« VorigeDoorgaan »
engage in it."
But there was a necessity, in order to the and its members, doing full justice to their glory of God and the good of the nation. zeal and activity; but he gradually changed
"I do not know what you refer to,” replied his tone, and bis expressions and gestures beSt. John, “but God grant that whatever you trayed the most violent irritation. He frowned, do may redound to the good of the common and his large eyes flashed glances of inexorable wealth!”
anger at his adversaries. Finally, he loaded He went in dismay to his seat, and left the Parliament with the vilest reproaches for Cromwell engrossed with bis thoughts. Fi- its tyranny, ambition, oppression, and robbery nally, the latter beckoned Harrison, and told of the public. Then stamping with his foot, him that he now judged the Parliament ripe wbich was a signal for the soldiers to enterfor a dissolution. The intrepid soldier shrank “For shame!” he said to the Parliament; from the great responsibility, and whispered “get you gone! Give place to honester men, to him :
to those who will more faithfully discharge “Sir, the work is very great and dangerous; their trust. You are no longer a Parliament. I desire you seriously to consider before you The Lord has done with you; He has chosen
other instruments for carrying on His work.” “You say well,” replied Cromwell; and He crossed the large hall repeatedly with a thereupon sat still about a quarter of an hour. noisy step, and then stood still once more with It was a quarter of an hour full of the greatest folded arms. suspense and agitation for the general. He “Take him down,” he said to Harrison, saw before him a scaffold and a crown; death pointing to Lentbal, the speaker, who sat with at the hands of the executioner or the throne a pale face in his chair. of England awaited him. Already the next The colonel called upon him to rise, which minute might decide the matter. He muttered he refused to do. sométbing sounding like a prayer, as though “Pull him down !” cried Cromwell, inexhe wished to make God an ally of his plans. orably. The most various thoughts and feelings stirred Harrison obeyed, and dragged Lenthal from like wild waves in his bosom; ambition and the chair. sense of duty, pride and devout humility, truth Sir Henry Vane exclaiming against this proand falsehood, alternated in rapid succession ceeding, Cromwell cried with a loud voice : in his mind. He sbrank from taking the de “Oh, Sir Harry Vane, Sir Harry Vane! cisive step, but not a moment was to be lost, The Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!” for the speaker was ready to put the ques He then turned to the other members, tion.
whom he reproached in the most scathing He said again to Harrison, “This is the manner with their weaknesses and failings. time; I must do it.” He then rose and took “Thou art a drunkard,” he said to one; the floor. Cromwell was not a good speaker; “thou art an adulterer," to another; "and besides, be liked to conceal his thoughts under thou an extortioner,” to a third. In this turgid phrases. Notwithstanding these de manner he preferred just or unjust charges fects, the assembly listened to him with the against the members, who, from fear of the closest attention, his position and acknowl- soldiers, or consciousness of their guilt, durst edged merits commanding them to treat him not defend themselves. with the greatest deference. At the outset, “It is you,” he said to the House, “that he spoke in respectful terms of the Parliament | have forced this upon me. I have sought the
Lord night and day, that He would rather slay | upon himself the protectorate of England, me than put me upon this work."
Scotland, and Ireland. Although the whole He then commanded a soldier to seize the scene had been preconcerted, and although the
“What shall we do with this bauble ? parts had been distributed beforehand among Here, take it away.”
the actors, Cromwell, for appearance' sake, Having commanded the soldiers to clear the hesitated to make a definite reply, and yielded hall, he himself went out the last, and order only to repeated and most pressing requests. ing the doors to be locked, departed to his One of the secretaries then read the new lodgings in Whitehall.
constitution, which he signed and solemnly After the downfall of the so-called Long swore to observe. Major-General Lambert Parliament, Cromwell, who was now master knelt down and presented to him a sheathed of the situation, to preserve at least the sem- sword, the symbol of civil authority. On reblance of liberty, ordered new elections. The ceiving it, Cromwell took off his own sword Parliament, however, which met under his and laid it down, signifying thereby that be auspices, and consisted mostly of men desti- would no longer govern by martial law. The tute of ability and influence, dissolved itself, lord keeper and the judges then invited him in the consciousness of its weakness and in- to take the chair of state. He sat down, and significance. It was an object of general ridi- covered his head with his hat, while all the cule, and the public gave it the nickname of others stood bareheaded. After the ceremony Barebone's Parliament, because a worthy was over, the procession returned to Whitedealer in leather, Praise-God Barebone, was hall, where a sumptuous banquet closed the one of its most ludicrous members.
