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as he was unable to depend on the nation as a whole, he had nothing to fall back upon except a Protectorate which, in reality, was controlled by the will of the leading officers, who found in the provisions of the Instrument which they had themselves originated, the means of drawing from the country—irrespective of the concurrence of Parliament or nation—the means of perpetuating their own power by securing the levy of taxes, the amount of which was fixed by the Protector and Council alone.

Oliver having once made up his mind to refuse his consent to the new Parliamentary constitution, was anxious to hasten the day of its dissolution. The Instrument having provided that the House should sit for five months, he opportunely remembered that the months by which the army's pay was regulated were lunar months; and on January 22, I655, when five lunar months were expired, he pronounced its dissolution. The speech in which he announced his determination was stamped with vcxation of spirit at the failure of his hopes, a vexation in itself by no means unjustifiable. The tragedy of the situation lay in the undoubted fact that however much they might differ on the means to be pursued, the end at which Protector and Parliament aimed was identical, namely, the conversion of the military into the civil state. Parliament had counted it well done to leave Oliver in possession for five years, whilst Oliver, conscious of his own rectitude of purpose, and ignoring the consideration that at the end of five years he might no longer be living, and that the Protectorate might have passed by demise into less worthy hands, complained that he was not trusted. \Vhy, he asked, had they not come to him to talk the matter over? Why indeed, except that Parliaments have their pride as well as Protectors, and that this one had come to the conclusion that it was its duty to settle the constitution rather than to accept a settlement from a knot of soldiers. If it did not seek an opportunity to discuss such grave questions with Oliver in person, at least it had had the advantage of listening to what might be presumed to be his views when promulgated by those members of his Council who were also members of the House.

In an elaborate defence of the Instrument, Oliver put his finger on the real ground of offence. “Although,” he declared in speaking of the rights of the Protector, “for the present the keeping up and having in his power the militia seems the most hard, yet, if it should be yielded up at such a time as this when there is as much need to keep this cause by it—which is evidently at this time impugned by all the enemies of it—as there was to get it, what would become of all? Or if it should not be equally placed in him and the Parliament, but yielded up at any time, it determines the Power,” i.e., hinders the exercise of authority by the person in possession of power, “either from doing the good he ought, or hindering Parliaments from perpetuating themselves, or from imposing what religion they please on the consciences of men, or what government they please upon the nation; thereby subjecting us to dis—settlement in every Parliament, and to the desperate consequences thereof: and if the nation shall happen to fall into a blessed peace, how easily and certainly will their charge be taken off, and their forces disbanded; and then, where will the danger be to have the militia thus stated?”

lt was impossible for the Protector to put his case more convincingly Yet, admirable as a criticism pointing out the danger likely to follow on the adoption of the proposals of Parliament, Oliver’s reasoning presupposed the acceptance by Parliament of his own conviction that an armed minority had the right to impose its principles on the unarmed majority—the very belief which the authors of the Parliamentary constitution were most determined to resist. Even if it had been possible for any Puritan party to look for a solution of the problem in an appeal to the unfettered judgment of the nation, it is evident that Oliver would never have agreed to such an arbitration. On the one side was the resolve to get what appeared to be the right thing done, if necessary by force. On the other side was the resolve to eliminate the element of force by subordinating it to the rule of Parliaments. For the moment the decisive word rested with Oliver. “I think myself bound,” he said in conclusion, “ as in my duty to God, and to the people of these nations, for their safety and good in every

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respect—I think it my duty to tell you that it is not for the profit of these nations, nor for common and public good for you to continue longer, and therefore I do declare unto you, that I do dissolve this Parliament.”

History has pronounced in favour of the view taken by Oliver’s antagonists. The reliance on military power in which he had found his refuge did more than all other facts put together to establish, for good or for evil, a reliance on Parliament. It is the special mark of his greatness that he put his whole heart after the dissolution of his first Parliament into an effort to avoid the appearance even of a temporary dictatorship. He shrank from being a military ruler, even under the plea of the necessity of the times.

