Page images

This Charity of ancient worthy Thomas Parsons, it appears, had. shortly before Oliver’s arrival in Ely, been somewhat remodelled by a new Royal Charter: To be henceforth more specially devoted to the Poor of Ely; to be governed by Twelve Feofl‘ees ; namely, by Three Dignitaries of the Cathedral, and by Nine Townsmen of the better sort, who are permanent, and fill up their own vacancies,*—of which latter class, Oliver Cromwell, Esquire, most likely’ elected in his Uncle’s stead, was straightway made one. The old Books, as we say, are specially defective in those years; ‘ have lost 40 or 50 leaves at the end of Book I., and 12 leaves at the beginning of Book II.,’—1eaves cut out for the sake of Oliver’s autograph, or as probably for other reasons. Detached Papers, however, still indicate that Oliver was one of the Feoffees, and‘a. moderately diligent one, almost from his first residence there. Here, under date some six or seven months after his arrival, is a small Entry in certain loose Papers, labelled ‘ The Accompts of Mr. John Hand and Mr. William Crauford, Collectors of the Reveuewes belonging to the Towne of Ely’ (that is, to Parsons’ Charity in Ely); and under this special head, ‘ The Disbursements qf Mr. John Hand, from the — of August, 1636, unto the—of—, 1641: '

‘ Given to divers Poore People at y° Work-house, in the

presence of Mr. Archdeacon of Ely,-r Mr. Oliver Crom- 1 £16 14 0.,
well, Mr. John Goodricke and others, 10th February,
1636, as appeareth . . . . . . . )

And under this other head, ‘ The Disbursements of Mr. Crauford,’ which unluckin are not dated, and run vaguely from 1636 to 1641 :

‘Item to Jones,by Mr. Cromwell’s conSent . . . £1 0 0.’

Twice or thrice elsewhere the name of Cromwell is mentioned, but not as indicating activity on his part, indicating merely Feof

" Report of the Commissioners concerning Charities (London, 1837): distinct account of it there, § Cambridgeshirc, p. 218-20.

i One ‘ Wigmore ;' the Dean was ‘ William Fuller;’ the Bishop, ‘Matthevv Wren,‘ very famous for his Popish Candles and other fripperies, who lay long in the Tower afterwards. These were the three Clerical Feofl'ees in Oliver’s time.

feeship and passivity;*—except in the following instance, where there is still extant a small Letter of his. ‘ Mr. Hand,’ as we have seen, is one of the ‘ Collectors,’ himself likewise a Feoffee or Governor, the Governors (it would appear) taking that office in turn.


‘ To Mr. Hand, at Ely : These.’ ‘ Ely,’ 13th September, 1638 MR. HAND,

I doubt not but I shall be as good as my Word for your Mon ey. I desire you to deliver Forty Shillings of the Town Money to this Bearer, to pay for the physic for Benson’s cure. If the Gentlemen will not allow it at the time of account, keep this Note, and I will pay it out of my own purse. So I rest,

Your loving friend,
Ouvsn Cnonwnnnd

Poor ‘ Benson’ is an old invalid. Among Mr. Hand’s Disburse' ments for the year 1636 is this,

[ocr errors]

Let him have forty shillings more, poor old man; and if the Gentlemen Won’t allow it, Oliver Cromwell will pay it out of

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors]

‘A Preamble, with the Protestation made by the whole House of Commons, the 3d of May, 1641, and assented unto by the Lords of the Upper House, the 4th of May.

‘We, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the Commons House, in

" Excerpts of Documents obligingly communicated by the Dean of Ely, —now pone: Mr. Cooper of Cambridge. ‘

1’ Memoirs of the Protector, by Oliver Cromwell, a Descendant, 8w. (London, 1822), i., 351; where also (p. 350) is found, in a very indistinct state, the above-given Entry from Hand’s Aecompts, misdnted ‘ 1641,’ instead of 10 February, 1686-7. The Letter to Hand ‘ has not been among the Fool'fem' Papers for several years;’ and is now (1846) none knows where


Parliament, finding, to the grief of our hearts, That the designs of the Priests and Jesuits, and other Adherents to the See of Rome, have been of late more boldly and frequently put in practice than formerly, to the undermining, and danger of ruin, of the True Reformed Religion m his Majesty’s Dominions established: And finding also that there hath been, and having cause to suspect there still are even during the sitting in Parliament, endeavors to subvert the Fundamental Laws of England and Ireland, and to introduce the exercise of an Arbitrary and Tyrannical Government, by most pernicious and wicked counsels, plots, and conspiracies: And that the long intermission, and unhappier breach, of Parliaments hath occasioned many illegal Taxations, whereupon the Subjects have been prosecuted and grieved: And that divers Innovations and Superstitions have been brought into the Church ; multitudes driven out of his Majesty’s dominions; jealousies raised and fomented between the King and People; a Popish Army levied in Ireland,* and Two Armies brought into the bowels of this Kingdom, to the hazard of his Majesty's royal Person, the consumption of the revenue of the Crown, and the treasure of this Realm: And lastly, finding great causes of jealousy that endeavorst have been and are used to bring the English Army into misunderstanding of this Parliament, thereby to incline that Army by force to bring to pass those wicked counsels,—