festivities of the day. Heralds traversed the Four days afterward, a long procession streets and announced the event to the moved between two lines of soldiers from people. Whitehall to Westminster. The lord mayor “ Long live the protector !” shouted the and aldermen of the city of London headed it, | multitude. in their gorgeous gala equipages ; next came Only one man did not join in their acclamaCromwell, attired in a black velvet coat, and tions. It was Henderson, the old Puritan. with broad gold lace around his pointed hat. “ Oliver has betrayed us,” he murmured, His guards, mostly veteran soldiers, and a gloomily. “He has betrayed the Lord, and large number of noblemen who had submitted must die!” to him, preceded his carriage, which was surrounded by the most distinguished officers, who held their drawn swords in their hands.
CHAPTER IV. On arriving at Westminster Hall, the proces
THE LORD PROTECTOR'S COURT. sion entered the large hall, at the end of which had been placed a purple chair of state. Crom A new life began now at Whitehall. Cromwell stood before the chair, and, after all the well put off his mask more and more, and members of the procession had assembled seemed to manifest a desire to seize the crown around him, Major-General Lambert announced of England. Cautious as usual, he first tried that Parliament had dissolved of its own ac to ascertain the sentiments of his adherents cord, and demanded, in the name of the army, before taking another step forward. Almost of the three nations, and of the requirements every day he had long interviews with his ofiof the times, that the lord general should take cers, as well as with the most influential citi
zens. In these interviews he took occasion to bend their knees and whisper fulsome flathint vaguely that England ought to have a teries. Milton was not a little astonished on monarchical government, and thus gradually meeting here many an ex-cavalier, who but prepared them for the change which he had recently had applied to Cromwell the nickin contemplation. He had vanquished the name of “Old Satan.” AM was forgotten Presbyterians and Constitutionals by the Inde- now; the protector tried to conciliate the nopendents and Republicans, and overthrown bility, and had of late treated the aristocratic these in their turn by means of the army, so families with surprising lenity. They made peace that he only had to deal with the latter. It is with bim, either from fear or from self-interest, true, he met here with unexpected resistance. and received at his hands, besides other subAlready his title of Protector excited discon- stantial proofs of his favor, their estates, tent, and Colonel Harrison and Major Overton, which the commonwealth had confiscated. Milton's friend, declared openly against it. Such being his course now, the nobility flocked They and their adherents threatened the to the new court, whose centre was composed usurper and opposed his schemes. Cromwell, of Cromwell's own family. A motley crowd however, headed them off, and before they now. presented itself to the eyes of the bewere able to carry their plans into effect, he holder. In yonder corner stood an old Indecaused them to be arrested. Milton was not "pendent, or a fanatic expecting the fifth mona little surprised on hearing of this event, and archy of God and the New Jerusalem, now deemed himself in duty bound to ask the pro- grimly gazing upon the unwonted bustle. His tector, at the first opportunity that should awkward manners, his strange dress, which offer, to pardon his esteemed friend.
