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Chap- luable than the greatest capacity, met with a recomiJrtI1 Pense> more precious than noisy fame, and more 1659^ suitable, contentment and tranquillity.
The council of officers, now possessed of supreme authority, deliberated what form of government they should establish. Many of them seemed inclined to„exercise the power of the sword in the most open manner; but as it was apprehended that the people would with great difficulty be induced to pay taxes, levied by arbitrary will and pleasure; it was agreed to preserve the shadow of civil administration, and to revive the long parliament, which had been expelled by Cromwel. That assembly could not be dissolved, it was asserted, but by their own consent; and violence had interrupted, but was not able to destroy, their right to government. The officers also expected that, as these members had sufficiently felt their own weakness, they would be contented to act in subordination to the military commanders, and would thenceforth allow all the authority to remain where the power was so visibly vested.
The officers applied to Lenthal, the speaker, and proposed to him, that the parliament should resume their seats. Lenthal was of a low, timid spirit; and, being uncertain what issue might attend these measures, was desirous of evading the proposal. He replied, that he could by no means comply with the desire of the officers; being engaged in a business of far greater importance to himself, which he could not omit on any account, because it concerned the salvation of his own soul. The officers pressed him to tell what it might be. He was preparing, he said, to participate of the Lord's supper, which he resolved to take next Sabbath. They insisted, that mercy was preferable to sacrifice, and that he could not better prepare himself for that great duty, than by contributing to the public service. All their remonstrances had no effect. However, on the appointed pointed day, the speaker, being informed that aCHAP. quorum of the house was likely to meet, thought ^XIj^/ proper, notwithstanding the salvation of his soul, i6S9. as Ludlow observes, to join them; and the house immediately proceeded upon business. The secluded members attempted, but in vain, to resume their seats among them.
The numbers of this parliament were small, little Lo°8 parexceeding seventy members: Their authority in the t^p%e-T nation, ever since they had been purged by the*toredarmy, was extremely diminished; and after their expulsion had been totally annihilated: But being all of them men of violent ambition; some of them men of experience and capacity; they were resolved, since they enjoyed the title of the supreme authority, and observed, that some appearance of a parliament was requisite for the purposes of the army, not to act a subordinate part to those who acknowledged themselves their servants. They chose a council, in which they took care that the officers of Wallingford-house should not be the majority: They appointed Fleetwood lieutenant-general, but inserted in his commission, that it should only continue during the pleasure of the house: They chose seven persons who should nominate to such commands as became vacant: And they voted, that all commissions should be received from the speaker, and be assigned by him in the name of the house. These precautions, the tendency of which was visible, gave great disgust to the general officers; and their discontent would immediately have broken out into some resolution fatal to the parliament, had it not been checked by the apprehensions of danger from the common enemy.
ThE bulk of the nation consisted of royalists and presbyterians; and to both these parties the dominion of the pretended parliament had ever been to the last degree odious. When that assembly was expelled by Cromwel, contempt had succeeded to
P. hatred; and no reserve had been used in expressing the utmost derision against the impotent ambition. of these usurpers. Seeing them reinstated in authority, all orders of men felt the highest indignation -T together with apprehensions, lest such tyrannical rulers should exert their power by taking vengeance upon their enemies, who had so openly insulted them. A secret reconciliation, therefore, was made between the rival parties; and it was agreed, that, burying former enmities in oblivion, all efforts should be used for the overthrow of the rump; so they called the parliament, in allusion to that part of the animal body. The presbyterians, sensible, from experience, that their passion for liberty, however laudable, had carried them into unwarrantable excesses, were willing to lay aside ancient jealousies, and, at all hazards, to restore the royal family. The nobility, the gentry, bent their passionate endeavours to the same enterprise, by which alone they could be redeemed from slavery. And no man was so remote from party, so indifferent to public good, as not to feel the most ardent wishes for the dissolution of that tyranny which, whether the civil or the military part of it were considered, appeared equally oppressive and ruinous to the nation. MoRDaunt, who had so narrowly escaped on his trial before the high court of justice, seemed rather animated.than daunted with past danger; and having, by his resolute behaviour, obtained the highest confidence of the royal party, he was now become the centre of all their conspiracies. In many counties a resolution was taken to rise in arms. Lord Willoughby of Parham, and sir Horatio Townsend, undertook to secure Lynne; general Massey engaged to seize Glocester; Lord Newport, Littleton, and other gentlemen, conspired to take possession of Shrewsbury; sir George Booth, of Chester; sir Thomas Middlcton, of North Wales; Arundel, Pollar, Granville, Trelawney, of Plymouth 3 and.
THE COMMONWEALTH. 301and Exeter. A day was appointed for the execu- Chap. tion of all these enterprises. And the king, attended by the duke of York, had secretly arrived at Calais, 1659. with a resolution ofputting himself at the head of his loyal subjects. The French court had promised to supply him with a small body of forces, in order to countenance the insurrections of the English.
ThIs combination was disconcerted by the infidelity of sir Richard Willis. That traitor continued with the parliament the same correspondence which he had begun with Cromwel. He had engaged to reveal all conspiracies, so far as to destroy their effect; but reserved to himself, if he pleased, the power of concealing the conspirators. He took care never to name any of the old, genuine cavaliers, who had zealously adhered, and were resolved still to adhere, to the royal cause in every fortune. These men he esteemed; these he even loved. He betrayed only the new converts among the presbyterians, or such lukewarm royalists, as, discouraged with their disappointments, were resolved to expose themselves to no more hazards. A lively proof how impossible it is even for the most corrupted minds to divest themselves of all regard to morality and social duty!
Many of the conspirators in the different coun-jaiy. ties were thrown into prison: Others, astonished at such symptoms of secret treachery, left their houses, or remained quiet: The most tempestuous weather prevailed during the whole time appointed for the rendezvouses: insomuch that some found it impossible to join their friends, and others were dismayed with fear and superstition at an incident so unusual during the summer season. Of all the projects, the only one which took effect was that of sir George Booth for the seizing of Chester. The earl of Derby, lord Herbert, of Cherbury, Mr. Lee, colouel Morgan, entered into this enterprise. Sir
C Lxh P" William Middleton joined Booth with some troops v^^^from North-Wales; and the malcontents were 1659. powerful enough to subdue all in that neighbourhood who ventured to oppose them. In their declaration they made no mention of the. king: They only demanded a free and full parliament.
The parliament was justly alarmed. How combustible the materials, they well knew; and the fire was now fallen among them. Booth was of a family eminently presbyterian; and his conjunction with the royalists they regarded as a dangerous symptom. They had many officers whose fidelity they could more depend on than that of Lambert: But there was no one in whose vigilance and capacity they reposed such confidence. They commissioned him to suppress the rebels. He made incredible haste. Booth imprudently ventured himself out of the walls of Chester, and exposed, in the open field, his raw troops against these hardy vetesuppres- rans. He was soon routed and taken prisoner. His whole army was dispersed. And the parliament had no farther occupation than to fill all the jails with their open or secret enemies. Designs were even entertained of transporting the loyal families to Barbadoes, Jamaica, and the other colonies; lest they should propagate in England children of the same malignant affections with themselves.
ThIs success hastened the ruin of the parliament. Lambert at the head of a body of troops, was no less dangerous to them than Booth. A thousand pounds, which they sent him to buy a jewel, were employed by him in liberalities to his officers. At his instigation they drew up a petition, and transmitted it to Fleetwood, a weak man, and an honest, if sincerity in folly deserve that honourable name. The import of this petition was, that Fleetwood should be made commander in chief, Lambert major-general, Desborow lieutenant-general of the horse,