« EdellinenJatka »
till the 1st of January, 1659, when he took his march southward ; living himself quietly, making no noise, nor intermeddling with the affairs of Cromwell. The impostor, however, did not practise the same forbearance, but compelled the general to be busy at home, by a constant change of the English regiments quartered there, which Oliver deemed necessary, seeing that he left the commander-in-chief so many years unchanged. The new-comers used, in great measure, to consist of anabaptists, quakers and other sectarians, whose tenets and conduct gave great scandal to the Scots' presbyterians, and sometimes forced the general to turn them out of the ranks. He had great charity for them, but thought them unfit for any trust; and, indeed, they are a people, that may very safely experience the indulgence of authority, but will inevitably introduce ruin and confusion if they shall ever get themselves into power. Thus, maintaining quiet and hiding himself close in calm, the general reserved himself for further purposes, when God would vouchsafe an opportunity.
The third of September, 1658, contrary to the expectations and wishes of most men, that terrible instrument of war and mischief, Oliver Cromwell, departed this life peaceably in his bed at Whitehall. He died, as he had lived, in a storm such as was scarcely remembered to have happened in the memory of that generaton; and the trees in St. James's torn up by the roots, as well as the damage in many public and private edifices, bore witness to its violence. There was something generous in him; though the good qualities of his nature were poisoned by dissimulation and ambition. It was General Monk's opinion, that Cromwell died in good time for his own reputation, and that he could not possibly have held the government much longer if he had lived. Not the three nations only, but all Europe, has reason to curse his memory; for it was he that altered the balance of the continental powers, by confederating with those, who [the French,] now endanger its peace and security. Like an unlucky politician, he has entailed troubles upon all afterages, as if he had not done mischief enough when alive.
Orders were sent down into Scotland by the pretended council, to proclaim Richard, Protector; which was accordingly done at the cross of Edinburgh, the magistrates, statecouncil, and General Monk being present at the solemnity. Among
persons convened to assist at the ceremony, it was almost publicly asked, one of another, Why should they proclaim a person utterly unknown to them ? they would more cheerfully proclaim General Monk. No persons cried God save him !" the soldiers made no acclamations; and both they and their officers, frequently expressed themselves aloud in terms like these ; " Old George for our money! he is fitter for a Pro
tector than Dick Cromwell.” This indication of the popular feeling and general inclination to his person was of great advantage in fostering his designs and prompting him to great and decisive measures.
And now the officers of the army, stirred up by Lambert, who had recovered the command, of which old Cromwell's jealousy had deprived him, resolved upon restoring the fag-end of the long parliament; and those, whom they had so frequently termed a pack of knaves that cozened the nation of its blood and treasure, they fall down and worship with the titles of eminent assertors of the good old cause, and persons accompanied with the special presence of God. By a declaration, signed the 6th of May, 1659, they invite them to return to the discharge of their trust. In these days, there was a change of government, and a project for a new model, not yearly, but almost every month in England ; and none did more to further the king's restoration than his greatest enemies. Lambert fully intended to play his old master's game, and to ride the Rump, till time should ripen his projects, and then slip into the government. But these subtle heads were not to be again so deceived. “He who is cheated twice by the same gamester, must be twice a fool.” They had not forgotten how old Oliver had used them: and being apprehensive of similar practices on the part of the army, they resolve to make their Speaker general, and order all the officers about town to receive their commissions afresh at his hand, in the presence of the assembled commons. They thus hoped to keep the great military officer in a state of subordination; and to hold their sessions in future, without fear of being turned out of doors.
These proceedings of the parliament gave great dissatisfaction to Fleetwood and Lambert, whose object it was to keep the reins of government in their own hands; and, in order to counteract the measures of the house, they, with five others, got themselves appointed a committee for new modelling the army. The men of sober minds and quiet principles they endeavoured to deprive of their commissions, and replaced them with anabaptists and the wildest sectaries, who, they hoped, would be ready to support them in once more ejecting the Rump, when the critical moment should arrive. The parliament, meanwhile, feeling how precarious was their condition, began to express great kindness for General Monk, and to regard him as a person capable of extending protection to them, in case the English army should prove refractory. At the same time, Fleetwood applied hiniself with assiduity to the general, and wrote every post to him, desiring a return of that friendship which had subsisted betwen them in Cromwell's time. He had begun to be jealous of Lambert; and this was
the occasion of those expressions of love which he lavished upon Monk. Lambert also, after his return to his command, wrote several loving letters to the general; but his love was cold. He was jealous of Monk's reputation, and superior skill and conduct in martial affairs. Thus was the latter, while he lived quietly and in retirement, courted by the several factions, to none of which did he engage himself beyond civility; but appearing as umpire in all their differences, he at last made them feel his arbitrement by deciding the controversy against them all.
