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they resolved to make use of it to recruit the House with persons of the same spirit and temper, thereby to perpetuate their own sitting; which intention divers of the activest amongst them did manifest, labouring to persuade others to a consent therein : and the better to effect this, divers petitions, preparing from several counties for the continuance of this Parliament, were encouraged, if not set on foot, by many of them.
For obviating of these evils, the officers of the Army obtained several meetings with some of the Parliament, to consider what fitting means and remedy might be applied to prevent the same : but such endeavours proving altogether ineffectual, it became most evident to the Army, as they doubt not it also is to all considering persons, that this Parliament, through the corruption of some, the jealousy of others, the non-attendance and negligence of many, would never answer those ends which God, His people, and the whole nation expected from them ; but that this cause, which the Lord hath so greatly blessed and borne witness to, must needs languish under their hands, and, by degrees, be wholly lost ; and the lives, liberties, and comforts of His people delivered into their enemies hands.
All which being sadly and seriously considered by the honest people of this nation, as well as by the Army, and wisdom and direction being sought from the Lord, it seemed to be a duty incumbent upon us, who had seen so much of the power and presence of God going along with us, to consider of some more effectual means to secure the cause which the good people of this Commonwealth had been so long engaged in, and to establish righteousness and peace in these nations.
And after much debate it was judged necessary, and agreed upon, that the supreme authority should be, by the Parliament, devolved upon known persons, men fearing God, and of approved integrity ; and the government of the Commonwealth committed unto them for a time, as the most hopeful way to encourage and countenance all God's people, reform the law, and administer justice impartially; hoping thereby the people might forget Monarchy, and, understanding their true interest in the election of successive Parliaments, may have the government settled upon a true basis, without hazard to this glorious cause, or pecessitating to keep up armies for the defence of the same. And being still resolved to use all means possible to avoid extraordinary courses, we prevailed with about twenty members of Parliament to give us a conference, with whom we freely and plainly debated the necessity and justness of our proposals on that behalf; and did evidence that those, and not the Act under their consideration, would most probably bring forth something answerable to that work, the foundation whereof God Himself hath laid, and is now carrying on in the world.
The which, notwithstanding, found no acceptance; but, instead thereof, it was offered, that the way was to continue still this present Parliament, as being that from which we might reasonably expect all good things : and this being vehemently insisted upon, did much confirm us in our apprehensions, that not any love to a representative, but the making use thereof to recruit, and so perpetuate themselves, was their aim.
They being plainly dealt with about this, and told that neither the nation, the honest interest, nor we ourselves would be deluded by such dealings, they did agree to meet again the next day in the afternoon for mutual satisfaction ; it being consented unto by the members present that endeavours should be used that nothing in the mean time should be done in Parliament that might exclude or frustrate the proposals before mentioned.
Notwithstanding this, the next morning the Parliament did make more haste than usual in carrying on their said Act, being helped on therein by some of the persons engaged to us the night before ; none of them which were then present endeavouring to oppose the same ; and being ready to put the main question for consummating the said Act, whereby our aforesaid proposals would have been rendered void, and the way of bringing them into a fair and full debate in Parliament obstructed ; for preventing thereof, and all the sad and evil consequences which must, upon the grounds aforesaid, have ensued ; and whereby, at one blow, the interest of all honest men and of this glorious cause had been in danger to be laid in the dust, and these nations embroiled in new troubles at a time when our enemies abroad are watching all advantages against us, and some of them actually engaged in war with us, we have been necessitated, though with much reluctancy, to put an end to this Parliament; which yet we have done, we hope, out of an honest heart, preferring this cause above our names, lives, families, or interests, how dear soever; with clear intentions and real purposes of heart, to call to the government persons of approved fidelity and honesty; believing that as no wise men will expect to gather grapes of thorns, so good men will hope, that if persons so qualified be chosen, the fruits of a just and righteous reformation, so long prayed and wished for, will, by the blessing of God, be in due time obtained, to the refreshing of all those good hearts who have been panting after those things.
Much more might have been said, if it had been our desire to justify ourselves by aspersing others, and raking into the misgovernment of affairs ; but we shall conclude with this, that as we have been led by necessity and Providence to act as we have done, even beyond and above our own thoughts and desires, so we shall and do in that part of this great work which is behind, put ourselves wholly upon the Lord for a blessing ; professing, we look not to stand one day without His support, much less to bring to pass any of the things mentioned and desired, without His assistance ; and therefore do solemnly desire and expect that all men, as they would not provoke the Lord to their own destruction, should wait for such issue as He should bring forth, and to follow their business with peaceable spirits, wherein we promise them protection by His assistance.
