The Life of John Milton, Volume 5 (of 7), 1654-1660
by David Masson
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Narrated in Connexion with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of His Time


DAVID MASSON, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh



London: MacMillan and Co.







CHAP. I. SECTION I. Oliver and his First Parliament: Sept. 3, 1654-Jan. 22, 1654-5.—Meeting of the First Parliament of the Protectorate: Its Composition: Anti-Oliverians numerous in it: Their Four Days' Debate in challenge of Cromwell's Powers: Debate stopped by Cromwell: His Speech in the Painted Chamber: Secession of some from the Parliament: Acquiescence of the rest by Adoption of The Recognition: Spirit and Proceedings of the Parliament still mainly Anti-Oliverian: Their Four Months' Work in Revision of the Protectoral Constitution: Chief Debates in those Four Months: Question of the Protector's Negatives: Other Incidental Work of the Parliament: Question of Religious Toleration and of the Suppression of Heresies and Blasphemies: Committee and Sub-Committee on this Subject: Baxter's Participation: Tendency to a Limited Toleration only, and Vote against the Protector's Prerogative of more: Case of John Biddle, the Socinian.—Insufficiency now of our former Synopsis of English Sects and Heresies: New Sects and Denominations: The Fifth-Monarchy Men: The Ranters: The Muggletonians and other Stray Fanatics: Bochmenists and other Mystics: The Quakers or Friends: Account of George Fox, and Sketch of the History of the Quakers to the year 1654.—Policy of the Parliament with their Bill for a New Constitution: Parliament outwitted by Cromwell and dissolved: No Result.

CHAP. I. SECTION II. Between the Parliaments, or the Time of Arbitrariness: Jan. 22, 1654-55—Sept. 17, 1656.—Avowed "Arbitrariness" of this Stage of the Protectorate, and Reasons for it.—First Meeting of Cromwell and his Council after the Dissolution: Major-General Overton in Custody: Other Arrests: Suppression of a wide Republican Conspiracy and of Royalist Risings in Yorkshire and the West: Revenue Ordinance and Mr. Cony's Opposition at Law: Deference of Foreign Governments: Blake in the Mediterranean: Massacre of the Piedmontese Protestants: Details of the Story and of Cromwell's Proceedings in consequence: Penn in the Spanish West Indies: His Repulse from Hispaniola and Landing in Jamaica: Declaration of War with Spain and Alliance with France: Scheme of the Government of England by Major-Generals: List of them and Summary of their Police-System: Decimation Tax on the Royalists, and other Measures in terrorem: Consolidation of the London Newspaper Press: Proceedings of the Commission of Ejectors and of the Commission of Triers: View of Cromwell's Established Church of England, with Enumeration of its various Components: Extent of Toleration outside the Established Church: The Protector's Treatment of the Roman Catholics, the Episcopalians, the Anti-Trinitarians, the Quakers, and the Jews: State of the English Universities and Schools under the Protectorate: Cromwell's Patronage of Learning: List of English Men of Letters alive in 1656, and Account of their Diverse Relations to Cromwell: Poetical Panegyrics on him and his Protectorate.—New Arrangements for the Government of Scotland: Lord Broghill's Presidency there for Cromwell: General State of the Country: Continued Struggle between the Resolutioners and the Protesters for Kirk-Supremacy: Independency and Quakerism in Scotland: More Extreme Anomalies there: Story of "Jock of Broad Scotland": Brisk Intercourse between Scotland and London: Mission of Mr. James Sharp.—Ireland from 1654 to 1656.—Glimpse of the Colonies.

CHAP. I. SECTION III. Oliver and the First Session of his Second Parliament: Sept. 17, 1656-June 26, 1657.—Second Parliament of the Protectorate called: Vane's Healing Question and another Anti-Oliverian Pamphlet: Precautions and Arrests: Meeting of the Parliament: Its Composition: Summary of Cromwell's Opening Speech: Exclusion of Ninety-three Anti-Oliverian Members: Decidedly Oliverian Temper of the rest: Question of the Excluded Members: Their Protest: Summary of the Proceedings of the Parliament for Five Months (Sept. 1656-Feb. 1656-7): Administration of Cromwell and his Council during those Months: Approaches to Disagreement between Cromwell and the Parliament in the Case of James Nayler and on the Question of Continuation of the Militia by Major-Generals: No Rupture.—The Soxby-Sindercombe Plot.—Sir Christopher Pack's Motion for a New Constitution (Feb. 23, 1656-7): Its Issue in the Petition and Advice and Offer of the Crown to Cromwell: Division of Public Opinion on the Kingship Question: Opposition among the Army Officers: Cromwell's Neutral Attitude: His Reception of the Offer: His long Hesitations and several Speeches over the Affair: His Final Refusal (May 8, 1657): Ludlow's Story of the Cause.—Harrison and the Fifth Monarchy Men: Venner's Outbreak at Mile-End-Green.—Proposed New Constitution of the Petition and Advice retained in the form of a Continued Protectorate: Supplements to the Petition and Advice: Bills assented to by the Protector, June 9: Votes for the Spanish War.—Treaty Offensive and Defensive with France against Spain: Dispatch of English Auxiliary Army, under Reynolds, for Service in Flanders: Blake's Action in Santa Cruz Bay.—"Killing no Murder": Additional and Explanatory Petition and Advice: Abstract of the Articles of the New Constitution as arranged by the two Documents: Cromwell's completed Assent to the New Constitution, and his Assent to other Bills. June 26, 1657: Inauguration of the Second Protectorate that day: Close of the First Session of the Second Parliament.

CHAP. II. Milton's Life and Secretaryship through the First Protectorate continued: September 1654-June 1657.—SECTION I.: From September 1654 to January 1654-5, or Through Oliver's First Parliament.—Ulac's Hague Edition of Milton's Defensio Secunda, with the Fides Publica of Morus annexed: Preface by Dr. Crantzius to the Reprint: Ulac's own Preface of Self-Defence: Account of Morus's Fides Publica, with Extracts: His Citation of Testimonies to his Character: Testimony of Diodati of Geneva: Abrupt Ending of the Book at this Point, with Ulac's Explanation of the Cause.—Particulars of the Arrest and Imprisonment of Milton's Friend Overton.—Three more Latin State-Letters by Milton for Oliver (Nos. XLIX.-LI.): No State-Letters by Milton for the next Three Months: Milton then busy on a Reply to the Fides Publica of Morus.

CHAP. II. SECTION II.: From January 1654-5 to September 1656, or Through the Period of Arbitrariness.—Letter to Milton from Leo de Aitzema: Milton's Reply: Letter to Ezekiel Spanheim at Geneva: Milton's Genovese Recollections and Acquaintances: Two more of Milton's Latin State-Letters (Nos. LII., LIII.): Small Amount of Milton's Despatch-Writing for Cromwell hitherto.—Reduction of Official Salaries, and Proposal to Reduce Milton's to L150 a Year: Actual Commutation of his L288 a Year at Pleasure into L200 for Life: Orders of the Protector and Council relating to the Piedmontese Massacre, May 1655: Sudden Demand on Milton's Pen in that Business: His Letter of Remonstrance from the Protector to the Duke of Savoy, with Ten other Letters to Foreign States and Princes on the same Subject (Nos. LIV.-LXIV.): His Sonnet on the Subject.—Publication of the Supplementum to More's Fides Publica: Account of the Supplementum, with Extracts: Milton's Answer to the Fides Publica and the Supplementum together in his Pro Se Defensio, Aug. 1655: Account of that Book, with Specimens: Milton's Disbelief in Morus's Denials of the Authorship of the Regii Sanguinis Clamor: His Reasons, and his Reassertions of the Charge in a Modified Form: His Notices of Dr. Crantzius and Ulac: His Renewed Onslaughts on Morus: His Repetition of the Bontia Accusation and others: His Examination of Morus's Printed Testimonials: Ferocity of the Book to the last: Its Effects on Morus.—Question of the Real Authorship of the Regii Sanguinis Clamor and of the Amount of Morus's Concern in it: The Du Moulin Family: Dr. Peter Du Moulin the Younger the Real Author of the Regii Sanguinis Clamor, but Morus the Active Editor and the Writer of the Dedicatory Epistle: Du Moulin's own Account of the whole Affair: His close Contact with Milton all the while, and Dread of being found out.—Calm in Milton's Life after the Cessation of the Morus-Salmasius Controversy: Home-Life in Petty France: Dabblings of the Two Nephews in Literature: John Phillips's Satyr against Hypocrites: Frequent Visitors at Petty France: Marvell, Needham, Cyriack Skinner, &c.: The Viscountess Ranelagh, Mr. Richard Jones, and the Boyle Connexion: Dr. Peter Du Moulin in that Connexion: Milton's Private Sonnet on his Blindness, his Two Sonnets to Cyriack Skinner, and his Sonnet to young Lawrence: Explanation of these Four Sonnets.—Scriptum Domini Protectoris contra Hispanos: Thirteen more Latin State-Letters of Milton for the Protector (Nos. LXV.-LXXVII.), with Special Account of Count Bundt and the Swedish Embassy in London: Count Bundt and Mr. Milton.—Increase of Light Literature in London: Erotic Publications: John Phillips in Trouble for such: Edward Phillips's London Edition of the Poems of Drummond of Hawthornden: Milton's Cognisance of the same.—Henry Oldenburg and Mr. Richard Jones at Oxford: Letters of Milton to Jones and Oldenburg.—Thirteen more State-Letters of the Milton Series (Nos. LXXVIII.-XC.): Importance of some of them.

