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what can you do but get away from it, with a prayer, "The Lord deliver me from thee!" I cannot do with thee. I want twisted cordage, steady pulling, and a peaceable bass tone of voice; not split hairs, hysterical spasmodics, and treble! Thou amiable, subtle, elevated individual, the Lord deliver me from thee!
These men cannot continue Kings forever; nor in fact did they in the least design such a thing: only they find a terrible difficulty in getting abdicated. Difficulty very conceivable to us. Some weeks after Pride's Purge, which may be called the constituting of this remnant of members into a Parliament and Authority, there had been presented to it, by Fairfax and the Army, what we should now call a Bentham-Sieyes Constitution, what was then called an Agreement of the People," which might well be imperative on honourable members sitting there; whereby it was stipulated for one thing, That this present Parliament should dissolve itself, and give place to another equal Representative of the People,' —in some three months hence; on the 30th of April, namely. The last day of April 1649: this Parliament was then to have its work finished, and go its ways, giving place to another. Such was our hope.
They did accordingly pass a vote to that effect; fully intending to fulfil the same: but, alas, it was found impossible. How summon a new Parliament, while the Commonwealth is still fighting for its existence? All we can do is to resolve ourselves into Grand Committee, and consider about it. After much consideration, all we can decide is, That we shall go weekly into Grand Committee, and consider farther. Duly every Wednesday we consider, for the space of eleven months and odd; find, more and more, that it is a thing of some considerableness! In brief, when my Lord General returns to us from Worcester, on the 16th of September, 1651, no advance whatever towards a dissolution of ourselves has yet been made. The Wednesday Grand Committees had become a thing like the meeting of Roman augurs, difficult to go through with complete gravity; and so, after the eleventh month, have silently fallen into desuetude. We sit here very immovable. We are scornfully called the Rump of a Parliament by certain people: but we have an invincible Oliver to fight
'Commons Journals, 20 January, 1648-9: some six weeks after the Purge; ten days before the King's Death.
for us we can afford to wait here, and consider to all lengths; and by one name we shall smell as sweet as by another.
I have only to add at present, that on the morrow of my Lord General's reappearance in Parliament, this sleeping question was resuscitated; new activity infused into it; some shew of progress made; nay, at the end of three months, after much labour and struggle, it was got decided, by a neck-and-neck dívision,2 That the present is a fit time for fixing a limit beyond which this Parliament shall not sit. Fix a limit therefore; give us the non-plus-ultra of you. Next Parliament-day we do fix a limit, Three years hence, 3d November, 1654; three years of rope still left us : a somewhat wide limit; which, under conceivable contingencies, may perhaps be tightened a little. My honourable friends, you ought really to get on with despatch of this business; and know of a surety that not being, any of you, Kings by birth, nor very indubitably by attainment, you will actually have to go, and even in case of extremity to be shoved and sent!
At this point the law of dates requires that we introduce Letter Hundred-and-seventieth; though it is as a mere mathematical point, marking its own whereabouts in Oliver's History; and imparts little or nothing that is new to us.
Reverend John Cotton is a man still held in some remembrance among our New-England Friends. He had been Minister of Boston in Lincolnshire; carried the name across the Ocean with him; fixed it upon a new small Home he had found there, which has become a large one since; the big busy Capital of Massachusetts, Boston, so called. John Cotton his Mark, very curiously stamped on the face of this Planet; likely to continue for some time !For the rest, a painful Preacher, oracular of high Gospels to New England; who in his day was well seen
1 Commons Journals, 17 September, 1651.
249 to 47; Commons Journals, 14 November, 1651: Lord General and Lord Chief Justice,' Cromwell and St. John, are Tellers for the Yea.
to be connected with the Supreme Powers of this Universe, the word of him being as a live-coal to the hearts of many. He died some years afterwards ;- -was thought, especially on his deathbed, to have manifested gifts even of Prophecy !1. —a thing not inconceivable to the human mind that well considers Prophecy and John Cotton.
