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easily be subdued. But here there arose a difficulty as to the ultimate aims of two such incongruous allies; Charles was willing to make use of Sexby and the Levellers, yet feared them because of their determined hostility to royalty; while they were ready to ally themselves with any one, that they might succeed in destroying the Protector. In April, 1656, the Spanish King concluded a treaty of alliance with Charles, promising him a pension and an army; and Charles engaging that, with the aid of the Irish serving in the French army, he would invade England. The war between England and Spain, however, proceeded but languidly for a time; but on the 15th of March, 1656, Exploits of Blake and Montague were sent in a second pursuit after Blake and the Plate fleet. Their destination, in the first place, Spanish was Cadiz, in order to destroy the shipping in the harbour, and to make an attempt on that city, or the rock of Gibraltar. But they could not obtain a pilot to conduct them through the winding channel of the Caraccas; and the defences of both Cadiz and Gibraltar presented too formidable an aspect to allow a hope of success without the co-operation of a military force. They, therefore, abandoned the attempt, and sailed to Lisbon, where they extorted from the Portuguese monarch the sum of £50,000, in accordance with the late treaty. Thence they returned to Cadiz, passed the Straits, insulted the Spaniards in Malaga, the Moors in Sallee, and, after two months'. cruise, anchored a second time in the Tagus. While here, one of their captains, named Stayner, with a squadron of frigates, fell in with a Spanish fleet of eight sail from America. Of these he destroyed four, and captured two laden with treasures. Montague was at once sent home with the prize, and the people crowded the roads and streets from Portsmouth to the Tower, to look upon the procession of thirty-eight waggons, laden with ingots and piastres, worth more than £350,000.*

26. Cromwell convokes another parliament. For more than eighteen months Cromwell had governed arbitrarily and alone; but his strong good sense warned him that absolute power soon wears itself out; and that, although blessed with good fortune, no man can long govern in isolation, and without supporters. The war with Spain had already involved him, and threatened to involve him still more deeply in expenses, which he would be unable to meet without fresh taxes. He perceived the necessity of his position; and he believed that, after so many successes, the day had come for establishing a permanent order of things.t * Southey's Admirals, V., 231-232. † Guizot's Cromwell, 357.



during the

He, therefore, convoked another parliament, to meet on the 17th of September, 1656. The excitement which prevailed during the elections exceeded that of any previous occasion. Vane, Excitement Ludlow, Harrison, and the republican leaders, circulated prevailed pamphlets throughout the whole country, calling upon elections. the electors to make a last struggle in defence of their liberties, and for the restoration of the sovereignty of the people, and the government of a single assembly. The government, however, secured a majority, although many of its declared opponents, as Haselrigg and Scott, were elected. Vane, Harrison, and Rich were arrested and imprisoned; and, when the election returns were laid before the council, a list of 102 persons was made, who should be excluded, under the pretext of immorality and delinquency.

On the appointed day, the Protector, after divine service was finished, began the session with a long speech, in which he enumerated the evils under which the nation still suffered, and the remedies he considered advisable. By Royalist The writers, this speech has been described as one of the Protector's most violent and fanatical addresses he ever made; but the opening those who have studied the Protector's character well and session. impartially, account it as one of the most statesmanlike speeches to be found in the language.

speech at

of the

The glory of God, he said, and His interest, was the foundation of the being and subsistence of these nations, and their dependencies. The chief dangers which threatened the country were the hostility of the Spaniards, the natural enemies of England, from whom no honest peace could be obtained, nor liberty of conscience even for English traders resident in Spanish dominions. An alliance with them was an alliance with the papists. Moreover, the Spaniards had now espoused the interests of Charles Stuart; and with these had allied themselves "persons who pretend other things," Anabaptists, Republicans, Levellers, so that the country had been troubled with insurrections and assassination plots. To meet these dangers, major-generals had been appointed; a measure which had been "much regretted," but which the stern necessity of the time demanded. These being the evils, Cromwell then pointed out the remedies. These were, money for the vigorous prosecution of the war, the earnest devotion of parliament to the interests of the country and the stability of the government, and the reformation of laws, religion, and manners. Speaking on the last point, viz., the reformation of manners, he said that lately it had been a shame to a man to be a Christian; and that the profession of religion had been stigmatised with the name of Puritanism. "We would keep up nobility and gentry," he said; "but the way to keep them up is not to suffer them to be patronisers or countenancers of debauchery and disorders." These were wise words, and so also were those in which he spoke of the reformation of the law, indicating, as they did, greater powers of legislation in Cromwell than in any statesmen before or since.*

