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CHAP. which he had established. Even the validity of the humble petition and advice was questioned; as 1658. being voted by a parliament which lay under force, and which was deprived, by military violence, of a considerable number of its members. The protector, dreading combinations between the parliament and the malcontents in the army, resolved to allow no leisure for forming any conspiracy against him; 4th Feb. and,with expressions of great displeasure, he dissolved the parliament. When urged by Fleetwood, and others of his friends, not to precipitate himself into this rash measure, he swore by the living God, that they should not sit a moment longer.
These distractions at home were not able to take off the protector's attention from foreign affairs; and in all his measures he proceeded with the same vigour and enterprise, as if secure of the duty and attachment of the three kingdoms. His alliance with Sweden he still supported; and he endeavoured to assist that crown in its successful enterprises, for reducing all its neighbours to subjection, and rendering itself absolute master of the Baltic. As soon as Spain declared war against him, he concluded a peace and an alliance with France, and united himself in all his counsels with that potent and ambitious kingdom. Spain, having long courted in vain the friendship of the successful usurper, was reduced at last to apply to the unfortunate prince. Charles formed a league with Philip, removed his small court to Bruges in the Low Countries, and raised four regiments of his own subjects, whom he employed in the Spanish service. The duke of York, who had, with applause, served some campaigns in the French army, and who had merited the particular esteem of marshal Turenne, now joined his brother, and continued to seek military experience under don John of Austria, and the prince of Conde.
The scheme of foreign politics, adopted by the protector, was highly imprudent, but was suitable, to that magnanimity and enterprise, with which he c pwas so signally endowed. He was particularly desirous of conquest and dominion on the continent ;k island he sent over into Flanders six thousand men under Reynolds, who joined the French army commanded by Turenne. In the former campaign, Mardyke was taken, and put into the hands of the English. Early this campaign, siege was laid to Dunkirk; and when the Spanish army advanced to relieve it, the combined armies of France and England marched out of their trenches, and fought the battle of the Dunes, where the Spaniards were totally defeated.1 The valour of the English was much remarked on this occasion. Dunkirk, being Dunkirk soon after surrendered, was by agreement delivered takento Cromwel. He committed the government of that important place to Lockhart, a Scotchman of abilities, who had married his niece, and was his ambassador at the court of France.' , This acquisition was regarded by the protector as the means only of obtaining farther advantages.
k He aspired to get possession of Elsinore and the passage of the Sound. See World's Mistake in Oliver Cromwel. He also endeavoured to get possession of Bremen. Thurloe, vol. vi. p. 478.
1 It was remarked by the saints of that time, that the battle was fought on a day which was held for a fast in London, so that as Fleetwood said (Thurloe, vol. vii. p. 159.) while we were praying, they were fighting, and the Lord hath given a signal answer. The Lord has not only owned us in our work there, but in our waiting upon him in a way of prayer, which is indeed our old experienced approved way in all streights and difficulties. Crom. wel's Letter to Blake and Montague, his brave admirals, is remarkable for the same spirit. Thurloe, vol. iv. p. 744. You have, says he, as I verily believe and am persuaded, a plentiful stock of prayers going for you daily, sent up by the soberest and most approved ministers and Christians in this nation, and, notwithstanding some discouragements, very much wrestling of faith for you, which are to us, and I trust will be to you, matter of great encouragement. But notwithstanding all this, it will be good for you and us to deliver up ourselves and all our affairs to the dispo'sition of our all-wise Father, who not only out ol prerogative, but because of his goodness, wisdom, and truth, ought to be resigned unto by his creatures, especially those who are children of his begetting through the spirit, Ice.
Chap. He was resolved to concert measures with the French s^^^Ly court for the final conquest and partition of the Low
1658. Countries." Had he lived much longer, and maintained his authority in England, so chimerical, or rather so dangerous, a project would certainly have been carried into execution. And this first and principal step towards more extensive conquest, which France, during a whole century, has never yet been able, by an infinite expence of blood and treasure, fully to attain, had at once been accomplished by the enterprising, though unskilful, politics of Cromwel.
