[Footnote 1: Thus they are perpetually called in the correspondence of the royalists.—Carte's Letters, i. 447, 469; ii. 11. Strickland's servants were attacked at his door by six cavaliers with drawn swords; an attempt was made to break into St. John's bedchamber; Edward, son to the queen of Bohemia, publicly called the ambassadors rogues and dogs; and the young duke of York accidentally meeting St. John, who refused to give way to him, snatched the ambassador's hat off his head and threw it in his face, saying, "Learn, parricide, to respect the brother of your king." "I scorn," he replied, "to acknowledge either, you race of vagabonds." The duke drew his sword, but mischief was prevented by the interference of the spectators,—New Parl. Hist. iii. 1, 364.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. March 10.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. April 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. May 10.]
of either by sea and land, and a renewal of the whole treaty of 1495, with such modifications as might adapt it to existing times and circumstances. The States, having demanded in vain an explanation of the proposed confederacy,[a] presented a counter project;[b] but while the different articles remained under discussion, the period prefixed by the parliament expired, and the ambassadors departed. To whom the failure of the negotiation was owing became a subject of controversy. The Hollanders blamed the abrupt and supercilious carriage of St. John and his colleague; the ambassadors charged the States with having purposely created delay, that they might not commit themselves by a treaty with the commonwealth, before they had seen the issue of the contest between the king of Scotland and Oliver Cromwell.
In a short time that contest was decided in the battle of Worcester, and the States condescended to become petitioners in their turn. Their ambassadors arrived in England with the intention of resuming the negotiation where it had been interrupted by the departure of St. John and his colleague. But circumstances were now changed; success had enlarged the pretensions of the parliament; and the British, instead of shunning, courted a trial of strength with the Belgic lion. First, the Dutch merchantmen were visited under the pretext of searching for munitions of war, which they were carrying to the enemy; and then, at the representation of certain merchants, who conceived themselves to have been injured by the Dutch navy, letters of marque were granted to several individuals, and more than eighty prizes brought into
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 179, 183, 188-195. Heath, 285-287. Carte's Letters, i. 464. Leicester's Journal, 107. Parl. History, xx. 496.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. June 14.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. June 20.]
the English ports. In addition, the navigation act had been passed and carried into execution,[a] by which it was enacted that no goods, the produce of Africa, Asia, and America, should be imported into this country in ships which were not the property of England or its colonies; and that no produce or manufacture of any part of Europe should be imported, unless in ships the property of England or of the country of which such merchandise was the proper growth or manufacture. Hitherto the Dutch had been the common carriers of Europe; by this act, the offspring of St. John's resentment, one great and lucrative branch of their commercial prosperity was lopped off, and the first, but fruitless demand of the ambassadors was that, if not repealed, it should at least be suspended during the negotiation.
The Dutch merchants had solicited permission to indemnify themselves by reprisals; but the States ordered a numerous fleet to be equipped, and announced to all the neighbouring powers that their object was, not to make war, but to afford protection to their commerce. By the council of state, the communication was received as a menace; the English ships of war were ordered to exact in the narrow seas the same honour to the flag of the commonwealth as had been formerly paid to that of the king; and the
[Footnote 1: It seems probable that the letters of marque were granted not against the Dutch, but the French, as had been done for some time, and that the Dutch vessels were detained under pretence of their having French property on board. Suivant les pretextes de reprisailles contre les Francois et autres.—Dumont, vi. ii. 32.]
[Footnote 2: An exception was made in favour of commodities from the Levant seas, the West Indies, and the ports of Spain and Portugal, which might be imported from the usual places of trading, though they were not the growth of the said places. The penalty was the forfeiture of the ship and cargo, one moiety to the commonwealth, the other to the informer.—New Parl. Hist. iii. 1374.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Oct. 9.]
ambassadors were reminded of the claim of indemnification for the losses sustained by the English in the East Indies, of a free trade from Middleburgh to Antwerp, and of the tenth herring which was due from the Dutch fishermen for the permission to exercise their trade in the British seas.
While the conferences were yet pending, Commodore Young met[a] a fleet of Dutch merchantmen under convoy in the Channel; and, after a sharp action, compelled the men-of-war to salute the English flag. A few days later[b] the celebrated Van Tromp appeared with two-and-forty sail in the Downs. He had been instructed to keep at a proper distance from the English coast, neither to provoke nor to shun hostility, and to salute or not according to his own discretion; but on no account to yield to the newly-claimed right of search. To Bourne, the English, commander, he apologized for his arrival, which, he said, was not with any hostile design, but in consequence of the loss of several anchors and cables on the opposite coast. The next day[c] he met Blake off the harbour of Dover; an action took place between the rival commanders; and, when the fleets separated in the evening, the English cut off two ships of thirty guns, one of which they took, the other they abandoned, on account of the damage which it had received.
It was a question of some importance who was the aggressor. By Blake it was asserted that Van Tromp had gratuitously come to insult the English fleet in its own roads, and had provoked the engagement by firing the first broadside. The Dutchman replied that
[Footnote 1: Le Clerc, i. 315. The Dutch seem to have argued that the salute had formerly been rendered to the king, not to the nation.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. May 12.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. May 18.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. May 19.]
he was cruising for the protection of trade; that the weather had driven him on the English coast; that he had no thought of fighting till he received the fire of Blake's ship; and that, during the action, he had carefully kept on the defensive, though he might with his great superiority of force have annihilated the assailants.
The reader will probably think, that those who submitted to solicit the continuance of peace were not the first to seek the commencement of hostilities. Immediately after the action at sea, the council ordered the English commanders to pursue, attack, and destroy all vessels the property of the United Provinces; and, in the course of a month, more than seventy sail of merchantmen, besides several men-of-war, were captured, stranded, or burnt. The Dutch, on the contrary, abstained from reprisals; their ambassadors thrice assured the council that the battle had happened without the knowledge, and to the deep regret of the States;[a] and on each occasion earnestly deprecated the adoption of hasty and violent measures, which might lead to consequences highly prejudicial to both nations. They received an answer,[b] which, assuming it as proved that the States intended to usurp the rights of England on the sea, and to
[Footnote 1: The great argument of the parliament in their declaration is the following: Tromp came out of his way to meet the English fleet, and fired on Blake without provocation; the States did not punish him, but retained him in the command; therefore he acted by their orders, and the war was begun by them. Each of these assertions was denied on the other side. Tromp showed the reasons which led him into the track of the English fleet; and the States asserted, from the evidence before them, that Tromp had ordered his sails to be lowered, and was employed in getting ready his boat to compliment the English admiral at the time when he received a broadside from the impatience of Blake.—Dumont, vi. p. ii. 33. Le Clerc, i. 315, 317. Basnage, i. 254. Heath, 315-320.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. May 24, 27, June 3.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. June 5.]
destroy the navy, the bulwark of those rights, declared that it was the duty of parliament to seek reparation for the past, and security for the future.
Soon afterwards Pauw, the grand pensionary, arrived.[a] He repeated with the most solemn asseverations from his own knowledge the statement of the ambassadors;[b] proposed that a court of inquiry, consisting of an equal number of commissioners from each nation, should be appointed, and exemplary punishment inflicted on the officer who should be found to have provoked the engagement; and demanded that hostilities should cease, and the negotiation be resumed. Receiving no other answer than had been already given to his colleagues, he asked[c] what was meant by "reparation and security;" and was told by order of parliament, that the English government expected full compensation for all the charges to which it had been put by the preparations and attempts of the States, and hoped to meet with security for the future in an alliance which should render the interests of both nations consistent with each other. These, it was evident, were conditions to which the pride of the States would refuse to stoop; Pauw demanded[d] an audience of leave of the parliament; and all hope of reconciliation vanished.
If the Dutch had hitherto solicited peace, it was not that they feared the result of war. The sea was their native element; and the fact of their maritime superiority had long been openly or tacitly acknowledged by all the powers of Europe. But they wisely
[Footnote 1: Heath, 320, 321.]
[Footnote 2: Compare the declaration of parliament of July 9 with that of the States General of July 23, Aug. 2. See also Whitelock, 537; Heath, 315-322; the Journals, June 5, 11, 25, 30; and Le Clerc, i. 318-321.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. June 11.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. June 17.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1652. June 25.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. June 30.]
judged that no victory by sea could repay them for the losses which they must sustain from the extinction of their fishing trade, and the suspension of their commerce. For the commonwealth, on the other hand, it was fortunate that the depredations of Prince Rupert had turned the attention of the leaders to naval concerns. Their fleet had been four years in commission: the officers and men were actuated by the same spirit of civil liberty and religious enthusiasm which distinguished the land army; Ayscue had just returned from the reduction of Barbadoes with a powerful squadron; and fifty additional ships were ordered to be equipped, an object easily accomplished at a time when any merchantman capable of carrying guns could, with a few alterations, be converted into a man-of-war. Ayscue with the smaller division of the fleet remained at home to scour the Channel.[a] Blake sailed to the north, captured the squadron appointed to protect the Dutch fishing-vessels, exacted from the busses the duty of every tenth herring, and sent them home with a prohibition to fish again without a license from the English government. In the mean while Van Tromp sailed from the Texel with seventy men-of-war. It was expected in Holland that he would sweep the English navy from the face of the ocean. His first attempt was to surprise Ayscue, who was saved by a calm followed by a change of wind. He then sailed to the north in search of Blake. But
[Footnote 1: The fishery employed in various ways one hundred thousand persons.—Le Clerc, 321.]
