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the other by its essential dependence The claims of the sons of Cromon the individual life on whose ex- well to individual supremacy were istence it had been staked. When, morally, if not actually, contested by therefore, the death of Oliver had such generals as Monk, and Desonce more dispossessed the country of borough, and Fairfax, and Lambert. its established Government, three dis- The Long Parliament was no sooner tinct and antagonistic forms of polity convened than it tranformed itself had passed away within a period of from a body of popular representaten years. The alternative, conse- tives into a rapacious oligarchy, and quently, which presented itself to the exhibited the spectacle of a minority people of England, on the recurrence of its members ejecting a majority of that momentous event, lay between from a participation in its deliberathe restoration of the Monarchy under tive counsels. The army itself rethe House of Stuart, with such quali- presented or professed opposite polifications as should seem to establish, tical opinions as numerous as the what we now term, a Constitutional cantonments into which it was disGovernment, and the attempted con tributed. And a free National Assolidation of those shreds and remnants sembly, such as we have indicated, of discordant systems, which repre- would probably, if it had been elected sented the ruin of preceding schemes in the autumn of 1658, have presented of polity. But the genius of the a scarcely less signal discord on the people, in favour of the restoration, question of the Constitution of the was not sufficiently determined to Empire. countervail the adverse influence of The restoration of the Monarchy individuals in power ; and the latter in 1658, being, therefore, at that alternative formed the only practi- moment, essentially, a utopian cable means of filling the political scheme, the immediate future of Engvacuum, which the death of the Pro land, at the juncture of the death of tector had produced.
Cromwell, obviously lay between the Four distinct elements of Govern extreme alternatives of a vigorous ment, more or less feeble and inade administration and a series of revoluquate, now remained on the anti tions. With all these conflicting forces monarchical side of political affairs. of moral government in the field, it These were, first, the traditions of ought clearly to have been the policy the Protectorate, as faintly repre of those in power, to haveaimed at the sented at once by the family of Crom fusion and combination of these conwell, and by the rival generals of the flicting elements, as far as possible, Commonwealth : secondly, the bias into one homogeneous body. "Such a of the army as generally disposed in course, no doubt, was fraught with favour of some scheme of republican the utmost difficulty, and required polity : thirdly, the questionable the presence of a master-mind such claims of the half-extinguished Long as had just departed from the scene Parliament: and, fourthly, the unde- of public affairs. And, indeed, it may niable pretensions of a nominally re be questioned whether there is not publican Commonwealth, to the in- indirect evidence to show, that even vestiture of the powers of Government Oliver himself despaired of its comin a free, a full, and a sovereign plete realisation ; for it may be fairly National Assembly.
supposed, that he would have preEach of these four principles, or ferred to live in greater security at the elements of Government, was exist- expense of some qualification of his ing on the death of Oliver Cromwell, authority, if he had seen his way to either in law or in fact that is to the institution of a less despotic frame say, they were either already deve- of polity, of which he should be the loped into a definite shape, or they permanent head. But that these were morally existing in virtue of conflicting elements of power, at the popular convictions of their respective juncture of the death of Oliver, were claims. Each, again, of these elements not wholly irreconcilable or invinwas, singly, too weak to assume the cible, is strikingly shown in the manascendant--each conflicted with the ner in which accidental circumstances other-and was not seldom divided had nearly established a triple form against itself. For, in truth, no one of Government and would probably of them was possessed of any con- have done so, but for the pusillanimity sistent and homogeneous character. of Richard-when the first Cabal of
Wallingford House destroyed that conservative scheme of polity. So wholly incompetent, however, with the exception of Thurloe, were the public men who then occupied positions in the State, to the accomplishment of the task which lay before them, that the progress of England, which had so lately been courted and feared by all the nations of Europe, presented simply a gradual decline from revolution to revolution, until the restoration of the Monarchy became, at length, the sole condition of her political existence.