We should say farther, that the Parliament, that Oliver among and before them, had taken solemn anxious thought concerning Propagating of the Gospel in New England; and, among other measures, passed an Act to that end;2 not unworthy of attention, were our hurry less. In fact, there are traceable various small threads of relation, interesting reciprocities and mutualities, connecting the poor young Infant, New England, with its old Puritan Mother and her affairs, in those years. Which ought to be disentangled, to be made conspicuous and beautiful, by the Infant herself now that she has grown big; the busy old Mother having had to shove them, with so much else of the like, hastily out of her way for the present!- However, it is not in reference to this of Propagating the Gospel in New England; it is in congratulation on the late high Actings, and glorious Appearances of Providence in Old England, that Cotton has been addressing Oliver: introduced to him, as appears, by some small mediate or direct acquaintanceship, old or new ;-founding too on their general rela tionship as Soldier of the Gospel and Priest of the Gospel, high brother and humble one; appointed, both of them, to fight for it to the death, each with such weapons as were given him. The Letter of Cotton, with due details, is to be seen in Hutchinson's Collection. The date is 'Boston in New England, 28th of Fifth' (Fifth Month, or July), 1651:' the substance, full of piety and loyalty, like that of hundreds of others, must not concern us here, -except these few interesting words, upon certain of our poor old Dunbar friends: The Scots whom God delivered into your hands
at Dunbar,' says Cotton, and whereof sundry were sent hither, '—we have been desirous, as we could to make their yoke easy. 'Such as were sick of the scurvy or other diseases have not 'wanted physic and chirurgery. They have not been sold for
1 Thurloe, i. 565;—in 1653.
2 Scobell (27 July, 1649), ii. 66. 3 Papers relative to th
of Massachusetts (Boston, 1769), p. 236.
'Slaves, to perpetual servitude; but for six, or seven, or eight ' years, as we do our own. And he that bought the most of 'them, I hear, buildeth Houses for them, for every Four a 'House; and layeth some acres of ground thereto, which he 'giveth them as their own, requiring them three days in the 'week to work for him by turns, and four days for themselves; ' and promiseth, as soon as they can repay him the money he laid ' out for them, he will set them at liberty.' Which really is a mild arrangement, much preferable to Durham Cathedral and the raw cabbages at Morpeth; and may turn to good for the poor fellows, if they can behave themselves!—
For my esteemed Friend, Mr. Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Boston in New England: These.
'London,' 2d October, 1651.
WORTHY SIR, and my Christian Friend,
I received yours a few days since. It was welcome to me because signed by you, whom I love and honour in the Lord: but more 'so' to see some of the same grounds of our Actings stirring in you that are in us, to quiet us to our work, and support us therein. Which hath had the greatest difficulty in our engagement in Scotland; by reason we have had to do with some who were, I verily think, Godly, but, through weakness and the subtlety of Satan,' were' involved in Interests against the Lord and His People.
With what tenderness we have proceeded with such, and that in sincerity, our Papers (which I suppose you have seen) will in part manifest; and I give you some comfortable assurance of the same.' The Lord hath marvellously appeared even against them.' And now again when all the power was devolved into the Scottish King
1 From Preston downward.
and the Malignant Party,—they invading England, the Lord rained upon them such snares as the Enclosed1 will shew. Only the Narrative is short in this, That of their whole Army, when the Narrative was framed, not five men were returned.
Surely, Sir, the Lord is greatly to be feared and to be praised! We need your prayers in this as much as ever. How shall we behave ourselves after such mercies? What is the Lord a-doing? What Prophecies are now fulfilling ?2 Who is a God like ours? To know His will, to do His will are both of Him.
I took this liberty from business, to salute you thus in a word. Truly I am ready to serve you and the rest of our Brethren and the Churches with you. I am a poor weak creature, and not worthy the name of a worm; yet accepted to serve the Lord and His People. Indeed, my dear Friend, between you and me, you know not me,—my weaknesses, my inordinate passions, my unskilfulness, and every-way unfitness to my work. Yet, yet the Lord, who will have mercy on whom He will, does as you see! Pray for me. Salute all Christian friends though unknown.
Your affectionate friend to serve you,
About this time, for there is no date to it but an evidently vague and erroneous one, was held the famous Conference of Grandees, called by request of Cromwell; of which Bulstrode has given record. Conference held 'one day' at Speaker Lenthall's
1 Doubtless the Official Narrative of Worcester Battle; published about a week ago, as Preamble to the Act appointing a Day of Thanksgiving; 26th September, 1651; reprinted in Parliamentary History, xx. 59-65.
2 See Psalm Hundred-and-tenth.
518; Birch's Original,-copied in Additional Ayscough Mss.