CHAP. II. SECTION III.: From September 1656 to June 1657, or Through the First Session of Oliver's Second Parliament.—Another Letter from Milton to Mr. Richard Jones: Departure of Lady Ranelagh for Ireland: Letter from Milton to Peter Heimbach: Milton's Second Marriage: His Second Wife, Katharine Woodcock: Letter to Emeric Bigot: Milton's Library and the Byzantine Historians: M. Stoupe: Ten more State-Letters by Milton for the Protector (Nos. XCI.-C.): Morland, Meadows, Durie, Lockhart, and other Diplomatists of the Protector, back in London: More Embassies and Dispatches over Land and Sea: Milton Standing and Waiting: His Thoughts about the Protectorate generally.





CHAP. I. Oliver's Second Protectorate: June 26, 1657-Sept. 3, 1658.—Regal Forms and Ceremonial of the Second Protectorate: The Protector's Family: The Privy Council: Retirement of Lambert: Death of Admiral Blake: The French Alliance and Successes in Flanders: Siege and Capture of Mardike: Other Foreign Relations of the Protectorate: Special Envoys to Denmark, Sweden, and the United Provinces: Aims of Cromwell's Diplomacy in Northern and Eastern Europe: Progress of his English Church-Establishment: Controversy between John Goodwill and Marchamont Needham: The Protector and the Quakers: Death of John Lilburne: Death of Sexby: Marriage of the Duke of Buckingham to Mary Fairfax: Marriages of Cromwell's Two Youngest Daughters: Preparations for another Session of the Parliament: Writs for the Other House: List of Cromwell's Peers.—Reassembling of the Parliament. Jan. 20, 1667-8: Cromwell's Opening Speech, with the Supplement by Fiennes: Anti-Oliverian Spirit of the Commons: Their Opposition to the Other House: Cromwell's Speech of Remonstrance: Perseverance of the Commons in their Opposition: Cromwell's Last Speech and Dissolution of the Parliament, Feb. 4, 1657-8.—State of the Government after the Dissolution: The Dangers, and Cromwell's Dealings with them: His Light Dealings with the Disaffected Commonwealth's Men: Threatened Spanish Invasion from Flanders, and Ramifications of the Royalist Conspiracy at Home: Arrests of Royalists, and Execution of Slingsby and Hewit: The Conspiracy crushed: Death of Robert Rich: The Earl of Warwick's Letter to Cromwell, and his Death: More Successes in Flanders: Siege and Capture of Dunkirk: Splendid Exchanges of Compliments between Cromwell and Louis XIV.: New Interference in behalf of the Piedmontese Protestants, and Project of a Protestant Council De Propaganda Fide: Prospects of the Church Establishment: Desire of the Independents for a Confession of Faith: Attendant Difficulties: Cromwell's Policy in the Affairs of the Scottish Kirk: His Design for the Evangelization and Civilization of the Highlands: His Grants to the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow: His Council in Scotland: Monk at Dalkeith: Cromwell's Intentions in the Cases of Biddle and James Nayler: Proposed New Act for Restriction of the Press: Firmness and Grandeur of the Protectorate in July 1658: Cromwell's Baronetcies and Knighthoods: Willingness to call another Parliament: Death of Lady Claypole: Cromwell's Illness and Last Days, with the Last Acts and Incidents of his Protectorship.

CHAP. II. Milton's Life and Secretaryship through the Second Protectorate. —Milton still in Office: Letter to Mr. Henry de Brass, with Milton's Opinion of Sallust: Letters to Young Ranelagh and Henry Oldenburg at Saumur: Morus in New Circumstances: Eleven more State-Letters of Milton for the Protector (Nos. CI.-CXI.): Andrew Marvell brought in as Assistant Foreign Secretary at last (Sept. 1657): John Dryden now also in the Protector's Employment: Birth of Milton's Daughter by his Second Wife: Six more State-Letters of Milton (Nos. CXII.-CXVII.): Another Letter to Mr. Henry de Brass, and another to Peter Heimbach: Comment on the latter: Deaths of Milton's Second Wife and her Child: His two Nephews, Edward and John Phillips, at this date: Milton's last Sixteen State-Letters for Oliver Cromwell (Nos. CXVIII.-CXXXIII), including Two to Charles Gustavus of Sweden, Two on a New Alarm of a Persecution of the Piedmontese Protestants, and Several to Louis XIV. and Cardinal Mazarin: Importance of this last Group of the State-Letters, and Review of the whole Series of Milton's Performances for Cromwell: Last Diplomatic Incidents of the Protectorate, and Andrew Marvell in connexion with them: Incidents of Milton's Literary Life in this Period: Young Guentzer's Dissertatio and Young Kock's Phalaecians: Milton's Edition of Raleigh's Cabinet Council: Resumption of the old Design of Paradise Lost and actual Commencement of the Poem: Change from the Dramatic Form to the Epic: Sonnet in Memory of his Deceased Wife.


SEPTEMBER 1658—MAY 1660.




STAGE I.:—THE RESTORED RUMP: MAY 25, 1659—OCT. 13, 1659.





CHAP. I. FIRST SECTION. The Protectorate of Richard Cromwell: Sept. 3, 1858—May 25, 1659.—Proclamation of Richard: Hearty Response from the Country and from Foreign Powers: Funeral of the late Protector: Resolution for a New Parliament.—Difficulties in Prospect: List of the most Conspicuous Props and Assessors of the New Protectorate: Monk's Advice to Richard: Union of the Cromwellians against Charles Stuart: Their Split among themselves into the Court or Dynastic Party and the Army or Wallingford-House Party: Chiefs of the Two Parties: Richard's Preference for the Court Party, and his Speech to the Army Officers: Backing of the Army Party towards Republicanism or Anti-Oliverianism: Henry Cromwell's Letter of Rebuke to Fleetwood: Differences of the Two Parties as to Foreign Policy: The French Alliance and the War with Spain: Relations to the King of Sweden.—Meeting of Richard's Parliament (Jan. 27, 1658-9): The Two Houses: Eminent Members of the Commons: Richard's Opening Speech: Thurloe the Leader for Government in the Commons: Recognition of the Protectorship and of the Other House, and General Triumph of the Government Party: Miscellaneous Proceedings of the Parliament.—Dissatisfaction of the Army Party: Their Closer Connexion with the Republicans: New Convention of Officers at Wallingford-House: Desborough's Speech; The Convention forbidden by the Parliament and dissolved by Richard: Whitehall surrounded by the Army, and Richard compelled to dissolve the Parliament.—Responsible Position of Fleetwood, Desborough, Lambert, and the other Army Chiefs: Bankrupt State of the Finances: Necessity for some kind of Parliament: Phrenzy for "The Good Old Cause" and Demand for the Restoration of the Rump: Acquiescence of the Army Chiefs: Lenthall's Objections: First Fortnight of the Restored Rump: Lingering of Richard in Whitehall: His Enforced Abdication.

CHAP. I. SECOND SECTION. The Anarchy, Stage I.: or The Restored Rump: May 25, 1659-Oct. 13, 1659.—Number of the Restored Rumpers and List of them: Council of State of the Restored Rump: Anomalous Character and Position of the New Government: Momentary Chance of a Civil War between the Cromwellians and the Rumpers: Chance averted by the Acquiescence of the Leading Cromwellians: Behaviour of Richard Cromwell, Monk, Henry Cromwell, Lockhart, and Thurloe, individually: Baulked Cromwellianism becomes Potential Royalism: Energetic Proceedings of the Restored Rump: Their Ecclesiastical Policy and their Foreign Policy: Treaty between France and Spain: Lockhart at the Scene of the Negotiations as Ambassador for the Rump: Remodelling and Reofficering of the Army, Navy, and Militia: Confederacy of Old and New Royalists for a Simultaneous Rising: Actual Rising under Sir George Booth in Cheshire: Lambert sent to quell the Insurrection: Peculiar Intrigues round Monk at Dalkeith: Sir George Booth's Insurrection crushed: Exultation of the Rump and Action taken against the Chief Insurgents and their Associates: Question of the future Constitution of the Commonwealth: Chaos of Opinions and Proposals: James Harrington and his Political Theories: The Harrington or Rota Club: Discontents in the Army: Petition, and Proposals of the Officers of Lambert's Brigade: Severe Notice of the same by the Rump: Petition and Proposals of the General Council of Officers: Resolute Answers of the Rump: Lambert, Desborough, and Seven other Officers, cashiered: Lambert's Retaliation and Stoppage of the Parliament.