DunIng these transactions, great demonstrations of mutual friendship and regard passed between the French king and the protector. Lord Fauconberg, Cromwel's son-in-law, was dispatched to Louis, then in the camp before Dunkirk; and was received with the regard usually paid to foreign princes by the French court." Mazarine sent to London his nephew Mancini, alongwith thedukeofCrequi; and expressed his regret, that his urgent affairs should deprive him of the honour which he had long wished for, of paying, in person, his respects to the greatest man in the world."
The protector reaped little satisfaction from the success of his arms abroad: The situation in which he stood at home, kept him in perpetual uneasiness and inquietude. His administration, so expensive both by military enterprises and secret intelligence, had exhausted his revenue, and involved him in a considerable debt. The royalists, he heard, had re
,newed their conspiracies for a general insurrection; and Ormond was secretly come over with a view of
"Thurloe, vol. i. p. 762. ■ Ibid. vol. vii. p. 151. 158.
* In reality the cardinal had not entertained so high an idea of Cromwel. He used to say, that he was a fortunate madman. Vie de Cromwel par Raguenet. See also Carte's Collection, vol. ii. p. 81. Gumble's Life of Monk, p. VS. World's Mistake in O. Cromwel.
concerting measures for the execution of this pro- Chap. ject. Lord Fairfax, ,sir William Waller, and many ls-~]^_/ heads of the presbyterians, had secretly entered into 16S». the engagement. Even the army was infected with the general spirit of discontent; and some sudden and dangerous eruption was every moment to be dreaded from it. No hopes remained, after his violent breach with the last parliament, that he should ever be able to establish, with general consent, a legal settlement, or temper the military with any mixture of civil authority. All his arts and policy were exhausted; and having so often, by fraud and false pretences, deceived every party, and almost every individual, he could no longer hope, by repeating the same professions, to meet with equal confidence and regard.
However zealous the royalists, their conspiracy took not effect: Willis discovered the whole to the protector. Ormond was obliged to fly, and he deemed himself fortunate to have escaped so vigilant an administration. Great numbers were thrown into prison. A high court of justice was anew erected for the trial of those criminals whose guilt was most apparent. Notwithstanding the recognition of his authority by the last parliament, the protector could not as yet trust to an unbiassed jury. Sir Henry Slingsby, and Dr. Huet, were condemned and beheaded. Mordaunt, brother to the earl of Peterr borow, narrowly escaped. The numbers for his condemnation and his acquittal were equal; and just as the sentence was pronounced in his favour, colonel Pride, who was resolved to condemn him, came into court. Ashton, Storey, and Bestley, were hanged in different streets of the city.
The conspiracy of the Millenarians in the army struck Cromwel with still greater apprehensions. Harrison and the other discarded officers of that party could not remain at rest. Stimulated equally
Chap. by revenge, by ambition, and by conscience, they v^11' still harboured in their breast some desperate pro1658. ject? and there wanted not officers in the army, who, from like motives, were disposed to second all their undertakings. The levellers and agitators had been encouraged by Cromwel to interpose with their advice in all political deliberations; and he had even pretended to honour many of them with his intimate friendship, while he conducted his daring enterprises against the king and the parliament. It was a usual practice with him, in order to familiarize himself the more with the agitators, who were commonly corporals or Serjeants, to take them to bed with him, and there, after prayers and exhortations, to discuss together their projects and principles, political as well as religious. Having assumed the dignity of protector, he excluded them from all his councils, and had neither leisure nor inclination to indulge them any farther in their wonted familiarities. Among those who were enraged at this treatment was Sexby, an active agitator, who now employed against him all that restless industry which had formerly been exerted in his favour. He even went so far as to enter into a correspondence with Spain; and Cromwel, who knew the distem» pers of the army, was justly afraid of some mutiny, to which a day, an hour, an instant, might provide leaders. .
Of assassinations likewise he was apprehensive, from the zealous spirit which actuated the soldiers. Sindercome had undertaken to murder him; and, by the most unaccountable accidents, had often been prevented from executing his bloody purpose. His design was discovered; but the protector could never find the bottom of the enterprise, nor detect any of his accomplices. He was tried by a jury; and notwithstanding the general odium attending that crime, notwithstanding the clear and full proof