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Protector, who still occupied anything like an independent position, was
Monk, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief in Scotland, and it is pro-
bable that he owed his authority to the distance which kept him from
interfering in English politics. The true explanation appears to be that the
men from whom he parted were men not merely of definite principles, but
of definite ideas. Each one had made up his mind that England was to
be served by the establishment of some particular form of government, or
some particular course of action. Oliver’s mind was certainly not without the
guidance of definite principles. He could not conceive it to be right to
abandon religion to men who, whether Episcopalian or Presbyterian, would
impose fetters on the freedom of “ the people of God.” He could not admit
the claim of an hereditary monarch or of an elected Parliament to decide
against the highest interests of the country. \Vithin these limits, how-
ever, his mind was more elastic than those of his opponents. Steadied
by his high aims, he could vary the methods with which he combated
each evil of the day as it arose. Those who attached themselves to him
in his struggle against the King or against the different Parliaments of
his time, or against the military power, were as incapable as he was
capable of facing round to confront each new danger as it arose. From
the moment that each partial victory was won, the old friends had to be
reasoned with, then discarded, and at last restrained from doing mischief.
As years went on, Oliver, in spite of the abilities of those still serving
under him, became increasingly an isolated man. Not only did his strong
sense of religion in its Puritan form alienate those who were not Puritans
or not religious, but his frequent changes of attitude bewildered that easy-
going mass of mankind which sticks to its own theory, more especially if
its own interests are embodied in it, and regards all change of political
method as a veil intended to conceal moral turpitude. Oliver had decidedly
lost adherents since the establishment of the Protectorate.

It was probably the increasing sense of the untrustworthiness of political
support, rather than nepotism in its ordinary sense, which led the Protector
to rely more and more on the services of members of his own family.

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