CHAP. I. SECOND SECTION (continued). The Anarchy, Stage II.: or The Wallingford-House Interregnum: Oct. 13, 1659-Dec. 26, 1659.—The Wallingford-House Government: Its Committee of Safety: Behaviour of Ludlow and other Leading Republicans: Death of Bradshaw.—Army—Arrangements of the New Government: Fleetwood, Lambert, and Desborough, the Military Chiefs: Declared Championship of the Rump by Monk in Scotland: Negotiations opened with Monk, and Lambert sent north to oppose him: Monk's Mock Treaty with Lambert and the Wallingford-House Government through Commissioners in London: His Preparations meanwhile in Scotland: His Advance from Edinburgh to Berwick: Monk's Army and Lambert's.—Foreign Relations of the Wallingford-House Government: Treaty between France and Spain: Lockhart: Charles II. at Fontarabia: Gradual Improvement of his Chances in England.—Discussions of the Wallingford-House Government as to the future Constitution of the Commonwealth: The Vane Party and the Whitlocke Party in these Discussions: Johnstone of Warriston, the Harringtonians, and Ludlow: Attempted Conclusions.—Monk at Coldstream: Universal Whirl of Opinion in favour of him and the Rump: Utter Discredit of the Wallingford-House Rule in London: Vacillation and Collapse of Fleetwood: The Rump Restored a second time.

CHAP. I. SECOND SECTION (continued). The Anarchy, Stage III.: or Second Restoration of the Rump, with Monk's March from Scotland: Dec. 26, 1659-Feb. 21, 1659.—The Rump after its Second Restoration: New Council of State: Penalties on Vane, Lambert, Desborough, and the other Chiefs of the Wallingford-House Interregnum: Case of Ludlow: New Army Remodelling: Abatement of Republican Fervency among the Rumpers: Dispersion of Lambert's Force in the North: Monk's March from Scotland: Stages and Incidents of the March: His Halt at St. Alban's and Message thence to the Rump: His Nearer View of the Situation: His Entry into London, Feb. 3, 1659-60: His Ambiguous Speech to the Rump, Feb. 6: His Popularity in London: Pamphlets and Letters during his March and on his Arrival: Prynne's pamphlets on behalf of the Secluded Members: Tumult in the City: Tumult suppressed by Monk as Servant of the Rump: His Popularity gone: Blunder retrieved by Monk's Reconciliation with the City and Declaration against the Rump: Roasting of the Rump in London, Feb. 11, 1659-60: Monk Master of the City and of the Rump too; Consultations with the Secluded Members: Bill of the Rump for Enlarging itself by New Elections; Bill set aside by the Reseating of the Secluded Members: Reconstitution of the Long Parliament under Monk's Dictatorship.

CHAP. I. THIRD SECTION. Monk's Dictatorship, the Restored Long Parliament, and the Drift to the Restoration: Feb. 21, 1659-60—April 25, 1660.—The Restored Long Parliament: New Council of State: Active Men of the Parliament: Prynne, Arthur Annesley, and William Morrice: Miscellaneous Proceedings of the Parliament: Release of old Royalist Prisoners: Lambert committed to the Tower: Rewards and Honours for Monk: "Old George" in the City: Revival of the Solemn League and Covenant, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and all the Apparatus of a Strict Presbyterian Church-Establishment: Cautious Measures for a Political Settlement: The Real Question evaded and handed over to another Parliament: Calling of the Convention Parliament and Arrangements for the Same: Difficulty about a House of Lords: How obviated: Last Day of the Long Parliament, March 16, 1659-60: Scene in the House.—Monk and the Council of State left in charge: Annesley the Managing Colleague of Monk: New Militia Act carried out: Discontents among Monk's Officers and Soldiers: The Restoration of Charles still very dubious: Other Hopes and Proposals for the moment: The Kingship privately offered to Monk by the Republicans: Offer declined: Bursting of the Popular Torrent of Royalism at last, and Enthusiastic Demands for the Recall of Charles: Elections to the Convention Parliament going on meanwhile: Haste of hundreds to be foremost in bidding Charles welcome: Admiral Montague and his Fleet in the Thames: Direct Communications at last between Monk and Charles: Greenville the Go-between: Removal of Charles and his Court from Brussels to Breda: Greenville sent back from Breda with a Commission for Monk and Six other Documents.—Broken-spiritedness of the Republican Leaders, but formidable Residue of Republicanism in the Army: Monk's Measures for Paralysing the same: Successful Device of Charges; Montague's Fleet in Motion: Escape of Lambert from the Tower: His Rendezvous in Northamptonshire: Gathering of a Wreck of the Republicans round him: Dick Ingoldsby sent to crush him: The Encounter near Daventry, April 22, 1660, and Recapture of Lambert: Great Review of the London Militia, April 24, the day before the Meeting of the Convention Parliament: Impatient longing for Charles: Monk still impenetrable, and the Documents from Breda reserved.

CHAP. II. FIRST SECTION. Milton's Life and Secretaryship through Richard's Protectorate: Sept. 1658-May 1659.—Milton and Marvell still in the Latin Secretaryship: Milton's first Five State-Letters for Richard (Nos. CXXXIII.-CXXXVII.): New Edition of Milton's Defensio Prima: Remarkable Postscript to that Edition: Six more State-Letters for Richard (Nos. CXXXVIII.-CXLIII.): Milton's Relations to the Conflict of Parties round Richard and in Richard's Parliament: His probable Career but for his Blindness: His continued Cromwellianism in Politics, but with stronger private Reserves, especially on the Question of an Established Church: His Reputation that of a man of the Court-Party among the Protectoratists: His Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes: Account of the Treatise, with Extracts: The Treatise more than a Plea for Religious Toleration: Church-Disestablishment the Fundamental Idea: The Treatise addressed to Richard's Parliament, and chiefly to Vane and the Republicans there: No Effect from it: Milton's Four last State-Letters for Richard (Nos. CXLIV.-CXLVII.): His Private Epistle to Jean Labadie, with Account of that Person: Milton in the month between Richard's Dissolution of his Parliament and his formal Abdication: His Two State-Letters for the Restored Rump (Nos. CXLVIII.-CXLIX.)

CHAP. II. SECOND SECTION. Milton's Life and Secretaryship through the Anarchy: May 1659—Feb. 1659-60.—First Stage of the Anarchy, or The Restored Rump (May—Oct. 1659):—Feelings and Position of Milton in the new State of Things: His Satisfaction on the whole, and the Reasons for it: Letter of Moses Wall to Milton: Renewed Agitation against Tithes and Church Establishment: Votes on that Subject in the Rump: Milton's Considerations touching the Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church: Account of the Pamphlet, with Extracts: Its thorough-going Voluntaryism: Church-Disestablishment demanded absolutely, without Compensation for Vested Interests: The Appeal fruitless, and the Subject ignored by the Rump: Dispersion of that Body by Lambert.—Second Stage of the Anarchy, or The Wallingford-House Interruption (Oct.-Dec. 1659):—Milton's Thoughts on Lambert's coup d'etat in his Letter to a Friend concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth: The Letter in the main against Lambert and in Defence of the Rump: Its extraordinary practical Proposal of a Government by two Permanent Central Bodies: The Proposal compared with the actual Administration by the Committee of Safety and the Wallingford-House Council of Officers: Milton still nominally in the Latin Secretaryship: Money Warrant of Oct. 25, 1659, relating to Milton, Marvell, and Eighty-four other Officials: No Trace of actual Service by Milton for the new Committee of Safety: His Meditations through the Treaty between the Wallingford-House Government and Monk in Scotland: His Meditations through the Committee-Discussions as to the future Model of Government; His Interest in this as now the Paramount Question, and his Cognisance of the Models of Harrirgton and the Rota Club: Whitlocke's new Constitution disappointing to Milton: Two more Letters to Oldenburg and Young Ranelagh: Gossip from abroad in connection with these Letters: Morns again, and the Council of French Protestants at Londun: End of the Wallingford-House Interruption.—Third Stage of ike Anarchy, or The Second Restoration of the Rump (Dec. 1659-Feb. 1659-60):—Milton's Despondency at this Period: Abatement of his Faith in the Rump: His Thoughts during the March of Monk from Scotland and after Monk's Arrival in London: His Study of Monk near at hand and Mistrust of the Omens: His Interest for a while in the Question of the Preconstitution of the new Parliament promised by the Rump: His Anxiety that it should be a Republican Parliament by mere Self-enlargement of the Rump: His Preparation of a new Republican Pamphlet: The Publication postponed by Monk's sudden Defection from the Rump, the Roasting of the Rump in the City, and the Restoration of the Secluded Members to their places in the Parliament: Milton's Despondency complete.