[Footnote 2: From a list of hired merchantmen converted into men-of-war, it appears that a ship of nine hundred tons burthen made a man-of-war of sixty guns; one of seven hundred tons, a man-of-war of forty-six; four hundred, of thirty-four; two hundred, of twenty; one hundred, of ten; sixty, of eight; and that about five or six men were allowed for each gun.—Journals, 1651, May 29.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. July 19.]
his fleet was dispersed by a storm; five of his frigates fell into the hands of the English; and on his return he was received with murmurs and reproaches by the populace. Indignant at a treatment which he had not deserved, he justified his conduct before the States, and then laid down his commission.
De Ruyter, a name almost equally illustrious on the ocean, was appointed his successor. That officer sailed to the mouth of the Channel, took under his charge a fleet of merchantmen, and on his return was opposed by Ayscue with nearly an equal force. The English. commander burst through the enemy, and was followed by nine sail; the rest of the fleet took no share in the action, and the convoy escaped. The blame rested not with Ayscue, but with his inferior officers; but the council took the opportunity to lay him aside, not that they doubted his courage or abilities, but because he was suspected of a secret leaning to the royal cause. To console him for his disgrace, he received a present of three hundred pounds, with a grant of land of the same annual rent in Ireland.
De Witte now joined De Ruyter,[a] and took the command. Blake accepted the challenge of battle, and night alone separated the combatants. The next morning the Dutch fled, and were pursued as far as the Goree. Their ships were in general of smaller dimensions, and drew less water than those of their adversaries, who dared not follow among the numerous sand-banks with which the coast is studded.
Blake, supposing that naval operations would be suspended during the winter, had detached several
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 538, 539, 540, 541. Heath, 322. Le Clerc, i. 321.]
[Footnote 2: Heath, 323. Le Clerc, i. 322.]
[Footnote 3: Ibid. 326. Ludlow, i. 367. Whitelock, 545. Le Clerc, i. 324.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Sept. 28.]
squadrons to different ports, and was riding in the Downs with thirty-seven sail, when he was surprised by the appearance[a] of a hostile fleet of double that number, under the command of Van Tromp, whose wounded pride had been appeased with a new commission. A mistaken sense of honour induced the English admiral to engage in the unequal contest. The battle[b] raged from eleven in the morning till night. The English, though they burnt a large ship and disabled two others, lost five sail either sunk or taken; and Blake, under cover of the darkness, ran up the river as far as Leigh. Van Tromp sought his enemy at Harwich and Yarmouth; returning, he insulted the coast as he passed; and continued to cruise backwards and forwards from the North Foreland to the Isle of Wight.
The parliament made every exertion to wipe away this disgrace. The ships were speedily refitted; two regiments of infantry embarked to serve as marines; a bounty was offered for volunteers; the wages of the seamen were raised; provision was made for their families during their absence on service; a new rate for the division of prize-money was established; and, in aid of Blake, two officers, whose abilities had been already tried, Deane and Monk, received the joint command of the fleet. On the other hand, the Dutch were intoxicated with their success; they announced it to the world, in prints, poems, and publications; and Van Tromp affixed a broom to the head of his mast as an emblem of his triumph. He had gone to the Isle of Rhee to take the homeward-bound trade under his charge, with orders to resume his station at the mouth of the Thames, and to prevent the egress of
[Footnote 1: Heath, 329. Ludlow, ii. 3. Neuville, iii. 68.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Nov. 29.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Nov. 30.]
the English. But Blake had already stationed himself with more than seventy sail across the Channel, opposite the Isle of Portland, to intercept the return of the enemy. On the 18th of February the Dutch fleet, equal in number, with three hundred merchantmen under convoy, was discovered[a] near Cape La Hogue, steering along the coast of France. The action was maintained with the most desperate obstinacy. The Dutch lost six sail, either sunk or taken, the English one, but several were disabled, and Blake himself was severely wounded.
The following morning[b] the enemy were seen opposite Weymouth, drawn up in the form of a crescent covering the merchantmen. Many attempts were made to break through the line; and so imminent did the danger appear to the Dutch admiral, that he made signal for the convoy to shift for themselves. The battle lasted at intervals through the night; it was renewed with greater vigour near Boulogne in the morning;[c] till Van Tromp, availing himself of the shallowness of the coast, pursued his course homeward unmolested by the pursuit of the enemy. The victory was decidedly with the English; the loss in men might be equal on both sides; but the Dutch themselves acknowledged that nine of their men-of-war and twenty-four of the merchant vessels had been either sunk or captured.
This was the last naval victory achieved under the auspices of the parliament, which, though it wielded the powers of government with an energy that surprised
[Footnote 1: Heath, 335. Whitelock, 551. Leicester's Journal, 138. Le Clerc, i. 328. Basnage, i. 298-301. By the English admirals the loss of the Dutch was estimated at eleven men-of-war and thirty merchantmen.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Feb. 18.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. Feb. 19.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. Feb. 20.]
the several nations of Europe, was doomed to bend before the superior genius or ascendancy of Cromwell. When that adventurer first formed the design of seizing the supreme authority, is uncertain; it was not till after the victory at Worcester that he began gradually and cautiously to unfold his object. He saw himself crowned with the laurels of conquest; he held the command in chief of a numerous and devoted army; and he dwelt with his family in a palace formerly the residence of the English monarchs. His adversaries had long ago pronounced him, in all but name, "a king;" and his friends were accustomed to address him in language as adulatory as ever gratified the ears of the most absolute sovereign. His importance was perpetually forced upon his notice by the praise of his dependants, by the foreign envoys who paid court to him, and by the royalists who craved his protection. In such circumstances, it cannot be surprising if the victorious general indulged the aspirings of ambition; if the stern republican, however he might hate to see the crown on the brows of another, felt no repugnance to place it upon his own.
The grandees of the army felt that they no longer possessed the chief sway in the government. War had called them away to their commands in Scotland and Ireland; and, during their absence, the conduct of affairs had devolved on those who, in contradistinction, were denominated the statesmen. Thus, by the course
[Footnote 1: The general officers conclude their despatches to him thus: "We humbly lay ourselves with these thoughts, in this emergency, at your excellency's feet."—Milton's State Papers, 71. The ministers of Newcastle make "their humble addresses to his godly wisdom," and present "their humble suits to God and his excellency" (ibid. 82); and the petitioners from different countries solicit him to mediate for them to the parliament, "because God has not put the sword in his hand in vain."—Whitelock, 517.]
of events, the servants had grown into masters, and the power of the senate had obtained the superiority over the power of the sword. Still the officers in their distant quarters jealously watched, and severely criticised the conduct of the men at Westminster. With want of vigour in directing the military and naval resources of the country, they could not be charged; but it was complained that they neglected the internal economy of government; that no one of the objects demanded in the "agreement of the people" had been accomplished; and that, while others sacrificed their health and their lives in the service of the commonwealth, all the emoluments and patronage were monopolized by the idle drones who remained in the capital.
On the return of the lord-general, the council of officers had been re-established at Whitehall;[a] and their discontent was artfully employed by Cromwell in furtherance of his own elevation. When he resumed his seat in the house, he reminded the members of their indifference to two measures earnestly desired by the country, the act of amnesty and the termination of the present parliament. Bills for each of these objects had been introduced as far back as 1649; but, after some progress, both were suffered to sleep in the several committees; and this backwardness of the "statesmen" was attributed to their wish to enrich themselves by forfeitures, and to perpetuate their power by perpetuating the parliament. The influence of Cromwell revived both questions. An act of oblivion was obtained,[b] which, with some exceptions, pardoned all offences committed before the battle of Worcester, and relieved the minds of the royalists from the apprehension
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 549.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Sept. 16.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Feb. 24.]
of additional forfeitures. On the question of the expiration of parliament, after several warm debates, the period had been fixed[a] for the 3rd of November, 1654; a distance of three years, which, perhaps, was not the less pleasing to Cromwell, as it served to show how unwilling his adversaries were to resign their power. The interval was to be employed in determining the qualifications of the succeeding parliament.
In the winter, the lord-general called a meeting of officers and members at the house of the speaker; and it must have excited their surprise, when he proposed to them to deliberate, whether it were better to establish a republic, or a mixed form of monarchical government. The officers in general pronounced in favour of a republic, as the best security for the liberties of the people; the lawyers pleaded unanimously for a limited monarchy, as better adapted to the laws, the habits, and the feelings of Englishmen. With the latter Cromwell agreed, and inquired whom in that case they would choose for king. It was replied, either Charles Stuart or the duke of York, provided they would comply with the demands of the parliament; if they would not, the young duke of Gloucester, who could not have imbibed the despotic notions of his elder brothers. This was not the answer which Cromwell sought: he heard it with uneasiness; and, as often as the subject was resumed, diverted the conversation to some other question. In conclusion, he gave his opinion, that, "somewhat of a monarchical government would be most effectual, if it could be established with safety to the liberties of the people,
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1651, Nov. 4, 14, 15, 18, 27; 1652, Feb. 24.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Nov. 18.]
as Englishmen and Christians." That the result of the meeting disappointed his expectations, is evident; but he derived from it this advantage, that he had ascertained the sentiments of many, whose aid he might subsequently require. None of the leaders from the opposite party appear to have been present.
