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But the Lord is wise; and will, I trust, make manifest that I am no enemy. Oh, how easy is mercy to be abused: -Persuade friends with you to be very sober! If the Day of the Lord be so near as some say, how should our moderation appear! If every one, instead of contending, would justify his form of judgment by love and meekness, Wisdom would be "justified of her children.” But, alas !-
I am, in my temptation, ready to say, “Oh, would I had wings like a dove, then would I," &c. :1 but this, I fear, is my “haste.” I bless the Lord I have somewhat keeps me alive: some sparks of the light of His countenance, and some sincerity above man's judgment. Excuse me thus unbowelling myself to you : pray for me; and desire my Friends to do so also. My love to thy dear Wife, whom indeed I entirely love, both naturally, and upon the best account;—and my blessing, if it be worth anything, upon thy little Babe.
Sir George Ayscough having occasions with you, desired
my Letters to you on his behalf: if he come or send, I pray you shew him what favour you can. Indeed his services have been considerable for the State; and I doubt he hath not been answered with suitable respect. Therefore again I desire you and the Commissioners to take him into a very particular care, and help him so far as justice and reason will
Remember my hearty affections to all the Officers. The Lord bless you all. So prayeth
any ways afford.
1 then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest !' (Psalm lv. 6, 7, 8.)
P.S.' All here love you, and are in health, your Children and all.
In the Commons Journals, while this Little Parliament sat, we find that, among other good services, the arrangement of the Customs Department was new-modelled ; that instead of Farmers of the Customs, there was a 'Committee of the Parliament appointed to regulate and levy that impost : Committee appointed on the 23d of September, 1653 : among whom we recognise * Alderman Ireton,' the deceased General's Brother; "Mr. Mayor,' of Hursley, Richard Cromwell's Father-in-law; Alderman Titchborne;' Colonel Montague,' afterwards Earl of Sandwich ; and others. It is to this Committee that Oliver's Letter is addressed. It has no date of time : but as the Little Parliament ended, in Self-dissolution and Protectorship, on the 12th of December, the date of the Letter lies between the 23d September and that other limit. My Lord General,—who is himself a Member of the Parliament, he and his chief Officers having been forthwith invited to sit,-feels evidently that his recommendations, when grounded in justice, ought to be attended to.
For my honoured Friends, the Committee for Regulating
the Customs : These present.
Cockpit, October, 1653.'
I am sorry after recommendation of a Friend of mine the Bearer hereof, - considering him in
• Harleian mss, no. 7502, f. 13: ‘Copyed from the Original in ye hands of Mrs. Cook (Grandaughter to Lieutenant General Fleetwood) of Newington, Midser : Nov 5, 1759, By A. Gifford.' Printed, without reference, incorrectly, in Annual Register for 1761, p. 49; in Gentleman's Magasine, &c. — Appendix, No. 13.
vii. 323, 23 September, 1653.
relation to his poor Parents an object of pity and commiseration, yet well deserving and not less qualified for employment,- he should find such cold success amongst you.
His great necessities and my love once more invite me to write unto you, in his behalf, To bestow on him, if it may not be in the City by reason of multiplicity of suitors, a place in the Out-ports: and I doubt not but his utmost abilities will be improved to the faithful discharging of such trust as you shall impose on him, for the good of the Commonwealth. And thereby you will engage him who remains,
Your affectionate friend,
This · Henry Weston, otherwise unknown to all Editors, is a Gentleman of Surrey; his House at Ockham,' not Oakham, is in the neighbourhood of Guilford in that County. So much, strangely enough, an old stone Tablet still legible in Ockham Church, which a beneficent hand has pointed out, enables me to say;—an authentic dim old Stone in Surrey, curiously reflecting light on a dim old Piece of Paper which has fluttered far about the world before it reached us here! Brother Ford,' I find by the same authority, is of knightly rank in Sussex : and Henry Weston's Father "lieth buried in the Chancel of Speldhurst Church' in Kent; his Uncle, a childless man, resting here at Ockham, “since the 8th day of July 1638, in the clymacteric of hjx age, 63.'1- Reverend Mr. Draper' has not elsewhere come
Happily we can hope he officiates well in Kent; and read this Letter without other light.
