentioned in the house, not as a project originating from him, but as the accidental and spontaneous suggestion of others. Goffe having expressed[a] a hope that parliament would provide for the preservation of the protector’s person, Ashe, the member for Somersetshire, exclaimed, ’I would add something more–that he would be pleased to take upon him the government according to the ancient constitution. That would put an end to these plots, and fix our liberties and his safety on an old and sure foundation.” The house was taken by surprise: many reprehended the temerity of the speaker; by many his suggestion was applauded and approved. He had thrown it out to try the temper of his colleagues; and the conversation which it provoked, served to point out to Cromwell the individuals from whom he might expect to meet with opposition.[1]

The detection of the conspiracy was followed[b] by an address of congratulation to the protector, who on his part gave to the members a princely entertainment at Whitehall. At their next meeting[c] the question was regularly brought before them by Alderman Pack, who boldly undertook a task which the timidity of Whitelock had declined. Rising in his place, he offered to the house a paper, of which he gave no other explanation than that it had been placed in his hands, and “tended to the settlement of the country.” Its purport, however, was already known, or conjectured; several officers instantly started from their seats, and

[Footnote 1: Burton’s Diary, 362-366.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Jan. 19.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. Feb. 20.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1657. Feb. 23.]

Pack was violently borne down to the bar. But, on the restoration of order, he found himself supported by Broghill, Whitelock, and Glynn, and, with them, by the whole body of the lawyers, and the dependants of the court. The paper was read; it was entitled, “An humble Address and Remonstrance," protesting against the existing form of government, which depended for security on the odious institution of majors-general, and providing that the protector should assume a higher title, and govern, as had been done in times past, with the advice of two houses of parliament. The opposition (it consisted of the chief officers, the leading members in the council, and a few representatives of counties) threw every obstacle in the way of its supporters; but they were overpowered by numbers: the house debated each article in succession, and the whole project was finally adopted,[a] but with the omission of the remonstrance, and under the amended title of the “Humble Petition and Advice."[1]

As long as the question was before parliament, Cromwell bore himself in public as if he were unconcerned in the result; but his mind was secretly harassed by the reproaches of his friends and by the misgivings of his conscience. He saw for the first time marshalled against him the men who had stood by him in his different fortunes, and whom he had bound to his interest by marriages and preferment. At their head was Lambert, the commander of the army in England, the idol of the military, and second only to himself in authority. Then came Desborough, his brother-in-law, the major-general in five counties, and Fleetwood, the husband of his daughter Bridget, and

[Footnote 1: Journals, Jan. 19, Feb. 21, 23, 24, 25. Thurloe, vi. 74, 78. Whitelock, 665, 666. Ludlow, ii. 128. Burton’s Diary, iii. 160.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. March 25.] lord-deputy of Ireland.[1] Lambert, at a private meeting of officers, proposed to bring up five regiments of cavalry, and compel the house to confirm both the “instrument,” and the establishment of majors-general. This bold counsel was approved; but the next morning his colleagues, having sought the Lord in prayer, resolved to postpone its execution till they had ascertained the real intention of the protector; and Lambert, warned by their indecision, took no longer any part in their meeting, but watched in silence the course of events.[2] The other two, on the contrary, persevered in the most active opposition; nor did they suffer themselves to be cajoled by the artifices of the protector, who talked in their hearing with contempt of the crown as a mere bauble, and of Pack and his supporters as children, whom it might be prudent to indulge with a “rattle."[3]

The marked opposition of these men had given energy to the proceedings of the inferior officers, who formed themselves into a permanent council under the very eyes of Cromwell, passed votes in disapprobation of the proposed alteration, and to the number of one hundred waited on him to acquaint him with their sentiments.[4] He replied,[a] that there was a time when they felt no objection to the title of king; for the army had offered it to him with the original instrument of government. He had rejected it then, and had no greater love for it now. He had always been

[Footnote 1: Desborough and Fleetwood passed from the inns of court to the army. The first married Anne, the protector’s sister; the second, Bridget his daughter, and the widow of Ireton. Suspicious of his principles, Cromwell kept him in England, while Henry Cromwell, with the rank of major-general, held the government of Ireland.–Noble, i. 103; ii. 243, 336, 338.]

[Footnote 2: Clar. Pap. iii. 333.]

[Footnote 3: Ludlow, ii. 131.]

[Footnote 4: Thurloe, vi. 93, 94, 101, 219.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Feb. 28.] the “drudge” of the officers, had done the work which they imposed on him, and had sacrificed his opinion to theirs. If the present parliament had been called, it was in opposition to his individual judgment; if the bill, which proved so injurious to the majors-general, had been brought into the house, it was contrary to his advice. But the officers had overrated their own strength: the country called for an end to all arbitrary proceedings; the punishment of Naylor proved the necessity of a check on the judicial proceedings of the parliament, and that check could only be procured by investing the protector with additional authority. This answer made several proselytes; but the majority adhered pertinaciously to their former opinion.[1]

Nor was this spirit confined to the army; in all companies men were heard to maintain that, to set up monarchy again was to pronounce condemnation on themselves, to acknowledge themselves guilty of all the blood which had been shed to put it down. But nowhere did the proposal excite more cordial abhorrence than in the conventicles of the Fifth-monarchy-men. In their creed the protectorate was an impiety, kingship a sacrilegious assumption of the authority belonging to the only King, the Lord Jesus. They were his witnesses foretold in the Apocalypse; they had now slept their sleep of three years and a half; the time was come when it was their duty to rise and avenge the cause of the Lord. In the conventicles of the capital the lion of Judah was chosen for their military device; arms were prepared, and the day of rising was fixed. They amounted, indeed, to no more

[Footnote 1: For this extraordinary speech we are indebted to the industry of Mr. Rutt.–Burton’s Diary, i. 382.] than eighty men; but they were the champions of Him who, “though they might be as a worm, would enable them to thrash mountains.” The projects of these fanatics did not escape the penetrating eye of Thurloe, who, for more than a year, had watched all their motions, and was in possession of all their secrets. Their proceedings were regulated by five persons, each of whom presided in a separate conventicle, and kept his followers in ignorance of the names of the brethren associated under the four remaining leaders. A fruitless attempt was made to unite them with the Levellers. But the Levellers trusted too much to worldly wisdom; the fanatics wished to begin the strife, and to leave the issue to their Heavenly King. The appointed day[a] came: as they proceeded to the place of rendezvous, the soldiers of the Lord were met by the soldiers of the protector; twenty were made prisoners; the rest escaped, with the loss of their horses and arms, which were seized in the depôt.[1]

In the mean while the new form of government had received the sanction of the house. Cromwell, when it was laid before him, had recourse to his usual arts, openly refusing that for which he ardently longed, and secretly encouraging his friends to persist, that his subsequent acquiescence might appear to proceed from a sense of duty, and not from the lust of power. At first,[b] in reply to a long and tedious harangue from the speaker, he told them of “the consternation of his mind” at the very thought of the burden; requested time “to ask counsel of God and his own heart;” and, after a pause of three days,[c] replied that, inasmuch as the new constitution provided the best securities for

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 655. Thurloe, vi. 163, 184-188.]

[Sidenote c: A.D. 1657. April 3.] [Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. April 9.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. March 31.]

the civil and religious liberties of the people, it had his unqualified approbation; but, as far as regarded himself, “he did not find it in his duty to God and the country to undertake the charge under the new title which was given him."[1] His friends refused to be satisfied with this answer: the former vote was renewed,[a] and the house, waiting on him in a body, begged to remind him, that it was his duty to listen to the advice of the great council of the three nations. He meekly replied, that he still had his doubts on one point; and that, till such doubts were removed, his conscience forbade him to assent; but that he was willing to explain his reasons, and to hear theirs, and to hope that in a friendly conference the means might be discovered of reconciling their opposite opinions, and of determining on that which might be most beneficial to the country.[2]

In obedience to this intimation, a committee of the house was appointed to receive and solve the scruples of the protector. To their surprise, they found him in no haste to enter on the discussion. Sometimes he was indisposed, and could not admit them; often he was occupied with important business; on three occasions they obtained an interview. He wished to argue the question on the ground of expedience. If the power were the same under a protector, where, he asked, could be the use of a king? The title would offend men, who, by their former services, had earned the right to have even their prejudices respected. Neither was he sure that the re-establishment of royalty might not be a falling off from that cause in

[Footnote 1: Merc. Pol. No. 355. Mr. Rutt has discovered and inserted both speeches at length in Burton’s Diary, i. 397-416.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe, i. 751, 756. Parl. Hist. iii. 1493-1495. Burton’s Diary, i. 417.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. April 8.]

which they had engaged, and from that Providence by which they had been so marvellously supported. It was true, that the Scripture sanctioned the dignity of king; but to the testimony of Scripture might be opposed “the visible hand of God,” who, in the late contest, “had eradicated kingship." It was gravely replied, that Protector was a new, King an ancient, title; the first had no definite meaning, the latter was interwoven with all our laws and institutions; the powers of one were unknown and liable to alteration, those of the other ascertained and limited by the law of custom and the statute law. The abolition of royalty did not originally enter into the contemplation of parliament–the objection was to the person, not to the office–it was afterwards effected by a portion only of the representative body; whereas, its restoration was now sought by a greater authority–the whole parliament of the three kingdoms. The restoration was, indeed, necessary, both for his security and theirs; as by law all the acts of a king in possession, but only of a king, are good and valid. Some there were who pretended that king and chief magistrate were synonymous; but no one had yet ventured to substitute one word for the other in the Scriptures, where so many covenants, promises, and precepts are annexed to the title of king. Neither could the “visible hand of God” be alleged in the present case; for the visible hand of God had eradicated the government by a single person as clearly as that by a king. Cromwell promised to give due attention to these arguments; to his confidential friends he owned that his objections were removed; and, at the same time, to enlighten the ignorance of the public, he ordered[a] a report of the conferences to be published.[1]

[Footnote 1: See Monarchy asserted to be the most Ancient and Legal Form of Government, &c. 1660; Walker, Researches, Historical and Antiquarian, i. 1-27; Burton’s Diary, App. ii. 493; Thurloe, vi. 819; Whitelock, 565; Journals, April 9-21.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. April 20.]