As soon as the house began business the next day, a letter,

* Macaulay's Essays, I., 81-82; Carlyle, III., 159-196.

Debate concerning


signed by 65 of the excluded members, was received, the excluded complaining of their exclusion. A strong feeling of members. disapprobation was manifested in several parts of the house; the clerk of the commonwealth in chancery received orders to lay all the returns on the table, and when the council was requested to state the grounds of this novel breach of privilege, Nathaniel Fiennes, one of the commissioners of the great seal, pointed to the articles in the Instrument of Government, which provided that "no persons could be elected to serve in parliament but such as were of known integrity, fearing God, and of good conversation," and that the council had authority "to examine whether the persons elected were agreeable to these qualifications." The boldness of this admission prevented any further debate. A resolution was passed declaring the war against Spain to be just and politic, and £400,000 were granted for its support; the ordinances which the Protector had issued were, for the most part, confirmed, and his appointments to judicial offices approved; the major-generals were removed, the claims of the Stuarts to the crown formally annulled, and additional safeguards for the Protector's person provided.

27. The Parliament persecutes the Quakers. The discussion of these questions was interrupted by the persecution of the Quakers, a new sect which had arisen during the civil war, and whom all parties combined in hunting down.

Their founder was George Fox, a weaver, of Drayton. At the age of 19 he went to a neighbouring fair, where the revelry and dissipation led him to Sketch of the life of thoughts of seriousness and self-reproach, and having an enthusiastic George Fox. mind, open to religious impressions, he fancied that an inward voice called him to forsake his father's house, to lead a solitary life, wandering from place to place, clothed from head to foot in leather garments. He read the Scriptures attentively, studying especially the Apocalypse, in which he persuaded himself that Christ and the Spirit taught him the real meaning. After passing through a stage of doubts and fears, he entered into a state of the most ecstatic delight, assured that his name was written in the Book of Life. He considered it profane to use any other language than that of the Holy Scriptures, to use the pronoun you as the second person singular, to uncover the head, or to show any deference to mortal being. In 1647, he preached, at the instigation of the Spirit, at Dukinfield, near Manchester; but the most fruitful scene of his labours was at Swarthmoor, Ulverston. The number of his followers soon attracted the notice of the civil magistrate, before whom they refused to uncover the head, or to give evidence on oath. They also refused to pay tithes; all which peculiarities exposed them to numerous punishments, imprisonments, whippings, &c. As is always the case with persecuted sects, they were much calumniated; they were falsely charged with denying the Trinity, with disowning the authority of the government, and with attempting to debauch the fidelity of the soldiers. Their doctrine of spiritual impulses led many of them to extravagances which were often ludicrous and revolting. One William Simpson was "moved" several times to go naked and barefoot



to markets, fairs, and great men's houses, as a sign unto them; and another, James Naylor, who had been quartermaster in Lambert's troop, believed that Cruel perChrist was incorporated with him, and received worship accordingly. secution of Naylor by The parliament voted him to be guilty of blasphemy, and he was put in the the pillory twice, was whipped several times, and was burnt in the fore- parliament. head; his tongue was bored with a red-hot iron; and after that he was committed to solitary confinement. These sufferings only made his admirers worship him still more, and on every occasion that he was whipped, or had to ride on horseback with his face to the tail, they attended him bareheaded; kissed his wounds, and chanted with him passages from the Scriptures (December, January, February, 1656-57).*


