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treason, and couched in terms that necessarily implied the total overthrow of the established religion, and very effectually carried the principle into practice. In 1644, while twenty-two peers and 280 commoners sat as the parliament at Westminster, forty-five peers and 118 commoners, members of the same parliament which had declared itself permanent, assembled by order of the King, at Oxford, and constituted themselves the parliament of England—a defection amounting, in one House to a majority of more than all the body of Peers adhering to the popular cause, which yet, in no way influenced the proceedings of the parliament at Westminster. Then followed Pride's Purge, by which about an hundred more were added to the absentees from parliament; and there. after, the execution of the King, and the abolition of the Upper House; leaving this very small minority, thus winnowed by successive acts of various kinds, still claiming for an assembly of some fifty commoners, all the rights and privileges that belonged to the English parliament, or had been at any time assumed by it during these years of struggle. To dismiss such an assembly, at such a crisis, was, we conceive, just one of those proceedings, the whole merits of which depend on the use that was made of it. So far as any constitutional right, derived from ancient laws or usages was concerned, Cromwell possessed as good a claim to the supreme power as the members of the Rump to that of the parliament of England. Above all, he appears to have possessed that indisputable claim, better at such a crisis than all others, of being able to wield the power which he assumed.
THE BAREBONES PARLIAMENT.
The last remnant of the long parliament fell, not only without regret, but amid the general rejoicings of the nation. So fickle a criterion of worth, however, as popular favour, is a poor standard by which to judge either of this last relic of the old constitution, or of the new power by which it was superseded. Cromwell was no courter of popular applause; probably, indeed, no man ever lived who was less influenced in his actions by the probable opinion others might form of them. When he returned from his swift and triumphant progress through Ireland, he was received with every conceivable demonstration of popular favour from the moment he landed at Bristol till he reached Whitehall; the parliament, common council, army, and civilians, each vieing with the others in welcoming the victorious General whom they delighted to honour As he rode to Whitehall amid the boisterous salutations of the excited multitude, one of his escort congratulated him on the crowds his triumph had attracted “Yes!” replied he composedly, “ but if it were to see me hanged, how many would there be!" The love of power is a more conceivable motive in one who had so long wielded the military truncheon ;-a far more absolute sceptre than that of monarchs, when borne by a victorious General, with all the unchallenged authority of a despot, and all the reverential admiration of a democratic leader. The love of his country, and the desire for the establishment of justice and religious toleration, amid the clash of so many antagonistic elements as then divided England, seem on the whole still more conceivable motives, and more consistent with the character of the man,
The true test of his motives must be looked for in the use he made of his power, and the very first step he took exhibits in a very striking manner, as I think, both the object he had in view and the means he conceived to be necessary for its attainment.
Cromwell, it is very plain, had never any leaning towards universal suffrage as the panacea for the political disorders of his age, nor—from ought that appears-of any other. Whether it was Ironsides or governing Notables that he wanted, he seems to have regarded that as a very clumsy and unsatisfactory means for their discovery. Nevertheless, that it was the interests of the multitude he had in view, and not the establishment of a military despotism, is sufficiently apparent from his earliest proceedings, though he regarded the end rather than the means, and was not greatly troubled with misgivings as to what precedents might be discoverable in the statutes of Richard II., or Henry VII. A declaration, published in the name of “Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General,” notified that an assembly of persons of approved fidelity and honesty should be called from the several parts of the Commonwealth to the supreme authority; and there were issued accordingly, not long after, one hundred-and-forty summonscs, couched in the following terms, and addressed to as many men, “known persons, fearing God, and of "pproved integrity."
“Forasmuch as, upon the dissolution of the late parliament, it became necessary, that the peace, safety, and good government of this Commonwealth should be provided for: And in order thereunto, divers
fearing God, and of approved fidelity and honesty, are, by myself with the advice of my council of officers, nominated; to whom the great charge and trust of so weighty affairs is to be committed: And having good assurance of your love to, and courage for, God and the interest of his cause, and that of the good people of this Commonwealth:
"I, Oliver Cromwell, Captain-General and Commanderin-chief of all the armies and forces raised and to be raised within this Commonwealth, do hereby summon and require you,
being one of the persons nominated, -personally to be and appear at the Council-Chamber, commonly known or called by the name of the CouncilChamber at Whitehall, within the city of Westminster, upon the fourth day of July next ensuing the date hereof; Then and there to take upon you the said trust; unto which you are hereby called, and appointed to serve as a member for the county of - And hereof you are not to fail.
“Given under my hand and seal the 6th day of June, 1653.
" OLIVER CROMWELL."* Of the whole number thus called together to deliberate on the safety and good government of the Commonwealth, only two failed to attend, “though they knew well,” as one of their number remarks, " that their call was not according to ancient formality and the way of the nation.”
It was, without doubt, one of the most extraordinary assemblies ever called together to deliberate on a nation's affairs,—the celebrated Barebone's Parliament, which by the chance coinage of a ridiculous epithet, has been consigned to the contempt of posterity as an assemblage of ignorant and low-born fanatics, fit only to be the tool of a designing usurper.
“Much the major part of them,” says Clarendon,
“consisted of inferior persons of no quality or name, artificers of the meanest trades, known only by their gifts in praying and preaching, which was now practised by all degrees of men, but scholars, throughout the kingdom. In which number, that there may be a better judgment made of the rest, it will not be amiss to name one, from whom that parliament itself was afterwards denominated, who was Praise-God (that was his Christian name) Barebone, a leather-seller in Fleet-Street; from whom, he being an eminent speaker in it, it was afterward's called Praise-God Barebone's Parliament. In a word, they were a pack of weak, senseless fellows, fit only to bring the name and reputation of parliaments lower than it was yet.”
* Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, vol. ii. p. 183.
The reader has heard of this parliament before. Possibly the ingenious device of substituting for argument the misnomer of the city leather-merchant, Barbone—who, for all the quaintness of his name, would appear to have been a man of wealth as well as of influence and good understanding, possibly this device of a lucky nickname has sufficed, and the reader bas long since taken for granted, with Clarendon, that they were a pack of mean, hypocritical, senseless fellows, known only by their gifts of praying and preaching; so convenient a substitute is ridi. cule for argument. Yet the list of that assembly still ex. ists, showing among its numbers such names as Viscount Lisle; George, Lord Eure ; Montague, afterwards Earl of Sandwich; Howard, afterwards Earl of Carlyle; Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury; George Monk, afterwards Duke of Albemarle; Admiral Blake, and a list of eminent men of high military rank, who had served with honour in the wars. Sundry baronets of old family appear on the roll; and twelve of those who had sat in the long parliament formed a portion of its successor. One finds there Francis Rouse, Provost of Eton College; Colonel Hutchinson; Major Salway; Richard Mayor, of Hursley ; Alderman Ireton, brother of the more celebrated Lord Deputy ; with others, whom Carlyle rightly calls “Peers of Nature.” Scotland too sent her quota of representatives to this assembly of notables :-—Sir William Lockhart, of Lee, afterwards Am