[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iii. 470, 680. Siri, xv. 468.]
[Footnote 2: Under Pianeze were some troops detached from the French army commanded by Prince Thomas of Savoy. It was reported that a regiment of Irish Catholics formed a part of this detachment; and to them were attributed, of course, the most horrible barbarities.—Leger, iii. Stouppe, Preface. Thurloe, iii. 412, 459, 460. On inquiry, it was discovered that these supposed Irishmen were English. "The Irish regiment said to be there was the earl of Bristol's regiment, a small and weak one, most of them being English. I hear not such complaints of them as you set forth."—Thurloe, iii. 50.]
[Footnote 3: Thurloe, iii. 459.]
Louis had already interposed his good offices, and had reason to expect a favourable result. Lastly, he sent[a] Morland as ambassador to Turin, where he was honourably received, and entertained at the duke's expense. To his memorial in favour of the Vaudois, it was replied,[b] that out of compliment to Cromwell their rebellion, though unprovoked, should be forgiven; but his further interference was checked by the announcement that the particulars of the pacification had been wholly referred to Servien, the French ambassador.
At home, Cromwell had signified his intention of postponing the signature of the treaty with France till he was acquainted with the opinion of Louis on the subject of the troubles in Piedmont. Bordeaux remonstrated[c] against this new pretext for delay; he maintained that the question bore no relation to the matter of the treaty; that the king of France would never interfere with the internal administration of an independent state; that the duke of Savoy had as good a right to make laws for his Protestant subjects, as the English government for the Catholics of the three kingdoms; and that the Vaudois were in reality rebels who had justly incurred the resentment of their sovereign. But Cromwell was not to be diverted[d] from his purpose. It was in vain that the ambassador asked for a final answer; that he demanded[e] an audience of leave preparatory to his departure. At last he was relieved from his perplexity by an order[f] to announce that the duke, at the request of the king of France, had granted an amnesty to the Vaudois, and confirmed their ancient privileges; that the boon had been gratefully received by the insurgents; and that
[Footnote 1: Thurloe iii. 528, 608, 636, 656, 672. Siri, ibid. Vaugh. 248.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. May 22.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. June 21.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1656. May 24.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1656. June 18.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1656. June 21. [Sidenote f: A.D. 1656. August 20.]
the natives of the valleys, Protestants and Catholics had met, embraced each other with tears, and sworn to live in perpetual amity together. The unexpected intelligence was received by Cromwell with a coldness which betrayed his disappointment. But, if the pacification broke the new projects which he meditated, it served to raise his fame in the estimation of Europe; for it was evident that the Vaudois owed the favourable conditions which they obtained,[a] not so much to the good-will of Louis, as to his anxiety that no pretext should remain for the future interference of the protector.
But though tranquillity was restored in Piedmont, Cromwell was still unwilling to conclude the treaty till he had ascertained what impression had been made on the king of Spain by the late attempt on Hispaniola. To Philip, already engaged in war with France, it was painful to add so powerful an adversary to the number
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iii. 469, 470, 475, 535, 568, 706, 724, 742, 745. Siri, xv. 843.]
[Footnote 2: The Protestant cantons of Switzerland had sent Colonel Mey to England, offering to raise an army in aid of the Vaudois, if Cromwell would furnish a subsidy of ten thousand pounds per month.—Siri, Mercurio, xv. 472. In consequence Downing was despatched as envoy to these cantons; but the pacification was already concluded; and on his arrival at Geneva, he received orders, dated Aug. 30, to return immediately.—Thurloe, iii. 692, 694; iv. 31. Still the design was not abandoned, but intrusted to Morland, who remained at Geneva, to distribute the money from England. What were his secret instructions may be seen, ibid. p. 326.]
[Footnote 3: The conditions may be seen in Morland, 652; Dumont, vi. part ii. p. 114; and Leger, 216. The subscription for the Vaudois, of which two thousands pounds was given by the protector, amounted to thirty eight thousand two hundred and twenty-eight pounds four shillings and twopence. Of this sum twenty-five thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight pounds eight shillings and ninepence was sent at different times to the valleys; four hundred and sixty-three pounds seventeen shillings was charged for expenses; and about five hundred pounds was found to be clipt or counterfeit money.—Journals, 11 July, 1559.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. August 8.]
of his enemies; but the affront was so marked, so unjust, so unprovoked, that to submit to it in silence was to subscribe to his own degradation. He complained,[a] in dignified language, of the ingratitude and injustice of the English government; contrasted with its conduct his own most scrupulous adhesion both to the letter and the spirit of the treaties between the kingdoms; ordered that all ships, merchandize, and property belonging to the subjects of the commonwealth should be seized and secured in every part of his dominions, and instructed his ambassador in London to remonstrate and take his leave. The day after the passport was delivered to Don Alonzo, Cromwell consented[b] to the signature of the treaty with France. It provided that the maritime hostilities, which had so long harassed the trade of the two nations, should cease, that the relations of amity and commerce should be restored; and, by a separate, and therefore called a secret, article, that Barriere, agent for the prince of Conde, and nine other Frenchmen, equally obnoxious to the French ministry, should be perpetually excluded from the territory of the commonwealth; and that Charles Stuart, his brother the duke of York, Ormond, Hyde, and fifteen other adherents of the exiled prince, should, in the same manner, be excluded from the kingdom of France. The protector had persuaded
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, iv. 19, 20, 21, 82, 91.]
[Footnote 2: Dumont, vi. part ii. p. 121. In the body of the treaty, neither the king nor the protector is named; all the articles are stipulated between the commonwealth of England and the kingdom of France. In the preamble, however, the king of France is mentioned, and in the first place, but not as if this arose from any claim of precedency; for it merely relates, that the most Christian king sent his ambassador to England, and the most serene lord, the protector, appointed commissioners to meet him. When the treaty was submitted to Bordeaux, previously to his signature, he discovered an alteration in the usual title of his sovereign, Rex Gallorum (the very title afterwards adopted by the National Assembly), instead of Rex Galliarum, and on that account refused to sign it. After a long contestation, he yielded to the arguments of the Dutch ambassador.—Thurloe, iv. 115.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1656. Sept. 1.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1656. Oct. 24.]
himself that, if the house of Stuart was to be restored, it must be through the aid of France; and he hoped, by the addition of this secret article, to create a bitter and lasting enmity between the two families. Nor was he content with this. As soon as the ratifications had been exchanged, he proposed a more intimate alliance between England and France. Bordeaux was instructed to confine himself in his reply to general expressions of friendship. He might receive any communications which were offered; he was to make no advances on the part of his sovereign.
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; 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. 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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? 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
[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.
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.
[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. 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. 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. 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."
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.
[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; 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.
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."
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. 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; 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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; 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. 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; 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.
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.
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."
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. 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. 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."
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. 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.
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 depot.
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." 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.
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.
[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. 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. 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."
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.
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."
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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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