Jealous, however, of his designs, "the statesmen" had begun to fight him with his own weapons. As the commonwealth had no longer an enemy to contend with on the land, they proposed[a] a considerable reduction in the number of the forces, and[b] a proportionate reduction of the taxes raised for their support. The motion was too reasonable in itself, and too popular in the country, to be resisted with safety: one-fourth of the army was disbanded,[c] and the monthly assessment lowered from one hundred and twenty thousand pounds to ninety thousand pounds. Before the expiration of six months, the question of a further reduction was brought forward;[d] but the council of war took the alarm, and a letter from Cromwell to the speaker[e] induced the house to continue its last vote. In a short time[f] it was again mentioned; but the next day[g] six officers appeared at the bar of the house with a petition from the army, which, under pretence of praying for improvements, tacitly charged the members with the neglect of their duty. It directed their attention to the propagation of the gospel, the reform of the law, the removal from office of scandalous and disaffected persons, the abuses in the excise and the treasury, the arrears due to the army, the violation of articles granted to the enemy, and the qualifications of future and successive parliaments. Whitelock remonstrated with Cromwell on the danger
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 516.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1651. Oct. 2.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. Oct. 7.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Dec. 19.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1652. June 5.] [Sidenote e: A.D. 1652. June 15.] [Sidenote f: A.D. 1652. August 12.] [Sidenote g: A.D. 1652. August 13.]
of permitting armed bodies to assembly and petition. He slighted the advice.
Soon afterwards[a] the lord-general requested a private and confidential interview with that lawyer. So violent, he observed, was the discontent of the army, so imperious the conduct of the parliament, that it would be impossible to prevent a collision of interests, and the subsequent ruin of the good cause, unless there were established "some authority so full and so high" as to be able to check these exorbitances, and to restrain both the army and the parliament. Whitelock replied, that, for the army, his excellency had hitherto kept and would continue to keep it in due subordination; but with respect to the parliament, reliance must be placed on the good sense and virtue of the majority. To control the supreme power was legally impossible. All, even Cromwell himself, derived their authority from it. At these words the lord-general abruptly exclaimed, "What, if a man should take upon him to be king?" The commissioner answered that the title would confer no additional benefit on his excellency. By his command of the army, his ascendancy in the house, and his reputation, both at home and abroad, he already enjoyed, without the envy of the name, all the power of a king. When Cromwell insisted that the name would give security to his followers, and command the respect of the people, Whitelock rejoined, that it would change the state of the controversy between the parties, and convert a national into a personal quarrel. His friends had cheerfully fought with him to establish a republican in place of monarchical government; would they equally
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 541. Journals, 1651; Dec. 19; 1652, June 15, Aug. 12, 13.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Nov. 8.]
fight with him in favour of the house of Cromwell against the house of Stuart? In conclusion, Cromwell conjured him to give his advice without disguise or qualification, and received this answer, "Make a private treaty with the son of the late king, and place him on the throne, but on conditions which shall secure to the nation its rights, and to yourself the first place beneath the throne." The general coldly observed that a matter of such importance and difficulty deserved mature consideration. They separated; and Whitelock soon discovered that he had forfeited his confidence.
At length Cromwell fixed on a plan to accomplish his purpose by procuring the dissolution of the parliament, and vesting for a time the sovereign authority in a council of forty persons, with himself at their head. It was his wish to effect this quietly by the votes of parliament—his resolution to effect it by open force, if such votes were refused. Several meetings were held by the officers and members at the lodgings of the lord-general in Whitehall. St. John and a few others gave their assent; the rest, under the guidance
[Footnote 1: Henry, duke of Gloucester, and the princess Elizabeth were in England at the last king's death. In 1650 the council proposed to send the one to his brother in Scotland, and the other to her sister in Holland, allowing to each one thousand pounds per annum, as long as they should behave inoffensively.—Journals, 1650, July 24, Sept. 11. But Elizabeth died on Sept. 8 of the same year, and Henry remained under the charge of Mildmay, governor of Carisbrook Castle, till a short time after this conference, when Cromwell, as if he looked on the young prince as a rival, advised his tutor Lovell, to ask permission to convey him to his sister, the princess of Orange. It was granted, with the sum of five hundred pounds to defray the expense of the journey.—Leicester's Journal, 103. Heath, 331. Clarendon, iii. 525, 526.]
[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 548-551. Were the minutes of this conversation committed to paper immediately, or after the Restoration? The credit due to them depends on this circumstance.]
of Whitelock and Widdrington, declared that the dissolution would be dangerous, and the establishment of the proposed council unwarrantable. In the mean time, the house resumed the consideration of the new representative body, and several qualifications were voted; to all of which the officers raised objections, but chiefly to the "admission of neuters," a project to strengthen the government by the introduction of the Presbyterian interest. "Never," said Cromwell, "shall any of that judgment, who have deserted the good cause, be admitted to power." On the last meeting,[a] held on the 19th of April, all these points were long and warmly debated. Some of the officers declared that the parliament must be dissolved "one way or other;" but the general checked their indiscretion and precipitancy; and the assembly broke up at midnight, with an understanding that the leading men on each side should resume the subject in the morning.
At an early hour the conference was recommenced,[b] and after a short time interrupted, in consequence of the receipt of a notice by the general that it was the intention of the house to comply with the desires of the army. This was a mistake: the opposite party, led by Vane, who had discovered the object of Cromwell,
[Footnote 1: From Ludlow (ii. 435) it appears that by this bill the number of members for boroughs was reduced, of representatives of counties increased. The qualification of an elector was the possession for his own use of an estate real or personal of the value of two hundred pounds.—Journ. 30th March, 1653. It is however singular that though the house continued to sit till April 19th—the only entry on the journals respecting this bill occurs on the 13th—making it a qualification of the candidates that they should be "persons of known integrity, fearing God, and not scandalous in their conversation."—Journal, ibid.]
[Footnote 2: Compare Whitelock's narrative of this meeting (p. 554) with Cromwell's, in Milton's State Papers, 109.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653 April 19.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653 April 20.]
had indeed resolved to pass a bill of dissolution, not, however, the bill proposed by the officers, but their own bill, containing all the obnoxious provisions; and to pass it that very morning, that it might obtain the force of law before their adversaries could have time to appeal to the power of the sword. While Harrison "most sweetly and humbly" conjured them to pause before they took so important a step, Ingoldsby hastened to inform the lord-general at Whitehall. His resolution was immediately formed, and a company of musketeers received orders to accompany him to the house.
At this eventful moment, big with the most important consequences both to himself and his country, whatever were the workings of Cromwell's mind, he had the art to conceal them from the eyes of the beholders. Leaving the military in the lobby, he entered the house, and composedly seated himself on one of the outer benches. His dress was a plain suit of black cloth, with grey worsted stockings. For a while he seemed to listen with interest to the debate; but, when the speaker was going to put the question, he whispered to Harrison, "This is the time: I must do it;" and rising, put off his hat to address the house. At first his language was decorous and even laudatory. Gradually he became more warm and animated: at last he assumed all the vehemence of passion, and indulged in personal vituperation. He charged the members with self-seeking and profaneness; with the frequent denial of justice, and numerous
[Footnote 1: These particulars may be fairly collected from Whitelock, 554, compared with the declaration of the officers, and Cromwell's speech to his parliament. The intention to dissolve themselves is also asserted by Hazlerig.—Burton's Diary, iii. 98.]
acts of oppression; with idolizing the lawyers, the constant advocates of tyranny; with neglecting the men who had bled for them in the field, that they might gain the Presbyterians who had apostatized from the cause; and with doing all this in order to perpetuate their own power, and to replenish their own purses. But their time was come; the Lord had disowned them; he had chosen more worthy instruments to perform his work. Here the orator was interrupted by Sir Peter Wentworth, who declared that he never before heard language so unparliamentary, language, too, the more offensive, because it was addressed to them by their own servant, whom they had too fondly cherished, and whom, by their unprecedented bounty, they had made what he was. At these words Cromwell put on his hat, and, springing from his place, exclaimed, "Come, come, sir, I will put an end to your prating." For a few seconds, apparently in the most violent agitation, he paced forward and backward, and then, stamping on the floor, added, "You are no parliament. I say you are no parliament: bring them in, bring them in." Instantly the door opened, and Colonel Worseley entered, followed by more than twenty musketeers. "This," cried Sir Henry Vane, "is not honest. It is against morality and common honesty." "Sir Henry Vane," replied Cromwell, "O Sir Henry Vane! The Lord deliver me from Sir Henry Vane! He might have prevented this. But he is a juggler, and has not common honesty himself." From Vane he directed his discourse to Whitelock, on whom he poured a torrent of abuse; then, pointing to Challoner, "There," he cried, "sits a drunkard;" next, to Marten and Wentworth, "There are two whoremasters:" and afterwards, selecting different members in succession, described them as dishonest and corrupt livers, a shame and a scandal to the profession of the gospel. Suddenly, however, checking himself, he turned to the guard, and ordered them to clear the house. At these words Colonel Harrison took the speaker by the hand, and led him from the chair; Algernon Sidney was next compelled to quit his seat; and the other members, eighty in number, on the approach of the military, rose and moved towards the door. Cromwell now resumed his discourse. "It is you," he exclaimed, "that have forced me to do this. I have sought the Lord both day and night, that he would rather slay me, than put me on the doing of this work." Alderman Allen took advantage of these words to observe, that it was not yet too late to undo what had been done; but Cromwell instantly charged him with peculation, and gave him into custody. When all were gone, fixing his eye on the mace, "What," said he, "shall we do with this fool's bauble? Here, carry it away." Then, taking the act of dissolution from the clerk, he ordered the doors to be locked, and, accompanied by the military, returned to Whitehall.