The protector’s, however, was not one of those minds that resolve quickly and execute promptly. He seldom went straight forwards to his object, but preferred a winding circuitous route. He was accustomed to view and review the question, in all its bearings and possible consequences, and to invent fresh causes of delay, till he occasionally incurred the suspicion of irresolution and timidity.[1] Instead of returning a plain and decisive answer, he sought to protract the time by requesting[a] the sense of the house on different passages in the petition, on the intended amount of the annual income, and on the ratification of the ordinances issued by himself, and of the acts passed by the little parliament. By this contrivance the respite of a fortnight was obtained, during which he frequently consulted with Broghill, Pierpoint, Whitelock, Wolseley, and Thurloe.[2] At length it was whispered at court that the protector had resolved to accept the title; and immediately Lambert, Fleetwood, and Desborough made[b] to him, in their own names and those of several others, the unpleasant declaration, that they must resign their commissions, and sever themselves from his councils and service for ever. His irresolution returned: he had promised the house to give a final answer the next morning;[c] in the morning he postponed it to five in the evening, and at that hour to

[Footnote 1: “Every wise man out of doors wonders at the delay,” Thurloe, vi. 243; also Claren. Papers, iii. 339.]

[Footnote 2: “In these meetings,” says Whitelock, “laying aside his greatness, he would be exceedingly familiar with us, and, by way of diversion, would make verses with us, and every one must try his fancy. He commonly called for tobacco, pipes, and a candle, and would now and then take tobacco himself. Then he would fall again to his serious and great business” (656).]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. April 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. May 6.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1657. May 7.]

the following day. The officers observed, and resolved to profit by, the impression which they had made; and early in the morning[a] Colonel Mason, with six-and-twenty companions, offered to the parliament a petition, in which they stated that the object of those with whom the measure originated was the ruin of the lord-general and of the best friends of the people, and conjured the house to support the good old cause in defence of which the petitioners were ready to sacrifice their lives. This bold step subdued the reluctance of the protector. He abandoned the lofty hopes to which he had so long, so pertinaciously clung, despatched Fleetwood to the house to prevent a debate, and shortly afterwards summoned the members to meet him at Whitehall. Addressing them with more than his usual embarrassment, he said, that neither his own reflections nor the reasoning of the committee had convinced him that he ought to accept the title of king. If he were to accept it, it would be doubtingly; if he did it doubtingly, it would not be of faith; and if it were not of faith, it would be a sin. “Wherefore,” he concluded, “I cannot undertake this government with that title of king, and this is mine answer to this great and weighty business."[1]

Thus ended the mighty farce which for more than two months held in suspense the hopes and fears of three nations. But the friends of Cromwell resumed the subject in parliament. It was observed that he had not refused to administer the government under any other title; the name of king was expunged for that of protector; and with this and a few more amendments, the “humble petition and advice"[b] received

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vi. 261, 267, 281, 291. Journals, April 21-May 12. Parl. Hist. iii. 1498-1502. Ludlow, ii. 131. Clar. Papers, iii. 342.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. May 8.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. May 25.]

the sanction of the chief magistrate. The inauguration followed.[a] On the platform, raised at the upper end of Westminster Hall, and in front of a magnificent chair of state, stood the protector; while the speaker, with his assistants, invested him with a purple mantle lined with ermine, presented him with a Bible superbly gilt and embossed, girt a sword by his side, and placed a sceptre of massive gold in his hand. As soon as the oath had been administered, Manton, his chaplain, pronounced a long and fervent prayer for a blessing on the protector, the parliament, and the people. Rising from prayer, Cromwell seated himself in a chair: on the right, at some distance, sat the French, on the left, the Dutch ambassador; on one side stood the earl of Warwick with the sword of the commonwealth, on the other, the lord mayor, with that of the city; and behind arranged themselves the members of the protector’s family, the lords of the council, and Lisle, Whitelock, and Montague, each of the three bearing a drawn sword. At a signal given, the trumpets sounded; the heralds proclaimed the style of the new sovereign; and the spectators shouted, “Long live his highness; God save the lord-protector.” He rose immediately, bowed to the ambassadors, and walked in state through the hall to his carriage.[1]

That which distinguished the present from the late form of government was the return which it made towards the more ancient institutions of the country.

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 622. Merc. Polit. No. 369. Parl. Hist. iii. 1514, and Prestwick’s Relation, App. to Burton’s Diary, ii. 511. Most of the officers took the oath of fidelity to the protector. Lambert refused, and resigned his commissions, which brought him about six thousand pounds per annum. Cromwell, however, assigned to him a yearly pension of two thousand pounds.–Ludlow, ii. 136.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. June 26.]

That return, indeed, had wrung from Cromwell certain concessions repugnant to his feelings and ambition, but to which he probably was reconciled by the consideration that in the course of a few years they might be modified or repealed. The supreme authority was vested in the protector; but, instead of rendering it hereditary in his family, the most which he could obtain was the power of nominating his immediate successor. The two houses of parliament were restored; but, as if it were meant to allude to his past conduct, he was bound to leave to the House of Commons the right of examining the qualifications and determining the claims of the several representatives. To him was given the power of nominating the members of the “other house” (he dared not yet term it the House of Lords); but, in the first instance, the persons so nominated were to be approved by the house of representatives, and afterwards by the other house itself. The privilege of voting by proxy was abolished, and the right of judicature restrained within reasonable limits. In the appointment of councillors, the great officers of state, and the commanders of the forces, many of the restrictions sought to be introduced by the long parliament were enforced. In point of religion, it was enacted that a confession of faith should be agreed upon between the protector and the two houses; but that dissenters from it should enjoy liberty of conscience, and the free exercise of their worship, unless they should reject the mystery of the Trinity, or the inspiration of the Scriptures, or profess prelatic, or popish, or blasphemous doctrines. The yearly revenue was fixed at one million three hundred thousand pounds, of which no part was to be raised by a land-tax; and of this sum one million was devoted to the support of the army and navy, and three hundred thousand pounds to the expenses of the civil list; but, on the remonstrance of the protector, that with so small a revenue it would be impossible to continue the war, an additional grant of six hundred thousand pounds was voted for the three following years. After the inauguration, the Commons adjourned during six months, that time might be allowed for the formation of the “other house."[1]

Having brought this important session of parliament to its conclusion, we may now revert to the miscellaneous occurrences of the year, 1. Had much credit been given to the tales of spies and informers, neither Cromwell nor his adversary, Charles Stuart, would have passed a day without the dread of assassination. But they knew that such persons are wont to invent and exaggerate, in order to enhance the value of their services; and each had, therefore, contented, himself with taking no other than ordinary precautions for his security.[2] Cromwell, however, was aware of the fierce, unrelenting disposition of the Levellers; the moment he learned that they were negotiating with the exiled king and the Spaniards, he concluded that they had sworn his destruction; and to oppose their attempts on his life, he selected[a] one hundred and sixty brave and trusty men from the different regiments of cavalry, whom he divided into eight

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 657, 663. Parl. Hist. iii. 1502-1511. In a catalogue printed at the time, the names were given of one hundred and eighty-two members of this parliament, who, it was pretended, “were sons, kinsmen, servants, and otherwise engaged unto, and had places of profit, offices, salaries, and advantages, under the protector,” sharing annually among them out of the public money the incredible sum of one million sixteen thousand three hundred and seventeen pounds, sixteen shillings, and eightpence.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe’s voluminous papers abound with offers and warnings connected with this subject.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Feb. 28.]

troops, directing that two of these troops in rotation should be always on duty near his person.[1] Before the end of the year, he learned[a] that a plot had actually been organized, that assassins had been engaged, and that his death was to be the signal for a simultaneous rising of the Levellers and royalists, and the sailing of a hostile expedition from the coast of Flanders. The author of this plan was Sexby; nor will it be too much to assert that it was not only known, but approved by the advisers of Charles at Bruges. They appointed an agent to accompany the chief of the conspirators; they prepared to take every advantage of the murder; they expressed an unfeigned sorrow for the failure of the attempt. Indeed, Clarendon, the chief minister (he had lately been made lord chancellor), was known to hold, that the assassination of a successful rebel or usurper was an act of justifiable and meritorious loyalty.[2]

Sexby had found a fit instrument for his purpose in Syndercombe, a man of the most desperate courage,

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iv. 567. Carte, Letters, ii. 81. Their pay was four and sixpence per day.–Ibid. In addition, if we may believe Clarendon, he had always several beds prepared in different chambers, so that no one knew in what particular room he would pass the night.–Hist. iii. 646.]

