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potism ; that again, when the sword was no longer wielded by a strong hand, giving place to anarchy ; till the people, at length weary of their sufferings and their insecurity, while knaves and fanatics were contending for the mastery over them, restored the monarchy with one consent.
When Cromwell called the battle of Worcester a crowning mercy, he may have used that word in a double sense between pun and prophecy ; for certain it is that from this time he did not conceal the kingly thoughts and views which he entertained. He would have knighted Lambert and Fleetwood upon the field, if his friends had not dissuaded him; and soon afterward, when Ireton's death delivered him from the only person whom he regarded with deference, he assembled certain members of parliament, with some of the chief officers, at the speaker's house, told them it was necessary to come to a settlement of the nation, and delivered his own opinion in favor of a settlement with somewhat of a monarchical power in it. The lawyers who were present were in general for a mixed monarchy; and many were for choosing the duke of Gloucester king, who was still in their hands, and was, as they said, too young to have borne arms against them, or to be infected with the principles of their enemies. The officers were as generally against monarchy, though every one of them, says Whitelock, was á monarch in his regiment or company. For the present, Cromwell was satisfied with having felt his ground, and waited while the Long parliament made themselves more and more odious by the desire which they manifested of perpetuating their own power, the war, which they provoked with the Dutch, and the severities which they exercised by their abominable high court of justice, where tools of the ruling party, who had no character to lose, acted at once as judge and jury. The prisoners taken at Worcester were driven like cattle to London; many of them perished there in confinement for want of food, and the rest were sold to the plantations for slaves by the despotic' government which had risen upon the ruins of the throne ! This act of abominable tyranny is mentioned by Baxter without any comment, and apparently without the slightest feeling. But when he relates that Mr. Love, one of the London ministers, was condemned and beheaded by the same authority -then, indeed, heaven and earth are moved at such an enormity!" At the time of his execution, or very near it on that day, there was the dreadfulest thunder, and lightning, and tempest, that was heard or seen for a long time before. This blow sunk deeper toward the root of the new commonwealth than will easily be believed, and made them grow odious to almost all the religious party in the land except the sectaries. And there is,
as Sir Walter Raleigh noteth of learned men, such as Demosthenes, Cicero, &c., so much more in divines of famous learning and piety, enough to put an everlasting odium upon those whom they suffer by, though the cause of the sufferers were not justifiable. Men count him a vile and detestable creature, who in his passion, or for his interest, or any such low account, shall deprive the world of such lights and ornaments, and cut off so much excellency at a blow.—After this the most of the ministers and good people of the land did look upon the new commonwealth as tyranny.”
The Long parliament having made itself as much hated by the presbyterians as it was by the royalists, was odious at the same time to the army and the fanatics of both kinds, political and religious. Cromwell stated their misconduct to Whitelock strongly, and with none of that muddiness with which he frequently chose to conceal or obscure his meaning. On this occasion he spoke plainly: “ Their pride,” he said, “and ambition and self-seeking, engrossing all places of honor and profit to themselves and their friends ; and their daily breaking forth into new and violent parties and factions : their delays of business, and design to perpetuate themselves and to continue their power in their own hands; their meddling in private matters between party and party, contrary to the institution of parliaments, and their
injustice and partiality in those matters, and the scandalous lives of some of the chief of them these things do give too much ground for people to open their mouths against them and to dislike them. Nor can they be kept within the bounds of justice and law or reason, they themselves being the supreme power of the nation, liable to no account to any, nor to be controlled or regulated by any other power; there being none superior or co-ordinate with them.” Whitelock confessed the evil, but said it would be hard to find a remedy.
What,” said Cromwell, “ if a man should take upon him to be king ?" To this Whitelock replied that this remedy would be worse than the disease ; that being general he had less envy and less danger than if he were called king, but not less power and real opportunities of doing good. And he represented to him that he was environed with secret enemies : that his own officers were elated with success; many of them,” said he,“ are busy and of turbulent spirits, and are not without their designs how they may dismount your excellency, and some of themselves get up into the saddlehow they may bring you down and set up themselves." Cromwell would willingly have engaged Whitelock in his views; but Whitelock was a cautious, temporising man, who generally chose the safest part, and never incurred danger by resisting what he could not prevent, or putting him
self in the van when he could remain with the main body. In speaking honestly to Cromwell, he risked nothing ; the feeling which his dissent excited was rather disappointment than displeasure, and he would be esteemed more for his sincerity.*
His concurrence was of little moment. Cromwell could count upon his faithful services when the thing was done, and he had plenty of other agents who were ready to go through with any thing. That memorable scene soon followed (20th April, 1653), when Cromwell turned out the par
[* See the whole of this remarkable conversation in Whitelock, pp. 548–551, ed. 1732.
“ Whitelock was a man who, taking at first, in honest con. viction, what is called the patriotic aside, adhered to it when men as honest as himself, of far higher intellectual powers, and greater moral courage, went over to the king's party. He conformed to all changes during the course of the rebellion, not from any greedy or ambitious views, but because he hoped that every change might be the last, and dreaded the danger of any attempt at restoring that order of things which had been by violence subverted. The weight of his respectable character was thus thrown into whatever scale preponderated. But in all other respects he was so estimable a man-never in. juring others, and seeking only to secure, not to aggrandize, himself—that the royalists regarded him with no asperity; they looked upon his conduct as proceeding entirely from moral timidity, unmixed with any worse motive; and when he appeared at Charles II.'s court, to make his excuses, the king, with that .good-nature which-though it was far from covering the multitude of his sins-gave a grace to much that he did and to everything he said, bade him go home and take care of his fourteen children."-SOUTHEY, Letter to John Mur. ray, Esq,“ touching” Lord Nugent, p. 31.]