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The Presbyterian System is now fast getting into action : on the 20th of May, 1647, the Synod of London, with due Prolocutor or Moderator, met in St. Paul's.* In Lancashire too the System is fairly on foot; but I think in other English Counties it was somewhat lazy to move, and never came rightly into action, owing to impediments. Poor old Laud is condemned of treason, and beheaded, years ago ; the Scots, after Marston Fight, pressing heavy on him ; Prynne too being very ungrateful. That
performance of the Service to the Hyperborean populations in so exquisite a way, has cost the Artist dear! He died very gently ; his last scene much the best, for himself and for us. The two Hothams also, and other traitors, have died.
* Rushworth, vi., 489; Whitlocke (p. 249), dates wrong.
Our next entirely authentic Letter is at six months distance: a hiatus not unfrequent in this Series ; but here most especially to be regretted; such a crisis in the affairs of Oliver and of England transacting itself in the interim. The Quarrel between City and Army, which we here see begun; the split of the Parliament into two clearly hostile Parties of Presbyterians and Independents, represented by City and Army; the deadly wrestle of these two Parties, with victory to the latter, and the former flung on its back, and its · Eleven Members' sent beyond Seas: all this transacts itself in the interim, without autograph note or indisputably authentic utterance of Oliver's to elucidate it for us. with him laboring to get the Officers sent down to Saffron Walden; sorrowful on the Spring Fast-day in Covent Garden : we find him again at Putney in Autumn; the insulted Party now dominant, and he the most important man in it. One Paper which I find among the many published on that occasion, and judge pretty confidently, by internal evidence, to be of his writing, is here introduced ; and there is no other that I know of.
How this Quarrel between City and Army, no agreement with the King for the present being possible, went on waxing; developing itself more and more visibly into a Quarrel between Presbyterianism and Independency; attracting to the respective sides of it the two great Parties in Parliament and in England generally : all this the reader must endeavor to imagine for himself,very dimly, as matters yet stand. In books, in Narratives old or new, he will find little satisfaction in regard to it. The old Nar. ratives, written all by baffled enemies of Cromwell,* are full of mere blind rage, distraction and darkness; the new Narratives, believing only in · Machiavelism,' &c., disfigure the matter still
* Holles's Memoirs ; Waller's Vindication of his Character ; Clement Walker's History of Independency, &c., &c.
Common History, old and new, represents Cromwell as having underhand,—in a most skilful and indeed prophetic manner,—fomented or originated all this commotion of the elements; steered his way through it by “hypocrisy,' by 'master-strokes of duplicity,' and such like. As is the habit hitherto of History.
* The fact is,' says a Manuscript already cited from,“ poor History, contemporaneous and subsequent, has treated this matter in a very sad way. Mistakes, misdates; exaggerations, unveracities, distractions; all manner of misseeings and misnotings in regard to it, abound. How many grave historical statements still circulate in the world, accredited by Bishop Burnet and the like, which on examination you will find melt away into after-dinner rumors,-gathered from ancient red-nosed Presbyterian gentlemen, Harbottle Grimston and Company, sitting over claret under a Blessed Restoration, and talking to the loosely recipient Bishop in a very loose way! Statements generally with some grain of harmless truth, misinterpreted by those red-nosed honorable persops; frothed up into huge bulk by the loquacious Bishop above mentioned, and so set floating on Time’s Stream. Not very lovely to us, they, nor the red-noses they proceeded from ! I do not cite them here; I have examined most of them; found not one of them fairly believable ;-wondered to see how already, in one generation, earnest Puritanism being hung on the gallows or thrown out into St. Margaret's Churchyard, the whole History of it had grown mythical, and men were ready to swallow all manner of nonsense concerning it. Ask for dates, ask for proofs : Who saw it, heard it; when was it, where ? A misdate, of itself, will do much. So accurate a man as Mr. Godwin, generally very accurate in such matters, makes “a master-stroke of duplicity” merely by mistake of dating :* the thing when Oliver did say it, was a creditable truth, and no master-stroke or stroke of any kind !
