« PreviousContinue »
Highness is well aware of that! Nevertheless "somewhat to stand between me and the House of Commons' has seemed a thing desirable, a thing to be decided on: and this new House of Lords, this will be a "somewhat," — the best that can be had in present circumstances. Very weak and small as yet, like a tree new planted; but very certain to grow stronger, if it have real life in it, if there be in the nature of things a real necessity for it. Plant it, try it, this new Puritan Oliverian Peerage-of-Fact, such as it has been given us. The old Peerage-of-Descent, with its thousand years of strength, — what of the old Peerage has Puritan sincerity, and manhood and marrow in its bones, will, in the course of years, rally round an Oliver and his new Peerage-of-Fact, — as it is. already, by many symptoms, showing a tendency to do. If the Heavens ordain that Oliver continue and succeed as hitherto, undoubtedly his new Peerage may succeed along with him, and gather to it whatever of the Old is worth gathering. In the mean while it has been enacted by the Parliament and him; his part is now, To put it in effect the best he can.
The List of Oliver's Lords can be read in many Books; * but issuing as that matter did, it need not detain us here. Puritan Men of Eminence, such as the Time had yielded: Skippon, Desborow, Whalley, Pride, Hewson, these are what we may call the Napoleon-Marshals of the business: Whitlocke, Haselrig, Lenthall, Maynard, old Francis House, Scotch Warriston, Lockhart; Notabilities of Parliament, of Religious Politics, or Law. Montague, Howard are there; the Earls of Manchester, Warwick, Mulgrave, — some six Peers; of whom only one, the Lord Eure from Yorkshire, would, for the present, take his seat. The rest of the Six as yet stood aloof; even Warwick, as near as he was to the Lord Protector, could not think** of sitting with such a NapoleonMarshal as Major-General Hewson, who, men say, started as a Shoemaker in early life. Yes; in that low figure did Hewson start; and has had to fight every inch of his way up hitherward, doing manifold victorious battle with the Devil and the World as he went along, — proving himself a bit of right good stuff, thinks the Lord Protector! You, Warwicks and others, according to what sense of manhood you may have, you can look into this Hewson, and see if you find any manhood or worth in him; — I have found some! The Protector's List, compiled under great difficulties,* seems, so far as we can now read it, very unexceptionable; practical, substantial, with an eye for the New and for the Old; doing between these two, with good insight, the best it can. There were some Sixtythree summoned in all; of whom some Forty and upwards sat, mostly taken from the House of Commons: — the worst effect of which was, that his Highness thereby lost some forty favourable votes in that other House; which, as matters went, proved highly detrimental there.
* Complete, in Parliamentary History, xx\. 167-9: incomplete, with angry contemporary glosses to each Name, which are sometimes curious, in Uarleian Miscellany, vi. 460-71. An old Copy of the official Summons to these Lords is in Additional Ayscouyh Mss., no. 3246. «* Ludlow, ii. 596.
However, Wednesday 20th January 1657-8 has arrived. The Excluded Members are to have readmission, — so many of them ascan take theOath according to this New Instrument. His Highness hopes if they volunteer to swear this Oath, they will endeavour to keep it; and seems to have no misgivings about them. He to govern and administer, and they to debate and legislate, in conformity with this Petition and Advice, not otherwise; this is, in word and in essence, the thing they and he have mutually with all solemnity bargained to do. It may be rationally hoped that in all misunderstandings, should such arise, some good basis of agreement will and must unfold itself between parties so related to each other. The common dangers, as his Highness knows and will in due time make' known, are again imminent; Royalist Plottings once more rife, Spanish Charles-Stuart Invasion once more preparing itself.
But now the Parliament reassembling on this Wednesday
« Thurloe, vi. 648.
the 20th, there begins, in the "Outer Court," since called the Lobby, an immense "administering of the Oath," the whole Parliament taking it; Six Commissioners appearing "early in the morning," with due apparatus and solemnity, minutely described in the Journals and Old Books;* and then labouring till all are sworn. That is the first great step. Which done, the Commons House constitutes itself; appoints "Mr. Smythe" Clerk, instead of Scobell, who has gone to the Lords, and with whom there is continual controversy thenceforth about "surrendering of Records" and the like. In a little while (hour not named) comes Black Rod; reports that his Highness is in the Lords House, waiting for this House. Whereupon, Shoulder Mace, — yes, let us take the Mace, — and march. His Highness, somewhat indisposed in health, leaving the main burden of the exposition to Nathaniel Fiennes of the Great Seal, who is to follow him, speaks to this effect; as the authentic Commons Journals yield it for us.
