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in the West Indies and yet remain at peace with Spain can only be explained by his admiration for Elizabethan methods, which led him to suppose that the existing Spanish Government would be as ready as that of Philip II. to put up with a system which kept peace in Europe whilst war was being waged in America. It is not, however, with problems of international morality that we are at present concerned. Before Blake could sail for the Mediterranean or Penn for the West Indies, Parliament would meet, and would be confronted with the fact that, in addition to his fleets, the Protector had on foot a land force of 57,000 men, a number exceeding by no less than 27,000 the 30,000 which the Instrument itself had laid down as the normal strength of the army. It is true that he could hardly have met his engagements with a smaller force. Ireland was only recently subdued; an insurrection against the English conquerors—known as Glencairn’s rising—was in full swing in Scotland ; the dread of a Royalist movement in England required the maintenance of more troops than would be needed in quieter times, whilst other regiments were already preparing for embarkation in the West Indian fleet. On the other hand, when it is remembered that it was through his command of the services of these soldiers that Oliver had been raised to power, that he could still count on their support to maintain him in it, and that he was calling I
THE NOMINATED PARLIAMENT. 239
upon the nation to bear the burden of enterprises which he had originated without asking its consent, can it be matter of wonder that at such a time there should be some effort on the part of a Parliament which had come to look upon itself as representing the nation to impose limits upon the burdens which had already far outgrown even the prescriptions of the Instrumentitself?
The elections to the first Protectorate Parliament were held under peculiar conditions. In the boroughs sti-ll permitted to return members the old conditions existed, but in the counties to which a redistribution of seats had transferred the electoral power, hitherto possessed by small villages under the influence of the neighbouring landowners, the Instrument had established a uniform franchise of the ownership of real or personal property worth £200. So far as we can trace any direct issue before the constituencies, the elections turned on the approval or renunciation of the policy of the advanced party in the nominated Parliament, and on this the electorate gave no uncertain sound. That party was practically swept away, and a full approbation thereby accorded to the conservative policy which had been the main strength of the appeal made to the country by the It did not follow that the new
constitution would meet with the same approbation.
A not inconsiderable number of the Commonwealth
men, such as Bradshaw and Hazlerigg, sore at their expulsion from the benches of the Long Parliament, had been returned, together with a goodly company of political Presbyterians, who might be expected to do their best to free Parliament from the shackles of the Instrument. f Under these circumstances, Oliver’s speech at the
"opening of Parliament was a masterpiece of skill.
Dwelling on the points on which he and the majority of his hearers were in agreement, he kept out of sight those on which differences might arise. He__ca.lled for healin and lement, for orderly government which might replace the confusions of the past and stem the tide of fanaticism in the present. He dwelt not on the extent of the liberty of conscience proclaimed in the Instrument, but on the restrictions imposed in that document, especially on such teachers as ‘under the profession of Christ, hold forth and practise licentiousness’. He held up for acceptance
the doctrine that, when such a result was to be feared,
it was the duty of the magistrate to intervene. He protested against the notion that it was antichristian for a minister to receive ordination, and also against the notion that the was about to commence, and that it was ‘ for men, on this principle,
1 to betitle themselves that they are the only men to
rule kingdoms, govern nations, and give laws to people, and determine of property and liberty and everything else’. Then came Oliver’s appeal for support on the grounds of the difficulties he had inherited from his predecessors—troubles in Ireland and Scotland, trade with Portugal and France interrupted, as well
as a war with the Dutch; after which he Mne~, the ' ' al
rgforms it had rende§:~ the peace with the
Ditch, andfithe commercial treaties concluded with Sweden and Denmark. Finally came a hint that
Parliament might well be liberal with its supplies, as in spite of the enormous burdens weighing upon it, the Government had diminished, by no less than £30,000 a month, the assessment tax by which army and »navy were in part supported. It has often been doubted whether Oliver had in him the making of a Parliamentary tactician. Those who reply in the affirmative may point to this speech in defence of their opinion, especially if we accept the evidence of the Dutch ambassadors that Oliver—in words subsequently omitted from the published speech—4:oncluded by a direct invitation to the House to take into consideration the Instrument, no doubt expecting its easy acceptance by men who were as desirous of order as himself. Confirmatory of this conclusion is the fact that when the Parliamentary debates opened and the question was asked whether the House was prepared to leave the government under the control
of a single man, it was a member of the Council who
demanded that all other business should be laid aside till the Instrument had been submitted to the approval of the House.
When this demand had been complied with, it became evident that the majority of the members were in favour of imposing further restrictions on the Protector which would make him no more than a tool in the hands of Parliament. Such a position Oliver absolutely declined to accept, and on its being known that Harrison had been seeking the advantage of his own party by stirring up confusion at Westminster, and had boasted that he would have 20,000 men at
/ Ol/ his back, he struck firmly and sharply. Harrison
to attend the Protector in the Painted Chamber.
i was sent for under guard, and Parliament was ordered
have fallen from his lips. There can be no doubt that he would personally have preferred the retention of the Instrument as it stood, but he was aware of the objections taken to it, and all that we know leads us to believe that those objections were shared by members of his own Council. At all events, after a justification of his own conduct in relation to the preparation of the Instrument, and an argument that it had been accepted by the electors who had been bound by its terms to acknowledge the settlement of the Government in a single person and Parliament, he