That afternoon the members of the council assembled in their usual place of meeting. Bradshaw had just taken the chair, when the lord-general entered, and told them, that if they were there as private individuals, they were welcome; but, if as the council of state, they must know that the parliament was dissolved, and with it also the council. "Sir," replied Bradshaw, with the spirit of an ancient Roman, "we have heard what you did at the house this morning, and before many hours all England will know it. But, sir, you are mistaken to think that the parliament is dissolved. No power under heaven can dissolve them but themselves. Therefore take you notice of that." After this protest they withdrew.
Thus, by the parricidal hands of its own children, perished the long parliament, which, under a variety of forms, had, for more than twelve years, defended and invaded the liberties of the nation. It fell without a struggle or a groan, unpitied and unregretted. The members slunk away to their homes, where they sought by submission to purchase the forbearance of their new master; and their partisans, if partisans they had, reserved themselves in silence for a day of retribution, which came not before Cromwell slept in his grave. The royalists congratulated each other on an event which they deemed a preparatory step to the restoration of the king; the army and navy, in numerous addresses, declared that they would live or die, stand or fall, with the lord-general, and in every part of the country the congregations of the saints magnified the arm of the Lord which had broken the mighty, that in lieu of the sway of mortal men, "the fifth monarchy, the reign of Christ, might be established upon earth."
It would, however, be unjust to the memory of those who exercised the supreme power after the death of the king, not to acknowledge that there existed among them men capable of wielding with energy the destinies of a great empire. They governed only four years; yet, under their auspices, the conquests of Ireland and Scotland were achieved, and a navy was
[Footnote 1: See the several accounts in Whitelock, 554; Ludlow, ii. 19 23; Leicester's Journal, 139; Hutchinson, 332; Several Proceedings, No. 186, and Burton's Diary, iii. 98.]
[Footnote 2: Whitelock, 555-558. Milton's State Papers, 90-97. Ellis, Second Series, iii. 368.]
created, the rival of that of Holland and the terror of the rest of Europe. But there existed an essential error in their form of government. Deliberative assemblies are always slow in their proceedings; yet the pleasure of parliament, as the supreme power, was to be taken on every subject connected with the foreign relations, or the internal administration of the country; and hence it happened that, among the immense variety of questions which came before it, those commanded immediate attention which were deemed of immediate necessity; while the others, though often of the highest importance to the national welfare, were first postponed, then neglected, and ultimately forgotten. To this habit of procrastination was perhaps owing the extinction of its authority. It disappointed the hopes of the country, and supplied Cromwell with the most plausible argument in defence of his conduct.
Of the parliamentary transactions up to this period, the principal have been noticed in the preceding pages. I shall add a few others which may be thought worthy the attention of the reader. 1. It was complained that, since the abolition of the spiritual tribunals, the sins of incest, adultery, and fornication had been multiplied, in consequence of the impunity with which they might be committed; and, at the prayer of the godly, they were made[a] criminal offences, cognizable by the criminal courts, and punishable, the two first with death, the last with three months' imprisonment.
[Footnote 1: "We intended," says Scot, "to have gone off with a good savour, but we stayed to end the Dutch war. We might have brought them to oneness with us. Their ambassadors did desire a coalition. This we might have done in four or five months. We never bid fairer for being masters of the whole world."—Burton's Diary, iii. 112.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. May 16.]
But it was predicted at the time, and experience verified the prediction, that the severity of the punishment would defeat the purpose of the law. 2. Scarcely a petition was presented, which did not, among other things, pray for the reformation of the courts of justice; and the house, after several long debates, acquiesced[a] in a measure, understood to be only the forerunner of several others,[b] that the law books should be written, and law proceedings be conducted in the English language. 3. So enormous were the charges of the commonwealth, arising from incessant war by sea or land, that questions of finance continually engaged the attention of the house. There were four principal sources of revenue; the customs, the excise, the sale of fee-farm rents, of the lands of the crown, and of those belonging to the bishops, deans, and chapters, and the sequestration and forfeiture of the estates of papists and delinquents. The ordinances for the latter had been passed as early as the year 1643, and in the course of the seven succeeding years, the harvest had been reaped and gathered. Still some gleanings might remain; and in 1650, an act was passed[c] for the better ordering and managing such estates; the former compositions were subjected to examination; defects and concealments were detected; and proportionate fines were in numerous cases exacted. In 1651, seventy individuals, most of them of high rank, all of opulent fortunes, who had imprudently displayed their attachment to the royal cause, were condemned[d] to forfeit their property,
[Footnote 1: Journals, May 10, Nov. 22. Whitelock, 478-483.]
[Footnote 2: The clear annual income from the fee-farm rents amounted to seventy-seven thousand pounds. In Jan. 1651, twenty-five thousand three hundred pounds of this income had been sold for two hundred and twenty-five thousand six hundred and fifty pounds.—Journals, Jan. 8.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Nov. 8.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1650. Nov. 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1651. Jan. 22.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1651. July 16.]
both real and personal, for the benefit of the commonwealth. The fatal march of Charles to Worcester furnished grounds for a new proscription in 1652. First[a] nine-and-twenty, then[b] six hundred and eighty-two royalists were selected for punishment. It was enacted that those in the first class should forfeit their whole property; while to those in the second, the right of pre-emption was reserved at the rate of one-third part of the clear value, to be paid within four months.
4. During the late reign, as long as the Presbyterians retained their ascendancy in parliament, they enforced with all their power uniformity of worship and doctrine. The clergy of the established church were ejected from their livings, and the professors of the Catholic faith were condemned to forfeit two-thirds of their property, or to abjure their religion. Nor was the proof of recusancy to depend, as formerly, on the slow process of presentation and conviction; bare suspicion was held a sufficient ground for the sequestrator to seize his prey; and the complainant was told that he had the remedy in his own hands, he might take the oath of abjuration. When the Independents succeeded to the exercise of the supreme power, both the persecuted parties indulged a hope of more lenient treatment, and both were disappointed. The Independents, indeed, proclaimed themselves the champions of religious liberty; they repealed the statutes imposing penalties for absence from church; and they declared
[Footnote 1: Journals, 1651, July 16; 1652, Aug. 4, Nov. 18. Scobell, 156, 210. If any of the last were papists, and afterwards disposed of their estates thus redeemed, they were ordered to banish themselves from their native country, under the penalty of having the laws against popery executed against them with the utmost severity.—Addit. Act of Nov. 18, 1652.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. August 4.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1652. Nov. 18.]
that men were free to serve God according to the dictates of conscience. Yet their notions of toleration were very confined: they refused to extend it either to prelacy or popery, to the service of the church of England, or of the church of Rome. The ejected clergymen were still excluded from the pulpit, and the Catholics were still the victims of persecuting statutes. In 1650, an act was passed[a] offering to the discoverers of priests and Jesuits, or of their receivers and abettors, the same reward as had been granted to the apprehenders of highwaymen. Immediately officers and informers were employed in every direction; the houses of Catholics were broken open and searched at all hours of the day and night; many clergymen were apprehended, and several were tried, and received[b] judgment of death. Of these only one, Peter Wright, chaplain to the marquess of Winchester, suffered. The leaders shrank from the odium of such sanguinary exhibitions, and transported the rest of the prisoners to the continent.
But if the zeal of the Independents was more sparing of blood than that of the Presbyterians, it was not inferior in point of rapacity. The ordinances for sequestration and forfeiture were executed with unrelenting severity. It is difficult to say which suffered from them most cruelly—families with small fortunes who were thus reduced to a state of penury; or husbandmen, servants, and mechanics, who, on their refusal to take the oath of abjuration, were deprived
[Footnote 1: Challoner, ii 346. MS. papers in my possession. See note. (G).]
[Footnote 2: In 1650 the annual rents of Catholics in possession of the sequestrators were retained at sixty-two thousand and forty-eight pounds seventeen shillings and threepence three farthings. It should, however, be observed that thirteen counties were not included.—Journ. Dee. 17.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1650. Feb. 26.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1651. May. 19.]
of two-thirds of their scanty earnings, even of their household goods and wearing apparel. The sufferers ventured to solicit[a] from parliament such indulgence as might be thought "consistent with the public peace and their comfortable subsistence in their native country." The petition was read: Sir Henry Vane spoke in its favour; but the house was deaf to the voice of reason and humanity, and the prayer for relief was indignantly rejected.
[Footnote 1: In proof I may be allowed to mention one instance of a Catholic servant maid, an orphan, who, during a servitude of seventeen years, at seven nobles a year, had saved twenty pounds. The sequestrators, having discovered with whom she had deposited her money, took two-thirds, thirteen pounds six shillings and eightpence, for the use of the commonwealth, and left her the remainder, six pounds thirteen and fourpence. In March, 1652, she appealed to the commissioners at Haberdashers' Hall, who replied that they could afford her no relief, unless she took the oath of abjuration. See this and many other cases in the "Christian Moderator, or Persecution for Religion,
condemned by the Light of Nature, the Law of God, and Evidence of our own Principles," p. 77-84. London, 1652.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, 1652, June 30. The petition is in the Christian Moderator, p. 59.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1652. Jun. 30.]
Cromwell Calls The Little Parliament—Dissolves It—Makes Himself Protector—Subjugation Of The Scottish Royalists—Peace With The Dutch—New Parliament—Its Dissolution—Insurrection In England—Breach With Spain—Troubles In Piedmont—Treaty With France.
