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house in Chancery Lane, to decide among the leading Grandees of the Parliament and Army, How this Nation is to be settled, the Long Parliament having now resolved on actually dismissing itself by and by. The question is really complex : one would gladly know what the leading Grandees did think of it; even what they found good to say upon it! Unhappily our learned Bulstrode’s report of this Conference is very dim, very languid : nay Bulstrode, as we have found elsewhere, has a kind of dramaturgic turn in him, indeed an occasional poetic friskiness; most unexpected, as if the hippopotamus should shew a tendency to dance ;-which painfully deducts from one's confidence in Bul
e strode's entire accuracy on such occasions! Here and there the multitudinous Paper Masses of learned Bulstrode do seem to smack a little of the date when he redacted them, - posterior to the Ever-blessed Restoration, not prior to it. We shall, nevertheless, excerpt this dramaturgic Report of Conference : the reader will be willing to examine, with his own eyes, even as in a glass darkly, any feature of that time ; and he can remember always that a learned Bulstrode's fat terrene mind, imaging a heroic Cromwell and his affairs, is a very dark glass indeed !
The Speakers in this Conference,- Desborow, Oliver's Brother-in-law ; Whalley, Oliver's Cousin ; fanatical Harrison, tough St. John, my learned Lord Keeper or Commissioner Whitlocke himself, —are mostly known to us. Learned Widdrington, the mellifluous orator, once Lord Commissioner too, and like to be again, though at present 'excused from it owing to scruples,' will by and by become better known to us. A mellifluous, unhealthy, seemingly somewhat scrupulous and timorous man. He is of the race of that Widdrington whom we still lament in doleful dumps, -- but does not fight upon the stumps like him. There were 'many other Gentlemen' who merely listened.
• Upon the defeat at Worcester,' says Bulstrode vaguely,2 • Cromwell desired a Meeting with divers Members of Parliament,
and some chief Officers of the Army, at the Speaker's house. * And a great many being there, he proposed to them, That now 'the old King being dead, and his Son being defeated, he held
I Wood, in voce.
3 Whitlocke, p. 491; the date, 10 December, 1651, is that of the Paper merely, and as applied to the Conference itself cannot be correct.
‘it necessary to come to a Settlement of the Nation. And in
order thereunto, had requested this meeting; that they together ' might consider and advise, What was fit to be done, and to be presented to the Parliament.
SPEAKER. My Lord, this Company were very ready to attend your Excellence, and the business you are pleased to 'propound to us is very necessary to be considered. God hath 'given marvellous success to our Forces under your command ; . and if we do not improve these mercies to some Settlement, ' such as may be to God's honour, and the good of this Com'monwealth, we shall be very much blameworthy.
HARRISON. I think that which my Lord General hath propounded, is, To advise as to a Settlement both of our Civil and Spiritual Liberties ; and so, that the mercies which the • Lord hath given-in to us may not be cast away. How this may be done is the great question.
• WHITLOCKE. It is a great question indeed, and not suddenly to be resolved! Yet it were pity that a meeting of so many able and worthy persons as I see here, should be fruitless.
- I should humbly offer, in the first place, Whether it be not requisite to be understood in what way this Settlement is de• sired? Whether of an absolute Republic, or with any mixture • of Monarchy.
• CROMWELL. My Lord Commissioner Whitlocke hath put us upon the right point : and indeed it is my meaning, that we should consider, Whether a Republic, or a mixed Monarchical
Government will be best to be settled? And if anything Monarchical, then, In whom that power shall be placed ?
Sir Thomas WIDDRINGTON. I think a mixed Monarchical • Government will be most suitable to the Laws and People of • this Nation. And if any Monarchical, I suppose we shall hold . it most just to place that power in one of the Sons of the late • King
COLONEL FLEETWOOD. I think that the question, Whether an absolute Republic, or a mixed Monarchy, be best to be o settled in this Nation, will not be very easy to be determined !
· LORD CHIEF-JUSTICE St. John. It will be found, that *the Government of this Nation, without something of Monarchical power, will be very difficult to be so settled as not to
• shake the foundation of our Laws, and the Liberties of the People.
• SPEAKER. It will breed a strange confusion to settle a · Government of this Nation without something of Monarchy.
• Colonel DESBOROW. I beseech you, my Lord, why may not this, as well as other Nations, be governed in the way . Republic?
· WHITLOCKE. The Laws of England are so interwoven with the power and practice of Monarchy, that to settle a 'Government without something of Monarchy in it, would make so great an alteration in the Proceedings of our Law, that you will scarce have timel to rectify it, nor can we well foresee the • inconveniences which will arise thereby.
• COLONEL WHALLEY. I do not well understand matters of · Law: but it seems to me the best way, Not to have any thing ' of Monarchical power in the Settlement of our Government. * And if we should resolve upon any, whom have we to pitch upon? The King's Eldest Son hath been in arms against us, and his Second Son2 likewise is our enemy.
-Sir THOMAS WIDDRINGTON. But the late King's Third Son, the Duke of Gloucester, is still among us; and too young to have been in arms against us, or infected with the principles of our enemies.