[Footnote 2: That both Charles and Clarendon knew of the design, and interested themselves in its execution, is plain from several letters.–Clar. Pap. iii. 311, 312, 315, 324, 327, 331, 335. Nor can there be a doubt that Clarendon approved of such murders. It is, indeed, true that, speaking of the murder of Ascham, when he was at Madrid, he says that he and his colleague, Lord Cottington, abhorred it.–Clar. Hist. iii. 351. Yet, from his private correspondence, it appears that he wrote papers in defence of the murderers (Clar. Pap. iii. 21, 23), recommended them as “brave fellows, and honest gentlemen” (ibid. 235, 236), and observed to Secretary Nicholas, that it was a sad and grievous thing that the princess royal had not supplied Middleton with money, “but a worse and baser thing that any man should appear in any part beyond sea under the character of an agent from the rebels, and not have his throat cut."–Ibid. 144, 1652, Feb. 20.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Dec. 9.]

formerly a quarter-master in the army in Scotland, and dismissed on account of his political principles. Having admitted a man of the name of Cecil as his associate, he procured seven guns which would carry a number of balls, hired lodgings in places near which the protector was likely to pass, bribed Took, one of the life-guardsmen, to give information of his motions, and bought the fleetest horses for the purpose of escape. Yet all his designs were frustrated, either by the multitude of the spectators, or the vigilance of the guards, or by some unforeseen and unlucky accident. At the persuasion of Wildman he changed his plan;[a] and on the 9th of January, about six in the evening, entered Whitehall with his two accomplices; he unlocked the door of the chapel, deposited in a pew a basket filled with inflammable materials, and lighted a match, which, it was calculated, would burn six hours. His intention, was that the fire should break out about midnight; but Took had already revealed the secret to Cromwell, and all three were apprehended as they closed the door of the chapel. Took saved his life by the discovery, Cecil by the confession of all that he knew. But Syndercombe had wisely concealed from them the names of his associates and the particulars of the plan. They knew not that certain persons within the palace had undertaken to murder the protector during the confusion likely to be caused by the conflagration, and that such measures had been taken as to render his escape almost impossible. Syndercombe was tried; the judges held that the title of protector was in law synonymous with that of king; and he was condemned[b] to suffer the penalties of high treason. His obstinate silence defeated the anxiety of the protector to procure further information respecting

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Jan. 9.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. Feb. 9.]

the plot; and Syndercombe, whether he laid violent hands on himself, or was despatched by the order of government, was found dead[a] in his bed, a few hours before the time appointed for his execution.[1]

2. The failure of this conspiracy would not have prevented the intended invasion by the royal army from Flanders, had not Charles been disappointed in his expectations from another quarter. No reasoning, no entreaty, could quicken the characteristic slowness of the Spanish ministers. Neither fleet nor money was ready; the expedition was postponed from month to month; the season passed away, and the design was deferred till the return of the long and darksome nights of winter. But Sexby’s impatience refused to submit to these delays; his fierce and implacable spirit could not be satisfied without the life of the protector. A tract had been recently printed in Holland, entitled “Killing no Murder,” which, from the powerful manner in which it was written, made a deeper impression on the public mind than any other literary production of the age. After an address to

[Footnote 1: See Thurloe, v. 774-777; vi. 7, 53; Merc. Polit. No. 345; Bates, Elen. 388; Clarendon Pap. iii. 324, 325, 327; Claren. Hist. iii. 646; and the several authorities copied in the State Trials, v. 842-871. The body was opened, and the surgeons declared that there existed no trace of poison in the stomach, but that the brain was inflamed and distended with blood in a greater degree than is usual in apoplexy, or any known disease. The jury, by the direction of the lord chief justice, returned a verdict that “he, the said Miles Syndercombe, a certain poisoned powder through the nose of him, the said Miles, into the head of him, the said Miles, feloniously, wilfully, and of malice aforethought, did snuff and draw; by reason of which snuffing and drawing so as aforesaid, into the head of him, the said Miles, he the said Miles, himself did mortally poison,” &c.–Ibid. 859. The Levellers and royalists maintained that he was strangled by order of Cromwell.–Clar. iii. 647.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Feb. 13.]

Cromwell, and another to the army, both conceived in a strain of the most poignant and sarcastic irony, it proceeds to discuss the three questions: Whether the lord-protector be a tyrant? Whether it be lawful to do justice on him by killing him? and, Whether this, if it be lawful, will prove of benefit to the commonwealth? Having determined each question in the affirmative, it concludes with an eulogium on the bold and patriotic spirit of Syndercombe, the rival of Brutus and Cato, and a warning that “longus illum sequitur ordo idem petentium decus;” that the protector’s own muster-roll contains the names of those who aspire to the honour of delivering their country; that his highness is not secure at his table, or in his bed; that death is at his heels wherever he moves, and that though his head reaches the clouds, he shall perish like his own dung, and they that have seen him shall exclaim, Where is he? Of this tract thousands of copies were sent by Sexby into England; and, though many were seized by the officers, yet many found their way into circulation.[1] Having obtained a sum of one thousand four hundred crowns, he followed the books to organize new plots against the life of the protector. But by this time he was too well known. All his steps in Holland were watched; his departure for England was announced; emissaries were despatched in every direction; and within a few weeks he was apprehended and incarcerated in the Tower. There he discovered, probably feigned, symptoms of insanity. To questions respecting himself[a] he answered with apparent frankness and truth, that he had intrigued with the Spanish court, that he had supplied Syndercombe with money, that he had written the

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vi. 315.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Oct. 10.]

tract, “Killing no Murder;” nor was there, he said, any thing unlawful in these things, for the protectorate had not then been established by any authority of parliament; but, whenever he was interrogated respecting the names and plans of his associates, his answers became wild and incoherent, more calculated to mislead than to inform, to create suspicion of the friends, than to detect the machinations of the enemies, of the government. He was never brought to trial, but died, probably by violence, in the sixth month of his imprisonment.[1]

3. During the winter Blake continued to blockade Cadiz: in spring he learnt that the Plate fleet from Peru had sought an asylum in the harbour of Santa Cruz, in the Island of Teneriffe. There the merchantmen, ten in number, were moored close to the shore, in the form of a crescent; while the six galleons in their front formed a parallel line at anchor in deeper water. The entrance of the bay was commanded by the guns of the castle; seven batteries erected at intervals along the beach protected the rest of the harbour; and these were connected with each other by covered ways lined with musketry. So confident was the governor when he surveyed these preparations, that, in the pride of his heart, he desired a Dutch

[Footnote 1: Clarendon Papers, iii. 322, 338, 357. Merc. Pol. 39. Thurloe, vi. 33, 182, 315, 425, 560, 829. Clarendon assures us that Sexby was an illiterate person, which is a sufficient proof that he was not the real author of the tract, though he acknowledged it for his own in the Tower, probably to deceive the protector. The writer, whoever he was, kept his secret, at least at first; for Clarendon writes to Secretary Nicholas, that he cannot imagine who could write it.–Clar. Papers, iii. 343. By most historians it has been attributed to Captain Titus; nor shall we think this improbable, if we recollect that Titus was, in Holland, constantly in the company of Sexby, till the departure of the latter for England.–Ibid. 331, 335. Evelyn asserts it in his Diary, ii. 210, 8vo.]

captain to inform the English admiral that he was welcome to come whenever he durst. Blake came, examined the defences, and, according to custom, proclaimed a solemn fast. At eight the next morning[a] Stayner took the lead in a frigate; the admiral followed in the larger ships; and the whole fleet availing itself of a favourable wind, entered the harbour under a tremendous shower of balls and shells. Each vessel immediately fell into its allotted station; and, while some engaged the shipping, the rest directed their fire against the batteries. The Spaniards, though fewer in number of ships, were superior in that of men; their hopes were supported by the aid which they received from the land; and during four hours they fought with the most determined bravery. Driven from the galleons, the crews retreated to the second line of merchantmen, and renewed the contest till they were finally compelled to save themselves on the shore. At two in the afternoon every Spanish ship was in possession of the English, and in flames. Still there remained the difficulty of working the fleet out of the harbour in the teeth of the gale. About sunset they were out of reach of the guns from the forts; the wind, by miracle, as Blake persuaded himself, veered to the south-west, and the conquerors proceeded triumphantly out to sea. This gallant action, though it failed of securing the treasure which the protector chiefly sought, raised the reputation of Blake in every part of Europe. Unfortunately the hero himself lived not to receive the congratulations of his country. He had been during a great part of three years at sea; the scurvy and dropsy wasted his constitution; and he expired[b] in his fifty-ninth year,

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. April 20.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. August 7.]

as his ship, the St. George, entered the harbour of Plymouth.[1]

Blake had served with distinction in the army during the civil war; and the knowledge of his talents and integrity induced the parliamentary leaders to entrust him with the command of the fleet. For maritime tactics he relied on the experience of others; his plans and his daring were exclusively his own. He may claim the peculiar praise of having dispelled an illusion which had hitherto cramped the operations of the British navy–a persuasion that it was little short of madness to expose a ship at sea to the fire from a battery on shore. The victories of Blake at Tunis and Santa Cruz served to establish the contrary doctrine; and the seamen learned from his example to despise the danger which had hitherto been deemed so formidable. Though Cromwell prized his services, he doubted his attachment; and a suspicion existed that the protector did not regret the death of one who professed to fight for his country, not for the government. But he rendered that justice to the dead, which he might perhaps have refused to the living, hero. He publicly acknowledged his merit, honouring his bones with a funeral at the national expense, and ordering them to be interred at Westminster, in Henry the Seventh’s chapel. In the next reign the coffin was taken from the vault, and deposited in the church yard.

4. The reader is aware of Cromwell’s anxiety to form a more intimate alliance with Louis XIV. For this purpose Lockhart, one of the Scottish judges, who

[Footnote 1: Vaughan, ii. 176. Heath, 391, 402. Echard, 725. Journals, May 28, 29.]

had married his niece, and received knighthood at his hand, proceeded to France. After some discussion, a treaty, to last twelve months, was concluded;[1][a] and Sir John Reynolds landed at Calais[b] with an auxiliary force of six thousand men, one half in the pay of the king, the other half in that of the protector. But as an associate in the war, Cromwell demanded a share in the spoil, and that share was nothing less than the possession of Mardyke and Dunkirk, as soon as they could be reduced by the allies. To this proposal the strongest opposition had been made in the French cabinet. Louis was reminded of the injuries which the English, the natural enemies of France, had inflicted on the country in the reigns of his predecessors. Dunkirk would prove a second Calais; it would open to a foreign foe the way into the heart of his dominions. But he yielded to the superior wisdom or ascendancy of Mazarin, who replied that, if France refused the offers it would be accepted with a similar sacrifice by Spain; that, supposing the English to be established on that coast at all, it was better that they should be there as friends than as enemies; and that their present co-operation would enable him either to drive the Spaniards out of the Netherlands, or to dictate to them the terms of peace.[2] The combined force

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vi. 63, 86, 115, 124. To avoid disputes, the treaty was written in the Latin language, and the precedency was given to Louis in one copy, to Cromwell in the other. In the diplomatic collection of Dumont, vi. part ii. 178, is published a second treaty, said to have been signed on May 9th, N.S. If it were genuine, it would disclose gigantic projects of aggrandizement on the part of the two powers. But it is clearly a forgery. We have despatches from Lockhart dated on the day of the pretended signature, and other despatches for a year afterward; yet none of them make the remotest allusion to this treaty; several contain particulars inconsistent with it.]

