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From the Death of ICing CHARLEs I. to the Coronation of King Charles II. in Scotland.
~r UPON the death of the late king, the legal constitution was dissolved, and all that followed till the restoration of King Charles II. was no better than an usurpation under different shapes; the house of commons, if it may deserve that name, after it had been purged of a third part of its members,” relying upon the act of continuation, called themselves the supreme authority of the nation, and began with an act to disinherit the prince of Wales, forbidding all persons to proclaim him king of England, on pain of high treason. The house of lords was voted useless ; and the office of a king unnecessary, burthensome, and dangerous. The form of government for the future was declared to be a free commonwealth ; the executive power lodged in the hands of a council of state of forty persons,t with full powers to take care of the whole administration for one year; new keepers of the great seal were appointed, from whom the judges received their commissions, with the name, stile, and title of, custodes libertatis.slngliae authoritate parliamenti; i.e. keepers of the liberties of England by authority of parliament. The coin was stamped on one side with the arms of England between a laurel and a palm, with this inscription, the commonicealth of England ; and on the other, a cross and harp, with this motto, God with us.* The oaths of allegiance and supremacy were abolished, and a new one appointed, called the ENGAGEMENT, which was, to be true and faithful to the government established, without king or house of peers. Such as refused the oath were declared incapable of holding any place or office of trust in the commonwealth; but as many of the excluded members of the house of commons as would take it, resumed their places. Such was the foundation of this new constitution, which had neither the consent of the people of England, nor of their representatives in a free parliament. “And if ever there was an usurped government, mutilated, and founded only in violence, (says Rapins) it was that of this parliament.” But though it was unsupported by any other power than that of the army, it was carried on with the most consummate wisdom, resolution, and success, till the same military power that set it up, was permitted by divine providence with equal violence to pull it down. The new commonwealth in its infant state met with opposition from divers quarters: the levellers in the army gave out, that the people had only changed their yoke, not shaken it off; and that the RUMP’s little finger (for so the house of commons was now called) would be heavier than the king's loins. The agitators therefore petitioned the house to dissolve themselves, that new representatives
* According to Eachard, not above a fifth part of the commons were left. On account of the reduced and mutilated state of the house, they were called the Rump Parliament. This name was first given to them by Walker, the author of the History of Independency, by way of derision, in allusion to a fowl, all devoured but the rump; and they were compared to a man “who would never cease to whet and whet his knife, till there was no steel left to make it useful.” Dr. Grey, and Rapin. Ep.
Wol. IV. 4.
, t According to Whitlocke, who gives their names, the council consisted of thirty-eight persons only. Ed.
* On which a man of wit observed, “that God and the common“wealth were not both on a side.” Dr. Grey. Ed. $Wol. ii. p. 578, folio.
might be chosen. The commons, alarmed at these proceedings, ordered their general officers to cashier the petitioners, and break their swords over their heads, which was done accordingly. But when the forces passed under a general review at Ware, their friends in the army agreed to distinguish themselves by wearing something white in their hats;t which Cromwell having some intelligence of beforehand, commanded two regiments of horse who were not in the secret, to surround one of the regiments of foot; and having condemned four of the ringleaders in a council of war, he commanded two of them to be shot to death by their other two associates, in sight of the whole army; and to break the combination, eleven regiments were ordered for Ireland; upon which great numbers deserted, and marched into Oxfordshire; but general Fairfaac and Cromwell, having overtaken them at Abiugdon, held them in treaty till colonel Reynolds came up, and after some few skirmishes dispersed them. The Scots threatened the commonwealth with a formidable invasion, for upon the death of king Charles I. they proclaimed the prince of Wales king of Scotland, and sent commissioners to the Hague, to invite him into that kingdom, provided he would renounce popery and prelacy, and take the solemn league and covenant. To prevent the ef. fects of this treaty, and cultivate a good understanding with the Dutch, the parliament sent Dr. Dorislauss an eminent civilian, concerned in the late king's trial, agent to the States-General ; but the very first night after his arrival, May 3, 1649, he was murdered in his own chamber by twelve desperate cavaliers in disguise, who rushed in upon him while he was at supper, and with their drawn swords killed him on the spot.f. Both the parliament and states of Holland resented this base action| so highly, that the young king thought proper to remove into France; from whence he went to the Isle of Jersey, and towards the Tatter end of the year fixed at Breda; where the Scots commissioners concluded a treaty with him, upon the foot of which he ventured his royal person into that kingdom the ensuing year. But to strike terror into the cavaliers, the parliament erected another high court of justice, and sentenced to death three illustrious noblemen, for the part they had acted in the last civil war; duke Hamilton, the earl of Holiand, and lord Capel, who were all executed March 9, in the Palace-Yard at Westminster: duke Hamilton declared himself a presbyterian; and the earl of Holland was attended by two ministers of the same persuasion; but lord Capel was a thorough loyalist, and went off the stage with the courage and bravery of a Roman. But the chief scene of great exploits this year was in Ireland, which Cromwell, a bold and enterprising commander, had been appointed to reduce; for this purpose he was made lord-lieutenant for three years, and having taken leave of the parliament, sailed from Milford-haven about the middle of August, with an army of fourteen thousand men of resolute principles, who before the embarkation observed a day of fasting and prayer; in which, Mr. Whitlocke remarks, after three ministers had prayed, lieutenant-general Cromwell himself, and the colonels Gough and Harrison, expounded some parts of scripture excel
f Whitlocke, p. 387, 389.
5 This person was a native of Holland, and doctor of the civil law at Leyden. On his coming to England he was patronised by Fulk lord Brook, who appointed him to read lectures on history in Cambridge. But, as in the opening of his course he decried monarchy, he was silenced; he then resided sometime near to Maldon in Essex, where he had married an English woman. He was, afterwards, a judge advocate first, in the king’s army, and then in the army of the parliament, and at length one of the judges of the court of admiralty. The parliament ordered 250l. for his funeral; settled on his son 200l. per annum for his life, and gave 500l. a-piece to his daughters. Wood's Atheate Oxon, vol. ii. p. 228, and Whitlocke’s Memorials, p. 390. Ed.
t Whitlocke, p. 386.
| Dr. Grey cannot easily believe that the murder of Dorislaus was resented by the states of Holland : because they had bravely remonstrated by their two ambassadors against the king's death: he cannot, therefore, be easily induced to think, that, after this, they could resent the death of one of his execrable murderers. But Dr. Grey does not consider what was due in this case to the honor of their own police,and to the reputation and weight of their own laws. Mr. .Neal is justified in his representations by Whitlocke , who says, “that letters from the Hague reported, that the states caused earnest inquisition to be made after the murderers of Dr. Dorislaus; promised 1000 guilders to him who should bring any of them ; and published it death to any whe should harbor any one of them.” Memorials, p. 390. En.