« PreviousContinue »
“but with that of King, 'it will ground itself in all the ancient “foundations of the Laws of England,'" &c. &c.
MASTER OF THE Rolls, - old Sly-face Lenthall, once Speaker of the Long Parliament; the same whom Harrison helped out of his Chair, - him also the reader shall conceive speaking for the space of half an hour:
"May it please your Higbness, Hum-m.m! Drum-m-m! "Upon due consideration you shall find that the whole body " of the Law is carried upon this wheel' of the Chief Magistrate “being called King. Hum-m-m! [Monotonous humming for “ ten minutes. The title of Protector is not limited by any rule “of Law that Iunderstand;' the title of Kingis. Hum-m-m! “King James wanted to change his Title, and that only from “King of England to King of Great Britain: and the Parlia"ment could not consent, so jealous were they of new titles “bringing new unknown powers. Much depends upon a title! “The Long Parliament once thought of changing its title to “Representative of the People; but durst not. Hum-m-m! “Nolumus Leges Angliæ mutari.' Drum-m-m! Vox populi: “it is the voice of the Three Nations that offers your Highness 66 this Title.' Drum-m-m!" ---Such, in abbreviated shape, is the substance of Lenthall's Speech for us. * At the ending of it, a pause.
THE LORD PROTECTOR. I cannot deny but the things that have been spoken have been spoken with a great deal of weight. And it is not fit for me to ask any of you if you have à mind to speak farther of this. But if such had been your pleasure, truly then I think it would have put me into a way of more preparedness, according to the method and way I had conceived for myself, to return some answer. And if it had not been to you a trouble - Surely the business requires, from any man in the world in any case, and much more from me, that there be given to it serious and
* Somers, vi. 356, 7.
true answers! I mean such answers as are not feigned in my own thoughts; but such wherein I express the truth and honesty of my heart. (Seems a tautology, and almost an impertinence, and ground of suspicion, your Highness; – but has perhaps a kind of meaning struggling half-developed in it. Many answers which call and even THINK themselves “true" are but "feigned in one's own thoughts,” after all; from that to "the truth and honesty of heart” is still a great way; — witness many men in most times; witness almost all men in such times as ours.] That is what I mean by true answers.
I did hope that when I had heard you, so far as it might be your pleasure to speak on this head, I should then, having taken some short note of it as I do (Glancing at his Note-paper), have been in a condition, this afternoon (Would still fain be off!) — if it had not been a trouble to you, — to return my answer, upon a little advisement with myself. But seeing you have not thought it convenient to proceed that way, – truly I think I may very well say, I shall need to have a little thought about the thing before returning answer to it: lest our Debate should end on my part with a very vain discourse, and with lightness; as it is very like to do. [4 Drama COMPOSING itself as it gets ACTED, this; very different from the blank-verse Dramas.]
I say therefore, if you had found good to proceed farther in speaking of these things, I should have made my own short animadversions on the whole, this afternoon, and have made some short reply. And this would have ushered me in not only to give the best answer I could, but to make my own objections too.'
Carlyle, Cromwell. Iv.
[ An interrogative look; evidently some of us must speak! Glynn steps forward.}
LORD Chief-JUSTICE GLYNN steps forward, speaks largely; then Sir CHARLES WOLSELEY steps forward; and NATHANIEL Fiennes steps forward; and LORD BROGHIL (Earl of Orrery that is to be) step forward; and all speak largely: whom, not to treat with the indignity poor Lenthall got from us, we shall abridge down to absolute nothing. Good speaking too; but without interest for us. In fact it is but repetition, under new forms, of the old considerations offered by heavy Bulstrode and the Master of the Rolls. The only idea of the slightest novelty is this brought forward by Lord Broghil in the rear of all: *
LORD BROGHIL. “By an act already existing (the 11th of “Henry VII.), all persons that obey a 'King de facto' are to “ be held guiltless; not so if they serve a Protector de facto. "Think of this. — And then “in the 7th and last place,' I ob"serve: The Imperial Crown of this country and the Pre"tended King are indeed divorced; nevertheless persons “divorced may come together again; but if the person "divorced be married to another, there is no chance left of " that!” —
Having listened attentively to perhaps some three hours of this, his Highness, giving up the present afternoon as now hopeless, makes brief answer.
THE LORD PROTECTOR. I have very little to say to you at this time. I confess I shall never be willing to deny or defer those things** that come from the Parliament to the Supreme Magistrate, (He accepts, then?] if they come in the bare and naked authority of such an Assembly as is known by that name, and is the Representative of so many people as a Parliament of England, Scotland and Ireland is. I say, this ought
# Somers, p. 363. ** Means "anything, - the Kingship for one thing." ;
to have its weight; and it hath so, and ever will have with me.
In all things a man is free to grant desires coming from Parliament. I may say, inasmuch as the Parliament hath condescended so far as to do me this honour (a very great one added to the rest) of giving me the privilege of counsel from so many members of theirs, so able, so intelligent of the grounds of things— [Sentence breaks dwon] - This is, I say, a very singular honour and favour to me; and I wish I may do, and I hope I shall do, what becomes an honest man in giving an answer to these things, — according to such insight* either as I have, or as God shall give me, or as I may be helped into by reasoning with you. But indeed I did not in vain allege conscience in the first answer I gave you. [Well!] For I must say, I should be a person very unworthy of such favour if I should prevaricate in saying things did stick upon my conscience. Which I must still say they do! Only, I must also say, I am in the best way I could be 'in' for information; and I shall gladly receive it.
Here have been divers things spoken by you today, with a great deal of judgment and ability and knowledge. I think the arguments and reasonings that have been used were upon these three heads:** First, Speaking to the thing simply, to the abstract notion of the Title, and to the positive reasons upon which it stands. Then secondly, Speaking' comparatively of it, and of the foundation of it; in order to show the goodness of it comparatively, 'in comparison with our present title and foundation. It is alleged to be so much better than what we now have; and that it will do the work * "desire” in-orig.: but there is no sense in that.
** "accounts" in orig.
which this other fails in. And thirdly, Some things have been said by way of precaution; which are not arguments from the thing itself, but are considerations drawn from the temper of the English People, what will gratify them, “and so on;' — which is surely considerable. As also ‘some things were said' by way of anticipation of me in my answer; speaking to some objections which others have made against this proposal. These are things, in themselves, each of them considerable. [The "objections ?” or the " Three heads” in general ? Uncertain; nay it is perhaps uncertain to Oliver himself! He mainly means the objections, but the other also is hovering in his head, “ as is sometimes the way with him.]
To answer objections, I know, is a very weighty business; and to make objections is very easy; and that will fall to my part. And I am sure I shall make them to men who know somewhat how to answer them, - 'to whom they are not strange,' having already in part been suggested to them by the Debates already had.
But upon the whole matter, I having as well as I could taken those things (Looking at his Notes] that have been spoken, - which truly are to be acknowledged as very learnedly spoken, - I hope you will give me a little time to consider of them. As to when it may be the best time for me to return hither and meet you again, I shall leave that to your consideration.
LORD WHITLOCKE. “Your Highness will be pleased to appoint your own time.”
THE LORD PROTECTOR. On Monday at nine of the clock I will be ready to wait upon you.
§ Somers Tracts, vi. 351-365.