M. Guizot has, we think, rightly estimated the importance of this most eventful of all the epochs of corresponding duration in the History of England, which in the space of less than two years, transformed the Civil Government of the nation from a military dictatorship, unequalled in its vigour and strength, to a limited or constitutional monarchy, conformable to the genius of its ancient polity. This epoch is, singularly, one which has been neglected by almost every historical writer who has dealt with that period of the English annals. Hume has devoted to it no more than about forty pages. Mr. Macaulay describes it in a manner at once contemptuous aud laconic. Mr. Carlyle does not condescend to deal with it at all; and he chooses that the curtain shall fall over the name of Cromwell, while yet in the zenith of its glory. It is, perhaps, a peculiar merit in M. Guizot's work, that the vivid representations which it forms of this exciting, yet degrading, drama, is deduced fully from the mass of records, the greater portion of which have been before the public, for at least a century and a half, and which no earlier writer has had the energy to collate; and partly from diplomatic correspondence, which, with few exceptious, had not before been given to the world.
M. Guizot, Mr. Macaulay, and Mr. Hume nearly agree in their respective characterisations of Richard Cromwell, so far as intellectual administrative powers are concerned. But while Hume represents him as at once virtuous in private and incompetent in public life, M. Guizot brings him before us in the character of “ an idle, jovial, and somewhat licentious country squire." It is a strange accusation
to prefer against David Hume, that he has dealt too leniently with a supplanter of the House of Stuart. But there is clearly no question whatever, that Richard Cromwell, in his earlier life, had contracted the manners, while he lived in the society, of the cavaliers whom the great Pro tector had permitted to live in security around him. This, in fact, must have been an almost inevitable result; and it affords, perhaps, the most striking instance on record of the impolitic supineness of the watchful Oliver, who had been designing the hereditary descent of the power he had attained, that instead of bringing up his chosen son either to the profession of the army, or to the duties of government, and without so much as caring to instil into his mind the Cromwellian politics on the recognition of which his existence depended-he allowed him to run riot among the discontented cavaliers, until he ap pears to have contracted their opinions in an equal degree with those of his father. The result, at any rate, was, that immediately on the occurence of an administrative difficulty under the Protectorate of Richard, the first expedient suggested by that ruler was the recall of the House of Stuart.
Both at home and abroad Richant's unopposed accession to the Protectorate created very general surprise. The intelligence of the death of Oliver, intimately as the Anglo-French alliance of that day hung on his indivi dual life, threw the Court of Versailles into consternation. The letters, and other authoritative documents, quoted by M. Guizot, strikingly evince the difficulty in which Cardinal Mazarin, then the nearly absolute dictator of France, found himself placed. That Minister, afraid to avow himself poe tively upon either side, proceeded to a congratulation of all parties interested in the result, with the wonted duplicity of his profession. This, in fact, appears to have been the invariable expedient of the French Court whenever they found themselves beset by rival claimants for their support, of whose ultimate success it might at the moment be impossible to pre dicate. In this manner the letters of M. de Bordeaux, the French Ambassador at the court of the English Commonwealth, addressed to the Cardinal, frequently conclude in such terms as these :-" meanwhile, as I do not know on which side success may declare, I shall continue to speak fair words to all!"
In illustration of this policy, we quote nearly the only letter addressed by Mazarin to Richard Cromwell :
CARDINAL NAZARIY TO THE PROTECTOR
Paris, Sept. 25th, 1688. “Sir, I have so many reasons for being sensibly affected by the death of his late most serenc highness, the Protector, that I shall not employ many words to express to your most serene highness the grief which it has caused me, which I well feel to be one of those which are contained (?) in sad silence, because they are beyond expression. And truly, eren, if I did not regard the interest of the king and of the state in the loss of a prince so illustrious and so well inten. tioned towards this crown, he gave me, even in the last moments of his life, such obliging and such glorious marks of esteem, confi. dence, and friendship, that I cannot sufficiently regret liis loss. But what mitigates in some degree my displeasure (!) at this unfortunate occurrence, is to find that your most serene highess has been proclaimed his successor with such universal applause; and that I am fully persuaded that not only will you conform to his views, for the establishment of an indissoluble union with France, but that you will be pleased to honor me with the same good-will which his highness entertained towards me, as I have a very strong desire to deserve it by my services.”
ing for the deceased executioner of Charles I. !
This liberal determination of Cardinal Mazarin, in fact, to ally the French court rather with nations than with governments—which is the exact antecedent of our policy in regard to France at this day-affords a signal contrast to the subsequent maladministration of Louis XIV., when that sovereign had undertaken the individual responsibility of government. In a word, it was the policy of the Great Minister to regard the nation as identified with the de facto government: it was the policy of the Grand Monarque to regard the dynasty as constituting the State.