Whoever has studied the character of Cromwell will have remarked the anxiety with which he laboured to conceal his real designs from the notice of his adherents. If credit were due to his assertions, he cherished none of those aspiring thoughts which agitate the breasts of the ambitious; the consciousness of his weakness taught him to shrink from the responsibility of power; and at every step in his ascent to greatness, he affected to sacrifice his own feelings to the judgment and importunity of others. But in dissolving the late parliament he had deviated from this his ordinary course: he had been compelled to come boldly forward by the obstinacy or the policy of his opponents, who during twelve months had triumphed over his intrigues, and were preparing to pass an act which would place new obstacles in his path. Now, however, that he had forcibly taken into his own hands the reins of government, it remained for him to determine whether he should retain them in his grasp, or deliver them over to others. He preferred the latter for the maturity of time was not yet come: he saw that, among the officers who blindly submitted to be the tools of his ambition, there were several who would abandon the idol of their worship, whenever they should suspect him of a design to subvert the public liberty. But if he parted with power for the moment, it was in such manner as to warrant the hope that it would shortly return to him under another form, not as won by the sword of the military, but as deposited in his hands by the judgment of parliament.
It could not escape the sagacity of the lord-general that the fanatics, with whose aid he had subverted the late government, were not the men to be intrusted with the destinies of the three kingdoms; yet he deemed it his interest to indulge them in their wild notions of civil and religious reformation, and to suffer himself for a while to be guided by their counsels. Their first measure was to publish a Vindication of their Proceedings. The long parliament they pronounced[a] incapable "of answering those ends which God, his people, and the whole nation, expected." Had it been permitted to sit a day longer, it would "at one blow have laid in the dust the interest of all honest men and of their glorious cause." In its place the council of war would "call to the government persons of approved fidelity and honesty;" and therefore required "public officers and ministers to proceed in their respective places," and conjured "those who feared and loved the name of the Lord, to be instant with him day and night in their behalf."
[Footnote 1: Printed by Henry Hills and Thomas Brewster, printers to the army, 1653.]
[Footnote 2: Ludlow, ii. 24. Thurloe, i. 289, 395. Sir H. Vane, after all the affronts which he had received, was offered a place in the council; but he replied that, though the reign of the saints was begun, he would defer his share in it till he should go to heaven.—Thurloe, i. 265.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. April 22.]
They next proceeded to establish[a] a council of state. Some proposed that it should consist of ten members, some of seventy, after the model of the Jewish Sanhedrim; and others of thirteen, in imitation of Christ and his twelve apostles. The last project was adopted as equally scriptural, and more convenient. With Cromwell, in the place of lord president, were joined four civilians and eight officers of high rank; so that the army still retained its ascendancy, and the council of state became in fact a military council.
From this moment for some months it would have embarrassed any man to determine where the supreme power resided. Some of the judges were superseded by others: new commissioners of the treasury and admiralty were appointed; even the monthly assessment of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds was continued for an additional half-year; and yet these and similar acts, all of them belonging to the highest authority in the state, appeared to emanate from different sources; these from the council of war, those from the council of state, and several from the lord-general himself, sometimes with the advice of one or other, sometimes without the advice of either of these councils.
At the same time the public mind was agitated by the circulation of reports the most unfounded, and the advocacy of projects the most contradictory. This day it was rumoured that Cromwell had offered to recall
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 556, 557, 559. Leicester's Journal, 142. Merc. Polit. No. 157.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. April 30.]
the royal family, on condition that Charles should marry one of his daughters; the next, that he intended to ascend the throne himself, and, for that purpose, had already prepared the insignia of royalty. Here, signatures were solicited to a petition for the re-establishment of the ancient constitution; there, for a government by successive parliaments. Some addresses declared the conviction of the subscribers that the late dissolution was necessary; others prayed that the members might be allowed to return to the house, for the sole purpose of legally dissolving themselves by their own authority. In the mean while, the lord-general continued to wear the mask of humility and godliness; he prayed and preached with more than his wonted fervour; and his piety was rewarded, according to the report of his confidants, with frequent communications from the Holy Spirit. In the month of May he spent eight days in close consultation with his military divan; and the result was a determination to call a new parliament, but a parliament modelled on principles unknown to the history of this or of any other nation. It was to be a parliament of saints, of men who had not offered themselves as candidates, or been chosen by the people, but whose chief qualification consisted in holiness of life, and whose call to the office of legislators came from the choice of the council. With this view the ministers took the sense of the "congregational churches" in the several counties; the returns contained the names of the persons, "faithful, fearing God, and hating covetousness," who were deemed qualified for this high and important trust; and out of these the council in the presence of the lord-general selected one hundred and thirty-nine
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 256, 289, 306.]
representatives for England, six for Wales, six for Ireland, and five for Scotland. To each of them was sent[a] a writ of summons under the signature of Cromwell, requiring his personal attendance at Whitehall on a certain day, to take upon himself the trust, and to serve the office of member for some particular place. Of the surprise with which the writs were received by many the reader may judge. Yet, out of the whole number, two only returned a refusal: by most the very extraordinary manner of their election was taken as a sufficient proof that the call was from heaven.
On the appointed day, the 4th of July, one hundred and twenty of these faithful and godly men attended[b] in the council-chamber at Whitehall. They were seated on chairs round the table; and the lord-general took his station near the middle window, supported on each side by a numerous body of officers. He addressed the company standing, and it was believed by his admirers, perhaps by himself, "that the Spirit of God spoke in him and by him." Having vindicated in a long narrative the dissolution of the late parliament, he congratulated the persons present on the high office to which they had been called. It was not of their own seeking. It had come to them from God by the choice of the army, the usual channel through which in these latter days the Divine mercies had been dispensed to the nation. He would not
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 395. Compare the list of the members in Heath, 350, with the letters in Milton's State Papers, 92, 94, 96.]
[Footnote 2: Thurloe, i. 274. Whitelock, 547. "It was a great satisfaction and encouragement to some that their names had been presented as to that service, by the churches and other godly persons."—Exact Relation of the Proceedings, &c. of the last parliament, 1654, p. 2.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. June 6.] [Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 4.]
charge them, but he would pray that they might "exercise the judgment of mercy and truth," and might "be faithful with the saints," however those saints might differ respecting forms of worship. His enthusiasm kindled as he proceeded; and the visions of futurity began to open to his imagination. It was, he exclaimed, marvellous in his eyes; they were called to war with the Lamb against his enemies; they were come to the threshold of the door, to the very edge of the promises and prophecies; God was about to bring his people out of the depths of the sea; perhaps to bring the Jews home to their station out of the isles of the sea. "God," he exclaimed, "shakes the mountains and they reel; God hath a high hill, too, and his hill is as the hill of Bashan; and the chariots of God are twenty thousand of angels; and God will dwell upon this hill for ever." At the conclusion "of this grave, Christian, and seasonable speech," he placed on the table an instrument under his own hand and seal, intrusting to them the supreme authority for the space of fifteen months from that day, then to be transmitted by them to another assembly, the members of which they should previously have chosen.
The next day[a] was devoted by the new representatives to exercises of religion, not in any of the churches of the capital, but in the room where the late parliament was accustomed to sit. Thirteen of the most gifted among them successively prayed and preached, from eight in the morning till six in the evening; and several affirmed "that they had never enjoyed so much of the spirit and presence of Christ in any of the meetings
[Footnote 1: Proceedings, No. 197. Parl. Hist. xx. 153. Milton's State Papers, 106. This last appears to me a more faithful copy than that printed by authority.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 5.]
and exercises of religion in all their lives, as they did on that day." As it was solely to their reputation for superior godliness that the majority of the members owed their election, the lord-general probably expected from them little opposition to his measures; but they no sooner applied to business than he saw reason to be alarmed at the promptitude and resolution which they displayed. Though not distinguished by their opulence, they were men of independent fortunes; during the late revolutions they had learned to think for themselves on the momentous questions which divided the nation; and their fanaticism, by converting their opinions into matters of conscience, had superadded an obstinacy of character not easily to be subdued. To Cromwell himself they always behaved with respect. They invited him with four of his officers to sit as a member among them; and they made him the offer of the palace of Hampton Court in exchange for his house of Newhall. But they believed and showed that they were the masters. They scorned to submit to the dictation of their servants; and, if they often followed the advice, they as often rejected the recommendations and amended the resolutions of the council of state.
One of the first subjects which engaged their attention was a contest, in which the lord-general, with all his power, was foiled by the boldness of a single individual.
[Footnote 1: They have been generally described as men in trade, and of no education; and because one of them, Praise-God Barebone, was a leather-dealer in Fleet-street, the assembly is generally known by the denomination of Barebone's parliament.—Heath, 350. It is, however, observed by one of them, that, "if all had not very bulky estates, yet they had free estates, and were not of broken fortunes, or such as owed great sums of money, and stood in need of privilege and protection as formerly."—Exact Relation, 19. See also Whitelock, 559.]
At the very moment when he hoped to reap the fruit of his dissimulation and intrigues, he found himself unexpectedly confronted by the same fearless and enterprising demagogue, who, at the birth of the commonwealth, had publicly denounced his ambition, and excited the soldiery against him. Lilburne, on the dissolution of the long parliament, had requested permission of Cromwell to return from banishment. Receiving no answer, he came[a] over at his own risk,—a bold but imprudent step; for what indulgence could he expect from that powerful adventurer, whom he had so often denounced to the nation as "a thief, a robber, an usurper, and a murderer?" On the day after his arrival in the capital he was committed to Newgate. It seemed a case which might safely be intrusted to a jury. His return by the act of banishment had been made felony; and of his identity there could be no doubt. But his former partisans did not abandon him in his distress. Petitions with thousands of signatures were presented, praying for a respite of the trial till the meeting of the parliament; and Cromwell, willing, perhaps, to shift the odium from himself to that assembly, gave his consent. Lilburne petitioned the new parliament; his wife petitioned; his friends from the neighbouring counties petitioned; the apprentices in London did not only petition, they threatened. But the council laid before the house the depositions of spies and informers to prove that Lilburne, during his banishment, had intrigued with the royalists against the commonwealth; and the prisoner himself, by the intemperance
[Footnote 1: It appears from Clarendon's Letters at the time, that Lilburne was intimate with Buckingham, and that Buckingham professed to expect much from him in behalf of the royal cause; while, on the contrary, Clarendon believed that Lilburne would do nothing for it, and Buckingham not much more.—Clarendon Papers, iii. 75, 79, 98.]