* Letter genuine, teste me; reference unfortunately lost.
Copy of the Inscription penes me.
For my honoured Friend, Henry Weston, Esquire, at his
House in Ockham : These.
'London,' 16th November, 1653. Sir, MY NOBLE FRIEND,
Your Brother Ford was lately with me, acquainting me with my presumption in moving for, and your civility in granting, the Advowson of Speldhurst to one Mr. Draper, who is now incumbent there, and who, it seems, was there for three or four years before the death of the old incumbent, by virtue of a sequestration.
Sir, I had almost forgot upon what account I made thus bold with you; but now have fully recollected. I understand the person is very able and honest, well approved of by most of the good Ministers thereabout; and much desired by the honest people who are in a Religious Association in those parts." Wherefore I now most heartily own and thank you for your favour shewed Mr. Draper for my sake; beseeching the continuance of your respects to the Gentleman, --who shall be very much tied to pay you all service; and so shall, in what lieth in his power, Your affectionate friend to serve you,
And now to Parliament affairs again, — to the catastrophe now nigh.
1 Has crossed out thereabouts;' and written 'in those parts,' as preferable.
* Additional Ayscough mss. no. 12,098. Original, in good preservation ; with this endorsement in a newer hand : The Generell Cromwell's letter about Spelderst living ;' and this Note appended : 'In an old Bible I had from England with other Books, March 1726.' Some Transatlantic Puritan, to all appearance.
On the whole, we have to say of this Little Parliament, that it sat for five months and odd days, very earnestly striving ; earnestly, nobly, — and by no means unwisely, as the ignorant Histories teach. But the farther it advanced towards real Christianism in human affairs, the louder grew the shrieks of ShamChristianism everywhere profitably lodged there ;—and prudent persons, responsible for the issue, discovered that of a truth, for one reason or another, for reasons evident and for reasons not evident, there could be no success according to that method. We said, the History of this Little Parliament lay all buried very deep in the torpors of Human Stupidity, and was not likely ever to be brought into daylight in this world. In their five months time they passed various good Acts; chose, with good insight, a new Council of State ; took wise charge of the needful Supplies ; did all the routine business of a Parliament in a quite unexceptionable, or even in a superior manner. Concerning their Council of State, I find this Note; which, though the Council had soon to alter itself, and take new figures, may be worth appending here. 1
Routine business done altogether well by this Little Parliament. But, alas, they had decided on abolishing Tithes, on supporting a Christian Ministry by some other method than Tithes ;
-nay far worse, they had decided on abolishing the Court of Chancery! Finding grievances greater than could be borne ; finding, for one thing, “Twenty-three thousand Causes of from five to thirty years continuance' lying undetermined in Chan
1 Council of State elected,— Tuesday 1st November, 1653 (Commons Journals, vii. 344). The Election is by ballot, 113 Members present ; 'Colonel Montague' (Sandwich), 'Colonel Cromwell' (Henry), and “Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper,' are three of the Four Scrutineers. Among the Names reported as chosen, here are some, with the Numbers voting for them : Lord General Cromwell (113, one and all); Sir Gilbert Pickering (Poet Dryden's Uncle,–110); Desborow (74); Harrison (58); Mayor (of Hursley, — 57); Colonel Montague (59); Ashley Cooper (60); Lord Viscount Lisle (Algernon Sidney's Brother,-58); Colonel Norton (idle Dick, recovered from the Pride's Purge again, but liable to relapse again,—57). The Council is of Thirty-one ; Sixteen of the Old or Interim Council (above referred to in Cromwell's Speech) are to continue; Fifteen new: these mentioned here are all among the Old, whom the Lord General and his Officers had already nominated.