Mr Lords, And Gentlemen 'of' The House or Commons, . I meet you here in this capacity by the Advice and Petition of this present Parliament. After so much expense of blood and treasure, 'we are now' to search and try what blessings God hath in store for these Nations. I cannot but with gladness of heart remember and acknowledge the labour and industry that is past, 'your past labour,' which hath been spent upon a business worthy of the best men and the best Christians. [May it prove fruitful!}
It is very well known unto you all what difficulties we have passed through, and what 'issue' we are now arrived at. We hope we may say we have arrived if not 'altogether' at what we aimed at, yet at that which is much beyond our expectations. The nature of this Cause, and the Quarrel, what that was at the first, you all very well know; I am persuaded most of you have been actors in it: It was the maintaining of the Liberty of these Nations; our Civil Liberties as Men, our Spiritual Liberties as Christians. [JIave we arrived at that?] I shall not much look back; but rather say one word concerning the state and condition we are all now in.
* Commons Journals vii. 578; Whitlocke, p. C66; Burton, ii. 322.
You know very well, the first Declaration,* after the beginning of this War, that spake to the life, was a sense held forth by the Parliament, That for some succession of time designs had been laid to innovate upon the Civil Eights of the Nations, 'and' to innovate in matters of Religion. And those very persons t who, a man would have thought, should have had the least hand in meddling with Civil things, did justify them all. [Zealous sycophant Priests, Sibthorp, Manioaring, Montagu, of the Laud fraternity: forced-loans, monopolies, ship-moneys, all Civil Tyrjmny was right according to them!] All the 'Civil' transactions that were,-r— 'they justified them' in their pulpits, presses, and otherwise! Which was verily thought, 'had they succeeded in it,' would have been a very good shelter to. them, to innovate upon us in matters of Religion also. And. so to innovate as to eat out the core and power and heart and life of all Religion! By bringing on us a company of poisonous Popish Ceremonies [Somewhat animated, your Highness!], and imposing them upon those that were accounted "the Puritans" of the Na
* Declaration, 2d August 1642, vent through the Lords House that day; it is in Parliamentary Hixlnry, vi. 350. A thing of audacity reckoned almost impious at the time (see Dawes's us. Journal, 23d July]; corresponds in purport to what is said of it here.
tion, and professors of religion among us, — driving them to seek their bread in an howling wilderness! As was instanced to our friends who were forced to fly for Holland, New England, almost anywhither, to find Liberty for their Consciences.
Now if this thing hath been the state and sum of our Quarrel, and of those Ten Years of War wherein we were exercised; and if the good hand of God, for we are to attribute it to no other, hath brought this business thus home unto us as it is now settled in the Petition and Advice, — I think we have all cause to bless God, and the Nations have all cause to bless Him. [If we were of thankful just heart, — yea!]
I well remember I did a little touch upon the Eighty-fifth Psalm when I spake unto you in the beginning of this Parliament.* Which expresseth well what we may say, as truly as it was said of old by the Penman of that Psalm! The first verse is an acknowledgment to God that He "had been favourable unto His land," and "brought back the captivity of His people;" and 'then' how that He had, "pardoned all their iniquities and covered all their sin, and taken away all His wrath;" — and indeed of these unspeakable mercies, blessings, and deliverances out of captivity, pardoning of national sins and.national iniquities. Pardoning, as God pardoneth the man whom He justifieth! He breaks through, and overlooks in . iquity; and pardoneth because He will pardon. And sometimes God pardoneth Nations also! — And if the enjoyment of our present Peace and other mercies may be witnesses for God 'to us,' — we feel and we see them every day. . „. ,..
* Antea, Speech VI. p. 209.