[Sidenote: A.D. 1653. June 15.]
of his publications, contributed to irritate members. They refused to interfere; and he was arraigned[a] at the sessions, where, instead of pleading, he kept his prosecutors at bay during five successive days, appealing to Magna Charta and the rights of Englishmen, producing exceptions against the indictment, and demanding his oyer, or the specification of the act for his banishment, of the judgment on which the act was founded, and of the charge which led to that judgment. The court was perplexed. They knew not how to refuse; for he claimed it as his right, and necessary for his defence. On the other hand, they could not grant it, because no record of the charge or judgment was known to exist.
After an adjournment[b] to the next sessions, two days were spent in arguing the exceptions of the prisoner, and his right to the oyer. At length, on a threat that the court would proceed to judgment, he pleaded[c] not guilty. The trial lasted three days. His friends, to the amount of several thousands, constantly attended; some hundreds of them were said to be armed for the purpose of rescuing him, if he were condemned; and papers were circulated that, if Lilburne perished, twenty thousand individuals would perish with him. Cromwell, to encourage the court, posted two companies of soldiers in the immediate vicinity; quartered three regiments of infantry, and one of cavalry, in the city; and ordered a numerous force to march towards the metropolis. The particulars of the trial are lost. We only know that the prosecutors were content with showing[d] that Lilburne was the person named in the act; that the court directed the jury to speak only to
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. July 13.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. August 11.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. August 16.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1653. August 1.]
that fact; and that the prisoner made a long and vehement defence, denying the authority of the late parliament to banish him, because legally it had expired at the king's death, and because the House of Commons was not a court of justice; and, maintaining to the jury, that they were judges of the law as well as of the fact; that, unless they believed him guilty of crime, they could not conscientiously return a verdict which would consign him to the gallows; and that an act of parliament, if it were evidently unjust, was essentially void, and no justification to men who pronounced according to their oaths. At a late hour at night the jury declared[a] him not guilty; and the shout of triumph, received and prolonged by his partisans, reached the ears of Cromwell at Whitehall.
It was not, however, the intention of the lord-general that his victim should escape. The examination[b] of the judges and jurymen before the council, with a certified copy of certain opprobrious expressions, used by Lilburne in his defence, was submitted[c] to the house, and an order was obtained that, notwithstanding his acquittal, he should be confined[d] in the Tower, and that no obedience should be paid to any writ of habeas corpus issued from the court of Upper Bench in his behalf. These measures gave great offence. It was complained, and with justice, that the men who pretended to take up arms against the king in support of the liberties of Englishmen, now made no scruple of trampling the same liberties under foot, whenever it suited their resentment or interest.
[Footnote 1: See Thurloe, i. 324, 367, 368, 369, 429, 430, 435, 441, 442, 451, 453; Exact Relation, p. 5; Whitelock, 558, 560, 561, 563, 591; Journals, July 13, 14, Aug. 2, 22, 27, Nov. 26. In 1656 or 1657 this turbulent demagogue joined the society of Friends. He died Aug. 29, 1657, at Eltham, whence, on the 31st, the body of the meek Quaker was conveyed for sepulture to the new church-yard adjoining to Bedlam.—Cromwelliana, p. 168.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. August 20.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. August 22.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1653. August 27.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1653. Nov. 26.]
In the prosecution and punishment of Lilburne, the parliament was unanimous; on most other points it was divided into two parties distinctly marked; that of the Independents, who, inferior in number, superior in talents, adhered to the lord-general and the council, and that of the Anabaptists, who, guided by religious and political fanaticism, ranged themselves under the banner of Major-General Harrison as their leader. These "sectaries" anticipated the reign of Christ with his saints upon earth, they believed themselves called by God to prepare the way for this marvellous revolution; and they considered it their duty to commence by reforming all the abuses which they could discover either in church or state.
In their proceedings there was much to which no one, who had embarked with them in the same cause, could reasonably object. They established a system of the most rigid economy; the regulations of the excise were revised; the constitution of the treasury was simplified and improved; unnecessary offices were totally abolished, and the salaries of the others considerably reduced; the public accounts were subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny; new facilities were given to the sale of the lands now considered as national property. Provision was made for the future registration of marriages, births, and deaths. But the fanaticism
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 392, 396, 501, 515, 523.]
[Footnote 2: For the validity of marriage, if the parties were minors, was required the consent of the parents or guardians, and the age of sixteen in the male, of fourteen in the female; and in all cases that the names of the parties intending to be married should be given to the registrar of the parish, whose duty it was to proclaim them, according to their wish, either in the church after the morning exercise on three successive Lord's days, or in the market-place on three successive market-days. Having received from him a certificate of the proclamations, containing any exceptions which might have been made, they were to exhibit it to a magistrate, and, before him, to pledge their faith to each other "in the presence of God, the searcher of hearts." The religious ceremony was optional, the civil necessary for the civil effects of marriage,—See the Journals for the month of August, and Scobell.]
of their language, and the extravagance of their notions, exposed them to ridicule; their zeal for reform, by interfering with the interests of several different bodies at the same time, multiplied their enemies; and, before the dissolution of the house, they had earned, justly or unjustly, the hatred of the army, of the lawyers, of the gentry, and of the clergy.
1. It was with visible reluctance that they voted the monthly tax of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds for the support of the military and naval establishments. They were, indeed, careful not to complain of the amount; their objections were pointed against the nature of the tax, and the inequality of the assessments; but this pretext could not hide their real object from the jealousy of their adversaries, and their leaders were openly charged with seeking to reduce the number of the army, that they might lessen the influence of the general.
2. From the collection of the taxes they proceeded to the administration of the law. In almost every petition presented of late years to the supreme authority of the nation, complaints had been made of the court of Chancery, of its dilatory proceedings, of the enormous expense which it entailed on its suitors, and of the suspicious nature of its decisions, so liable to be influenced by the personal partialities and interests of
[Footnote 1: In some places men paid but two; in others, ten or twelve shillings in the pound.—Exact Relation, 10. The assessments fell on the owners, not on the tenants.—Thurloe, i. 755.]
the judge. The long parliament had not ventured to grapple with the subject; but this, the little parliament, went at once to the root of the evil, and voted that the whole system should be abolished. But then, came the appalling difficulty, how to dispose of the causes actually pending in the court, and how to substitute in its place a less objectionable tribunal. Three bills introduced for that purpose were rejected as inapplicable or insufficient: the committee prepared a fourth; it was read twice in one day, and committed, and would probably have passed, had not the subsequent proceedings been cut short by the dissolution of the parliament.
3. But the reformers were not content with the abolition of a single court; they resolved to cleanse the whole of the Augean stable. What, they asked, made up the law? A voluminous collection of statutes, many of them almost unknown, and many inapplicable to existing circumstances; the dicta of judges, perhaps ignorant, frequently partial and interested; the reports of cases, but so contradictory that they were
[Footnote 1: "It was confidently reported by knowing gentlemen of worth, that there were depending in that court 23,000 (2 or 3,000?) causes; that some of them had been there depending five, some ten, some twenty, some thirty years; and that there had been spent in causes many hundreds, nay, thousands of pounds, to the utter undoing of many families."—Exact Relation, 12.]
[Footnote 2: Journals, Aug. 5, Oct. 17, 23, Nov. 3. Exact Relation, 12-15. The next year, however, Cromwell took the task into his own hands; and, in 1655, published an ordinance, consisting of sixty-seven articles, "for the better regulating and limiting the jurisdiction of the high court of Chancery." Widrington and Whitelock, the commissioners of the great seal, and Lenthall, master of the rolls, informed him by letter, that they had sought the Lord, but did not feel themselves free to act according to the ordinance. The protector took the seals from the two first, and gave them Fiennes and Lisle; Lenthall overcame his scruples, and remained in office.—See the ordinance in Scobell, 324; the objections to it in Whitelock, 621.]
regularly marshalled in hosts against each other; and the usages of particular districts, only to be ascertained through the treacherous memories of the most aged of the inhabitants. Englishmen had a right to know the laws by which they were to be governed; it was easy to collect from the present system all that was really useful; to improve it by necessary additions; and to comprise the whole within the small compass of a pocket volume. With this view, it was resolved to compose a new body of law; the task was assigned to a committee; and a commencement was made by a revision of the statutes respecting treason and murder. But these votes and proceedings scattered alarm through the courts at Westminster, and hundreds of voices, and almost as many pens, were employed to protect from ruin the venerable fabric of English jurisprudence. They ridiculed the presumption of these ignorant and fanatical legislators, ascribed to them the design of substituting the law of Moses for the law of the land, and conjured the people to unite in defence of their own "birthright and inheritance," for the preservation of which so many miseries had been endured, so much blood had been shed.