CHAP. II. THIRD SECTION. Milton through Monk's Dictatorship: Feb. 1659-60—May 1660.—First Edition of Milton's Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth: Account of the Pamphlet, with Extracts: Vehement Republicanism of the Pamphlet, with its Prophetic Warnings: Peculiar Central Idea of the Pamphlet, viz. the Project of a Grand Council or Parliament to sit in Perpetuity, with a Council of State for its Executive: Passages expounding this Idea: Additional Suggestion of Local and County Councils or Committees: Daring Peroration of the Pamphlet: Milton's Recapitulation of the Substance of it in a short Private Letter to Monk entitled Present Means and Brief Delineation of a Free Commonwealth: Wide Circulation of Milton's Pamphlet: The Response by Monk and the Parliament of the Secluded Members in their Proceedings of the next fortnight: Dissolution of the Parliament after Arrangements for its Successor: Royalist Squib predicting Milton's speedy Acquaintance with the Hangman at Tyburn: Another Squib against Milton, called The Censure of the Rota upon Mr. Milton's Book: Specimens of this Burlesque: Republican Appeal to Monk, called Plain English: Reply to the same, with another attack on Milton: Popular Torrent of Royalism during the forty days of Interval between the Parliament of the Secluded Members and the Convention Parliament (March 16, 1659-60—April 25, 1660): Caution of Monk and the Council of State: Dr. Matthew Griffith and his Royalist Sermon, The Fear of God and the King: Griffith imprisoned for his Sermon, but forward Republicans checked or punished at the same time: Needham discharged from his Editorship and Milton from his Secretaryship: Resoluteness of Milton in his Republicanism: His Brief Notes on Dr. Griffith's Sermon: Second Edition of his Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth: Remarkable Additions and Enlargements in this Edition: Specimens of these: Milton and Lambert the last Republicans in the field: Roger L'Estrange's Pamphlet against Milton, called No Blind Guides: Larger Attack on Milton by G. S., called The Dignity of Kingship Asserted: Quotations from that Book; Meeting of the Convention Parliament, April 25, 1660: Delivery by Greenville of the Six Royal Letters from Breda, April 28-May 1, and Votes of both Houses for the Recall of Charles: Incidents of the following Week: Mad impatience over the Three Kingdoms for the King's Return: He and his Court at the Hague, preparing for the Voyage home: Panic among the surviving Regicides and other prominent Republicans: Flight of Needham to Holland and Absconding of Milton from his house in Petty France: Last Sight of Milton in that house.

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Oliver's First Protectorate extended over three years and six months in all, or from December 16, 1653 to June 26, 1657. The first nine months of it, as far as to September 1654, have been already sketched; and what remains divides itself very distinctly into three Sections, as follows:—

Section I:—From Sept. 3, 1654 to Jan. 22, 1654-5. This Section, comprehending four months and a half, may be entitled OLIVER AND HIS FIRST PARLIAMENT.

Section II:—From Jan. 22, 1654-5 to Sept. 17, 1656. This Section, comprehending twenty months, may be entitled BETWEEN THE PARLIAMENTS, OR THE TIME OF ARBITRARINESS.

Section III:—From Sept. 17, 1656 to June 26, 1657. This Section, comprehending nine months, may be entitled OLIVER AND THE FIRST SESSION OF HIS SECOND PARLIAMENT.

We map out the present chapter accordingly.




Before the 3rd of September, 1654, the day fixed by the Constitutional Instrument for the meeting of the First Parliament of the Protectorate, the 460 newly elected members, or the major part of them, had flocked to Westminster. They were a gathering of the most representative men of all the three nations that could be regarded as in any sense adherents of the Commonwealth. All the Council of State, except the Earl of Mulgrave and Lord Lisle, had been returned, some of them by two or three different constituencies. Secretary Thurloe had been returned; Cromwell's two sons, Richard and Henry, had been returned, Henry as member for Cambridge University; several gentlemen holding posts in his Highness's household had been returned. Of the old English peers, there had been returned the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of Stamford, and Lord Dacres; and of the titular nobility there were Lord Herbert, Lord Eure, Lord Grey of Groby, and the great Fairfax. Among men of Parliamentary fame already were ex-Speaker Lenthall, Whitlocke, Sir Walter Earle, Dennis Bond, Sir Henry Vane Senior, Sir Arthur Hasilrig, Thomas Scott, William Ashurst, Sir James Harrington, John Carew, Robert Wallop, and Sir Thomas Widdrington; and of Army or Navy men, of former Parliamentary experience or not, there were Colonels Whalley, Robert Lilburne, Barkstead, Harvey, Stapley, Purefoy, Admiral Blake, and ex-Major-General Harrison. Some of these had been returned by two constituencies. Bradshaw was a member, with two of the Judges, Hale and Thorpe, and ex-Judge Glynne. Lawyers besides were not wanting; and Dr. Owen, though a divine, represented Oxford University. One missed chiefly, among old names, those of Sir Henry Vane Junior, Henry Marten, Selden, Algernon Sidney, and Ludlow; but there were many new faces. Among the thirty members sent from Scotland were the Earl of Linlithgow, Sir Alexander Wedderburn, Colonel William Lockhart, the Laird of Swinton, and the English Colonels Okey and Read. Ireland had also returned military Englishmen in Major-General Hardress Waller, Colonels Hewson, Sadler, Axtell, Venables, and Jephson, with Lord Broghill, Sir Charles Coote, Sir John Temple, Sir Robert King, and others, describable as Irish or Anglo-Irish.[1]

[Footnote 1: Complete list gives in Parl. Hist, III. 1428-1433.]

The 3rd of September, selected as Cromwell's "Fortunate Day," chancing to be a Sunday, the Parliament had only a brief meeting with him that day, in the Painted Chamber, after service in the Abbey, and his opening speech was deferred till next day, On Monday, accordingly, it was duly given, but not till after another sermon in the Abbey, preached by Thomas Goodwin, in which Cromwell found much that he liked. It was a political sermon, on "Israel's bringing-out of Egypt, through a Wilderness, by many signs and wonders, towards a Place of Rest,"—Egypt interpreted as old Prelacy and the Stuart role in England, the Wilderness as all the intermediate course of the English Revolution, and the Place of Rest as the Protectorate or what it might lead to. Goodwill seems to have described with special reprobation that latest part of the Wilderness in which the cry had arisen for sheer Levelling in the State and sheer Voluntaryism in the Church; and Cromwell, starting in that key himself, addressed the Parliament, with noble earnestness, in what would now be called a highly "conservative" speech. Glancing back to the Barebones Parliament and beyond, he sketched, the proceedings of himself and the Council and the great successes of the Commonwealth during the intervening eight months and a half, and hopefully committed to the Parliament the further charge of Order and Settlement throughout the three nations, Then he withdrew. That same day they chose Lenthall for their Speaker, and Scobell for their Clerk.[1]

[Footnote 1: Cromwell's Second Speech (Carlyle, III. 16-37); Commons Journals of dates.]

Cromwell's hopes were blasted. The political division of the population of the British Islands was now into OLIVERIANS, REPUBLICAN IRRECONCILABLES, PRESBYTERIANS, and STUARTISTS, the two last denominations hardly separable by any clear line, Now, in this new Parliament, though there were many staunch Oliverians, and no avowed Stuartists, the Republican Irreconcilables and the Presbyterians together formed a majority. They needed only to coalesce, and the Parliament called by Oliver's own writs would be an Anti-Oliverian Parliament. And this is what happened.

No sooner was the House constituted, with about 320 members present out of the total 460, than it proposed for its first business what was called "The Matter of the Government"; by which was meant a review of that document of forty-two Articles, called the Government of the Commonwealth, which was the constitutional basis of the Protectorate. On Thursday, Sept. 7, accordingly, they addressed themselves to the vital question of the whole document as propounded in the first of the Articles. "Whether the House shall approve that the Government shall be in one Single Person and a Parliament": such was the debate that day in Grand Committee, after a division on the previous question whether they should go into Committee. On this previous question 136 had voted No, with Sir Charles Wolseley and Mr. Strickland (two of the Council of State) for their tellers, but 141 had voted Yea, with Bradshaw and Colonel Birch for their tellers. In other words, it had been carried by a majority of five that it fell within the province of the House to determine whether the Single-Person element in the Government of the Commonwealth, already introduced somehow as a matter of fact, should be continued. On this subject the House debated through the rest of that sitting, and the whole of the next, and the next, and the next,—i.e. till Monday, Sept 11. Bradshaw, Hasilrig, and Scott took the lead for the Republicans, not that they hoped to unseat Cromwell, but that they wanted to assert the paramount authority of Parliament, and convert the existing Protectorship into a derivative from the House then sitting. Lawrence, Wolseley, Strickland, and others of the Council of State, describable as the ministerial members, maintained the existing constitution of the Protectorate, and pointed out the dangers that would arise from plucking up a good practical basis for mere reasons of theory. Matthew Hale interposed at last with a middle motion, substantially embodying the Republican view, but affirming the Protectorship at once, and reserving qualification. All in all, there was great excitement, much confusion, and an outbreak from some members of very violent language about Cromwell.[1]

[Footnote 1: Commons Journals of dates: Parl. Hist. III. 1445; Godwin, IV. 116-125.]

