« AnteriorContinuar »
His younger son, Henry Cromwell, was now Lord Deputy of Ireland. His son-in-law, Fleetwood, was not only a member of the Council, but, now that Lambert was in disgrace, the most influential officer in the army, marked out for its command if Oliver were to pass away. His brother-in-law, Disbrowe, occupied a position hardly inferior. Two other brothers-in-law, Colonel John Jones and Colonel Valentine Wanton, were members of the Council in England or Ireland. Lockhart, one of the few Scotchmen who had rallied to the Protectorate, and who was engaged as a diplomatist in rivetting the bonds between France and England, took to wife the Protector’s niece. A son-in-law, John Claypole, was now Master of the Horse. In the army, \Vhalley and Ingoldsby were his cousins. Not one of these, however, failed to occupy with credit the position he had acquired, whilst Oliver’s reluctance to push forward Richard, the elder of his surviving sons, may be taken as evidence that his affection for his family did not override his devotion to the State. Richard’s tastes lay in the direction of dogs and horses. He had recently broken his leg, hunting in the New Forest, and, upon his recovery, was brought up to \/Vestminster to assume his place, on the establishment of the second Protectorate. Before that time, only two of the Councillors not holding office, Lambert and Strickland, had received the title of “ Lord,” probably having it verbally conferred upon them, and certainly not, as has been sometimes said, in connection with any Household appointment. Officials of high rank had—like the Lord Deputy and the Lord Keeper of the old monarchy—been entitled Lords, as in the case of Whitelocke, now Lord Commissioner of the Treasury, and Fiennes, Lord Commissioner of the Great Seal. Gradually, usage quickly sanctioned by official notice. gave the title of Lord to the Protector’s sons and sons-in-law, and of Lady to his daughters. The Lord Richard was only admitted to the Council on the last day of I657, and was treated with some of the observances due to the heir, but till the last his father held back from exercising that power of nominating a successor which had been conferred on him by the latest constitution.
As far as in him lay, Oliver took care that his family should be an example
to all the families in the land. Strict as he was in banishing not merely vice, but the folly that leads to vice, he was no more opposed to reasonable amusement than other more sober Puritans of the day. Music and song had a special charm for him, and amongst his soldiers he showed his appreciation of a healthy jest, laughing heartily, for instance, on his way to the campaign of Dunbar, when one of them slammed an overturned cream-tub on the head of another. After the victory at \Vorcester he was heard of in a hawking party near Aylesbury, and if he prohibited horse-races, together with the drama, cock-fights and bear-baitings, it was not because he disliked amusement, but partly because he set himself against the immorality with which these particular amusements were accompanied, and partly because the confluence of spectators concealed the assembly of Royalist and other conspirators. Of horses he was quite as good a judge as his son Richard, and it was from a spirited pair of runaway steeds which had been given to him by the Count of Oldenburg that he nearly met his death in the early days of the Protectorate. Of late years Oliver’s enjoyment of country life had been much curtailed. Other rulers had been in the habit of making summer progresses which took them away from business and the life of towns. Oliver—if he invented nothing else—may be regarded as the inventor of that modified form of enjoyment to which hardworked citizens have, in our day, given the name of the “week-end.” Liable to assault on every hand, he did not venture to leave the seat of Government for long, and he found repose in a weekly visit to Hampton Court, which lasted from Saturday to Monday, the length of his sojourn being only rarely extended by illness or some unusual family occurrence. The domestic life of the Protector was all that might be expected from a man whose heart was as warm as his spirit was high. In the midst of his most arduous labours he seldom passed a day, as long as he was at \Vhitehall, on which he did not dine and sup in the family circle, and up till his aged mother’s death in I654, he was in the habit of visiting her every night before she retired to rest. Of his four daughters two were already married, the eldest, Bridget, after the death of her first husband, Ireton,