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drawn in some of them to engage to corrupt others to fall in with him ; but, to speak the truth of all, Cromwell was at that time so incorruptibly faithful to his trust and the people's interest, that he could not be drawn in to practise even his own usual and natural dissimulation on this occasion.
“ His son-in-law Ireton, that was as faithful as he, was not so fully of the opinion (till he had tried it, and found to the contrary) but that the king might have been managed to comply with the public good of his people, after he could no longer uphold his own violent will. But, upon some discourses with him, the King uttering these words to him, “I shall play my game as well as I can ;' Ireton replied, “ If your Majesty have a game to play, you must give us also the liberty to play ours.” Colonel Hutchinson privately discoursing with his cousin about the communications he had had with the King, Ireton's expressions were these, “ He gave us words, and we paid him in his own coin, when we found he had no real intention to the people's good; but to prevail, by our factions, to regain by art what he had lost in fight.”
The Parliament, as an aggregate body, seemed to have no decided character at this time--deceit, distrust, and interest, evidently pervaded every breast composing it; and yet the representation was sufficiently general. The writers who have
favoured us with an account of the events of the period under notice, say, that it was divided into three classes :-two of an imperious and aspiring description, which favoured each other's views as convenience suited; and a third, who termed themselves, or were termed Levellers : the latter, as the word implies, endeavoured to level the others; asserting, that the good of the state required a sacrifice of personal interest, and greater equality in the enjoyment of offices and common rights.
The Presbyterian and Independent parties had so little regard to decency (according to Mrs. H1.), that they entered into open contention for superiority ; and it has been asserted, that even at this æra of intended Reformation of manners and customs, persons were known to procure seats in the House of Commons to protect them from their creditors.
It is impossible for us to decide, whether the Reformers or Levellers had nothing more in view than the restoration of good government; but it is certain that their example produced an association of persons, out of Parliament, who wished for an Agrarian law. Cromwell made the best use of these dissensions for his own ambitious purposes. When he left London, on one of the expeditions to which he was appointed, the chiefs of the Levellers attended liim part of the way, and received such flattering distinctions, that they
were convinced of his firm adherence to their cause; but they were afterwards greatly vexed and disappointed at hearing Cromwell dismissed a coachfull of Presbyterians, with exactly similar professions of attachment to their party.
It will be admitted that the few traits I have given of Cromwell's character sufficiently explain the nature of it. I therefore hope the reader will excuse my saying more of this singular man than Mrs. Hutchinson enables me to do, in the following extract from her work; particularly as a full account of him may be found in “ Londinium Redivivum." “ After Colonel Hutchinson had given Fleetwood that caution, he was going into the country; when the Protector sent to search him out with all the earnestness and haste that could possibly be; and the Colonel went to himwho met him in one of the galleries, and received him with open arms and the kindest embraces that could be given, and complained that the Colonel should be so unkind as never to give him a visit; professing how welcome he should have been—the most welcome person in the land ; and with these smooth insinuations led him along to a private place, giving him thanks for the advertisement he had received from Fleetwood, and using all his art to get out of the Colonel the knowledge of the persons engaged in the conspiracy against him. But none of this cunning, nor promises, nor flatteries, could prevail with
the Colonel to inform him more than he thought necessary to prevent the execution of the design ; which when the Protector perceived, he gave him most infinite thanks for what he had told him, and acknowledged it opened to him some mysteries that had perplexed him, and agreed so with other intelligence he had, that he must owe his preservation to him. “But (says he) dear Colonel, why will not you come in and act among us?" The Colonel told him plainly, because he liked not any of his ways since he broke the Parliament, as being those which led to certain and unavoidable destruction, not only of themselves, but of the whole Parliament party; and thereupon took occasion, with his usual freedom, to tell him into what a sad hazard all things were put; and how apparent a way was made for the restitution of all former tyranny and bondage. Cromwell seemed to receive this honest plainness with the greatest affection that could be, and acknowledged his precipitateness in some things; and with tears complained how Lambert had put him upon
all those violent actions ; for which he now accused him, and sought his ruin. He expressed an earnest desire to restore the people's liberties, and to take and pursue more safe and sober councils, and wound up all with a very fair courtship of the Colonel to engage with him, offering him any thing he would account worthy of him
“ The Colonel told him, he could not be for ward to make his own advantage by serving to the enslaving of his country. The other told him, he intended nothing more than the restoring and cofirming the liberties of the good people; in order to which he would employ such men of honour and interest as the people should rejoice, and he should not refuse to be one of them. And after with all his arts he had endeavoured to ex, cuse his public actions, and to draw in the Colonel, who again had taken the opportunity to tell him freely his own and all good men's discontents and dissatisfactions, he dismissed the Colonel, with such expressions as were publicly taken notice of by all his little courtiers then about him; when he went to the end of the gallery with the Colonel, and there embracing him, said, aloud to him, “ Well, Colonel, satisfied or dissatisfied, you shall be one of us; for we can no longer exempt a person so able and faithful from the public service; and you shall be satisfied in all honest things." The Colonel left him, with that respect that became the place he was in, when, immediately the same courtiers who had some of them passed him by without knowing hin when he came in, although they had been once of his familiar acquaintance, and the rest who had looked upon
him with such disdainful neglect as those little people use to those who are not of their faction, now flocked about him; striving