[Footnote 2: Oeuvres de Louis XIV. i. 171.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. March 13, May 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. May 15.]

was placed under the command of the celebrated Turenne, who was opposed by the Spaniards under Don Juan, with the British exiles, commanded by the duke of York, and the French exiles, by the prince of Condé. The English auxiliaries, composed of veteran regiments, supported the reputation of their country by their martial appearance and exemplary discipline; but they had few opportunities of displaying their valour; and the summer was spent in a tedious succession of marches and countermarches, accompanied with no brilliant action nor important result. Cromwell viewed the operations of the army with distrust and impatience. The French ministry seemed in no haste to redeem their pledge with respect to the reduction of Dunkirk, and to his multiplied remonstrances uniformly opposed this unanswerable objection, that, in the opinion of Turenne, the best judge, the attempt in the existing circumstances must prove ruinous to the allies. At last he would brook no longer delay; the army marched into the neighbourhood of the town, and the fort of Mardyke capitulated[a] after a siege of three days. But the Spaniards lay strongly intrenched behind the canal of Bergues, between Mardyke and Dunkirk; and by common consent the design was abandoned, and the siege of Gravelines substituted in its place. Scarcely, however, had the combined army taken[b] a position before it, when the sluices were opened, the country was inundated, and Turenne dismissed his forces into winter quarters. Mardyke received a garrison, partly of English, and partly of French, under the command of Sir John Reynolds; but that officer in a short time incurred the suspicion of the protector. The duke of York, from his former service in the French army, was well known

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Sept. 23.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1657. Sept. 27.]

to some of the French officers. They occasionally met and exchanged compliments in their rides, he from Dunkirk, they from Mardyke. By one of them Reynolds solicited permission to pay his respects to the young prince. He was accompanied by Crew, another officer; and, though he pretended that it was an accidental civility, found the opportunity of whispering an implied offer of his services in the ear of the duke. Within a few days he received an order to wait on the protector in London in company with Colonel White, who had secretly accused him; but both were lost[a] on the Goodwin Sands, through the ignorance or the stupidity of the captain.[1]

At home the public attention was absorbed by a new and most interesting spectacle. The parliament met on the day to which it had been adjourned, but it was now divided according to the ancient form into two houses. Sixty-two individuals had been summoned[b] to the upper house, and the writs, as they were copies of those formerly issued by the sovereign, were held to confer in like manner the privileges of an hereditary peerage, subject to certain exceptions specified in the “petition and advice."[2] The Commons, at the call of the usher of the black rod, proceeded to the House of Lords, where they found his highness seated under a canopy of state. His speech began with the ancient address: “My lords and gentlemen of the House of Commons.” It was short, but its brevity was compensated by its piety, and after an exposition of the eighty-fifth psalm, he referred his two houses for other particulars to Fiennes, the lord-keeper, who, in a long and tedious

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vi. 231, 287, 426, 512, 538, 542, 580, 637, 665, 676, 731. Memoirs of James, i. 317-328.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe, vi. 752.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Dec. 5.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658. Jan. 20.]

harangue, praised and defended the new institutions. After the departure of the Commons, the Lords spent their time in inquiries into the privileges of their house. Cromwell had summoned his two sons, Richard and Henry, seven peers of royal creation, several members of his council, some gentlemen of fortune and family, with a due proportion of lawyers and officers, and a scanty sprinkling of persons known to be disaffected to his government. Of the ancient peers two only attended, the lords Eure and Falconberg, of whom the latter had recently[a] married Mary, the protector’s daughter; and of the other members, nine were absent through business or disinclination. As their journals have not been preserved, we have little knowledge of their proceedings.[1]

In the lower house, the interest of the government had declined by the impolitic removal of the leading members to the House of Lords, and by the introduction of those who, having formerly been excluded by order of Cromwell, now took their seats in virtue of the article which reserved to the house the right of inquiry into the qualifications of its members. The opposition was led by two men of considerable influence and undaunted resolution, Hazlerig and Scot. Both had been excluded at the first meeting of this parliament, and both remembered the affront. To remove Hazlerig

[Footnote 1: Journals, Jan. 7, 20. Whitelock, 666, 668. The speech of Fiennes is reported in the Journals, Jan. 25. See the names and characters of those who attended, in “A Second Narrative of the late Parliament (so called), &c., printed in the fifth year of England’s Slavery under its new Monarchy, 1658.” “They spent their time in little matters, such as choosing of committees; and among other things, to consider of the privileges and jurisdiction of their house, (good wise souls!) before they knew what their house was, or should be called."–Ibid. 7. The peers who refused to attend, were the earls of Mulgrave, Warwick, and Manchester, the Viscount Say and Sele, and the Lord Wharton.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Nov. 19.]

from a place where his experience and eloquence rendered him a formidable adversary, Cromwell had called him to the upper house; but he refused to obey the writ, and took his seat among the Commons.[1] That a new house was to be called according to the articles of the “petition and advice,” no one denied; but who, it was asked, made its members lords? who gave them the privileges of the ancient peerage? who empowered them to negative the acts of that house to which they owed their existence? Was it to be borne that the children should assume the superiority over their parents; that the nominees of the protector should control the representatives of the people, the depositaries of the supreme power of the nation? It was answered that the protector had called them lords; that it was the object of “the petition and advice” to re-establish the “second estate;” and that, if any doubt remained, it were best to amend the “instrument” by giving to the members of the other house the title of lords, and to the protector that of king.[a] Cromwell sought to soothe these angry spirits. He read to them lectures on the benefit, the necessity, of unanimity. Let them look abroad. The papists threatened to swallow up all the Protestants of Europe. England was the only stay, the last hope of religion. Let them look at home: the Cavaliers and the Levellers were combined to overthrow the constitution; Charles Stuart was preparing an invasion; and the Dutch had ungratefully sold him certain vessels for that purpose. Dissension would inevitably draw down ruin on themselves,

[Footnote 1: Hazlerig made no objection to the oath which bound him to be faithful to the protector. But the sense which he attached to it is singular: “I will be faithful,” said he, “to the lord-protector’s person. I will murder no man."–Burton’s Diary, ii. 347.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. Jan. 25.]

their liberties, and their religion. For himself. he called God, angels, and men, to witness that he sought not the office which he held. It was forced upon him; but he had sworn to execute its duties, and he would perform what he had sworn, by preserving to every class of men their just rights, whether civil or religious.[1] But his advice, and entreaties, and menaces were useless.[a] The judges repeatedly brought messages from “the Lords to the Commons,” and as often were told that “that house would return an answer by messengers of their own."[b] Instead, however, of returning answers, they spent their whole time in debating what title and what rights ought to belong to the other house.[2]

Never, perhaps, during his extraordinary career, was Cromwell involved in difficulties equal to those which surrounded him at this moment. He could raise no money without the consent of parliament, and the pay of the army in England was five, and of that in Ireland seven, months in arrear; the exiled king threatened a descent from the coast of Flanders, and the royalists throughout the

[Footnote 1: Mr. Rutt has added this speech to Burton’s Diary, ii. 351-371. I may remark that, 1. The protector now addressed the members by the ambiguous style of “my lords and gentlemen of the two houses of parliament.” 2. That he failed in proving the danger which, as he pretended, menaced Protestantism. If, in the north, the two Protestant states of Sweden and Denmark were at war with each other, more to the south the Catholic states of France and Spain were in the same situation. 3. That the vessels sold by the Dutch were six flutes which the English cruisers afterwards destroyed. 4. That from this moment he was constantly asserting with oaths that he sought not his present office. How could he justify such oaths in his own mind? Was it on the fallacious ground that what he in reality sought was the office of king, not of protector?]

[Footnote 2: Journals, Jan. 25, 29, Feb. 1, 3. Burton’s Diary, ii. 371-464. Thurloe, i. 766; vi. 767.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. Jan. 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658. Feb. 3.]

kingdom were preparing to join his standard; the leaders of opposition in parliament had combined with several officers in the army to re-establish the commonwealth, “without a single person or house of lords;” and a preparatory petition for the purpose of collecting signatures was circulated through the city. Cromwell consulted his most trusty advisers, of whom some suggested a dissolution, others objected the want of money, and the danger of irritating the people. Perhaps he had already taken his resolution, though he kept it a secret within his own breast; perhaps it might be the result of some sudden and momentary impulse;[1] but one morning[a] he unexpectedly threw himself into a carriage with two horses standing at the gates of Whitehall; and, beckoning to six of his guards to follow, ordered the coachman to drive to the parliament house. There he revealed his purpose to Fleetwood, and, when that officer ventured to remonstrate, declared, by the living God that he would dissolve the parliament. Sending for the Commons, he addressed them in an angry and expostulating tone. “They,” he said, “had placed him in the high situation in which he stood; he sought it not; there was neither man nor woman treading on English ground who could say he did. God knew that he would rather have lived under a wood side, and have tended a flock of sheep, than have undertaken the government. But, having undertaken it at their request, he had a right to look to them for aid and support. Yet some among them, God was his witness, in violation of their oaths, were attempting to establish a commonwealth

[Footnote 1: “Something happening that morning that put the protector into a rage and passion near unto madness, as those at Whitehall can witness."–Second Narrative, p. 8.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. Feb. 4.]

interest in the army; some had received commissions to enlist men for Charles Stuart; and both had their emissaries at that moment seeking to raise a tumult, or rather a rebellion, in the city. But he was bound before God to prevent such disasters; and, therefore,” he concluded, “I think it high time that an end be put to your sitting; and I do dissolve this parliament; and let God judge between me and you.” “Amen, amen,” responded several voices from the ranks of the opposition.[1]

This was the fourth parliament that Cromwell had broken. The republicans indulged their resentment in murmurs, and complaints, and menaces; but the protector, secure of the fidelity of the army, despised the feeble efforts of their vengeance, and encouraged by his vigour the timidity of his counsellors. Strong patrols of infantry and cavalry paraded the streets, dispersing every assemblage of people in the open air, in private houses, and even in conventicles and churches, for the purpose, or under the pretext, of devotion. The colonel-major and several captains of his own regiment were cashiered;[2] many of the Levellers and royalists were arrested and imprisoned, or discharged upon bail; and the lord-mayor, aldermen, and common-council received from Cromwell

[Footnote 1: Journ. Feb. 4. Thurloe, vi. 778, 779, 781, 788. Parl. Hist. iii. 1525. By the oath, which Cromwell reproaches them with violating, they had sworn “to be true and faithful to the lord-protector as chief magistrate, and not to contrive, design, or attempt any thing against his person or lawful authority."]