His holding back the dissolution of Parliament till the fifth month—lunar

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month as it was had been accomplished, offers the key-note of the position as he judged it. The Parliamentary constitution had perished stillborn. The constitution of the Instrument was in full force, and was to be observed, even though it were to his own detriment. The Instrument enabled the Protector and Council to levy such taxation as they thought fit for 30,000 men and for a navy sufficient for defence, whilst he had now on foot some 57,000 soldiers, and, in addition to the home fleet, two others had already been despatched—-the one to the Mediterranean, the other to the \Vest Indies. Yet the Protector was able to announce that he would content himself with levying the Assessment money at the low amount of £80,000 a month on the three nations, an amount which the dissolved Parliament had fixed as sufficient for the forces named in the Instrument. Such a decision left the Government with enormous forces—as forces were in those days reckoned—which it had no visible means of paying; but it was an announcement in the most practical form, that, as soon as the existing situation would admit, the military expenditure should be brought down to the requirements of the Instrument. The announcement was accompanied by a proclamation setting forth the principles on which the Protector had decided to act on the thorny question of religious liberty. There was to be complete freedom for all who contented themselves with setting forth their opinions, without “imposing” on the conscience of others or disturbing their worship. The

last clause was aimed at the new Society of Friends, commonly styled Quakers
by the irreverent multitude, and sought to put a stop to their practice of
carrying on their polemics in churches in which congregations were as-
sembled. To the exhortations of George Fox himself, the Protector listened
with respect. “Come again to my house,” said Oliver, “for if thou and I
were but an hour a day together, we should be nearer one to the otlier.
I wish you no more ill than I do to my own soul." A reverence for
genuineness, in whatever shape, was not the least admirable of OIiver’s
characteristics.

The clause against “imposing” was more widely sweeping in its aims. It struck at the claims of the Roman Papacy, and the English episcopacy, as well as at the designs of the late Parliament to establish lists of opinions to which toleration should be refused. It struck also at all attempts to snatch at political power with the object of serving religious ends. Oliver’s breach with Parliament had roused attacks from every quarter. These were the Fifth Monarchy men who rejected every form of secular government and whose leaders were not to be silenced except by placing them under guard. Harrison himself had to be placed under arrest. It was not work that Oliver would have chosen. “I know,” wrote Thurloe, “it is a trouble to my Lord Protector to have anyone that is a saint in truth to be grieved or dissatisfied with him.” The Cavaliers might be regarded as hereditary enemies. In the last summer a Cavalier plot to assassinate the Protector had been discovered, and two of the plotters, Gerard and Vowel had been executed. \Vhilst Parliament was still in session, Thurloe’s spies—who were to be found in every land in which their services were required—brought him news of a projected insurrection, and it had been one of Oliver’s charges against the members, that their delay in settling the Government had fostered the plot. In March, futile attempts to rise were made in various parts of the country, the only one which gained the dignity of an actual insurrection being that in which Penruddock and others gathered in arms at Salisbury, seized the judges of assize in their beds and marched off in the hope of rallying the scattered Royalists of the west. The insurgents, however, were dis

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GROUP OF FOUR i\llNlA'l‘URES
In the Royal collection at \Vindsor Castle.

(At mp) ELIZABETI-I CROh|\\"F.LL, mother of Oliver Cr-nn\vcll. from the original by John Hoskins {signed}; (~n left] MARY, third daugllter of Oliver Cronnvell, ’afterwards Lady Fauconlierg), from the original by Lawrence Crosse jsigm-dj‘; (rm rig-/1:) ELIZABETH, second daughter of Oliver Cromwell (afterwards Mrs. Claypole}, from the original by Samuel Cooper (signedj; (at /mrmm) BRIDGET, eldest daughter of

Oliver Cromwell [afterwards .\Irs. Ireton and Mrs. lfleetwoodj‘, from the original by
Lawrence Crosse signed). .

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