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whether not on its head: such a scene as was never seen before in any House of Commons. History reports with a shudder that my Lord General, lifting the sacred Mace itself, said, “What shall we do with this bauble? Take it away!""
—and gave it to a musketeer. And now,-“Fetch him down!" says he to Harrison, flashing on the Speaker. Speaker Lenthall, more an ancient Roman than anything else, declares, He will not come till forced. “Sir,” said Harrison, “I will lend you a hand;" on which Speaker Lenthall came down, and gloomily vanished. They all vanished; flooding gloomily clamorously out, to their ulterior businesses, and respective places of abode : the Long Parliament is dissolved!“. It's you that
have forced me to this,'” exclaims my Lord General: “ I . have sought the Lord night and day, that He would rather slay me than put me upon the doing of this work."” “At
their going out, some say the Lord General said to young • Sir Harry Vane, calling him by his name, That he might • have prevented this ; but that he was a juggler, and had not 'common honesty.' “O Sir Harry Vane,' thou with thy subtle casuistries and abstruse hair-splittings, thou art other than a good one, I think! "The Lord deliver me from thee, Sir Harry Vane !"" All being gone out, the door of the · House was locked, and the Key with the Mace, as I heard, ' was carried away by Colonel Otley ;' -and it is all over, and the unspeakable Catastrophe has come, and remains.
Such was the destructive wrath of my Lord General Cromwell against the Nominal Rump Parliament of England. Wrath which innumerable mortals since have accounted extremely diabolic; which some now begin to account partly divine. Divine or diabolic, it is an indisputable fact ; left for the commentaries of men. The Rump Parliament has gone its ways ; - and truly, except it be in their own, I know not in what eyes are tears at their departure. They went very softly, softly as a Dream, say all witnesses. “We did not hear a dog bark at their going!” asserts my Lord General elsewhere.
It is said, my Lord General did not, on his entrance into the House, contemplate quite as a certainty this strong measure ; but it came upon him like an irresistible impulse, or inspiration, as he heard their Parliamentary eloquence proceed. “Perceiving the spirit of God so strong upon me, I would no longer consult flesh and blood.”! He has done it, at all events; and is responsible for the results it may have. A responsibility which he, as well as most of us, knows to be awful: but he fancies it was in answer to the English Nation, and to the Maker of the English Nation and of him; and he will do the best he may with it.
s for its date, utications it gives.
We have to add here an Official Letter, of small significance in itself, but curious for its date, the Saturday after this great Transaction, and for the other indications it gives. Except the Lord General, Commander-in-Chief of all the Forces raised and to be raised,' there is for the moment no Authority very clearly on foot in England ;- though Judges, and all manner of Authorities whatsoever do, after some little preliminary parleying, consent to go on as before.
The Draining of the Fens had been resumed under better auspices when the War ended ; and a new Company of Ad
1 Godwin, iii. 456 (who cites Echard ; not much of an authority in such matters).
2 Act for that object (Scobell, ii. 33), 29 May, 1649.
venturers, among whom Oliver himself is one, are vigorously proceeding with a New Bedford Level, — the same that yet continues. A ‘Petition of theirs, addressed “To the Lord General,' in these hasty hours, sets forth that upon the 20th of this instant April (exactly while Oliver was turning out the Parliament), “about a Hundred-and-fifty persons,' from the Towns of Swaff ham and Botsham, - which Towns had peti. tioned about certain rights of theirs, and got clear promise of redress in fit time, — did “tumultuously assemble,' to seek redress for themselves; did by force expel your Petitioners' workmen from their diking and working in the said Fens;' did tumble-in again the dikes by them made;' and in fine did peremptorily signify that if they or any other came again to dike in these Fens, it would be worse for them. The evil effects of which'-—are very apparent indeed. Whereupon this Official Letter, or Warrant; written doubtless in the press of much other business.
• To Mr. Parker, Agent for the Company of Adventurers
for Draining the Great Level of the Fens.'
: "Whitehall,' 23d April, 1653.
I hear some unruly persons have lately committed great outrages in Cambridgeshire, about Swaffham and Botsham, in throwing down the works making by the Adventurers, and menacing those they employ thereabout. Wherefore I desire you to send one of my Troops, with a Captain, who may by all means persuade the people to quiet, by letting them know, They must not riotously do anything, for that must not be suffered: but that if there be any wrong done by the Adventurers,-upon complaint, such course
shall be taken as appertains to justice, and right will be done. I rest,
Your loving friend,
The Declaration of the Lord General and his Council of Officers, which came out on the Friday following the grand Catastrophe, does not seem to be of Oliver's composition : it is a Narrative of calm pious tone, of considerable length; promises, as a second Declaration still more explicitly does, a Real Assembly of the Puritan Notables ;— and on the whole can be imagined by the reader ; nay we shall hear the entire substance of it, from Oliver's own mouth, before long. These Declarations and other details we omit. Conceive that all manner of Authorities, with or without some little preambling, agree to go on as heretofore ; that adherences arrive from LandGenerals and Sea-Generals by return of post; that the old Council of State having vanished with its Mother, a new Interim Council of State, with Oliver Cromwell Captain General at the head of it, answers equally well; in a word, that all people are looking eagerly forward to those same · Known Persons, Men fearing God, and of approved Integrity,' who are now to be got together from all quarters of England, to say what shall be done with this Commonwealth, — whom there is now no Fag-end of a corrupt Parliament to prevent just men from choosing with their best ability. Conceive all this ; and read the following
* From the Records of the Fen Office, in Sergeants’ Inn, London ; communicated, with other Papers relating thereto, by Samuel Wells,
1 22 April, Cromwelliana, p. 120. ? 30 April, ibid. p. 122.
FORASMUCH as, upon the dissolution of the late Parliament, it became necessary, that the peace, safety and good government of this Commonwealth should be provided for: And in order thereunto, divers Persons fearing God, and of approved Fidelity and Honesty, are, by myself with the advice of my Council of Officers, nominated; to whom the great charge and trust of so weighty affairs is to be committed: And having good assurance of your love to, and courage for, God and the interest of His Cause, and that of the good People of this Commonwealth:
I, Oliver Cromwell, Captain General and Commander-in-Chief of all the Armies and Forces raised and to be raised within this Commonwealth, do hereby summon and require You, — , being one of the Persons nominated, - Personally to be and appear at the Council-Chamber, commonly known or called by the name of the Council-Chamber at Whitehall, within the City of Westminster, upon the Fourth day of July next ensuing the date hereof; Then and there to take upon you the said Trust; unto which you are hereby called, and appointed to serve as a Member for the County of
And hereof you are not to fail. Given under my hand and seal the 6th day of June, 1653.
* Newspapers (in Cromwelliana, p. 125).