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their meetings in several places about London without any disturbance from him. In conclusion, even the papists courted him: and he, with great dissimulation, carried things with all sorts of people farther than was thought possible, considering the difficulties he met with in all his parliaments: but it was generally believed, that his life and all his arts were exhausted at once, and that if he had lived much longer, he could not have held things together.
The debates came on very high for setting up a king. All the lawyers, chiefly Glyn, Maynard, Fountain, and St. Johns, were vehemently for this. They said, no new government could be settled legally but by a king, who should pass bills for such a form as should be agreed on. Till then, all they did was like building upon sand: still men were in danger of a revolution: and in that case, all that had been done would be void of itself, as contrary to a law yet in being, and not repealed. Till that was done, every man that had been concerned in the war, and in the blood that was shed, chiefly the king's, was still obnoxious: and no warrants could be pleaded, but what were founded on, or approved of by, a law passed by king, lords, and commons. They might agree to trust this king as much as they pleased, and to make his power determine as soon as they pleased, so that he should be a felo de se, and consent to an act, if need were, of extinguishing both name and thing for ever. And as no man's person was safe till that was done, so they said all the 69 grants and sales that had been made were null and void: all men that had gathered or disposed of the public money were for ever accountable. In short,
this point was made out beyond the possibility of answering it, except upon enthusiastic principles. But by that sort of men all this was called a mistrusting of God, and a trusting to the arm of flesh: they had gone out, as they said, in the simplicity of their hearts to fight the Lord's battles, to whom they had made the appeal: he had heard them, and appeared for them, and now they could trust him no longer: they had pulled down monarchy with the monarch, and would they now build that up which they had destroyed: they had solemnly vowed to God to be true to the commonwealth, without a king or kingship: and under that vow, as under a banner, they had fought and prevailed: but now they must be secure, and in order to that go back to Egypt: they thought, it was rather a happiness that they were still under a legal danger: this might be a mean to make them more cautious and diligent: if kings were invaders of God's right, and usurpers upon men's liberties, why must they have recourse to such a wicked engine? Upon these grounds they stood out: and they looked on all that was offered about the limiting this king in his power, as the gilding the pill: the assertors of those laws, that made it necessary to have a king, would no sooner have one, than they would bring forth out of the same storehouse all that related to the power and prerogative of this king: therefore they would not hearken to any thing that was offered on that head, but rejected it with scorn. Many of them began openly to say, if we must have a king, in consequence of so much law as was alleged, why should we not rather have that king to whom the law certainly pointed than any other? The earl of Orrery told me, that, coming one day to Cromwell, during those heats, and telling him he had been in the city all that day, Cromwell asked him what news he had heard there: the other answered, that he was told he was in treaty with the king, who was to be restored, and to marry his daughter. Cromwell expressing no indignation at this, lord Orrery said, in the state to which things were brought, he saw not a better expedient: they might bring him in on what terms they pleased: and Cromwell might retain the same authority he then had, with less trouble. Cromwell answered, the king can never forgive his father's blood. Orrery said, he was one of many that were concerned in that, but he would be alone in the merit of restoring him. Cromwell replied, he is so damnably debauched, he would undo us all; and so turned to another discourse without any emotion, which made Orrery conclude he had often 70 thought of that expedient.
Before the day in which he refused the offer of the kingship that was made to him by the parliament, he had kept himself on such a reserve, that no man knew what answer he would give. It was thought more likely he would accept of it: but that which determined him to the contrary was, that, when he went down in the morning to walk in St. James's park, Fleetwood and Desborough were waiting for him: the one had married his daughter, and the other his sister. With these he entered into much discourse on the subject, and argued for it: he said, it was a tempting of God to expose so many worthy men to death and poverty, when there was a certain way to secure them. The others insisted still on the oaths they had taken. He said, these oaths were against the power and tyranny of kings, but not against the four letters that made the word king. In conclusion, they, believing from his discourse that he intended to accept of it, told him, they saw great confusions would follow on it: and as they could not serve him to set up the idol they had put down, and had sworn to keep down, so they would not engage in any thing against him, but would retire and look on. So they offered him their commissions, since they were resolved not to serve a king: he desired they would stay till they heard his answer. It was believed, that he, seeing two persons so near him ready to abandon him, concluded that many others would follow their example; and therefore thought it was too bold a venture. So he refused it, but accepted of the continuance of his protectorship. Yet, if he had lived out the next winter, as the debates were to have been brought on again, so it was generally thought he would have accepted of the offer. And it is yet a question what the effect of that would have been. Some have thought it would have brought on a general settlement, since the law and the ancient government were again to take place: others have fancied just the contrary, that it would have engaged (enraged) the army, so that they would either have deserted the service, or have revolted from him, and perhaps have killed him in the first fray of the tumult k. I will not determine which of these would have most probably happened. In these debates some of the cavalier party, or rather their children,
k It has been said, that Pride told him, if he took the crown, he would (if nobody else would)shoot him through the head, the first opportunity he had for it. O.
came to bear some share. They were then all zealous commonwealth's men, according to the directions sent them from those about the king. Their business was to oppose Cromwell on all his demands, and so to weaken him at home, and expose him abroad. When some of the other party took notice of this great change, from being the abettors of pre- 71 rogative to become the patrons of liberty, they pretended their education in the court and their obligation to it had engaged them that way; but now since that was out of doors, they had the common principles of human nature and the love of liberty in them. By this mean, as the old republicans assisted and protected them, so [they secured themselves,] at the same time they strengthened the faction against Cromwell. But these very men at the restoration shook off this disguise, and reverted to their old principles for a high prerogative and absolute power. They said they were for liberty, when it was a mean to distress one who they thought had no right to govern; but when the government returned to its old channel, they were still as firm to all prerogative notions, and as great enemies to liberty, as ever'.
11 suppose he means the li- and the revolution in 1 688,
berty of plundering, which the sufficiently prove that the peo
other party ever were, and al- pie he would asperse, and their
ways will be, much inclined to, children after them, were no
as acting altogether upon a friends to arbitrary government,
principle of self-interest; which but enemies to what the bishop
is the true reason why they and his friends have ever had
constantly set themselves in most at heart, and whjch they
opposition to the established have never failed to put in
religion, it being a thing apt to practice, whenever they have
interfere with their pickpocket had an opportunity; which li
dcsigns. But the establishment centiousness they are pleased
upon the restoration in 1660, to call liberty. D.