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persed in Devonshire, where many of them were captured. In the end a few of the ringleaders were tried and executed, whilst a large number of their adherents were transported without legal trial to Barbados. Such procedure was rather an evasion than a breach of the law, as the law could only be put in force if the prisoners applied for a habeas corpus, which in this case they did not venture to do, as the court to which they would have to apply for it would be more likely to put them on their trial than to liberate them on bail.
A more difficult question arose when two judges sent to try Royalist prisoners in the north doubted their competency, on the ground that an ordinance issued by the Protector with the object of defining the offences constituting treason before the meeting of Parliament in accordance with the Instrument, could not make _a rebellion against the Protectorate to be High Treason. The two judges were at once dismissed, and soon afterwards Chief Justice Rolle was compelled to resign office because he was unwilling to enforce the payment of customs upon a certain Cony, whilst the three lawyers who argued on Cony’s behalf—one of them being Serjeant Maynard, who lived to welcome \Villiam IIl.——that he was not to pay duties imposed by Protector and Council without the consent of Parliament, were sent to prison till they had apologised. One historian after another has accompanied his account of these proceedings with the observation that there was here a conflict between law and the tyrant’s plea, necessity. There was nothing of the sort. The question was whether the Instrument was a valid constitution. If it was, there could be no reasonable doubt that rebels against the Protectorate were legally traitors, or that customs-duties applicable to the payment of the army and navy were legally set, not by Parliament, but by Protector and Council.
If all that Oliver and his councillors had asked of the Instrument had been to enable them to carry on the government till the lapse of three years had driven them to summon another Parliament, they might have been well content. They could not, however, forget that they were the leaders of the party of reform, and the Instrument itself had deprived them of the power of initiating reforms, except through Parliament. The authority to issue ordi
nances with the force of law had ceased with the meeting of Parliament, and all that could now be done was to urge the Commissioners of the Great Seal to carry out the ordinance of the reform of Chancery, and, upon their refusal, to replace them by others likely to be more complacent. The result was a movement amongst some of Oliver’s partisans in opposition to the Instrument, by which he was hampered as well as assisted. It was natural that such a movement should also have the character of opposition to the military party from whom the Instrument had proceeded. Already in the late Parliament two unsuccessful efforts had been made to confer the title of King on Oliver in the “hope that the civilian element in the Government would be thereby strengthened. In the summer of I655 a petition was circulated in the City asking the Protector to assume legislative power on the invitation of the subscribers. Oliver was far too prudent to follow such a will-of-the-wisp, and the petition was suppressed by the Council. The needs that had called it forth could not so easily be dismissed, especially as the Protector’s desire to reform abuses was strongly reinforced by his need of money—a need which was dramatically enforced on him when the soldiers of his guard broke into his kitchen and carried off the dinner cooked for his own table, telling him to his face that as they had not received their pay, they had taken some of it in kind.
If Oliver was to make both ends meet, it could only be by reductions in the army, and to effect these he needed the co-operation of the officers, and so far as Scotland and Ireland were concerned, reductions which might have been dangerous in January had ceased to be dangerous in July. Monk, who had been sent back to the north as soon as he could be spared from the Dutch war, had reduced the Highlands to submission ; and Ireland, which had been earlier subjected by English arms, was now to have imposed on her that thorough-going system of English colonisation which is usually known as the Cromwellian settlement, the principles of which had, however, been laid down by preceding Governments. Those of the landowning class who were unable to prove, to the satisfaction of English judges, that they had shown constant. good affection to the English Government, even if they had