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parliament has been tender of ravelling into. But men cannot be hindered from'venting their opinions privately, and their fears which are various, and no less variously expressed; concerning which I determine nothing; but this I would say, 'tis apparent the forces being under several commanders, want of good correspondency amongst the chieftains has oftentimes hindered the public service*." After these speeches, Mr. Zouch Tate moved, that all members of either house should be precluded by ordinance from holding commands; and this having been seconded by the younger Vane and others, was, after a long debate, resolved by the house, when an ordinance in conformity with the vote was ordered to be brought in. On the 11th, the ordinance as prepared was read the first time; and a fast was voted on the same day for that house, to be held on the 18th, "to humble themselves for their parliamentary and particular sins and failings, whereby they might obtain God's blessing in a better measure upon their endeavours for the future." On the 12th, a petition was presented by many in London, encouraging the design. On Saturday the 14th, the ordinance was read a second time, and a committee of the whole house was appointed to consider it on the Wednesday following, (17th,)when some amendments were assented to, and a provision in favour of the lord-general, that the ordinance should not extend to him, was
• Surely there are fewer more eloquently condensed passages to be found in any language than this.
rejected by 100 to 93. Another proviso levelled at Cromwell's friends, that none should enjoy military command who would not subscribe an obligation to submit to any church government which should be agreed upon by both houses, upon the advice of the assembly of divines, was, with the ordinance itself, allowed to lie over till the next Thursday, or the day after the fast. The fast was assented to by the lords likewise; and certain preachers were ordered by both houses to discharge the spiritual functions, while all strangers, even the attendants of members, were ordered to be excluded. This resolution by both houses was alleged to be for the purpose of affording the preachers an opportunity to expatiate upon the new intended model, or, as this was styled, the self-denying ordinance; but as it had previously been fully debated and determined upon in the lower house, the object could not be to move the commons, unless as to the proviso, regarding the subscription to submit to any church government agreed to by both houses, &c. and therefore we must conclude, that, if such a design were contemplated at all, it must have been directed towards the lords, where it was expected the ordinance would encounter the greatest opposition. Next day the proviso about church government was rejected by the commons, and the ordinance passed*.
* Now the reader will be able to appreciate the correctness of Clarendon's statement, which is followed by Hume, and the nature ofthe latter's history of England. The story is, that the Independents knew not tod^M ^n t^ie ^eDate about the self-denying ordinance gument on under the grand committee, Whitelocke spoke at nyin^orfl- considerable length against the measure; argu
how to propose the alterations, till they resorted to the method which had hitherto proved so successful—that of preparing and repairing things in the church, that they might afterwards grow to maturity in parliament. That they therefore proposed that they would have a solemn fast day, in which they would seek God, (which was the new phrase they brought from Scotland with their covenant,) and desire his assistance to lead them out of the perplexities they were in; and they took care to nominate fit preachers: that when the fast day came, (which was observed for eight or ten hours together in the churches,) the preachers prayed that "parliament might be inspired with those thoughts as might contribute to their honour, reputation," &c.: that they then expatiated upon public affairs, alleging the parliament lay under many reproaches for making places, &c. to themselves, and that the people despaired of ever seeing an end of the present calamities, &c. They again fell to their prayers, "that God would take his own work into his hand; and if the instruments he had already employed were not worthy to bring so glorious a design to a conclusion, that he would inspire others more fit," &c. When, continues he, the two houses met the next day after these devout animadversions, there was another spirit appeared in the looks of many of them. Sir Henry Vane told them, " If ever God had appeared to them, it was in the exercise of yesterday; and that it appeared it proceeded from God, because (as he was credibly informed by many who had been auditors in the congregations) the same lamentations and discourses had been made in other churches, as the godly preachers had made before them, which could therefore proceed only from the immediate inspiration of Godand so forth. He also gives a speech for Cromwell, Clar. vol. iv. p. 564, et seq. Now we have given our dates from the Journals, which prove beyond all doubt that the new model was resolved upon before a fast was even voted, and that the ordinance itself had undergone the fullest discussion before the fast was held. But this is not all. The fast was only kept by the two houses; an ordinance for the general or national fast having been past next day, to be held on Christmas day, "although it be the day on which the feast of the nativity of our Saviour was wont to be solemnized;" (Journ.) so that there could not be that concurrence in the language of the different churches, pretended to be alluded to by Vane. It is evident, therefore, as ing that members of parliament could, as having the deepest stake in the community, be most surely depended on for its defence: That military commanders selected from their own body, were, as most directly subject to the controul of either house, most likely to be obedient: That their rank necessarily obtained for them a submission from the subordinate officers, that could not be expected from such as more nearly approximated to the station of those whom they commanded; and that, as by this new arrangement the eminent individuals who had already so signally served their country must lay down their commissions, it would
well as from the speeches which we have given from Rushworth, and the facts stated by that collector and Whitelocke, &c . that this account was a most impudent fabrication; and I have no doubt that Clarendon, who takes such credit to himself for his dexterity in forging speeches, was himself the author of the whole. But one feels more inclined to excuse him, who, having embarked all his hopes and fortunes in the struggle, and been engaged in all the transactions, could not fail to be imbued with the passions incident to them, for such a statement, than for the adoption of it by Mr. Hume, who sat down coolly with the avowed object of writing the truth. The apology for him is that he followed Clarendon; but it cannot be admitted— because he himself refers to Rushworth, as if he had been warranted by his authority; and it is utterly impossible that, as Rushworth gives a most particular account of the whole business, with dates and speeches, and mentions that the fast was held to implore a blessing upon the new model, which had already drawn a congratulatory address from many in London, Hume could be deceived. His misrepresentation then, I must speak out, was as wilful as it is gross. If truth be necessary to history, I cannot conceive that Mr. Hume's work will come under the denomination. He elsewhere, by way of ridicule, quotes the very words of the ordinance, for the national fast on Christmas day. As for Clarendon, he tells us he often wished to make a collection of all the speeches and letters he had forged. Life, vol. i. p. 137. The principle on which Clarendon wrote, too, was inconsistent with a regard to truth. "I first undertook," says he, "this not only offend them, but devolve the public safety upon men without experience. He concluded with referring to the conduct of the Greeks and Romans in support of his argument, alleging that they always bestowed the great civil and military offices upon their senators, as on persons the best qualified, both from the deep interest they had in the state, and from their opportunities of acquiring in the senate that intimate knowledge of the counsels of their country, which was necessary for promoting them *.
As this has been presented by Mr. Hume as an irrefragable argument, and the conduct of the ancient republics referred to by him with particular satisfaction, it may be proper to give the matter a little examination. Without an intimate acquaintance with the institutions of any state, it is always dangerous to draw an inference from any particular branch of its policy, because what may be wise and beneficial under one system, may be absolutely pernicious under another. But, in this instance, neither Whitelocke nor Hume seems to have understood the nature of the political machine in those ancient republics; and in regard to Greece they had remarkably mistaken the fact, since neither in Athens nor Sparta, the two most considerable Grecian states, were senators eligible to other
difficult work with his majesty's approbation, and by his encouragement, and for his vindication." Hist. vol. iv. p. 627.
Rush. vol. vi. p. 3, et seq. Whitelocke, p. 118,119. This author tells us, that "some said" the preachers wished the church to be attended only by members, that they might speak the more freely to them, especially upon the point of the self-denying ordinance.
• Whitelocke, p. 119,180.