4. From men of professed sanctity much had been expected in favour of religion. The sincerity of their seal they proved by the most convincing test,—an act for the extirpation of popish priests and Jesuits, and the disposal of two-thirds of the real and personal
[Footnote 1: Journals, Aug. 18, 19, Oct. 20. Exact Relation, 15-18.]
[Footnote 2: The charge of wishing to introduce the law of God was frequently repeated by Cromwell. It owed its existence to this, that many would not allow of the punishment of death for theft, or of the distinction between manslaughter and murder, because no such things are to be found in the law of Moses.—Exact Relation, 17.]
estates of popish recusants. After this preliminary skirmish with antichrist, they proceeded to attack Satan himself "in his stronghold" of advowsons. It was, they contended, contrary to reason, that any private individual should possess the power of imposing a spiritual guide upon his neighbours; and therefore they resolved that presentations should he abolished, and the choice of the minister be vested in the body of the parishioners; a vote which taught the patrons of livings to seek the protection of the lord-general against the oppression of the parliament. From advowsons, the next step was to tithes. At the commencement of the session, after a long debate, it was generally understood that tithes ought to be done away with, and in their place a compensation be made to the impropriators, and a decent maintenance be provided for the clergy. The great subject of dispute was, which question should have the precedence in point of time, the abolition of the impost, or the substitution of the equivalent. For five months the committee intrusted with the subject was silent; now, to prevent, as it was thought, the agitation of the question of advowsons, they presented a report respecting the method of ejecting scandalous, and settling godly, ministers; to which they appended their own opinion, that incumbents, rectors, and impropriators had a property in tithes. This report provoked a debate of five days. When the question was put on the first part, though the committee had mustered all the force of the Independents in its favour, it was rejected by a
[Footnote 1: To procure ready money for the treasury, it was proposed to allow recusants to redeem the two-thirds for their lives, at four years' purchase. This amendment passed, but with great opposition, on the ground that it amounted to a toleration of idolatry.—Ibid, ii. Thurloe, i. 553.]
majority of two. The second part, respecting the property in tithes, was not put to the vote; its fate was supposed to be included in that of the former; and it was rumoured through the capital that the parliament had voted the abolition of tithes, and with them of the ministry, which derived its maintenance from tithes.
Here it should be noticed that, on every Monday during the session, Feakes and Powell, two Anabaptist preachers, had delivered weekly lectures to numerous audiences at Blackfriars. They were eloquent enthusiasts, commissioned, as they fancied, by the Almighty, and fearless of any earthly tribunal. They introduced into their sermons most of the subjects discussed in parliament, and advocated the principles of their sect with a force and extravagance which alarmed Cromwell and the council. Their favourite topic was the Dutch war. God, they maintained, had given Holland into the hands of the English; it was to be the landing-place of the saints, whence they should proceed to pluck the w—— of Babylon from her chair and to establish the kingdom of Christ on the continent; and they threatened with every kind of temporal and everlasting woe the man who should advise peace on any other terms than the incorporation of the United Provinces with the commonwealth of England. When it was known that Cromwell had receded from this demand, their indignation
[Footnote 1: Journals, July 15-19, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, 6-10. Exact Relation, 418-424.]
[Footnote 2: Beverning, one of the Dutch ambassadors, went to the meeting on one of these occasions. In a letter, he says:—"The scope and intention is to preach down governments, and to stir up the people against the united Netherlands. Being then in the assembly of the saints, I heard one prayer, two sermons. But, good God! what cruel and abominable, and most horrid trumpets of fire, murder, and flame."—Thurloe, i. 442.]
stripped the pope of many of those titles with which he had so long been honoured by the Protestant churches, and the lord-general was publicly declared to be the beast in the Apocalypse, the old dragon, and the man of sin. Unwilling to invade the liberty of religious meetings, he for some time bore these insults with an air of magnanimity: at last he summoned[a] the two preachers before himself and the council. But the heralds of the Lord of Hosts quailed not before the servants of an earthly commonwealth: they returned rebuke for rebuke, charged Cromwell with an unjustifiable assumption of power, and departed from the conference unpunished and unabashed.
By the public the sermons at Blackfriars were considered as explanatory of the views and principles of the Anabaptists in the house. The enemies of these reformers multiplied daily: ridicule and abuse were poured upon them from every quarter; and it became evident to all but themselves that the hour of their fall was rapidly approaching. Cromwell, their maker, had long ago determined to reduce them to their original nothing; and their last vote respecting the ministry appeared to furnish a favourable opportunity. The next day, the Sunday, he passed with his friends in secret consultation; on the Monday these friends mustered in considerable numbers, and at an early hour took their seats in the house. Colonel Sydenham rose. He reviewed[b] all the proceedings of the parliament, condemned them as calculated to injure almost every interest in the state, and, declaring that he would no longer sit in so useless an assembly, moved that the house should proceed to Whitehall, and deliver back the supreme power into the hands of him from whom
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 442, 534, 545, 560, 591, 621.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Dec. 6.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. Dec. 12.]
it was derived. The motion was seconded and opposed; but the Independents had come to act, not to debate. They immediately rose: the speaker, who was in the secret, left the chair; the sergeant and the clerk accompanied him, and near fifty members followed in a body. The reformers, only twenty-seven in number (for most of them had not yet arrived), gazed on each other with surprise; their first resource was to fall to prayer; and they were employed in that holy exercise, when Goff and White, two officers, entered, and requested them to withdraw. Being required to show their warrant, they called in a company of soldiers. No resistance was now offered; the military cleared the house, and the keys were left with the guard.
In the mean while the speaker, preceded by the mace, and followed by Sydenham and his friends, walked through the street to Whitehall. In the way, and after his arrival, he was joined by several members, by some through curiosity, by others through fear. At Whitehall, a form of resignation of the supreme power was hastily engrossed by the clerk, subscribed by the speaker and his followers, and tendered by them to Cromwell. The lord-general put on an air of surprise; he was not prepared for such an offer, he would not load himself with so heavy a burthen. But his reluctance yielded to the remonstrances and entreaties of Lambert and the officers, and the instrument was laid in a chamber of the palace for the convenience of such members as had not yet the opportunity of subscribing their names.
[Footnote 1: Exact Relation, 25, 26. True Narrative, 3. Thurloe, i. 730. I adopt the number given by Mansel, as he could have no motive to diminish it.]
On the third day the signatures amounted to eighty, an absolute majority of the whole house; on the fourth, a new constitution was published, and Cromwell obtained the great object of his ambition,—the office and authority, though without the title, of king.
On that day, about one in the afternoon, the lord-general repaired in his carriage from the palace to Westminster Hall,[a] through two lines of military, composed of five regiments of foot and three of horse. The procession formed at the door. Before him walked the aldermen, the judges, two commissioners of the great seal, and the lord mayor; behind him the two councils of state and of the army. They mounted to the court of Chancery, where a chair of state with a cushion had been placed on a rich carpet. Cromwell was dressed in a suit and cloak of black velvet, with long boots, and a broad gold band round his hat. He took his place before the chair, between the two commissioners; the judges stood in a half-circle behind it, and the civic officers ranged themselves on the right, the military on the left, side of the court.
[Footnote 1: Exact Relation, 26. True Narrative, 4. Ludlow, ii. 33. Clarendon, iii. 484. Thurloe, i. 754. The author of this new constitution is not known. Ludlow tells us that it was first communicated by Lambert to a council of field officers. When some objections were made, he replied, that the general was willing to consider any amendments which might be proposed, but would not depart from the project itself. Some, therefore, suggested that, after the death of the present lord-general, the civil and military government should be kept separate, and that no protector should be succeeded by any of his relatives. This gave so much offence, that, at a second meeting, Lambert, having informed them that the lord-general would take care of the civil administration, dismissed them to their respective commands.—Ludlow, ii. 37. It is to this, perhaps, that the Dutch ambassador alludes, when he says that Cromwell desisted from his project of being declared king on account of the displeasure of the officers.—Thurloe, i. 644.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Dec. 16.]
Lambert now came forward to address the lord-general. He noticed the dissolution of the late parliament, observed that the exigency of the time required a strong and stable government, and prayed his excellency in the name of the army and of the three nations to accept the office of protector of the commonwealth. Cromwell, though it was impossible to conceal the purpose for which he had come thither, could not yet put off the habit of dissimulation; and if, after some demur, he expressed his consent, it was with an appearance of reluctance which no one present could believe to be real.
Jessop, one of the clerks of the council, was next ordered to read the "instrument of government," consisting of forty-two articles. 1. By it the legislative power was invested in a lord-protector and parliament, but with a provision that every act passed by the parliament should become law at the expiration of twenty days, even without the consent of the protector; unless he could persuade the house of the reasonableness of his objections. The parliament was not to be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, without its own consent, within the first five months after its meeting; and a new parliament was to be called within three years after the dissolution of the last. The number of the members was fixed according to the plan projected by Vane at the close of the long parliament, at four hundred for England, thirty for Scotland, and thirty for Ireland. Most of the boroughs were disfranchised, and the number of county members was increased. Every person possessed of real or personal property to the value of two hundred pounds had a right to vote, unless he were a malignant or delinquent, or professor
[Footnote 1: During the long parliament this qualification had been adopted on the motion of Cromwell, in place of a clause recommended by the committee, which gave the elective franchise under different regulations to freeholders, copyholders, tenants for life, and leaseholders,—See Journals, 30th March, 1653.]
of the Catholic faith; and the disqualifications to which the electors were subject attached also to the persons elected. 2. The executive power was made to reside in the lord-protector acting with the advice of his council. He possessed, moreover, the power of treating with foreign states with the advice, and of making peace or war with the consent, of the council. To him also belonged the disposal of the military and naval power, and the appointment of the great officers of state, with the approbation of parliament, and, in the intervals of parliament, with that of the council, but subject to the subsequent approbation of the parliament. 3. Laws could not be made, nor taxes imposed, but by common consent in parliament. 4. The civil list was fixed at two hundred thousand pounds, and a yearly revenue ordered to be raised for the support of an army of thirty thousand men, two-thirds infantry, and one-third cavalry, with such a navy as the lord-protector should think necessary. 5. All who professed faith in God by Jesus Christ were to be protected in the exercise of their religion, with the exception of prelatists, papists, and those who taught licentiousness under the pretence of religion. 6. The lord-general Cromwell was named lord-protector; his successors were to be chosen by the council. The first parliament was to assemble on the 3rd of the following December; and till that time the lord-protector was vested with power to raise the moneys necessary for the public service, and to make ordinances which should have the force of law, till orders were taken in parliament respecting the same.
