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Go your ways, my honorable friends, and sign, so many of you as God hath made free thereuntol The place, I tell you, is in the Lobby without the Parliament Door. The ‘ Thing,’ as you will find there, is a bit of Parchment with these words engrossed on it: ‘ I do hereby freely promise, and engage myself, to be true and faithful to the Lord Protector and the Commonwealth of England, ‘Scotland and Ireland; and shall not (according to the tenor of the Indenture whereby I am returned to serve in this present Parliament) propose, or give my consent, to alter the Government as it is settled in a Single Person and a Parliament.’* Sign that. l or go home again to your countries.
Let honorable gentlemen therefore consider what they will do l—‘ About a Hundred signed directly, within an hour.’ Guibon Goddard and all the Norfolk Members (except one, who was among the direct Hundred) went and ‘ had dinner together,’ to talk the matter over ;—-mostly thought it would be better to sign: and did sign, all but some two. The number who have signed this first day, we hear, is One-hundred-and-twenty, Onehundred-and-thirty, nay One-hundred-and-forty.1' Blank faces of honorable gentlemen begin to take meaning againr-some mild, some grim. To-mornow being Fastday, there is an adjournment. The recusants are treated ‘ with all tenderness ;’ most of them come in by degrees: ‘ Three-hundred before the month ends.’
Deep Republicans, Bradshaw, Haselrig, Thomas Scott and the like, would not come in ; still less would shallow noisy ones, as Major Wildman ;--went home to their countries again, their blank faces settling into permanent grim. My Lord Protector molested no man for his recusancy; did indeed take that absence as a. comparative favor from the parties. Harrison and other suspect persons are a little looked after: the Parliament resumes its function as if little had happened. With a singular acquiescence on the part of the Public, write our correspondents, Dutch and other. The Public, which I have known rebel against crowned Kings for twitching the tippet of a Parliament, permits this Lord Protector to smite it on the cheek, and say, “Have
. a care, wilt thou !” Perhaps this Lord Protector is believed to
' Whitlocke, p. 587 1' Goddard, Whitlocke, Letter in Thurloc
mean better than the King did? There is a difference in the objects of men, as the Public understands ;—a difference in the men too for rebelling against! At any rate, here is singular submission everywhere ; and my Lord Protectorgettilig ready a powerful Sea-Armament, neither his Parliament nor any other creature can yet guess for what.*
Goddard’s report of this Parliament is distinct enough ; brief, and not without some points of interest; ‘the misfortune is,’ says one Commentator, ‘ he does not give as names.’ Alas, a much greater misfortune is, that Parliament itself is hardly worth naming! It did not prove a successful Parliament ;eit held on by mere Constitution-building ; and efl'ected, so to speak, nothing. Respectable Pedant persons; never doubting but the Ancient sacred Sheepskins would serve for the New Time, which also has its sacredness ; thinking, full surely, constitutional logic was the thing England now needed of them! Their History shall remain olank, to the end of the world. I have read their Debates, and counsel no other man to do it. Wholly upon the ‘ Institution of Government,’ modelling, new-modelling of that: endless anxious spider-webs of constitutional logic ; vigilant checks, constitutional jealousies, &c., dzc. _ To be forgotten by all creatures.
They had a Committee of Godly Ministers sitting in the Jerul salem Chamber ; a kind of miniature Assembly of Divines ; intent upon ‘ Scandalous Ministers and Schoolmasters,’ upon tender consciences, and the like objects: but there were only Twenty in this Assembly ; they could hardly ever get fairly under way at all ;—and have left in English History no trace that I eculd see of their existence, except a very reasonable Petition, noted in the Record, That the Parliament would be pleased to advance them a little money towards the purchase of fire and candle,—in these cold dark months. The Parliament, I hope, allowed them coals and a few tallow-lights ; but neither they nor‘it could accomplish anything towards the Settling of a Godly Ministry in England : my Lord Protector and his Commissions will have to settle that too; an object dear to all good men. The Parliament spent its
time in constitutional jangling, in vigilant contrivance of balances, checks, and that species of entities. With‘difficulty could, at rare intervals, a hasty stingy vote, not for the indispensable Supplies, but for some promise of them, be wrung. An unpro\ fitable Parliament.
For the rest, they had Biddle the Socinian before them; a poor Gloucester Schoolmaster once, now a very conspicuous Heresiarch, apparently of mild but entirely obstinate manners,—poor devil: him they put into the Gatehouse ; him and various others of that kidney. Especially ‘Theauro John, who laid about him with a drawn sword at the door of the Parliament House one day,’*—a man clearly needing to be confined. ‘ Theauro John :’ his name had originally been John Davy, if I recollect; but the Spirit, in some preternatural hour, revealed 10 him that it ought to be as above. Poor Davy: his labors, life-adventures, financial arrangements, painful biography in general, are all unknown to us; till, on this ‘Saturday, 30th December, 1654, he very clearly knocks loud at the door of the Parliament House,’ as much as to say, “ What is this you are upon?” and ‘lays about him with a drawn sword ;’—after which all again becomes unknown. Seemingly a kind of Quaker. Does the reader know James Nayler, and the devout women worshipping him-Z George Fox,'in his suit of leather, independent of mankind, looks down into the soft Vale of Belvoir, native ‘Vale of Beverz’ Do not the whispering winds and green fields, do not the still smokepillars from these poor cottages under the eternal firmaments, say in one’s heart, “George, wilt thou not help us from the wrath to come '2” George finds in the Vale of' Bever ‘ a'very tender people.’ In fact, most singular Quakerisms, frightful Socinian. isms, and other portents are springing up rife in England.
