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be put; at length however, after two divisions, and towards nightfall, decides that it will; and even resolves by overwhelming majority “that a candle be brought in.” Pack reads his Paper: A new Instrument of Government, or improved Constitution for these Nations; increased powers to the Single Person, intimation of a Second House of Parliament, the Protector something like a King; very great changes indeed! Debate this matter farther to-morrow.
Debate it, manipulate it, day after day, – let us have a Day of Fasting and Prayer on Friday next; for the matter is really important.* On farther manipulation, this “Remonstrance" of Pack's takes improved form, increased development; and, under the name “Petition and Advice presented to his Highness,” became famous to the world in those spring months. We can see, the Honourable House has "a very good resentment of it.”. The Lawyer-party is all zealous for it; certain of the Soldier-party have their jealousies. Already, notwithstanding the official reticence, it is plain to every clear-sighted man they mean to make his Highness King!
Friday, 27th February. "The Parliament keep a Fast "within their own House; Mr. Caryl, Mr. Nye, Mr. Manton, “carrying on the work of the day; it being preparatory to the "great work now on hand of Settling the Nation."** In the course of which same day, with an eye also to the same great work, though to the opposite side of it, there waits upon his Highness, Deputation of a Hundred Officers, Ex-MajorGenerals and considerable persons some of them: To signify that they have heard with real dismay of some project now on foot to make his Highness King; the evil effects of which, as "a scandal to the People of God," "hazardous to his High“ness's person, and making way for the return of Charles “Stuart,” are terribly apparent to them!
Whereto his Highness presently makes' answer, with dignity, not without sharpness: “That he now specifically “hears of this project for the first time, -he" (with emphasis
• Commons Journals, vii. 496, 7. . ** Newspapers (in Burton, i. 380).
on the word, and a look at some individuals there) “has not "been caballing about it, for it or against it. That the Title “King' need not startle them so dreadfully; inasmuch as some 16 of them well know" (what the Historical Public never knew before) “it was already offered to him, and pressed upon him, "by themselves when this Government was undertaken. That
the Title King, a feather in a hat, is as little valuable to him was to them. But that the fact is, they and he have not suc"ceeded in settling the Nation hitherto, by the schemes they 66clamoured for. Their Little Parliament, their First Pro"tectorate Parliament, and now their Major-Generalcies, have 66 all proved failures; - nay this Parliament itself, which they o clamoured fôr, had almost proved a failure. That the Nation " is tired of Major-Generalcies, of uncertain arbitrary ways; 66 and really wishes to come to a Settlement. That actually 66 the original Instrument of Government does need mending "in some points. That a House of Lords, or other check upon o the arbitrary tendencies of a Single House of Parliament, "may be of real use: see what they, by their own mere vote 66 and will, I having no power to check them, have done with 66 James Nayler: may it not be any one's case, some other 6day?” That, in short, the Deputation of a Hundred Officers had better go its ways, and consider itself again. - So answered his Highness, with dignity, with cogency, not without sharpness. The Deputation did as bidden. “Three MajorGenerals," we find next week, "have already come round. "The House hath gone on with much unity." **
The House in factis busy, day and night, modelling, manipulating its Petition and Advice. Amid the rumour of England, all through this month of March 1657. “Chief Magistrate for the time being is to name his successor;" so much we hear they have voted. What Title he shall have is still secret; that is to be the last thing. All men may speculate and guess! – Before March ends, the Petition and Advice is got ready; in Eighteen
: * Passages between the Proiector and the Hundred Officers (in Additional Ayscough mss. no. 6125; printed in Burton, i. 382-4), a Fragment of a Letter, bearing date 7th March 1656-7; - to the effect abridged as above
well-debated Articles;* fairly engrossed on vellum: the Title, as we guessed, is to be King. His Highness shall adopt the whole Document, or no part of it is to be binding:
SPEECH VII. On Tuesday 31st March 1657, "the House rose at eleven "o'clock, and Speaker Widdrington, attended by the whole “House, repaired to his Highness at Whitehall,"** to present this same Petition and Advice, "engrossed on vellum," and with the Title of “King" recommended to him in it. Banqueting House, Whitehall; that is the scene. Widdrington's long Rowery Speech *** is omissible. As the interview began about eleven o'clock, it may now be past twelve; Oliver loquitur:
Mr. SPEAKER, This Frame of Government which it hath pleased the Parliament through your hand to offer to me, – truly I should have a very brazen forehead if it did not beget in me a great deal of consternation of spirit; it being of so high and great importance as, by your opening of it, † and by the mere reading of it, is manifest to all men; the welfare, the peace and settlement of Three Nations, and all that rich treasure of the best people in the world tt being involved therein! I say, this consideration alone ought to beget in me the greatest reverence and fear of God that ever possessed a man in the world.
