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was in another way beneficial to the English, by obliging them to cultivate maritime commerce, from which they have derived the greatest part of their national wealth. In this war, which was most ably maintained on both sides-under Blake, the English admiral, and Van Tromp and de Ruyter, admirals of the Hollanders-the English, on the whole, had a clear superiority; the Dutch were cut off entirely from the commerce of the Channel; their fisheries were totally suspended, and above sixteen hundred of their ships fell into the hands of the English.

The parliament, glorying in these successes, which were so much to the honour of the Republic, began to find themselves independent of Cromwell and the army, and determined on a reduction of the land forces, which, while they found themselves so powerful at sea, were only an unnecessary burden upon the nation. This measure, which would have been fatal to the ambition of Cromwell, was prevented by him in a most extraordinary manner. Many circumstances had of late been observed, which discovered the selfish aims of this ambitious man; yet so great was his influence with the army that he readily found agents to co-operate with him in every scheme which he proposed.

Calling a council of his officers, a remonstrance was framed, to be presented to the parliament, reminding them that it was averse to the spirit of a democracy that any set of magistrates should be perpetual, and desiring that they might immediately think of dissolving, after issuing writs for the election of a new parliament. This application, it

may be imagined, met with a sharp reply, which was nothing more than what Cromwell wished and expected. Before the smallest hint had transpired of his design, he now presented himself with three hundred soldiers at the door of the House of Commons. Leaving his guards without, he took his seat for some time, and listened to their debates; then rising hastily up: "I judge (said he) this parliament to be ripe for a dissolution, (taking one of the members by the cloak). You (said he) are a whoremaster; (to another) you are a drunkard; and (to a third) you are an extortioner. The Lord hath done with you, get you gone, you are no longer a parliament." Then stamping with his foot, which was a signal for the soldiers to enter, “Here," said he, pointing to the mace which lay on the table, "take away that fool's bauble;" then ordering the soldiers to drive the whole members out of the house, he locked the door himself, put the key into his pocket, and went home to his lodgings in Whitehall. Thus, by one of the boldest actions recorded in history, the famous Republic of England, which had subsisted four years and three months, was annihilated in one moment. This measure, which has drawn upon Oliver Cromwell the execrations of the violent partisans of liberty, as it dispelled that fine delusion of a patriotic motive, to which they would gladly have attributed the extinction of monarchy in the person of Charles, was regarded by the friends of the constitution with high satisfaction; and they now made the most flattering comments on the necessary instability and fundamental weakness of all systems of government which owe their existence to force and violence.

Yet, Cromwell, thus become absolute master of the whole power, civil and military, of the three kingdoms, thought it necessary to leave the nation some shadow, some phantom of liberty. It was proper that there should be the appearance of a parliament; and he therefore, by the advice of his council of officers, summoned one hundred and twenty-eight persons from the different towns and counties of England, five from Scotland, and six from Ireland, to assemble at Westminster, with power to exercise legislative authority for fifteen months. These, who were chiefly a set of low fanatical mechanics, Anabaptists and Independents, were in scorn denominated by the people Barebones' Parliament, from the name of one of their most violent and active members, Praisegod Barebones, a leather-seller. This assembly, whose shameful ignorance, meanness, and absurdity of conduct rendered them useless and contemptible both to Cromwell and the nation, voluntarily dissolved themselves by a vote after a session of five months. A few of the members who dissented from this measure continuing to occupy the House of Commons, Cromwell sent one of his officers to turn them out. This officer, a Colonel White, entering the house, demanded what they were doing there: the chairman answered, "They were seeking the Lord." "Then (said White) you may go elsewhere, for to my certain knowledge the Lord has not been here these many years;" so saying, he turned them out of doors. Thus the supreme power became now vested in the council of officers. These, who were at Cromwell's absolute disposal, nominated him Lord Protector of

the three kingdoms. He was installed in the palace of Whitehall, declared to hold his office for life, and an instrument was prepared, granting to him the right of making peace, war, and alliances, and authorising a standing army to be kept up of 30,000 men for the support of government. He was obliged by the same instrument to assemble a parliament every three years. Thus the nation found that, after all their struggles, they had only exchanged one master for another, and in point of real freedom, it was confessed by the partisans of revolution themselves, that this change was nothing for the better.

The administration of Cromwell was arbitrary, vigorous, and spirited; the nation was loaded with enormous taxes; but the national character was high and respectable. He finished the war with Holland, and compelled the Dutch to yield to the English the honour of the flag, besides obliging them to pay to the East India Company 85,000Z. as a compensation for their losses. The glory of the English arms at sea was nobly sustained by Blake-a zealous republican indeed, and consequently an enemy of all usurped power-but a man who loved his country, and knew that his duty called him to maintain its interest whatever might be the state of its government.

Yet amidst these successes abroad, the Protector found his situation at home extremely uneasy. His parliaments were refractory, and he was often obliged to have recourse to the violent method of excluding, by a guard at the door, such of the members as he knew to be disaffected to him. At length, by using every art to influence the elections,

and to fill the house with his sure friends, he got one parliament so perfectly to his mind, that a vote was proposed and passed for investing the Protector with the dignity of King, and a committee was appointed to confer with him on that subject, and overcome any scruples which he might have on that score. But Cromwell's scruples were not violent *; he had other objections than what pro

*It appears, from a very curious conversation, which took place four years before this vote of the parliament, between Cromwell and Whitelocke (reported by the latter in his Memorials), that Cromwell was most earnestly desirous of the title of king; and that, although he put that desire chiefly on the ground of uniting the discordant councils and controlling the factions of the parliamentary leaders, it was chiefly the motive of his own personal safety, and the security of his usurped power, that in reality influenced him to desire that title and dignity. The following is a short part of that most extraordinary conversation. Cromwell takes Whitelocke aside, and begins by complimenting him highly, both on his wisdom and abilities, and on his firm attachment and fidelity to himself. Then he pictures, in strong words, the instability of that power which their party had, with so much labour and expense of blood, acquired; that the army was divided into factions, and hostile to the parliament; and that the latter seemed to have no other aim than to engross for their own members all offices of honour or profit; while, being the supreme power, they were under no controul and liable to no account. "In short," adds Cromwell, "there is no hope of a good settlement, but, on the contrary, a great deal of fear that what the Lord hath done so graciously for them and us will be all again destroyed: we all forget God, and God will forget us and give us up to confusion; and these men will help it on if they be suffered to proceed in their ways: some course must be thought on to curb and restrain them, or we shall be ruined by them." "Whitelocke. We ourselves have acknowledged them the supreme power, and taken our commissions and authority from them; and how to restrain and curb them after this, it will be hard to find out a way for it,



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