Abbildungen der Seite



BOOK kind, they appointed a committee “ speedily to pre

pare an act of parliament for the filling up of their “ house; and 8 by which it should be declared to be

high treason, for any man to propose or contrive " the changing ofh the present government settled " and established.”

This bill being prepared by the committee, they resolved to pass it with all possible expedition. So Cromwell clearly discerned, that by this means they would never be persuaded to part with that authority and power, which was so profitable, and so pleasant to them : yet the army declared they were not satisfied with the determination, and continued their applications to the same purpose, or to others as unagreeable to the sense of the house; and did all they could to infuse the same spirit into all the parts of the kingdom, to make the parliament odious, as it was already very abundantly; and Cromwell was well pleased that the parliament should express as much prejudice against the army.

All things being thus prepared, Cromwell thought this a good season to expose these enemies of peace to the indignation of the nation; which, he knew i, was generally weary of the war, and hoped, if that were at an end, that they should be eased of the greatest part of their contributions, and other impositions: thereupon, having adjusted all things with

the chief officers of the army, who were at his devoCromwell tion, in the month of April, that was in the year officers dis- 1653, he came into the house of parliament in a parliament. morning when it was sitting, attended with the of

and bis

solve the

& for the filling up of their contrive the dissolution of this house; and] Not in MS. parliament, or to change

h contrive the changing of] knew well knew


ficers, who were likewise members of the house, and BOOK told them, “ that he came thither to put an end to

1653, “their power and authority; which they had ma

naged so ill, that the nation could be no otherwise “ preserved than by their dissolution; which he ad“ vised them, without farther debate, quietly to sub“ mit unto.”

Thereupon another officer, with some files of musketeers, entered into the house, and stayed there till all the members walked out; Cromwell reproaching many of the members by name, as they went out of the house, with their vices and corruptions; and amongst the rest, sir Harry Vane with his breach of faith and corruption; and having given the mace to an officer to be safely kept, he caused the doors to be locked up; and so dissolved that assembly, which had sat almost thirteen years, and under whose name he had wrought so much mischief, and reduced three kingdoms to his own entire obedience and subjection, without any example or precedent in the Christian world that could raise his ambition to such a presumptuous undertaking, and without any rational dependence upon the friendship of one man, who had any other interest to advance his designs, but what he had given him by preferring him in the war.

When he had thus prosperously passed this Rubicon, he lost no time in publishing a declaration of the grounds and reasons of his proceeding, for the satisfaction of the people: in which he put them in mind, “ how miraculously God had appeared for “ them in reducing Ireland and Scotland to so great

a degree of peace, and England to a perfect quiet; whereby the parliament had opportunity to give



“ the people the harvest of all their labour, blood,
“ and treasure, and to settle a due liberty in refe-
“rence to civil and spiritual things, whereunto they
“ were obliged by their duty, and ihose great k and
“ wonderful things God had wrought for them. But
“ that they had made so little progress towards this

good end, that it was matter of much grief to the
good people of the land, who had thereupon ap-
plied themselves to the army, expecting redress

by their means; who, being very unwilling to
“ meddle with the civil authority, thought fit that
“ some officers, who were members of the parlia-
“ment, should move and desire the parliament to
“ proceed vigorously in reforming what was amiss
“ in the commonwealth, and in settling it upon a
“ foundation of justice and righteousness: that they
“ found this, and some other endeavours, they had
“ used, produced no good effect, but rather an
“ averseness to the things themselves, with much
“ bitterness and aversion to the people of God, and
“ his Spirit acting in them : insomuch as the godly

party in the army was now become of no other
use, than to countenance the ends of a corrupt

party, that desired to perpetuate themselves in
“ the supreme government of the nation : that, for
“ the obviating those evils, the officers of the army
“ had obtained several meetings with some mem-
“bers of the parliament, to consider what remedies

might properly be applied ; but that it appeared

very evident unto them, that the parliament, by “ want of attendance of many of their members, “ and want of integrity in others who did attend,


k their duty, and those great] those great their duty, engagements, and

“ would never answer those ends, which God, his BOOK

XIV. people, and the whole nation, expected from them; “ but that this cause, which God had so greatly

1653. “ blessed, must needs languish under their hands, “ and by degrees be lost, and the lives, liberties, and “ comforts of his people, be delivered into their ene“ mies' hands. All which being seriously and sadly “ considered by the honest people of the nation, as “ well as by the army, it seemed a duty incumbent

upon them, who had seen so much of the power " and presence of God, to consider of some effectual

means, whereby to establish righteousness and

peace in these nations : that, after much debate, “ it had been judged necessary, that the supreme

government should be, by the parliament, devolved “ for a time upon known persons, fearing God, and “ of approved integrity, as the most hopeful way to “ countenance all God's people, preserve the law, “ and administer justice impartially ; hoping there“ by, that people might forget monarchy, and un“ derstand their true interest in the election of suc“ cessive parliaments, and so the government might “ be settled upon a right basis, without hazard to “ this glorious cause, or necessity to keep up armies “ for the defence thereof; that being resolved, if “ possible, to decline all extraordinary courses, they “ had prevailed with about twenty members of the

parliament to give them a conference; with whom they debated the justice and necessity of that pro

position; but found them of so contrary an opi“ nion, that they insisted upon the continuance of “ the present parliament, as it was then constituted, “ as the only way to bring those good things to

pass which they seemed to desire: that they in


BOOK “ sisted upon this with so much vehemence, and

“ were so much transported with passion, that they 1653.

“ caused a bill to be prepared for the perpetuating “ this parliament, and investing the supreme power “ in themselves. And for the preventing the con“ summation of this act, and all the sad and evil

consequences, which, upon the grounds thereof, “ must have ensued, and whereby, at one blow, the “ interest of all honest men, and of this glorious “ cause, had been in danger to be laid in the dust, “ they had been necessitated (though with much repugnance) to put an end to the parliament.”

There needs not be any other description of the temper of the nation at that time, than the remembering that the dissolution of that body of men, who had reigned so long over the three nations, was generally very grateful and acceptable to the people, how unusual' soever the circumstances thereof had been; and that this declaration, which was not only subscribed by Cromwell and his council of officers, but was owned by the admirals at sea, and all the captains of ships, and by the commanders of all the land forces in England, Scotland, and Ireland, was looked upon as very reasonable; and the declaration, that issued thereupon, by which the people were required to live peaceably, and quietly to submit themselves to the government of the council of state, which should be nominated by the general, until such a time as a parliament, consisting of persons of approved fidelity and honesty, could meet, and take upon them the government of those " nations, found an equal submission and obedience. The method he pursued afterwards, for the comunusual] wonderful

those) these


« ZurückWeiter »