Truly I rather study to say no more at this time than is necessary for giving some brief general answer, suitable to the nature of the thing. The thing is fof weight; the greatest weight of anything that ever was
# Copy of it in Whitlocke, p. 648 et seqq. ## Commons Journals, vii. 516. *** Burton, i. 397-413.
+ In this long florid speech. ** Us and all the Gospel Protestants in the world. .
laid upon a man. And therefore, it being of that weight, and consisting of so many parts as it doth, in each of which much more than my life is concerned, - truly I think I have no more to desire of you at present, but that you would give me time to deliberate and consider what particular answer I may return to so great a business as this. —
I have lived the latter part of my age in, -- if I may say so, — the fire; in the midst of troubles. But all the things that have befallen me since I was first engaged in the affairs of this Commonwealth, if they could be supposed to be all brought into, such a compass that I could take a view of them at once, truly I do not think they would ‘so move,' nor do I think they ought so to move, my heart and spirit with that fear and reverence of God that becomes a Christian, as this thing that hath now been offered by you to me!' And truly my comfort in all my life hath been that the burdens which have lain heavy on me, they were laid upon me by the hand of God. And I have not known, I have been many times at a loss, which way to stand under the weight of what hath lain upon me: – except by looking at the conduct and pleasure of God in it. Which hitherto I have found to be a good pleasure to me. ..
And should I give any resolution in this 'matter? suddenly, without seeking to have an answer put into my heart, and so into my mouth, by Him that hath been my God and my Guide hitherto, - it would give you very little cause of comfort in such a choice as you have made [Of me to be King in such a business as this. It would savour more to be of the flesh, to
proceed from lust, to arise from arguments of self. And if, — whatsoever the issue of this great matter' be, "my decision in' it have such motives in me, have such a rise in me, it may prove even a curse to you and to these Three Nations. Who, I verily believe, have intended well in this business; and have had those honest and sincere aims* towards the glory of God, the good of His People, the rights of the Nation. I verily believe these have been your aims: and God forbid that so good' aims should suffer by any dishonesty and indirectness on my part. For although, in the affairs that are in the world, things may be intended well, — as they are always, or for the most, by such as love God, and fear God and make Him their aim (and such honest ends and purposes, I do believe, yours now are); — yet if these considerations ** fall upon à person or persons whom God takes no pleasure in; who perhaps may be at the end of his work; (Growing old and weak? Say not that, your Highness! - A kind of pathos, and much dignity and delicacy in these tones) -- who, to please any of those humours or considerations which are of this world, shall run upon such a rock as this is, *** - without due consideration, without integrity, without approving the heart to God, and seeking an answer from Him; and putting things to Him as if for life and death, that such an answer may be received from Him' as may be a blessing to the person (Me) who is to be used for these noble and worthy and honest intentions of the persons (You] that have prepared and " # Subaudi, but do not insert, "which you'profess.".
** Means “your choice in regard to such purpose;" speaks delicately, *** "is," – or may be: this of the Kingship.
in an oblique way.