Richard Cromwell now suddenly found himself elevated from the de bauchery and obscurity of his provincial life, to the highest pinnacle of political authority. For the moment, his rivals readily acceded to his assumption of the Protectoral power. His brother, Henry, consented to rule Ireland as his deputy, and assured him of the tranquillity of that important nation. Monk, who was then all-powerful in Scotland, similarly acquiesed in the authority of Richard; and Fleetwood, who had been long the presumptive successor of the great Protector, adopted the same course. “And was this," it was demanded by the astonished courts of Europe, “the tranquil manner in which England received an event which had threatened to involve her in a tempest of unquenchable revolution ?"
But behind all this temporary and temporising subserviency, the storm was gradually and secretly arising. The first indication of danger came from the suspicious withdrawal of the leading officers from the court of the young Protector. Wallingford House, where Fleetwood lived, became the scene of suspicious military councils. Desborough followed Fleetwood's example. While one assembly was convened at Wallingford House, anothersatat Desborough's. Meanwhile the executive government was carried on at Whitehall, ostensibly by a council of state constituted on a liberal basis, and composed both of Cromwellians and Republicans ; but virtually by a small committee of that council, known as the Palace Cabal. Of this, Thurloe was the chief.
And was this the only letter of sympathy and congratulation written by Cardinal Mazarin ? No. He simultaneously sent his felicitations on this event to - Queen Henrietta Maria, the exiled widow of Charles I! This duplicity did not end here. The Lord Cardinal, indeed, did not put the respective letters, like a more modern diplomatist of this country into the wrong envelopes; but he found himself compelled to offend one party, or the otheron the delicate question of placing the Court in mourning for the Protector. The Cromwells would be peculiarly susceptible of a slight: and the Stuarts would be similarly incensed by such an apotheosis of the deceased usurper. But at length the wily Cardinal came to the conclusion
to paraphrase the proverb—that a Protector in the hand was worth two Queens in the bush : and Louis XIV. accordingly went into mourn.
Thurloe was Prime Minister of Richard : and became, through the weakness of his master, the real director of the state. He was the leading civilian, much as Fleetwood was the leading general, then in London. Between these two rivals, an inevitable animosity sprang up. Scarcely had the accession of Richard taken place, when this formidable antagonism developed itself in a demand from the council of Wallingford House, that the office of commander-in-chief “should be restored in the person of a military man who had served in the warg of Oliver; and that no officers should be dismissed except by the sentence of a court-martial."
Here was not only a direct blow aimed at the supremacy of Richard, but a covert attempt to renew the military dictatorship of Oliver in the person of Fleetwood, who was unmistakably designed in a demand thus emanating from a council assembled at his own residence. The illusion of conservative order, as the characteristic of the reign of Richard, vanished at once. Here was a council of state assembled at Whitehall under the Protector, forming the only government of the country ;-and here, again, not a stone's throw from the seat of the legal administration, was a self-existent military council, unrecognised by any other body than itself, and determined on the destruction of the rival court! Nothing can more fully illustrate the moral alienation of the public from the idea of order, and of the dignity of government, than the fact that these demonstrations were received by the public, with every symptom of complacency and indifference. In truth, if we were to endeavour to draw a parallel to the government of England, during the last period of the commonwealth, in the history of our own times, we could find it only at Madrid.
The council at Whitehall promptly took up the gauntlet thrown down by the council of Wallingford House; and Richard returned to the demand a flat refusal. This refusal was drawn up by Thurloe, and is to be found in the State Papers, bearing his name. There is reason, indeed, to think that this promptitude on the part of the legal executive was produced by a further knowledge of the ambitious projects of Fleetwood, than
any that has hitherto come to light; for Desborough, at this juncture, charged Lord Faulconbridge, who was Cromwell's brother-in-law, with a design for the imprisonment of Fleetwood in Windsor Castle. This is also attested in Thurloe's state papers; and it suggests a probability that Richard may have been scheming violent measures for the suppression of the Wallingford House Cabal, with that occasional vigour which characterised his early administration, but which afterwards altogether failed him in the hour of his direst necessity.