The parliament, however, whilst they courted the general, dealt very severely with some of his officers; and in order either to make him weary of his command, or to tie his hands and prevent him from obstructing their ambitious designs, the committee for new modelling the army, removed many of those whom he most trusted, and supplied the vacancies with sectarians and anabaptists. This was a concern which touched him so nearly, that he resented the interference in a letter to the speaker. He had heard, he said, that it was the intention of the house to displace several of his officers; conceiving that the house had not been led to adopt this motion from a personal knowledge of their qualifications, but from the report of others, he thought himself as fit to be credited as any, and did assure them, they were all stout and honest men, for whose fidelity and good behaviour he would engage. The parliament paid so much regard to this remonstrance, that they authorized him, by a vote, to retain many of the officers whom the septemvirate (for so was the nomination-committee nick-named in the Scotch army) had proscribed. Even those who had been voted out, he was enabled by special orders to continue in command, till commissions should be made out in other names, and sent down to Scotland. But as the latter never arrived, the old officers retained their places; and these were they who afterwards assisted to turn out the Rump, and bring about his majesty's restoration. Their crime, in the eyes of the parliament, was too much honesty and moderation; causes enough, in those times, for suffering.
In this interregnum the general had been urged, by letters and messages from the friends and relations of the Cromwells, to appear with his forces, and check the mutinous temper of the English army; and if Richard had not consented to the dissolution of the parliament, Monk would have then certainly marched, not in pursuance of the Protector's quarrel, but “ with those ends and purposes which he afterwards accomplished.”
The sober gentry of England were much enraged at the dissolution of Richard's parliament, in which many worthy gentlemen, hearty lovers of their prince, had procured seats, in the
hope of rendering him some service. The return of the Rump to power, and the renewed exclusion of those who were called the secluded members, gave them still further cause of offence. This disgust was the origin of an universal design, in which, if all the undertakers had performed their part as well as one individual, Sir George Booth, the English gentry would not have needed any assistance from other quarters. But the design was betrayed by some persons, not unknown, or, rather, who were well known for the most ungrateful monsters that ever prince favoured.
It was generally rumoured, that Monk was engaged in this design, and the report was not without foundation. He received at this time a letter from his majesty, and others from Sir J. Grenville, his cousin-german, an active instrument in his majesty's restoration, who employed every means in his power to conciliate the good will of the general. In particular, he presented his brother, Mr. Nicholas Monk, with a valuable living in Cornwall, where his own property lay; and, through the medium of that gentlemen, negociated with the general about his majesty's service. The general was cautious and reserved, and did not seem to lend too ready an ear to the proposals that were made to him. He consulted with those who were competent to advise him, and especially one, in whom he placed much confidence; informing him of the messages he was receiving, and asking him what he thought of the whole matter. This person told him, in reply, that all honest and sober men expected that he would appear for his country at this crisis, and represented the danger in which it was placed by the frequent and ridiculous changes that occurred. God, he said, had placed the general in the station he now held, for that purpose, like another Mordecai ; adding many other arguments to the same effect, all which together made a strong impression upon his mind. The general lamented his inability, being, as he was, at the head of a froward and perverse generation, and yet unable, without their assistance, to accomplish anything. Such, however, he added, was his love for his country, that he would cheerfully perish to ensure its safety. It was agreed between them, that he should sound the dispositions of some officers, and break the matter to them, whilst the general consulted the treasury, to ascertain what it would furnish towards promoting their views. The fellows he had to deal with were, some of them, so giddy headed, however, that even rewards could not fix them; for, when men are intoxicated with wild principles of religion, their nature is strangely transformed, and they become morose and averse to civility. I am not one of those that dare to asperse the Christian profession, yet must I needs allow the truth of the maxim, “ no villain like a pretended religious one.”
The person entrusted with this commission from the general, was one of popular and pleasant conversation and manners. He bad, therefore, easier access to the officers, and was more willingly listened to on the subject. He desired them to remark the insolence of the English officers, and wondered, he said, that they of the Scotch army should always submit to receive governments from them. Whilst the others lived in the midst of the pleasures of the city, it was their lot to endure the hardships of a cold and strange country.* To others, who pretended to more godliness, he remonstrated upon the apostacy of the English army, who one week sent down their addresses, and desired the Scotch officers to join in their subscriptions, calling Oliver “ the chariot of Israel, and horseman thereof,” with much other profanity; and in the next broke their pretended religious engagements. The answer of all, though severally sounded, was unanimous. “ Why,” said they, “will not old George do something ?"-for so they familiarly called him ;—“ it is not in our power.' When asked if they would stand by him, and whether they could make any interest in their several regiments, they cheerfully agreed, and assured him of their ability to gain over those under their command. These were the principal regiments and the garrisons that were near the head quarters; for the rest, there were many ways to deal with them.
The general found the condition of the treasury equally favourable to his design, into which he resolves immediately to enter. At this juncture, however, he meets with an obstruction. Whether it arose from the necessity of their affairs, or their jealousy, I cannot say; but the pretended parliament desired him to send them two regiments of horse, and two of foot, by the departure of which his force was much weakened. The former of the two motives was most probably the cause of this; for so observant had he hitherto shewn himself of their commands, that he had given them no ground of suspicion against him: all his actions tended to peace, and all his advice was for moderation. In those times, it was necessary for the general to busy himself very little in public affairs. Such was his policy in the present also; on which account, he is thought by
The person employed on this occason was, most likely, the reverend author himself. Whoever he was, he has proved himself a proficient in the business he undertook. The terms of his address are very like those which Tacitus puts into the mouth of a military incendiary.“ An prætorias cohortes, quæ binos denarios acciperent, quæ post sex deciin annos penatibus suis reddantur, plus periculorum suscipere? Non obtrectari a se urbanas excubias : sibi tamen apud horridas gentes e contuberniis hostem adspici.” Ann. I.