[Footnote 2: “I,” says Hacker, “that had served him fourteen years, and had commanded a regiment seven years, without any trial or appeal, with the breath of his nostrils I was outed, and lost not only my place but a dear friend to boot. Five captains under my command were outed with me, because they could not say that was a house of lords."–Burton’s Diary, iii. 166.]

himself an account of the danger which threatened them from the invasion meditated by Charles Stuart, and a charge to watch the haunts of the discontented, and to preserve the tranquillity of the city. At the same time his agents were busy in procuring loyal and affectionate addresses from the army, the counties, and the principal towns; and these, published in the newspapers, served to overawe his enemies, and to display the stability of his power.[1]

The apprehension of invasion, to which Cromwell so frequently alluded, was not entirely groundless. On the return of the winter, the royalists had reminded Charles of his promise in the preceding spring; the king of Spain furnished an aid of one hundred and fifty thousand crowns; the harbour of Ostend was selected for the place of embarkation; and arms, ammunition, and transports were purchased in Holland. The prince himself, mastering for a while his habits of indolence and dissipation, appeared eager to redeem his pledge;[2] but the more prudent of his advisers conjured him not to risk his life on general assurances of support; and the marquess of Ormond, with the most chivalrous loyalty, offered to ascertain on the spot the real objects and resources of his adherents. Pretending to proceed on a mission to the court of the duke of Neuburg, that nobleman, accompanied by O’Neil, crossed the sea,[a] landed in disguise at Westmarch on the coast of Essex, and

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vi. 778, 781, 788; vii. 4, 21, 32, 49, 71. Parl. Hist. iii. 1528.]

[Footnote 2: Still Ormond says to Hyde, “I fear his immoderate delight in empty, effeminate, and vulgar conversations is become an irresistible part of his nature, and will never suffer him to animate his own designs, and others’ actions, with that spirit which is requisite for his quality, and much more to his fortune."–27, Jan. 7, 1658. Clar. iii. 387.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. End of January.]

hastened to London. There, continually changing his dress and lodgings, he contrived to elude the suspicion of the spies of government, and had opportunities of conversing with men of different parties; with the royalists, who sought the restoration of the ancient monarchy; with the Levellers, who were willing that the claims of the king and the subject should be adjusted in a free parliament; with the moderate Presbyterians, who, guided by the earls of Manchester and Denbigh, with Rossiter and Sir William Waller, offered to rely on the royal promises; and the more rigid among the same religionists, who, with the lords Say and Robarts at their head, demanded the confirmation of the articles to which the late king had assented in the Isle of Wight. But from none could he procure any satisfactory assurances of support. They were unable to perform what they had promised by their agents. They had not the means, nor the courage, nor the abilities, necessary for the undertaking. The majority refused to declare themselves, till Charles should have actually landed with a respectable force; and the most sanguine required a pledge that he would be ready to sail the moment he heard of their rising, because there was no probability of their being able, without foreign aid, to make head against the protector beyond the short space of a fortnight.[1]

In these conferences Ormond frequently came in contact with Sir Richard Willis, one of the sealed knot, and standing high in the confidence of Charles.[2]

[Footnote 1: Carte’s Letters, ii. 118, 124, 130. Clar. iii. 388, 392, 395. Thurloe, i. 718.]

[Footnote 2: The knot consisted of Willis, Colonel Russell, Sir William Compton, Edward Villiers, and Mr. Broderick, according to several letters in Clarendon; according to the duke of York, of the four first, Lord Belasyse, and Lord Loughborough.–James, i. 370.]

Willis uniformly disapproved of the attempt. The king’s enemies, he observed, were now ready to unsheath their swords against each other; but let the royal banner be once unfurled, and they would suspend their present quarrel, to combine their efforts against the common enemy. Yet the author of this prudent advice was, if we may believe Clarendon, a traitor, though a traitor of a very singular description. He is said to have contracted with Cromwell, in consideration of an annual stipend, to reveal to him the projects of the king and the royalists; but on condition that he should have no personal communication with the protector, that he should never be compelled to mention any individual whose name he wished to keep secret, and that he should not be called upon to give evidence, or to furnish documents, for the conviction of any prisoner.[1] It is believed that for several years he faithfully complied with this engagement; and when he thought that Ormond had been long enough in London, he informed Cromwell of the presence of the marquess in the capital, but at the same moment conveyed advice to the marquess that orders had been issued for his apprehension. This admonition had its desired effect. Ormond stole away[b] to Shoreham in Sussex, crossed over to Dieppe, concealed himself two months in Paris, and then, travelling

[Footnote 1: This is Clarendon’s account. In Thurloe, i. 757, is a paper signed John Foster, supposed to be the original offer made to Thurloe by Willis. He there demands that no one but the protector should be acquainted with his employment; that he should never be brought forward as a witness; that the pardon of one dear friend should be granted to him; and that he should receive fifty pounds with the answer, five hundred pounds on his first interview with Thurloe, and five hundred pounds when he put into their hands any of the conspirators against Cromwell’s person.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. Feb. 15.]

in disguise through France to Geneva, that he might escape the notice of Lockhart and Mazarin, returned along the Rhine to join his master in Flanders.[1]

There was little in the report of Ormond to give encouragement to Charles; his last hopes were soon afterwards extinguished by the vigilance of Cromwell. The moment the thaw opened the ports of Holland, a squadron of English frigates swept the coast,[a] captured three and drove on shore two flutes destined for the expedition, and closely blockaded the harbour of Ostend.[2] The design was again postponed till the winter;[b] and the king resolved to solicit in person a supply of money at the court of the Spanish monarch. But from this journey he was dissuaded both by Hyde and by the Cardinal de Retz, who pointed out to him the superior advantage of his residence in Flanders, where he was in readiness to seize the first propitious moment which fortune should offer. In the mean time the cardinal, through his agent in Rome, solicited from the pope pecuniary aid for the king, on condition that in the event of his ascending the throne of his fathers, he should release the Catholics of his three kingdoms from the intolerable pressure of the penal laws.[3]

The transactions of this winter, the attempt of Syndercombe, the ascendancy of the opposition in parliament,

[Footnote 1: Clar. Hist. iii. 614-618, 667. Clarendon’s narrative is so frequently inaccurate, that it is unsafe to give credit to any charge on his authority alone; but in the present instance he relates the discovery of the treachery of Willis with such circumstantial minuteness, that it requires a considerable share of incredulity to doubt of its being substantially true; and his narrative is confirmed by James II. (Mem. i. 370), and other documents to be noticed hereafter.]

[Footnote 2: Carte’s Letters, ii. 126, 135. Clar. Papers, iii. 396.]

[Footnote 3: Carte’s Letters, ii. 136-142, 145. Clar. Pap. iii. 401.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. March 15.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658. April 14.]

and the preparations of the royalists to receive the exiled king, added to habitual indisposition, had soured and irritated the temper of Cromwell. He saw that to bring to trial the men who had been his associates in the cause might prove a dangerous experiment; but there was nothing to deter him from wreaking his vengeance on the royalists, and convincing them of the danger of trespassing any more on his patience by their annual projects of insurrection. In every county all who had been denounced, all who were even suspected, were put under arrest; a new high court of justice was established according to the act of 1656; and Sir Henry Slingsby, Dr. Hewet, and Mr. Mordaunt, were selected for the three first victims. Slingsby, a Catholic gentleman and a prisoner at Hull, had endeavoured to corrupt the fidelity of the officers in the garrison; who, by direction of the governor, amused the credulity of the old man, till he had the imprudence to deliver[a] to them a commission from Charles Stuart.[1] Dr. Hewet was an episcopalian divine, permitted to preach at St. Gregory’s, and had long been one of the most active and useful of the royal agents in the vicinity of the capital. Mordaunt, a younger brother of the earl of Peterborough, had also displayed his zeal for the king, by maintaining a constant correspondence with the marquess of Ormond, and distributing royal commissions to those who offered to raise men in favour of Charles. Of the truth of the charges brought against them, there could be no doubt; and, aware of their danger, they strongly protested against the legality of the court, demanded a trial by jury, and appealed to Magna Charta and several acts of parliament. Slingsby at last pleaded, and was condemned; Hewet, under the

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vi. 777, 780, 786, 870; vii. 46, 47, 98.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. April 2.]

