« PreviousContinue »
Belf to Cd. Hammond, Governor of the castle. Here Cromwell had him in a pinfold, and was more secure of him than before. While he was confined, several armies were raised in his favour, but were all defeated. At length the parliament sent him some propositions, with a view to his restoration. Some of them he granted, and others he refused. The chief thing he objected to was, The utter abolishing of episcopacy, and the alienating of bishops, and deans and chapter-lands. Upon which Mr. Marshal, Mr. Vines, and Dr. Seaman, were sent down as commissioners to discourse with him about it: they debated the matter with Abp. Usher, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Sheldon, and others of the king's divines. The debates were printed, and each party thought they had the better. Abp. Usher then offered the king his Reduction of Episcopacy to the form of Pres. bytery ; which he would have accepted, and the parliament proposed sending for him up, in order to a personal treaty. But Cromwell and his confidants, seeing all their designs likely to be disappointed, sent Col. Pride to the house with a party of soldiers, who guarded the door. Such members as were to their purpose they let in, others they turned away, and some they imprisoned. The remainder of the house was henceforward called the Rump. The secluded and imprisoned members published their vindication ; and some of them would afterwards have pushed into the house, but the guard of soldiers kept them out ; and the Rump were cried up for the only honest. They passed a vote to establish a government without a king and house of lords; and so the lords dissolved, and these commons sat and did all alone. They erected a high-court of Justice, brought the king to his trial, condemned him, erected a scaffold at WhitehallGate, and there before a large concourse of people beheaded him, Jan. 30, 1649. The Lord General Fairfar stood by all the while, full of regret, but tricked and overpowered by his lieutenant Cromwell, who (it was said) kept him praying and consulting, till the stroke was given. But soon afterwards, when war was determined against Scotland, he laid down his commission, and Cromwell became general in his stead.
The ministers all this time generally preached and prayed against disloyalty. They had drawn up a writing to the lord-general, which was printed, declaring their abhorrence of all violence against the person of the king, and urging him and his army to have no concern in it. This petition
they presented to him, when the king was in danger, subscribed by near sixty of the presbyterian ministers of Lon. don (whose names are below*) together with many coun. try ministers. So unjustly were the presbyterians accused as regicides.
Thus these intestine commotions came to an issue, little thought of at first by any that began them, which cannot but surprise all future generations.
SECT. II. Reflections on Public Transactions, from the Death of
Charles I. to the Restoration of Charles II. THE THE king being taken out of the way, Cromwell pro.
poses a Commonwealth, till he had laid a sufficient foundation for his own advancement. The Rump parliaiment drew up a form of an engagement, to be subscribed by all of eighteen years of age and upwards, viz. “ I do promise to be true and faithful to the commonwealth as it is now established, without a king or house of lords.” Without taking this engagement no man could have the benefit of suing another at law, nor hold any mastership in the universities, nor travel ahove a certain distance from his house, &c. Mr. Pines, and Dr. Rainbow were hereupon put out
* Corn. Burges, D.D. Charles Off-springs Tho. Manton, D.D., Will. Gouge, D. D. Samuel Clark,
William Harrison, Jonathan Lloyd,
Elidad Blackwell, Nath. Staniforth,
William Taylor, John Stileman,
Joshua Kirby, „James Nalton,
Thomas Watson, Arthur Barham, Thomas Cawton,
William Wickins, N. B. The two names printed in italic are not in the copy of the original paper printed at the time, in which the number is 57.
of their headships in the university, and Mr. Sympson and Mr. Sadler put in their places. Dr. Reynolds also was cast out of the deanry of Christ-Church, Oxon, and Dr. Owen succeeded him. The Covenant* was now laid aside, as an almanack out of date. Many episcopal divines wrote for the engagement, and pleaded for taking it, upon the same distinction of De Facto & De Jure, as bath since been so celebrated among us. But the moderate church party and the presbyterians refused it.
Charles II. was now in Holland, and had been proclaim. ed king by the Scots, who resolved to support his cause. He had also many warm friends in England. A little before the battle at Worcester, several persons were seized in London for holding correspondence with him: many of them were Presbyterian ministers, who for meeting together to contrive how to raise a small sum of money for Massey's relief in Scotland were charged with plotting against the government. Eight of them were sent to the Tower. Mr. Arthur Jackson, Dr. Drake, Mr. Watson, Mr. Love, Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Thomas Case, Mr. Ralph Robinson, and Mr.. Rich. Heyrick. Mr. Nalton and Mr. Caughton filed into Holland. Mr. Love was tried in a court of justice, condemned and beheaded, and with hiin Mr. Gibbons, a worthy gentleman, for the same cause. This blow struck deep at the root of the new coninionwealth. The rest of the ministers were released, upon Mr. Jenkin's recantation and submission to the government.
