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might have a Daughter that would be a very great Proposi. tion to a young man. Unluckily “there was not that assurance of Godliness” that seemed to warrant it: however, the nobleness of the Overture is never to be forgotten.
For my honoured Friend Anthony Hungerford, Esquire:
Cockpit, 10th December 1652. I understand, by my Cousin Dunch, of so much trouble of yours, and so much unhandsomeness (at least seeming so) on my part, as doth not a little afflict me, until I give you this account of my innocency.
She was pleased to tell my Wife of your often resorts to my house to visit me, and of your disappointments. Truly, Sir, had I but once known of your being there, and “had concealed myself,” it had been an action so below a gentleman or an honest man, so full of ingratitude for your civilities I have received from you, as would have rendered me unworthy of human society! Believe me, Sir, I am much ashamed that the least colour of the appearance of such a thing should have happened; and 'I' could not take satisfaction but by this plain-dealing for my justification, which I ingenuously offer you. And although Providence did not dispose other matters to our mutual satisfaction, yet your nobleness in that Overture obligeth me, and I hope ever shall whilst I live, to study upon all occasions to approve myself your Family's and your Most affectionate and humble servant,
OLIVER CROMWELL. My Wife and I desire our service be presented to your Lady and Family. &
* Oliver Cromwell's Memoirs of the Protector (3d edition, London, 1822), ii. 188; see Collinson's History of Somersetshire, iii. 357 (Note).
LETTER CLXXXVII. SEEMINGLY belonging to the same neighbourhood is the following altogether domestic Letter to Fleetwood; which still survives in Autograph; but has no date whatever, and no indication that will enable us to fix its place with perfect exactness. Fleetwood's Commission for Ireland is dated 10th July 1652;* the precise date of his marriage with Bridget Ireton, of his departure for Ireland, or of any ulterior pro.ceedings of his, is not recoverable, in those months. Of Henry Cromwell, too, we know only that he sat in the Little Parliament; and, indisputably therefore, was home from Ireland before summer next. From the total silence as to
decisive had yet been done or resolved upon; – that through this strange old Autograph, as through a dim Horn-Gate (not of Dreams but of Realities), we are looking into the interior of the Cromwell Lodging, and the Cromwell heart, in the Winter of 1652.
For the Right Honourable Lieutenant - General Fleetwood, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland: These. DEAR CHARLES,
'Cockpit, -- 1652.' I thank you for your loving Letter. The same hopes and desires, upon your planting into my Family,
towards me. However, the dispensation of the Lord is, to have it otherwise for the present; and therein I desire to acquiesce; — not being out of hope that it may lie in His good pleasure, in His time, to give us the mutual comfort of our relation: the want whereof He is able abundantly to supply by His own presence; which indeed makes up all defects, and is the comfort of all our comforts and enjoyments.
Carlyle, Cromwell. III.
Salute your dear Wife from me. Bid her beware of a bondage spirit. * Fear is the natural issue of such a spirit; - the antidote is, Love. The voice of Fear is: If I had done this; if I had avoided that, how well it had been with me! -- I know this hath been her vain reasoning: “poor Biddy!'
Love argueth in this wise: What a Christ have I; what a Father in and through Him! What a Name hath my Father: Merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth; forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin. What a Nature hath my Father: He is LOVE; - free in it, unchangeable, infinite! What a Covenant between Him and Christ, — for all the Seed, for every one: wherein He undertakes all, and the poor Soul nothing. The new Covenant is Grace, - to or upon the Soul; to which it, 'the Soul,' is passive and receptive: I'll do away their sins; I'll write my Law, &c.; I'll put it in their hearts: they shall never depart from me, &c. **
This commends the Love of God: it's Christ dying for men without strength, for men whilst sinners, whilst enemies. And shall we seek for the root of our comforts within us, - What God hath done, what He is to us in Christ, is the root of our comfort: in this is stability; in us is weakness. Acts of obedience are not perfect, and therefore yield not perfect Grace. Faith, as an act, yields it not; but 'only' as it carries us into Him, who is our perfect rest and peace; in whom we are accounted of, and received by, the Father, - even as Christ Himself. This is our high calling. Rest we here, and here only.*
* A Secretary has written hitherto; the Lord General now begins, himself, with a new pen.
** Has been crowding, for the last line or two, very elose upon the bottom of the page; finds now that it will not do; and takes to the margin.
Commend me to Harry Cromwell: I pray for him, That he may thrive, and improve in the knowledge and love of Christ. Commend me to all the Officers. My prayers indeed are daily for them. Wish them to beware of bitterness of spirit; and of all things uncomely for the Gospel. The Lord give you abundance of wisdom, and faith and patience. Take heed also of your natural inclination to compliance. Pray for me. I commit you to the Lord; and rest,
Your loving father,
OLIVER CROMWELL. **
The Boy and Betty are very well. Show what kindness you well may to Colonel Clayton, to my nephew Gregory, to Claypole's Brother. S
And so the miraculous Horn-Gate, not of Dreams but of Realities and old dim Domesticities, closes again, into totally opaque; — and we return to matters public.
December 1652 - March 1653. The Dutch War prospers and has prospered, Blake and Monk beating the Dutch in tough seafights; Delinquents, monthly Assessments, and the lead of Cathedrals furnishing the sinews: the Dutch are about sending Ambassadors to treat of Peace. With home affairs, again, it goes not so well. Through winter, through spring, that Bill for a New Representative goes along in its slow
* Even so, my noble one! The noble soul will, one day, again come to understand these old words of yours.
** Has exhausted the long broad margin; inverts now, and writes atop.
& Ayscough mss. no. 4165, f. 1. On the inner or blank leaf of this curious old Sheet are neatly pasted two square tiny bits of Paper; on one of them, “Fairfax” in autograph; on the other these words: “God blesse the now Lord Protector;” and crosswise, “Marquis Worcester writt it;" — concerning which Marquis, once “Lord Herbert," see antea, vol. iii, p. 57.
gestation; reappearing Wednesday after Wednesday; painfully struggling to take a shape that shall fit both parties, Parliament Grandees and Army Grandees both at once. A thing difficult; a thing impossible! Parliament Grandees, now become a contemptible Rump, wish they could grow into a Reputable Full Parliament again, and have the Government
naturally is their wish. Naturally too the Army Party's wish is the reverse of this: that a Full free Parliament, with safety to the Godly Interests, and due subordination of the Presbyterian and other factions, should assemble; but also that the present Governing Persons, with their red-tape habits unable to define an incumbrance in three months, should for most part be out of it. Impossible to shape a Bill that will fit both of these Parties: Tom Thumb and the Irish Giant, you cannot, by the art of Parliamentary tailoring, clip out a coat that will fit them both! We can fancy “conferences,” considerations deep and almost awful; my Lord General looking forward to possibilities that fill even him with fear. Puritan Notables they will not have; these present Governing men are clear against that: not Puritan Notables; - and if they themselves, by this new Bill or otherwise, insist on staying there, what is to become of them?
Dryasdust laments that this invaluable Bill, now in process of gestation, is altogether lost to Posterity; no copy even of itself, much less any record of the conferences, debates, or contemporaneous considerations on it, attainable even in fractions by mankind. Much is lost, my erudite friend; — and we must console ourselves! The substantial essence of the Bill came out afterwards into full practice, in Oliver's own Parliaments. The present form of the Bill, I do clearly perceive, had one clause, That all the Members of this present Rump should continue to sit without reelection; and still better, another, That they should be a general Election Committee, and have power to say to every new Member, “Thou “art dangerous, thou shalt not enter; go!" This clearly in the Bill: and not less clearly that the Lord General and Army