pretence that to plead was to betray the liberties of Englishmen, stood mute; and his silence, according to a recent act, was taken for a confession of guilt. Mordaunt was more fortunate. Stapeley, who, to save his own life, swore against him, proved an unwilling witness; and Mallory, who was to have supported the evidence of Stapeley, had four days before been bribed to abscond. This deficiency was gladly laid hold of by the majority of the judges, who gave their opinion[a] that his guilt was not proved; and, for similar reasons, some days later acquitted two other conspirators, Sir Humphrey Bennet and Captain Woodcock. The fact is, they were weary of an office which exposed them to the censure of the public; for the court was viewed with hatred by the people. It abolished the trial by jury; it admitted no inquest or presentment by the oaths of good and faithful men; it deprived the accused of the benefit of challenge; and its proceedings were contrary to the law of treason, the petition of right, and the very oath of government taken by the protector. Cromwell, dissatisfied with these acquittals, yielded to the advice of the council, and sent the rest of the prisoners before the usual courts of law, where several were found guilty, and condemned to suffer the penalties of treason.[1]

Great exertions were made to save the lives of Slingsby and Hewet. In favour of the first, it was urged that he had never been suffered to compound, had never submitted to the commonwealth, and had

[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 673, 674. Thurloe, vii. 159, 164. State Trials, v. 871, 883, 907. These trials are more interesting in Clarendon, but much of his narrative is certainly, and more of it probably, fictitious. It is not true that Slingsby’s offence was committed two years before, nor that Hewet was accused of visiting the king in Flanders, nor that Mallory escaped out of the hall on the morning of the trial (See Claren. Hist. iii. 619-624.) Mallory’s own account of his escape is in Thurloe, vii. 194-220.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. June 9.]

been for years deprived both of his property and liberty, so that his conduct should be rather considered as the attempt of a prisoner of war to regain his freedom, than of a subject to overturn the government. This reasoning was urged[a] by his nephew, Lord Falconberg, who, by his recent marriage with Mary Cromwell, was believed to possess considerable influence with her father. The interest of Dr. Hewet was espoused by a more powerful advocate–by Elizabeth, the best-beloved of Cromwell’s daughters, who at the same time was in a delicate and precarious state of health. But it was in vain that she interceded for the man whose spiritual ministry she employed; Cromwell was inexorable. He resolved[b] that blood should be shed, and that the royalists should learn to fear his resentment, since they had not been won by his forbearance. Both suffered death by decapitation.[1]

During the winter, the gains and losses of the hostile armies in Flanders had been nearly balanced. If, on the one hand, the duke of York was repulsed with loss in his attempt to storm by night the works at Mardyke; on the other, the Marshal D’Aumont was made prisoner with fifteen hundred men by the Spanish governor of Ostend, who, under the pretence of delivering up the place, had decoyed him within the fortifications. In February, the offensive treaty

[Footnote 1: Ludlow, ii. 149. I think there is some reason to question those sentiments of loyalty to the house of Stuart, and that affliction and displeasure on account of the execution of Hewet, which writers attribute to Elizabeth Claypole. In a letter written by her to her sister-in-law, the wife of H. Cromwell, and dated only four days after the death of Hewet, she calls on her to return thanks to God for their deliverence from Hewet’s conspiracy: “for sertingly not ondly his (Cromwell’s) famely would have bin ruined, but in all probabillyti the hol nation would have his invold in blod."–June 13. Thurloe, vii. 171.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1657. Nov. 19.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658. June 8.]

between France and England was renewed for another year; three thousand men, drafted from different regiments, were sent by the protector to supply the deficiency in the number of his forces; and the combined army opened the campaign with the siege of Dunkirk. By the Spaniards the intelligence was received with surprise and apprehension. Deceived by false information, they had employed all their efforts to provide for the safety of Cambray. The repeated warnings given by Charles had been neglected; the extensive works at Dunkirk remained in an unfinished state; and the defence of the place had been left to its ordinary garrison of no more than one thousand men, and these but scantily supplied with stores and provisions. To repair his error, Don Juan, with the consent of his mentor, the Marquess Caracena, resolved to hazard a battle; and, collecting a force of six thousand infantry and four thousand cavalry, encamped between the village of Zudcote and the lines of the besiegers. But Turenne, aware of the defective organization of the Spanish armies, resolved to prevent the threatened attack; and the very next morning, before the Spanish cannon and ammunition had reached the camp, the allied force was seen advancing in battle array. Don Juan hastily placed his men along a ridge of sand-hills which extended from the sea coast to the canal, giving the command of the right wing to the duke of York, of the left to the prince of Condé, and reserving the centre to himself. The battle was begun by the English, who found themselves opposed to their countryman, the duke of York. They were led by Major-General Morgan; for Lockhart, who acted both as ambassador and commander-in-chief, was confined by indisposition to his carriage. Their ardour to distinguish themselves in the presence of the two rival nations carried them considerably in advance of their allies; but, having halted to gain breath at the foot of the opposite sand-hill, they mounted with impetuosity, received the fire of the enemy, and, at the point of the pike, drove them from their position. The duke immediately charged at the head of the Spanish cavalry; but one half of his men were mowed down by a well-directed fire of musketry; and James himself owed the preservation of his life to the temper of his armour. The advantage, however, was dearly purchased: in Lockhart’s regiment scarcely an officer remained to take the command.

By this time the action had commenced on the left, where the prince of Condé, after some sharp fighting, was compelled to retreat by the bank of the canal. The centre was never engaged; for the regiment, on its extreme left, seeing itself flanked by the French in pursuit of Condé, precipitately abandoned its position, and the example was successively imitated by the whole line. But, in the meanwhile, the duke of York had rallied his broken infantry, and while they faced the English, he charged the latter in flank at the head of his company of horse-guards. Though thrown into disorder, they continued to fight, employing the butt-ends of their muskets against the swords of their adversaries, and in a few minutes several squadrons of French cavalry arrived to their aid. James was surrounded; and, in despair of saving himself by flight, he boldly assumed the character of a French officer; rode at the head of twenty troopers toward the right of their army; and, carefully threading the different corps, arrived without exciting suspicion at the bank of the canal, by which he speedily effected his escape to Furnes.[1] The victory on the part of the allies was complete. The Spanish cavalry made no effort to protect the retreat of their infantry; every regiment of which was successively surrounded by the pursuers, and compelled to surrender. By Turenne and his officers the chief merit of this brilliant success was cheerfully allotted to the courage and steadiness of the English regiments; at Whitehall it was attributed to the prayers of the lord-protector, who, on that very day, observed with his council a solemn fast to implore the blessing of heaven on the operations of the allied army.[2]

Unable to oppose their enemies in the field, the Spanish generals proposed to retard their progress by the most obstinate defence of the different fortresses. The prince de Ligne undertook that of Ipres; the care of Newport, Bruges, and Ostend was committed to the duke of York; and Don Juan returned to Brussels to hasten new levies from the different provinces. Within a fortnight Dunkirk capitulated,[a] and the king of France, having taken possession, delivered the keys with his own hand to the English ambassador. Gravelines was soon afterwards reduced;[b] the prince de Ligne suffered himself to be surprised by the

[Footnote 1: See the account of this battle by James himself, in his Memoirs, i. 338-358; also Thurloe, vii. 155, 156, 159.]

[Footnote 2: “Truly,” says Thurloe, “I never was present at any such exercise, where I saw a greater spirit of faith and prayer poured forth."–Ibid. 158. “The Lord,” says Fleetwood, “did draw forth his highness’s heart, to set apart that day to seek the Lord; and indeed there was a very good spirit appearing. Whilst we were praying, they were fighting; and the Lord hath given a signal answer. And the Lord hath not only owned us in our work there, but in our waiting upon him in our way of prayer, which is indeed our old experienced approved way in all our straits and difficulties."–Ibid. 159.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. June 17.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658. August 20.]

superior activity of Turenne; Ipres opened its gates, and all the towns on the banks of the Lys successively submitted to the conquerors. Seldom, perhaps, had there occurred a campaign more disastrous to the Spanish arms.[1]

In the eyes of the superficial observer, Cromwell might now appear to have reached the zenith of power and greatness. At home he had discovered, defeated, and punished all the conspiracies against him; abroad, his army had gained laurels in the field; his fleets swept the seas; his friendship was sought by every power; and his mediation was employed in settling the differences between both Portugal and Holland, and the king of Sweden and the elector of Brandenburg. He had recently sent Lord Falconberg to compliment Louis XIV. on his arrival at Calais; and in a few days, was visited by the duke of Crequi, who brought him a magnificent sword as a present from that prince, and by Mancini, with another present of tapestry from his uncle, the Cardinal Mazarin. But, above all, he was now in possession of Dunkirk, the great object of his foreign policy for the last two years, the opening through which he was to accomplish the designs of Providence on the continent. The real fact, however, was that his authority in England never rested on a more precarious footing than at the present moment; while, on the other hand, the cares and anxieties of government, joined to his apprehensions of personal violence, and the pressure of domestic affliction, were

[Footnote 1: James, Memoirs, i. 359. Thurloe, vii. 169, 176, 215. If we may believe Temple (ii. 545), Cromwell now saw his error in aiding the French, and made an offer of uniting his forces with those of Spain, provided the siege of Calais were made the first attempt of the combined army.]

rapidly undermining his constitution, and hurrying him from the gay and glittering visions of ambition to the darkness and silence of the tomb.

