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CHAPTER V.

THE NOMINATED PARLIAMENT AND THE PRO-
TECTORATE.

AS at the trial of the King, so in the ejection of
Parliament, Cromwell had been thrown back on the
employment of military force. Legality was clearly
against him on both occasions. Yet it must not be
forgotten that he was the last to concur in the em-
ployment of force; and that there was much to be
said for his assertion that the sitting members were
no Parliament. Reduced by the flight of Royalists
to the King in 1642 and by Pride’s Purge in 1648,
they had, after an existence of twelve years and a
half, little remaining to them of that representative
character which is the very being of a Parliament.
At all events, this time, at least, Cromwell was secure
of popular favour. Not a single voice was raised in
defence of the expelled members.
some wag scrawled on the door of the Parliament
House: “This House to be let unfurnished”. The
Parliament disappeared amidst general derision. For

all that, the work before Cromwell was one of enormous

In the evening

V

— perhaps even of hopeless— difficulty. Without Parliament or King, the nation was thrown upon its own resources to reconstruct its institutions as best it might. It was inevitable that in such stress of storm it should hark back to the old paths, and should see no prospect of settled government, save in the restoration of the throne, or at least in the election of another Parliament. Yet this was the very thing that Cromwell and all who were associated with him most dreaded. It was but too probable that such a solution would sweep away not only Puritanism, but all hope of political reform. Everything for which the army had fought and for which the nation had suffered was at stake, and it was not in human nature—-certainly not in Cromwell’s nature—to make such a sacrifice without a struggle. That such a struggle could only be prolonged with the support of the army was selfevident. Cromwell, however, was the last of men to desire to establish a purely military government, and the army, to do it justice, was commanded by men who were, for the most part, desirous to support their general in the experiment of establishing a civil government which would have dispensed with the interference of military power. The tragedy—the glorious tragedy—of Cromwell’s subsequent career

' lay in the impossibility of permanently checking the for the maintenance of the cause which they had so long upheld with all their might.

instincts of military politicians to intervene in favour of those guarantees regarded by them as indispensable

Distrust of the constituencies was the prominent feature of Cromwell’s next move. The compromise offered by him of the temporary establishment of a non-elective body to prepare a basis of settlement whilst Parliamentary institutions remained in abeyance, was now adopted by the officers. Lambert,who advocated a scheme for establishing a Council of State, apparently with provision for the increased independence of the executive, together with the election of a Parliament with restricted functions,— was unable to enforce his views. A small Council of State was established to carry on current affairs, but it was in the Council of Oflicers that the main question of the constitution was to be determined. Cromwell, after some hesitation, rallied to a very different scheme which had been suggested by Harrison, the brilliant soldier who dreaded to see the government in the hands of any but the Saints. Cromwell, however, whilst accepting Harrison’s views on the whole, determined to modify them, in order to make the new assembly something more than a group of pious fanatics. He was consequently now anxious that it should include notable personages—e.v_en Fairfax was suggested—who had contended against the King, but who had no connection with the extreme sections of the community which found favour in Harrison’s eyes. It was eventually resolved that the Council of Officers should invite nominations from the Congregational Churches in each county, reserving to itself the power of rejecting persons so named, and also of adding names which found no place on the list. On June 8 the persons finally selected received writs issued in the name of Cromwell as Lord General. An attempt had been made to secure the inclusion not only of

Fairfax but of Vang, but neither of them would accept

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aplace in the new assembly.

On July 4 the nominees of the army took their seats at Westminster. Cromwell, at all events, threw himself entirely into the spirit of the occasion. In a long speech he manifested his delight at seeing the government at last entrusted to the hands of the godly. No such authority, he proclaimed triumphantly, had ever before been entrusted to men on the ground that they owned God and were owned by Him. For once the emotional side of his nature had gained the upper hand over his practical common-sense. long detail he told of the misconduct of the late Parliament, and repelled the idea that he had had any intention of substituting his own authority for that of the discarded House. It had been incumbent

on him and his colleagues ‘ not to grasp at the power

In

ourselves, or to keep it in military hands, no, not for a day, but, as far as God enabled us with strength and ability, to put it into the hands of proper persons

that might be called from the several parts of the

nation’. “This necessity,”

he proceeded to aver; “and I hope we may say for ourselves, this integrity of concluding to divest the sword of all power in the civil administrations, hath been that that hath moved us to put you to this trouble.” Then, enlarging on the providential character of the mission of the members of the new assembly, he urged them with many Scriptural quotations to take up their authority as men whom God had placed as rulers of the land. What, then, was to be said of that ideal of elected Parliaments, which had sunk so deeply into the minds of that generation ? “ If it were a time,” he suggested, “to compare your standing with those that have bee called by the suffrages of the people—which who can] tell how soon God may fit the people for such a thing ?i None can desire it more than I ! Would all were thel’ Lord’s people; as it was said, ‘ Would all the Lord’ i people were prophets’: I would all were fit to b called.” In time, indeed, this might be possibl when the good and religious conduct of this assembly had won the people to the love of godliness. “ not this theglikeliest _-w_a.y to"bring"them"to-‘the-ir,l_ liberties §_’j Finally, after much enforcement of the encouragements held forth by the Prophets and the Psalmists, he resigned all the power provisionally exercised by himself into the hands of his hearers,

announcing to them that their power also was to be

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