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The right of peace, war, and alliance, rested in Chap. him; but in these particulars he was to act by the advice and with the consent of his council. The power of the sword was vested in the protector jointly with the parliament, while it was sitting, or with the council of state in the intervals. He was obliged to summon a parliament every three years, and allow them to sit five months, without adjourn- ,ment, prorogation, or dissolution. The bills, which they passed, were to be presented to the protector for his assent; but if within twenty days it were not obtained, they were to become laws by the authority alone of parliament. A standing army for Great Britain and Ireland was established, of 20,000 foot and 10,000 horse; and funds were assigned for their support. These were not to be diminished without consent of the protector; and in this article alone he assumed a negative. During the intervals of parliament, the protector and council had the power of enacting laws, which were to be valid till the next meeting of parliament. The chancellor, treasurer, admiral, chief governors of Ireland and Scotland, and the chief justices of both the benches, must be chosen with the approbation of parliament; and in the intervals, with the approbation of the council, to be afterwards ratified by parliament. The protector was to enjoy his office during life; and on his death, the place was immediately to be supplied by the council. This was the instrument of government enacted by the council of officers, and solemnly sworn to by Oliver Cromwel. The council of state, named by the instrument, were fifteen men entirely devoted to the protector, and by reason of the opposition among themselves in party and principles, not likely ever to combine against him.
Cromwel said that he accepted the dignity of protector, merely that he might exert the duty of a constable, and preserve peace in the nation. Al2 fairs
Chap. fairs indeed were brought to that pass, by the furious animosities of the several factions, that the extensive. 1653. authority and even arbitrary power of some first magistrate was become a necessary evil, in order to keep the people from relapsing into blood and confusion. The independents were too small a party ever to establish a popular government, or entrust the nation, where they had so little interest, with the free choice of its representatives. The presbyterians had adopted the violent maxims of persecution; incompatible at all times with the peace of society, much more with the wild zeal of those numerous sects which prevailed among the people. The royalists were so much enraged by the injuries which they had suffered, that the other prevailing parties would never submit to them, who, they knew, were enabled, merely by the execution of the ancient laws, to take severe vengeance upon them. Had Cromwel been guilty of no crime but this temporary usurpation, the plea of necessity and public good, which he alleged, might be allowed, in every view, a reasonable excuse for his conduct.
During the variety of ridiculous and distracted scenes, which the civil government exhibited in England, the military force was exerted with vigour, conduct, and unanimity; and never did the kingdom appear more formidable to all foreign nations. The English fleet, consisting of an hundred sail, and commanded by Monk and Dean, and under them by Pen and Lawson, met, near the coast of Flanders, with the Dutch fleet, equally numerous, and commanded by Tromp. The two republics were not inflamed by any national antipathy, and their interests very little interfered: Yet few battles have been disputed with more fierce and obstinate courage than were those many naval combats, which were fought during this short, but violent war. The desire of remaining sole lords of the ocean animated these states to an honourable emulation
against each other. After a battle of two days, in c H A p.the first of which Dean was killed, the Dutch, iri-.t|fr-Li ferior in the size of their ships, were obliged, with less. great loss, to retire into their harbours. Blake, towards the end of the fight, joined his countrymen with eighteen sail. The English fleet lay off the coast of Holland, and totally interrupted the commerce of that republic.
The ambassador, whom the Dutch had sent over to England, gave them hopes of peace. But as they could obtain no cessation of hostilities, the States, unwilling to suffer any longer the loss and dishonour of being blockaded by the enemy, made the utmost efforts to recover their injured honour. Never on any occasion did the power and vigour of that republic appear in a more conspicuous light. In a few weeks, they had repaired and manned their fleet; and they equipped some ships of a larger size than any which they had hitherto sent to sea. Tromp issued out, determined again to fight the .victors, and to die rather than to yield the contest. He met with the enemy, commanded by Monk; and both sides immediately rushed into the combat. Tromp, gallantly animating his men, with his sword drawn, was shot through the heart with a musquet ball. This event alone decided the battle in favour of the English. Though near thirty ships of the Dutch were sunk and taken, they little regarded this loss compared with that of their brave admiral.
Meanwhile the negotiations of peace were continually advancing. The States, overwhelmed with the expence of the war, terrified by their losses, and mortified by their defeats, were extremely desirous of an accommodation with an enemy whom they found, by experience, too powerful for them. The king having shown an inclination to serve on board their fleet; though they expressed their sense of the honour intended them, they declined an
CHAP. offer which might inflame the quarrel with the vj^l^, English commonwealth. The great obstacle to the 165$. peace was found not to be any animosity on the part of the English; but on the contrary a desire too earnest of union and confederacy. Cromwel had revived the chimerical scheme of a coalition with the United Provinces; a total conjunction of govern1654. ment, privileges, interests, and councils. This project appeared so wild to the States, that they wonA ra 15 dered any man of sense could ever entertain it; and they refused to enter into conferences with regard to a proposal, which could serve only to delay any Peace with practicable scheme of accommodation. The peace Heiiand. a(. jagt sjg„e(j j,y Cromwel, now invested with the dignity of protector; and it proves sufficiently, that the war had been impolitic, since, after the most signal victories, no terms more advantageous could be obtained. A defensive league was made between the two republics. They agreed each of them to banish the enemies of the other; those who had been concerned in the massacre of Amboyna were to be punished, if any remained alive; the honour of the flag was yielded to the English; eightyfive thousand pounds were stipulated to be paid by the Dutch East India company for losses which the English company had sustained; and the island of Polerone in the East Indies was promised to be ceded to the latter.
Cromwel, jealous of the connexions between the royal family and that of Orange, insisted on a separate article; that neither the young prince nor any of his family should ever be invested with the dignity of stadtholder. The province of Holland, strongly prejudiced against that office, which they esteemed dangerous to liberty, secretly ratified this article. The protector, knowing that the other provinces would not be induced to make such a concession, was satisfied with this security.
The Dutch war being successful, and the peace Chap. reasonable, brought credit to Cromwel's administration. An act of justice, which he exercised at home, gave likewise satisfaction to the people; though the regularity of it may perhaps appear somewhat doubtful. Don Pantaleon Sa, brother to the Portuguese ambassador, and joined with him in the same commission,7 fancying himself to be insulted, came upon the exchange, armed and attended by several servants. By mistake, he fell on a gentleman, whom he took for the person that had given him the offence; and having butchered him with many wounds, he and all his attendants took shelter in the house of the Portuguese ambassador, who had connived at this base enterprise.1 The populace surrounded the house, and threatened to set fire to it. Cromwel sent a guard, who seized all the criminals. They were brought to trial: And notwithstanding the opposition of the ambassador, who pleaded the privileges of his office, don Pantaleon was executed on Tower-hill. The laws of nations were here plainly violated: But the crime committed by the Portuguese gentleman was to the last degree atrocious; and the vigorous chastisement of it, suiting so well to the undaunted character of Cromwel, was universally approved of at home and admired among foreign nations. The situation of Portugal obliged that court to acquiesce; and the ambassador soon after signed with the protector a treaty of peace and alliance, which was very advantageous to the English commerce.
Another act of severity, but necessary in his situation, was, at the very same time, exercised by the protector, in the capital punishment of Gerard and Vowel, two royalists, who were accused of conspiring against his life. He had erected a high court of justice for their trial; an infringement of
* Tfaurloe, vol. ii. p. 429. 'IbkJ. vol. i. p. 616.