Cromwell saw, as the more fanatical members had not seen, that the whole course of legal government was threatened by this procedure of the house-that this assumption of judicial power was incompatible with the due course of justice. For of what use was the right of trial, if the parliament could set aside the Cromwell ordinary courts of law at its pleasure, and inflict arbitrary remes punishment for any supposed offence without the usual against it. forms of inquiry? He, therefore, addressed a letter to the speaker, in which, in royal language, he demanded of the house the grounds upon which they had proceeded. The members received this message with amazement; although the punishment was not completed when this letter was sent, they decided that it should be completed ; and this obstinacy on their part was Cromwell's triumph, for it directed public attention to the defects of the constitution, and to the necessity of establishing checks on the authority of the house in matters of law and justice. But the most remarkable I led to a result which the circumstance led to was, the proposal to the govern restore the ancient form of government, and to make ment. Cromwell king.


Sexby sends

28. Sindercomb's plot. In the meantime, a new assassination plot excited a general interest in the life of the Protector, and, by its failure, more than ever strengthened his authority. Sexby had now found a fit instrument for Sindercomb the accomplishment of that murderous purpose which Cromwell. was the main article in the compact between him and Charles and the King of Spain. This was Miles Sindercomb, one of

to murder

those Levellers who had been sentenced to be shot at Burford in 1650. Having escaped on that occasion, he became quartermaster in Monk's army in Scotland; got involved in new plots, and was cashiered. In order to carry out his present design, he hired a house at Hammersmith, and provided deadly combustibles, so as to blow up the Protector when he took his Saturday ride to Hampton Court. He also arranged to blow up Whitehall. But all his secrets were regularly

* Lingard, XI., 82-85; also Fox's Journal, I., 572; and Burton's Diary, I., 133-270,


revealed to Cromwell, and, being taken, he was tried for high treason, and condemned to death. A few hours, however, before his execution, he was found dead in his bed, having poisoned himself (February 13th, 1657).

An humble


29. The proceedings connected with the proposal to make Cromwell King. When Secretary Thurloe related the discovery of this plot to the Commons (January 1 th), and the house resolved to congratulate the Protector on his escape, one Mr. Ashe, member for Somersetshire, moved that it be added to the address, that his highness would be pleased to take upon him the government according to the ancient constitution. The house was completely taken by surprise, and a sharp debate ensued. On the 23rd of February, after the address had been presented, Alderman Pack requested leave to read "An humble address and remonstrance," for the settlement of the nation, in which address and he desired the Protector to assume kingly power, and to strance. call future parliaments, consisting of two houses. The officers, the leading members of the council, and a few others, strenuously opposed this; Whitelocke, Glynn, Lord Broghill, and the lawyers and courtiers, supported it, and a long debate ensued. Four days after this paper had been introduced (February 28th) a hundred officers, with several of the major-generals, among whom was Lambert, the commander of the army, and the idol of the military, Desborough, the Protector's brother-in-law, and Fleetwood, his son-in-law, waited upon Cromwell to express to him their objections to his accepting the title of king. The Protector somewhat resented this interference, reminding them that they had pressed him to accept it when he undertook the government, but that he had rejected it, and he had not since desired it, or done anything to obtain it. He thought, however, that as Protector he needed some additional authority, to put a check to such scandalous proceedings as the late persecution of Naylor, and that a House of Lords might serve a useful purpose in this respect. The debate on the question went on in the house, with little interruption, through the whole of March, and it was at last voted, by a majority of 61, that the address, under the amended title of "The Humble Petition and Advice," should Petition be presented. The members accordingly proceeded in and Advice. state to Whitehall (March 31st), and presented the document. It contained eighteen articles, touching kingship, the second house of parliament, the mode of electing members, the permanent public revenue, exclusive Protestant religion, and provision for tender consciences. They requested the Protector's



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