What might have been the issue had a vote come on can only be guessed. Things were not allowed to go that length. On Tuesday, Sept, 12, the members, going to the House, found the doors locked, soldiers in and around Westminster Hall, and a summons from the Lord Protector to meet him again in the Painted Chamber. Having assembled there, they listened to Cromwell's "Third Speech." It is one of the most powerful of all his speeches. It began with a long review of his life in general and the steps by which he had recently been brought to the Protectorship. It proceeded then to a recitation of what he called "the witnesses" to his Government, or proofs of its validity—the Witness above, or God's manifest Providence in leading him to where he was; the Witness within, or his own consciousness of integrity; and the Witnesses without, or testimonies of confidence he had received from the Army, the Judges, the City of London, other cities, counties and boroughs, and public bodies of all sorts. "I believe," he said, "that, if the learnedest men in this nation were called to show a precedent, equally clear, of a Government so many ways approved of, they would not in all their search, find it." Then, coming to the point, he asked what right the present Parliament had to come after all those witnesses and challenge his authority. Had they not been elected under writs issued by him, in which writs it was expressly inserted, by regulation of Article XII. of the Constitutional Instrument of the Protectorate, "That the persons elected shall not have power to alter the Government as it is hereby settled in one Single Person and a Parliament"? On this point he was very emphatic. "That your judgments, who are persons sent from all parts of the nation under the notion of approving this Government—for you to disown or not to own it; for you to act with Parliamentary authority especially in the disowning of it, contrary to the very fundamental things, yea against the very root of this Establishment; to sit and not own the Authority by which you sit:—is that which I believe astonisheth more men than myself." A revision of the Constitution of the Protectorate in circumstantials he would not object to, but the fundamentals must be left untouched. And let those hearing him be under no mistake as to his own resolution. "The wilful throwing away of this Government, such as it is, so owned of God, so approved by men, so witnessed to in the fundamentals of it as was mentioned above, were a thing which,—and in reference not to my good, but to the good of these Nations and Posterity,—I can sooner be willing to be rolled into my grave, and buried with infamy, than I can give my consent unto." He had therefore called them now that they might come to an understanding. There was a written parchment in the lobby of the Parliament House to which he requested the signatures of such as might see fit. The doors of the Parliament House would then be open for all such, to proceed thenceforth as a free Parliament in all things, subject to the single condition expressed in that parchment. "You have an absolute Legislative Power in all things that can possibly concern the good and interest of the public; and I think you may make these Nations happy by this settlement." With so much great work before them, with the three nations looking on in hope, with foreign nations looking on with wonder or worse feelings, had they not a great responsibility?[1]

[Footnote 1: Carlyle's Cromwell, III. 37-61.]

Bradshaw, Hasilrig, and others, would not sign the document offered them, which was a brief engagement "to be true and faithful to the Lord Protector and the Commonwealth," and not to propose alteration of the Government as "settled in a single Person and a Parliament." The Parliament, therefore, lost these leaders; but within an hour "The Recognition," as it came to be called, was signed by a hundred members, and the number was raised to 140 before the day was over, and ultimately to about 300. And so, with this goodly number, the House went on. But the Anti-Oliverian leaven was still strong in it. This appeared even in the immediate dealings of the House with the Recognition itself. They first (Sept, 14) declared that it should not be construed to comprehend the whole Constitutional Instrument of the Protectorate, but only the main principle of the first Article; and then (Sept. 18) they converted the Recognition into a resolution of their own, requiring all members to sign it, Next, in order to get rid of the stumbling-block of the First Article altogether, they resolved (Sept. 19) that the Supreme Legislative authority was and did reside in "One Person and the People assembled in Parliament," and also (Sept. 20) that Oliver Cromwell was and should he Lord Protector for life, and that there should be Triennial Parliaments. Thus free to advance through the rest of the Forty-two Articles at their leisure, they made that thenceforward almost their sole work. Through the rest of September, the whole of October, and part of November, the business went on in Committee, with the result of a new and more detailed Constitution of the whole Government in sixty Articles instead of the Forty-two. A Bill for enacting this Constitution, passed the first reading on the 22nd of December, and the second on the 23rd; it then went back into Committee for amendments; and in January 1654-5 the House was debating these amendments and others.[1]

[Footnote 1: Commons Journals of dates given and of Nov. 7, and Godwin, IV, 130-132.]

In the long course of the total debate perhaps the most interesting divisions had been one in Committee on October 16, and one in the House on November 10. In the first the question was whether the Protectorship should be hereditary, and it had been carried by 200 votes to 60 that it should not. This was not strictly an Anti-Oliverian demonstration; for, though Lambert was the mover for a hereditary Protectorship in Cromwell's family, many of the undoubted Oliverians voted in the majority, nor does there seem to be any proof that Lambert had acted by direct authority from Cromwell. More distinctly an Anti-Oliverian vote had been that of Nov. 10, which was on a question of deep interest to Cromwell: viz. the amount of his prerogative in the form of a negative on Bills trenching on fundamentals. In his last speech he had himself indicated these "fundamentals," which ought to be safe against attack even by Parliament—one of them being Liberty of Conscience, another the Control of the Militia as belonging to the Protector in conjunction with the Parliament, and a third the provision, that every Parliament should sit but for a fixed period. In all other matters he was content with a negative for twenty days only; but on bills trenching on these fundamentals he required a negative absolutely. The question had come to the vote in a very subtle form. The motion of the Opposition was that Bills should become Law without the Protector's consent after twenty days, "provided that such Bills contain nothing in them contrary to such matters wherein the Parliament shall think fit to give a negative to the Lord Protector," while the amendment of the Oliverians or Court-party altered the wording into "wherein the Single Person and the Parliament shall declare a negative to be in the Single Person," thus giving Cromwell himself, and not the Parliament only, a right of deciding where a negative should lie. On this question the Oliverians were beaten by 109 votes to 85, and the decision would probably have caused a rupture had not the Opposition conceded a good deal when they went on to settle the matters wherein Parliament would grant the Protector a negative.[1]

[Footnote 1: Journals of dates and Godwin, IV. 134-139.]

As we have said, almost the sole occupation of the Parliament was this revision of the flooring on which itself and the Protectorate stood. They did, however, some little pieces of work besides. They undertook a revision of the Ordinances that had been passed by the Protector and his Council, and also of the Acts of the Barebones Parliament; and they proposed Bills of their own to supersede some of these,—especially a new Bill for the Ejection of Scandalous Ministers, and a new Bill for Reform of the Court of Chancery. But of all the incidental work undertaken by this Parliament none seems to have been undertaken with so much gusto as that which consisted in efforts for the suppression of Heresy and Blasphemy. Here was the natural outcome of the Presbyterianism with which the Parliament was charged, and here also the Parliament was very vexatious to the soul of the Lord-Protector.

After all, this portion of the work of the Parliament can hardly be called incidental. It was part and parcel of their main work of revising the Constitution, and it was inter-wrought with the question of Cromwell's negatives. Article XXXVII. of the original Instrument of the Protectorate had guaranteed liberty of worship and of preaching outside the Established Church to "such as profess faith in Jesus Christ," and Cromwell, in his last speech, had noted this as one of the "fundamentals" he was bound to preserve. How did the Parliament meet the difficulty? Very ingeniously. They said that the phrase "such as profess faith in Jesus Christ" was a vague phrase, requiring definition; and, the whole House having formed itself into a Committee for Religion, and this Committee having appointed a working sub-Committee of about fourteen, the sub-Committee was empowered to take steps for coming to a definition. Naturally enough, in such a matter, the sub-Committee wanted clerical advice; and, each member of the sub-Committee having nominated one divine, there was a small Westminster Assembly over again to illuminate Parliament on the dark subject. Dr. Owen and Dr. Goodwin were there, with Nye, Sidrach Simpson, Stephen Marshall, Mr. Vines, Mr. Manton, and others. Mr. Richard Baxter had the honour of being one, having been asked to undertake the duty by Lord Breghill, when the venerable ex-Primate Usher had declined it; and it is from Baxter that we have the fullest account of the proceedings. When he came to town from Kidderminster, he found the rest of the divines already busy in drawing up a list of "fundamentals of faith," the profession of which was to be the necessary title to the toleration promised. Knowing "how ticklish a business the enumeration of fundamentals was," Baxter tried, he says, to stop that method, and suggested that acceptance of the Creed, the Lord's P[r]ayer, and the Decalogue would be a sufficient test. This did not please the others; Baxter almost lost his character for orthodoxy by his proposal; Dr. Owen, in particular, forgetful of his own past, was now bull-mad for the "fundamentals." They were drawn out at last, either sixteen or twenty of them in all, and handed to Parliament through the sub-Committee. Thus illuminated, Parliament, after a debate extending over six days (Dec. 4-15, 1654), discharged its mind fully on the Toleration Question. They resolved that there should certainly be a toleration for tender consciences outside the Established Church, but that it should not extend to "Atheism, Blasphemy, damnable Heresies to be particularly enumerated by this Parliament, Popery, Prelacy, Licentiousness or Profaneness," nor yet to "such as shall preach, print, or avowedly maintain anything contrary to the fundamental principles of Doctrine held forth in the public profession,"—said "fundamental principles" being the "fundamentals" of Dr. Owen and his friends, so far as the House should see fit to pass them. They were already in print, with the Scriptural proofs, for the use of members, and the first of them was passed the same day. It was "That the Holy Scripture is that rule of knowing God, and living unto Him, which whoso does not believe cannot be saved." The others would come in time. Meanwhile it was involved in the Resolution of the House that the Protector himself should have no veto on any Bills for restraining or punishing Atheists, Blasphemers, damnable Heretics, Papists, Prelatists, or deniers of any of the forthcoming Christian fundamentals.[1]