Oliver objected, now and always, to any very harsh punish. ment of Biddle and Company, much as he abhorred their doctrinea Why burn, or brand, or otherwise torment them, poor souls? They, Wandering as we all do seeking for a door of nope into the Eternities, have, being tempted of the Devil as we all likewise are, missed the door of hope ; and gone tumbling into dan
gerous gulfs,—dangerous, but not yet beyond the mercy of God. Do not burn them. They meant, some of them, well; bear visibly to me the scars of stem true battle against the Enemy of Man. Do not burn them ;-—lock them up, that they may not mislead others. On frugal wholesome diet in Pendennis Castle, or Elizabeth Castle in Jersey, or here in the Clink Prison at London, they will not cost you much, and may arrive at some composure. Branding and burning is an ugly business ;—as little of that as you can.
Friday, 29% September, 1654. His Highness, say the old Lumber-Books, went into Hyde Park ; made a small picnic dinner under the trees, with Secretary Thurloe, attended by a few servants ;—was, in fact, making a small pleasure excursion, having in mind to try a fine new team of horses, which the Earl or Duke of Oldenburg had lately sent him. Dinner done, his Highness himself determined to drive,—-two in hand, I think, with a postillion driving other two. The horses, beautiful animals, tasting of the whip, became unruly; galloped, would not be checked, but took to plunging; plunged the postillion down; plunged or shook his Highness down, ‘ dragging him by the foot for some time,’ so that ‘a pistol went off in his pocket,’ to the amazement of men. Whereupon'! Whereupon—his Highness got up again, little the worse; was let blood ; and went about his affairs much as usual !* Small anecdote that figures, larger than life, in all the ' Books and Biographies. I have known men hrown from their horses on occasion, and less noise made about it, my erudite friend! But the essential point was, his Highness Wore a pistol.—Yes, his Highness is prepared to defend himself; has men, and also. truculent-flunkeys, and devils and devil’s-servants of various kinds, to defend himself against;—and wears pistols, and what other furniture outward and inward may be necessary for the object. Such of you as have an eye that way can take notice of it !—
Thursday, 16!]: November, 1654. On the other hand, what a glimyee into the interior domesticities of the Protector Housenold, have We in the following brief Note! Amid the darkness and buzzard dimness, one light-beam, clear, radiant, mournfully
beautiful, like the gleam of a sudden star, disclosing for a moment many things to us! On Friday, Secretary Thurloe writes incidentally: ‘ My Lord Protector’s Mother, of Ninety-four years old, died last night. A little before her death she gave my Lord her blessing, in these words : “ The Lord cause His face to shine upon you ; and comfort you in all your adversities; and enable you to do great things for the glory of your Most High God, and to be a relief unto His People. My dear Son, I leave my heart with thee. A 'good night i” ’*-‘-and therewith sank into her long sleep. Even so. Words of ours are but idle. Thou brave one, Mother pf a Hero, farewell !—-Ninety-four years old : the royalties of Whitehall, says Ludlow very credibly, were of small moment to her: ‘ at the sound of a musket she would often be afraid her Son was shot; and could not be satisfied unless she saw him once a day at least.’1' She, old, weak, wearied one, she cannot help him with his refractory Pedant Parliaments, with his Anabaptist plotters, Royalist assassins, and world-wide confusions; but she bids him, Be strong, be comforted in God. And so Good night! And in the still Eternities and divine Silences -—Well, are they not divine '!—
December 26th, 1654. The refractory Parliament and other dim confusions still going on, we mark as a public event of some significance, the sailing of his Highness’s Sea-Armament. It has long been getting ready on the Southern Coast ; sea-forces, landforces j—sails from Portsmouth on Christmas morrow, as above marked.i——None yet able to divine whither bound ; not even the Generals, Venables and Penn, fill they reach a certain latitude. Many are much interested to divine! Our Brussels Conespondent writes long since, ‘ The Lord Protector’s Government makes England more formidable and considerable to all Nations :han ever it has been in my days.’§
‘ Thurloe to Pell, 17 Nov., 1654: in Vaughan’s Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell (London, 1839), i., 81.
f Ludlow, ii., 488. 1 Penn’s Narrative, in Thurloc, in, Q.
§ Thurloe, i., 160 (11 March. 1553-4).