1. Cromwell was now reduced to that situation which, to the late unfortunate monarch, had proved the source of so many calamities. His expenditure far outran his income. Though the last parliament had made provision, ample provision, as it was then thought, for the splendour of his establishment, and for all the charges of the war, he had already contracted enormous debts; his exchequer was frequently drained to the last shilling; and his ministers were compelled to go a-begging–such is the expression of the secretary of state–for the temporary loan of a few thousand pounds, with the cheerless anticipation of a refusal.[1] He looked on the army, the greater part of which he had quartered in the neighbourhood of the metropolis, as his chief–his only support against his enemies; and while the soldiers were comfortably clothed and fed, he might with confidence rely on their attachment; but now that their pay was in arrear, he had reason to apprehend that discontent might induce them to listen to the suggestions of those officers who sought to subvert his power. On former occasions, indeed, he had relieved himself from similar embarrassments by the imposition of taxes by his own authority; but this practice was so strongly reprobated in the petition and advice, and he had recently abjured it with so much solemnity, that he dared not repeat the experiment. He attempted to raise a loan among the merchants and capitalists in the city; but his credit and popularity were gone; he had, by plunging into

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vii. 99, 100, 144, 295.]

war with Spain, cut off one of the most plentiful sources of profit, the Spanish trade; and the number of prizes made by the enemy, amounting to more than a thousand,[1] had ruined many opulent houses. The application was eluded by a demand of security on the landed property belonging to country gentlemen. There remained a third expedient,–an application to parliament. But Cromwell, like the first Charles, had learned to dread the very name of a parliament. Three of these assemblies he had moulded according to his own plan, and yet not one of them could he render obsequious to his will. Urged, however, by the ceaseless importunities of Thurloe, he appointed[a] nine councillors to inquire into the means of defeating the intrigues of the republicans in a future parliament; the manner of raising a permanent revenue from the estates of the royalists; and the best method of determining the succession to the protectorate. But among the nine were two who, aware of his increasing infirmities, began to cherish projects of their own aggrandizement, and who, therefore, made it their care to perplex and to prolong the deliberations. The committee sat three weeks. On the two first questions they came to no conclusion; with respect to the third, they voted, on a division, that the choice between an elective and an hereditary succession was a matter of indifference. Suspicious of their motives, Cromwell dissolved[b] the committee.[2] But he substituted no

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vii. 662.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid. 146, 176, 192, 269. The committee consisted, in Thurloe’s words, of Lord Fiennes, Lord Fleetwood, Lord Desborow, Lord Chamberlayne, Lord Whalley, Mr. Comptroller, Lord Goffe, Lord Cooper, and himself (p. 192). On this selection Henry Cromwell observes: “The wise men were but seven; it seems you have made them nine. And having heard their names, I think myself better able to guess what they’ll do than a much wiser man; for no very wise man can ever imagine it” (p. 217).]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658 June 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658 July 8.]

council in its place; things were allowed to take their course; the embarrassment of the treasury increased; and the irresolution of the protector, joined to the dangers which threatened the government, shook the confidence of Thurloe himself. It was only when he looked up to heaven that he discovered a gleam of hope, in the persuasion that the God who had befriended Cromwell through life, would not desert him at the close of his career.[1][a]

2. To the cares of government must be added his constant dread of assassination. It is certainly extraordinary that, while so many conspiracies are said to have been formed, no attempt was actually made against his person; but the fact that such designs had existed, and the knowledge that his death was of the first importance to his enemies, convinced him that he could never be secure from danger. He multiplied his precautions. We are told that he wore defensive armour under his clothes; carried loaded pistols in his pockets; sought to remain in privacy; and, when he found it necessary to give audience, sternly watched the eyes and gestures of those who addressed him. He was careful that his own motions should not be known beforehand. His carriage was filled with attendants; a numerous escort accompanied him; and he proceeded at full speed, frequently diverging from the road to the right or left, and generally returning by a different route. In his palace he often inspected the nightly watch, changed his bed-chamber, and was careful that, besides the principal door, there should be some other egress, for the facility

[Footnote 1: Ibid. 153, 282, 295.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. July 27.]

of escape. He had often faced death without flinching in the field; but his spirit broke under the continual fear of unknown and invisible foes. He passed the nights in a state of feverish anxiety; sleep fled from his pillow; and for more than a year before his death we always find the absence of rest assigned as either the cause which produced, or a circumstance which aggravated, his numerous ailments.[1]

3. The selfishness of ambition does not exclude the more kindly feelings of domestic affection. Cromwell was sincerely attached to his children; but, among them, he gave the preference to his daughter Elizabeth Claypole. The meek disposition of the young woman possessed singular charms for the overbearing spirit of her father; and her timid piety readily received lessons on mystical theology from the superior experience of the lord-general.[2] But she was now dying of a most painful and internal complaint, imperfectly understood by her physicians; and her grief for the loss of her infant child added to the poignancy of her sufferings. Cromwell abandoned the business of state that he might hasten to Hampton Court, to

[Footnote 1: So says Clarendon (iii. 646), Bates (Elench. 343), and Welwood (p. 94); but their testimony can prove nothing more than that such reports were current, and obtained credit, among the royalists.]

[Footnote 2: The following passage from one of Cromwell’s letters to his daughter Ireton, will perhaps surprise the reader. “Your sister Claypole is (I trust in mercye) exercised with some perplexed thoughts, shee sees her owne vanitye and carnal minde, bewailinge itt, shee seeks after (as I hope alsoe) that w’ch will satisfie, and thus to bee a seeker, is to be of the best sect next a finder, and such an one shall every faythfull humble seeker bee at the end. Happie seeker; happie finder. Who ever tasted that the Lord is gracious, without some sense of self-vanitye and badness? Who ever tasted that graciousnesse of his, and could goe lesse in desier, and lesse than pressinge after full enjoyment? Deere hart presse on: lett not husband, lett not anythinge coole thy affections after Christ,” &c. &c. &c.–Harris, iii. App. 515, edit. 1814.]

console his favourite daughter. He frequently visited her, remained long in her apartment, and, whenever he quitted it, seemed to be absorbed in the deepest melancholy. It is not probable that the subject of their private conversation was exposed to the profane ears of strangers. We are, however, told that she expressed to him her doubts of the justice of the good old cause, that she exhorted him to restore the sovereign authority to the rightful owner, and that, occasionally, when her mind was wandering, she alarmed him by uttering cries of “blood,” and predictions of vengeance.[1]

4. Elizabeth died.[a] The protector was already confined to his bed with the gout, and, though he had anticipated the event, some days elapsed before he recovered from the shock. A slow fever still remained, which was pronounced a bastard tertian.[b] One of his physicians whispered to another, that his pulse was intermittent;[c] the words caught the ears of the sick man; he turned pale, a cold perspiration covered his face; and, requesting to be placed in bed, he executed his private will. The next morning he had recovered his usual composure; and when he received the visit of his physician,[d] ordering all his attendants to quit the room but his wife, whom he held by the hand, he said to him: “Do not think that I shall die; I am sure of the contrary.” Observing the surprise which these words excited, he continued: “Say not that I have lost my reason: I tell you the truth. I know it from better authority than any which you can have from Galen or Hippocrates. It is the answer of God himself to our prayers; not to mine alone, but to those of others who have a more intimate

[Footnote 1: Clar. Hist. iii. 647. Bulstrode, 205. Heath, 408.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. August 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1658. August 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1658. August 24.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1658. August 25.]

interest in him than I have."[1] The same communication was made to Thurloe, and to the different members of the protector’s family; nor did it fail to obtain credit among men who believed that “in other instances he had been favoured with similar assurances, and that they had never deceived him."[2] Hence his chaplain Goodwin exclaimed, “O Lord, we pray not for his recovery; that thou hast granted already; what we now beg is his speedyrecovery."[3]

In a few days, however, their confidence was shaken. For change of air he had removed to Whitehall, till the palace of St. James’s should be ready for his reception. There his fever became[a] a double tertian, and his strength rapidly wasted away. Who, it was asked, was to succeed him? On the day of his inauguration he had written the name of his successor within a cover sealed with the protectorial arms; but that paper had been lost, or purloined, or destroyed. Thurloe undertook to suggest to him a second nomination; but the condition of the protector, who, if we believe him, was always insensible or delirious, afforded no opportunity. A suspicion, however, existed, that he had private reasons for declining to interfere in so delicate a business.[4]

The 30th of August was a tempestuous day: during the night the violence of the wind increased till it blew a hurricane. Trees were torn from their roots in the park, and houses unroofed in the city. This extraordinary occurrence at a moment when it was thought that the protector was dying, could not fail

[Footnote 1: Thurloe, vii. 321, 340, 354, 355. Bates, Elench. 413.]

[Footnote 2: Thurloe, vii. 355, 367, 376.]

[Footnote 3: Ludlow, ii. 151.]

[Footnote 4: Thurloe, 355, 365, 366.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658 August 28.]

of exciting remarks in a superstitious age; and, though the storm reached to the coasts of the Mediterranean, in England it was universally referred to the death-bed of the protector. His friends asserted that God would not remove so great a man from this world without previously warning the nation of its approaching loss; the Cavaliers more maliciously maintained that the devils, “the princes of the air,” were congregating over Whitehall, that they might pounce on the protector’s soul.[1]

On the third night afterwards,[a] Cromwell had a lucid interval of considerable duration. It might have been expected that a man of his religious disposition would have felt some compunctious visitings, when from the bed of death he looked back on the strange eventful career of his past life. But he had adopted a doctrine admirably calculated to lull and tranquillize the misgivings of conscience. “Tell me,” said he to Sterry, one of his chaplains, “Is it possible to fall from grace?” “It is not possible,” replied the minister. “Then,” exclaimed the dying man, “I am safe; for I know that I was once in grace.” Under this impression he prayed, not for himself, but for God’s people. “Lord,” he said, “though a miserable and wretched creature, I am in covenant with thee through thy grace, and may and will come to thee for thy people. Thou hast made me a mean instrument to do them some good, and thee service. Many of them set too high a value upon me, though others would be glad of my death. Lord, however thou disposest of me, continue, and go on to do good for them. Teach those who look too much upon thy instruments, to depend more upon thyself,

[Footnote 1: Clar. 646. Bulstrode, 207. Heath, 408. Noble, i. 147, note.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. Sept. 2.]

and pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm, for they are thy people too."[1]

Early in the following morning,[a] he relapsed into a state of insensibility. It was his fortunate day, the 3rd of September, a circumstance from which his sorrowing relatives derived a new source of consolation. It was, they observed, on the 3rd of September that he overcame the Scots at Dunbar; on that day, he also overcame the royalists at Worcester; and on the same day, he was destined to overcome his spiritual enemies, and to receive the crown of victory in heaven. About four in the afternoon he breathed his last, amidst the tears and lamentations of his attendants. “Cease to weep,” exclaimed the fanatical Sterry, “you have more reason to rejoice. He was your protector here; he will prove a still more powerful protector, now that he is with Christ at the right hand of the Father.” With a similar confidence in Cromwell’s sanctity, though in a somewhat lower tone of enthusiasm, the grave and cautious Thurloe announced the event by letter to the deputy of Ireland. “He is gone to heaven, embalmed with the tears of his people, and upon the wings of the prayers of the saints."[2]

Till the commencement of the present century, when that wonderful man arose, who, by the splendour of his victories and the extent of his empire, cast all preceding adventurers into the shade, the name of Cromwell stood without a parallel in the history of civilized Europe. Men looked with a feeling of awe on the

[Footnote 1: Collection of Passages concerning his late Highness in Time of his Sickness, p. 12. The author was Underwood, groom of the bed-chamber. See also a letter of H. Cromwell, Thurloe, vii. 454; Ludlow, ii. 153.]