[Footnote 1: Commons Journals of days given; Neal, IV. 97-100; Baxter's Life, 197-205. On this visit to town, Baxter had the honour to preach before Cromwell, having never done so till then, "save once long before when Cromwell was an inferior man among other auditors." He had also the honour of two long interviews with Cromwell, the first with one or two others present, the second in full Council. They seem to have been reciprocally disagreeable. On both occasions, according to Baxter, Cromwell talked enormously for the most part "slowly" and "tediously" to Baxter's taste, but with passionate outbreaks against the Parliament. On the second occasion the topic was Liberty of Conscience, and what was being done in the Subcommittee and by the Divines on the subject. Baxter ventured to hint that he had put his views on paper and that it might save time if his Highness would read them. "He received the paper after, but I scarce believe that he ever read it; for I saw that what he learned must be from himself—being more disposed to speak many hours than to hear one, and little heeding what another said when he had spoken himself." Cromwell had made up his mind about Baxter long ago (Vol. III. p. 386), but had apparently now given him another trial, on the faith of his reputed liberality on the Toleration question. But Baxter did not gain upon him.]

As if to show how much in earnest they were on this whole subject, the House had at that moment the notorious Anti-Trinitarian John Biddle in their custody. Since 1644, when he was a schoolmaster in Gloucester, this mild man had been in prison again and again for his opinions, and the wonder was that the Presbyterians had not succeeded in bringing him to the scaffold in 1648 under their tremendous Ordinance of that year. His Socinian books were then known over England and even on the Continent, and he would certainly have been the first capital victim under the Ordinance if the Presbyterians had continued in power. At large since 1651, he had been living rather quietly in London, earning his subsistence as a Greek reader for the press, but also preaching regularly on Sundays to a small Socinian congregation. In accordance with the general policy of the Government since Cromwell had become master, he had been left unmolested. The orthodox had been on the watch, however, and another Socinian book of Biddle's, called A Two-fold Catechism, published in 1654, had given them the opportunity they wanted. For this book Biddle had been arrested on the 12th of December, and he had been brought before the House on his knees and committed to prison on the 13th. The views which the House were then formulating on the Limits of Toleration in the abstract may be said therefore to have been illustrated over Mr. Biddle's body in the concrete. His case came up again on the 15th of January, when the House, after hearing with horror some extracts from his books, ordered them to be burnt by the hangman, and at the same time instructed a Committee to prepare a Bill for punishing him. The punishment, if the Presbyterians could succeed in falling back on their Parliamentary Ordinance of May 1648, was to be death.[1]

[Footnote 1: Wood's Ath. III. 593-598; Commons Journals of dates.]

It was really of very great consequence to the Commonwealth of the Protectorate what theory of Toleration should be adopted into its Constitution, whether the Parliament's or Cromwell's. For the ferment of religious and irreligious speculation of all kinds in the three nations was now something prodigious, and there were widely diffused denominations of dissent and heresy that had not been in existence ten years before, when the Long Parliament and the Westminster Assembly first discussed the Toleration Question. Our synopsis of the English sects and Heresies of 1644 (Vol. III. 143-159) is not, indeed, wholly out of date for 1654, but it would require extensions and modifications to adjust it accurately to the latter year. There had been the natural flux and reflux of ideas during the intervening decade, the waning of some sects and singularities that had no deep root, the interblending of others, and new bursts in the teeming chaos. Atheists, Sceptics, Mortalists or Materialists, Anti-Scripturists, Anti-Trinitarians or Socinians, Arians, Anti-Sabbatarians, Seekers, and Divorcers or Miltonists: all these terms were still in the vocabulary of the orthodox, describing persons or bodies of persons of whose opinions the Civil Magistrate was bound to take account. Sects, on the other hand, that had been on the black list ten years ago had now been admitted to respectability. Baptists or Anabaptists, Antinomians, Brownists, nay even INDEPENDENTS generally, had been regarded in 1644 as dark and dangerous schismatics; but now, save in the private colloquies or controversial tracts of Presbyterians, no feeling of horror attached to those names. INDEPENDENTS, indeed, were now the Lords of the Commonwealth, and Anabaptists and Antinomians were in high places, so that the most orthodox Presbyterians found themselves side by side with them in private gatherings and committees. In the Established Church of the Protectorate there was to be a comprehension of Presbyterians, Independents, and such Baptists and other really Evangelical Sectaries as might be willing; and, accordingly, the question of mere Toleration outside the Established Church no longer concerned the Evangelical sects lying immediately beyond ordinary Independency. If, from objection to the principle of an Establishment, they chose to remain outside, they would have toleration there as a matter of course. To make up, however, for this removal of so many of the old Sectaries from all practical interest in the question on their own account, there were new religious denominations of such strange ways and tendencies, such unknown relations to anything hitherto recognised as Orthodoxy or as Heresy, that the poor Civil Magistrate, or even the coolest Abstract Tolerationist, in contemplating them, might well be puzzled. The following is a list of the chief of these new Sects that had sprung up since 1644:—

FIFTH-MONARCHY MEN:—At first sight this does not appear a new sect, but merely a continuation of the old MILLENARIES or CHILIASTS (Vol. III, pp. 152-153), who believed that the Personal Reign of Christ on Earth for a thousand years was approaching. The change of name, however, indicates greater precision in the belief, and also greater intensity. According to the wild system of Universal Chronology then in vogue, the past History of the World, on this side of the Flood, had consisted of four great successive Empires or Monarchies—the Assyrian, which ended B.C. 531; the Persian, which ended B.C. 331; the Macedonian, or Greek Empire of Alexander, which was made to stretch to B.C. 44; and the Roman, which had begun B.C. 44, with the Accession of Augustus Caesar, and which had included, though people might not see how, all that had happened on the Earth since then. But this last Monarchy was tottering, and a Fifth Universal Monarchy was at hand. It was that foreshadowed in Rev. xx.: "And I saw an Angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the Bottomless Pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the Dragon, that great serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the Bottomless Pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. And I saw Thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the worship of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." This prophecy was the property of all Christians, and might receive different interpretations. The literal interpretation, favoured by some theologians, was that, at some date fast approaching, Christ would reappear visibly on Earth, accompanied by the re-embodied souls of dead saints and martyrs, while the rest of the dead slept on, and that in the glorious reign of Righteousness and the subjugation of all Evil thus begun for a thousand years men then living, or the true saints among them, might partake. This interpretation, though scouted by the more rational theologians, had seized on many of the more fervid English Independents and Sectaries, so that they had begun to see, in the great events of their own time and land, the dazzling edge of the near Millennium. The doctrine had caught the souls of Harrison and other men of action, hitherto classed as Anabaptists or Seekers. Now, so far there was no harm in it, nor could any of the orthodox who rejected it for themselves dare to treat it as one of the heresies to be restrained by the Civil Magistrate. Evidently, however, there was a root of danger. What if the Fifth-Monarchy men should make it part of their faith that the saints could accelerate the Fifth Monarchy, and that it was their duty to do so? Then their tenet might have strange practical effects upon English politics. Already, in the time of the Barebones Parliament, there had been warnings of this, the Fifth-Monarchy men there, or outside the Parliament, having distinguished themselves by an ultra-Republicanism which verged on Communism, and also by their zeal for pure Voluntaryism in Religion and the abolition of a paid Ministry and all express Church machinery. The fact had not escaped Cromwell, and in his speech at the opening of the present Parliament he had taken notice of it. In that very speech he had singled out for remark "the mistaken notion of the Fifth Monarchy." It was a notion, he admitted, held by many good and sincere men; nay it was a notion he honoured and could find a high meaning in. "But for men, on this principle, to betitle themselves that they are the only men to rule kingdoms, govern nations, and give laws to people, and determine of property and liberty and everything else,—upon such a pretension as this: truly they had need to give clear manifestations of God's presence with them, before wise men will receive or submit to their conclusions." If they were notions only, he added, they were best left alone; for "notions will hurt none but those who have them." But, when the notions were turned into practice, and proposals were made for abrogation of Property and Magistracy to smooth the way for the Fifth Monarchy, then one must remember Jude's precept as to the mode of dealing with the errors of good men. "Of some have compassion," Jude had said, "making a difference; others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire."[1]

