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— 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 instincts of military politicians to intervene in favour of those guarantees regarded by them as indispensable for the maintenance of the cause which they had so long upheld with all their might.

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 Officers 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—even 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 Vane, but neither of them would accept a place 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. In 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 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 been called by the suffrages of the people—which who can tell how soon God may fit the people for such a thing? None can desire it more than I! Would all were the Lord's people; as it was said, 'Would all the Lord's people were prophets': I would all were fit to be called." In time, indeed, this might be possible when the good and religious conduct of this assembly had won the people to the love of godliness. "Is not this the likeliest way to bring them to their liberties?" 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 provisional. They were to hold it only till November 3, 1654, and then to give place to a second assembly to be elected by themselves—an assembly which was to sit for no more than a year, in which time it was to make provision for the future government of the country.

Contrary, as it would seem, to the intention of those by whom it had been called, the new assembly audaciously assumed the name of Parliament Its real position being that of a mere body of nominees, Lilburne was once more brought into the field. In 1649 Lilburne had been tried and acquitted, but had subsequently been banished by the Long Parliament, which had added to its sentence a declaration that he would be guilty of felony if he, at any time, returned to England. He now reappeared in London, where he was sent to prison, again tried, and again acquitted. The line taken by him and his followers was that the so-called Parliament now in existence was no Parliament at all, as it was not elected by the people. With Cromwell's full consent, Lilburne was retained in confinement, being ultimately removed to Jersey, where no writ of habeas corpus could deliver him.

For a time Lilburne's attack consolidated the alliance between the Lord General and the nominees to whom political power had been entrusted. Yet it was not long before Cromwell's practical sense took alarm at their proceedings. It was indeed not

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