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possible not to be struck with the ability of its framers, even if we pronounce their work to be not entirely satisfactory. It bears the stamp of an intention to steer a middle course between the despotism of a single person' and the despotism of a 'single House.' Parliament had supreme rights of legislation, and the Protector was not only sworn to administer the law, but every illegal act would come before the courts of law for condemnation. Parliament, too, had the right of disapproving the nominations to the principal ministerial offices, and of voting money for conducting operations in time of war. Where it fell short of the powers of modern Parliaments was in its inability to control administrative acts, and in its powerlessness to refuse supplies for the carrying on of the government in time of peace. A modern Parliament can exercise these powers with safety, because if it uses them foolishly a government can dissolve it and appeal to the nation, whereas Cromwell, who was but the head of a party in the minority, and whose real strength rested on the army, did not venture to appeal to the nation at large, or even to appeal too frequently to the constituencies who were to elect his Parliament.

The real constitutional safeguard was intended to be in the Council of State. Ultimately, after the death of the Councillors named in the Instrument, the Council of State would indirectly represent the Parliament, as no one would have a place on it whose name had not been one of six presented by Parliament. In the Council of State, the Protector would be in much the same position as a modern Prime Minister in his Cabinet, except that each member of the Council held his position for life, whereas a modern Prime Minister can obtain the resignation of any member of the Cabinet with whom he is in strong disagreement. On the other hand, the greater part of the members of a modern Cabinet are heads of executive departments, and thus have a certain independent position of their own. In some respects indeed, the relations between the Protector and the Council were more like those between an American President and the Senate in executive session, than those between an English Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The members of the American Senate are entirely independent of the President, as the members of the Council of the Protectorate were entirely independent of the Protector when once they had been chosen. On the other hand, the two bodies differed in a most important particular. The tendency of the American Senate, which is never officially brought into personal contact with the President, is to be antagonistic to the President. The tendency of the Council of State, which was in daily contact with the Protector, was to work with him instead of against him.

It was not, however, in consequence of its merits or demerits as a constitutional settlement that the Instrument of Government failed. It broke down because the first Parliament summoned under it refused to acknowledge its binding force, and claimed to be a constituent as well as a legislative body.

The chief points in which the Parliamentary constitutional scheme (Appendix) differed from the Instrument of Government will be best seen if given in a tabulated form.


Instrument of Government.



Parliamentary scheme.
Cap. 2. By consent of Pro-

tector and Parliament.


Art. 32. By the Council. Cap. 3. By the Council,

except when Parliament is sitting, and then as Parliament may think

fit. Art. 25. Parliament to Cap. 39. To be nominated

nominate six, of which by the Protector, and the Council is to choose

approved by Parliament. two, of which the Protector is to choose one.



Instrument of Government.
Art. 25. Removable for

corruption and mis-
carriage by a Commis-
sion of seven members
of Parliament, six mem-
bers of the Council, and
the Chancellor. In the
intervals of Parliaments
may be suspended by the
Council with the consent
of the Protector.

Parliamentary scheme. Cap. 40. Not to continue

in office more than forty days after the meeting of Parliament, unless approved by Parliament.


Art. 27. Protector and Cap. 48. £400,000 to be

Council to raise enough permanently assigned to to support 10,000 horse the Protector for miliand 20,000 foot, and to tary and naval expenses, have £200,000 annually and £200,000 for purfor purposes of govern

poses of government, and ment. Extraordinary £700,000 a year till forces to be paid by Dec. 25, 1659. consent of Parliament.

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Art. 5. To be declared by Cap. 52. War to be de-
Protector and Council. clared with consent of

Cap. 53. Peace with con-

sent of Parliament if sitting, or if not, with consent of Council, with such restrictions as may be imposed by Parliament.


Art. 4. Protector to dis- Cap. 45. The present Pro

pose of the Militia and tector to dispose during
forces during the session the session of the forces
of Parliament by consent with consent of Parlia-
of Parliament, and, when ment.
Parliament is not sitting, Cap. 46. When Parliament
to dispose of the Militia is not in session, he is to
with the consent of the dispose of the standing

forces with the consent

of the Council. Cap. 48. Those forces are

during the life of the present Protector to be no more in number than

Parliamentary scheme. shall be agreed on between the Protector and

the Parliament. Cap. 47. After the death

of the present Protector the standing forces are to be at the disposal of the Council till Parliament meets, and then to be disposed of as Parlia

ment shall think fit. [N.B. The Militia is not

mentioned except so far as it may be included in the forces mentioned in Cap. 45.]

Cap. 42. Toleration of wor


Instrument of Government.


Art. 37. Toleration of wor

ship to be given to all
such as profess faith in
God by Jesus Christ if
they do not use it to the
civil injury of others, and
the disturbance of the
public peace; but this
liberty is not to be ex-
tended to Popery or
Prelacy, or practice of

Art. 38. All laws contrary

to this liberty are null
and void.

ship for those who do not use it to civil injury of others, or the disturbance of the public peace. Bills, however, shall become law without the Protector's consent which restrain damnable heresies. What are damnable heresies, however, are to be agreed on by Protector and Parliament. · Bills are also to become law without the Protector's consent for restraining atheism, blasphemy, popery, prelacy, licentiousness, and profaneness. Also Bills against those who publicly maintain anything contrary to the fundamental principles of doctrines publicly professed. What those doctrines are, however, is to be agreed on by the Protector and Parliament.


It will now be understood on what grounds Cromwell dissolved the House. After this he was obliged to carry on the government without it, supplying himself with the necessary funds by the vote of the Council of State, according to Article 27 of the Instrument of Government. Special expenses arising from the necessity of suppressing a Royalist conspiracy were met by the imposition of a tithe on Royalists, which had no constitutional sanction at all.

Amongst the temporary Ordinances issued by the Protector before the meeting of his first Parliament was one for the union of England and Scotland (No. 88, p. 325), followed by another permanent Ordinance in accordance with Article 10 of the Instrument of Government, for the distribution of seats in Scotland. In accordance with the same article, another Ordinance was issued for the distribution of seats in Ireland (No. 89, p. 332). Irish elections, however, were only a matter of interest to the English and Scottish colony, as all Roman Catholics and all persons who had supported the late Rebellion were permanently excluded from voting.

In 1656, the Protector called a second Parliament. By excluding from it about a hundred members whom he judged to be hostile to his government, he found himself on amicable terms with the new assembly. It presented to him a Humble Petition and Advice, asking that certain changes of the Constitution might be agreed to by mutual consent, and that he should assume the title of King. This title he rejected, and the Humble Petition and Advice was passed in an amended form on May 25, 1657 (No. 91, p. 334), and at once received the assent of the Protector. On June 26, it was modified in some details by the Additional Petition and Advice (No. 92, p. 345). Taking the two together, the result was to enlarge the power of Parliament and to diminish that of the Council. The Protector, in return, received the right of appointing his successor, and to name the life-members of the other House,' which was now to take the place of the House of Lords.

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