[Footnote 1: Hearne's Ductor Historicus, 1714 (for the old doctrine of the Four Monarchies); Thomason Pamphlets; Carlyle's Cromwell, III. 24-27.—The Fifth Monarchy notion was by no means an upstart oddity of thought among the English Puritans of the seventeenth century. It was a tradition of the most scholarly thought of mediaeval theologians as to the duration and final collapse of the existing Cosmos; and it may be traced in the older imaginative literature of various European nations. Thus the Scottish Sir David Lindsay's long poem entitled Monarchy, or Ane Dialogue betwix Experience and one Courtier of the Miserable Estate of the World, the date of which is 1553, is a moralized sketch of the whole previous history of the world, according to the then accepted doctrine of the Four past Secular Monarchies, with a glance around at the Europe of Lindsay's own time as already certainly in the dregs of "The Latter Days," and an anticipation, as if with assured personal belief, of a glorious Fifth Monarchy, or miraculous reconstitution of the whole Universe into a new Heaven and Earth, to begin probably about the year 2000.]

RANTERS:—"These made it their business," says Baxter, "to set up the Light of Nature under the name of Christ in Man, and to dishonour and cry down the Church, the Scripture, and the present Ministry, and our worship and ordinances; and called men to hearken to Christ within them. But withal they conjoined a cursed doctrine of Libertinism, which brought them to all abominable filthiness of life. They taught, as the FAMILISTS, (see Vol. III. p. 152), that God regardeth not the actions of the outward man, but of the heart, and that to the pure all things are pure ... I have seen myself letters written from Abington, where among both soldiers and people this contagion did then prevail, full of horrid oaths and curses and blasphemy, not fit to be repeated by the tongue or pen of man; and this all uttered as the effect of knowledge and a part of their Religion, in a fanatic strain, and fathered on the Spirit of God." The Ranters, in fact, seem to have been ANTINOMIANS (see Vol. III. 151-152) run mad, with touches from FAMILISM and SEEKERISM greatly vulgarized. Of no sect do we hear more in the pamphlets and newspapers between 1650 and 1655, though there are traces of them of earlier date. The pamphlets about them generally take the form of professed accounts of some of their meetings, with reports of their profane discourses and the indecencies with which they were accompanied. There are illustrative wood-cuts in some of the pamphlets; and, on the whole, I fancy that some low printers and booksellers made a trade on the public curiosity about the Ranters, getting up pretended accounts of their meetings as a pretext for prurient publications. There is plenty of testimony, however, besides Baxter's word, that there was a real sect of the name pretty widely spread in low neighbourhoods in towns, and holding meetings. Among Ranters named in the pamphlets I have noticed a T. Shakespeare. "The horrid villainies of the sect," says Baxter, "did not only speedily extinguish it, but also did as much as ever anything did to disgrace all sectaries, and to restore the credit of the ministry and the sober unanimous Christians;" and this, or the transfusion of Ranterism into equivalent phrenzies with other names, may account for the fact that after a while the pamphlets about the Ranters cease or become rare. Clearly, in the main, the regulation of such a sect, so long as it did last, was a matter of police; and the only question is whether there were any tenets mixed up with Ranterism, or held by some roughly called Ranters, that were capable of being dissociated, and that were in fact in some cases dissociated, from offences against public decency. Exact data are deficient, and there were probably varieties of Ranters theologically. Pantheism, or the essential identity of God with the universe, and his indwelling in every creature, angelic, human, brute, or inorganic, seems to have been the belief of most Ranters that could manage to rise to a metaphysics—with which belief was conjoined also a rejection of all essential distinction between good and evil, and a rejection of all Scripture as mere dead letter; but from a so-called "Carol of the Ranters" I infer that Atheism, or at least Mortalism or Materialism (see Vol. III. p. 156-157), had found refuge among some of the varieties. Thus:—

"They prate of God! Believe it, fellow-creature, There's no such bugbear: all was made by Nature. We know all came of nothing, and shall pass Into the same condition once it was By Nature's power, and that they grossly lie That say there's hope of immortality. Let them but tell us what a soul is: then We shall adhere to these mad brainsick men."[1]

[Footnote 1: Baxter's Life, 76-77; and Thomason Pamphlets passim. The pamphlet last quoted is in Vol. 485 (old numbering). I have also used a quotation from another pamphlet in Barclay's Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth (1876), pp. 417-418.]

STRAY FANATICS: THE MUGGLETONIANS:—Sometimes confounded with the Ranters, but really distinguishable, were some crazed men, whose crazes had taken a religious turn, and whose extravagances became contagious.—Such was a John Robins, first heard of about 1650, when he went about, sometimes as God Almighty, sometimes as Adam raised from the dead, with the power of raising others from the dead. He had raised Cain and Judas, and other personages of Scripture, forgiving their sins and blessing them; which personages, changed in character, but remembering their former selves quite well, went about in Robins's company and were seen and talked with by various people. He could work miracles, and in dark rooms would exhibit himself surrounded with angels, and fiery serpents, and shining lights, or riding in the air. He had been sent to Bridewell, and his supernatural powers had left him.—One heard next, in 1652, of two associates, called John Reeve and Ludovick Muggleton, who professed to be "the two last Spiritual Witnesses (Rev. xi.) and alone true Prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ, God alone blessed to all eternity." They believed in a real man-shaped God, existing from all eternity, who had come upon earth as Jesus Christ, leaving Moses and Elijah to represent him in Heaven—also in the mortality of the soul till the resurrection of the body; and their chief commission was to denounce and curse all false prophets, and all who did not believe in Reeves and Muggleton. They visited Robins in Bridewell and told him to stop his preaching under pain of eternal damnation; but they favoured some eminent Presbyterian and Independent ministers of London with letters to the same effect. They dated their letters "from Great Trinity Lane, at a Chandler's shop, against one Mr. Millis, a brown baker, near Bow Lane End;" and the editor of Mercurius Politicus, who had received one of their letters so dated, had the curiosity to go to see them, with some friends of his, in the end of August 1653. He found them "at the top of an old house in a cockloft," and made a paragraph of them thus:—"They are said to be a couple of tailors: but only one of them works, and that is Muggleton; the other, they say, writes prophecies. We found two women there whom they had convinced; whom we questioning, they said they believed all. Besides there was an old country plain man of Essex, who said he had been with them twice before; and, being asked whether he were of the same opinion and did believe them, he answered, Truly he could not tell what to say, but he was come to have some discourse with them in private." Two mouths after this interview (Oct. 1653), they were brought before the Lord Mayor and Recorder for their letters to ministers, and sentenced to six months of imprisonment each. But they were to be farther heard of in the world. Muggleton indeed to as late as 1698, when he died at the age of ninety, leaving a sect called THE MUGGLETONIANS, who are perhaps not extinct yet.—Among those who attached themselves to Reeves and Muggleton was a Thomas Tany, who called himself also "Theauro John," and professed to be the Lord's High Priest. They would have nothing to do with him, and put him on their excommunicated list. Whether because this preyed on the poor man's mind or not, he was found in the lobby of the Parliament House on Saturday, Dec. 30. 1654, with a drawn sword, slashing at members, and knocking for admittance. The House, who were then in the midst of their debate on the proper Limits of Toleration, ordered him to be brought to the bar:—"Where," say the journals, "being demanded by Mr. Speaker what his name was, answered' Theeror John'; being asked why he came hither, saith, He fired his tent, and the people were ready to stone him because he burnt the Bible—which he acknowledgeth he did. Saith it is letters, not life. And he drew his sword because the man jostled him at the door. Saith he burnt the Bible because the people say it is the Word of God, and it is not; it deceived him. And saith he burnt the sword and pistols and Bibles because they are the Gods of England. He did it not of himself; and, being asked who bid him do it, saith God.' And thereupon was commanded to withdraw." He was sent into custody immediately.—Stray fanatics like Robins, Reeves, Muggleton, and Theauro John, seem to have been not uncommon through England.[1]

[Footnote 1: Godwin, IV. 313-317; Mercurius Politicus, No. 167 (Aug. 18-25, 1653); Commons Journals, Dec. 30, 1654; Barclay's Religious Societies, pp. 421-422.]