[Footnote 2: Ludlow, ii. 153. Thurloe, vii. 373.]

[Sidenote a: A.D. 1658. Sept. 3.]

fortunate individual who, without the aid of birth, or wealth, or connections, was able to seize the government of three powerful kingdoms, and to impose the yoke of servitude on the necks of the very men who had fought in his company to emancipate themselves from the less arbitrary sway of their hereditary sovereign. That he who accomplished this was no ordinary personage, all must admit; and yet, on close investigation, we shall discover little that was sublime or dazzling in his character. Cromwell was not the meteor which surprises and astounds by the rapidity and brilliancy of its course. Cool, cautious, calculating, he stole on with slow and measured pace; and, while with secret pleasure he toiled up the ascent to greatness, laboured to persuade the spectators that he was reluctantly borne forward by an exterior and resistless force, by the march of events, the necessities of the state, the will of the army, and even the decree of the Almighty. He seems to have looked upon dissimulation as the perfection of human wisdom, and to have made it the key-stone of the arch on which he built his fortunes.[1] The aspirations of his ambition were concealed under the pretence of attachment to “the good old cause;” and his secret workings to acquire the sovereignty for himself and his family were represented as endeavours to secure for his former brethren in arms the blessings of civil and religious freedom, the two great objects which originally called them into the field. Thus his whole conduct was made up of artifice and deceit. He laid his plans long beforehand; he studied the views and dispositions of all from whose influence he had any thing to hope or fear; and he

[Footnote 1: See proofs of his dissimulation in Harris, iii. 93-103; Hutchinson, 313.]

employed every expedient to win their affections, to make them the blind unconscious tools of his policy. For this purpose he asked questions, or threw out insinuations in their hearing; now kept them aloof with an air of reserve and dignity; now put them off their guard by condescension, perhaps by buffoonery;[1] at one time, addressed himself to their vanity or avarice; at another, exposed to them with tears (for tears he had at will), the calamities of the nation; and then, when he found them moulded to his purpose, instead of assenting to the advice which he had himself suggested, feigned reluctance, urged objections, and pleaded scruples of conscience. At length he yielded; but it was not till he had acquired by his resistance the praise of moderation, and the right of attributing his acquiescence to the importunity of others instead of his own ambition.[2]

Exposed as he was to the continued machinations of the royalists and Levellers, both equally eager to precipitate him from the height to which he had attained, Cromwell made it his great object to secure to himself the attachment of the army. To it he owed the acquisition, through it alone could he insure the permanence, of his power. Now, fortunately for this purpose, that army, composed as never was army before or since, revered in the lord-protector what it valued mostly in itself, the cant and practice of religious enthusiasm. The superior officers, the subalterns, the privates, all held themselves forth as professors of godliness. Among them every public breach of morality was severely punished; the exercises of religious worship

[Footnote 1: See instances in Bates, Elenc. 344; Cowley, 95; Ludlow, i. 207; Whitelock, 656; State Trials, v. 1131, 1199.]

[Footnote 2: See Ludlow, i. 272; ii. 13, 14, 17.]

were of as frequent recurrence as those of military duty;[1] in council, the officers always opened the proceedings with extemporary prayer; and to implore with due solemnity the protection of the Lord of Hosts, was held an indispensable part of the preparation for battle. Their cause they considered the cause of God; if they fought, it was for his glory; if they conquered, it was by the might of his arm. Among these enthusiasts, Cromwell, as he held the first place in rank, was also pre-eminent in spiritual gifts.[2] The fervour with which he prayed, the unction with which he preached, excited their admiration and tears. They looked on him as the favourite of God, under the special guidance of the Holy Spirit, and honoured with communications from heaven; and he, on his part, was careful, by the piety of his language, by the strict decorum of his court, and by his zeal for the diffusion of godliness, to preserve and strengthen such impressions. In minds thus disposed, it was not difficult to create a persuasion that the final triumph of “their cause” depended on the authority of the general under whom they had conquered; while the full enjoyment of that religious freedom which they so highly prized rendered them less jealous of the arbitrary power which he occasionally

[Footnote 1: “The discipline of the army was such that a man would not be suffered to remain there, of whom we could take notice he was guilty of such practices."–Cromwell’s speech to parliament in 1654. It surprised strangers.–Certa singulis diebus tum fundendis Deo precibus, tum audiendis Dei praeconiis erant assignata tempora.–Parallelum Olivae apud Harris, iii. 12. E certo ad ogni modo, che le Truppe vivono con tanta esatezza, come se fossero fraterie de’ religiosi.–Sagredo, MS.]

[Footnote 2: Religioso al estremo nell’ esteriore, predica con eloquenza ai soldati, li persuade a vivere secondo le legge d’ Iddio, e per render più efficace la persuasione, si serve ben spesso delle lagrime, piangendo più li peccati altrui, che li proprii.–Ibid. See also Ludlow, iii. 111.]

assumed. In his public speeches, he perpetually reminded them that, if religion was not the original cause of the late civil war, yet, God “soon brought it to that issue;” that amidst the strife of battle, and the difficulties and dangers of war, the reward to which they looked was freedom of conscience; that this freedom to its full extent they enjoyed under his government, though they could never obtain it till they had placed the supreme authority in his hands.[1] The merit which he thus arrogated to himself was admitted to be his due by the great body of the saints; it became the spell by which he rendered them blind to his ambition and obedient to his will; the engine with which he raised, and afterwards secured, the fabric of his greatness.

On the subject of civil freedom, the protector could not assume so bold a tone. He acknowledged, indeed, its importance; it was second only to religious freedom; but if second, then, in the event of competition, it ought to yield to the first. He contended that, under his government, every provision had been made for the preservation of the rights of individuals, so far as was consistent with the safety of the whole nation. He had reformed the Chancery, he had laboured to abolish the abuses of the law, he had placed learned and upright judges on the bench, and he had been careful in all ordinary cases that impartial justice should be administered between the parties. This indeed was true; but it was also true that by his orders men were arrested and committed without lawful cause; that juries were packed; that prisoners, acquitted at their trial, were sent into confinement beyond the

[Footnote 1: See in particular his speech to his second parliament, printed by Henry Hills, 1654.]

jurisdiction of the courts; that taxes had been raised without the authority of parliament; that a most unconstitutional tribunal, the high court of justice, had been established; and that the majors-general had been invested with powers the most arbitrary and oppressive.[1] These acts of despotism put him on his defence; and in apology he pleaded, as every despot will plead, reasons of state, the necessity of sacrificing a part to preserve the whole, and his conviction, that a “people blessed by God, the regenerated ones of several judgments forming the flock and lambs of Christ, would prefer their safety to their passions, and their real security to forms.” Nor was this reasoning addressed in vain to men who had surrendered their judgments into his keeping, and who felt little for the wrongs of others, as long as such wrongs were represented necessary for their own welfare.

Some writers have maintained that Cromwell dissembled in religion as well as in politics; and that, when he condescended to act the part of the saint, he assumed for interested purposes a character which he otherwise despised. But this supposition is contradicted by the uniform tenor of his life. Long before he turned his attention to the disputes between the king and the parliament, religious enthusiasm had made a deep impression on his mind;[2] it continually manifested itself during his long career, both in the senate and the field; and it was strikingly displayed in his speeches and prayers on the last evening of his

[Footnote 1: “Judge Rolles,” says Challoner, “was shuffled out of his place. Three worthy lawyers were sent to the Tower. It cost them fifty pounds a-piece for pleading a client’s cause. One Portman was imprisoned two or three years without cause. Several persons were taken out of their beds, and carried none knows whither."–Burton’s Diary, iv. 47.

[Footnote 2: Warwick, 249.]

life. It should, however, be observed, that he made his religion harmonize with his ambition. If he believed that the cause in which he had embarked was the cause of God, he also believed that God had chosen him to be the successful champion of that cause. Thus the honour of God was identified with his own advancement, and the arts, which his policy suggested, were sanctified in his eyes by the ulterior object at which he aimed–the diffusion of godliness, and the establishment of the reign of Christ among mankind.[1]

[Footnote 1: The Venetian ambassador observes that during the protectorate London wore the appearance of a garrison town, where nothing was to be seen but the marching of soldiers, nothing to be heard but the sound of drums and trumpets. Il decoro et grandezza di Londra ha molto cangiato di faccia, la nobiltà, che la rendeva conspicua, sta divisa per la campagna, et la delecatezza della corte la più sontuosa et la più allegre del mondo, frequentata da principali dame, et abundante nelli più scelti trattenementi, e cangiata al presente in una perpetua marchia et contramarchia, in un incessante strepito di tamburri, e di trembe, et in stuoio numerosi di soldati et officiali diversi ai posti.–Sagredo. See also an intercepted letter in Thurloe, ii. 670.]


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