was very plain and dark-colored, and his lanFor this purpose he repaired to Whitehall, guage, interlarded every moment with Bible where Cromwell had taken up his quarters in quotations, were secretly derided by the polthe apartments of the executed king, and had ished courtiers, who, however, dared only to already surrounded himself with a sort of smile furtively at them. At the other end of retinue of courtiers. A special lifeguard was the ball some clergymen were engaged with a posted in front of his doors. The anterooms few officers in an animated controversy on and staircases were crowded with persons who theological questions, which were discussed solicited favors and rewards at the hands of with hair-splitting keenness on both sides, and the new ruler. Generals and other officers, in which the uncouth soldiers frequently got among whom were to be seen austere Puri- the better of their learned adversaries. Yontans, who did not know how to adapt them- der, some young courtiers were conversing in selves to the change that had taken place, and a low tone about the love-affairs of his highstill saw in Cromwell only their old comrade, ness the protector, and tried to ascertain were walking up and down in threadbare uni- whether he gave the preference to the beauforms, and dragging their long swords noisily tiful Lady Dysart or to the accomplished Lady on the floor. It was evident that they con Lambert. Soldiers and priests, aristocrats and sidered as an abomination the splendor which republicans, the austere Puritan and the frivosurrounded them here. They cast distrustful lous skeptic, were now united here by the will glances on the young courtiers who, like flies of the new ruler, or by their various interests, in midsummer, had quickly made their appear- and blended together notwithstanding their ance to buzz in the rays of the rising sun; | differences. A very peculiar tone, therefore, they had now another idol to which they could | reigned in the apartments of Whitehall. Demo
cratic sullenness and aristocratic pliancy, fa- ought not to be rejected, but they should be natical enthusiasm and cool, sober selfishness, received and treated with hospitality and tolerwent hand in hand, and produced a truly won-ation. They are, as it were, the trunk from derful effect.
which Christianity, that noblest blossom of While Milton was engrossed with such ob-humanity, has developed itself. Add to this servations, he was frequently greeted and ad- that the chosen people display rare commerdressed by friends and acquaintances. Lord cial talents and activity, and will assuredly Broghill, the brother of the Countess of Rane- bring riches into our country.” lagh, shook hands with him. The poet Waller, “ That is just what the lord protector a relative of the protector, and yet formerly thinks. He immediately summoned a confer. a favorite of Charles I., spoke to him. He ence of merchants, tbeologians, and jurists, at had just left Cromwell's cabinet, where the which he himself presided, and warmly advoprotector had given him an audience.
cated the cause of his protégés.” “Can I see the lord protector ? said “He is a great man in every sense of the Milton to him,
word.” “I do not know," replied the merry but un “Of course he is, and he lacks nothing of principled Waller. “His highness has with being a king but the royal title. To tell you him at this moment a saint, a shoemaker ani- the truth, I believe my worthy cousin will, bemated with the Holy Ghost. George Fox is fore long, put the crown on his head." the name of the queer fellow; he has already “You must be jesting,” said Milton, deeply founded a sect called Friends or Quakers. He moved. will no longer tolerate any clergymen, nor “Not at all, sir; I have already written a take off his hat to anybody, nor take oaths. coronation ode, and I should seriously advise He addresses every one with “thou.' I tell you, for the solemnity of the coronation, to you, it was rich to see him approach Cromwell take your own Pegasus from the stable and and say to him, 'Peace be with thy house,' mount him, which you have not done for a whereupon both entered upon a theological | long time past.” disputation. While his highness was putting “ I cannot believe it." on his trousers, there was a perfect shower “And yet it is only necessary for you to of quotations from the Bible. I could no look around these apartments to be convinced longer keep serious, and therefore left the that I have told you the truth. What is want
The lord protector, in secret, also ing, then, to the restoration of the monarchy? laughs at such wonderful saints; but what is | We reside at Whitehall, the royal palace; we he to do? As he told me in confidence, have a splendid lifeguard, and a full retinue When you are in Rome, you must do as the of courtiers. See, yonder stand the Earl of Romans do.' You have no idea of the number Warwick and Lord Broghill ; and here comes, of persons that call upon him. Last week if I mistake not, Sir Kenelm Digby, to render Manasseh Ben Israel, the Jew from Amster- homage to the new ruler of England.” dam, was here, and presented in his own “Sir Kenelm Digby, the Catholic, the exiled name, and in that of his fellow-Israelites, a royalist ?” asked Milton, wonderingly. petition, in which they begged leave to live “Well, you need not wonder at it. He has and trade in London. What do you think of obtained permission to return to England. such impertinence ?”
We have need of him for secret purposes. “In my opinion, the application of the Jews | Jews, Catholics, and Anabaptists, meet at our