BOEHMENISTS AND OTHER MYSTICS:—Of the German Mystic Jacob Boehme (1575-1624) there had been a Life in English since 1644, with a catalogue of his writings, and since then translations of some of the writings themselves had appeared at intervals, mostly from the shop of one publisher, Humphrey Blunden. The interest in "the Teutonical Philosopher" thus excited had at length taken form in a small sect of professed BOEHMENISTS, propounding the doctrine of the Light of Nature, i.e. of a mystic intuitional revelation in the soul itself of all true knowledge of divine and human things. Of this sect Baxter says that they were "fewer in number," and seemed "to have attained to greater meekness and conquest of passions," than the other sects. The chief of them was Dr. Pordage, Rector of Bradfield, in Berks, with his family. They held "visible and sensible communion with angels" in the Rectory, on the very walls and windows of which there appeared miraculous pictures and symbols; and the Doctor himself, besides alarming people with such strange phrases as "the fiery deity of Christ dwelling in the soul and mixing itself with our flesh," was clearly unorthodox on many particular points.[1]—Boehme's system included a mystical physics or cosmology as well as a metaphysics or theosophy, and some of his English followers seem to have allied themselves with the famous Astrologer William Lilly, whose prophetic Almanacks, under the title of Merlinus Anglicus, had been appearing annually since 1644. But indeed all sorts of men were in contact with this quack or quack-mystic. He had been consulted by Charles I as to the probable issue of events; he had been consulted and feed by partisans of the other side: his Almanacks, with their hieroglyphics and political predictions, had a boundless popularity, and were bringing him a good income; he was the chief in his day of those fortune-telling and spirit-auguring celebrities who hover all their lives between high society and Bridewell. As he had adhered to the Parliamentarians and made the stars speak for their cause, he had hitherto been pretty safe; but the leading Presbyterian and Independent ministers, as we have seen (ante IV, p. 392), had recently called upon Parliament to put down his bastard science. Gataker had attacked "that grand impostor Mr. William Lilly" in an express publication.[2]—Is it in a spirit of mischief that Baxter names THE VANISTS, or disciples of Sir Henry Vane the younger, as one of the recognised sects of this time? That great Republican leader, it was known, with all his deep practical astuteness and the perfect clearness and shrewdness of his speeches and business-letters, carried in his head a mystic Metaphysics of his own which he found it hard to express. It was a something unique, including ideas from the Antinomians, the Anabaptists, and the Seekers, he had been so much among, with something also of the Fifth-Monarchy notion, and with the theory of absolute Voluntaryism in Religion, but all these amalgamated with new ingredients. Burnet tells us that, though he had taken pains to find out Vane's meaning in his own books, he could never reach it, and that, as many others had the same experience, it might be reasonable to conclude that Vane had purposely kept back the key to his system. Friends of Vane had told Burnet, however, that "he leaned to Origen's notion of a universal salvation of all, both of devils and the damned, and to the doctrine of pre-existence." Even when Cromwell and Vane had been close friends, calling each other "Fountain" and "Heron" in their private letters. Vane had been in possession of such peculiar lights, or of others, beyond Cromwell's apprehension. "Brother Fountain can guess at his brother's meaning," he had written to Cromwell in Scotland August 2, 1651, with reference to some troublesome on-goings in the Council of State during Cromwell's absence, begging him not to believe ill-natured reports about "Brother Heron" in connexion with them, and adding, "Be assured he answers your heart's desire in all things, except he be esteemed even by you in principles too high to fathom; which one day, I am persuaded, will not be so thought by you, when, by increasing with the increasings of God, you shall be brought to that sight and enjoyment of God in Christ which passes knowledge." If this to Cromwell, what to others? Three years had passed, and Vane was now in compulsory retirement. His Retired Man's Meditations had not yet been published. Such Vanists, therefore, as there were in 1654 must have imbibed their knowledge of them from Sir Henry's conversation or indirectly. Among these Baxter mentions Peter Sterry, one of Cromwell's favourite preachers, and afterwards known as a mystic on his own account. Of Sterry's preaching, already notoriously obscure, Sir Benjamin Rudyard had said that "it was too high for this world and too low for the other," and Baxter puns on the association of Vane and Sterry, asking whether Vanity and Sterility had ever been more happily conjoined. But the sect of the VANISTS existed perhaps mainly in Baxter's fancy.[3]

[Footnote 1: Stationers' Registers from 1644 to 1654; Baxter, 77-78; Neal, IV. 112-113.]

[Footnote 2: Engl. Cycl. Art. Lilly; Stationers' Registers of date June 10, 1653 (Gataker's Tract) and of other dates (Lilly's Almanacks).]

[Footnote 3: Baxter, 74-76; Milton Papers by Nickolls, 78-79; Wood's Ath. III, 578 et seq. and IV. 136-138.]

QUAKERS OR FRIENDS:—Who can think of the appearance of this sect in English History without doing what the sect itself would forbid, and reverently raising the hat? And yet in 1654 this was the very sect of sects. It was about the Quakers that there had begun to be the most violent excitement among the guardians of social order throughout the British Islands.—It was then six or seven years since they had first been heard of in any distinct way, and four since they had received the name QUAKERS. A Derbyshire Justice of the Peace, it is said, first invented that name for them, because they seemed to be fond of the text Jer. v. 22, and had offended him by addressing it to himself and a brother magistrate: "Fear ye not me? saith the Lord; will ye not tremble at my presence?" But Robert Barclay's account of the origin of the name in his Apology for the Quakers (1675) is probably more correct, though not inconsistent. He says it arose from the fact that, in the early meetings of "The Children of the Light," as they first called themselves, violent physical agitations were not unfrequent, and conversions were often signalized by that accompaniment. There was often an "inward travail" in some one present; "and from this inward travail, while the darkness seeks to obscure the light, and the light breaks through the darkness, which it will always do if the soul gives not its strength to the darkness, there will be such a painful travail found in the soul that will even work upon the outward man, so that often-times, through the working thereof, the body will be greatly shaken, and many groans and sighs and tears, even as the pangs of a woman in travail, will lay hold of it: yea, and this not only as to one, but ... sometimes the power of God will break forth into a whole meeting, and there will be such an inward travail, while each is seeking to overcome the evil in themselves, that by the strong contrary workings of these opposite powers, like the going of two contrary tides, every individual will be strongly exercised as in a day of battle, and thereby trembling and a motion of body will be upon most, if not upon all, which, as the power of Truth prevails, will from pangs and groans end with a sweet sound of thanksgiving and praise. And from this the name of Quakers, i.e. Tremblers, was first reproachfully cast upon us; which though it be none of our choosing, yet in this respect we are not ashamed of it, but have rather reason to rejoice therefore, even that we are sensible of this power that hath oftentimes laid hold of our adversaries, and made them yield to us, and join with us, and confess to the Truth, before they had any distinct and discursive knowledge of our doctrines."—The Quakers, then, according to this eminent Apologist for them, had, from the first, definite doctrines, which might be distinctly and discursively known. What were they? They hardly amounted to any express revolution of existing Theology. In no essential respect did any of their recognised representatives impugn any of the doctrines of Christianity as professed by other fervid Evangelical sects. The Trinity, the Divinity of Christ, the natural sinfulness of men, propitiation by Christ alone, sanctification by the Holy Spirit, the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures—in these, and in other cardinal tenets, they were at one with the main body of their contemporary Christians. Though it was customary for a time to confound them with the Ranters, they themselves repudiated the connexion, and opposed the Ranters and their libertinism wherever they met them. Wherein then lay the distinctive peculiarity of the Quakers? It has been usual to say that it consisted in their doctrine of the universality of the gift of the Spirit, and of the constant inner light, and motion, and teaching of the Spirit in the soul of each individual believer. This is not sufficient. That doctrine they shared substantially with various other sects,—certainly with the Boehmenists and other Continental Mystics, not to speak of the English Antinomians and Seekers. Nay, in their first great practical application of the doctrine they had been largely anticipated. If the inner motion or manifestation of the Spirit in each mind, in interpretation of the Bible or over and above the Bible, is the sole true teaching of the Gospel, and if the manifestation cometh as the Spirit listeth, and cannot be commanded, a regular Ministry of the Word by a so-called Clergy is an absurdity, and a hired Ministry an abomination! So said the Quakers. In reaching this conclusion, however, they had only added themselves to masses of people, known as Brownists, Seekers, and Anabaptists, who had already, by the same route or by others, advanced to the standing-ground of absolute Voluntaryism. What did distinguish the early Quakers seems to have been, in the first place, the thorough form of their apprehension of that doctrine of the Inner Light, or Immediate Revelation of the Spirit, which they held in common with other sects, and, in the second place, their courage and tenacity in carrying out the practical inferences from that doctrine in every sentence of their own speech and every hour of their own conduct. As to the form in which they held the doctrine itself Barclay will be again our best authority. "The testimony of the Spirit," he says, "is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can only be, revealed; who, as by the moving of his own Spirit he converted the Chaos of this world into that wonderful Order wherein it was in the beginning, and created Man a living Soul to rule and govern it, so by the same Spirit he hath manifested himself all along unto the sons of men, both Patriarchs, Prophets,

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