Page images

is too much predominant, everything being too high or too low; where virtue, honesty, piety and justice are omitted :—I thought I had been doing that which was my duty, and thought it would have satisfied you! But if everything must be too high or too low, you are not to be satisfied. [There is an innocency and childlike goodness in these poor sentences, which speaks to us in spite of rhetoric.]

Again, I would not have accepted of the Government, unless I knew there would be a just accord between the Governor and Governed; unless they would take an Oath to make good what the Parliament’s Petition and Advice advised me unto! Upon that I took an Oath [On the Twenty-sixth of June last], and they [On the Twentieth 1y“ January last, at their long Table in the Anteroom] took another Oath upon their part answerable to mine :--and did not every one know upon what condition he swore? God knows, I took it upon the conditions expressed in the ‘Act of’ Government! And I did think we had been upon a foundation, and upon a bottom; and thereupon I thought myself bound to take it, and to be “ advised by the TWO Houses of Parliament.” And we standing unsettled till we arrived at that, the consequences would necessarily have been confusion, if that had not been settled. Yet there were not constituted “Hereditary Lords,” nor “Hereditary Kings ;” ‘no,’ the Power consisteth in the Two Houses and myself.-I do not say, that was the meaning of your Oath to you. That were to go against my own principles, to enter upon another man’s conscience. God will judge between you and me! If there had been in you any intention of Settlement, you would have settled upon this basis, and have ofi'ered your judgment and opinion ‘ as to minor improvements.’

God is my witness ; I speak it; it is evident to all the World and people living, That a new business hath been seeking in the Army against this actual Settlement made by your consent. I do not speak to these Gentlemen [‘ Pointing to his right hand,’ says the Report], or Lords, or whatsoever you will call them; I speak not this to them, but to you.— You advised me to come into this place, to be in a capacity* by your Advice. Yet instead of owning a thing, some must have I know not what :—and you have not only disjointed yourselves but the whole Na.tion, which is in likelihood of running into more confusion in these fifteen or sixteen days that you have sat, than it hath been from the rising of the last session to this day. Through the intention of devising a. Commonwealth again! That some people might be the men that might rule all! [Intemperate Haselrig, peppery Scott, and such like: very inadeljuate they to “rule ;” inadequate to keep their own heads on

* ‘of authority ’ is delicately understood, but not expressed '


their shoulders, if they were not RULED, they !] And they are endeavoring to engage the Army to carry that thing—And hath that man been “true to this Nation,” whosoever he be, especially that hath taken an Oath, thus to prevaricate’! These designs have been made among the Army, to break and divide us. I speak this in the presence of some of the Army; That these things have not been according to God, nor according to truth, pretend what you will. [No, your Highness ; they have 7201.] These things tend to nothing else but the playing of the King of Scots’s game (if I may so call him) ; and I think myself bound before God to do what I can to prevent it. [“ I, for my share :” Yea !]

That which I told you in the BanquefingHouse ‘ten days ago ’ was true, That there are preparations of force to invade us. God is my witness, it hath been confirmed to me since, not a day ago, That the King of Scots hath an Army at the water’s side, ready to be shipped for England. I- have it from those who have been eyewitnesses of it. And while it is doing, there are endeavors from some who are not far from this place, to stir up the people of this Town into a tumulting—[ City Petitions are mounting very high—as perhaps Sir Arthur and others know !]—what if I said, Into a rebellion ! And I hope I shall make it appear to be no better, if God assist me. [Noble scam and indignation is gradually getting the better of every other feeling in his Highness and us.]

It hath been not only your endeavor to pervert the Army while you have been sitting, and to draw them to state the question about a ,“ Commonwealth ;” but some of you have been listing of persons, by commission of Charles Stuart, to join with any Insurrection that may be made. [What a cold qualm in some conscious heart that listens to this ! Let him tremble, every joint of him ;—--or not visibly tremble; but cower home to his place, and repent ,' and remember in whose hand his beggar-1y, existence in this world lies !] And what is like to come upon this, the Enemy being ready to invade us, but even present blood and confusion? -—[The next and final Sentence is partly on fire]—And if this be so, I do assign ‘it’ to this cause: Your not assenting to what you did invite me to by your Petition and Advice, as that which might prove the Settlement of the Nation. And if this be the end of your sitting, and this be your carriage—[Sentence now all beautifully blazing], I think it high time that an end be put to your sitting. And I no DISSOLVE This P13LIAMENT! And let God be judge between you and me !*

Figure the looks of Haselrig, Scott and Company! ‘The Mace was clapt under a cloak; the Speaker withdrew, and exit

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Parliamentum,’ the Talking-Apparatus vanishes.* “ God be judge between you and me l”—“ Amen I” answered they,'|' thought they, indignantly; and sank into eternal silence.

It was high time; for in truth the Hydra, on every side, is stirring its thousand heads. “ Believe me,” says Samuel Hartlib, Milton’s friend, writing to an Official acquaintance next week, “ believe me, it was of such necessity, that if their Session had continued but two or three days longer, all had been in blood both in City and Country, upon Charles Stuart’s account.”1

His Highness, before this Sunday’s sun sets, has begun to lodge the Anarchic Ringleaders, Royalist, Fifth-Monarchist, in the Tower; his Highness is bent once more with all his faculty, the Talking-Apparatus being gone, to front this Hydra, and trample it down once again. On Saturday he summons his Officers, his Acting-Apparatus, to Whitehall round him; explains to them ‘in a speech two hours long’ what kind of Hydra it is; asks, Shall it conquer us, involve us in blood and confusion '! “ They answer from their hearts, No, it shall not! “ We will stand and fall with your Highness, we will live and die with you l”§—It is the last duel this Oliver has with any Hydra. fomented into life by a Talking-Apparatus; and he again conquers it, invincibly compresses it, as he has heretofore done.

