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could have befallen them in the manly discharge of their duties.

The better to exact this forced payment, and with a view, also, toward imbodying a sort of national army, which might be employed in case of need to balance or repress the troops, whose fidel. ity he distrusted, he divided England into twelve cantons, each of which was placed under the absolute power of a major-general. These bashaws, as Ludlow calls them, were to levy all imposts, sequester those who did not pay the decimation, and commit to prison any persons whom they suspected; and there was no appeal from any of their acts, but to the protector. In each canton he raised a body of horse and foot, who were only to be called out in cases of necessity, and then to serve a certain number of days at their own charge; if they served longer, they were to receive the same pay as the army, but they were to be under the major-general of their respective canton. A certain salary was allowed them, that of a horseman being eight pounds a year. But the advantage which he might have derived from this kind of yeomanry force (that of all other which may most reasonably be depended upon for the preservation of order), brought with it a new danger from the power of the majors-general; and Cromwell removed these bashaws in time, without difficulty, because they had made themselves odious to the nation.

He called his next parliament* with more confidence, because the war in which he had engaged against Spain had made him master of Jamaica, and two treasure-ships, with a frightful destruction of the Spaniards, had been taken. The treasure was brought in wagons from Portsmouth to London, and paraded through the city to the Tower. Most of the members took the test which he required; they passed an act binding all men to renounce Charles Stuart and his family ; they declared it high treason to attempt the life of the protector, and granted him larger supplies than had ever before been raised, one of the imposts being a full year's rent upon all houses which had been erected in and about London, from before the beginning of the troubles. Finally, they offered him the title of king, which was the great object of his ambition. The republicans, from whom he expected most danger, had been carefully excluded by management in the elections, or by the test. Vane and Harrison were in confinement, for Cromwell feared the craft of the former, and the enthusiasm of the latter, which placed him above all means of corruption or intimidation. Yet there was more opposition than he had anticipated ; and one member applied to him in the house, the words

[* 30 September, 1654, dissolved 31st January, 1654–5.]

of the prophet to Ahab, “ Hast thou killed and also taken possession ?" Lambert, who had hitherto forwarded all the views of Oliver, because he expected to be the next protector himself, being the second man in the army, declared against a proposal which would have been fatal to his ambition : and there were members bold enough to say, that if they must submit to the old government, they would much rather choose to obey the true and lawful heir of a long line of kings, than one who was but at best their equal, and had raised himself by the trust which they had reposed in him. Upon such opposition Cromwell would have trampled, if he had found support in his own family and nearest connexions. But his sons were without ambition. Richard, the eldest, indeed was believed to be at heart a royalist; Desborough, who had married his sister, and Fleetwood, who was his son-in-law (having married Ireton's widow), with a stupid obstinacy objected to his assuming the name of king, though they had no objection to his exercising a more absolute authority than any king of England had ever possessed. Colonel Pride, who had purged the parliament to make him what he was, procured a petition from the majority of the officers then about London, against his taking the title ; and information, to which he gave full credit, was conveyed to him, that a number of men had bound themselves by oath to kill him,


within so many hours after he should accept it Under these disheartening circumstances, after a long and painful struggle with himself, and some curious discussions with the deputation of members, who were sent to urge his acceptance, he concluded by refusing it upon the plea of conscience.*

In thus yielding to men of weaker minds than his own, Cromwell committed the same which had been fatal to Charles. The boldest course would have been the safest; the wisest friends of the royal family were of opinion, that if he had made himself king de facto, and restored all things in other respects to the former order, no other measure would have been so injurious to the royal cause. Everything except the name was given him; the power of appointing his successor in the protectorship was now conferred upon him by parliament, and the ceremony of investitute was performed for the second time, and with a pomp which no coronation had exceeded.

The speaker presented him with a robe of purple velvet, a mixed color, to show the mixture of justice and mercy, which he was to observe in his administration; the bible, “the book of books, in which the orator told him he had the happiness to be well

{* 8th May, 1657. On the 16th December, 1653, he was installed lord protector, and on the 26th June, 1657, inaugurated lord protector. Whitelock, p. 571 and p. 662, ed. 1732.]

versed, and which contained both precepts and examples for good government ;" a sceptre, not unlike a staff, for he was to be a staff to the weak and poor; and lastly, a sword, not to defend himself alone, but his people also: “If,” said the speaker, “I might presume to fix a motto upon this sword, as the valiant Lord Talbot had upon his, it should be this : Ego sum Domini Protectoris, ad protegendum populum meum I am the Lord Protector's, to protect my people.”

So great was the reputation which Cromwell obtained abroad by his prodigious elevation, the lofty tone of his government, and the vigor of his arms, that an Asiatic Jew is said to have come to England for the purpose of investigating his pedigree, thinking to discover in him the lion of the tribe of Judah! Some of his own most faithful adherents regarded him with little less veneration. Their warm attachment, and the more doubtful devotion of a set of enthusiastic preachers, drugged the atmosphere in which he breathed ; and yet, white his bodily health continued, the natural strength of his understanding prevailed over this deleterious influence, and he saw things calmly, clearly, and sorrowfully, as they were. Shakspere himself has not imagined a more dramatic situation than that in which Cromwell stood. He had attained to the possession of sovereign power, by means little less guilty than Macbeth, but the

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