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For my esteemed Friend, Mr. Cotton, Pastor of the
London,' 20 October, 1651.
I received yours a few days since. It was welcome to me because signed by you, whom I love and honour in the Lord: but more 'so' to see some of the same grounds of our Actings stirring in you that are in us, to quiet us to our work, and support us therein. Which hath had the greatest difficulty in our engagement in Scotland; by reason we have had to do with some who were, I verily think, Godly, but, through weakness and the subtlety of Satan, “were involved in Interests against the Lord and His People.
With what tenderness we have proceeded with such, and that in sincerity, our Papers (which I suppose you have seen) will in part manifest; and I give you some comfortable assurance of the same. The Lord hath marvellously appeared even against them. And now . again when all the power was devolved into the Scottish King and the Malignant Party, — they invading England, the Lord rained upon them such snares as the Enclosed2 will shew. Only, the Narrative in short is this, That of their whole Army, when the Narrative was framed, not five men were returned.
Surely, Sir, the Lord is greatly to be feared and to i From Preston downward.
? Doubtless the Official Narrative of Worcester Battle ; published about a week ago, as Preamble to the Act appointing a Day of Thanksgiving; 26th September, 1651; reprinted in Parliamentary History, xx, 59-65.
be praised! We need your prayers in this as much as ever. How shall we behave ourselves after such mercies? What is the Lord a-doing? What Prophecies are now fulfilling ? Who is a God like ours? To know His will, to do His will are both of Him.
I took this liberty from business, to salute you thus in a word. Truly I am ready to serve you and the rest of our Brethren and the Churches with you. I am a poor weak creature, and not worthy the name of a worm; yet accepted to serve the Lord and His People. Indeed, my dear Friend, between you and me, you know not me,- my weaknesses, my inordinate passions, my unskilfulness, and every -way unfitness to my work. Yet, yet the Lord, who will have mercy on whom He will, does as you see! Pray for me. Salute all Christian friends though unknown.
About this time, for there is no date to it but an evidently vague and erroneous one, was held the famous Conference of Grandees, called by request of Cromwell; of which Bulstrode has given record. Conference held one day' at Speaker Lenthall's house in Chancery Lane, to decide among the leading Grandees of the Parliament and Army, How this Nation is to be settled, - the Long Parliament having now resolved on actually dismissing itself by and by. The question is really complex : one would gladly know what the leading Grandees
See Psalm Hundred-and-tenth. • Harris, p. 518 ; Birch's Original, --copied in Additional Ayscough Mss. no. 4156, $ 70.
did think of it; even what they found good to say upon it! Unhappily our learned Bulstrode’s report of this Conference is very dim, very languid: nay Bulstrode, as we have found, elsewhere, has a kind of dramaturgic turn in him, indeed an occasional poetic friskiness; most unexpected, as if the hip. popotamus should shew a tendency to dance ; — which painfully deducts from one's confidence in Bulstrode's entire accuracy on such occasions! Here and there the multitudinous Paper Masses of learned Bulstrode do seem to smack a little of the date when he redacted them, - posterior to the Everblessed Restoration, not prior to it. We shall, nevertheless, excerpt this dramaturgic Report of Conference: the reader will be willing to examine, with his own eyes, even as in a glass darkly, any feature of that time; and he can remember always that a learned Bulstrode's fat terrene mind, imaging a heroic Cromwell and his affairs, is a very dark glass indeed!
The Speakers in this Conference, — Desborow, Oliver's Brother-in-law; Whalley, Oliver's Cousin; fanatical Harrison, tough St. John, my learned Lord Keeper or Commissioner Whitlocke himself,—are mostly known to us. Learned Widdrington, the mellifluous orator, once Lord Commissioner too, and like to be again, though at present 'excused from it owing to scruples,' will by and by become better known to us. A mellifluous, unhealthy, seemingly somewhat scrupulous and timorous man. He is of the race of that Widdrington whom we still lament in doleful dumps, — but does not fight upon the stumps like him. There were many other. Gentlemen' who merely listened.
• Upon the defeat at Worcester,' says Bulstrode vaguely,? • Cromwell desired a Meeting with divers Members of Parlia
I Wood, in voce.
? Whitlocke, p. 491; the date, 10 December, 1651, is that of the Paper merely, and as applied to the Conference itself cannot be correct.
ment, and some chief Officers of the Army, at the Speaker's • house. And a great many being there, he proposed to them, • That now the old King being dead, and his son being de
feated, he held it necessary to come to a Settlement of the • Nation. And in order thereunto, had requested this meet
ing; that they together might consider and advise, What was 'fit to be done, and to be presented to the Parliament.
SPEAKER. My Lord, this Company were very ready to « attend your Excellence, and the business you are pleased to * propound to us is very necessary to be considered. God • hath given marvellous success to our Forces under your com• mand; and if we do not improve these mercies to some • Settlement, such as may be to God's honour, and the good of this Commonwealth, we shall be very much blameworthy.
HARRISON. I think that which my Lord General hath propounded, is, To advise as to a Settlement both of our • Civil and Spiritual Liberties; and so, that the mercies which
the Lord hath given-in to us may not be cast away. How “this may be done is the great question.
WHITLOCKE. It is a great question indeed, and not suddenly to be resolved! Yet it were pity that a meeting of • so many able and worthy persons as I see here, should be fruitless. - I should humbly offer, in the first place, Whether it be not requisite to be understood in what way this Settle'ment is desired? Whether of an absolute Republic, or with any mixture of Monarchy.
CROMWELL. My Lord Commissioner Whitlocke hath put us upon the right point: and indeed it is my meaning, that we should consider, Whether a Republic, or a mixed • Monarchical Government will be best to be settled? And if • anything Monarchical, then, In whom that power shall be placed ?
'SIR THOMAS WIDDRINGTON. I think a mixed Monar• chical Government will be most suitable to the Laws and • People of this Nation. And if any Monarchical, I suppose 'we shall hold it most just to place that power in one of the • Sons of the late King. .
COLONEL FLEETWOOD. I think that the question, • Whether an absolute Republic, or a mixed Monarchy, be “ best to be settled in this Nation, will not be very easy to be • determined !
· LORD CHIEF-JUSTICE ST. John. It will be found, that • the Government of this Nation, without something of Mon• archical power, will be very difficult to be so settled as not
to shake the foundation of our Laws, and the Liberties of the • People.
SPEAKER. It will breed a strange confusion to settle a . Government of this Nation without something of Monarchy.
• COLONEL DESBOROW. I beseech you, my Lord, why may not this, as well as other Nations, be governed in the way of a Republic?
WHITLOCKE. The Laws of England are so interwoven with the power and practice of Monarchy, that to settle a • Government without something of Monarchy in it, would
make so great an alteration in the Proceedings of our Law, • that you will scarce have time to rectify it, nor can we well • foresee the inconveniences which will arise thereby.
COLONEL WHALLEY. I do not well understand mat• ters of Law: but it seems to me the best way, Not to have • anything of Monarchical power in the Settlement of our • Government. And if we should resolve upon any, whom • have we to pitch upon ? The King's Eldest Son hath been * in arms against us, and his Second Son2 likewise is our • enemy.
i Between this and November 1654. : James; who has fled to the Continent some time ago, ' in women's