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"long for an Oliver without Rhetoric at all. I could long for 6a Mahomet, whose persuasive-eloquence, with wild-flashing "heart and scimitar, is: “Wretched mortal, give up that; or "by the Eternal, thy Maker and mine, I will kill thee! Thou “blasphemous scandalous Misbirth of Nature, is not even that “the kindest thing I can do for thee, if thou repent not and "alter, in the name of Allah?"" —
LETTERS CLXXXIX.-CXCI. CONCERNING this Puritan Convention of the Notables, which in English History is called the Little Parliament, and derisively Barebones's Parliament, we have not much more to say. They are, if by no means the remarkablest Assembly, yet the Assembly for the remarkablest purpose who have ever met in the Modern World. The business is, No less than introducing of the Christian Religion into real practice in the Social Affairs of this Nation. Christian Religion, Scriptures of the Old and New Testament: such, for many hundred years, has been the universal solemnly recognised Theory of all men's Affairs;
now that of reducing it to Practice in said Affairs; - a most noble, surely, and most necessary attempt; which should not have been put off so long in this Nation! We have conquered the Enemies of Christ; let us now, in real practical earnest, set about doing the Commandments of Christ, now that there is free room for us! Such was the purpose of this Puritan Assembly of the Notables, which History calls the Little Parliament, or derisively Barebones's Parliament.
It is well known they failed: to us, alas, it is too evident they could not but fail. Fearful impediments lay against that effort of theirs: the sluggishness, the slavish half-and-halfness, the greediness, the cowardice, and general opacity and falsity of some ten million men against it; - alas, the whole world, and what we call the Devil and all his angels, against it! Considerable angels, human and other: most extensive arrangements, investments, to be sold off at a tremendous
sacrifice; – in general the entire set of luggage-traps and very extensive stock of merchant-goods and real and floating property, amassed by that assiduous Entity above-mentioned, for a thousand years or more! For these, and also for other obstructions, it could not take effect at that time; - and the Little Parliament became a Barebones's Parliament, and had to go its ways again.
Read these three Letters, two of them of small or no significance as to it or its affairs; and then let us hasten to the catastrophe.
LETTER CLXXXIX. The little Parliament has now sat some seven weeks; the dim old world of England, then in huge travail-throes, and somewhat of the Lord General's sad and great reflections thereon, may be dimly read here.
'For the Right Honourable Lieutenant-General Fleetwood, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Ireland: These.' DEAR CHARLES,
Cockpit, 220 August 1653. Although I do not so often as is desired by me acquaint you how it is with me, yet I doubt not of your prayers in my behalf, That, in all things, I may walk as becometh the Gospel.
Truly I never more needed all helps from my Christian Friends than now! Fain would I have my service accepted of the Saints, if the Lord will; — but it is not so. Being of different judgments, and those' of each sort seeking most to propagate their own, that spirit of kindness that is* to them all, is hardly accepted of any. I hope I can say it, My life has been a willing sacrifice, — and I hope, - for them all. Yet it much falls out as when the Two Hebrews were
* "in me" modestly suppressed.
rebuked: you know upon whom they turned their displeasure! *
But the Lord is wise; and will, I trust, make manifest that I am no enemy. Oh, how easy is mercy to be abused: - Persuade friends with you to be very sober! If the Day of the Lord be so near as some say, how should our moderation appear! If every one, instead of contending, would justify his form of judgment' by love and meekness, Wisdom would be "justified of her children.” But, alas! —
I am, in my temptation, ready to say, “Oh, would I had wings like a dove, then would Í,"&c.: ** but this, I fear, is my “haste.” I bless the Lord I have somewhat keeps me alive: some sparks of the light of His countenance, and some sincerity above man's judgment. Excuse me thus unbowelling myself to you: pray for me; and desire my Friends to do so also. My love to thy dear Wife, — whom indeed I entirely love, both naturally, and upon the best account; and my blessing, if it be worth anything, upon thy little Babe.
love, owe to this and des
Sir George Ayscough having occasions with you, desired my Letters to you on his behalf: if he come or send, I pray you show him what favour you can. Indeed his services have been considerable for the State; and I doubt he hath not been answered with suitable respect. Therefore again I desire you and the Commissioners to take him into a very particular care,
* "And he,” the wrongdoer of the Two, “said unto Moses, 'Who made "thee a Prince and a Judge over us? Intendest thou to kill me, as thou “killedst the Egyptian !'" (Exodus, ii. 14.)
** “then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far "off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the "windy storm and tempest!” (Psalm lv. 6, 7, 8.)
. . 181 and help him so far as justice and reason will any. ways afford.
Remember my hearty affections to all the Officers. The Lord bless you all. So prayeth
Your truly loving father,
OLIVER CROMWELL. ‘P.S. All here love you, and are in health, your Children and all.
In the Commons Journals, * while this Little Parliament sat, we find that, among other good services, the arrangement of the Customs Department was new-modelled; that instead of Farmers of the Customs, there was a “Committee” of the Parliament appointed to regulate and levy that impost: Committee appointed on the 23d of September 1653: among whom we recognise “Alderman Ireton," the deceased General's Brother; “Mr. Mayor," of Hursley, Richard Cromwell's Father-in-Law; "Alderman Titchborne;" “Colonel Montague,” afterwards Earl of Sandwich; and others. It is to this Committee that Oliver's Letter is addressed. It has no date of time: but as the Little Parliament ended, in Self-dissolution and Protectorship, on the 12th of December, the date of the Letter lies between the 230 September and that other limit. My Lord General, — who is himself a Member of the Parliament, he and his chief Officers having been forthwith invited to sit, — feels evidently that his recommendations, when grounded in justice, ought to be attended to.
8 Harleian MSS. no. 7502, f. 13: “Copyed from the Original in ye hands " of Mrs. Cook (Grandaughter to Lieutenant-General Fleetwood) of New“ington, Midsex: Novr 5, 1759, By A. Gifford." Printed, without reference, incorrectly, in Annual Register for 1761, p. 49; in Gentleman's Magazine, &c. — Appendix, No. 29.
* vii. 323, 230 September 1653.
For my honoured Friends, the Committee for Regulating the
Customs: These present.
'Cockpit, October 1653, I am sorry after recommendation of a Friend of mine the Bearer hereof, — considering him in relation to his poor Parents an object of pity and commiseration, yet well deserving and not less qualified for employment, — he should find such cold success amongst you.
His great necessities and my love once more invite me to write unto you, in his behalf; To bestow on him, if it may not be in the City by reason of multiplicity of suitors, a place in the Out-ports: and I doubt not but his utmost abilities will be improved to the faithful discharging of such trust as you shall impose on him, for the good of the Commonwealth. And thereby you will engage him who remains,
OLIVER CROMWELL. §
LETTER CXCI. This "Henry Weston," otherwise unknown to all Editors, is a Gentleman of Surrey; his “House at Ockham," not Oakham, is in the neighbourhood of Guildford in that County, So much, strangely enough, an old stone Tablet still legible in Ockham Church, which a beneficent hand has pointed out, enables me to say; — an authentic dim old Stone in Surrey, curiously reflecting light on a dim old Piece of paper which has fluttered far about the world before it reached us here! "Brother Ford," I find by the same authority, is of knightly
the Chancel of Speldhurst Church” in Kent; his Uncle, a
§ Letter genuine, teste me; reference unfortunately lost.