And for those who profess their fear and love to the name of God, that seeing in a great measure for their sakes, and for righteousness' sake, we have taken our lives in our hands to do these things, they would be instant with the Lord day and night on our behalfs, that we may obtain grace from Him; and seeing we have made so often men. tion of His name, that we may not do the least dishonour thereunto : which indeed would be our confusion, and a stain to the whole profession of Godliness.
We beseech them also to live in all humility, meekness, righteousness, and love one toward another, and towards all men, that so they may put to silence the ignorance of the foolish, who falsely accuse them, and to know that the late great and glorious dispensations, wherein the Lord hath so wonderfully appeared in bringing forth these things by the travail and blood of His children, ought to oblige them so to walk in the wisdom and love of Christ, as may cause others to honour their holy profession, because they see Christ to be in them of a truth.
We do further purpose, before it be long, more particularly to shew the grounds of our proceedings, and the reasons of this late great action and change, which in this we have but hinted at.
And we do lastly declare, that all Judges, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Mayors, Bailiffs, Committees, and Commissioners, and all other civil officers and public ministers whatsoever, within this Commonwealth, or any parts thereof, do proceed in their respective places and offices; and all persons whatsoever are to give obedience to them as fully as when Parliament was sitting.
Signed in the name, and by the appointment, of his Excellency the Lord General and his Council of Officers.
Will. MALYN, Secretary.
SUMMONS TO A MEMBER OF THE SO-CALLED BAREBONES
[June 6, 1653. Old Parliamentary History, xx. 151. See Masson's
Life of Milton, iv. 501.] Forasmuch as upon the dissolution of the late Parliament it became necessary that the peace, safety, and good government of this Commonwealth should be provided for; and, in order thereunto, divers persons fearing God, and of approved fidelity and honesty, are by myself, with the advice of my council of officers, nominated, to whom the great charge and trust of so weighty affairs is to be committed ; and having good assurance of your love to, and courage for, God and the interest of His cause, and of the good people of this Commonwealth.
I, Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General and Commander-inChief of all the armies and forces raised, and to be raised, within this Commonwealth, do hereby summon and require you
(being one of the said persons nominated) personally to be and appear at the Council-Chamber, commonly known or called by the name of the Council-Chamber at Whitehall, within the City of Westminster, upon the 4th day of July next ensuing the date hereof; then and there to take upon you the said trust unto which you are hereby called and appointed, to serve as a member for the county of
And hereof you are not to fail. Given under my hand and seal the 6th day of June, 1653.
87. THE INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT.
[December 16, 1653. Old Parliamentary History, xx. 248. See Masson's
Life of Milton, iv. 542.) The government of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging.
I. That the supreme legislative authority of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, shall be and reside in one person, and the people assembled in Parliament; the style of which person shall be the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
II. That the exercise of the chief magistracy and the administration of the government over the said countries and dominions, and the people thereof, shall be in the Lord Protector, assisted with a council, the number whereof shall not exceed twenty-one, nor be less than thirteen.
III. That all writs, processes, commissions, patents, grants, and other things, which now run in the name and style of the keepers of the liberty of England by authority of Parliament, shall run in the name and style of the Lord Protector, from whom, for the future, shall be derived all magistracy and honours in these three nations; and have the power of pardons (except in case of murders and treason) and benefit of all forfeitures for the public use; and shall govern the said countries and dominions in all things by the advice of the council, and according to these presents and the laws.
IV. That the Lord Protector, the Parliament sitting, shall dispose and order the militia and forces, both by sea and land, for the peace and good of the three nations, by consent of Parliament; and that the Lord Protector, with the advice and consent of the major part of the council, shall dispose and order the militia for the ends aforesaid in the intervals of Parliament.
V. That the Lord Protector, by the advice aforesaid, shall direct in all things concerning the keeping and holding of a good correspondency with foreign kings, princes, and states; and also, with the consent of the major part of the council, have the power of war and peace.
VI. That the laws shall not be altered, suspended, abrogated, or repealed, nor any new law made, nor any tax, charge, or imposition laid upon the people, but by common consent