WHITLOCKE. There may be a day given for the King's • Eldest Son,3 or for the Duke of York his Brother, to come in 'to the Parliament. And upon such terms as shall be thought
fit, and agreeable both to our Civil and Spiritual liberties, a Set• tlement may be made with them.
CROMWELL. That will be a business of more than ordinary difficulty! But really I think, if it may be done with safety, ‘and preservation of our Rights, both as Englishmen and as
i Between this and November 1654.
James; who has fled to the Continent some time ago, “in women's clothes,' with one Colonel Bamfield, and is getting fast into Papistry and other confusions.
3 Charles Stuart: a day' for him, upon whose head there was, not many weeks ago, a Reward of 10001.? Did you actually say this, my learned friend? Or merely strive to think, and redact, at an after-period, that you had said it,—that you had thought it, meant to say it, which was virtually all the same, in a case of difficulty!
• Christians, That a Settlement with somewhat of Monarchical power in it would be
effectual.' Much other discourse there was, says my learned friend ;but amounting to little. The Lawyers all for a mixed Government, with something of Monarchy in it; tending to call in one of the King's Sons,—I especially tending that way; secretly loyal in the worst of times. The Soldiers again were all for a Republic; thinking they had had enough of the King and his Sons. My Lord General always checked that secret-loyalty of mine, and put off the discussion of the King's Son ; yet did not declare himself for a Republic either ;—was indeed, as my terrene fat mind came at length to image him, merely 'fishing for men's opinions,' and for provender to himself and his appetites, as I in the like case should have been doing !—The Conference broke up, with what of 'fish' in this kind my Lord General had taken, and no other result arrived at.
Many Conferences held by my Lord General have broken up
Four years ago, he ended one in King Street by playfully 'flinging a cushion' at a certain solid head of our acquaintance, and running down stairs. Here too it became ultimately clear to the solid head that he had been 'fishing.' Alas, a Lord General has many Conferences to hold ; and in terrene minds, ligneous, oleaginous, and other, images himself in a very strange manner!-- The candid imagination, busy to shape out some conceivable Oliver in these Thirty-one months, will accept thankfully the following small indubitabilities, or glimpses of definite events.
December 8th, 1651. In the beginning of December (Whitlocke dates it 8th December) came heavy tidings over from Ireland, dark and heavy in the house of Oliver especially : that Deputy Ireton, worn out with sleepless Irish services, had caught an inflammatory fever, and suddenly died. Fell sick on the 16th of November, 1651; died, at Limerick, on the 26th.2 The reader remembers Bridget Ireton, the young wife at Cornbury :: she is now Widow Ireton ; a sorrowful bereaved woman. One brave heart and subtle-working brain has ended : to the regret of all
· Ludlow, i. 240.
• Wood, iii. 300; Whitlocke, p. 491. 3 Letter XXXVI. vol. i. p. 277; and antea, p. 227.
the brave. A man able with his pen and his sword; ‘very stiff in his ways.
Dryasdust, .who much loves the brave Ireton in a rather blind way, intimates that Ireton’s ‘stern virtue' would probably have held Cromwell in awe; that had Ireton lived, there had probably been no sacrilege against the Constitution on Oliver's part. A probability of almost no weight, my erudite friend. The 'stern virtue of Ireton was not sterner on occasion than that of Oliver ; the probabilities of Ireton's disapproving what Oliver did, in the case alluded to, are very small, resting on solid Ludlow mainly ; and as to those of Ireton's holding Cromwell in awe,' in this or in any matter he had himself decided to do, I think we may safely reckon them at zero, my
erudite friend! Lambert, now in Scotland, was appointed Deputy in Ireton's room ; and meant to go; but did not. Some say the Widow Ireton, irritated that the beautiful and shewy Lady Lambert should already 'take precedence of her in St. James's Park, frustrated the scheme : what we find certain is, That Lambert did not go, that Fleetwood went; and farther, that the Widow Ireton in due time became Wife of the Widower Fleetwood: the rest hangs vague in the head of zealous Mrs. Hutchinson, solid Ludlow, and empty Rumour. Ludlow, already on the spot, does the Irish duties in the interim. Ireton has solemn Public Funeral in England: copious moneys settled on his Widow and Family : all honours paid to him, for his own sake and his Father-in-law's.
March 25th, 1652. Above two years ago, when this Rump Parliament was in the flush of youthful vigour, it decided on reforming the Laws of England, and appointed a working Committee for that object, our learned friend Bulstrode one of them. Which working Committee finding the job heavy, gradually languished; and after some Acts for having Law-proceedings transacted in the English tongue, and for other improvements of the like magnitude, died into comfortable sleep. On my Lord General's return from Worcester, it had been poked up again ; and, now rubbing its eyes, set to work in good earnest ; got a subsidiary Committee appointed, of Twenty-one persons not members of
| Hutchinson's Memoirs (London, 1806), p. 195; Ludlow, pp. 414, 449, 450, &c.