Page images
PDF
EPUB

Again, I would not have accepted of the government, unless I knew there would be a just accord between the governor and the governed; unless they would take an oath to make good what the parliament's petition and advice advised me unto; upon that I took an oath, and they took another oath upon their part, answerable to mine : and did not every one know upon what condition they swore ? God knows, I took it upon the condition expressed in the government, and I did think we had been upon a foundation, and upon a bottom ;* and thereupon I thought myself bound to take it, and to be advised by the two houses of parliament ; and we standing unsettled till we were arrived at that, the consequences would necessarily have been confusion, if that had not been settled. Yet there are not constituted hereditary lords, nor hereditary kings; the power consisting in the two houses and myself. I do not say that was the meaning of your oath to yourselves, that were to go against my own principles, to enter upon another man's conscience. God will judge between me and you.

IE there had been in you any intention of settlement, you would have settled upon this basis, and have offered your judgment and opinion.

God is my witness, I speak it, it is evident to all the world, and all people living, that a new business hath been seeking in the army, against this actual settlement made by your consent. I do not speak to these gentlemen, or lords, (pointing to his right hand,) whatsoever you will call them. I speak not this to them, but to you; you advised me to run into this place; to be in a capacity by your advice ; yet instead of owning a thing taken for granted, some must have, I know not whạt ; and you have not only disjointed yourselves, but the whole nation, which is in likelihood of running into more confusion, in these fifteen or sixteen days that you have sat, than it hath been from theraising of the last

* This is something like the style of Sir Hugh Evans, in Shakespear. VOL. I.

20

[ocr errors]

session of this day ; through the intention of devising a commonwealth again, that some of the people might be the men that might rule all; and they are endeavouring to engage the army to carry that thing. And hath that man been true to this nation, whosoever he be, especially that hath taken an oath, thus to prevaricate ? These designs have been among the army to break and divide

I speak this in the presence of some of the army, that these things have not been according to God, nor according to truth, pretend what you will. These things tend to nothing else, but the playing the king of Scots' game, if I may so call him; and I think myself bound, before God, to do what I can to prevent it.

That which I told you in the Banquetting House, was true; that there were preparations of force to invade us ; God is my witness, it has been confirmed to me since, within a day, that this king of Scots hath an army at the water side, ready to be shipped for England. I have it from those who have been eye witnesses of it; and while it is doing, there are endeavours from some, who are not far from this place, to stir up the people of this town into a tumulting. What if I had said into a rebellion ? And I hope I shall make it appear no better, if God assist

It hath been not only your endeavour to pervert the army, while you have been sitting, and to draw them to state the question about the commonwealth ; but some of you have been listing of persons, by commission of Charles Stuart, to join with any insurrection that may be made. And what is like to come upon this, the enemy being ready to invade us, but even present blood and confusion? And if this be so, I do assign to this cause your not assenting to what you did invite me to by the petition and advice, as that which might be the settlement of the nation; and if this be the end of your sitting, and this be your carriage, I think it high time that an end be put unto your sitting, and I do dissolve this parliament. And let God judge between me and you.

.

me.

RICHARD CROMWELL,

Succeeded his father in the Protectorate : but soon after, not being able to retain the government in his hands, he resigned, and went abroad. He died 1712. It is curious to have something of a man who, from the weakness either of his understanding or passions, tamely lost a kingdom which his father had gained.

Richard Cromwell's Speech on the Meeting of Parliament.

My Lords and Gentlemen, I believe there are scarce any of you here, who expected some months since, to have seen this great assembly at this time in this place, in peace, considering the great and unexpected change which it hath pleased the all-disposing hand of God to make in the midst of us. I can assure you, that if things had been according to our own fears, and the hopes of our enemies, it had not been thus with us: and therefore it will become both you and me, in the first place (as to reverence and adore the great God, possessor of heaven and earth, in whose hands our breath is, and whose are all our ways, because of his judgments,) so to acknowledge him in his goodness to these lands, in that he hath not added sorrow to sorrow, and made the period of his late highness's life, and that of the nation's peace, to have been in one day.

Peace was one of the blessings of my father's govern. ment; a mercy, after so long a civil war, and in the midst of so great division which that war bred, is not usually afforded by God unto a people in so great a measure.

The cause of God and these nations, which he was engaged in, met in all the parts of it, as you well know, with many enemies and great opposition. The archers, privily and openly, sorely grieved him, and shot at him; yet his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.

As to himself, he died full of days, spent in great and sore travail ; yet his eyes were not waxed dim, neither was his natural strength abated, as was said of Moses. He was serviceable even to the last.

As to these nations, he left them in great honour abroad, and in full peace at home; all England, Scot. land, and Ireland, dwelling safely, every man under his vine, and under his fig tree, from Dan, even to Beersheba.

He is gone to rest, and we are entered into his labours; and if the Lord hath still a blessing for these lands, (as I trust he hath,) as our peace hath been lengthened out to this day, so shall we go on to reap the fruit, and gather the harvest of what his late highness hath sown and laid the foundation of

For my own part, being by the providence of God, and the disposition of the law, my father's successor, and bearing that place in the government that I do, I thought it for the public good to call a parliament of the three nations, now united and conjoined together into one commonwealth, under one government.

It is agreeable, not only to my trust, but to my principles, to govern these nations by the advice of my two houses of parliament. I find it asserted in the humble petition and advice, (which is the corner stone of this building, and that which I shall adhere to,) that parliaments are the great council of the chief magistrate, in whose advice both he and these nations may be most safe and happy. I can assure you, I have that esteem of

I them, and as I have made it the first act of my government to call you together, so I shall further let you see the value I have of you, by the answers that I shall return to the advice that shall be given me by you, for the good of these nations.

You are come up from your several counties, as the hesds of your tribes, and with hearts, (I persuade my.

self,.) to consult together for their good. I can say, I" meet you with the same desires, having nothing in my design but the maintenance of the peace, laws, liberties, both civil and christian, of these nations; which I shall always make the measure and rule of my government, and be ready to spend my life for.

We have summoned you up at this time, to let you know the state of our affairs, and to have your advice in them; and I believe à parliament was never summoned upon a more important occasion.

It is true, as I have told you, we are, through the goodness of God, at this time in peace; but it is not thus with us because we have no enemies. No, there are enough, both within us and without us, who would soon put an end to our peace, were it in their power; or should it at any time come into their power.

It will be becoming your wisdom, to consider of the securing of our peace against those, who we all knon are, and ever will be, our implacable enemies; 'what the means of doing this are, I shall refer unto you.

This I can assure you, that the armies of England, Scotland, and Ireland, are true and faithful to the peace and good interest of these nations; and it will be found so; and that they are a consistent body, and useful for any good ends; and if they were not the best army in the world, you would have heard of many inconveniences, by reason of the great arrear of pay which is now due unto them, whereby some of them are reduced to great necessities. But you shall have a particular account of their arrears, and I doubt not but consideration will be had thereupon, in some speedy and effectual way. And

. this being matter of money, I recommend it particularly to the house of commons.

You have, you know, a war with Spain, carried on by the advice of parliament. He is an old enemy, and a potent one; and therefore it will be necessary, both for the honour and safety of these nations, that that war be vigorously prosecuted.

« PreviousContinue »