One day, in the early days of March next, his Highness said to Lord Broghil: An old friend of yours is in Town, the Duke of Ormond, now lodged- in Drury Lane, at the Papist Surgeon’s

' there: you had better tell him to be gone ill—Whereat his Lordship stared; found it a fact, however; and his Grace of Ormond did go with exemplary speed, and got again to Bruges and the Sacred Majesty, with report That Cromwell had many enemies, but that the rise of the Royalists was moonshine. And on the


' Burton, ii., 464.

1* Tradition in various modern books (Parliamentary History, xxi., 203; Note to Burton, ii., 470); not supported, that I can find, by any contemporary witness. '

1 Hartlib in London (11 Feb., 1657-8, to Moreland at Geneva; printed in Parliamentary History, xxi., 205).

§ Hartlib’s Letter, uln' supra.

u Godwin, iv., 508; Budgel's Lives of the Boylrs, p. 49; M.


12th of the 'month his Highness had the Mayor and Common Council with him in a body at Whitehall; ‘and ‘in a Speech at large’ explained to them that his Grace of Ormond was gone only ‘ on Tuesday last ;’ that there were Spanish Invasions, Royalist Insurrections and Frantic-Anabaptist Insurrections rapidly ripening ;—-that it would well beseem the City of London to have its Militia in good order. To which the Mayor and Common Council, ‘ being very sensible thereof,“ made zealous response by speech and by act. In a word, the Talking-Apparatus being gone, and an Oliver Protector now at the head of the ActingApparatus, no Insurrection, in the eyes of reasonable persons, had any chance. The leading Royalists shrank close into their privacies again,— considerable numbers of them had to shrink into durance in the Tower. Among which latter class, his Highness, justly incensed, and ‘considering,’ as Thurloe says, ‘that it was not fit there should be a Plot of this kind every winter,’ had determined that a High Court of Justice should take cognisance of some. High Court of Justice is accordingly nominated-f as the Act of Parliament prescribes: among the parties marked for trial by it are Sir Henry Slingsby, long since prisoner for Penruddock’s business, and the Rev. Dr. Hewit, a man of much forwardness in Royalism. Sir Henry, prisoner in Hull and acquainted with the Chief Officers there, has been treating with them for betrayal of the place to his ‘ Majesty; has even, to that end, given one of them a Majesty’s Commission ; for‘whose Spanish Invasion such a Haven and F ortress would have been extremely convenient. Reverend Dr. Hewit, preaching sufi‘erance, according to the old ritual, ‘in St. Gregory’s Church, near Paul’s,’ to a select disaffected audience, has farther seen good to distinguish himself very much by secular zeal in this business of the Royal Insurrection and Spanish Charles-Stuart Invasion ;—which has now come to nothing, and left poor Dr. Hewit in a most questionable position. Of these two, and of others, a High Court of Justice shall take cognisance.

The Insurrection having no chance in the eyes of reasonable

’ Newspapers (in Cromwelliana, p. 1'11). 1' 2’1 April, 1658. Act of Parliament, with List of the Names, is in Scouell, ii., 372-5 : see also Commons Journals, vii., 427 (Sept., 1656).


Royalists, and they in consequence refusing to lead it, the large body of unreasonable Royalists, now in London City or gathering thither, decide, with Indignation, That they will try it on their own score, and lead it themselves. Hands to work, then, ye unreal} sonable Royalists ; pipe, All hands ! Saturday, the 15th of May, that is the night appointed: To rise that Saturday Night; beat drums for ‘ Royalist Apprentices,’ ‘ fire houses at the Tower,’ slay this man, slay that, and bring matters to a good issue. Alas, on the very edge of the appointed hour, as usual, we are all seized ; the ringleaders of us are all seized, ‘ At the Mermaid in Cheapside,’ for Thurloe and his Highness have long known what we were upon ! Barkstead Governor of the Tower ‘ marches into the City with five drakes,’ at the rattle of which every Royalist Apprentice, and party implicated, shakes in his shoes :—and this also has gone to vapor, leaving only for result certain new individuals of the Civic class to give account of it to the High Court of Justice.

Tuesday, 25th May, 1658, the High Court of Justice sat ; a formidable Sanhedrim of above a Hundred-and-thirty heads; consisting of ‘ all the Judges,’ chief Law Officials, and others named in the Writ according to Act of Parliament ;—-sat ‘in Westminster Hall, at nine in the morning, for the Trial of Sir Henry Slingsby Knight, John Hewit Doctor of Divinity,’ and three others whom we may forget.* Sat day after day till all were judged. Poor Sir Henry, on the first day, was condemned; he pleaded what he could, poor gentleman, a very constant Royalist all along : but the Hull business was too palpable ; he was condemned to die. Reverend Dr. Hewit, whose proceedings also had become very palpable, refused to plead at all ; refused even ‘to take off his hat,’ says Carrion Heath, ‘till the Officer was coming to do it for him ;’ ‘ had a Paper of Demurrers prepared by the learned Mr. Prynne,’ who is now again doing business this way ;—‘conducted himself not very wisely,’ says Bulstrode. He likewise received sentence of death. The others, by narrow missing

escaped; by good luck, or the Protector’s mercy, suffered nothing. >

’ Newspapers (in Cromwelliana, p. 172).

« PreviousContinue »