‘Have therefore thought good to join ourselves in a declaration of our united affections and resolutions ; and to make this ensuing


'I, A. B., do in the Presence of Almighty God promise, vow, and protest, To maintain and defend as far as lawfully I may, with my life, power, and estate, the True Reformed Protestant Religion, expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations, and according to the duty of my allegiance to his Majesty's royal Person, Honor, and Estate: as also the Power and Privilege of Parliament, the Lawful Rights and Liberties of the Subjects; and every Person that maketh this Protestatlon in whatsoever he shall do in the lawful pursuance of the same. And to my power, as far as lawfully I may, I will oppose, and by good ways and means endeavor to bring to condign punishment, all such as shall, by force, practice, counsel, plots, conspiracies or otherwise, do anything to the contrary in this present Protestation contained.

* By Stral’l‘ord lately, against the Scots and their enterprises.

{This is the important point, nearly shaded out of sight: ‘finding the great causes of jealousy, endeavors have,’ &c.,_is the tremulous, indistinct, and even ungrammatical phrase in the Original,


‘And further I shall, in all just and honorable ways, endeavor to pre serve the union and peace between the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland: and neither for hope, fear, nor other respect shall relinquish this Promise, Vow, and Protestation.’*

This is on Monday, 3d May, 1641, while the Apprentices are bellowing in Palace-yard : Cromwell is one of those that take the Protestation this same Monday, present in the House while the redacting of it goes on. Long lists of Members take it,-—-not John Lowry, who, I conclude, must have been absent. On WVednesday, 5th of May, there is this Order :

‘ Ordered, That the Protestation made by the Members of this House, with the Preamble, shall be together printed ;’ Clerk to attest the Copies ; all Members to send them down to the respect ive Sheriffs, Justices, to the respective Cities, Boroughs, and ‘ in; timate with what willingness the Members made this Protestation; and that as they justify the taking of it in themselves, so they cannot but approve it in them that shall likewise take it.’

Strict Order, at the same time, That all Members ‘now in Town and not sick shall appear here To-morrow at Eight of Clock,’ and take this Protestation: non-appearance ‘ to be accounted a. contempt of this House,’ and expose one to be expelled, or worse ;--in spite of which John Lowry still does not sign, not till Friday morning, after even ‘ Philip Warwick’ and ‘Endymion Porter’ have signed; whence I infer he was out of Town or unwell.'l' This Letter, which seems to be of Cromwell’s writing, still stands on the Corporation Books of Cambridge ; read in Common Council there on the 11th of May ; at which time, said Letter being read, the Town Authorities didone and all zealously accept the same, and signed the Protestation on the spot. The Letter is not dated ; but as Lowry signed on Friday, and the Corporation meeting is on Tuesday the 11th, we may safely guess the Letter to have arrived on Monday, and to have been written on Saturday. .

" Commons Journals, ii., 132 (3 May, 1641).
flinch, ii., 133, 5, 6, 7. RushWorth, iv., 241, d uqq-

To the Right VVorshipful the Mayor and Aldermen of Cambridge, with the rest of that Body : Present these. ‘Londou, 8th' May, 1641.


We heartily salute you; and herewith, according to the directions of the House of Commons in this present Parliament assembled, send unto you a Protestation ;—the contents whereof will best appear in the thing itself. The Preamble therewith printed doth declare the weighty reasons inducing them, in their own persons, to begin ‘ making it.’

We shall only let you know that, with alacrity and willingness, the Members of that Body enteredthereinto. It was in them a right honorable and necessary act ; not unworthy your imitation. You shall hereby as the Body Represented avow the practice of the Representative. The conformity is in itself praiseworthy; and will be by them approved. The result may, through the Almighty’s blessing, become stability and security to the whole Kingdom. Combination carries strength with it. It’s dreadful to adversaries; especially when it’s in order to the duty we owe to God, to the loyalty we owe to our King and Sovereign, and to the affection due to our Country and Liberties,-the main ends of this Protes~ tation now herewith sent you. '

We say no more: but commit you to the protection of Him who is able to save you; desiring your prayers for the good success of our present affairs and endeavors,-which indeed are not ours but the Lord’s and yours. Whom we desire to serve in integrity: and, bidding you heartily Farewell, rest,

Your loving friends to he commanded,
Ouvsu Cuomwnn,
Joan Lowsv.‘ \

[graphic][ocr errors]

HERE are other details concerning Gainsborough Fight; in a Letter two days earlier in date ; evidently not written by Cromwell, though signed by him and Wm chief Lincolnshire Commit

" Cambridge Corporation Day-Book: in Cooper’s Annals of Cambridge, iii., 311. Printed also, with errors, in O. Cromwell’s Memoir: of the Pro teclor, i.. 406. ~

« PreviousContinue »