Richard and his advisers now saw that the only course before them lay in the convocation of parliament. It was absolutely necessary that some further sanction should be given to the existence of the government of Whitehall, in order to withstand the cabals of the army. The sanction which parliament might confer would be both of a moral and of a legal character. It would be difficult, on the one hand, for the officers to debauch into rebellion against parliamentary government an army which had already fought the domestic wars of political liberty. The increase of authority, on the other, which a de facto administration, would possess by its formal inauguration with all the solemnity that an appeal to the nation could confer, would be incalculably great. The only difficulty, in truth, consisted in the return of a parliament which should support the Protectoral polity. The council of state durst not encounter a free parliament chosen after the recent electoral law. With a suppleness, however, for which Thurloe has seldom gained credit, but which he really possessed, these diffculties were overcome. The repre. sentation was fraudulently contracted; and the executive gained the general support of the cavaliers, on the supposition, which it by no means attempted to dispel, of its favourable disposition to the royal cause.
This parliament was summoned for January, 1659, Oliver having died so recently as the previous September. But there was another urgent motive for its assembly. The treasury was empty, and the government well migh bankrupt. Richard, with a paltry, ostentation in the circumstances of the nation, had expended sixty thout
sand pounds on his father's funeral a sum infinitely larger, if we consider either the relative value of money or the actual revenues of the state, than what was recently voted to defray that of the Duke of Wellington. Meanwhile the army was starving. This extravagance embarrassed and beggared the pious son of the great Oliver, to the last day of his Protectoral life,
Parliamentassembled; and a motley convention it presented. The state of parties,' the great political theme of that hour, forms an instructive lesson at this day. The House of Commons was split into three principal divisions; much as it is split, at the present hour, into the three principal parties of the Tories, the Whigs, and the Radicals. These were, of course, the Royalists, the Cromwellians, and the Republicans. The positions assumed by the former and the latter were clear and logical. The one asserted the essential sovereignty of the exiled dynasty-the other that of the people. But the Cromwellian theory of government was altogether unintelligible. It as serted the superior, or antecedent, right of the Protectorate over parliament; and it illustrated its position by applying to this parliament to institute and ratify that Protectoral power! The position of the Cromwellian, or Ministerial, party in the House, was similar to that of the Whigs on the treasury bench at this day. Beset alternately by either extreme of political opposition, they appealed first to the Republicans with the cry— Save us from the Royalists who will bring in the king --and next to the same Royalists in turn-Defend us from the Republicans who will render all government impossible.'
The Parliamentary tactics of a Government encompassed by these difficulties, were characterised by a skill of which we find no example until we reach the constitutional age of George I. They are well worthy of investi. gation, too, as affording the first in stance that occurs in the Parliamentary History of England of a system of balancing the hostility of conflict ing parties, analogous to that which has been more prominently introduced by successive leaders of the House of Commons, since the period
of the Reform Act. We may refer, indecd, to the same general and obvious cause, the dominance of the Whig party from that epoch until now, and the dominance of the Cromwellians in the Parliament of January, 1659. Either event introduced a third party into the House : and between the two extreme parties of each period, the Whigs in the one, and the Cromwellians in the other, occupied the mean. It is strange, indeed, that living historians should have so generally passed over the records of a period, which seems to form the archetype of our present Parliamentary tactics.
The conflict was a short one ; and it afforded a decisive victory to the Protectoral party. The constitutional scheme of Thurloe was of a masterly character ; and it brought Richard Cromwell far nearer the attainment of regal and hereditary power than his father, with all his splendid talents, had ever approached to. It was the aim of Thurloe to establish two separate Houses, in subordination to a Protectorate. The House of Peers was to be re-formed: it was to consist of all those nobles who would swear fealty to the Commonwealth ; and who therefore, for the restoration of their rights, would, it was thought, readily abandon their lawful sovereign, and acknowledge the supremacy of Richard. Extended grants of land, alienated from the disaffected to these nobles, would be alone wanting to render the Cromwellian aristocracy influential in the country. One additional step alone would then be requisite to change the name of Protector into that of King.
On the 1st of February, 1659, Thurloe introduced his bill, and carried, subject to an amendment imposing some restriction on the Executive powers, a vote recognising Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth. The Minister then triumphantly introduced his second measure, establishing the two Houses. It was vehemently contested by the Republicans. In spite, however, of their opposition this measure was carried also. But the Republicans succeeded in establishing this state of things as a Constitution emanating from the Assembly, and not as a merely formal recognition of an existing system. Thurloe had endeavoured