At the conclusion, Cromwell, raising his right hand and his eyes to heaven with great solemnity, swore to observe, and cause to be observed, all the articles of the instrument; and Lambert, falling on his knees, offered to the protector a civic sword in the scabbard, which he accepted, laying aside his own, to denote that he meant to govern by constitutional, and not by military, authority. He then seated himself in the chair, put on his hat while the rest stood uncovered, received the seal from the commissioners, the sword from the lord mayor, delivered them back again to the same individuals, and, having exercised these acts of sovereign authority, returned in procession to his carriage, and repaired in state to Whitehall. The same day the establishment of the government by a lord-protector and triennial parliaments, and the acceptance of the protectorship by the lord-general, were announced to the public by proclamation, with all the ceremonies hitherto used on the accession of a new monarch.
It cannot be supposed that this elevation of Cromwell to the supreme power was viewed with satisfaction by any other class of men than his brethren in arms, who considered his greatness their own work, and expected from his gratitude their merited reward. But the nation was surfeited with revolutions. Men had suffered so severely from the ravages of war and the oppression of the military; they had seen so many instances of punishment incurred by resistance to the actual possessors of power; they were divided and
[Footnote 1: Whitelock, 571-578. Thurloe, i. 639, 641. Ludlow, ii. 40. The alteration in the representation, which had been proposed in the long parliament, was generally considered an improvement,—Clar. Hist. iii. 495.]
subdivided into so many parties, jealous and hateful of each other; that they readily acquiesced in any change which promised the return of tranquillity in the place of solicitude, danger, and misery. The protector, however, did not neglect the means of consolidating his own authority. Availing himself of the powers intrusted to him by the "instrument," he gave the chief commands in the army to men in whom he could confide; quartered the troops in the manner best calculated to put down any insurrection; and, among the multitude of ordinances which he published, was careful to repeal the acts enforcing the Engagement; to forbid all meetings on racecourses or at cockpits, to explain what offences should be deemed treason against his government; and to establish a high court of justice for the trial of those who might be charged with such offences.
He could not, however, be ignorant that, even among the former companions of his fortunes, the men who had fought and bled by his side, there were several who, much as they revered the general, looked on the protector with the most cordial abhorrence.[a] They were stubborn, unbending republicans, partly from political, partly from religious, principle. To them he affected to unbosom himself without reserve. He was still, he protested, the same humble individual whom they had formerly known him. Had he consulted his own feelings, "he would rather have taken the staff of a shepherd" than the dignity of protector. Necessity had imposed the office upon him; he had sacrificed his own happiness to preserve his countrymen from anarchy and ruin; and, as he now bore the burden with reluctance, he would lay it down with joy, the moment he could do so with safety to
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654.]
the nation. But this language made few proselytes. They had too often already been the dupes of his hypocrisy, the victims of their own credulity; they scrupled not, both in public companies, and from the pulpit, to pronounce him "a dissembling perjured villain;" and they openly threatened him with "a worse fate than had befallen the last tyrant." If it was necessary to silence these declaimers, it was also dangerous to treat them with severity. He proceeded with caution, and modified his displeasure by circumstances. Some he removed from their commissions in the army and their ministry in the church; others he did not permit to go at large, till they had given security for their subsequent behaviour; and those who proved less tractable, or appeared more dangerous, he incarcerated in the Tower. Among the last were Harrison, formerly his fellow-labourer in the dissolution of the long parliament, now his most implacable enemy; and Feakes and Powell, the Anabaptist preachers, who had braved his resentment during the last parliament.[a] Symson, their colleague, shared their imprisonment, but procured his liberty[b] by submission.
To the royalists, as he feared them less, he showed less forbearance. Charles, who still resided in Paris, maintained a constant correspondence with the friends of his family in England, for the twofold purpose of preserving a party ready to take advantage of any revolution in his favour, and of deriving from their loyalty advances of money for his own support and that of his followers. Among the agents whom he employed, were men who betrayed his secrets, or pretended
[Footnote 1: Thurloe, i. 641, 642; ii. 67, 68. Whitelock, 580, 582, 596. Ludlow, ii. 47.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. Feb. 30.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. July 26.]
secrets, to his enemies, or who seduced his adherents into imaginary plots, that by the discovery they might earn the gratitude of the protector. Of the latter class was an individual named Henshaw, who had repaired to Paris, and been refused what he solicited, admission to the royal presence. On his return, he detailed to certain royalists a plan by which the protector might be assassinated on his way to Hampton Court, the guards at Whitehall overpowered, the town surprised, and the royal exile proclaimed. Men were found to listen to his suggestions; and when a sufficient number were entangled in the toil, forty were apprehended[a] and examined. Of these, many consented to give evidence; three were selected[b] for trial before the high court of justice. Fox, one of the three, pleaded guilty, and thus, by giving countenance to the evidence of Henshaw, deserved and obtained[c] his pardon. Vowell, a schoolmaster, and Gerard, a young gentleman two-and-twenty years of age, received[d] judgment of death. The first suffered on the gallows, glorying that he died a martyr in the cause of royalty. Gerard, before he was beheaded, protested in the strongest terms that, though he had heard, he had never approved of the design. In the depositions, it was pretended that Charles had given his consent to the assassination of the protector.
[Footnote 1: Clarendon informs Nicholas (June 12), that in reality no one secret had been betrayed or discovered.—Clar. Papers, iii. 247. But this is doubtful; for Willis, one of the committee called "the sealed knot," who was imprisoned, but discharged in September (Perfect Account, No. 194), proved afterwards a traitor.]
[Footnote 2: State Trials, v. 517-540. Thurloe, ii. 416, 446, 447. Whitelock, 591, 593, 593. Henshaw was not produced on the trial. It was pretended that he had escaped. But we learn from Thurloe that he was safe in the Tower, and so Gerard suspected in his speech on the scaffold.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1654. May 24.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1654. June 30.] [Sidenote c: A.D. 1654. July 6.] [Sidenote d: A.D. 1654. July 10.]
Though Cromwell professed to disbelieve the charge, yet as a measure of self-defence he threatened the exiled prince that, if any such attempt were encouraged, he should have recourse to retaliation, and, at the same time, intimated that it would be no difficult matter for him to execute his threat.
On the same scaffold, but an hour later, perished a foreign nobleman, only nineteen years old, Don Pantaleon Sa, brother to Guimaraes, the Portuguese ambassador. Six months before, he and Gerard, whose execution we have just noticed, had quarrelled[a] in the New Exchange. Pantaleon, the next evening,[b] repaired to the same place with a body of armed followers; a fray ensued; Greenway, a person unconcerned in the dispute, was killed by accident or mistake; and the Portuguese fled to the house of the ambassador, whence they were conducted to prison by the military. The people, taking up the affair as a national quarrel, loudly demanded the blood of the reputed murderers. On behalf of Pantaleon it was argued: 1. That he was an ambassador, and therefore answerable to no one but his master; 2. That he was a person attached to the embassy, and therefore covered by the privilege of his principal. But the
[Footnote 1: Cromwell did not give credit to the plots for murdering him.—Thurloe, ii. 512, 533. Clarendon writes thus on the subject to his friend Nicholas: "I do assure you upon my credit, I do not know, and upon my confidence, the king does not, of any such design. Many wild, foolish persons propose wild things to the king, which he civilly discountenances, and then they and their friends brag what they hear, or could do; and, no doubt, in some such noble rage that hath now fallen out which they talk so much of at London, and by which many honest men are in prison, of which whole matter the king knows no more than secretary Nicholas doth."—Clar. Papers, iii. 247. See, however, the account of Sexby's plot in the next chapter.]
[Sidenote a: A.D. 1653. Nov. 21.] [Sidenote b: A.D. 1653. Nov. 22.]
instrument which he produced in proof of the first allegation was no more than a written promise that he should succeed his brother in-office; and in reply to the second, it was maintained[a] that the privilege of an ambassador, whatever it might be, was personal, and did not extend to the individuals in his suite. At the bar, after several refusals, he was induced by the threat of the peine forte et dure to plead not guilty; and his demand of counsel, on account of his ignorance of English law, was rejected, on the ground that the court was "of counsel equal to the prisoner and the commonwealth." He was found guilty, and condemned, with four of his associates. To three of these the protector granted a pardon; but no entreaties of the several ambassadors could prevail in favour of Pantaleon. He was sacrificed, if we believe one of them, to the clamour of the people, whose feelings were so excited, that when his head fell on the scaffold,[b] the spectators proclaimed their joy by the most savage yells of exultation. It was the very day on which his brother, perhaps to propitiate the protector, had signed the treaty between the two nations.