Cromwell, being Alushed by his successes against the royal. ists in Scotland, thought he might now do what he pleased. Having thus far seemed to be a servant to the parliament, he was at length for setting up for himself. In order to this, he first endeavoured to make them odious to his army, and then treated privately with many of them to dissolve them. selves, that another free parliament might be chosen. But they perceived the danger, and were for #illing up their number by new elections. Impatient of further delay, he took Harrison and some soldiers with him, and in a sort of rape ture went to the house, and reproved the members for their faults. Pointing to Vane, he called him a juggler; and to
* The solemn league and covenant was a renunciation of popery and prelacy, and a mutual bond, by which the subscribers engaged upon oath, to oppose all religious innovations, and to assist each other in defending their liberties.
Henry Martin, called him a whore-master. Having two such to instance in, he took it for granted that they were all unfit to continue in the government, and so discarded them, A. D. 1653. The young commonwealth was thus left headless. Nothing might now to stand between Cromwell and the crown. A parliament must be called, but the soldiers, as most religious, must be the electors; accordingly two out of a county were chosen by the officers, upon the advice of their sectarian friends in all
This was in contempt called The Little Parliament. They made an act that magistrates should marry people instead of the clergy. They then came to the business of tythes and ministers. Before this, Harrison being authorized thereto, had at once put down all the parish ministers of Wales, because most of them were ignorant and scandalous, and had set up a few itinerant preachers in their stead, who were for number incompetent to so great a charge, there being but one to many of those wide parishes. At length it was put to the vote in this parliament, Whether all the parish ministers in England should at once be put down or not? Which was carried in the negative but by two voices. In the issue, a motion was made, That the house, as incapable of serving the commonwealth, should go and deliver up their power to Cromwell, from whom they had received it. This was carried in the affirmative, and they directly went, and solemnly resigned their power to him; who then carried all before him. A junto of officers drew up a writing, called “ The instrument of the governinent of the commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland.” This instrument made Oliver Croniwell Lord Protector of the commonwealth. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen, the Judges and Officers of the army, were suddenly drawn together to Westminster-Hall, and upon reading this instrument, installed Cromwell in the office of Protector, and swore him accordingly : thus the commonwealth seemed once more to have a head, A. D. 1656.
One of his chief works was the purging of the ministry. The synod of Westminster was dissolved with the parliament; and a society of ministers, with some others, chosen by Cromwell to sit at Whitehall, under the name of Triers, who were mostly Independents, but had some Presbyterians joined with thein, and had power to try all who came for institution or induction; without whose approbation none were admitted. They themselves examined all who were VOL. I. NO, I.
able to come up to London ; but if any were unable, or of doubtful qualifications, they referred them to some ministers in the county where they lived. With all their faults, this much must be said of these Triers, that they did a great deal of good to the church; they saved many a congregation from ignorant ungodly drunken teachers ; such as either preached against an holy life, or preached as men who never were acquainted with it, and used the ministry but as a common trade to live by: such as these they usually rejected, and in their stead admitted of any able serious preachers, who lived godly lives, though of different opinions.
Cromwell had the policy not to exasperate the ministers and others, who did not consent to his government,
but let them live quietly, without putting any oaths of fidelity upon any, except his parliaments, who were not suffered to enter the house till they had sworn fidelity to him. The sectarian party in his army and elsewhere he chiefly trusted to and pleased, till he thought himself well settled ; and then he be. gan to undermine them, and by degrees to work them out. Though he had so often defended the Baptists, he now blames their unruliness and their zeal for their own way, and endea. vours' to settle himself in the people’s favour by suppressing thein. He had enemies among all parties, and many sought to dispatch him ; but he escaped their attempts, and at length died of a fever, Sept. 3, 1658, aged 59. Never man was more highly extolled, or more basely vilified than he, ac. cording as men's interests led their judgments.-Mr. Baxter hath left this as his judgment concerning him : " That he “ began low, and rose higher in his resolutions as his con“ dition rose : and the promises which he made in his lower “ condition, he nsed as the interest of his higher following “ condition did require ; and kept as much honesty and god “ liness, in the main, as his cause and interest would allow “ him, and there they left him. And that his name standeth “ as a monitory pillar to posterity, to tell them the instability “ of man in strong temptations, if God leave him to him* self.” &c. &c.
His son Richard, according to his will, succeeded himn. The several counties, cities, and corporations of England, sent up their congratulations to him as Protector. But the army, it seeins, set him up only upon trial, resolving to use him as he behaved himself. When they saw that he began to favour the sober people of the land, to honour parliaments, and to respect the ministers called Presbyterians, they pre