"“ Master-strokes of duplicity ;" "false protestations ;" "fomenting of the Army discontents :" alas, alas! It was not Cromwell that raised these discontents; not he, but the elemental Powers! Neither was it, I think, “ by master-strokes of duplici.
* Godwin, ii., 300; citing Walker, p. 31 (should be p. 33)
ty” that Cromwell steered himself victoriously across such a devouring chaos; no, but by continuances of noble manful simplicity I rather think,-by meaning one thing before God, and meaning the same before men as a strong man does. By consci. entious resolution ; by sagacity and silent wariness and promptitude ; by religious valor and veracity,—which, however it may fare with foxes, are really after all the grand source of clearness for a man in this world !
We here close our Manuscript. Modern readers ought to believe that there was a real impulse of heavenly Faith at work in this Controversy ; that on both sides, more especially on the Army's side, here lay the central element of all; modifying all other elements and passions ;—that this Controversy was, in several respects, very different from the common wrestling of Greek with Greek for what are called " Political objects !—Modern readers, mindful of the French Revolution, will perhaps compare these Presbyterians and Independents to the Gironde and the Mountain. And there is an analogy; yet with differences. With a great difference in the situations; with the difference, too, between Englishmen and Frenchmen, which is always considerable ; and then with the difference between believers in Jesus Christ and believers in Jean Jacques, which is still more considerable!
A few dates, and chief summits of events, are all that can be indicated here, to make our · Manifesto' legible.
From the beginnings of this year, 1647, and earlier, there had often been question as to what should be done with the Army. The expense of such an Army, between twenty and thirty thousand men, was great; the need of it, Royalism being now subdued, seemed small; besides it was known that there were many in it who had never taken the Covenant,' and were never likely to take it. This latter point, at a time when Heresy seemed rising like a hydra,* and the Spiritualism of England was developing itself in really strange ways, became very important too,-became gradually most of all important, and the soul of the whole Controversy.
* See Edwards’s Gangræna (London, 1646) for many furious details of it.
Early in March, after much debating, it had been got settled that there should be Twelve thousand men employed in Ireland, which was now in sad need of soldiers. The rest were in some good way to be disbanded. The “ way,' however, and whether it might really be a good way, gave rise to considerations. Without entering into a sea of troubles, we may state here in general that the things this Army demanded were strictly their just right: arrears of
pay, • three-and-forty weeks' of hard-earned pay ; indemnity for acts done in War; and clear discharge according to contract, not service in Ireland except under known Commanders and conditions --'our old Commanders, for example. It is also apparent that the Presbyterian party in Parliament, the leaders of whom were, several of them, Colonels of the Old Model, did not love this victorious army; that indeed they disliked and grew to hate it, useful as it had been to them. Denzil Holles, Sir William Waller, Harley, Stapleton, these men, all strong for Presbyterianism, were old unsuccessful Colonels or Generals under Essex; and for very obvious reasons looked askance on this Army, and wished to be so soon as possible rid of it. The first rumor of a demur or desire on the part of the Army, rumor of some Petition to Fairfax by his Officers as to the 'way' of their disbanding, was by these Old Military Parliament men very angrily repressed ; nay, in a moment of fervor, they proceeded to decree that whoever had, or might have, a hand in promoting such Petition in the Army was an · Enemy to the State, and a Disturber of the Public Peace,'-and sent forth the same in a · Declaration of the 30th of March,' which became very celebrated afterwards. This unlucky • Declaration,' Waller says, was due to Holles, who smuggled it one evening through a thin House. “Enemies to the State, Disturbers of the Peace :" it was a severe and too proud rebuke ; felt to be unjust, and looked upon as ' a blot of ignominy ;' not to be forgotten nor easily forgiven, by the parties it was addressed to. So stood matters at the end of March.
At the end of April they stand somewhat thus. Two Parliament Deputations, Sir William Waller at the head of them, have been at Saffron Walden, producing no agreement :f five digni
* 6 March, Commons Journals, V., 107. † Waller, pp. 42-85.