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himself; and this was the first public opportunity C H A P. which he had met with of discovering the factious
LXI. zeal and obstinacy of his character.
1653. From accident and intrigue he was chosen by the town of Cambridge member of the long parliament. His domestic affairs were then in great disorder; and he seemed not to possess any talents which could qualify him to rise in that public sphere into which he was now at last entered. : His person was ungraceful, his dress slovenly, his voice untuneable, his elocution homely, tedious, obscure, and embarrassed. The fervour of his spirit frequently prompted him to rise in the house ; but he was not heard with atention: His name, for above two years, is not to be found oftener than twice in any committee; and those committees, into which he was admitted, were chosen for affairs which would more interest the zealots than the men of business. In comparison of the eloquent speakers and fine gentlemen of the house, he was entirely overlooked; and his friend Hambden alone was acquainted with the depth of his genius, and foretold that, if a civil war should ensue, he would soon rise to eminence and distinction · CROMWEL himself seems to have been conscious where his strength lay; and partly from that motive, partly from the uncontrollable fury of his zeal, he always joined that party which pushed every thing to extremities against the king. He was active in promoting the famous remonstrance, which was the signal for all the ensuing commotions; and when, after a long debate, it was carried by a small majority, he told lord Falkland, that if the question had been lost, he was resolved next day to have converted into ready money the remains of his fortune, and imnédiately to have left the kingdom. Nor was this jesolution, he said, peculiar to himself: Many others of his party he knew to be equally determined.
CHAP. He was no less than forty-three years of age LXI.
when he first embraced the military profession; and 1653.
by force of genius, without any master, he soon became an excellent officer; though, perhaps he never reached the fame of a consummate commander. He raised a troop of horse ; fixed his quarters in Cambridge ; exerted great severity towards that university, which zealously adhered to the royal party; and showed himself a man who would go all lengths in favour of that cause which he had espoused. He would not allow his soldiers to perplex their heads with those subtleties of fighting by the king's authority against his person, and of obeving his majesty'
is majesty's commands signified by both houses of parliament: He plainly old them that, if he met the king in battle, he would fire a pistol in his face as readily as against any other man. His troop of horse he soon augmented to a regiment; and he first instituted that disciplire and inspired that spirit, which rendered the parliamentary armies in the end victorious. “ Your trooɔs,” said he to Hambden, according to his own account, " are “ most of them old decayed serving men and tap5 sters, and such kind of fellows; the king's forces " are composed of gentlemen's younger sons and 6 persons of good quality. And do you think " that the mean spirits of such base and low fel“ lows as ours will ever be able to encounter gen56 tlemen, that have honour and courage and reso“ lution in them? You must get men of spirit, “ and take it not ill that I say, of a spirit that is “ likely to go as far as gentlemen willgo, or else I am “ sure you will still be beaten, as yon have hitherto "s been, in every encounter.” He did as he proposed. He inlisted the sons of freeholders and farmers. He carefully invited into his regiment all the zealous fanatics throughout England. When
o Conference held at Whitehal.
they were collected in a body, their enthusiastic spi. C HA P. rit still rose to a higher pitch. Their colonel, from his own natural character, as well as from policy, 1653. was sufficiently inclined to increase the flame. He preached, he prayed, he fought, he punished, he rewarded. The wild enthusiasm, together with valour and discipline, still propagated itself; and all' men cast their eyes on so pious and so successful a leader. From low commands he rose with great rapidity to be really the first, though in appearance only the second, in the army. By fraud and violence, he soon rendered himself the first in the state. In proportion to the increase of his authority, his talents always seemed to expand themselves; and he displayed every day new abilities, which had lain dormant till the very emergence by which they were called forth into action. All Europe stood astonished to see a nation, so turbulent and unruly, who, for some doubtful encroachments on their privileges, had dethroned and murdered an excellent prince, descended from a long line of monarchs, now at last subdued and reduced to slavery by one, who, a few years before, was no better than a private gentle. man, whose name was not known in the nation, and who was little regarded even in that low sphere to which he had always been confined. - The indignation, entertained by the people, a. gainst an authority, founded on such manifest usurpation, was not so violent as might naturally be expected. Congratulatory addresses, the first of the kind, were made to Cromwel by the fleet, by the army, even by many of the chief corporations and counties of England ; but especially by the several congregations of saints, dispersed throughout the kingdom.' The royalists, though they could not love the man who had embrued his hands in the - VOL. VII.
congregations of royalists, though the hands in the
e See Milton's State Papers.
CHA P.blood of their sovereign, expected more lenity from LXI.
him, than from the jealous and imperious repub1653. licans, who had hitherto governed. The presby.
terians were pleased to see those men, by whom they had been outwitted and expelled, now in their turn expelled and outwitted by their own servant; and they applauded him for this last act of violence upon the parliament. These two parties composed the bulk of the nation, and kept the people in some tolerable temper. All men likewise, harassed with wars and factions, were glad to see any prospect of settlement. And they deemed it less ignominious to submit to a person of such admirable talents and capacity than to a few ignoble enthusiastic hypocrites, who, under the name of a republic, had reduced them to a cruel subjection.
The republicans, being dethroned by Cromwel, were the party whose resentment he had the greatest reason to apprehend. That party, besides the independents, contained two sets of men, who are seemingly of the most opposite principles, but who were then united by a similitude of genius and of character. The first and most numerous were the millenarians, or fifth monarchy men, who insisted, that, dominion being founded in grace, all distinction in magistracy must be abolished, except what arose from piety and holiness ; who expected suddenly the second coming of Christ upon earth; and who pretended, that the saints in the mean while, that is, themselves, were alone entitled to govern. The second were the deists, who had no other object than political liberty, who denied entirely the truth of revelation, and insinuated, that all the various sects, so heated against each other, were alike founded in folly and in error. Men of such daring geniuses were not con. tented with the ancient and legal forms of civil governiment; but challenged a degree of freedom be- . yond what they expected ever to enjoy under any monarchy. Martin, Challoner, Harrington, Sidney,
Wildman, Nevil, were esteemed the heads of this c H A P. small division. : The deists were perfectly hated by Cromwel, be- 1653. cause he had no hold of enthusiasm, by which he could govern or over-reach them; he therefore treated them with great rigour and disdain, and usually denominated them the heathens. ' As the millenarians had a great interest in the army, it was much more important for him to gain their confidence; and their size of understanding afforded him great facility in deceiving them. Of late years it. had been so usual a topic of conservation to discourse of parliaments and councils and senates, and the soldiers themselves, had been so much accustomed to enter into that spirit, that Cromwel thought it requisite to establish something which might bear the face of a commonwealth. He supposed that God, in his providence, had thrown the whole right, as well as power, of government into his hands; and without any more ceremony, by the advice of his council of officers, he sent summons to a hundred and twenty-eight persons of different towns and counties of England, to five of Scotland, to six of Ireland. He pretended, by his sole act and deed, to devolve upon these the whole authority of the state. This Barebone's legislative power they were to exercise during fif. parliament, teen months, and they were afterwards to choose the same number of persons who might succeed them in that high and important office. · THERE were great numbers at that time, who made it a principle always to adhere to any power which was uppermost, and to support the established government. This maxim is not peculiar to the people of that age ; but what may be esteemed peculiar to them, is, that there prevailed a hypocritical phrase for expressing so prudential a conduct: It was called a waiting upon providence. When providence, therefore, was so kind as to bestow on